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To Be...

Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 1:37pm

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SNI BRI

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To Be.. is a project inspired by William Shakespeare’s "To be or not to be" speech.

This Short film was inspired by the true story of Ariel Haymond.

Earlier this summer, Ariel approached the “1st Annual Hamlet Film Festival” here in Allen, Texas, with the idea to make a film reflecting her raw life experiences. She came up with a concept that directly connected the words of the famous self aware speech written by William Shakespeare, and turned it into a reflection, to show her life as it once was. She took a very brave step to so openly portray a subject, that is rapidly becoming a problem in so many schools across the nation, and strongly shows that, through WILL, change is possible.

This film was her way of saying goodbye to substance abuse. Following the production of this film, Ariel has been clean for over 4 months, and has inspired others to follow her example, by stating that church has become one of the many reasons she was able to overcome such a large barrier in her life.

This film follows the final decision of Ariel with her addiction… To be or not to be, that is the question.

Enjoy.

*NOTE* Given the time contraints on the film festival, Choices had to be made regarding what she wanted to do with the film, as far as clairty was concerend. And in the end she was solid in the choice to make it a personal overview of events in her life leading to the decision to quit and leave it behind*

Thanks.

Brian


More Info
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 2:15pm

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Jazzmanian

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I'll update this later with something full and complete and come up with a rating. I need to go to my home office and watch it a couple more times on the large monitor I think. First impression, though... this was just brutal. And I'm not saying that in a bad way. If you know me at all or my viewing habits, I tend to gravitate towards the darker, really harsh stuff in cinema, and this one rocked me back in my chair on the first go.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 2:17pm

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Simon K Jones

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Just a quick note: the movie file suffers from rather nasty interlacing. If you could fix that it'd be great, as it sullies an otherwise excellent production.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 3:15pm

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Sollthar

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This film would be rather great if it wasn't for two things, which just take the whole production down a lot.

Camera and editing are great (apart from some handheld shakey shots) and so is the grading - allthough, this had TOO much contrast for my liking, I'm sure there will be certain users who disagree though... wink

Two points really take the whole thing down far from what it could be:

First, the file isn't properly deinterlaced. This is so easy to spot and fix I really don't understand why so many people can't get it right. sad

Second, the sound quality, which was rather bad. I could hardly understand her. Her voice sounded really muffled plus there were loads of "breath into microphone" problems.
Shame so little went into that when it was otherwise a great tribute.

These two points make my 3 star rating. Otherwise, it could have been an easily solid 4 - surely, for some even a 5.
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 3:19pm

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Xcession

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This was extremely good. It was both technically proficient and artistically beautiful. Artistic, subtle films are in the distinct minority on FXHome so this is a pleasant addition.

Regarding the topic at hand, I'm a little lost for comment. Having never experienced substance abuse first-hand I can't claim to know anything about that struggle specifically, so i'll just leave that one alone.

I have difficulty discerning people with a genuine cry for help and those joining a scene for the sake of giving their unremarkable lives some character. So from the perspective of visual content therefore, it felt to me like the cracked nail varnish/mascara shots were used very transparently as a way of portreying unhappiness. As visual metaphors go, this seemed shallow and cliched. Drug abuse is a universal problem which people from all walks of life are susceptible to, so I did feel this imagery narrowed the impact of the movie somewhat.

I'm in two minds whether there should have been more 'pith' to this. Once the shakespeare quote had been drowned out by the quotes of temptation, i was aware none of the shots really served much purpose. They were very pretty, certainly, but helped nothing. There again, given the introspective nature of this piece as a whole, perhaps shots of nothing hapenning was entirely appropriate? Like i say, i'm not sure.

You've noted that the film was deliberately written to document "events in her life leading to the decision to quit" but I didn't gleen any such chronology from this piece. If you were asked to get the same message across without the soliloquy, I imagine you'd have chosen to provide a little more story-based content and I suppose this is what I was after.

Technically, the camerawork was excellent. Shots were framed nicely, with excellent timing and composition. Those closeups were also extremely well done.

Theres a tendancy to overuse filters in grunge genre films of this sort, but you steered clear of over-doing it, which was great. The filters that were used were suitable infrequent, or un-noticeable. As Sollthar noted, the contrast was a little heavy, but it seemed like it was part of the metaphor anyway, so i'm not going to quibble.

In summary, therefore, i'm just nit-picking. As i said at the beginning, this is really good. I'd be interested to know exactly what was done with FXH products. I can probably guess, but lots of software tends to go into any one production, so i could be wrong.

[Oh, and please remove that immense image from your signature]

Last edited Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 5:40pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 5:18pm

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ben3308

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Looks like you're gettin' some NICE reviews, Brian, way to go man!

I'm downloading now, I'll see it in a second. Is this shot on your XL2?

EDIT: Just watched. I must admit, it wasn't really my thing, mainly because it just got a little too hard to understand near the end, if you know what I mean. The audio got a little murky, so this could explain why I didn't understand it.

I loved the close up, in your face-esque cinematography that panned past the empty pill bottles and the cocaine. Towards the end there, I felt there was a little too much headspace in many shots of the girl just sitting there. Of course this is me just nitpicking, and this is more of an artistic choice, so it's not really something to deduct points from.

