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The Terra-Cotta Soldier

Posted: Thu, 31st Jan 2008, 10:38am

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the Fiddler

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The Terra-Cotta Soldier: A Jefferson Jones & Jax Skywalker Adventure

This is my Indiana Jones & Star Wars fanfilm. Its been in the making for four and a half years. Thanks to all those in this community for all the help and support over that time, and to FXhome for great software, without which I couldn't have made this.

I'm open to both general feedback and constructive criticism, but if you're just going to tell me things that are obviously wrong, don't waste your time. I've learned a lot making it and can see the obvious stuff myself.

I need to apologize for the quality of the "Xian river" sequence, as it was made several years before the rest of the film and doesn't have the same production value, but it's still decent. Thanks again, please just have fun watching this and let me know what you think.

For more info or to download for iPod/iTunes go to the website at: http://FiddlerStudios.com


More Info
Posted: Thu, 31st Jan 2008, 2:11pm

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Junuc Kleen

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I really enjoyed this film. There were a few things that could have been done better, but then you know that and I could not have done half as well you. Again a very big well done to all of you!
This must have been lots of fun to make. The locations were good, your brothers acted very well. Normally children in fan films don't really work or make it too silly. Your brothers however tried really hard to act well. You said the river scene was not as good quality as the rest of the film. It didn't matter and I think it had some of the funniest bit. The wet lightsaber was great.
I wasn't sure about the ending, but then how would you have done a scene on Coruscant.



A note to the others who watch this film: There are parts 2 and 3 and these can be found on the website, or just download the files.
Posted: Thu, 31st Jan 2008, 5:23pm

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the Fiddler

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Thanks for your review Junuc! I appreciate it. Also, thanks for letting people know that the video that's embedded right into the cinema page is just the first of 3 sections. But you don't have to go to my site to view the other two, if you don't want to. Just look at the list of files for download, the last three are Flash versions. Just click part 2 once you've watched the first one, and it will begin playing the next part, without ever leaving the cinema!
Posted: Thu, 31st Jan 2008, 7:10pm

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B3N

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Finally! After years of seeing that banner of your and thinking "when the hell will it be done?" It's done!.

So what did I think?

Well first off hats off to you for spending so much time on creating a film. So onto the film,

The Story: Indiana Jones style story with a few star wars elements really made it seem like an intresting thing to watch, and it was.

The acting: I have to say I was...very very impressed with the acting, never before have I seen a group of...10? 11 year oldS? fight so good like that. I've only ever seen them gently tapping weapons but this one you were actually fighting. Great work! The main acting though although a little weak in places but great everywhere else. I have to admit the river fight part with the nazi made me chuckle a bit when I saw the Jedi "Jack" Trying to get the water out of the sabre with a "I'll be their in a second dude" face.

Locations: Some good and beliveable location settings.

Effects: Some great stock footage use in this area of production and well done on the rotoscoping.

Camerawork: Pretty good camerawork and some nice smooth shots when in a fight scene.

Editing: Editing was alright but needed to be a bit faster in some action scenes to keep the upbeat cutting going.

All in all a very well made film which I guess the kids enjoyed making and I guess the only four adults did too smile.

Sure as hell am looking forward to future projects.

4/5!

-Regards
B3N
Posted: Thu, 31st Jan 2008, 11:45pm

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DavidLittlefield

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That was really amazing. Very high quality production. As others have said, most films fall apart at child acting, however you actors performed wonderfully. I found the story line fun to follow, and it honestly kept me very interested. My screen-saver came on when they were running from the building and I lurched forward at the surprise. Yes, the lightsaber in the river was quite amusing. Although I haven't been on nearly as long as B3N, I too have noticed your banner quite often and wondered when it would be done.
This is really something to be proud of. Visual effects, grading, storyline, acting, most editing was all very well done. 5/5 from me. I look forward to more high production value films from you!
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 1:33am

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videofxuniverse

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I really like how my xwing animations went well with the map scene. Loved helping out with this film
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 4:03am

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AXE

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Finally! After years of seeing that banner of your and thinking "when the hell will it be done?" It's done!.

So what did I think?

Well first off hats off to you for spending so much time on creating a film. So onto the film,

The Story: Indiana Jones style story with a few star wars elements really made it seem like an intresting thing to watch, and it was.

