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Who We Are and Who We Are Meant To Be

Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 12:01pm

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chase

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Teenagers in America (and all around the world) are listening to the voices of the world, such as their friends and their own insecurities, making it hard to be who they want to be, but impossible to be who they're meant to be. Instead of pleasing friends, we are on earth to serve a great God, in whose image we were created.

This is very contemplative, yet i believe everything in this video to be very true. If you have any questions as to what is said in this video please comment, I'd hate for anyone to leave with the wrong message.


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Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 12:56pm

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Xcession

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Now this is truely superb. I think this is the best shot film I've seen on FXHome although it is a style of camera work i particularly enjoy.

I cannot fault anything i saw or heard, with the exception of an insignificant amount of overacting by a couple of your cast members.

My problem, is the message. Let me prefix this by explaining that I'm a spiritual person, with my own set of morals, rules, beliefs and crede, yet I'm strongly against all organised religion and I don't believe in god. I've chosen to not believe in god, having studied and experienced religion exhaustively with the (god-given?) intellect i was born with.

The point where you added god, my heart sunk. The dilemmas you so expertly documented in this film, were very human issues that every teenager will have experienced. Part of life, is getting through these problems, trial and error, concluding your best course of action and more often than not, learning things the hard way.

The factoring of god into this equation felt very much superfluous. You effectively palmed-off the most inviolable of human experiences -'experience' itself- to a higher power, which entirely negates the concept of 'choice' and as a result discredits the larger message of this film; the need to define your own path and not let others define it for you.

Its disappointing that you used your clearly abundant talents to scuttle your own film, resulting in something flawed and somewhat meaningless.

Last edited Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 2:12pm; edited 5 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 1:10pm

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Sollthar

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Hehe, well well well...

Filmmaking wise, this is good. The cinematography is on a very solid level and the grading is somemthing I bet ben will like. Lots of contrast. Allthough I did get the feeling you didn't use the grading for storytelling purpuses (Otherwise why would you chose an overexposed, high contrast look in a story that deals with identity?)
Sounddesign was good, I could understand every word - which is always a good thing.


Where this fails for me, is with the content. I didn't like the simplicity of it. Human existance is way more complicated then this tried to make it, religious or non religious.

If the answer to all those really interesting questions you raised in a 4 minute monologue is "god", then I feel like I could have done better with those 4 minutes of mine honestly.

Surely, this will get praise from christians all around fxhome for the "great message" since it's exactly retelling what so many christians have ben telling for hundreds of years. For me, it adds nothing new to the mix and is therefore nothing more then the same old story... again... and again and therefore doesn't have any worthwhile effect. People who agreed before will still agree, people who disagreed before will still disagree. So this is one of those "message based" films that adds nothing new or interesting to a subject that has been around for ages...
So I apologize for having to say it: I find this to be very empty and lacking in thought.


The solid filmmaking still earns this a good 3 stars.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 5:12pm

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ben3308

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Sollthar wrote:

Hehe, well well well...

Filmmaking wise, this is good. The cinematography is on a very solid level and the grading is somemthing I bet ben will like. Lots of contrast.
Go ahead and guess who he called over the night it was due to help him grade this movie. Just guess. wink

Chase, you know I love this movie, particularly the cinematography when the girl walks outside. You also know how I feel about the lightening of your voice near the narration at the end. I don't really like it.

Even though, unlike the others here, I completely agree with the message, I've always thought it was sort of added in at the last minute. I know everything builds up to it, but besides the shot of the cross in the hallway, there's no other foreshadow that hints that God is the answer.

Watch Warning Sign. That has multiple foreshadows of the end, and even though it's meant to be more obvious and I clearly don't like it as much as this movie, it 'works' better for the ending. The ending here, and I think you can agree with me on this, is the weakest part of the movie; mainly because it was rushed, and I know that.

If you were to go back and be able to change things, I would perhaps have the guy who is 'a jerk' pass by a Bible club poster when he exits the hallway. I know you were completely utterly pressed for time on this one (couldn't come to my Haunted House, what a friend you are wink ) so I know making posters or little nicities like that were outside what you were capable of, but in retrospect, it'd have been a nice foreshadow.

Altogether, a 4/5, but I'm going to bump that up to 5 because I know how little time you had to turn this thing in and how stressed you were from working on it.

And while we're on that note, I want my 100 dollars from that wedding. I gotta buy presents, man.

My final note: change the poster, for God's sakes. If ever there were a movie to avoid just by looking at the poster, it's this one. I'll fix something up for you.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 5:31pm

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Jazzmanian

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I normally start with a positive note, but right up front I have to say that I've had some serious issues downloading anything from the adamsbrothers server lately. Like every film. And it's not my connection, etc. because in the more than half an hour it took to download this 40MB film, I downloaded, watched and reviewed three others that totaled more file size than that and still manged to go for coffee.

