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M. Dale Prins

Oh, I suppose you can discuss "12 Stories About Eileen.

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Not that people haven't already given opinions, but this thread is an opportunity to criticize the film at length.

Dale

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It was good but nobody wore trees, and in my book that stinks.

OH WAIT... I'm thinking of Superman 3. Dangit, i forgot to send off money for 12 Stories!!

Will get it out soon.

-s.

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: It was good but nobody wore trees, and in my book that stinks.

There was a dearth of trees in "12 Stories;" I can only think of one of the 12 stories (no. 7) where conifers or deciduouses play a prominent role. I need be punished. I have already done marginal penance: "Ernest Goes to the Window" has a digression regarding whether pineapples grow on trees, and my play "Girl and Tree" has a talking tree as protagonist. (In fact, Bro. Danielson's tree costume would be perfect for performances of the play.)

I can only hope you do not think less of me.

Dale

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: When do we get to see that script produced?

"Girl and Tree"? I have a list of five projects that I'd like to either finish or get a good start on by the end of this year -- three short, one mid-length, one feature-length -- and "Girl and Tree" is one of them. (Specifically, one of the short ones -- "Girl and Tree" will run about 7 or 8 minutes, I think.) Casting is the major issue: Anyone know of two good, young (18-30) actors -- one of each gender -- within two hours of Richmond, Va. who are willing to work for sushi and wine? Or better yet, pizza and beer?

: Is there any meat involved?

If they'd like sausage on their pizza, yes, that could be arranged.

If your question is regarding the play, go read it yourself. And feel free to comment on it, y'all; it likely has a couple drafts to go before I'm ready to set it on film.

Dale

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Dale, this will be more of a filmmaker's commentary on "Eileen":

As I mentioned previously to you, I still feel your monologue was the strongest of the lot. You owned it and it flowed where the other stories were more 'read'.

I think editing/inter-cutting the other stories around your strong monologue would enhance it. This would probablly cut the length and might make the film's title & chapter credits less connected. I liked the chapter titles but perhaps they too should move quicker.

I'm a firm believer in short short films. In my view, the vast majority of the films at Flickerings suffered for length.

With your film, the pay off was unnecessarily delayed by your pacing/editing (again, I like a short/snappy short film)... but the pay off itself was fine. I really liked the story/concept of what actually happened to Eileen. I wish you would explore this type of pseudo-Biblical storytelling more in the future. I find it interesting. It creeps up on the viewer like the frogs in Magnolia. You are definately on to something with this... keep this option open, but not too obvious in your future work.

As stated in other postings, I'd benefit from a second viewing.

Your "Ernest goes to the Window" film is also covering some good ground. I really liked it-- in fact much more than "Eileen". I can't remember if I mentioned to you at the time, but it reminded me of the protagonist in Cronenberg's "Spider"... we hear him mumbling but only catch bits and pieces. I liked the fact that I didn't know what Ernest was really doing. Still not clear on the "found footage' of the other Ernest on TV, nor did I like the 'goldfish' bit.

Enough said. Keep at this. Between the two films, progress/creativity are evident.

Kevin

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: As I mentioned previously to you, I still feel your monologue was the

: strongest of the lot. You owned it and it flowed where the other stories

: were more 'read'.

Thank you. As an actor, I am better then Atom Egoyan, but not quite as good as Steven Soderbergh. (General note to all: Please do not misquote the previous sentence by removing the first three words, thus making me look like I brazenly overestimate my filmmaking skills. I am only brazenly overestimating my acting skills.)

As I mentioned previously to you, I think, my segment was improvised from a very specific 25-point outline while the others were scripted and read. Scripted monologues to the camera might have worked with professional or decent amateur actors, but it didn't work quite as well with non-professionals. It is pathetic that I am the best actor I know. I need to make acting friends.

: I think editing/inter-cutting the other stories around your strong

: monologue would enhance it. This would probablly cut the length and

: might make the film's title & chapter credits less connected.

I've thought about this quite a bit since you mentioned it at Cornerstone, and I'm still not sure if I agree with you or not, although I can certainly see the advantages that you mention. Regardless, even though I've officially decided that "Eileen" is done forever and ever, amen, perhaps when I have some free time I'll re-edit the film and try the double-blind study[1] that your suggestion suggests.