Again, editing sat well with me at the beginning, but it got a little off near the end.

The grading was NICE, man! Way to go on that one!

3.5/5 for the stuff near the end, but rounds up to 4/5 for the grading.

4/5, my man, and way to go!

Two things now:

Sollthar: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Brian's been friends with us extreme graders since before he was even grading. He knows what's good. wink

Brian: Gregoriew? Heh, funny name, didn't expect that. smile
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 5:53pm

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SNI BRI

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Hey guys i really appreciate all the feedback that you guys are giving. This film is important to me on different levels, and i thank you guys for watching it with an open mind.


Xcession:
*I have difficulty drawing a line between people with a genuine cry for help and those joining a scene for the sake of giving their unremarkable lives some character. So from the perspective of visual content therefore, it felt to me like the cracked nail varnish/mascara shots were used very deliberately as a vehicle to portrey unhappiness. *

Just a note on her nails. That wasnt in any way a prenote for production. Those are her real every day a nails. I wasnt trying to over state that every drug user is "Cracknails and all", I was just trying to capture "Ariel Haymond" for what she was at this time. Yes, they help drive the point of the film, BUT this is exactly what she looks like on a everyday basis. This girl was honest to god, exactly what she is on film. This is one of the reasons i was so amazed by her in the production of this. She didnt want to bring in a actor to play her, she didnt want any one else to play her, cause she knew if people brought up comments like that, she could honest to god say "thats me". IT takes alot of guts to do that on film, but i can see where you would have taken that as statement.

I dont mean to be over defensive of this by any means, its just that the acutall process of coming up with the film and filming and editing it, was pretty emotional draining, cause of how honest she was willing to be with the both the film and her self.

Ben3308
I'm downloading now, I'll see it in a second. Is this shot on your XL2? *

No this was shot on a panasonic 1 ccd handycam, this was prior to my XL2 purchace.



As for the compression. Ill release a second file of better quality. Ive just been struggling with compression. Will be up soon


Thanks for the comments on the camera work guys! Nice to hear!

Have a great day guys.
Brian
Posted: Thu, 3rd Aug 2006, 6:04pm

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Atom

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Interesting.

Very much portrays the style of editing that I think you've always tried to accomplish, without ever quite getting there. This works with it, though, and makes the production overall better because of it.

The cinematography isn't really my taste, but you know I'm a stickler for clarity. (That's why I let Ben shoot, not me! smile ) nor the editing, but because I know you, and know basically what you are trying to achieve-in you vision-it's all understandable, and I think it came out pretty nicely.

Aside from technicals, which really determined the distinct tone and style of the film, the content and monologue felt kind of fake. I realize that it's a real person of substance-abuse, and that these are their reflections, but the monologue, coupled with the idea of recovery made me feel like the film screamed "INDY" just to be "INDY". (Does that make any sense?) It comes-off to me as trying to convey a deep message, that really isn't there. I don't really know how to say what I mean, so hopefully you understand. wink


The grading added alot to the melodramatic feel and monochromatic look of the movie.

I LOVED the contrast. smile I wonder where that style rubbed-off on you from. wink
Like other's said, the monologue also seemed to get lower to the point of being not audible, and the interlacing downed the quality quite a bit. (I'll tell you how to fix this, if you want, just get on IM.)
Posted: Sat, 5th Aug 2006, 3:22am

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SNI BRI

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Hey there!
Just wanted to post and let those who were complaining of interlacing problems, that i have realeased a quicktime version that has less of that issue.

Brian
Posted: Sat, 5th Aug 2006, 10:36am

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Jazzmanian

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Well, I got time to watch the new and improved Quicktime version and had a day to digest this, so I can finish my review. My initial impressions still stand. This film rocked my world. Gritty, dark and haunting... even if I hadn't read the text description of the background and history of this film, I could have gotten the story being told just from the film presentation and it really sank in.

Camera work, grading, editing, pace... it all worked together to build the tragic atmosphere but still tinged with a bit of hope, though that's far from assured. (Personally I'd like to hear how Ariel is doing today and read her own review of the film.)

This one came darned close to being a five for me, but the only thing that drags it down is the audio. The audio track starts out so strong and clear in the first 20 to 25 seconds, but then there's a clear cut/shift in the editing and suddenly it gets muddy. And it doesn't appear to be intentionally muddy for some type of artistic effect... it just drops down in quality to where it's hard to make out some of Ariel's lines.

Still, all in all, one heck of an effort. It gets a very strong 4 from me and a spot in my top ten.
Posted: Sat, 5th Aug 2006, 4:11pm

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Frozenpede

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how did you do the eye scene at the end? this movie was very good however I would have liked more time given to it. 4/5
Posted: Sat, 5th Aug 2006, 5:17pm

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SyroVision

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Hello, i have some mixed reviews:

Firstly nice grading it was dark and gloomy and nice, the eye was great.

Secondly the music was good but the electric beat half way really took alot away.

My main point; im not sure weather i got this film. I read that the movie was about saying good bye to an addiction, i read this on the movie page after watching it, and was suprsed.

I didnt get that at all, as i watched it i really felt sorry for the character not as a victim but as a self absorbed teenager... in this mentality THEN seeing the drugs made me think... "Oh, shes a moody teen who does drugs"

it wasnt untill i read the story run i realised it was the drugs making her moody as opposed to a moody teen looking to fit in though them.

