watch Breaking Point - short film

TheMusicBox

Member
This is another very effective montage of different isolated lives sharing a connection (albeit through their TV screens), whilst poignantly presenting three tragedies: that of 9/11, that of the individual personal tragedies the characters experience and the tragedy that they are too engulfed in their own concerns to comprehend the seriousness and devastation of the events unfolding. The music is appropriately desolate in use and tone and the ultimate loose ends certainly ensure this film remains thought-provoking for a good while after it's finished.

To make this even more striking, you could have used more lines like 'are you using terrorist attacks to get out of taking care of your business?' more frequently and use more footage of the attacks in the middle of the film, when I think it's less frequently covered. For example, I think the only time the dad's story is compared with New York is when he's using it to distract the officers.

It might have been moving to explore the child's reaction to what's going on and perhaps how he explains that to her. It could also have created further contrast if there was one family directly affected by the attacks, for instance an injured relative. That may have further emphasised the ignorance and lack of concern of the other characters.

The voiceover at the end is very effective. A very good short film. :clap:
 
This is another very effective montage of different isolated lives sharing a connection (albeit through their TV screens), whilst poignantly presenting three tragedies: that of 9/11, that of the individual personal tragedies the characters experience and the tragedy that they are too engulfed in their own concerns to comprehend the seriousness and devastation of the events unfolding. The music is appropriately desolate in use and tone and the ultimate loose ends certainly ensure this film remains thought-provoking for a good while after it's finished.

To make this even more striking, you could have used more lines like 'are you using terrorist attacks to get out of taking care of your business?' more frequently and use more footage of the attacks in the middle of the film, when I think it's less frequently covered. For example, I think the only time the dad's story is compared with New York is when he's using it to distract the officers.

It might have been moving to explore the child's reaction to what's going on and perhaps how he explains that to her. It could also have created further contrast if there was one family directly affected by the attacks, for instance an injured relative. That may have further emphasised the ignorance and lack of concern of the other characters.

The voiceover at the end is very effective. A very good short film. :clap:
Again, super thanks for watching and taking the time to give feedback. I agree with you.

However, for good or bad, the one thing I (we) decided was not to overdo the 9/11 theme, but rather make it more of a background, to emphasize more how our own problems dwarf in comparison but we are too caught up with our own lives to care or bother. So I didn't want to make every scene about 9/11 but rather make it about the day it happened and then just show how people were busy doing other stuff, and with the dad scene, it was just a mention since he had his own issues.

It's always a fine line trying to balance between trying to make a point and not over making it. I always use William Friedkin's battle with William Peter Blatty over story telling in the Exorcist. Blatty wanted a scene to explain the story of what and why it happened. William said the whole movie explains it. i.e. the inference was there. It's not always an easy task, but the more films I make the more I tend to lean towards not explaining too much, but have the audience discuss the meaning etc.

I did end up cutting certain things. Also, I would have loved to do more with the kid, but unfortunately we are stuck with a 4 hour limit, another story in itself of the rules in California. I hate making excuses, but sometimes logistics prevent me from doing what I would love to do, which is to take more time etc.

At the end I just waned to comment on how we see things happen in the world but generally only give it 3 seconds of thought before we go back to dealing with our own lives.

Again, I REALLY appreciate your input. Always keep your comments in mind.
 

onebaldman

Member
Very good looking composition for the shots. The actors did very well playing convincing roles! Only things I didn't really care for is the length. Because of the lighting and color scheme it felt like the same set for every character. Almost like they were living in the same room, just inhabiting it at different times. The light through the windows was a little overwhelming. I like the haze, and it would have been a good look for one set, but not multiple.

If you had added a little more variety to the rooms and lighting, you could have really pushed the separation of the characters more.

That's the only thing I can think of.

Great on everything else though. You did very well with it, it just needed more variety and less length.
 
Very good looking composition for the shots. The actors did very well playing convincing roles! Only things I didn't really care for is the length. Because of the lighting and color scheme it felt like the same set for every character. Almost like they were living in the same room, just inhabiting it at different times. The light through the windows was a little overwhelming. I like the haze, and it would have been a good look for one set, but not multiple.

If you had added a little more variety to the rooms and lighting, you could have really pushed the separation of the characters more.

That's the only thing I can think of.