: In my view, the vast majority of

: the films at Flickerings suffered for length.

Crikey, yes. If there is one negative generalization I would make about Flickerings short films, it's that they need more judicious editing. And I don't think "Eileen" and "Ernest" are exceptions, nor is my favorite of the shorts in competition, "Wrestled" (and I am holding my tongue regarding "Stranger Things" being selected for Best of Flickerings over the Donlon).

: With your film, the pay off was unnecessarily delayed by your

: pacing/editing (again, I like a short/snappy short film)... but the pay off

: itself was fine.

I suspect if I were to re-edit and shorten the film, I think I'd be more likely to make it "10 Stories About Eileen" and ditch a couple segments whole-hog. (The first two, potentially; I think the beginning's a bit slow.) But again, I'd be interested to see what happened if I took your advice.

: I really liked the story/concept of what actually happened to Eileen. I

: wish you would explore this type of pseudo-Biblical storytelling more in

: the future.

The medium-length film of the five[2] mentioned earlier in this thread has a similar Biblical subversion that, as in "Eileen," isn't apparent until the climax. We'll see how it works.

: I can't

: remember if I mentioned to you at the time, but [the "Ernest" protag]

: reminded me of the protagonist in Cronenberg's "Spider"... we hear him

: mumbling but only catch bits and pieces.

You hadn't. Now I need to watch Spider.

: I liked the fact that I didn't know what Ernest was really doing. Still not

: clear on the "found footage' of the other Ernest on TV...

The found footage is so, so much more thematically clear when one is able to understand the dialogue in the segment that precedes it. The footage still needs to be shortened by half, mind. However...

: nor did I like the 'goldfish' bit.

...the thematic justification for this bit (the goldfish footage itself, not the so-called "Intermission"; I have ample justification for that) is so obscure, and so poorly signposted by me, that I think I'm going to ditch the goldfish footage from underneath those big white letters. "Ernest" is still a work in progress, thankfully.

Dale

---

1 Obviously, this would not be a double-blind study, but I can't immediately think of any other adjective to modify "study," and the word "study" by itself does not flow well in that sentence. Ah well.

2 Correction: It's six, because I forgot about my Cornerstone-filmed documentary "Patty Gets a Haircut."[3]

3 Crap. I can't do my footnotes the right way on this new board. I hate you, new board! I hate you!

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I'm a firm believer in short short films. In my view, the vast majority of the films at Flickerings suffered for length.

Can you elaborate on this? Maybe using some examples from Flickerings this year?

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: Can you elaborate on [the comment that the majority of the films at

: Flickerings suffered for length]? Maybe using some examples from

: Flickerings this year?

Other than Kevin's film, I feel my comments regarding my fellow Flickerings films have been markedly negative. Thus, I will respond to your query to Kevin -- since I agreed with his statement -- but I will also find one nice thing to say about every film I viewed.

Over the next few days, I'll work my way through all 12 non-me, non-Kevin films I saw.

---

"Blink" (dir. Phil Forsyth)

The opening elevator sequence was interminable. I understand that said interminablity was part of the point -- the main point, perhaps -- of that scene, but the trick is to be able to portray that without giving the audience the same feeling of neverendingness. (The opening moments of All or Nothing do that beautifully.) Crazy Bathroom Man scene could have been cut in half as well, although...

Positive Comment:...I thought "Blink" was well cast for a ultra-low budget film, particularly our Crazy Bathroom Man.

---

"Defenestration" (dir. Jordan Allott)

Pacing was beautiful here -- probably the best of those I saw at the festival. (There were slow-paced moments, but the crushing sound mix and luscious visuals kept away any ennui.) I'd consider it technically better than some of the full-length, professional Flickerings films, and thus I say this now: Mr. or Ms. Allott, if you would ever like to direct one of my screenplays, you have my explicit permission.

Negative Comment (since I just wrote a whole paragraph of positive): I hated the concept and story.

---

"FastLane" (dir. Lon Waitman)

The opposite problem as "Blink" regarding pacing: That rapid-cut MTV/ Moulin Rouge editing style is a horrid clich

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It is now later.

---

"Wrestled" (dir. Phil Donlon)

I thought the last, dialogueless minutes could have been cut a bit. But that's picking nits, because...