The acting: I have to say I was...very very impressed with the acting, never before have I seen a group of...10? 11 year oldS? fight so good like that. I've only ever seen them gently tapping weapons but this one you were actually fighting. Great work! The main acting though although a little weak in places but great everywhere else. I have to admit the river fight part with the nazi made me chuckle a bit when I saw the Jedi "Jack" Trying to get the water out of the sabre with a "I'll be their in a second dude" face.

Locations: Some good and beliveable location settings.

Effects: Some great stock footage use in this area of production and well done on the rotoscoping.

Camerawork: Pretty good camerawork and some nice smooth shots when in a fight scene.

Editing: Editing was alright but needed to be a bit faster in some action scenes to keep the upbeat cutting going.

All in all a very well made film which I guess the kids enjoyed making and I guess the only four adults did too .

Sure as hell am looking forward to future projects.

4/5!

-Regards
B3N
KEEP IT DOING Never seen 9 yr olds act that good.
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 7:58pm

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Tuffy

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Hi there Fiddler,

in my mind it is a decade since I watched the Trailer (my HDD says it was on monday, 9th April 2007) and I was angry when I saw, that the movie still wasn't out (the Trailer promised christmas 2006).
I'm very happy to see the movie is done, and right now I'm loading the big version (best quality for best view).

In the Trailer I was amazed of camera work and -quality; when your brothers come out the mine, did you color-corrected it much? Really, I already thought about buying the same camera, but in Germany it never really was on the market. So I think it'll be a XL1s or XM2 (GL2).

Really, nice work - I hope I'll find time to watch it this weekend, I'm really on tenterhooks!

Regards,
Lucas

Last edited Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 9:19pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 8:37pm

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Phileep

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Great Work, when i first saw this film i thought "Wow" the camera angles were great, the effects were great, the story, acting and proffesionism of it were great. Great choice of music throughout, and I loved the ending,

I thinks it's an awesome film and I really enjoyed working on it, Thanks.
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 8:37pm

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Jrad

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That was really sweet! You guys acted better than the adults!
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 9:02pm

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JUIDAR

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Awesome job! You camera work is great and the lighting on all the scenes is done very well and the special effects of course are nicely put in. 5 stars my friend it was worth the wait.

wink
Posted: Fri, 1st Feb 2008, 10:25pm

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ashman

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I can only say one thing. Film making is in your blood. So make sure you keep on going!

Great Job, I'm extremely impressed.
Posted: Sat, 2nd Feb 2008, 12:38am

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Fyce

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This is freaking amazing. The quality, storyline, effects, and acting all come together to make a truly outstanding film. I wish you luck in your future of filmmaking, but judging from this, you won't need it! 5 stars...
Posted: Sat, 2nd Feb 2008, 2:16pm

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JoelM

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Only thing I could suggest is when Jones takes the hat off the manikin and puts it on his head, when he turns around cut to a close up of his face as he lifts his head so the brim of his hat slowly reveals and introduces the main character a little more dramatically, but thats a very small thing. Very well done!
Posted: Sat, 2nd Feb 2008, 6:05pm

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lsfightfilmer

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Very nicely made even though im just an amateur I think almost anyone would agree that it deserves 5 stars
Posted: Sat, 2nd Feb 2008, 7:10pm

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Videoace123

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I loved this movie. Grading was great, sound effects were great, actors were great, everything was, well, great! 5/5!!
Posted: Mon, 4th Feb 2008, 5:48am

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Atom

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Great Scott! Look at all the Washburns in that cast, Batman!

4/5 for sheer effort, storytelling, great production value, and overall family activity. It's nice to see, really. Good job.
Posted: Tue, 5th Feb 2008, 5:47pm

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the Fiddler

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Thanks to everyone for their high ratings and great reviews. I'm honestly somewhat surprised by how positively you've all received it. I've seen (and had) some films critiqued pretty harshly around here and had prepared for the worst. I'm so glad people are enjoying it.

It seems as B3N was first to point out that the main problem with it was the editing. I'll agree with you all on that one. It was one of the main concerns I had. But we filmed it all with only one camera, so there's no other shot sometimes to cut to. You just have to use what you have and we didn't have time (plus at least one location had changed dramatically) to go back and get some pick-up shots.

