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watch To Wander Ros Cala | A Fantasy Short Film

HU_Nathan7

Member
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To Wander Ros Cala is a short film I have spent the last 3 years working on. I got my start creating Halo 2 machinima back in the very early days of YouTube, and since then have always been drawn to telling stories around the science fiction genre.

This film was created within a $3k budget, which can be tough for a fantasy film. We used costumes from resources we already had, which include friends who are involved in collecting swords and people involved in our local LARP community.

I'm now working with a group of writers to create a pitch deck for a TV adaptation.

Watch the film:

Any feedback is welcome!​
 

pedramyz

Member
good job man!
Cinematography wise it looks really good. Sound was great too. Your fighting scenes and the effects are not bad though the effects feel a bit shallow( without texture). your fighting scenes could benefit from a better editing and choreography. The make up and clothing could be done a little better as your characters came off a bit too polished/neat. Everyone's acting was decent except for your protagonist the fox guy. His forced voice kept catching me off guard, and his acting felt a bit too cheesy. Though I don't know if that's intentional or not. I didn't get your twist at the end.
Considering the 3k budget you did a fascinating job with this movie! I don't know if I could pull it off. The critique I gave you was given out of comparison with a decent budgeted studio film( I know it's not fair, so.. sorry for that 😞).
 

mlesemann

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
I like it! Nicely done.

A few quibbles - as @pedramyz said, the people are too neat & clean, as are their clothes. You can probably find a make-up person & someone for wardrobe who would help out on this type of a project in exchange for a credit.

There are a couple of scenes that I think could be tightened. The walking through the woods sequences were too long, as was the scene around the campfire.

Also, I think that if you can't get actors who are supposed to be from the same area to all do the same accent, you're probably better just using whatever is "normal" where you live.

Did you submit it to any festivals?
 

HU_Nathan7

Member
Wow love the feedback. This is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking to hear (though ideally you all would just tell me how perfect the film is and how I'm the next Tarantino).
I don't like budget as an excuse for lesser quality, so I'm definitely down to be compared to the big timers.

We shot on a RED One. Which was the exact physical camera that was used on the first larger film set I ever worked on (as a PA). So it was cool to then get to direct while using that exact same camera a few years later. Our DoP was deff super clutch. I'm not sure how much DP work he does, but I know he does a ton of gaffer and key grip work. He and our whole cinematography team were really incredible and I think a lot of them work together at one of the major rental houses here in Atlanta.

We really aimed high and only submitted to festivals that were Academy Award backed. Which also means we were rejected from every festival we submitted to. But I wanted to shoot for the stars, and I've heard that having small festivals screen your festival first can really hurt your chances of getting into a larger festival.
 
Another vote for the "too clean" comment ; and if Bosko and Priah are on a trek where they haven't even enough food to eat, their "perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth" appearance feels wrong.

Before I continue, I would like to echo pedramyz's remark in respect to the comments below: I think you've done a good job on a budget, but maybe the festival people spotted these things too ...?

First up: the tavern sequence just didn't make sense to me. Who's the young girl? who's the guy with the patch - oh, it's Bosko ... why does he have a towel over one eye? where did the Oktoberfest barmaid come from ...? It reminded me of the old days, when you'd try to record one episode of a series on VHS tape, get the timing wrong and on playback, the end would cut abruptly to something else you'd recorded ages ago. It's neither a beginning nor an ending, and just doesn't seem to belong with the other story.

Personal taste: I'd have preferred the flashback to have been inserted earlier, say after Bosko warns the main villain that the Priah is a dangerous creature. Then cut back to the fight scene.
I appreciate that it's cut the way it is to explain why Priah feels she owes Bosko something, but (again personal taste, and also see below) one bowl of soup isn't really that big a debt ... (Also: what's going on with Bosko and his hand? - he was stabbed in the chest ...) (Another also: why does Bosko need to use the name Fox?)

Technical points: the lighting in the woodland scenes is quite inconsistent, and some of the camera angles too.

