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Clockworks

Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 1:58pm

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Jabooza

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Clockworks is a fantasy/drama some friends and I made for a local film competition. We had eight weeks to make a ten-minute film that included 1. a shot of a clock, 2. an over-the-shoulder shot, and 3. the line "I can't believe this is really happening!"

This is what we came up with.

Starring - Josh Blanchard, Makaila Gould, Nate Flachsbart
Written by - Colby Hinson
Music Score by - Dustin Plessner


Clockworks can also be viewed on Vimeo here: http://www.vimeo.com/5069171

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Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 5:26pm

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therealrandomstudios

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Awesome movie, I love how you made it go over and over again, and it makes sense, it's not like one of those movies where you don't know what's going on.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 5:50pm

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Terminal Velocity

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That was exceedingly eerie and cool. Plus, it was almost funny how they both died but weren't actually dead because their past selves were alive, etc. Really nice job and good music. 5/5.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 8:05pm

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ben3308

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Rating: +1

Okay, well first things first, it's good to see clever narrative strategy at work from you guys.

I'm a big fan of the film Déjà Vu, and the whole 'catching a glimpse of yourself changing things' is a nice concept, and you pulled it off well. That being said, there are three things that bring this down a lot, and make it almost uncomfortable to sit through. Here goes:

Kids playing adults. Just don't do it.

Unless they've got facial hair, it's going to seem really bad. I've done it before, and it didn't really work, but at least I pulled off the facial hair motif. Especially when you've got an 'old shopkeeper' - you need someone old!

I know it can be tough to find people, let alone convince them to act, but if you write such a part into your story, it is a necessity that an adult play the role. If you don't have anyone to play the role, you've got to cut it out of the film. Sometimes it doesn't seem like a big deal, especially when you're filming it, but it is. What would otherwise have been a solid end-product comes off as trite and mostly cheesy; and it's pretty much solely because of this element.

The grading as it pertains to the lighting and time is off. Big time.

This was a big deal to me - why the blue grading, when you so clearly state someone is about to go on vacation? I'm all for doing whatever grading looks the coolest, but when you need to convey a 'summer' atmosphere - and, to really make the Hawaii story 'click', you do need to - bright, harsh yellows work better than crunched blues. My film 'Pages' has blues in it, but on the whole it's veeery yellow, resulting in a distinctly hot, sweaty 'summer' feel. I'm aware you probably live in a colder climate than Texas (biggrin) but Kuleshov's geography dictates that you need to emphasis aspects of your location even if they aren't obvious. So summer = warm grading almost all the time, especially when outdoors, which is most of the film.

I don't think you understand cinematography, really. At least, not yet.

I don't say this to be rude or overly harsh, but I just don't think you understand cinematography, or why certain shots are important in certain places. You cross the line more than fifteen times by my count, and it's obvious and it looks sloppy. Normally I don't subscribe to cinematographical 'rules' as much, but when you're crossing the 180 degree line so much it's hard to tell where the person is: that's a problem. Cuts would be made to the person walking in a different location than the last, and it would look awkward. Sometimes I wouldn't even know if they were still walking in the same direction or not. Follow-along shots are intermixed with follow-alongs from a slightly similar angle. Not a fan.

When I watched this film, most of it was walking randomly. That's fine, my favorite film I've made is about walking randomly ('Pages', 'Marathon' to an extent) but from the shots I see it just seems evident: you don't really know what you're doing. Some shots are in there just because they're a shot, not because they matter, show anything, or look necessarily good. I hope you realize: I'm criticizing you here because I care about your development as a filmmaking crew, not because I want to tear you down.

There's also an issue with shaky shots: yeah, 'floaty cam' is fine, it's a personal favorite of mine. But a simple pan should be a simple pan, not a 'move a little, pause for a second to frame properly, move a little more, pause again to correct framing'. Pans are easy, come on! Use a tripod if need be. biggrin

I think, too often in student productions, people have big ideas about shots and then aren't able to adequately execute them to the best of their ability. Here, at least from what I've seen and can gather from my own recollection, I truly think you didn't really have a great idea of what you wanted, and proceeded to shoot just anything. Sometimes that works to great effect, especially in a time crunch, but here it just didn't. You might have to come to accept that you might not have the most natural talent in cinematography. That's alright, it's just something you're going to have to hone over time. But there's something I want to stress, and I really want you to pay attention to it: have a reason to shoot what you shoot, even if that reason is as simple as 'I think this will look cool'. The fundamental error here, to me, is that your visual aesthetics are naturally that great, and your lack of attention to relational editing pulls them down further.