Tuffy: No there wasn't much grading on that shot. There was some, but not tons. Even if there were, a shot doesn't look good with a lot of correction/grading, if the camera hasn't captured a great image with lots of color information to begin with. I've debated this with some people here a lot, but I'll still stand by my DVC-30. I really think its abilities at least match that of the GL2. Though it doesn't always show in this film because we only ever used available lighting. No special lighting.

Thanks again everyone! If you want to help promote the film, the trailer is on YouTube so be a friend, leave a message, subscribe, whatever (I don't know that much about how it all works): http://www.youtube.com/user/FiddlerStudios
Posted: Tue, 5th Feb 2008, 6:00pm

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Tuffy

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Hi Fiddler,

I think this shot looked really great. Some shots looked awesome, but some aren't that good (like the pirates... I mean: I'd cut the beginning were they just stand still). May it be ju didn't masked the muzzles from these little agents? Don't get it wrong, you did an awesome job. I hope my film will be half as good rated as yours unsure
At the moment I have a scene - the shot didn't looked that good, it's my bad camera and the "good" lighting in a forest. But graded I think it's very Ok.
Keep it on, very cool!

Regards,
Lucas
Posted: Tue, 5th Feb 2008, 9:14pm

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B3N

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But we filmed it all with only one camera, so there's no other shot sometimes to cut to.
I understand you completely. But it was still pulled of well.

I've seen (and had) some films critiqued pretty harshly around here and had prepared for the worst. I'm so glad people are enjoying it.
Looks like your respected now then smile. Seriously, in my opinion films are critisied harshly round here due to the fact the filmmaker needs to learn a few more aspects of the media skills, the guys here are just helping to push them in the right direction, but occasionly when the person doesn't take the critism and doesn't learn from it the guys just think "well...stuff them then, if they don't want to learn we'll wait and see what else they come up with".

But as far as I can see you've taken that critisim and you've grabbed it by the balls and learnt from your mistakes years ago. And now look where it's got you...it's got you a great film and possibly a kick start to a great future. Keep it up!

-Regards
B3N
Posted: Sun, 10th Feb 2008, 3:22am

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Merrick

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That was great. First off, I think that you could have gotten rid of the whole fanfilm thing without really affecting the story at all. I have to agree that the acting was incredible for children of that age. The only scene that seemed out of place to me was the pirates scene.

Congrats on the fights also. It wasn't like you had this little kid beating up a man three times his size. The kids actually seemed to be loosing at first in most of the fights, which was the logical thing to do.

For a fanfilm with kid actors this really employes a lot of storytelling elements. You use the audience's curiosity on what the Terra Cotta soldier does to pull them into the film. You also put a time limit on a lot of scenes which is great. The only thing is that I didn't feel emotionally attached to the characters. I don't think that's really what you were going for, though.

The last few shots at the end really tie the whole thing together. It's such a montage of different movies that it makes sense that children would be imagining it. Great job!!!
Posted: Sun, 10th Feb 2008, 8:24am

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Art Video

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Your filmmaking and storytelling skill are pretty good. I think your actors are giving 100 percent. You might want to try older actors though. I am not being negative. Just when you see little kids shooting each other it looks like it. Plus there might be some local community actors from your area that would just love to be in a movie. Your ability to tell stories is pretty good.
Posted: Sun, 10th Feb 2008, 12:37pm

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sevvo

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Well done, well written and performed, I was disappointed that it was just some kids playing in the backgarden but hey it was your choice.

The effects were well put together the costumes and locations were well picked.

I really enjoyed it. well done.
Posted: Tue, 12th Feb 2008, 1:16am

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Gibs

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Very nice job, I really enjoyed watching this all the way through. In the following rundown I apologize if any of the issues I mention have already been brought up, I didn't take the time to read through all of them.

First of all, there were a few minor problems I noticed. At a few points between 8:59 and 9:41, there were single frames out of place on certain effects shots. They weren't a big deal but they sort of messed with my mind and I assume they wouldn't be hard to fix. Also, during the sith lightsaber fight there were a few clips I noticed that after a cut, the actors stood there for a second before swinging their lightsabers, which is something that could easily be fixed with editing.

