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'Bury The Hatchet' (New Atomic Short)

Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 1:28am

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Atom

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Rating: +1




Hey guys! Today I come to you all with a little bit of a surprise, even to myself- and that is a new short film from us here at Atomic titled 'Bury The Hatchet'.

_______________________________________

This is a project that we literally, literally thought-up yesterday evening, wrote-out, shot through the night into the morning, edited together, and turned in this afternoon for school. It wasn't the idealest of situations or projects, and it's certainly a marker of our work you hear quite a bit, but we were actually fairly impressed with ourselves for pulling it out in such a short amount of time with something we're generally pretty happy with. It's not original, it's not new territory or an unveiling of something greater. But we like how it came out so we thought we'd share.

After Reese fell-out of the project yesterday, Ben drove two hours away from Austin to the neighboring city of San Antonio to afford us the opportunity to shoot with another Atomic regular, Josh Cavazos through the evening. Trevor, Josh, and Ben shot. Ben then stayed there overnight and shot again this morning, before returning with Trevor and the footage to me around noon. I'm not saying this because it was a contest, or this should give you preconceptions about what you're watching- I was just genuinely impressed with our friends' acting ability and steadfast and almost brutal willingness to help us in a pinch.

______________________________________

The YouTube description is this:

Conceptualized, shot, edited, and produced over the course of a late night that turned into an early morning, 'Bury The Hatchet' is a short, dialogue-less tale of revenge and redemption. It's most-definitely tried-and-true material, but it was a nice exercise in execution following a string of music videos and non-narrative work.

Created as a last-minute project for an RTF318 course with 5-minute, no-dialogue (or voiceover) requirements at the University of Texas due this afternoon, this is one of our fastest and probably most-efficient works to ever complete in recent time.

We thank Trevor and Josh unconditionally for working through the night and into the early sunlight hours to make this happen in time, and we're really proud of how it turned out.


___________________________________________

Check it out, and let us know your thoughts. We've got more coming, and bigger things ahead- but it was nice to, for a moment, get back to narrative short projects and find something wholly satisfying technically to put together. If nothing else, 'Bury The Hatchet' was exactly that. One thing stylistically we wanted to go for was more of an eerie, off-kilter 'Breaking Bad' look and feel. I think we achieved it fairly decently.
Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 3:57am

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RodyPolis

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Pretty cool! I enjoyed it. Great job on telling a story (that people can understand) without a single word of dialogue. Really liked the cinematography, specially the scenes with Trevor and the 'killer'. The editing was overall great too.

So ya, solid effort. Makes me wanna go and just make a simple movie like that.
Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 5:41am

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Pooky

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You guys are getting crazy-good at cinematography and editing eek I would say there is one shot that really annoyed me (and only one): the shot of the main character throwing up in the alley next to his SUV. I liked the lens flare, but for some reason it felt very video-ey, and the shake was overdone to the point of breaking the tension. Still, the rest is solid.

In terms of story I thought it was a bit too drawn out (I guessed what was happening as soon as we saw the second character), but you did a great job at conveying the story without dialogue.

Cool stuff.
Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 6:16am

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Sollthar

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Very solid film with a solid little premise well told, especially for such a short production time! I also guessed what would happen, but it didn't bother me much. Cool feel that manages to draw you in - here I even didn't mind some of the shakyness since it seemed to match to the main characters feelings.

Some brilliant shots, some okay shots - quality wise, not the conceptual idea behind it. Some seemed blown out, some seemed to vary in their lighting quality. Cool editing.

The sound design was good, allthough was the least inspired part of this I thought. It was high quality standard, but standard.