Just a note... the word would be "emo"

overall 2.5 out a 5
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 4:00am

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JoelM

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Rating: -1

EDIT: Sorry if some of you found this a bit harsh, but it's just my opinion.


Moderator edit: All posts are by their very definition a personal opinion; its just irrelevant to point it out. Therefore your "opinion" is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It isn't an excuse. It changes nothing about your review and doesn't make it any less unnecessarily harsh.


EDIT AGAIN: I honestly didn't mean to make this post sound offensive or harsh at all. I said that the video was made for the maker and other atticts who are trying to stay clean.

This is not a site for people who have/had drug problems, it's FXhome, a site for filmakers, so I said that it doesn't really bring out and emotions because I assume about all of us here aren't drug abusers. If this was a site for people who are dealing with drug issues I would of never made that comment in a million years.

If you are a drug attict then of couse you will relate to this video. I just didn't think that FXhome was the best place on the web to submit this video.

Last edited Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 10:10am; edited 6 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 6:11am

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Atom

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Let me start off by saying that this movie has several ups and downs with me, so I'm not voicing this on bias, but:

JoelM,
While you're entitled to your opinion, something you said contradicts itself, and makes your harsh critique a little invalid.

to reflect on- and maybe other attics to stay clean
and then,
What it all comes down to is that this video doesn't make you feel good, doesn't make you laugh, doesn't make you think, doesn't make you say, "That was cool", doesn't bring out any emotions, or really anything at all.
Now, surely a person's reflections on their mistakes in life, a story-driven film or not, can have an effect on someone. Is this to say, even though Jared from Subway has lost all this weight and is clearly voicing this in TV ads and such, that people who aren't obese can't appreciate his efforts? Can someone not appreciate this video? Even if that someone is another 'druggie" as you say, it still conveys the ideas and mood set in the film, and therefore does one of the things you noted it didn't:

Makes you think. It doesn't matter what it makes you think about, but some thought is still there. I'm not the biggest fan of this video either, but I can clearly see some emotion in it, and can clearly see that to some people, maybe a select few, this would evoke emotion.

You said, the video doesn't make "you" feel good, etc.; which I'm taking as a generalization for everybody who watches this's feelings. I must say, not as a druggie myself, it really did put some doubt in my mind, even without a story, as to how much of scumbags drug abusers are. It made me think. It made me say "wow, maybe it really is just that hard. Maybe I was wrong."

I didn't even like it, I felt the technicals to jump too much, but I can appreciate the fact that it conjured some emotion in me, and displayed the subject's thoughts in the unique way they were intended. Surely you understand what I'm saying.

I don't rate movies because they are visual pretty, or sound good, but rather what I though of the movie overall
If you rate movie on an overall scale, that means you must give equal weight to visual, technicals, story, etc. By your logic, you are only voting on the "feeling" of the movie, and leaving technicals aside. This quite clearly faults your voting-technique, and I suggest watching this again for those other factors specifically.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 10:17am

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Simon K Jones

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JoelM wrote:

1/5 because why would anyone honestly want to see this except maybe for other druggies trying to get/stay clean?
What a very strange thing to say. Although your disparaging use of the word 'druggies' is a fairly clear indication of your stance on the issue.

By your reasoning, however, films such as Trainspotting, Requiem for a Dream and others are pointless stuff that nobody would want to see except so-called 'druggies'.

Don't you think there is merit in seeing a viewpoint on life that is different to your own? I also have no personal experience with addiction or drugs, but I still find it a fascinating and often moving theme to explore.

Seeing as addiction is something that all humans are susceptible to, whether they like to admit it or not, it is far from irrelevant.

It's not a movie nor is it really even a film, but rather one person's view/response to how they've felt.
Surely that's the very definition of most art? If movies, literature, paintings, sculpture etc aren't a person/persons' response to their feelings, then what are they?

This video is not much more than a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and maybe other addicts trying to stay clean - something that I'm not and hope all of you aren't either.
That's a good summation, except I'm not sure why that qualifies for the 'not much more' wording. Surely a movie about addiction and someone trying to stay clean is very relevant, important and worthy? It affects all areas of society, so is a topic that should definitely be explored.

What it all comes down to is that this video doesn't make you feel good, doesn't make you laugh, doesn't make you think, doesn't make you say, "That was cool", doesn't bring out any emotions, or really anything at all.
That implies that movies can only be deemed successful if they invoke positive emotions in the viewer, which would seem to disregard an enormous number of classic movies.

As for saying it doesn't bring out any emotions...that may be true for you, but it can't be said as a blanket statement. I imagine for people that have faced addiction themselves, or seen it in their friends or family, or worked in health support, or witnessed drug-related problems on the street....for any of those it has the potential to be very affecting indeed.

Edit: Finally, I see you have just edited your original post to completely change its original content and intent. Please don't do this in future, as all it does is confuse the discussion at hand. As for your new comment:

This is not a site for people who have/had drug problems, it's FXhome, a site for filmakers, so I said that it doesn't really bring out and emotions because I assume about all of us here aren't drug abusers.
That's possibly the most naive comment I've ever read on FXhome.com. People come from all walks of life here, all cultures, all ethnicities and social backgrounds. Drug use/abuse affects every single part of society, it's not just restricted to a particular sub-category of 'druggies'.