Besides this, however, I thought the movie was great. The lightsaber battle was otherwise great, and I was very impressed with the choreography. I assumed that it would be boring to watch 11 yr olds fight with lightsabers, but I am happy to say I was wrong! In the first scene, I liked the design of the office. It would have been really easy to just use a normal office, but the fact it's decked out in adventurer artifacts makes it look much better. The music was great, the beginning reminded me of a film I made in middle school that used the same Ghost Recon track. The costumes were great and as others have mentioned the acting was great for having almost all kids in your cast. Also, the map scenes and the jet shooting at the cave were well done in my opinion. Finally, the wet lightsaber was a clever touch on the river scene.

I didn't really care for the twist at the end, but that was probably because I was expecting a lot more of the film (those progress bars can be tricky), and so was a little disappointed. I have to give you props for it, though, it was a good idea and a much better ending than something generic, like them destroying the statue. Overall you did a great job and made an entertaining movie; I'm impressed you stuck with it for so long. Keep up the good work.
Posted: Fri, 22nd Feb 2008, 4:14pm

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the Fiddler

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Thanks Lloyd! I appreciate yours, and everyone else's reviews. I had high hopes for this film, but have been very pleased with just how positively its been received.

Those effects look correctly in higher-quality versions of the film. I'm afraid that in working at 30fps (well, almost) then converting to 15 for the web has made some of my effects look a little lack-luster. Taking out every other frame (plus the fact that when it plays back via the web it doesn't necessarily play back at 15fps all the time) can kill gun shots and things that take place over only a couple frames. I think you'll find that if you download the high quality .mp4 version that everything seems to be in tact. As for the editing: I wish I'd done it differently, not sure if I'll ever go back and change it... but maybe. Thanks for the feedback either way.

I'm glad it wasn't boring, and that the choreography was up to your standards. For the office we grabbed everything we had that looked old-school or archaeological or whatever. We really tried to make that look right since we knew it would be the first "real" thing you'd see.

It seems the most common thing I'm hearing is that people didn't like the twist at the end. I suppose that's fine. Sorry you were expecting more adventure. But as far as giving the film some point beyond just action & adventure, that was the whole point. Its based off mine and my brother's childhood. We used to play for hours and hours on end traveling to foreign lands, fighting badguys, etc. etc. etc. and yet we were never more than a half-mile from home. So without that ending, the film is just a fun kids adventure. With it, it encourages imagination, and reminds adults what fun it can be to experience a little "childish" adventure and imagination.

B3N wrote:

Looks like your respected now then.
Thanks a lot B3N. From you that means a lot.
Posted: Mon, 3rd Mar 2008, 2:53pm

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Merrick

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By the way, how did you get those slow motion shots?
Posted: Thu, 6th Mar 2008, 5:04pm

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the Fiddler

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All the slow-mo shots were just slowed down in Vegas. If I was thinking ahead of time that I might slow it down, then I shot it interlaced for smother slow-mo. But most of the time I didn't intend the slow down until I was editing the scene. So that's why some may appear a little "choppy" as Vegas has to just mix existing frames to create the slow down.

Thanks again everyone! I appreciate all the feedback. Hopefully an outtakes and alternate ending will be available soon!
Posted: Sat, 8th Mar 2008, 4:43pm

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Merrick

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I liked the ending. It explained why kids, instead of adults, were doing all the fighting and stuff. It also seemed to tie the movie together for me. Across the course of the film you have pirates, jedi, nazis, and more. It seems as though the kids may be basing their game on movies they've seen.

If people don't like the ending, though, it might be a good idea to have something happen that can only be explained by the story actually occuring. Maybe they could have something at the end of the game that they found during the story. Perhaps you should change it so that the older brother has never seen the terra cotta soldier before.
Posted: Sat, 8th Mar 2008, 9:41pm

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videofxuniverse

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so when do you need me for the next project fiddler? Can't wait to help out again
Posted: Mon, 10th Mar 2008, 11:49pm

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Orin Warren

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Alright I said I'll watch next time I was in a city in Africa with DSL and I did and I enjoyed it. At first I thought what is the deal with all the kids. but I really enjoyed the ending. I still can look back at the good Days with my friends and how much fun we did have with thoses stories our minds created. I really liked man. Alright now thats out of the way lets get down to what you really need to hear. First I really like how you tried to even both the Star wars and Jones theme movies in your movie with travel map with th X-wing and with the transtions.I also enjoyed the credit song that match the movie. I'm guessing you had friend help you make that song because I never heard before. I also like how when office work takes his head phones off that music dies out.their alot of things I liked. Their were a few FX stuff that caught my eye like the fireing of the musket the smoke didn't seem real. but that's all I got for now but I really enjoyed your movie.
Posted: Tue, 18th Mar 2008, 6:59pm

