Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Lot Take 3

So I'm still committed to rambling about On The Lot each week, despite the fact that it has nothing good enough to ramble about. They've made it a writing competition and as far as I can tell, it's not anything like what was advertised. Srsly Fox, you dropped this one on it's head and I'm going to be surprised if it survives.

I hope the Project-Top-Shear-Designer people get around to doing a show about filmmaking. They might manage to make one where the challenges are challenging and actually judge each contestant against each other by giving them an even playing field.

And maybe they'll have judges who can give honest critique rather than being all good or all bad. Because you can tell that this episode they were told to be bitchier, and they delivered. Badly. If you're going to be mean, be mean like Nina. Nina knows how to dish it out and say "I'm sorry, but you suck and here's why." Rather than:
"To succeed in this business as a woman, you have to be great. This was really good."

Anyway...

Polished

So this was pretty cute, and well done. I like how many directors are making more silent films to make sure they don't have to worry about writing. Seeing as how DIRECTORS AREN'T WRITERS. Come on people, they're not.

Anyway. Since I've known a lot of custodial staff-types, I really liked this film. I thought it was a little...lackluster maybe, since I forgot it existed until I looked at the list again. It didn't really stand out THAT much, but it was good and probably one of the best offerings of the evening. It had some really fantastic moments in it, and I think the over the top sliding on the floor was comical and fitting.

I do wonder who bought the hamburgers, but that doesn't matter that much I guess.

Love At First Shot

This is the one with the WoW joke, so it automatically wins in my mind. Honestly, it was also cliche, but it was memorable for me. I think it was well done, and amusing. I think Cupid could have been a bigger character, that's true, but for the most part it worked.

It was okay, again. But it does show the guy is competant. The problem is that the way the judges critiqued it, they talked about the WRITING. If they aren't handing these men and women scripts, then they need to stop talking about the content and talk about how it's filmed. Oi.

Also, Ms. Fisher, Cupid WAS wearing a diaper. What movie were you watching?

Beeline
aka Slut Mom

Television Without Pity wins for their description of Shira-Lee: "Shira-Lee is next, looking like Linda Blair crossed with a crazier-eyed version of Linda Blair."

Okay, I'm sure that this makes me an evil person, but if this was Project Top Shear Designer, then SOME judge would have looked up and said "I know you said your son took direction well, but that means you failed as a director because he was terrible."

I'm sorry, he was, he was bad. For the most part, he didn't need to be that good. But he had ONE line he absolutly had to deliver perfectly because it was the crux of the story and he bombed it. As far as I can tell he bombed it SO bad that they couldn't even show him deliver it on the screen, which ABSOLUTLY should have been there, not a reaction shot.

In other words: massive failure in directing. None of the other films (aside from Kenny, who is so pretenious I can't describe it) had such a glaring error and not a single judge mentioned it because they were too busy CRITIQUING THE WRITING.

When the son says "Who are they, I'll find them" you HAVE to have his face, because we have to understand why the woman freaks out so much. If you can't have him because you want her reaction, a two shot would be fine, but having that line, the only powerful line he delivers the entire time, be off screen? It was a completly wrong decision, probably neccessitated by bad casting. All of this being BAD DIRECTING.

And, to critique the writing, I didn't like this short anyway. Something was just off about it and I spent the entire time not really caring. The only amusing thing was the woman running in her silly toboggan and puffy coat, which was the most memorable image of the entire night. Shame it didn't go in a movie that succeeded elsewhere.

Dance With The Devil

I hated this film. I wanted to like it because so far, I liked Marty Martin and I thought the judges were extremly unfair (as is Television Without Pity) by harping on his trailer in the last assignment.

I'll say it very clearly and in bold: A trailer for a film that doesn't exist IS a short creative work AKA a short film. Thus his previous entry DID complete the assignment in a memorable, inventive, and unique way.

Also: KENNY ALSO DID A TRAILER. More accuratly, Kenny did a craptastic midnight on cable access commercial. Yet nobody mentions that because it was SO out there and followed no conventions, so I guess people can admit it's a short film? It's dumb.

But anyway: Marty should have been one of the top contenders. He should not be any more. Why?

Because this movie showed almost no departure from the style and substance of the other two pieces he's contributed to. First project with the group? A story about an assassin or something with wacky lighting and sparse dialogue and people that know they're too damn cool for you.

Second: four goofballs try to rob somebody, all under a green filter. The characters are over the top, and since it's comedic, they're fun and interesting.

Third: Again with the green filter (don't do the same thing twice dude) and then you throw in some wacky subtitles that held no point except to make it look like a trailer, which after they overreacted to his trailer he should distance himself from. The subtitles were the kicker for me, that was so much...

It's like those big budget filmmakers who want to think they're "indy" by doing quirky strange things that have no point. Things that have no point do nothing but detract from your skill and hide what you can and can't do, which I guess is effective if you're lame.

Anyway. His story could have been interesting if I hadn't seen it a million times before. The acting was really good, but again it was old news.

So the only thing that he had to go on and talk about was his "style" and when Carrie Fisher rightly told him that perhaps he needs to balance style and substance, he blew up at her and was a complete egotistical ass. She had a valid point, he could have said "That's true, but I think that the substance was there, I'm just a very stylized director" but instead he was a jerk.

Take criticism well. Rule #1. His entire film was riding on two things: a green filter and some subtitles. But they had no reason for being there since the green filter was there last week...

This makes me think Mr. Martin either doesn't know how to white balance, or just enjoys making things look moldy. If he wasn't in a group with Kenny, I would say he should go home because of lack of imagination hiding behind being different.

Of course, I think he's going to be a favorite and go really far because it's not that he's BAD. I just dislike him for the same reason I disliked Santino or Laura on Project Runway. I want new things each week, I want to see what else people can do.

Edge on the End

We all know I don't like Kenny. At all. I can't describe how much he needs to take a step back and stop being "different just like everybody else."

The stuff that he's submitting to this competition, that is supposed to be the cream of a crop of thousands, is terrible. It's the kind of emo strangness kids make in high school these days. It had no point, and once again he committed what is my new cardinal sin of movies: he had to explain something because it wasn't in the movie.

If you don't make it clear in the film that the father was an alchoholic then it either a-isn't important (and that happens, really), or b-can't be considered as part of the plot. It wasn't clear enough, so it doesn't count.

I can't even bring myself to critique this as a piece of short film. If I was shown this in my intro to film class, where I saw short works that were much better than this, and was asked to talk about it, I would say that I felt it went on about twice as long as it needed to unless more was introduced (different images, instead of the same ones repeated) and that I felt that it needed a stronger script to portray what is a really movie and important subject. I don't know how I would have found a good comment to add besides that the subject matter was interesting, which it really isn't. I mean, it can be, but honestly, why were we treated to five films that I could find about three big name examples of their plots done better?

Please, America. I hope you cut Kenny so that he might realize that he does NEED to be given some formal training so that he could stop being intro to film and start being interesting. He might actually have some talent under all that "different like everybody else."

I think we should rename Kenny's film from "Edge on the End" to "Cheer Up Emo Kid" and mock it appropriatly. I realize it could have been worse, and it showed SOME skill. But it showed little more skill than I've seen on YouTube.

Actually, that's what it was. It was a YouTube video. And it's on what is supposed to be a NATIONAL comeptition!

Okay, I'm done.

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