Ok. Now I feel better. twisted

As to the film, I'll diverge from Sollthar and Xcession on the point of the theme of the movie. I don't go in for anyone preaching to me about my own spiritual or religious positions either... in fact, I find it annoying. (I'd rather wrestle with my demons, thank you, if you'll pardon the phrase.) But that's not something I think I should take into account when reviewing a film here or grading it accordingly. Professional movie reviewers doubtless have to watch and review a *lot* of films that are probably of a genre or subject that doesn't interest them at all, or possibly even offends them, but they still need to review them impartially for the benefit of those who would seek out that sort of film.

If I watch a comedy, even if it's not to my taste, did it make me laugh? If it's a horror film, did it scare me? And if it's either a documentary or opinion/social piece like this, did it convey the information and leave me better informed about the subject and/or the creator's opinion on it? In this case, I'd have to say yes.

Technically the film had a lot going for it. Personally, I hate those rambling voiceovers in films that go on forever rather than just trying to tell the story with the film itself, but for this style of movie I can see why it would have to be crafted that way, so it works.

Lots and lots of very interesting camerawork, shot selection and the editing was very tight. Audio work was pretty much flawless with good mixing and a solid choice of background music to deliver the tone and feel of the piece.

The grading bothered me, as usual. Some of the scenes were clearly meant to be dark and worrisome, and some of the extremely harsh grading could certainly be justified. But then I'd expect it to brighten and soften up for some of the more hopeful, lighter scenes. I didn't see that, so the mood never really changed for me based on the grading.

So, in all, while I really didn't like this movie very much for reasons of the film style (voiceover narration) and the message (preachy religious scolding) in terms of a raw review I still have to say that it's exceptionally well crafted from a filmmaking perspective and I gave it a four. The only thing that held it back from a perfect score was the grading and some of the narration, but stil an extremely solid piece.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 5:56pm

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Xcession

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Perhaps i'm misreading Jazz's post, but it would appear to be implying my review wasn't impartial.

My point was quite simple (even if I didn't make it clearly at the time) - "God is a redundant character in this movie". Impartiality is irrelevant to that synopsis because its simply a deduction based on an analysis of the script and the way it was conveyed.

If this film had introduced some random actor right at the end who said something which didn't aid the film, i'd have said they were a redundant part. If the film suddenly change setting, or cut to an incongruous location, I'd have said that was also redundant.

I enjoyed the first three quarters of the message a lot. I even pointed out how the dilemma was "expertly documented". The dilemma is "Identity". My point, is that the addition of the god character does not re-enforce anything previously explained in the film. If anything, the message of optimism is reduced since the "make your own choices" message is logically contradicted by the implication that, in fact, you aren't meant to make your own choices: the god character will.

I suppose now i think about it, the problem is the metaphor of your real-life friends influencing you, and comparing that to god guiding you. The implications that your friends cannot necessarily be trusted, only cast doubt on the implication that the god character can.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 6:12pm

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Jazzmanian

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Xcession wrote:

Perhaps i'm misreading Jazz's post, but it would appear to be implying my review wasn't impartial.
I suppose you're not misreading it, though this followup post certainly adds in a lot more detail to your critical review of it than I got from the first one. Perhaps I can just point out a couple of details from your original review that put me in that mindset.

Xcession wrote:

I think this is the best shot film I've seen on FXHome

Xcession wrote:

I cannot fault anything i saw or heard, with the exception of an insignificant amount of overacting by a couple of your cast members.
And then that was followed up by:

Xcession wrote:

My problem, is the message.
This is followed by a bit of a very reasonable (at least I thought) explanation of your own views on religion, spirituality, and the existance of any theoretical gods, which I believe is rather close to my own, and then you finish up with...

Xcession wrote:

Its disappointing that you used your clearly abundant talents to scuttle your own film, resulting in something flawed and somewhat meaningless.
So I suppose that led me to believe that your final critique of the film was a piece of work that had been scuttled and was flawed and meaningless, based only on the message, since you had orginally called it one of, if not the, best filmed projects of all of the hundres of movies in the cinema which you could find no fault with.

Hopefully you can see where I'd be confused. wink

For the record, though you seem to take it that way, it wasn't an attack on you, Xcession, nor on your general method of reviewing films. It just sounded as if you were trashing the film based entirely on the message which you didnt' agree with. You didn't bring up the stuff about the out of plac character, etc. until the follow-up post, and while not attacking you, I was simply stating that I thought this film (and all films) deserved to be critiqued on a more impesonal level, and your review hadn't entirely sounded that way to me.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 6:13pm

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ben3308

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Xcession wrote:

The implications that your friends cannot necessarily be trusted, only cast doubt on the implication that the god character can.
I think the point is to say that 'when nobody is to trust, who do you turn to'? At the end, it even says 'if only there were a perfect model'. The irony of it is, as any versed Christian will know, is that Jesus is the perfect model. Unfaltering in faith and perfection. So if we follow him, we needn't doubt anything he guides us to do; whereas with friends we do have our doubts, because they are, unlike Jesus, imperfect.