Good stuff though! Cool to see another shortfilm from you again that has nothing to do with fresh-out-of-puberty college stuff! More! smile
Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 7:01am

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Biblmac

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Like everyone else said, pretty mediocre compared to what you have put out recently but understandably so. Very nice job. Enjoyed it a lot. Can't wait for some more narrative stuff!
Posted: Sat, 23rd Apr 2011, 11:24pm

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Pooky

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Sollthar wrote:

Cool to see another shortfilm from you again that has nothing to do with fresh-out-of-puberty college stuff! More! smile
I gotta echo this sentiment: more!
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 4:12am

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Limey

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Pooky wrote:

Sollthar wrote:

Cool to see another shortfilm from you again that has nothing to do with fresh-out-of-puberty college stuff! More! smile
I gotta echo this sentiment: more!
I will echo this as well. Excellent work. I really like concise short films with little dialogue. Like you said, this is similar to Release, but the visuals here were way better. Nice use of the sliding shots, nice color, nice music, and nice pacing. Also, what do you guys use for those transition, wind like, sounds that you use in a lot of your shorts when the scene changes?

Anyway, nice job conveying a story strictly visually, without dialogue. I'm excited to see what you will do with a more original concept.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 4:16am

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Pooky

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Limey wrote:

Also, what do you guys use for those transition, wind like, sounds that you use in a lot of your shorts when the scene changes?
I'm gonna guess Designer Sound FX?
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 5:19am

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RodyPolis

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Speaking of Designer sound fx, why does it says I need After Effects to use it? Why would I be editing sound in After Effects???
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 5:34am

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Serpent

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Nowhere does it say you need Adobe After Effects to use Designer Sound Effects.

Will comment when I get my computer back next week. Glad you guys shot a story, looking forward to it!
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 5:53am

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Atom

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I stopped using Designer Sound FX years ago when they became instantly-recognizable following Marathon and Pages, and I started hearing the same 'bell stomp' or 'wind riser reverse swish noise' in every single DVXuser movie or lower-budget ad.

I now hear them in ESPN ads too. Kinda sad.

No, for 'Bury The Hatchet' I used a whole new set of SFX from a handful of places I've collected over the past few weeks. (And a few from Zero/Hour, which I did the same searching for.) A lot of it is just trying out mundane sounds like, say, a tree bark crackling noise- and reversing it with a pitch shift. Stuff like that gives really cool, bass-y sounds with unique echo-y-ness.

The wind noises in this are actually background ADR reversed, and the mixed with 'holocaust film ambience' I downloaded somewhere a long time ago.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 5:54am

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ben3308

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I'm going to respond to everyone's comments when I get to a computer, but just want to throw out that Designer Sound FX were fantastic when we made 'Marathon' four years ago, but they've since gotten tired and overused. So we layer in some of those, but my brother makes a point to layer in his own sound pallete from different sources. In this short in particular, I shot a lot of area noise and foley, which includes but isn't limited to the wind and room sound noises.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 5:54am

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RodyPolis

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Rating: -1

Specifications:
Requires: After Effects 7, CS3, CS4, or CS5
From videocopilot.net.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 6:31am

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Garrison

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I enjoyed this. Well edited and shot. The absence of dialogue is great too.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 1:34pm

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Arktic

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RodyPolis wrote:

Specifications:
Requires: After Effects 7, CS3, CS4, or CS5
From videocopilot.net.
It comes with bonus AE project files for the promo trailer, and example AE projects using the Designer Sound FX. You don't need to use AE for anything other than these.

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 6:56pm

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davlin

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This is a true cinamatic experience....top class cam work and editing telling the story perfectly without any dialogue....very impressive indeed.
I personally did'nt go for shakey cam bits but your timescale explains that,which I find unbelieveable.
I really don't know how you manage such quality in the time you did...WOW!

Last edited Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 9:57pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 8:18pm

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swintonmaximilian

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I enjoyed this, especially for the time it took to make. I think you pulled off quite a lot in the time frame.

The story itself was not interesting to me, it was efficiently told, and this is a matter of taste.

Technically it's well done, although I thought there were a few too many slider shots in the church. But it looked pretty good, especially for the time.

Looking forward to more from you guys soon hopefully.

Max
Posted: Sun, 24th Apr 2011, 10:09pm

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Arktic

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Very slick stuff, but I don't expect anything less from you guys.