Moving on...


Having just re-watched 'To Be...' again, I think it's very effective at what it does. Technically, it has excellent cinematography that captures the grungey, dirty atmosphere perfectly, with good use of focus and movement. Grading backs everything up, with the urban, gritty greens and harsh contrast (a good example of harsh contrast used appropriately).

Editing is also successful, with the images, music and voiceover building to what is expected to be a crescendo, before moving unexpectedly to something quieter, as the paraphenalia is discarded and we pull back out through the eye.

The voiceover itself, as has been noted, becomes rather indistinct as the film progresses, but I actually rather liked that. It evoked a mood rather than the words themselves having direct meaning - I presume this was deliberate. It's similar to a song where you don't have to necessarily listen to the actual lyrics to understand its sentiment.

While some of the imagery and stylings can be considered slightly cliched, that's only because certain styles and elements are common. Given that this film is based in a real-world example, to strain to make it unique and original would be rather missing the original point.

Of course, it doesn't help when some audience members are already conditioned to dislike the emo/grunge ethos, due to its inappropriate overuse elsewhere, but I still think it applies successfully in this particular context.

I also echo Jazzmanian's comments, in that I'd love to hear what Ariel thought of the film, and how she's doing these days.

Good to see a genuine social issue being tackled at FXhome.com in a mature and personal manner. While others may not appreciate such emotional and pesonal material, I think it's fantastic to see a different kind of filmmaking, both stylistically and thematically.

Do you have anything else in the pipeline we can look forward to?
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 10:26am

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JoelM

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Aculag wrote:

If you rate movie on an overall scale, that means you must give equal weight to visual, technicals, story, etc. By your logic, you are only voting on the "feeling" of the movie, and leaving technicals aside. This quite clearly faults your voting-technique, and I suggest watching this again for those other factors specifically.
Let's take the movie "Gigli" for example.

For me, "To be..." and "Gigli" are both bad movies because I personally don't relate to them in any way, shape, or form.

Now if "Gigli" had been superbly edited, great sound, well shot, should I take those factors into consideration and raise my rating from a 1/5 to a 3/5? No because overall it still would suck.


Reading your post Tarn, 1 sec
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 10:30am

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Simon K Jones

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JoelM wrote:

Aculag wrote:

If you rate movie on an overall scale, that means you must give equal weight to visual, technicals, story, etc. By your logic, you are only voting on the "feeling" of the movie, and leaving technicals aside. This quite clearly faults your voting-technique, and I suggest watching this again for those other factors specifically.
Let's take the movie "Gigli" for example.

For me, "To be..." and "Gigli" are both bad movies because I personally don't relate to them in any way, shape, or form.

Now if "Gigli" had been superbly edited, great sound, well shot, should I take those factors into consideration and raise my rating from a 1/5 to a 3/5?
Yes.

There's plenty of movies I don't like myself, or find entertaining, but I can still see that there's plenty of merit in them.

The Godfather, for example, I found a bit overlong. I have almost zero interest in Mafia gangster stuff. However, I could still see it was a superb film.

Same with Raging Bull - I didn't find it particularly interesting, but as filmmaking it's astounding.

That's when reviews become useful, especially at a level such as FXhome.com. There have been countless movies submitted here that haven't directly entertained me, but I can still see merit and talent involved, even when it doesn't affect me personally on an emotional level.

An important lesson is that not every movie is made for you. Therefore not every movie will entertain you. But that does not make the movie automatically bad, or deserving of a super low rating.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 10:33am

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Xcession

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I think the problem here is with the quantifying of what makes a film "good" or "bad".

Joel is saying a movie is bad because he doesn't relate to them in any way. This seems a very unusual qualifier, especially in a community which aims all types of films at all types of people. A documentary about...i dunno....lettuce farming in Latvia, isn't bad just because i don't relate to it. Its boring to me, definitely, but its not "bad".

If its inciteful, visually appealing and well presented theres simply no reason why it deserves "bad" status, its just "not my cup of tea".

Perhaps you need to revise your use of adjectives.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 11:07am

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JoelM

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Tarn wrote:

What a very strange thing to say. Although your disparaging use of the word 'druggies' is a fairly clear indication of your stance on the issue.
I used the word druggies because that's what they are. Before taking that first snort don't you think they should of known what kind of path they are setting before them and how it's going to make things infinate times worse?

Tarn wrote:

By your reasoning, however, films such as Trainspotting, Requiem for a Dream and others are pointless stuff that nobody would want to see except so-called 'druggies'.
I watch a movie, and if I don't like that movie I'll most likely give it a low rating. Now if 200 more people watch it and 170 agree that it's bad and give it a low rating and the other 30 give it a good rating, the movie from everyone's rating togeather won't be too good and will let other people know that the movie gets a overall 'D' rating from everyone's rating so they'll assume that if 85% didn't like it then they probably won't either.

Tarn wrote:

It's not a movie nor is it really even a film, but rather one person's view/response to how they've felt.
Surely that's the very definition of most art? If movies, literature, paintings, sculpture etc aren't a person/persons' response to their feelings, then what are they?
Yes, but usually it's in the form of a story.