Xcession wrote:

If anything, the message of optimism is reduced since the "make your own choices" message is logically contradicted by the implication that, in fact, you aren't meant to make your own choices: the god character will.
I think you've completely missed the meaning here. As has been aforementioned, the point is that God doesn't make the choices for you, he merely shows you which choices are the right ones. The movie is cumulative of people at crossroads of making the wrong decisions. I think the dilemma is that when you're so far-gone into bad choices, how do you know what's the right choice? And the obvious answer there is God. God will always represent what's right.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 6:55pm

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Xcession

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Ben3308: your explanation makes a great deal of sense. I suspect part of the problem is that this movie is less succinct. Religion isn't a motif you can do by halves really. Either the god character could have been removed altogether - leaving what would still be a very spiritual message - or (as you mentioned before) god could have been introduced earlier.

Regarding decision making, i'd contest that there are no bad decisions - they're only bad if you fail to learn from their outcomes. Something of a trial-and-error system of decision making, if you will. But then thats part of my personal reasons for my being athiest and its irrelevant. I only mention it by way of interest for this discussion, which is refreshingly lively.

Regarding Jazz's reply, No probs. For the record, i said it was the best shot film. This is why i said i was unable to fault anything I saw. The 'heard' bit was in reference to the sound and mixing, not so much the script. If i'd been judging it by script/message alone i think i'd have risked been even less impartial razz
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 8:34pm

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chase

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Rating: +1

Xcession wrote:

Ben3308: your explanation makes a great deal of sense. I suspect part of the problem is that this movie is less succinct. Religion isn't a motif you can do by halves really. Either the god character could have been removed altogether - leaving what would still be a very spiritual message - or (as you mentioned before) god could have been introduced earlier. razz
Ok, here we go. To respond to Xcession, I have to say that introducing God in the end message was completely the point, and I did it for a reason. The kid at the end wasn't even expecting God, and yet he found God. Now let me ask you this, would you acknowledge that the behavior of that the girl using druggs and the kid being a jerk to his girlfriend was wrong? As a follower of Christ I believe that both of these kids recognized their behavior was wrong not becuase of some social norm but becuase it wasn't right. This knowledge of right and wrong, that lives in every human being, comes from God. That's what the kid at the end realized. He realized that there are things we can't be unaware of-no matter how much we pretend-and one of those things is that we were made, and made implies intellgience, and personality, and if I want to be truly fulfilled I think seeking that in the one who created me would be the best bet.

In reality a lot of the problems these kids faced were left unresolved. We don't know if the girl at the begining doesn't end up commiting suicide later. We don't know what happens to the kids using drugs. We don't even know if the kid who was a jerk to his girlfriend doesn't revert back his old behavior-although we do see him seeking forgiveness. What we do know is the last kid makes a choice, only one of many presented in the film, to identify himself in his creator. I'm not saying you have to feel the same way, but why does it bother you so much? You have every right not to belive and I'm not trying to force you to belive, I'm just presenting one option, the choice is yours.

There are as many fine and logical arguments for the existence of God as there are for his non existence. But those arguments never swayed anyone. What sways people is love, acceptance, kindness.

I have personally found great fullfilment in my savior. Look what I did here was a piece of art, a little bit of my soul captured in video. Its not like I'm out here trying to make a little Jesus pill that I can cram down your throat. If it comes off that way then I'm open to constructive critiscim-some of which I've seen here. I guess what I'm saying is the God character is a part of this story becuase he's a part of my story. If there's some way I can include this in a subtler way then I'm open to hearing it. If all you're going to say is that god is not...then I'm not sure anything I say will get to you...perhaps only God can, I pray he does.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 9:03pm

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Jazzmanian

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Rating: +3

Chase, I'm not a mod here (though I do play one on tv cool ) but after two and a half years here I'm sure you don't need to be pointed to the forum posting guidelines and restricted discussion matter. (So why did you just do it, Jazzmanian? Ummm... dunno.) But anyway, we all know how religious discussions tend to go. Clearly some of you believe in the existence of a god, and some of us don't, whether it's Jesus or Buddah or Allah or some lepruchan up in Whales. And I think, in context, it's fine to mention that briefly, as both you, Xcession, and I have done, providing it's pertinent to discussing the theme, plot and dialogue of the film. But beyond that it probably just becomes counterproductive. The point is, if I may be so bold, that we're here to review the films that are submitted on their own merit as the loved, cared for product of filmmakers helping each other out. And frankly, while I don't personally follow your god, I think you made a fine one which is why I rated it so highly.

Congrats again on a nice job there. (Just try to break up the grading a little bit in the future if you want a five out of me. wink )

Just some thoughts from me and offering an olive branch to keep things on track. Good film.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 10:15pm

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Sollthar

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This knowledge of right and wrong, that lives in every human being, comes from God.
Which was exactly the problem I had with the content of this film. It presumes things that will work for christians, but not for non-christians.