Positive Comment: ...this was my favorite of the shorts at Cornerstone: I would love to discuss the motivations for the main male character to take on this particular project. (Surely the money could be used in a more useful religious manner if there were no further motivations.) Cut a bit from the end, and cut the explicit references to one possible (obvious) motivation, and "Wrestled" might have made my year-end honorable mention. I'm very curious what Donlon will do next.

---

"The Blood & Suffering Montage" (dir. Eric Wesselmann)

The length of the disturbing (at least for queasy me) shots were either too long or not long enough; Wesselmann should have gone whole-hog into showing the grotesque or made the ugliness less explicit and more subliminal. The middle ground didn't work for me.

Positive Comment: I was slightly freaked out by this film (particularly the first shot), which was Wesselmann's intention. Good job, I guess.

---

"Poser" (dir. Chris Adams)

It's hard to yell at a 105-second film for being too long, and I suppose this one wasn't, but it was paced a bit strangely. I wish I remembered the film well enough to comment more than that.

Positive Comment: Computer animation pretty darn good. I want to make an animated film.

---

"epiphany" (dir. Daniel Boswell)

Long, long stretches where it isn't clear what's happening. Boswell either needed to signpost better or cut about 60 percent of the film, and the core story is concise enough that I really don't think ditching 16 of the 28 minutes would have been a major problem.

Positive Comment: Whoever was in charge of making the psychologist look different in the flashbacks vs. present day did a heck of a job; the actor deserves credit, too, for how well he changed his demeanor.

---

"Krusher" (dir. Carl Rust)

Um. I missed the first 15 minutes of this 50-minute film, and thus I didn't understand a thing that was going on other than the "American Idol"-esque satire in the middle, so I will pass on passing judgement on the length of the film. Too, too, too many ocular and aural overlays, however; visual and audio effects are best used sparsely and with precise intent.

Positive Comment: The ringmaster in the "American Idol" scene did a good job, and some of the aural overlays did work pretty well.

---

I'll do the three remaining either later today or this weekend.

Dale

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As an aside, here is a picture from the impromptu world premiere of "Ernest Goes to the Window." I would like to see other Cornerstone pictures, thank you kindly -- perhaps one of the critics' roundtable?

Dale

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Just to finish this off:

"Fat... So?" (dir. Allen Moore)

I don't know specifically what I would cut, but there wasn't anything unusual enough about the subject's condition to keep my attention for all eleven minutes. Part of that is purely narcissistic subjectivity, no doubt; the "Fat Guy" weighs (as I recall) 230 pounds and is probably 5'10-5'11" -- dimensions that lead to a man not terribly more overweight than I am. (My roommate in college was about 350 lbs.; now there's a film.) Making the documentary tighter -- particularly getting rid of all postmodern glitches/retakes/asides to the camera -- would have helped a bit.

Positive Comment: Some genuine sentiment toward the end; I couldn't help but feel for the guy.

---

"The Least of These" (dir. Rik Swartzwelder)

Paced well; the 20 minutes flew by thanks to a strong narrative and nice attention to detail. (Young filmmakers, do not ignore the power of a tight story. That goes for me, too.) Actors not bad at all, and "Least" did well at hiding its dogmatic statement 'till the last minute of the film, whereby...

Negative Comment: ...the film thus lost me: not because I disagreed with the dogma presented -- at least not exactly -- but because I felt betrayed by a film that pretended to simply tell a story but instead used that story to explicitly make broad pronouncements about American Christianity. The point was ultraclear before the last four or five lines, thank you; I didn't need the extra push into Campololand.

---

"Stranger Things" (dir. Luke Renner)

At minute three of this 11-minute film, when Renner was still not done with the freakin' opening credits -- they were interspersed with the beginning of the film's story -- I was nearly as annoyed as I was seeing Heston's "conversation" with Moore for the second time. Dude. I know you like people. I like people, too. But I don't put everyone I know into the opening credits of an 11-minute film. Thanks bud. Also, I am not sure I like films that are ostensibly about race relations but instead are about magical bombs.

Positive Comment: The locking of the car was the funniest moment of Cornerstone. Even funnier than Steve Taylor and Screech.