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the Fiddler

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Thanks everyone (with a special nod to Orin for doing it from Africa)! I've just (finally) updated the website for the film. It now has a few new things. Also, you'll notice on the "Watch the Film!" page there's a "bonus features" section. I hope to have the alternate ending, as well as the bloopers reel done soon! They'll be posted here. The alternate ending will be in the cinema, but I'm not planning on using any FXhome products for the bloopers, so it may only be on the website (we'll see maybe something will need an effect or something). Thanks again for all the positive feedback and support. Oh and some of you may find your reviews on the new site (tell me if you don't want them to be).

http://fiddlerstudios.com/?page_id=5

Last edited Fri, 11th Jun 2010, 9:21pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 18th Mar 2008, 9:43pm

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B3N

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Nice, I'm liking the look of the website now and yeah...I noticed my review in there and I'm fine with that. A few issues though, 1) The adverts really make it look ugly and 2) perhaps some short quotations put up around certain parts of the website as well as the full reviews on the "reviews" page. All in all it's looking good, now get and make another film! razz.

B3N
Posted: Fri, 4th Jul 2008, 2:34pm

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the Fiddler

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Don't know if anyone's still watching the thread for this film, but if anyone is, there's an alternate ending to this film, that I submitted to FXhome over a week ago. So hopefully anytime now you'll be able to see it in the cinema here. If you haven't seen the full film (or haven't watched it in a while) you might want to review it so that the alternate ending has its full impact. It's a very different alternate ending than most you're used to seeing.
Posted: Tue, 8th Jul 2008, 4:35pm

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the Fiddler

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Okay the Alternate ending is now in the Cinema: http://fxhome.com/cinema/view/3323/alternate-ending-of-the-terra-cotta-soldier

Or you can view it with other DVD special features at the website: http://films.fiddlerstudios.com/terra-cotta
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 1:33am

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drummingdude694

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I don't think the river scene has bad quality, I think that the flashback of how the soldier was first discovered didn't have that good of quality. I have an idea for another alternate ending: the dad says: "And why did you hurt all these people?" (ie: Darth Treacherous, the Nazi) Then, it shows the mailman and the paperboy on the ground acting hurt. smile
Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 1:53am

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the Fiddler

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LOL! That would be a pretty funny alternate. Unfortunately we didn't think of that at the time and we are all done filming. Its one of those projects that's behind me now. Occasionally I think I wish I'd done this or that, but it's done, finished, the end. Thanks for the idea thought, it was worth a good laugh.

Last edited Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 5:16pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 4th Jan 2009, 4:44pm

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drummingdude694

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Does anybody know what FXperience is?
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2009, 10:09pm

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drummingdude694

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At about 30 seconds in part 3, is that the Wilhelm scream?!?!
Posted: Tue, 17th Feb 2009, 2:10am

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the Fiddler

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Probably. We used it a couple times I believe.
Posted: Sun, 3rd Jan 2010, 4:47am

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FXhomer87762

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Its good. Especially the lightsaber slashes. Well planned. THe story is also just as interesting. Very impressive!
Posted: Mon, 22nd Mar 2010, 7:01am

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Fudge Dog

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Very Good Acting, shooting,story. For young kids. 8/10 My only critism would be that it was strange having young people acting old people if you know what i mean.

Last edited Mon, 10th May 2010, 4:59pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 9th May 2010, 3:25pm

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PhilWesson

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That was a joy to watch.
Posted: Sun, 9th May 2010, 7:54pm

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Fxhome Dude

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Since this thread has been resurrected I might as well add that I enjoyed the movie, despite it's flaws. Very cute.
Posted: Fri, 11th Jun 2010, 9:11pm

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the Fiddler

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Thanks all for your feedback. It was definitely a learning experience, but turned out quite good in spite of its problems, as you've mentioned.

We always appreciate the feedback. Who knows, maybe we'll do project someday?