For me as a non-christian, this is similar to
"The knowledge of right and wrong that lives in every human comes from Batman" - While it's an interesting statement in the reality of this film which I have no problem accepting (I like Batman), it ends up being completely redundant and meaningless to me in this context. My personal view of this film, it failed to make an interesting point and provoke thought in me as a viewer. And I like thoughtprovoking stuff, even christian! I did read the bible through twice - don't forget I'm also teaching religion as a school teacher in switzerland. wink

Jazzmanian - You misunderstood me when you think I don't like this film just because I'm an atheist and this film is christian. Things work a bit more complicated then that. I've agreed with christians before and disagreed with atheists. This is not about that.
I simply found the message to be completely empty. And since this film is ALL about the message, the entire content fails for me, leaving me with all the technicals.

And you can' really judge technical aspects completely independent from how they impact you. Xcession for example states this to be the best shot film on fxhome, quite obviously because it's a style he really likes. I personally - while I do think it's a solid piece of work camera wise, as I have stated - think it's not even close to that, quite obviously also due to the fact it's a style I don't enjoy that much. Reality so somewhere in between probably.

So you can't ask a reviewer to completely ignore his preknowledge and preferences in reviewing a film. It doesn't work like that.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 10:25pm

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Jazzmanian

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Sollthar wrote:

Jazzmanian - You misunderstood me when you think I don't like this film just because I'm an atheist and this film is christian. Things work a bit more complicated then that. I've agreed with christians before and disagreed with atheists. This is not about that.
I simply found the message to be completely empty. And since this film is ALL about the message, the entire content fails for me, leaving me with all the technicals.
Fair enough, and I apologize for misinterpreting both you and Xcession. His second post cleared up a lot of that for me in terms of differentiating between the two. I'm not trying to take sides in the whole gods thing here, just keep it focused on the film, which clearly both of you were.

Sorry 'bout that.
Posted: Tue, 19th Dec 2006, 11:51pm

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Xcession

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Chase: nice of you to rejoin the discussion.

Regarding your religious beliefs, its likely that theres nothing i can say to you that will change your views and the same goes for me obviously - I believe as strongly in my views as you do in yours. I respect that, so i'm simply not going to touch upon it at all.

As for ways in which to prevent this coming across as a "Jesus pill", I first want to point out that I don't consider this as religious propaganda or anything. I simply felt that your introduction of a particular topic (religion in this case) was clumsy. Its addition made the 'Pill' difficult to swallow. As i said in my previous reply, i felt this movie's message was spiritual enough already. It was clearly a deep, heart-felt piece. Adding religion towards the end only made the message awkward and in my case, alienated me - which is something you don't want to do to your audience.

If all you're going to say is that god is not...then I'm not sure anything I say will get to you...perhaps only God can, I pray he does.
I feel this line is significant somehow, but i'm not sure what you mean by "god is not", so i can't really comment. I'm also uncertain why you need to pray for me.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 4:14am

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chase

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If all you're going to say is that god is not...then I'm not sure anything I say will get to you...perhaps only God can, I pray he does.
I feel this line is significant somehow, but I'm not sure what you mean by "God is not", so i can't really comment. I'm also uncertain why you need to pray for me.


Xcession, I only pray that someday you'll experience the greatness of God. To not only feel His presence, but to see what He can do through you. Speaking from my own personal experience, God has been an amazing asset to my life. I'm able to be joyful when everything is terribly wrong, I'm able to have peace when I'm stressed out of my mind, and I'm able to love people better than I ever thought possible.

The greatest thing about God is that He loves everyone no matter who they are, no matter what they believe, and I will be so bold to say that He does exist, and if you don't believe me, ask Him for yourself. I guarantee that if you actually tried to see if He existed, you'd be AMAZED at what you might find. I really challenge you to stop, just put your personal beliefs aside, and pray to God as if He does exist; ask Him if He's real and if He's real, ask him to show Himself to you. I believe if you truly ask that, He'll reveal Himself to you. Don't believe me? Try it. What do you have to lose?

Last edited Sat, 23rd Dec 2006, 5:26am; edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 5:27am

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Serpent

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Wow, I must say, this is brilliantly shot. It was also very powerful, I think something like this surpasses any seminar, assembly, corny video, or commercial the schools and governments of America has shown us (I am referring to the longer beginning of the film that seemed to be more about identity and the average teenage subconscious or conscious thought throughout an average day, and how it impacts our lives and whatnot. You explained it better than I did in your writing.) I didn't mind the God motif at the end, it kind of just hit me unexpectedly. I wish I could have revelations like that to build my confidence, but it hasn't worked like it did for him. smile The outdoor scene at halfway point was the some of the nicest looking camera work and style I've seen anywhere, and it's inspired a few ideas in my head for some stuff. For the sake of the context of my post, I am deist/agnostic I think. Not personally into organized religion. Anyways, I thought the direction it was heading was going to apply more to me, but it ended up not doing it. I don't really have esteem problems, but the kid at the locker at the beginning and the kid at the end applied to me a little.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 5:35am

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SyroVision

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Im just gona quote the forum laws:

Religion

Absolutely no exceptions. You're all entitled to your opinions, but it seems impossible for anyone to express theirs without insulting someone else's.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 5:42am

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ben3308

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Okay, so.......