Tarn wrote:

This video is not much more than a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and maybe other addicts trying to stay clean - something that I'm not and hope all of you aren't either.
That's a good summation, except I'm not sure why that qualifies for the 'not much more' wording. Surely a movie about addiction and someone trying to stay clean is very relevant, important and worthy? It affects all areas of society, so is a topic that should definitely be explored.
Yes, but there is really no story to this particular video.

Tarn wrote:

What it all comes down to is that this video doesn't make you feel good, doesn't make you laugh, doesn't make you think, doesn't make you say, "That was cool", doesn't bring out any emotions, or really anything at all.
That implies that movies can only be deemed successful if they invoke positive emotions in the viewer, which would seem to disregard an enormous number of classic movies.
No, it doesn't have to invoke positive emotions in the viewer, but it would be nice to invoke some emotions (positive or negative). (I can see where this response will go so see the bottem part of my edited post on the previous page.)

Tarn wrote:

Edit: Finally, I see you have just edited your original post to completely change its original content and intent. Please don't do this in future, as all it does is confuse the discussion at hand. As for your new comment:
I didn't change it, I deleted it altogeather and explained a couple things, didn't change what I was trying to get across at all.

Tarn wrote:

This is not a site for people who have/had drug problems, it's FXhome, a site for filmakers, so I said that it doesn't really bring out and emotions because I assume about all of us here aren't drug abusers.
That's possibly the most naive comment I've ever read on FXhome.com. People come from all walks of life here, all cultures, all ethnicities and social backgrounds. Drug use/abuse affects every single part of society, it's not just restricted to a particular sub-category of 'druggies'.
Yes, that I thought about after I posted it.

Xcession wrote:

I think the problem here is with the quantifying of what makes a film "good" or "bad".

Joel is saying a movie is bad because he doesn't relate to them in any way. This seems a very unusual qualifier, especially in a community which aims all types of films at all types of people. A documentary about...i dunno....lettuce farming in Latvia, isn't bad just because i don't relate to it. Its boring to me, definitely, but its not "bad".

If its inciteful, visually appealing and well presented theres simply no reason why it deserves "bad" status, its just "not my cup of tea".

Perhaps you need to revise your use of adjectives.
Isn't that the point of a rating? to rate the movie on what you thought of it. If there's a lot of low ratings and the movie gets a D it'll let people know that if 85% of everyone who saw this didn't like it then they most likely won't like it either? Then if they still want to see it that's up to them because they may be one of the 15% who does like it.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 11:15am

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Xcession

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You're entirely right about the point of rating, but i'm not questioning your rating; thats entirely your business.

I'm questioning your inflexible and frankly inaccurate use of adjectives, which may have a discouraging effect on our users. "Bad" isn't a term we encourage the use of, not simply because its subjective, but because it turns people off submitting movies. The movie wasn't "bad", by any stretch of the imagination. You simply "didn't like it". Its your phrasing which needs some toning-down.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 11:22am

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JoelM

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Rating: +1

Xcession wrote:

"Bad" isn't a term we encourage the use of, not simply because its subjective, but because it turns people off submitting movies.
Sorry, I'll consider that in future posts.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 5:27pm

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Jazzmanian

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Xcession wrote:

A documentary about...i dunno....lettuce farming in Latvia, isn't bad just because i don't relate to it. Its boring to me
Thanks for blowing the entire theme of my next documentary. And to think of the money I spent on those airline fares to Latvia.

*sigh*
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 5:35pm

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Atom

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Nicely settled, Joel.

Brian, I thought I'd go ahead and so say again, congrats on this: It really does look nice. Visually appealing and emotion-evoking.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 6:07pm

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nfsbuff

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Now if 200 more people watch it and 170 agree that it's bad and give it a low rating and the other 30 give it a good rating, the movie from everyone's rating togeather won't be too good and will let other people know that the movie gets a overall 'D' rating from everyone's rating so they'll assume that if 85% didn't like it then they probably won't either.
The only problem with that is the average film on here doesn't get 200 votes. So if two people rate the film a 1, yet 2000 people download it, that doesn't fairly represent everyones opinion, and may keep people from downloading it in the future.

I'm not saying this to change your vote, just making an observation.

The film was, in my opinion, well done.
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 9:25pm

Post 25 of 35

SNI BRI

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Joel. Allow me to say thank you for watching my film. Now allow me to try to break down some of the things that you have said.

JOEL*quote*
This is not a site for people who have/had drug problems, its FXhome, a site for filmmakers

You are absolutely right Joel. This is a site for film makers. Film is one of many art forms in the world. And art is a subjective expression of emotion. So I made a short film about a girl i knew, who was overcoming drug abuse.

Surely you are not suggesting that this is a solely a site for only special effects movies? Surely you are not of the idea that the only kind of film is ones that pervoke happy emotion. You may state that this film has evoked no emotion at all, but judging by almost every other post in this message board, I think it's safe to say that it has inspired emotions from MOST of its viewers, many of who are not drug users themselves.

And please feel free to stop calling or referring to ARIEL as a "druggie". I was going to get her to post something on here sometime soon based on her experience making the film and her back story, but because of your unbelievable statements towards her as a human being, are so disgusting and one sided, that I can't bring myself to introduce her to a site that has viewers such as yourself.