In cinematography, relational editing in terms of aesthetics is a HUGE deal - and that tends to be a big pullback in your productions. When shooting a shot, think about how it relates to other shots you've gotten, and how well they'll go together. You don't have to 'edit' the whole movie in your head, but think 'am I getting this shot just to get a shot, or does it fit with what I need'. To me, after the follow-along and wide shots of the walking, the next obvious shot, relationally would be a telephoto front from the front, roughly 100 feet away from the actor. This would add depth, give more meaning to the walking, and pique visual interest.

Now you might think to yourself 'well, we do this stuff already, so what gives?' - if that's the case, then you need to figure out where you're going wrong; because not all the visual pieces fit together appropriately at the moment.

I know this is going to sound taxing and derogatory, but as mentioned, I am only saying it to be constructive. I'm sorry that my last two reviews of your films have been more criticism than compliments, but I wouldn't say these things if I did not honestly believe you could benefit from them.

3/5, and a solid effort in terms of narrative concepts.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 8:40pm

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Terminal Velocity

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One thing that really got to me was how thought-provoking it was about temporal revolutions, such as where this all started. Was it before or after?

Actually, ben, I think the young clockmaker did pretty well. Seems to me like it would have been a bit cliched to have him as another old mysterious dude. This guy kind of gave me a sense of agelessness, the way he seemed to know how the clock worked and what it did. I don't think an old guy is necessary for that role. Also, since he seems a pivotal element in the film, they didn't really have the option to cut him out.

EDIT: By the way, I thought the ending was pretty ingenious. He just hops out and gets hit by a car. Normally, that would be pretty unnerving, but in the context it seemed almost humorous how it ended. After all that suspense, he is conveniently dropped from the temporal equation by a careless driver.
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 9:05pm

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ben3308

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Richard III wrote:

This guy kind of gave me a sense of agelessness, the way he seemed to know how the clock worked and what it did. I don't think an old guy is necessary for that role. Also, since he seems a pivotal element in the film, they didn't really have the option to cut him out.
All I can say is that when you get older, you'll realize how strange and ridiculous it looks to cast kids in these roles - especially when it's so obvious they're trying not to look like kids. He walks with a limp, has a haggard voice - he's supposed to be an old guy. At least, that's what movie archetypes dictate. I made this decision when I was 16, and haven't looked back since: teens play teens, adults plays adults.

Again, props to the movie for such well-executed concepts in narrative structure, but technically (and creatively) not your best work.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 1:37am

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Terminal Velocity

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But again, what if you need the role but don't have an adult? You're left with no option except a heavy makeup job, which can work sometimes. I think he could look fine as a young guy.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 3:30am

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Limey

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Richard III wrote:

But again, what if you need the role but don't have an adult? You're left with no option except a heavy makeup job, which can work sometimes. I think he could look fine as a young guy.
I think what ben is trying to say is to just not write a film with older parts if you can't get them.

A couple things to work on would be the color grading because I didn't really like it. The color grading isn't that bad, but it seemed too blue for this film. But I like the part where they walk into the shop full of cocks. I thought it was cool how you set that room up to look like a shop. The music was good at the begging. Anyway, nice job. This was a real interesting film and I liked it. And the guy in the store was mad funny.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 12:40pm

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Simon K Jones

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Richard III wrote:

But again, what if you need the role but don't have an adult? You're left with no option except a heavy makeup job, which can work sometimes. I think he could look fine as a young guy.
Yeah, the idea is to not write roles like that, the same way you wouldn't write a specifically black character into your story if you don't know any black actors, or you wouldn't write a female role if you don't know any female actors. It's the same reason you don't cast a 50 year old as a teenager (at least unless you've got a David Fincher budget...).

There are exceptions, of course, in which you can make a point of it, but otherwise it does tend to come across as a bit strange and difficult to watch for older viewers. If your audience is 100% kids/teenagers then I suppose it isn't a problem, though.

The important thing to remember is that there are countless great stories to tell involving kids/teenagers, so there's no need to break your own fiction.

