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watch My first short film "Chá para dois" "Tea for two"

My first short film (in portuguese) called "Tea for two".

This is the first time i've tried to really film something and i also had never edited a video before. I only made it to start gaining experience.

I used a Nokia 5800, filmed in black & white with nothing but a shitty small lamp, normal house lights and sunlight. I filmed without capturing audio, so i had to spent the past 2 days looking on the internet for sound fx and adding them.

It's bad but im actually proud of it. It made me realize that i really want to become a filmmaker and it makes me want to improve. A lot!

I tried to add subtitles on youtube but the editor is so annoying that i gave up for now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccOg3q8hzag
 
Congrats on finishing your first film!

It's way, way too long. Over four minutes in and nothing has happened other than introducing the main character. What do we know about him at that point? He's male, showers, and may be preparing for a date. You could have achieved the same thing in under 30 seconds.

Then we get two minutes of him preparing tea service - again, way more than you need to communicate to the audience what is happening.

After that, you rush through the part that seems like it should be longer and slower feeling - him waiting. It's not actually too fast, but In comparison to the 6+ minutes that came before it feels quick, which seems to be the opposite of what you're trying to convey.

The best part in my opinion is the second to the last shot - straight on with him sitting on the couch. Unfortunately, very few people are going to get that far because they have to wait through nearly seven minutes of nothing happening before anything interesting begins to happen. The last shot (couch from the side) is unnecessary, as it doesn't convey anything the shot before didn't, and it's not nearly as powerful a composition.

The good news is that everything I've suggested could be fixed by re-editing it. The whole thing should be about three minutes, tops. There's certainly things you could do to improve the camera work, etc, but if you cut it down you could make it a dramatically better film without having to re-shoot anything. Set yourself a 3-minute running time limit and see if you can't tell the same story.
 
Congrats on finishing your first film!

It's way, way too long. Over four minutes in and nothing has happened other than introducing the main character. What do we know about him at that point? He's male, showers, and may be preparing for a date. You could have achieved the same thing in under 30 seconds.

Then we get two minutes of him preparing tea service - again, way more than you need to communicate to the audience what is happening.

After that, you rush through the part that seems like it should be longer and slower feeling - him waiting. It's not actually too fast, but In comparison to the 6+ minutes that came before it feels quick, which seems to be the opposite of what you're trying to convey.

The best part in my opinion is the second to the last shot - straight on with him sitting on the couch. Unfortunately, very few people are going to get that far because they have to wait through nearly seven minutes of nothing happening before anything interesting begins to happen. The last shot (couch from the side) is unnecessary, as it doesn't convey anything the shot before didn't, and it's not nearly as powerful a composition.

The good news is that everything I've suggested could be fixed by re-editing it. The whole thing should be about three minutes, tops. There's certainly things you could do to improve the camera work, etc, but if you cut it down you could make it a dramatically better film without having to re-shoot anything. Set yourself a 3-minute running time limit and see if you can't tell the same story.


While im going to try and do a re-edition with a 3/4 minutes of running time limit just for experience sake, i must tell you that the short ended up almost as i had envisioned it. I like things slow, i already had to control myself in order to get a 12min running time. And if i cut more, i don't think im gonna achieve the effect i was looking for.

Although i agree with you that the waiting part should be longer. And i have yet to decide if i was able to achieve the loneliness tone i was aiming for. And regarding the last shot, although it isn't crucial, it shows people that "they're" watching a movie with the tv turned off.

Initially my idea was to have some old movie dialogue playing during that last shot even though the tv was turned off in order to show people that it was all in his imagination but i decided against it because i want everyone to draw they're own conclusions.

Is the character training for a date ? Is he crazy ? Lonely ? Has he lost a girlfriend somehow and that's his way of keeping her "alive"?
 
I get that. Believe it or not I've also had this exact same conversation with several other people about very similar films (usually their first). In fact, I've actually made my own 'lonely guy' film, way back in the early days of my own learning process. It may well be a right of passage in the process of learning filmmaking, right up there with 'coming of age', 'guy with a gun', and 'film about making a film'.

Here's the thing - slow doesn't equal lonely. There's absolutely nothing about the first four minutes that says anything about being lonely. He's just a guy getting out of the shower, and getting ready for something. It's something that typically is done alone, and that everybody does on a regular basis, and therefore doesn't tell the audience anything they don't already know.

You're going to lose most of your audience here, especially online, because a couple minutes in there's absolutely nothing they haven't seen before every single day of their own lives, and as the minutes tick by there's no indication that anything of interest is going to happen.

The tea service preparation is similar - it doesn't tell us much about the character, it doesn't convey anything about loneliness, all it serves to do is set up the final sequence. You could achieve exactly the same effect in one or two very brief shots.

I didn't even catch the fact that the tv was off in the last shot. It's so dark it just sort of disappears into the background. Cutting to a 90-degree angle of the previous shot like that just feels awkward, and the difference in exposure/lighting in the shot makes them feel somewhat disconnected.
 