JOEL *quote*
I don't rate movies because they are visual pretty, or sound good, but rather what I though of the movie overall

Looking over your past votes it is clearly obvious that this is a null and void statement. Unless the amazing story behind the "Matrix shot" test or "Star Wars Impressionen" truly drove and evoked the almighty emotion of happiness, glee, and sadness. I am not stating that these are not well made films. They are both very impressive to watch, and amazing additions to he FXHOME site. What I am stating is, I made a film that doesn’t fit into your Special Effects Classification, and you didn’t like it because it wasn’t your genre, Joel.

I expected that certain people wouldn't like this film, and that is fine. It is everyone’s right to like or dislike material, especially, when it is presented in such a harsh open manner. I knew people would become offended or stand offish, to a drug related film. But if you didn’t like this film, this film wasn’t made for you. It was made for the couple hundred people who I have seen watch it and cry because they relate to this deeply. Have you ever seen a parent cry and hug their child after watching a film that you have helped to create? Have you ever watched a teenage boy try to hold back his own tears cause he has someone he loves in the same position? It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest what you think of my film, because I had the privilege to help create something that gave someone else a chance to say goodbye, and that is the most rewarding thing in the world, not your snide remarks nor your 1/5 vote. I had the privledge of helping someone create a project that speaks of a goodbye to an addiction, and a warning to those have thought of testing out substance abuse.


JOELM *quote*
This video is not much more than a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and maybe other addicts trying to stay clean - something that I'm not and hope all of you aren't either.

Just to clarify I am in no way a drug addict. My only addiction in the world is, film making. But did you think about what you said when you typed that? The fact that this film has actually helped others to make the choice to quit, is amazing! What more could you ask for from a film? Art usually is a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and others to view. And Addiction is a perfectly relevant subject to base a film off of. I guarantee if you look over the history of art you’re going to find a lot more things based on addiction, then you will light sabers.

I am not saying you must love my film or you are not a good person. I am fully aware that this is not some people’s cup of tea. What I am saying is that if you don’t like this film because of a disagreement with the subject at hand, turn it off. I would have been more then interested in what your critiques on the film were, but instead all I got was your obvious disliking for the subject material. What I believe a vote should be based on is, what a person can improve on based upon mistakes and achievements made through out the film. And your dislike for my subject material doesn’t give me any grounds on what I could improve on, thus making your vote and critique kind pointless.

Joel, I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but you felt it was ok to publicly make a statement about how my film was crap, so in turn you give me right to defend myself, and Ariel.

On another note! Lol! Thank you to all of those who have commented and voted thus far. I am greatly appreciative of the critiques both bad and good. In the end they will benefit me to become better in the art of film making. It is great to have a place where films can be discussed. Thank you for watching.

Brian
Posted: Tue, 8th Aug 2006, 11:20pm

Post 26 of 35

JoelM

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SNI BRI wrote:

JOEL*
This is not a site for people who have/had drug problems, its FXhome, a site for filmmakers

Surely you are not suggesting that this is a solely a site for only special effects movies? Surely you are not of the idea that the only kind of film is ones that pervoke happy emotion. You may state that this film has evoked no emotion at all, but judging by almost every other post in this message board, I think it's safe to say that it has inspired emotions from MOST of its viewers, many of who are not drug users themselves.
That comment I should have kept to myself.

SNI BRI wrote:

but because of your unbelievable statements towards her as a human being, are so disgusting and one sided
Could you please give me an example of these unbelievable and disgusting comments torward Ariel?

SNI BRI wrote:

JOELM
I don't rate movies because they are visual pretty, or sound good, but rather what I though of the movie overall

Looking over your past votes it is clearly obvious that this is a null and void statement. Unless the amazing story behind the "Matrix shot" test or "Star Wars Impressionen" truly drove and evoked the almighty emotion of happiness, glee, and sadness.
They didn't make me feel happy or sad, "Matrix Shot" was the first time I saw someone recreate the effect and it looked really cool (somethign I said in a previous post that "To be..." was not), but because it's fairly easy to achive I gave it a 3/5 and as for "Star Wars Impressionen" I just found to be really funny even though the was so little detail, 5 may have been a little high though.

SNI BRI wrote:

I made a film that doesn’t fit into your Special Effects Classification, and you didn’t like it because it wasn’t your genre, Joel.
Special Effects Classification? A movie doesn't have to have fx for me to like it by any means... I like all genres but not all movies. What would the genre be for this film?

SNI BRI wrote:

It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest what you think of my film, because I had the privilege to help create something that gave someone else a chance to say goodbye, and that is the most rewarding thing in the world, not your snide remarks nor your 1/5 vote.
Good for you (I don't mean that in a sarcastic way)

SNI BRI wrote:

JOELM This video is not much more than a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and maybe other addicts trying to stay clean - something that I'm not and hope all of you aren't either.

Just to clarify I am in no way a drug addict. My only addiction in the world is, film making. But did you think about what you said when you typed that? The fact that this film has actually helped others to make the choice to quit, is amazing!
Yea, that's why I said, "A personal project made for the maker to reflect on and maybe other addicts trying to stay clean". That means that it was made for the maker and other addicts.

