Attended our first ever film festival this evening: a triple-bill of short films shot by the kids themselves, apparently without help or advice from anyone who might have known anything about filmmaking. That, I believe. The experience was painful. I usually try to be more tolerant of kids' work, but they went and made this event public, so to me it's a free-for-all.
How many cuts does it take to get a girl to walk from the end of her driveway and into her front door? The continuity is no doubt smooth, flawless even; but as the opening sequence, it sets the tone for a tedious succession of slide-show images that the film does indeed comprise. There's so little movement it's a waste to capture it on video.
12 minutes of someone waiting for someone else to show up but doesn't. It's ok to make the protagonist wait, but it's unforgivable to make the audience wait with him. Even a tiny payoff, like say a glimpse of the cute Japanese-speaking girl who leaves "don't wait for me" messages on the protagonist's answering machine would be something, but no such luck. Instead, the audience is treated to a final shot of a pedestrian-crossing's countdown timer counting to zero. It's like we're just waiting for the movie to come to an end, and so relieved are we when it eventually does. A tip: have lots of things happen to the protagonist while he's waiting, so the audience is entertained, though none of these things is what he's waiting for. Ultimately, he can be disappointed, but your audience should never be.
In-house band performance:
Please, less idle chit-chat with the audience, and more music. Die-die also must get a monitor so the guy on vocals can hear himself sing. Learn to attack the music, especially since you're playing Green Day and Bon Jovi stuff, otherwise it's all just falls flat quickly.
Highlight of the evening. I never imagined the malaise of the long blackout would ever infect the genre of film, but it happened. Several narrative bits over a completely black screen drove me nuts in my seat.
The dialogue is minimal and inconsequential, many scenes cutting themselves short before any dramatic point can properly develop. In close-up shots the script drives the characters away from the camera too quickly, whereas what looks like promising lines of dialogue are taken in long-shot and either voiced over by yet another irrelevant narration or covered over by background music.
The film suffers from having too many locations, making the audience work overtime trying to figure out where the characters are. Lots of scenes were taken on campus so the backgrounds may be quite familiar to us, but an outsider would have given up a long time ago. The audience should at least be able to sense a rough map of the location, but with locations whimsically jumping all over the place we're just hopelessly lost.
Lights. Very poor lighting choices. Characters' faces are so often in shadow, it's hard to distinguish who's who. After a while, we don't care any more.
These guys are very good with the camera equipment, and very good with the technical aspect of post-production. Drama Club has the talent and possibly the vision for shooting a good story. Dare I suggest, barring pride, prejudice and parochialism, a collaboration for next year?