Great on everything else though. You did very well with it, it just needed more variety and less length.
Thanks for watching and for your feedback. All points well taken. I agree on most. I do it all, and we aren’t we limited on time, for example with the girl we only had 4 hours to shoot so there is only so much time I can do to light, do camera, audio etc. First time using haze, so I learned when to use it and how much. As far as the windows, you really only have two choices, gel up the windows or have powerful lights inside to match the outside temperature. Again, I'm just a one man band so I tried to use the haze to combat some of the harshness of the light.

All of the locations were so of mandatory since there is no budget, but some I wouldn't have used if I had a budget and could pick. The length is tricky because I did need everyone's story to be told, and I am fanatic about trying to tell short stories. I would with a group of actors and they all chip in so they expect a certain amount of time on screen. Not the ways I normally work, but hey, I do my best with what I have and from comments like yourself I will try to improve with each. :)
 

onebaldman

Member
All of the locations were so of mandatory since there is no budget, but some I wouldn't have used if I had a budget and could pick. The length is tricky because I did need everyone's story to be told, and I am fanatic about trying to tell short stories. I would with a group of actors and they all chip in so they expect a certain amount of time on screen.
Oh sure, I'm just saying you could have at least changed the white balance for each different actor group, just to really flesh out a different feeling or visualize different lifestyles.

I get what you mean with the length. I have the exact same problem. Only way I think I'll be able to fix it is by getting a different editor. They will have a better eye for the best parts of the film, plus I get to make the Director's Cut for re-release. Hahaha.
 
Oh sure, I'm just saying you could have at least changed the white balance for each different actor group, just to really flesh out a different feeling or visualize different lifestyles.

I get what you mean with the length. I have the exact same problem. Only way I think I'll be able to fix it is by getting a different editor. They will have a better eye for the best parts of the film, plus I get to make the Director's Cut for re-release. Hahaha.
I could probably cut a minute, but I think it moves fairly quickly. I edit for a decade so I'm the first one to cut unnecessary things out. I hired other editors before but I end up doing a better job :) What would you have cut out?

Yes, I agree on the color schemes. Will make an effort in the future to create different looks instead of my lazy approach and just an adjustment layer with one look for everything, even though most movies are "one look" especially films. Roger Deakins def is known for different looks.
 

onebaldman

Member
Like I said, my edits tend to not be great and drag on. But, that is all from feedback I've gotten too.

For your film, I would have probably removed the skit with the heavier set woman talking on the phone. It was the less entertaining portion of the group. I would have stuck with the brothers and the dad, the cheating couple, the father/daughter, and maybe the mom and mentally ill son.

That would have given shorter time right there.

Your cutting and shot connection is great. But maybe shift the sequence of events, because the dad getting stabbed is the most brutal and should be the ultimate climactic moment for the entire picture. You could also maybe remove the blood scenes. The part the dad realized he got stabbed, and not shown the blood at all, just had him look down in shock... Would have been a great dark humor kind of moment.

The color scheme and the way the film is edited now, I get a weird kind of humor feeling out of it. Almost like a dark comedy, satire kind of thing. Especially with the cheating spouse hanging with a guy named Joey Meatballz. But you could have definitely cut out some of the fighting the cheating couple did.

You could also cut the Mom on the phone bits down more. Show her in the beginning, her son interrupts, then closer to the end show her making stuff for her son. Instead of multiple cuts, maybe only do three cuts for each group of people?

The film is done, so I'm not expecting you to really do anything with this advice. It helps to chat with other Directors about projects, and I know I always appreciate the hell out of feedback, especially later on when it really starts to sink in.
 
Like I said, my edits tend to not be great and drag on. But, that is all from feedback I've gotten too.

For your film, I would have probably removed the skit with the heavier set woman talking on the phone. It was the less entertaining portion of the group. I would have stuck with the brothers and the dad, the cheating couple, the father/daughter, and maybe the mom and mentally ill son.

That would have given shorter time right there.

Your cutting and shot connection is great. But maybe shift the sequence of events, because the dad getting stabbed is the most brutal and should be the ultimate climactic moment for the entire picture. You could also maybe remove the blood scenes. The part the dad realized he got stabbed, and not shown the blood at all, just had him look down in shock... Would have been a great dark humor kind of moment.

The color scheme and the way the film is edited now, I get a weird kind of humor feeling out of it. Almost like a dark comedy, satire kind of thing. Especially with the cheating spouse hanging with a guy named Joey Meatballz. But you could have definitely cut out some of the fighting the cheating couple did.