POSTER


ICON

Anything's better than what's there now, my man. For the love of all that is sacred in graphic design, change 'em. Mine are just suggestions. The red and blue theme you've got goin' on right now just doesn't work for what kind of movie it is. Trust me on this one. wink
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 5:56pm

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tacodome

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I agree with many others that have already posted in this thread. The camera-work and editing were amazingly well done and creative. I can't think of a single shot that I didn't think was interesting.

As far as content goes, I have no problem with the message in this video. In fact, I really like it.

However, from a storytelling standpoint, I thought the movie was far too abrupt in shifting between what I think are two very different styles. The movie documents "real life" and does a beautiful job of sucking me into the reality of a modern teenager's life and the problems they face. Then the guy runs into a cross standing in the middle of the hallway. This immediately disrupts the whole feeling of reality in the video. It's not that I think the cross isn't real or it isn't a real solution to any problem. For me, I believe it is, but that's not the point. The movie abruptly shifts into being a symbolic illustration and ceases to be a documentary on reality. This shift in style of storytelling seems to come from out of nowhere and to the detriment of an otherwise brilliant movie.

I understand the point you are making and I personally agree with it, but you went from complex reality with problems to an overly-simplistic illustration of the solution. I'm sorry I can only describe the problem from my point of view and not a solution because I can't think of a way you could have solved this right now. Whether or not becoming a Christian can solve all of these problems isn't the issue. Assuming it can, the problem is how do you show that in 30 seconds of video without breaking with the style you'd already established. To be honest, I probably would have done pretty much the same thing you did because I can't think of the answer of how to do it better without making a longer movie. Maybe someone else has a suggestion?

Joe
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 6:07pm

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Sollthar

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Well put Tacodome.

It might have worked better if the film had taken it's time into showing, how exactly their belief helped them - what did it do for them? How are they feeling now, and WHY are they feeling that way once they have "him"? What does god have to do with anything?

Answering at least some of these questions would have helped the film without assuming everybody immedeately goes "Oh, of course. GOD is the answer to everything".

It felt a bit like if I was watching the lord of the rings, building a world, characters and in the middle of the film it suddenly fades to "but they now live happily ever after" and the end credits roll.
Posted: Wed, 20th Dec 2006, 6:39pm

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Thrawn

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Great Movie and A Great Message Chase. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 21st Dec 2006, 2:35am

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J Mijares

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Wow, very nicely done. What stood out was the cinematography and the editing. Transitions were smooth and the framing of each shot was exceptional. I like the positive message as well though I thought some of the scripting was a little choppy in that it went quickly from character to character. Overall, I think the film's message was done in a very tactful way, and unlike some evangelistic pieces I've seen the past, the strength of this film is that it's not an "in your face" type of film. I rarely rate films a Five, but I think you earned it.
Posted: Thu, 21st Dec 2006, 4:57am

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Atom

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This to me is easily a 5. Although I had no part in it and break from Chase's (as you may know, a good friend of mine) sometimes rigidly optimistic (but never forced-on-others) outlook on religion and Christianity, this movie is so simple and compelling in the sense that the message doesn't (at least I feel) have to be so harshly explained.

And aside from the stellar technicals (nice editing wink ) and superb grading, it is still amazing in the concise storyline and subtle nuances that hint to an ultimate whiff of religion.

Oh, and just for the record, whilst I understand a non-Christians misunderstanding of this movie, I am actually really put-off by the use of the term "god character". It's something I can't get past. Even though it seems as if the minor conflict of religion has been surpassed in this thread, and is taboo in the realm of FXHome, please don't forget that the term 'God' is still very real for many, many people. And even though it is only used as subject-matter in this movie, it implies something far more real, and the notions to it as a 'character' or even equating God to 'Batman' (although I did see reasoning there, so not really Batman) is just plain troubling to me.

Just thought I'd throw that out there in the midst of it all.

Well done, Chase. I hope you get the scholarship or whatever the arts thing is this was for. 5/5
Posted: Thu, 21st Dec 2006, 6:49am

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chase

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First off, thank you for the complements on the technical aspects on this film, i really did put a lot of effort into making each shot worth something, and i'm very glad it shows. Second of all, I also appreciate all the comment on the subject matter, each has presented some good advice, and after watching the video from another perspective, i can see where one may get lost or feel a sudden abruptiveness(?) in the story line, and for that i do appologize. There is a definate message, though, that i really wanted to come through and that is that we feel empty like all those people because we aren't filling the voids with God...and i know that that may not make sence to some, but to the audience i'm trying to target, it would make more sence.

QUOTE
It might have worked better if the film had taken it's time into showing, how exactly their belief helped them - what did it do for them? How are they feeling now, and WHY are they feeling that way once they have "him"? What does god have to do with anything?