The story was somewhat predictable/dull, but visually this is certainly some of your strongest work.

I have to compliment your actor, the main character (I assume that's Trevor Gitlin?). He's very expressive without hamming it up. I like him a lot - and I'm looking forward to seeing more from him... hopefully in a modernized Western-genre drug drama?

Well shot, well directed, solid editing - not much to fault here. Overall, well done! Now go make something longer with a proper storyline! wink

Cheers,
Arktic.
Posted: Mon, 25th Apr 2011, 4:09am

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Limey

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By the way, what did the professor think of this?
Posted: Mon, 25th Apr 2011, 5:08am

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DX6channel

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What kind of lighting (if any) did you have on the outdoor shot (where the main character is holding the gun)?
Posted: Mon, 25th Apr 2011, 5:15am

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Atom

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While it wasn't my class, I drove Ben there last minute and sat-in on the screening- and while the instructor seemed to appreciate it well enough, I have to admit I thought it was massively better than everyone else's, and nobody seemed to acknowledge it.

People said 'that was pretty good, I guess', but then go crazy over a handicam of 5 minutes of following another student's 'socially awkward zombie' film. Not that it was bad, but I dunno- definitely as a third-party that basically made half of the project, I was disappointed with the reaction.

It wasn't bad, not at all. But even down to the instructor telling Ben 'I liked it, it's definitely no-lower-than-a-B-quality' I myself just felt sorta cheated. Why not A material? What makes this not a standout? If it's a course based on technical merit, which it is, why aren't they appreciated when they outclass others? There certainly was/were/will be A-graded projects, and Ben's might be one of them, but that the distinction wasn't made upon viewing- while certainly prideful and slightly arrogant to think- definitely still frustrated me.

It's a common thread I find in film school, but no less bothersome. If people aren't going to appreciate the cinematic value or effort that goes into making it that way, and we could've just got a B by shooting a 'reality cam' of a socially-awkward zombie film the same as we'll get the (probably) underdeserved same grade, why even go that extra mile?

Obviously it's for our own edification, but still. Very frustrating to not see a discerning line or validation of certain levels of technical or filmmaking prowess above others.
Posted: Mon, 25th Apr 2011, 9:57am

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NuttyBanana

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I really liked this, and in the time you achieved it goes on to give it further merit. I can imagine how disappointing it may have been getting that grade/reaction as I can take a good guess at the quality of the other stuff being submitted.

I did a multimedia course when I was at college which included a 6 month film making stint. We got into groups, had to assign each other jobs and then crack on with it. Out project stood a mile out from the others in every single aspect. The annoying part was the teacher. I found 80% of the locations, did all the camera work and rewrote about half of the script. We all had our own jobs and everyone chipped in doing their fair share though. On being graded we all got merits (going lowest to highest: pass, merit, distinction), apart from the guy who did the editing who was given a distinction. We all went into the editing room to aid during the editing stages but the teacher had no explanation at all as to why he got a distinction but we didn't. Not to take away from the guy editing but we all worked our asses off and his editing wouldn't meant a thing without all the direction and shots we achieved. I don't think these teachers have a clue half of the time, so don't take it to heart.
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 2:01pm

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Staff Only

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Nice work, Atomic! I liked this short.

I'd really like to know how you go about working so efficiently. In my experience it's very hard to keep momentum on set. You have to be pretty good at keeping the atmosphere fun if you're in a hurry to get a lot of shots done in a short time. What's your secret?