You could also cut the Mom on the phone bits down more. Show her in the beginning, her son interrupts, then closer to the end show her making stuff for her son. Instead of multiple cuts, maybe only do three cuts for each group of people?

The film is done, so I'm not expecting you to really do anything with this advice. It helps to chat with other Directors about projects, and I know I always appreciate the hell out of feedback, especially later on when it really starts to sink in.
Yeah, the actors kinda pay me to shoot their footage for their reels, so it's not really much of an option to cut them out entirely. I obviously have some leeway, but without becoming too much of Edward Scissorhands. But yes I agree, had it been my own film 100% where I cast and in full charge everything would have been different. I work with them to help them build reels so we all get to learn and grow doing it.

But yes, I could have shifted it a bit. Again, thanks for the feedback.
 
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Before commenting, I watched this for second time this afternoon. My first (and second) impressions are similar to those above, specifically
(a) it could have been any day in the year, as the 9/11-ness didn't affect the story in any way, other than the Indian guy being sent home from work;
(c) the same-ness of some of the interior scenes; and
(b) the remarks about individual stories & length.

While acknowledging what you say about the actors wanting their screen time, I share the view that it could have been cut down by a couple of minutes or more. The scenes with mother talking on the phone essentially came to nothing (we've no idea what she was involved in or really how important to her it was), the couple's fight seemed to go on longer than needed for the story (and it was a bit weird the way the guy just came in, checked the girls e-mails as if it he did it all the time, then jumped immediately to conclusions), and there was enough acrimony between the two brothers to justify a "breaking point" fight without bringing the "adoption" twist into it.

Once it became clear that each story was (or might be) heading towards a violent climax, I was sure that we'd see a 9/11 twist where the relevant character in each story would try to call 911 and get no response - finally linking the "global" event on TV to the domestic tragedy; but that didn't happen, which was kind of an anticlimax.

Out of the four stories, the one that seemed the most "real" to me - in terms of script, acting, set decoration, cinematography - was the Latino lady. I'd be interested in seeing that one developed as a story in its own right.
 
Before commenting, I watched this for second time this afternoon. My first (and second) impressions are similar to those above, specifically
(a) it could have been any day in the year, as the 9/11-ness didn't affect the story in any way, other than the Indian guy being sent home from work;
(c) the same-ness of some of the interior scenes; and
(b) the remarks about individual stories & length.

While acknowledging what you say about the actors wanting their screen time, I share the view that it could have been cut down by a couple of minutes or more. The scenes with mother talking on the phone essentially came to nothing (we've no idea what she was involved in or really how important to her it was), the couple's fight seemed to go on longer than needed for the story (and it was a bit weird the way the guy just came in, checked the girls e-mails as if it he did it all the time, then jumped immediately to conclusions), and there was enough acrimony between the two brothers to justify a "breaking point" fight without bringing the "adoption" twist into it.

Once it became clear that each story was (or might be) heading towards a violent climax, I was sure that we'd see a 9/11 twist where the relevant character in each story would try to call 911 and get no response - finally linking the "global" event on TV to the domestic tragedy; but that didn't happen, which was kind of an anticlimax.

Out of the four stories, the one that seemed the most "real" to me - in terms of script, acting, set decoration, cinematography - was the Latino lady. I'd be interested in seeing that one developed as a story in its own right.
Hey thank for watching. Super appreciate it. I'm gonna do my best to provide some answers. As I mentioned above, I'm between a rock and a hard place when I shoot these shorts for the group because they are paying me to do them, so they all expect a certain amount of time on screen so I have to delicately balance that trying to tell an interesting story. It's not easy. Feels a bit like the lead character in Bullet Over Broadway who gets financed to do a play under the condition that he must feature certain people. Having said that, I do my best with what I have trying to please them and also myself. I'm not complaining about the situation, just explaining what I have to work with.

The whole point of the 9/11 being the background was deliberate. I didn't want it to really have any impact. Initially some of the stories were directly related to 9/11, but we decided against it. I just wanted the story to be about people having their own problems even when there are such bigger ones all the time.

I also originally had background stories for all of them explaining even more but it would have been too long and in the end I decided just to show what some people went through the day of 911/

I assume you mean the Russian girl, not latino. Funny, because someone else said to cut that and it was the least interesting, which is filmmaking for you.

Hope that answers some of your
 

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