Solthar, DANG IT!! i really think you may be right...yet i don't know how i could have changed it...unfortunately i was under a deadline...so it's harder to get people to understand what you're trying to say unless you just go ahead and do it. I wonder if i could shoot some more that may help with that. If you have any suggestions, by all means...go for it.
Posted: Thu, 21st Dec 2006, 10:25am

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Simon K Jones

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I love this forum. I can't think of many places on the Internet where such an overtly religious film could be posted without creating an unpleasant and heated argument full of unintelligent commentary. Congratulations to everyone involved so far for discussing the themes intelligently and politely.

Back to the film...

Deadlines and running times are always the bane of a filmmaker's life. smile

I agree with earlier comments about the use of God in the movie. As I think has been mentioned, for believers this will simply make them nod in agreement, while for non-believers, there isn't enough to justify or explain the 'twist' ending.

As a de facto atheist (working on the theory "I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."), nothing in this movie could actually convince me of God's existence, or cause me to reconsider my views on theist faith.

However, that doesn't mean that the theme of the film and its argument couldn't still have been interesting to me, and caused me to have some considerable thought. The problem is that the God Solution is introduced without any real depth; it's rather presumed at that point that the audience will clap each other on the back and shout "of course! Why didn't I think of that?"

At that point, I want the movie to carry on and present its case more thoroughly. That way, whilst it's hugely unlikely it would sway me, I would at least have something meaty to get my brain teeth into. As it is, however, it's a bit like reading one of Agatha Christie's Poirot books, getting to the end when Poirot finally identifies the murderer, and then the book suddenly ending without him explaining how he came to that conclusion.

Going back to the technicals of the movie - excellent filming. The grading started off great, really matching the troubled nature of the characters. I agree with previous posters, however, that it could have more visibly 'lightened up' towards the end to represent the revelation of God.

My main problem was with the depiction of the cross itself. Due to the way it was filmed and appeared, I was never entirely sure if it was actually meant to be a physical object in the corridor, or just a metaphor. I presume it was meant to be a metaphor, and not really there, but it remained unclear to me.

Any chance you might have the time to expand the film, or perhaps do some kind of follow-up that could expand the themes in a deeper and more meaningful manner?

Looking forward to what you do next.

Last edited Fri, 12th Jan 2007, 3:06pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 21st Dec 2006, 11:29am

Post 26 of 37

Sollthar

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Oh, and just for the record, whilst I understand a non-Christians misunderstanding of this movie, I am actually really put-off by the use of the term "god character". It's something I can't get past. And even though it is only used as subject-matter in this movie, it implies something far more real, and the notions to it as a 'character' or even equating God to 'Batman' (although I did see reasoning there, so not really Batman) is just plain troubling to me.
I'm sorry if the metaphor is troubling you, it wasn't my intention. I was trying to stay within the construction of this film and in it, god is a character that is introduced - independently from what anyone believes about the character in the real world.
I didn't forget that the term "god" is very real for some, also you shouldn't forget, that for some, "god" is in fact no more real then Batman.
However, my comment was never aimed at reality, always within the construction of this film - and as it is a film, it's always a construction - even if it deals with a supposed reality.

Yet i don't know how i could have changed it. f you have any suggestions, by all means...go for it.
It's a difficult one. The main problem is this: Theists won't need any additional information. If you say "perfect example" and "god" most theists will instantly know what you want to say and understand.
More agnostic theists or even atheists won't. They need to be shown "WHY" having god would solve all these existential problems.
For example, why would believeing in god would solve the question if I was being a jerk or not - which I thought was the most interesting question you raised in your film (I studied ethics for 3 semesters so everything that deals with "good" and "evil" is most likely going to catch my interest.) wink

You see, most people can understand a message, even though they don't necessarily have to agree with it. I can understand there ARE reasons or moments where a belief in god can actually help people psychologically, help solving problems and actually be the answer to many questions - even though I don't believe these are the right answers. But the film didn't give any. The film automatically presumed too much. It presumed a whole chain of consequences that simply aren't clear to someone who isn't already familiar with them.

Imagine I make the exact same movie, raising the exact same questions and then end it with "... people simply need to change their habitus".
People familiar with Bourdieu's habitus will probably nod and go "Ah, right. Of course!" while people not familiar with the theory won't get it and feel the solution my film offers to be flawed, simply because they don't grasp what that means.

So should you do another project like this, try not to presume knowledge from your audience. That goes for every script really, it's a tough job not to cross the line between giving your audience all the information they might need to understand what your film is dealing with and still not seeing them as idiots with no prior knowledge or common sense.
Posted: Fri, 22nd Dec 2006, 6:53am

Post 27 of 37

chase

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Yeah the cross, it was supposed to be more of a metaphorical sense. Instead of him looking for the answer and finding it, he's looking for the answer and the answer finds him.

I'm not sure if you were getting at the technicals or if you were talking directly about the meaning of it, but I used forced perspective to put that cross in there, if it's not obvious, and I wanted that to sort of take away from the realness of the cross (I confess, really I just didn't have a huge cross i wanted to carry to school).

Sollthar, I appreciate the comment greatly! Thanks for your honesty, it's helping me get a glimpse of the audience I need to target.