I understand what you are trying to say and agree with you on most things. I'm going to try and re-edit it with a 4 minute limit. I guess i got too caught up trying to emulate refn's style. (yes i know he doesn't show long scenes of a character doing trivial things but there's a lot in his movies where nothing really happens.)

Thank you very much, i need as much feedback as i can get by this point. :)
 
I think there's a difference between nothing really happening, and nothing being conveyed to the audience. Refn relies very heavily on striking compositions, cinematography and production design, music, etc to build scenes which convey emotion apart from the action, or lack of it, on screen. He often dances on the edge between showing/telling enough and too little, with varying success - which is as dependent upon the individual viewer as anything else.

He also utilizes things designed to grab the viewer's attention, and things which are slower and more esoteric, so that the former essentially earns the viewer's patience during the latter (you could almost argue that the entirety of Drive serves this purpose for Only God Forgives). Once people are intrigued by something they become more invested in seeing more and seeing it through, so if you don't at least start with something that suggests there's value in patience you run the risk of losing a lot of your audience.

My suggestion to cut the film down isn't to say that this couldn't be a successful 12 minute film - just that what you've shot so far only constitutes about 3 minutes worth of solid material. The material you have is simply not dense enough for the current running length. And as you stated in your other thread, and is evident by the film itself, you're just at the beginning of learning all the different crafts necessary to make a film - cinematography, lighting, sound design, editing, etc. In order to successfully emulate a style like Refn's you'll need to work on all of those, so it may be helpful to start out with something a little more straightforward in style and then build towards that style as you gain mastery of the craft.

Again though - congrats on completing your first film, that's the most important first step. Don't take any of my suggestions as criticism, rather critique designed to help you improve in your future projects. I feel the learning process is quickest when you alternate between doing, evaluating, and then applying the insights that come from that evaluation to the next project. You're clearly already thinking critically about what you're doing, so just keep making films!
 
Once again thanks for your words. I take your suggestions as constructive criticism, and im very happy that you expressed it. I'm always eager to talk to people who are more experienced that i am and im also going to take the time to watch your work btw.

Valhalla Rising for example, imo steps on the "showing too little" area.
 
Ok, I'll amend my previous statements. Showing someone get out of the shower and get dressed is something that almost everyone is already familiar with, and does on a daily basis.

For a particular niche audience though it may be a revelation! :lol:
 
Here it is. My short, edited down to 3 minutes and 56 seconds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAM0Yec4VzE&list=UULaijlYwURlKvHqXNaCytQA

Now, i'm going to try and explain why i still prefer the long (boring) version.

Would you edit Full Metal Jacket in order to cut down the training sequences ? I know those scenes in the movie are important and you are getting information BUT most directors wouldn't make you go trough 60 minutes of watching the same group training and getting yelled at. But FMJ does it and does it very well.

Now i'm not trying to compare a guy doing trivial boring stuff like washing his teeth with a few guys training for war BUT what i'm trying to achieve is that people actually get BORED! I want people to watch those 7 minutes of trivial bullshit and go "Oh my god, this guy is taking so long to get ready, i hope it's worth it.".

And that's why he puts perfume and checks his breath a couple of times, and why he takes so long getting ready. I want people to go trough that preparation with him, just like we go trough the training with those soldiers when we watch FMJ.

Then, when the "girlfriend" arrives and it's just part of his imagination. People will go "WTF! All of that preparation and his girlfriend ain't even real ?! This guy must be fucking crazy".

I want people to get bored, angry, whatever...with my work. I Want people to feel something, because i'm not making movies for those of "you" who will skip the boring parts or quit watching because of it being too boring. Guess what? I'm making movies for me.
 
i'm not making movies for those of "you" who will skip the boring parts or quit watching because of it being too boring. Guess what? I'm making movies for me.

That's certainly a valid approach, and the 'rules' are different when you're just making movies for yourself. As long as you're happy with it, and enjoy making and watching it, it works.

The thing is, I just don't believe you. :lol:

what i'm trying to achieve is that people actually get BORED! I want people to watch those 7 minutes of trivial bullshit and go "Oh my god, this guy is taking so long to get ready, i hope it's worth it.".
People will go "WTF! All of that preparation and his girlfriend ain't even real ?! This guy must be fucking crazy".
I want people to get bored, angry, whatever...with my work. I Want people to feel something,

That's an awful lot of consideration of what you want the audience to feel and think for someone who's making movies for themselves.

Plus, you created this thread to share the film, so you clearly were hoping people would watch it. The next day you posted the link to the film in your other thread. The day after that you posted here that you'd like some feedback. Five days after that you bumped this thread with a question mark, suggesting you were still waiting for feedback. Two months later, with no feedback forthcoming, you bumped the thread again, quoting your own request for feedback. You also posted the film again in the other thread, asking again for feedback. The following day you posted it in the other thread a third time.

Again, you're going to a lot of effort to get people to watch your film and tell you what they think of it for someone who's just making films for themselves.

So you'll have to forgive me when I say I don't believe you're making films for you. You may be making the film for you, but you're also making the film with an audience in mind, considering how they will react to it, making an effort to get people to watch it, and eager to hear how they feel about it. Now that you're getting some feedback, and you don't like it, you're going to have to decide if you're fine with it being a film that just works for you or if you want it to work for an audience as well.