---

I am taking bets on which of these filmmakers is the first to Google their movie, find this thread, and yell at me.

Dale

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Just to finish this off:

At minute three of this 11-minute film, when Renner was still not done with the freakin' opening credits -- they were interspersed with the beginning of the film's story -- I was nearly as annoyed as I was seeing Heston's \"conversation\" with Moore for the second time.  

This was burdensome. But may be unavoidable. I have been watching old runs of Image Union (A Chicago short film program) and have noticed this with a lot of shorts. A ten minute film has two minutes of credit. This immediately kills any story for me. Credit needs to be given where credit is due, but I often wonder why people choose to do this at the beginning rather than the end of a short film. There may be some reason I am simply unaware of.

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I haven't seen Dale's film, so I am necessarily and unfortunately off-topic. Still...

"Fat... So?" (dir. Allen Moore)

I don't know specifically what I would cut, but there wasn't anything unusual enough about the subject's condition to keep my attention for all eleven minutes. Part of that is purely narcissistic subjectivity, no doubt; the "Fat Guy" weighs (as I recall) 230 pounds and is probably 5'10-5'11" -- dimensions that lead to a man not terribly more overweight than I am. (My roommate in college was about 350 lbs.; now there's a film.) Making the documentary tighter -- particularly getting rid of all postmodern glitches/retakes/asides to the camera -- would have helped a bit.

I had the same reaction. I particularly disliked the friend's running commentary. His insights weren't particularly insightful and merely slowed the film down. But the subject was surprisingly thoughtful.

"The Least of These" (dir. Rik Swartzwelder)

[Dale's comments snipped because I agree completely]

I loved MLeary's reaction at the end of the movie when he turned to me and remarked, "I thought that was going to be good." The opening goes a little overboard on the establishing shots of the city, but the shooting inside the diner was gorgeous. Beautiful lighting. And the cast was largely great. I think the movie's point was made well before the final party. Like many of the Flickerings shorts, the director didn't trust his audience and felt the need to beat his point home. Note to future filmmakers: your audience is not stupid.

"Stranger Things" (dir. Luke Renner)

I know Luke is on the board, so I'll try to be kind. But "Stranger Things" didn't work for me at all. Yes, the car-locking scene is hilarious and the editing brilliant, and I also enjoyed the screaming montage. But I was really bothered by the rest of it. The acting was pointlessly overbroad, reminding me of a cross between a particularly bad SNL sketch and a bunch of teenagers fooling around with dad's video camera. And the use of racial stereotypes bordered on the offensive, though I guess the movie's designed to offend everyone. Still, your satire needs to be pretty skilled to avoid the wrong type of offense. Maybe I just missed something, as the audience did seem to enjoy it a lot. But audiences enjoy America's Funniest Home Videos, too. It just struck me as a whole bunch of pointless screaming.

Dale, it appears that you missed Psalm 51. That was by far my favorite film of the fest. But I'm a sucker for any Christian doing non-narrative filmmaking.

J Robert

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Regarding "On the Line Between Overweight and Clinically Obese...So?":

: I particularly disliked the friend's running commentary. His insights

: weren't particularly insightful and merely slowed the film down.

I agree, although some of his earlier statements were helpful as background. What really got to me about some of the interviews with this friend were the funky camera angles that were employed by the director for no apparent reason -- completely out of place in this film.

Regarding "Churches Should Really Really Really Care About Everyone, Even Prostitutes":

First, mike_h, please put a one-year moratorium on prostitute movies at Fl'ck'r'ngs. Next,

: I loved MLeary's reaction at the end of the movie when he turned to me

: and remarked, "I thought that was going to be good."

Word.

: Like many of the Flickerings shorts, the director didn't trust his audience

: and felt the need to beat his point home. Note to future filmmakers:

: your audience is not stupid.

Word. Even my favorite of the shorts that I saw, "Wrestled," pushed too hard on telling the audience that there might be less wholesome reasons for the preacher's actions. Dear Mr. Donlon: As your film is about a preacher playing money to an attractive prostitute for the purpose of reading the Bible to her in his car, I think any immoral reasons he might be be doing this can be inferred by the audience without much help, thank you kindly. (And no, there weren't any spoilers above that don't become clear in the first three minutes.)