Having said that, I feel it's important to point out to Ben that he's recently had teenagers (or people that looked like teenagers) playing Batman, so it's not like he's innocent. razz

(it's also important to recognise that the issue is irrespective of the acting talents of the young actor)
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 2:56pm

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ben3308

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Tarn wrote:

Having said that, I feel it's important to point out to Ben that he's recently had teenagers (or people that looked like teenagers) playing Batman, so it's not like he's innocent. razz
Well, no, my main reason in making those three main points I did is that they're things that I have learned to grow past. Firstly, I think you should reserve judgment about the Batman film 'til you've seen it - secondly, Bryan M. Block is in it, just FYI. The acting in it is also........well, pretty incredible so just wait. biggrin

But my main point in being is this: it's fine to try anything wacky or pointless for fun; but in a contest that you know people other than your friends will be seeing, you have to relinquish these preconceptions that kids can play adults. It seems really difficult but it is not hard to get adults. Push to shove, get your parents to do it.

Why it's a big deal here is that the part of the shopkeeper is so small that it very easily could've been recorded with an adult in a matter of minutes. Trust me, I've cast the shopkeeper role in a timed contest before, and while you might not always get what you want, it seems more 'real' than a kid - even if the kid is a lot better at acting than the adult.

That being said,

(it's also important to recognise that the issue is irrespective of the acting talents of the young actor)
To an extent this is true, but sometimes it's worth casting someone you know if they're reasonably talented. Still, I'd say they should be older than 16, ideally older than 20 so that they can have a more 'young everyman' quality, a la Shia LaBeouf, etc. The long and the short of it is this: I've been through a lot of contests, mostly done in my teens, and not once did I have to cast a kid as an adult. Because, believe it or not, adults want to be in your films! You likely just have to ask the right people.

I would also like everyone to keep in mind that I didn't find this to be a large drawback for the film - it was, as mentioned, brief - I just wanted to make a point of it because it's so easy to solve: just don't write that role in there! biggrin
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 11:09pm

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aguayopro

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i like it very creative cant wate to see whats next
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 7:01pm

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BravoStudios

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That was cool. Like some sort of Harry Potter magic type thing. I liked the (stuntmen?) and how it was exactly like him.
4/5
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 7:41pm

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Jabooza

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Thanks for the comments!


ben3308 wrote:

Kids playing adults. Just don't do it.
Well, first of all the competition was for high school filmmakers, so we weren't allowed to use adults as actors. Although, the clockmaker wasn't really supposed to be an old guy; he was really supposed to be young and quirky, probably in his early twenties. So his limp and odd voice weren't really supposed to show that he was old; that's just how he is.


ben3308 wrote:

The grading as it pertains to the lighting and time is off. Big time.
Well, while we do clearly state that someone is going on vacation, we also clearly state that the story is taking place in April, so it isn't really that ridiculous that we chose not to grade it orange. wink The stylized blueish, glowy low-saturated look that we gave it was meant to give it a sort of fantasy feeling.


ben3308 wrote:

I don't think you understand cinematography, really. At least, not yet.
For this movie, none of our usual crew was on set for almost any of the filming; the cinematography was done almost entirely by someone else, and this was his first serious attempt at doing cinematography. Considering that, I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. smile
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 8:01pm

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Terminal Velocity

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Jabooza wrote:

Although, the clockmaker wasn't really supposed to be an old guy;
Which is kind of what I was saying...Either way, I think it worked very well for the part. Just one thing; when he goes "It'll be done in an hour" his voice is a bit too normal. Usually he's got that drawl and deliberate speech pattern, neither of which seemed present in that line.

"Have a nice day." Once I had seen the film once already and watched it again, I almost laughed at that line. How about "have a nice two or three days in the span of an hour until you get hit by a car"?

A little question. Did the clockmaker know what would happen all along, or is that a mystery?
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 8:15pm

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Jabooza

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Richard III wrote:

A little question. Did the clockmaker know what would happen all along, or is that a mystery?
That's a mystery. wink
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 4:20pm

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Gratifaction Films

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In The Beginning What Program Did You Use, To Make The Title Text All Funky, And Make It Fade Away Like That?
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 12:29am

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Jabooza

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My friend used Adobe After Effects for the title.
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 7:10am

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NateFlax

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Kids playing adults. Just don't do it.

Unless they've got facial hair, it's going to seem really bad.
Well, the only adult-like person in the film is the Clockmaker (which is me). I am an adult. In fact, I shaved a few hours before filming just so the weird makeup stuff wouldn't stick to my beard.