Now, i'm going to try and explain why i still prefer the long (boring) version. [...]

And that's why he puts perfume and checks his breath a couple of times, and why he takes so long getting ready. I want people to go trough that preparation with him, just like we go trough the training with those soldiers when we watch FMJ.

There's a couple of key differences. First off, most people have gotten out of the shower, dressed, and cleaned up for a date, or a party, or work, or whatever - maybe daily, maybe a few times a week, certainly many, many times in their lives. When they watch your film they aren't seeing anything they aren't already intimately familiar with (other than mussonman, of course).

Most people in the audience haven't gone through basic training. They probably have no real idea how hard it is, or the kinds of crazy things that are involved. They don't know how it progresses, or what the effect is on the people going through it. On the most basic level it serves to introduce them to a world they aren't familiar with, aren't likely to ever experience themselves, and gives them a glimpse of what the experience is like for those who do go through it.

There's a second level though - the basic training section of FMJ isn't primarily about moving the plot forward. It's a framework for setting up and exploring the characters, their personalities and interpersonal dynamics. What they're doing isn't as important as how they each react and are affected differently by the experiences they are sharing. Most of the secondary characters act as foils for the protagonist, so that through his experience of interacting with them we come to know and identify with him.

And then on top of all that there's a third level - the whole boot camp segment serves as part of Kubrick's commentary on the structure and practices of the military, and lays the groundwork for the way the soldiers who are a product of that system will behave on the battlefield.

It may be an hour long, but it's dense - so that every shot, scene and sequence in that hour builds on the levels of meaning and the experience for the audience.

Your sequence, in comparison, is of very low density. It doesn't show the audience something new, it does little to establish the character in any meaningful way, and it doesn't appear to have any larger commentary or meaning. It merely documents an everyday action.

what I'm trying to achieve is that people actually get BORED! I want people to watch those 7 minutes of trivial bullshit and go "Oh my god, this guy is taking so long to get ready, i hope it's worth it.".

I still don't see how boring the audience plays into this goal at all. You could have shown 3x as much preparation in half the time you spent, which would have the audience thinking "what is this guy doing so much prep for?" You aren't actually showing a lot of prep - who doesn't spend at least five minutes getting ready for... almost anything? What you've shown isn't abnormal, or excessive, or unusually detailed, so why would anyone question why he's doing it? They're more likely to simply question why they're watching it.

Then, when the "girlfriend" arrives and it's just part of his imagination. People will go "WTF! All of that preparation and his girlfriend ain't even real ?! This guy must be fucking crazy".

Again, how does boring them play into this? You want to engage your audience by building anticipation, let them form expectations, and then break those expectations to create your WTF moment. Boring your audience is exactly the opposite of that - they disengage, they have no expectations, and thus they have no investment in the outcome of what they're watching.

Think about it this way - what are the odds of you getting the desired reaction from your audience if most of them stop watching long before they get to the point where you reveal it?
 
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(Sorry for not quoting you're post and answer each paragraph individually like you did, my current state of mind does not allow me to partake in such endeavor.

First off, i'm making films for me, yes! But that doesn't mean i don't want people to watch it or get feedback. I want EVERYONE to watch my movies, but i'm not trying to entertain audiences, this isn't transformers. I'm sure guys like Refn don't exactly have audiences in mind when they try to 'sell' Valhalla or Only God Forgives, or when Buckethead releases dozens of albums each year all deprived of mass appealing music. Don't they want people to appreciate their work ? Fuck yeah they do, but im pretty sure they made it for themselves.

Also, i'm sorry if i made you think i didn't liked your feedback. I was happy with it and i have enjoyed talking with you but as you may be aware english is not my first language, so sometimes my sentences may or may not pass the wrong atittude/feeling whatever. You can't learn without feedback.





Secondly, my initial plan was to film the whole bathroom sequence in a continuous shot but i eventually dropped the all idea due to the room size. And given the theme of the short film i could not exactly show the main character doing interesting things that moved the plot forward or whatever, so when i say that i stand behing the all 7 minutes preparation thing, i don't mean that what he's doing is important.

What's important is the time. What's important is taking 7 minutes before something happens, and boring is probably the wrong word. I don't want to make people stop watching, i want to make them a bit bored but also anxious to the point they're still waiting to see if something interest comes up but are about to stop watching.

I'm also aware that my short doesn't do a very good job in keeping the people interested. But like i said that was never the point.

Also, masses don't understand ( nor to they care to ) what Kubrick was trying to achieve with the one hour training sequence. They simply go "Is that that war movie that takes one hour before any shooting starts." My short is the one that takes 7 minutes before something happens. And yes, i know that what happens is far from enough to make people go "Wow, it was worth it.", they'll probably just go "Meh!".

Once again, i thank you for your feedback, it's really appreciated. The short was made from scratch in one day, simply as a means to gain experience and i've learned quite a bit from it. People's feedback as also taught and made me realize a few things. :)
 
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