Regarding "Purple Lollipops A-Go-Go":

: The acting was pointlessly overbroad, reminding me of a cross between

: a particularly bad SNL sketch and a bunch of teenagers fooling around

: with dad's video camera.

I dunno. In a comedy like this, I think I'd rather see my acting too broad than too Tom Sellecky.

: And the use of racial stereotypes bordered on the offensive, though I

: guess the movie's designed to offend everyone.

[spoilerS FOR "STRANGER THINGS"; GO, GO AWAY, YOU NON-CORNERSTONIANS.]

I know you don't want to ruin the film for those who haven't seen it, Luke, but can you at least tell us this: Were we as the audience supposed to assume (before the denouement) that the white guys were afraid of the black guy because he was black, and then when we see that he has a magical bomb, we are supposed to look back at the film and say, "Oh, this town isn't scared of black people at all! This town is just scared of magical bombs!" That's what I took from the film, and so I'd like some confirmation. (Of course, I'll be getting the DVD with commentary in a bit anyway, but I'm curious if my interpretation is totally off-track.)

: Dale, it appears that you missed Psalm 51.

Yes. (Please pretend the

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"Agnes: She Is Missing," my non-narrative 90 second short film from (I believe) September of last year, is available. More interestingly, however, Kris Barberg's "Psalm 51" is apparently available online. Enjoy.

Dale

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I agree, although some of his earlier statements were helpful as background. What really got to me about some of the interviews with this friend were the funky camera angles that were employed by the director for no apparent reason -- completely out of place in this film.

True. The arbitrarily arty camera angles try to cover the fact that nothing is going on and only reinforces that fact.

I dunno. In a comedy like this, I think I'd rather see my acting too broad than too Tom Sellecky.

Well, if those are my two choices... smile.gif

Still, I think there has to be some level of control, or the whole thing just spirals into stupidity. I mean, the exaggeration of the people doing the "witnessing" and then the guy taking off his clothes to reveal a bra. That kind of thing didn't work for me at all.

Were we as the audience supposed to assume (before the denouement) that the white guys were afraid of the black guy because he was black, and then when we see that he has a magical bomb, we are supposed to look back at the film and say, "Oh, this town isn't scared of black people at all! This town is just scared of magical bombs!" That's what I took from the film, and so I'd like some confirmation.

This is also what I took from the film. Which seems a strange point to make when the film clearly has some sort of racial agenda in mind.

People are scared of magical bombs. Who knew?

J Robert

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: I mean, the exaggeration of the people doing the "witnessing" and then

: the guy taking off his clothes to reveal a bra. That kind of thing didn't

: work for me at all.

That was not my favorite moment of the film.

: This is also what I took from the film. Which seems a strange point to

: make when the film clearly has some sort of racial agenda in mind.

I dunno; I half-suspect that the whole racial thing is a red herring. (Not that relatively conservative ideas about race couldn't be drawn from the film, mind; I just suspect that's not at the top of Luke's cinematic agenda. Luke? Luke? Get your butt over here and tell us how wrong or right we are.)

Dale

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Okay...okay...you got me!

I'm here now.

As for the opening credits, they are too long. I agree. Actually, I knew it when I was doing it...but I had taken so much money from so many people in order to make my film...I ended up selling out on that issue in order to be what some people call "truly thankful" to those involved.

What you have to understand is that I made this film (budgeted at $70,000) for only $6,000. We also shot it in a mere TWO DAYS, so quantity was job one...NOT quality. The bottom line...it's my first film ever and I knew that it wouldn't be even close to perfect. So I have absolutely no apolgies to you guys or to myself. Given what I personally had at my fingertips, it is a great success! (You should have seen the FIRST EDIT! 8O )

Now for the bra issue...

...like the pepper spray, like the sucker on the forehead, it's slapstick. This film certainly mixed different types of comedy. Some dialogue driven, some slapstick (or physical), and some situational. I had someone else tell me that they HATED the bra joke when I was in the early phase of testing my film on people. (that's right...I tested my film) A week or so later, my daughter voluntarily told me that her favorite part was the "bra part." The bottom line? In matters of taste...there is no dispute. You guys are allowed to hate that part. I don't mind. 8) Some other people love it...like me.

As for the point of the film...