Oh, and Syrovision...could you give me an explanation as to why you voted this film a 1/5 stars? I'm not an egotistical person, but I do have enough pride to know that this film doesn't deserve a 1/5. I respect your judgment, but I'd appreciate some sort of reasoning behind it.
Posted: Sun, 7th Jan 2007, 3:04am

Post 28 of 37

Thurifer

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As a Christian, I obviously enjoyed the film. And technically I thought it was very nice. Nice Camera work and timing. One of the only things I noticed was that the lighting in the bathroom didnt allow you to see the girl sitting on the toilets face as well as I think you could of. (it might just be my screen). I think the message was pulled off well, but I think you needed to put a little more in. You present God, but you don't elaborate much. I think it would have been good to elaborate slightly more. Maybe on why we need God. Or Christ's role in saving us. It was very good though, technically better then much of what's on this site. It was very "watchable". Anyways, Keep up the good work, and I'll stop rambling. 4/5
Posted: Thu, 11th Jan 2007, 11:00pm

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ragnar

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Well shot and edited...very professional. I'm an atheist so I don't agree with your message. I believe people can realize themselves and others, be good to each other, without ever realizing Christ and the Bible's words, or any other religion for that matter.
Posted: Sat, 19th May 2007, 10:00pm

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Mevrickgodskid

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Dude finally I find another christian on here I Thought I was alone!
Keep making God glorifying films.
Posted: Thu, 7th Jun 2007, 11:47pm

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Mevrickgodskid

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I beg to differ Sollthar!
Do not reveal how much you don't know by what you write.
It is true God's word does not change but it is untrue that it doesn't change people. People have always been changed by it down through the ages. Whole nations have been changed by it along with hundreds of people. God can change you to and he loves you. You may think I am an idiot but that's nothing new


I'll be praying for you Sollthar.


P.S A big shout out to all the Christians on FXhome! Message me please!
Posted: Sat, 9th Jun 2007, 11:54am

Post 32 of 37

Sollthar

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You may think I am an idiot but that's nothing new
Why? Does that happen to you often then?
I only think you didn't read my posts very well, because I've no idea what you're actually responding to. wink
Posted: Sat, 9th Jun 2007, 4:05pm

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Waser

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Basically all I can has been said many times over.

I was completely on board until God showed up.

You have great talent though, and will probably convert a whole heap of people in your day.
Posted: Mon, 11th Jun 2007, 1:51am

Post 34 of 37

SGB

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I downloaded this film a while ago, and I just found it again. Really, some very nice work.

I loved the last "sequence", with the kid wearing glasses. Very well shot, great acting. I also really liked the begining, and the outdoor shots. Very very nicely done.

When i watched the film the first time, and heard the ending words "we are made so we can be happy, and we'll never be truly happy unless we have him" I sort of went, what? I've read over the previous posts, so i wont go into detail, but there did seem to be a very strange transition to religion, specifically christianity. When I watched the film a second time, having in mind what the ending would be, the whole thing did make a lot of sense, and i gained a even greater appreiciation for the film because i truly understood where you were going. Correct me if this is wrong, but the whole idea behind the film is that it may not be clear to us who we are, we may not like who we are, we may be very confused and hurt, but so long as we have "him", we always know the right way.

If there had been some indication that the characters in the film were christians, or that doing these wrong things are not what "he" wants, your message would have been clear from the begining and the movie would have made sense the first time. As has been stated before, to a believing christian all this might have made sense straight away; the rest of us were a little confused.

Regardless, the cross did seem very abrupt, and even random. I'm not sure what you could have done about this. It also confused me, because does "he" really want christians to get up the courage to talk to a girl? If your ending example of the "right thing" was somthing a little more straightforward, like not doing drugs or not killing yourself, I would have understood better, but highschool romance seemed to be a rather weak example of what is "meant to be".

Anyhow, don't get the impression that I didn't like the film, i really did, my only gripe (which others have already expressed) is that right when I was really starting to relate to the film, and feel like, hey, he's raising some interesting points, christianity was thrown into the picture and i sort of went "oh..."

Great work, wonderful technicals, i liked your message, just a few quibbles here and there. You've probably learned a lot since you posted this movie, but I felt that a film of this caliber deserved a thought out review.
Posted: Wed, 13th Jun 2007, 7:47am

Post 35 of 37

chase

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If your ending example of the "right thing" was somthing a little more straightforward, like not doing drugs or not killing yourself, I would have understood better, but highschool romance seemed to be a rather weak example of what is "meant to be".
As far as high school romance, I didn't mean for that to be the emphasis. Instead, I wanted the character to find a confidence he hadn't had before. The cross resembles the omniscience of God and how certain things happen at just the right time and place. The kid really just slipped, but I figured by adding the symbol of the cross, it kinda gives the audience a reason for his slipping. The cross also serves as an icon for the young nerd. He is on the ground and looks up at the cross...immediately his attitude changes and he has the confidence to talk to someone (a girl). I do believe that God can give us confidence, and I think that He wants us to be able to talk to the people we admire and overcome our own insecurities. We do this by making a choice to fear, or a choice to act.