A little question. Did the clockmaker know what would happen all along, or is that a mystery?
When I originally wrote it, the Clockmaker and the girl (which was going to be a guy at first) knew about everything. The story line was too complicated for the average person to understand. So Colby Hinson re-wrote it a bit, and gave the film a dialogue.

But since Clockworks doesn't follow the original script, it will remain a secret for now.


i like it very creative cant wate to see whats next
Thanks! I would like to make a sort of "spin-off" sometime. I already have quite a few ideas.



(To anyone that doesn't know who this is, I am Nate Flachsbart. I acted as the Clockmaker, and I guess you could call me the "Creator".)
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 8:15pm

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Z 24

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Hi, I'm Colby Hinson. I don't post regularly here, in fact I'm not sure if I've ever posted, but I work with Jabooza and Penguin. I thought this would be as good a time as any to post something, seeing as, for us, this movie's production has been done in a fairly new way. We used some new actors and had a lot more people working on it than usual, and I think that was great, everyone did a good job.

However, Nathan, I think you're in a bit of a misconception about the area of the script. I just wanted to let you know now how I feel.

As I've gathered, at one of the first meetings for this movie, you were one of the main people, if not the sole creator, of the idea for the movie. This I give you credit for. It is a very creative and intuitive idea for a movie, and fit the guidelines of the competition perfectly. So I heard about the movie, heard about your idea, and started thinking about it. In a few weeks, Dustin (Jabooza) and I had taken this general idea and added many, if not most, of the details that now bring the movie together. At that point, we had the plot, the events, and the psychological character development figured out, for the most part. Mind you all of this was done before we informed anyone else working on the movie. So we sat down to write the script. With laptop in hand, and blank document open, I did just that.

NateFlax wrote:

So Colby Hinson re-wrote it a bit, and gave the film a dialogue.
Now, I don't remember re-writing anything at all. I took the plot that we'd all created and put it on paper. I made the scenes, created the characters, giving them a basis for their acting direction, and I did give the film "a dialogue." In fact, I gave the film its entire story line and turn of events, and made it possible to film at all. I dare say that if I hadn't completed the script when I did, the movie wouldn't have made the deadline for the competition, to put it plainly.

Although I didn't attend any of the actual meetings or filming for this movie as I'd hoped, I did give a large contribution. Nathan, your contribution may well have been far more important than mine, for you did think of the original idea, and I thank you for that, but I wanted to make it known that I did write the original script from which the movie was made.
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 5:34am

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NateFlax

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Nathan, your contribution may well have been far more important than mine, for you did think of the original idea, and I thank you for that, but I wanted to make it known that I did write the original script from which the movie was made.
Indeed! Sorry if I made it seem I was taking credit or something. It was 3am when I wrote that last night. Infact, half of what I said probably didn't make any sense. biggrin

The only thing I did was have an idea. You wrote pretty much everything. My apologies.
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 10:38am

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Atom

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NateFlax wrote:

Kids playing adults. Just don't do it.

Unless they've got facial hair, it's going to seem really bad.
Well, the only adult-like person in the film is the Clockmaker (which is me). I am an adult. In fact, I shaved a few hours before filming just so the weird makeup stuff wouldn't stick to my beard.
rolleyes

You're 18- call yourself an 'adult' all you want, sure in the legal sense- but you know what we mean- even these days with actors in their twenties our crew has to be weary of stuff looking like kids playing adults. If you need an adult in your script get an adult actor. End of story- don't try and pull this 'yeah, well I'm an adult so hah!' with me. I've done it all myself before.
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 9:56pm

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NateFlax

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If you need an adult in your script get an adult actor.
I agree! Although, that's not what we were aiming for here.rolleyes

Here is what Jabooza said in case you missed it:
the clockmaker wasn't really supposed to be an old guy; he was really supposed to be young and quirky, probably in his early twenties. So his limp and odd voice weren't really supposed to show that he was old; that's just how he is.
Posted: Tue, 14th Jul 2009, 11:19pm

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FXhomerTony

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Wow! Great story- reminds me of the yarns of "Twilight Zone" and "One Step Beyond". Totally kept my interest.Music worked well-setting the mood. Special effects flawless. Camera angles and editing first class. Acting was believable and natural. "Clockman" did a good job, but I agree an old, grizzled man would have been a better choice. First class all the way- I have to award 5 stars.
Posted: Wed, 15th Jul 2009, 1:40am

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Terminal Velocity

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FXhomerTony wrote:

"Clockman" did a good job, but I agree an old, grizzled man would have been a better choice.
That only being true if they wanted an old, grizzled man. I, for instance, found the clockman better as a young guy, mainly because it's not a stereotype.
Posted: Wed, 15th Jul 2009, 3:36am

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Atom

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rolleyes

No, you're wrong.