Atom wrote:

While it wasn't my class, I drove Ben there last minute and sat-in on the screening- and while the instructor seemed to appreciate it well enough, I have to admit I thought it was massively better than everyone else's, and nobody seemed to acknowledge it.
Hmm, you don't think even in America you get some of this? I wouldn't be lying if I said Norwegians can be a lot like Hobbits. Don't stick out, don't think you're special. It's basically the root of that whole James Cameron obsession, because I despised growing up with The Jante Law all around me, and I love anyone who gives The Jante Law the middle finger. So rock on Atomic. Give worship of conformity and mediocrity the middle finger. wink
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 2:07pm

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Sollthar

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You gotta admire human beings for their ability to form "someone didn't think my work was as outstanding as I myself did" into "give worship of conformity and mediocrity the middle finger. "
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 2:11pm

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Staff Only

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Sollthar wrote:

You gotta admire human beings for their ability to form "someone didn't think my work was as outstanding as I myself did" into "give worship of conformity and mediocrity the middle finger. "
Well, I'm just taking Atom's word for it. wink Obviously I wasn't there so I don't know how it went down, but it wouldn't surprise at all if Atom's version is pretty much how it happened. I've seen that sort of thing so many times before.

EDIT: I think I understood your point better Sollthar. I was actually responding to this:

Atom wrote:

Obviously it's for our own edification, but still. Very frustrating to not see a discerning line or validation of certain levels of technical or filmmaking prowess above others.
more than that Atom thought this short didn't get the recognition it deserved. Atom offered up a doing it "for [their] own edification", I say "do it to fight the damn Jante Law". I wasn't really talking about Bury the Hatchet specifically.

We could always ask Ben if he agrees with Atom. He should be used to that crowd if it was his class. Were they unfair, Ben?
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 9:36pm

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ben3308

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We just screened the 'Best Of' two from my class section, as expected, mine didn't make the cut. Here's the two they picked:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if99EoCBlbk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGSmVt2np2Q

I'm ambivalent about the class.
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 9:44pm

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Sollthar

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Hm. The first was boring imo, but "Der Wald" had some interesting stuff going on. Allthough it could and imo should have been cut down to half it's length.
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 10:17pm

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ben3308

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We have minimum/maximum running time requirements. We had two screenings from each lab section, and my lab section is 15 people. So 'Bury The Hatchet' would have only had to be one of the two best out of 15, but it wasn't picked. Shame, and I'm disappointed, but I kind of expected it to not be the best liked one (the Bible bits threw atheists/agnostics in my class off a lot, even though they're just expository scenes).

Both of the 'best' from my section were by friends of mine, and I think that they both did a very good job, I'm just a little nonplussed that mine didn't even get screened. It's for a class I pay three thousand dollars to be in, and my professor only gets to see the 'best'. Whether or not you think 'Bury The Hatchet' is anything special, and whether or not I feel the need for further validation, I would have, at least, liked to have had my professor see my project - which pretty stringently followed the rules, something we don't normally do. biggrin

After the two screenings, my TA made an announcement that 'Ben Adams project, too, was really good, and got a lot of votes, so it'll screen on Thursday at a separate screening along with a few others', at which point my professor responded that we 'didn't have the resources' for that. So.....it won't be seen.

I have the luck of knowing just about all 150 people in my class, so whenever there was a Q&A or screening discussion today, I spoke to the 'best of' filmmakers informally, and got a good dialog going which the professor was party to (this is in a large lecture hall, by the way), and got out there that if there were extra time, I would like my film to screen. But I doubt it.

Eh, that's life. Unlike the 24 hour video race, however, I kind of expected this to be less of an 'unexpected' loss - and at least get screened.
Posted: Tue, 26th Apr 2011, 10:19pm

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Atom

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I think what helped the overall feeling of championing mediocrity (at least with the rest of the other entries) is that the creators of the two picked from Ben's group were at least very positive, inviting, and generally not-smug people; and that's a rarity I've found myself when I took the course a year ago.

You tend to find the loudest people get the most coverage, and they're usually 'the most diverse' gay Asian-black-Russian-speaking-son-of-some-mildly-political-activist-whatnot and their work is a 'stamp of progression and truth in film', etc. in the most pretentious and smugly-arrogant and self-important manner. Surprisingly here, I'm sure, Ben and I just aren't that. We're not outwardly smug or self-important. In real life, we try to let our work speak for itself. Everyone used copyrighted music? We didn't. People took 2 weeks to make their projects? We took half a day.