Now, here is the thing that I really hope that people can come away with this film. Doing the "right thing" in todays society means to "say no" to drugs, to not drink and drive, or to save sex for marriage. Although all these are the right thing to do, what I want to present is that there is more right things to do....more than we realize. Such as insecurities... someone who can overcome their insecurities is doing the right thing. Someone who decides to reconcile a relationship is doing the right thing. Someone who has chosen to be confident in himself instead of insecure has done the right thing. There are the outer struggles we face (e.g. drugs, alcohol, sex...) and then there are inner struggles (self respect, hatred, fear, desire) and in each situation, there's a "right decision" that can be made. What I want to come across is that we all need to look into the deeper struggles of right and wrong, rather than just the surface. The surface is the manifestation of the interior being. I understand what you mean by a highschool romance being weak, but it's not the romance that's playing the part, it's the inner thoughts of that teenager, and the way he chose to react...and though small to the audience, to him, it was a big choice. The choice to be confident, and yes, I believe we were meant to be confident beings.
Posted: Fri, 29th Jun 2007, 4:06am

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cory

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I know that this thread has been quiet for a while, but I have had your film sitting on my hard drive for a while and just got round to watching it.

I thought it was beautifully shot and edited, and well written. So much of what pops up in the cinema here is "me and my friends were bored so we made this movie i know it sux but please watch it anyway LOL" and this movie was a great example of what you can get when you put some work into it (and also, apparently, have talent).

Voiceovers in general are best avoided, but in this case, the voiceover was the thing, the whole deal and it works. The fact that the voice changes from one character to another often helps quite a bit.

A couple of things I would suggest, as far as the writing:

The guy who was being a jerk to his girlfriend, didn't really come across. It sure looked like his girlfriend was sad, but I didn't get why. It's only because of the voiceover I had any idea that he was acting like a jerk; it just wasn't clear. If I watched it with the sound off, I'd have had no idea what was going on, in contrast to the other scenes, where I think I would have got the point without the voiceover. This is why, as mentioned before, voiceovers are best avoided, because it can be very easy to let them tell the whole story. In every case but this one, the voiceover clarified the point being made by the action. With the jerky kid, it relied completely on the VO to get the point across. I think we needed to see something a little more obvious that he's being a jerk.

The ending, while I understand what you were going for, was kind of weak in the sense that the duration of the film has featured people dealing with weighty problems: drugs, suicide, treating other people poorly. Making bad choices, because they lack the guiding principles which I believe you are trying to highlight. But the guy at the end... with God's help, he... talks to a girl. Now, I can understand what you are saying, (I think) about the confidence and security a relationship with God can give, but I really think that after all the poor decisions, there could have been a weightier issue for him to tackle with God's assistance. You know what I mean? Maybe I'm too far removed from high school, where plucking up the courage to talk to a pretty girl was a MONUMENTAL task, but compared to some of the other issues highlighted by the other characters, it just seemd kind of trivial. And I think that blunts your message a bit; someone might say, "well, I don't use drugs, I'm not killing myself, I'm nice to my girlfriend and I don't have trouble talking to girls. So I guess I'm doing okay without God." Which, I'm sure, is not the response you are hoping for.

And the cross... I'm still not sure if that was meant to actually be there, just kind of situated in the middle of the hallway for some reason, or if it was just a metaphor for the presence of God in his life. Either way, it kinda came out of left field. It might have made more sense to see the guy struggling with the issue and then you see him packing up his books, etc. and you see he has a Bible in his bag, which he pauses and looks at, and remembers who he is and what he is about. That might make more sense than him tripping and landing next to a cross that someone left lying around.

OK, I've had some critical things to say, but let me say again that I enjoyed watching this film a lot. 5/5
Posted: Sat, 28th Jul 2007, 3:54pm

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Gibs

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I was very much intrigued by the title of this film, and upon watching it can concur with everyone that this was shot and composed very well. However, I also have to agree with those who have stated that the introduction of God at the end felt a little out of place.

First of all, I consider myself to be a strong Christian. I certainly agree with the message you were trying to get across, and the verses listed at the end, but the transition from the "who am I" social commentary at the beginning to the God part seemed forced in my opinion. Maybe that's because I don't think you used a very good example to introduce the power of God. I mean, the thing with the girl can happen, but the fact that "any man in Christ is a new creature" can refer to a lot more drastic changes in a person's life. For example, I think it would have been better to show the guy at the end getting ready to do something dumb (like everyone else), but he sees his Bible in his bag at the last second and decides not to do it. After all, Paul had murdered Christians before he became one, so that sort of change comes to my mind with this verse.

You had a lot of good ideas in this film and I'm glad you made it. I personally would like to someday make films that can show people who God is and encourage them to do what's right, and so this is the sort of project I would enjoy working on. The message was a little rough around the edges, but the experience I'm sure will help you refine your storytelling in the future. Good luck with future projects and I hope to see them here.