It's not "only true" if the filmmaker wanted it that way. That's entirely the wrong way to think. Now, don't take this the wrong way- I generally liked this movie- but some of the responses to it, particularly regarding the ages and actors, are somewhat cringing/embarrassing to read. Your response just simply doesn't work, Richard III.

In fact, it's really a cop-out. I can say "Batman we wanted as an older teenager" and nullify anyone who says our actor looks too young- but in the end, well..........not really. It's a bullshit response to a criticism, and it just doesn't work.

Because if he really is too young and the audience notices it and thinks an older actor/the character as an older person would've worked better for them, and go to the extent of saying this, then the worst thing to do would be to say 'no, no, no, you're wrong. we wanted him young.' Does that make sense?

This is all, of course, also aside from the obvious fact to it that, even if it is denied, they wanted an 'older' looking guy, if not the stereotypical 'older creepy man' character- hence the 'makeup stuff that kept getting in this "adult" actor's "beard". All of which, again, I kind of roll my eyes at.

Audience opinion here, my opinion, is that the role looked suited for an older man, it looked like they were trying to imitate the 'older man' role, and then the subsequent response that the actor 'was an adult' even more-clearly substantiated that thought.

Make no mistake, I don't intend to pick this movie apart for one facet- especially a small one. But the attention- even perplexingly being defended by someone who didn't make the movie (you, Richard)- being brought to the casting, a misstep due to the ages of those who created it, brings an unnecessarily great light to the issue it bares in the movie.

And to deny it once it's come to light, well, that just doesn't do any favors either. Once again, actually, it just makes me embarrassed for you.
Posted: Wed, 15th Jul 2009, 3:55am

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Bryce007

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Rating: +3

NateFlax wrote:


I am an adult. In fact, I shaved a few hours before filming....
Thanks for making me laugh pretty hard with that one
Posted: Wed, 15th Jul 2009, 4:29pm

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NateFlax

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Bryce007 wrote:

NateFlax wrote:


I am an adult. In fact, I shaved a few hours before filming....
Thanks for making me laugh pretty hard with that one
You're welcome! I'm not too sure if you are insulting me, or the guy that didn't think I was one. But heck! This movie was for fun! Remember, this IS the internet. So without further ado, Let the insulting and name calling begin! biggrin

Should we have an award ceremony at the end? biggrin
Posted: Fri, 17th Jul 2009, 1:32am

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Jabooza

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Atom - Yeah, originally we had wanted to do the part with an older actor, but then after figuring out that we couldn't, we started rethinking the direction of the character and decided that we would actually prefer the clockmaker to be younger; probably just slightly older than Nate. Although, due to the way the character was portrayed (especially with the limp), looking back at it now I can definitely see how it would look like we're trying to pass someone off for being much older than he really is (which I admit was, of course, a flaw), but I'd still like to point out that that wasn't our intention.
Posted: Fri, 17th Jul 2009, 4:38am

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Atom

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No, I know. And I get that- it's happened to us all when we were younger, too. And it detracted from the effectiveness of your film a negligible amount, as I noted. What does draw attention to it, however, is the reaction- which also isn't really to a fault of your own as it's been other non-regular users posting on the site.

So don't think I'm trying to insult you or hold it against you- I completely understand the dilemma- just don't think on your next project you can't transcend it. Instead of making the concession to use a younger actor and, to some extent (purposeful or not) 'fake it', I've no doubt if you try you'll be able to get the right kind of character for the role. And if not, hey, like I said the movie still works. The idea is to write achievable characters, is I hope you see what I'm getting at- and when some of your crew have to defend the legitimacy of the character, maybe take another look at it- see if it can work in another way.

Now, for this movie, there might not have been any way around it, and that's why I won't hold it against you, the story and character still worked well enough to convey the story, so it was all good. But in the future I'd suggest to look out for workable characters or actors for the characters, as this would, obviously, add another level of realism and punch to your productions- and you guys are no doubt the up-and-coming bunch to have it. If not, what you have works- just not as well as it could have- if that makes sense.

Like I said, it's all-in-all a negligible facet. But to ignore it is to be, well, ignorant- and no one wants that. smile