But none of that mattered or was spoken for once it got up to deciding, so it was simply something we didn't ever mention. It's nice to note here, but that kind of stuff doesn't fit in with the air of smug and pretention levels that you see here in my opinion and that I've seen in my classes, and that's frankly pretty scary.

That being said- Ben's group didn't seem to have the same smugness, so it was nice- albeit bittersweet to have 'Bury The Hatchet' not included- to see generally humble and kind people get selected and speak.
Posted: Wed, 27th Apr 2011, 2:52am

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Jrad

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Sadly, that's what a majority of film school is. The "gay Asian-black-Russian-speaking-son-of-some-mildly-political-activist-whatnot and their work is a 'stamp of progression and truth in film."

I usually got paired up with these people and found a lot of my work to be lacking.

Enough of that, I really liked it. You guys keep up the good work and stay true to who you are and what you make. Eventually it will all pay off.
Posted: Wed, 27th Apr 2011, 11:02am

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The Chosen One

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Finally got to watch this, and I really think you guys did a great job. I kinda knew how it was going to end but that didn't take away from the film itself.

I really liked the color and the overall tone of the film, some of the shots were a little shaky but not so bad as motion sickness set in...lol.

Keep up the good work, looking forward to a full length film from you guys.
Posted: Wed, 27th Apr 2011, 11:24am

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NuttyBanana

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Rating: +1

Atom wrote:

People took 2 weeks to make their projects? We took half a day.
Why? Why did you create yours in half a day if you had this kind of timescale to work with? We've all seen your film and agree it's a great piece of work for the time you did it in, but surely it would've been 10 times better had you put another week into it.

I'm sure there's more circumstance about it than 'we just decided to do it in half a day' but maybe the extra efforts would've rewarded you with your screening!
Posted: Wed, 27th Apr 2011, 4:35pm

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Atom

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Well part of it was that, conceptually, there wasn't much we/Ben could do. His ideas and setting all had to get approved by the department before we could begin shooting. He didn't get this confirmation until the day before we shot. Secondly, we knew whatever we did, we needed good actors for it, and we simply didn't have that until the very end.

In our mind, or at least mine, there are very few actors I could find- maybe none- that can give the weary expressiveness that Trevor can without ever saying any words. To get him and (initially) Reese to work on the project, we had to work when they were free. That wasn't until the very end- and even then, Reese got busy himself and we used Josh instead.

It's not really a matter of 'we forced ourselves into this timeframe because of this excuse' or 'we could've done this with a week more', because we really and truly just didn't have that time, and if we did it wouldn't have been with the same talent, determinism, and resources we had in the time we completed it.

This wasn't my class, but I'm lucky enough to have taken it vlbefore Ben, and I don't think there's much more we could've or would've wanted to do with 5 minutes and no words. Sure, there are some things we could tune up or add, but more or less the project is the kind of film we always would've and always will tell with 5 minutes and no dialog.

We're not going to make the cutesy love story or the artsy dancing video trying excruciatingly hard to be like a silent live-action Pixar short film. We're going to make an Atomic Production. And that's what we did. We'd been busy and booked with contracted/client video work all the way until last week (and ongoing, too) and hadn't had approval for the work (or using a gun) until right near the end.

Had it been a project longer than 5 minutes, or included dialog, a greater length would've likely yielded better results. But as it is, and under the pretenses and requirements it was under, I think we'd say we're happy with how it came out.
Posted: Wed, 27th Apr 2011, 5:02pm

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ben3308

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His point was that with this film, unlike others we've shot, it's solid/consistent enough to speak for itself. I had issues with development and script, and all my actors dropped out last minute, so we drafted a new script two days before the deadline and the ebbing before the deadline I went and shot it.