SNI BRI wrote:

What more could you ask for from a film? Art usually is a personal project made for the maker to reflect on and others to view. And Addiction is a perfectly relevant subject to base a film off of.
I guess I'm just not one of those people who loves to go watch movies about drug addiction.

SNI BRI wrote:

Joel, I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but you felt it was ok to publicly make a statement about how my film was crap, so in turn you give me right to defend myself, and Ariel.
I didn't say it was crap, I said it was pointless to myself who's not an addict nor has any drug issues and knows addicts feel like it's next to impossible to quit and stay clean, but they shouldn't of started in the first place because common sense would tell you things will only get worse - a lot worse. btw, you don't sound like a jerk.

nfsbuff wrote:

Now if 200 more people watch it and 170 agree that it's bad and give it a low rating and the other 30 give it a good rating, the movie from everyone's rating togeather won't be too good and will let other people know that the movie gets a overall 'D' rating from everyone's rating so they'll assume that if 85% didn't like it then they probably won't either.
The only problem with that is the average film on here doesn't get 200 votes. So if two people rate the film a 1, yet 2000 people download it, that doesn't fairly represent everyones opinion, and may keep people from downloading it in the future.

I'm not saying this to change your vote, just making an observation.

The film was, in my opinion, well done.
I was just using that as an example that if the magority of people who saw a movie who don't like it and it gets a 'D' rating then chances are the guy who sees it's 'D' rating won't like it either. I didn't mean nessesarly on FXhome.
Posted: Wed, 9th Aug 2006, 8:11am

Post 27 of 35

Simon K Jones

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Rating: +1

SNI BRI wrote:

And please feel free to stop calling or referring to ARIEL as a "druggie". I was going to get her to post something on here sometime soon based on her experience making the film and her back story, but because of your unbelievable statements towards her as a human being, are so disgusting and one sided, that I can't bring myself to introduce her to a site that has viewers such as yourself.
It'd be a great shame to miss out on Ariel's insight. I know me and Jazzmanian would love to hear her reactions on the film and how she's doing now, and I imagine lots of other people would too.

I hope that the misinformed comments of one member won't tar the rest of us, though I'll understand completely if you think otherwise. However, we always make a firm point that FXhome.com is open to everyone, and I wouldn't want you to think that JoelM's views on the subject reflect my own, the FXhome team's or the community's as whole.
Posted: Fri, 11th Aug 2006, 9:14pm

Post 28 of 35

SNI BRI

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Hey were off to the dallas video festival with "To Be" tonight. Wish us luck! We're also filming ariels view on the film tonight.

Brian.
Posted: Fri, 11th Aug 2006, 10:22pm

Post 29 of 35

Jazzmanian

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SNI BRI wrote:

Hey were off to the dallas video festival with "To Be" tonight. Wish us luck! We're also filming ariels view on the film tonight.
Brian.
I'm probably way out of line asking this, but I hope you will share the Ariel film with us here. Or, failing that, if you could post if somewhere privately and send some of us links to it, that would really be great.

Either way, do it or not, best of luck and give my best to her.
Posted: Thu, 17th Aug 2006, 9:39pm

Post 30 of 35

Garfield Street

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I absolutly loved the film. The cinemaography was beautiful, along with the background music and words from Shakespeare with a new curb on it.

The voices in the background were hard to hear, as if muffled...
I think that added, like there were to many people trying to make her or tell her things and her mind was so confused and lost. Or that's how I understood it! We all see things differently.

Very nice work though and I wish the best of luck for the Film Festival.

I'm sure you'll do great!
Posted: Sun, 20th Aug 2006, 9:11am

Post 31 of 35

jcmedia

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Wow, ok Brian, first about the actual filmmaking aspect. You should receive much praise. Although there were a couple of small, and I stress small issues, that was beautiful. You captured me from the very beginning, and I was drawn in. That was ONE OF THE BEST works I have seen on here, and I truthfully mean it. I know have this listed as my top movie on fxhome.com.

Now, about the issue at hand. Again you should receive much praise. I used to be a deputy, and from a law enforcement standpoint, that was again beautiful. What I believe you are striving to show people is that, no matter how far down you get, you can make a choice to stand up, and turn the page on your life, and start over. I applaud what you are showing people, and I applaud Ariel, she sounds like an amazing person.

It was mentioned before, and I quote

"Before taking that first snort don't you think they should of known what kind of path they are setting before them and how it's going to make things infinite times worse?"

What this person is speaking of, who wrote the above quote, obviously has never truly stared hard times down the barrel. I am not saying that everyone who encounters hard times turn to substance abuse, I am merely saying that until you have walked in that person's shoes, you have no room to talk. People turn to substance abuse for different reasons. I have dealt with many people, great people, I am talking about upstanding citizens like doctors, teachers, and other great, what society considers "icons" turn to substance abuse, and most are generally for reasons that were out of their control. I am not saying that the choice to turn to substance abuse was out of their control, but the circumstances leading to that point were out of their control. People deal with hard times in many different ways.

Sorry for rambling on, I just get frustrated with people that are unable to look past their own happy, perfect, wonderful existence.

Again, Brian I applaud you and salute you for your excellent short, and I truthfully wish you and Ariel the absolute best.