The theme in two words: Racism Kills

The mistake that you might be making is to assume that, since the film is a comedy and over-the-top most of the time, it must therefore not have a serious mind behind it. Alas! This would be a mistake. On the contrary, this film is FULL of icons and symbolism...most of which are used against you (the audience) in order to tell you something about yourself. It's a bait and switch...getting you to look at the comedy long enough to comfortably make honest and open assumptions (therefore making soul-bearing statments about yourself)!

For example, I NEVER said that this film WAS about racism anywhere in the film itself. However, due to what you (my audience) know about racism (arguably through personal experience) you personally concluded that it must have been going there. Look, I could go on and on about what this says about the viewer...but I have already been down this road by creating a KILLER DVD presentation of the film. It's got commentaries that explain the whole thing. If you want a copy, E-mail me at Cre8inator@aol.com. They're $6 plus s&h. Trust me, they're worth it.

: The acting was pointlessly overbroad, reminding me of a cross between

: a particularly bad SNL sketch and a bunch of teenagers fooling around

: with dad's video camera.

Bullseye! Again, bait and switch. However, in defense of my actors...I have rarely seen "no names" do such a good job. You just compared them to SNL actors. That's quite an accomplishment!

: And the use of racial stereotypes bordered on the offensive, though I

: guess the movie's designed to offend everyone.

Racism IS offensive. I'm glad we agree on this. The film is designed to offend those who are racist. Those who are not can see it for what it is...a sad but true depiction of the way things are. I actually had one black gentleman say (after seeing the film and becoming genuinely pissed off) that he didn't think it was even POSSIBLE for black people to be racist. Hmmm.

It's great to see ripples in the pond.

Luke Renner - Director "Stranger Things"

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Just FYI: One of the other Best o' Cornerstone films, Zach Baliva's "Destination Sky," is online. I haven't seen it.

Dale

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: As for the opening credits, they are too long. I agree. Actually, I

: knew it when I was doing it...but I had taken so much money from

: so many people in order to make my film...I ended up selling out

: on that issue in order to be what some people call "truly thankful" to

: those involved.

I can certainly understand that. If people had given me $6000 to make a film (or, more accurately, $6000 minus whatever you yourself put into it), I'd have put minutes of enthusiastic thank-yous in the film as well. But as M'Leary points out,

: This immediately kills any story for me. Credit needs to be given where

: credit is due, but I often wonder why people choose to do this at the

: beginning rather than the end of a short film.

I suspect your concern is that people won't stay through the credits, but given the timbre of "Stranger Things," you could have gotten away with having end-credit outtakes or some other clever attention-keeping device to keep the audience's collective butts on seats.

: What you have to understand is that I made this film (budgeted at

: $70,000) for only $6,000.

It looks quite good for $6,000, and given some of the computer-animated visuals, I'm surprised the cost didn't go higher. You shot it on 16mm, no? (Kevin's film also looks quite good for its cost; I need hints from y'all when I shoot on film rather than MiniDV.)

: I had someone else tell me that they HATED the bra joke when I was in

: the early phase of testing my film on people. (that's right...I tested

: my film) A week or so later, my daughter voluntarily told me that her

: favorite part was the "bra part." The bottom line? In matters of

: taste...there is no dispute.

"Absolutely," Dale said, despite believing in his heart of hearts that there is no hilarity in seeing a man wearing women's underwear.

: As for the point of the film...

: The theme in two words: Racism Kills

Um. That was not quite what I expected, I will admit -- at least not that specific verbiage.

: For example, I NEVER said that this film WAS about racism anywhere in

: the film itself.

In the most basic sense of the word "said," that's true. However, the scene that contains your avatar is so racially loaded -- a black man walking in the direction of a community called "The TwighWhite Zone" -- that the audience has no reasonable choice than to assume that white-on-black racism will be the focus of the film.

: However, due to what you (my audience) know about racism (arguably

: through personal experience) you personally concluded that it must

: have been going there.

True, but because you foreshadow it so explicitly in the aforementioned scene, the audience doesn't have the opportunity to draw those early conclusions, I'd argue; the early conclusions are more-or-less thrust upon them.

: However, in defense of my actors...I have rarely seen "no names" do

: such a good job. You just compared them to SNL actors. That's quite

: an accomplishment!