Point is: I storyboarded the whole movie out and followed our script to a tee, and there's no shots/cuts/performances/sounds that we'd change here. We did, unlike our other contest work, exactly what we had planned with this one. Even the shake people have commented on - that was all 100% intentional in the dried ravine scenes, if you've seen Breaking Bad or 21 Grams you'll get the feeling there. The 'centering the subject in a handheld, dead-on shot' was something I've never done and the match cut in the beginning from day-to-night as well as the match cut from Trevor to Josh with the bag on his head was intentionally wobbly/uneasy. That could've been mounted on my tripod (as 90% of what I shot - not necessarily what made the cut - was) but I wanted the uneasiness because I thought it would be a sort of 'new shake' for me to do, in the vein of something Breaking Bad's Michael Slovis would do; very 'un-Bourne', if you will. biggrin

Yes, I shot it last minute, and my brother edited it last minute; but there are seldom choices with technicals that we'd like to change posthaste, especially in the case of Bury the Hatchet. It was a school project, and I reluctantly followed all of the 'no dialogue' and 'no guns' rules (to be exempt from the second one, I had to file waivers for insurance with the University, the actors, and the police department, which I did the day before we shot, in a very rushed manner (admittedly).

But I think we made exactly, 100% the movie we wanted to. Down to 90% of the cuts and shots we got. Yes, it's simple and a bit prolonged, and some cuts (night exteriors when Josh is 'taken') go pretty fast, but we followed out script almost exactly, and had faith in what we made. So....yeah. I think this is precisely the 'Atomic Production' we needed to produce for this class project. When I shot my brother's project last year for the same class, it felt somewhat rushed and uncertain as to whether it would all come together appropriately.

With us, I think, it's not time needed to get things done, it's largely about our motivation and how prepared we are to make what we want. In some cases, we have rough ideas that we throw ourselves into and produce something totally unexpected by the end. 'Bury The Hatchet' was quick, yes, but it was probably the most planned-out short we've ever, ever shot. So.....that's that, I suppose! biggrin

Thanks everyone for taking the time to watch and discuss this film, we were certainly looking for people's thoughts on it. It feels a little more clinical/less hearty than our other stuff, given the no-words-low-volume-emotions context compared to, say, 'Release', but we are/were eager to see what people thought of this. As a sidenote, I don't mean to disparage anyone in my film class, as I'm friends with and I very much appreciate the work of my classmates. I got put into an uncommonly unpretentious lab section full of some very creative and talented people, so I'm thankful for that!
Posted: Sun, 1st May 2011, 7:04pm

Post 35 of 37

ben3308

Force: 5210 | Joined: 24th May 2004 | Posts: 6433

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Gold Member

Hey guys, sorry to double post, but I thought this would help my case a bit, heh. biggrin

I got word a few days ago that 'Bury The Hatchet' was independently screened by the professor and chosen for the 'final review' screenings here at UT this Thursday. All is not lost! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 4th May 2011, 9:44am

Post 36 of 37

Simon K Jones

Force: 27955 | Joined: 1st Jan 2002 | Posts: 11683

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FXhome Team Member

Nice work! Excellent style and a neat little story. I'll echo what Arktic said about The Gitlin - he really is superb and can carry a film on his own quite capably. Don't lose him!
Posted: Wed, 4th May 2011, 8:45pm

Post 37 of 37

Atom

Force: 4300 | Joined: 9th May 2004 | Posts: 7014

EffectsLab Lite User FXhome Movie Maker Windows User

Gold Member

Thanks!

We're gearing our larger Western project to feature Trevor and Josh (probably as brothers, coincidently) along with John as an antagonist and a few other yet-to-be-cast characters- so it's definitely exciting to see them flex their acting subtleties in this. Trevor's really I think decided to take on acting as his pursuit in life, and it's astounding to see how dedicated and anti-conflict/argumentative he is. Extremely fun and positive guy to work with.

Him and Josh both, really. After years of working with a llotta actors, you find lots have intricacies and hold-ups on certain things in certain instances that you don't expect, and both Trevor and Josh are (generally) free of those on projects.

Thanks for watching!