Your Friend,
John
Posted: Mon, 21st Aug 2006, 10:50pm

Post 32 of 35

maltz

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Perfect. 5 stars. No crits.
Ed Bittner
S*R* Digital
(working)
Posted: Tue, 22nd Aug 2006, 2:17am

Post 33 of 35

MC Turtl3n3ck

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Hey Brian, great job on this film, and also, fantastic job on prison break tonight, it was short, but i flipped when i saw you --ben
Posted: Wed, 30th Aug 2006, 5:22am

Post 34 of 35

Defeto

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Dude... you were on prison break?
Posted: Tue, 5th Sep 2006, 7:13am

Post 35 of 35

Madmanmatty

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Alright, aside from all that controversy before, which is really stupid....

I thought it was alright; not uber-amazing, but not horrible by any means. Here's my review:

The cinematography was obviously key, the problems I found were in the audio, and the general direction. Reading about the history and basis for the film, it's obviously a personal work, which makes it a bit harder to direct objectively, as I've found. I'm going to delve, and it might hurt, but it'll heal stronger for next time. smile

You mention at one point that the lead actress was just being herself; I've been finding that acting on camera is very much different than acting on stage, or "being yourself". It's about delivery of lines, facial expression, tones, and movement within the frame. Although I found no problems in any of the visual performances, I didn't like the reading of the monologue. Aside from words being mispronounced, or slurred (or absent!!) and although it did a great job of showing despair, I didn't feel a connection between the words and thoughts behind the words. It felt like someone reading who had no interest in anything they were saying- and that might very well be the reality of it, or the mood you were aiming for, but it comes across as unpolished.

Now, for me, I've just finished a script for a derivitive of Hamlet, and studied the To Be or Not To Be monologue the most, to capture the mood of Hamlet. It makes me very sensitive when looking at other "Indie Shakespeare" because the one thing I don't want to do is fall into that cliche. This film didn't break out of it, for me. On the other hand, it didn't embrace it either, so it falls into a middle ground. It tries to give fresh perspective to one of the most well known pieces, but....

My other problem was with the drug analogy. Although the shots were well framed, I believe Xcession (or however he likes to spell that) hit a point, when he said that the metaphors were not attached the the text. The subject of this monologue is Hamlet contemplating existence, and the role he (and everyone) plays in it. The way it is presented in this video, is simply someone speaking the lines, and a DIFFERENT (or similar) story about a drug addict who makes a choice. In that case, perhaps the "May my thoughts be bloody or nothing worth" sh'peal would have been more appropriate, because that is where the desicion is made. To be or not to be is simply the analysis of the ultimate desicion- with all the crap we go through, and the fact that we don't know what happens after death, is life really worth struggling for?. Now, certainly that's the predictable approach, and I like that you guys tried something new with To Be, but (as I've struggled to come to grips with myself) when you do Shakespeare, the standards are already against you. For my project, I decided to get away from the dialogue and story of Hamlet more and more, because after watching Branagh's Hamlet, I realized that unless you can bring something new and exciting to the story, it's just not worth it. People will compare it to every other monologue, and if they don't know the girl's real life drama, it will come across as cliche. I mean, Shakespeare and drugs? I don't think I haven't met a filmmaker who hasn't involved one of those two in at least one film!

What I would have LIKED to see would have been along the lines of:
a) A re-worded version of the monologue that captured the essence of the speech, but applied it specifically to the girl's drug problem... eg:
"...Is there really nothing left to fight for? Is death just that? If so, then it's pointless for me to quit because I'll die sooner or later, and I'd rather die happy... etc, etc."
or
b) More visuals that directly related the text to the picture. An example would be...
"Take arms against a sea of troubles" - a shot of the girl facing down a situation in her life where she was being hurt. eg. home situation, school situation.
"To sleep perchance to dream" - her taking a line of coke as a metaphor for dreaming.
"Might his quietus make with a bare bodkin" - A direct visual of suicide.
(I think my examples also serve to show that there was also not a lot of actions in the film. The first half is just a hand and some props, and that uses up the majority of the monologue before it gets really interesting.)

I think what I felt was that this film was on the fence- it had no flexibility of the text to suit the story, but the story itself was an unconventional one to attach to the text. It was very artistic, but came just short of being an "art/experimental" flick, versus a short dramatic piece (which is what I think you were going for).
If you made a choice with either the text, or the story, and either went more towards Shakespeare, or the girl's story, I think it would have been a lot better.

Perhaps I'm coming down on this a bit more than I should because of my fondness for the play, but by no means think I'm attacking the film. I think it's a fantastic piece, but I'd like to see more. This is what critiscm is all about though- feedback from the audience.
To me, as a filmmaker, it seemed like some more planning could have gone into selecting shots to go with the text. Did you pretty much just go out and get shots, or how much pre-production went into it? If the shots were on the fly, that's fine, but I always like to think of a few shots beforehand that hit the key points. Although the shots were well placed, the content was basically 90% filler (albeit pretty).

I hope it comes across through this text what my basic problems were with it. Rest assured I did enjoy it at the very least, and would love to see more stuff from you. The rest, as they say, is silence.

3/5

-Denis Logan

Ps- you were on prison break, dude? Cool.