I'll go one step further -- I'd rather cast your lead in a comedy than about half of the current SNL actors. Granted, I'm not a huge SNL fan, but.

Dale

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As an aside: Kris Barberg is also doing Over The Rhine's upcoming DVD project. I fully expect that to be a great piece of filmmaking, her montage was quite good, very professional, and hauntingly creative.

Can't wait to see her camera's turned on OtR.

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:I suspect your concern is that people won't stay through the credits, but :given the timbre of "Stranger Things," you could have gotten away :with having end-credit outtakes or some other clever attention-:keeping device to keep the audience's collective butts on seats.

Again...I was more concerned with being genuinely thankful in this, my first film. I was far less concerned about the butts of strangers. Like I said, I don't like that about it now. Your suggestions are all things I have thought of. Too late for that now. I have to move on. 8)

: As for the point of the film...

: The theme in two words: Racism Kills

Um. That was not quite what I expected, I will admit -- at least not that specific verbiage.

SURPRISE. Keep in mind, I am using many metaphors and icons throughout the film. The robot, for example. The robot IS racism. Wait for the DVD. It's coming.biggrin.gif

: For example, I NEVER said that this film WAS about racism anywhere in

: the film itself.

In the most basic sense of the word "said," that's true. However, the scene that contains your avatar is so racially loaded -- a black man walking in the direction of a community called "The TwighWhite Zone" -- that the audience has no reasonable choice than to assume that white-on-black racism will be the focus of the film.

If you do believe that the film is going to be about white-on-black racism, then you are from some faction of society that has made you prone to believe that. For example, I am editing a video about Haiti right now for some missionaries. If some of these Haitians saw my film, they would likely NOT make the same conclusions that you presumably did. That is to say, anything you pulled...which I did not "say"...did in fact come from within you (even if it was put there, at some point, by someone else). I merely placed a few Pavlovian treats onto the table that I was sure would trigger your reaction. If I didn't say it...then I didn't say it. That's the bottom line.

: However, due to what you (my audience) know about racism (arguably

: through personal experience) you personally concluded that it must

: have been going there.

True, but because you foreshadow it so explicitly in the aforementioned scene, the audience doesn't have the opportunity to draw those early conclusions, I'd argue; the early conclusions are more-or-less thrust upon them.

It's an interesting point. But I would argue that, by the time the aforementioned scene takes place, the audience has already been primed to make the conclusion through a number of sub-concious clues. The radio broadcaster uses the station's call letters...W.I.T.E. The car (which fails him) is white. Another radio broadcast advertises the "Whiteford County Annual Apple Pie Bake-Off."He is wearing Black and White. There are many subtle clues which set the stage. The sign is simply more obvious. It's the "Kicker" if you will. And again, I cannot "thrust" anything unless the viewer is already capable of seeing that thing. Bottom line, this film wouldn't make any sense or work at all if people didn't know what racism was. You follow because you know what racism is. You know what racism is because...ummm...I'll stop there. biggrin.gif

And as for your "Thrusting" hypothesis...it doesn't in any way detract from the inferences that the audience continues to make throughout the film. Perception has always said more about the observer than the observed. When someone says, "he's a jerk," it doesn't mean "he" is ACTUALLY a jerk. It simply means that, by the standards of the observer, "he" meets their own criteria for being a jerk...and those criteria are in place NOT at the hand of "he" but rather, at the hand of the observer. Thus, the statement says more about the nature of the observer's own standards...and thus, the observer... than it actually does about "he." "He" might be a really nice guy who just happens to fall short of the observer's criteria for "non jerks."

My whole point is, I admit a certain degree of audience manipulation here. There's no argument about that. In fact, that's what's so beautiful about it. Because we are so much alike, I know how to make you think what I want you to think. But personal responsibility should not go out the window on the part of the viewer. Inferences are made. Those are the viewer's problem...not mine. :wink:

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As much as I hate to talk about "12 Stories About Eileen" on the thread devoted to it, all those on this board who have bought or bartered for an "Eileen" DVD have your soon-to-be-drink-coaster on the way. There are seven unspoken copies available for $9 each (shipping inclusive); e-mail me at mdprins@yahoo.com if you want, need, require.

Dale

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