In the flashback, Bosko is alternately in bright sunshine and deep shade several times over, even though he's not moving from his tree! Similarly in the opening scene, the main villain is so brightly lit in contrast to the others and the forest, it almost looks like his part was shot against a greenscreen! And in the long (loooonnnnggg) walk sequence, the shadows, sunbeams and sunset in the different shots are all a bit muddled. I couldn't figure out if this was one day's walk, or supposed to indicate their progress over several days. The fact that the actors' appearance doesn't change at all from start to finish doesn't help ...

The (change of) camera angle that most distracted me is at 2:09, close-up on the baldy-bearded bad-guy: just prior to the cut, with the two principals in the foreground on either side, he's framed against a tight stand of mature trees, right behind him, all quite menacing and in keeping with the mood; then for the close-up, he's moved to a different part of the woods, much more airy and light, with younger, slender trees far behind, and with a brightly dressed, jester-like character fidgeting in the background. Huh?

All of the above makes me wonder how much of each scene was shot on the fly, how much was fully storyboarded and blocked, were some of these shots re-shoots a week later, etc. As a primarily still-photographer (at the moment), I'm commenting above my paygrade, but I would see these as straightforward directing & cinematography oversights (or even "mistakes") that spoil an otherwise good production.

It thought the sound went a bit flat in the middle, especially during the flashback - Alcove Audio's comments on Odd Ginger's thread would apply here too: needs more Foley! And some "epic" music for that long walk.

Ignoring the final scene, I found the script/dialogue pretty good (for the genre), the choice of locations was in keeping with each sequence, and the CGI was nicely done, not too over-the-top (a definite positive compared to many big budget movies). If it was re-shot with more attention to wardrobe&make-up and to those lighting details, and probably tightened up to about 10 minutes, I could better imagine it as a teaser for the adventures of Bosko & Priah.

Hope that's not too brutal a review ....
 

HU_Nathan7

Member
Another vote for the "too clean" comment ; and if Bosko and Priah are on a trek where they haven't even enough food to eat, their "perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth" appearance feels wrong.

Before I continue, I would like to echo pedramyz's remark in respect to the comments below: I think you've done a good job on a budget, but maybe the festival people spotted these things too ...?

First up: the tavern sequence just didn't make sense to me. Who's the young girl? who's the guy with the patch - oh, it's Bosko ... why does he have a towel over one eye? where did the Oktoberfest barmaid come from ...? It reminded me of the old days, when you'd try to record one episode of a series on VHS tape, get the timing wrong and on playback, the end would cut abruptly to something else you'd recorded ages ago. It's neither a beginning nor an ending, and just doesn't seem to belong with the other story.

Personal taste: I'd have preferred the flashback to have been inserted earlier, say after Bosko warns the main villain that the Priah is a dangerous creature. Then cut back to the fight scene.
I appreciate that it's cut the way it is to explain why Priah feels she owes Bosko something, but (again personal taste, and also see below) one bowl of soup isn't really that big a debt ... (Also: what's going on with Bosko and his hand? - he was stabbed in the chest ...) (Another also: why does Bosko need to use the name Fox?)

Technical points: the lighting in the woodland scenes is quite inconsistent, and some of the camera angles too.

In the flashback, Bosko is alternately in bright sunshine and deep shade several times over, even though he's not moving from his tree! Similarly in the opening scene, the main villain is so brightly lit in contrast to the others and the forest, it almost looks like his part was shot against a greenscreen! And in the long (loooonnnnggg) walk sequence, the shadows, sunbeams and sunset in the different shots are all a bit muddled. I couldn't figure out if this was one day's walk, or supposed to indicate their progress over several days. The fact that the actors' appearance doesn't change at all from start to finish doesn't help ...

The (change of) camera angle that most distracted me is at 2:09, close-up on the baldy-bearded bad-guy: just prior to the cut, with the two principals in the foreground on either side, he's framed against a tight stand of mature trees, right behind him, all quite menacing and in keeping with the mood; then for the close-up, he's moved to a different part of the woods, much more airy and light, with younger, slender trees far behind, and with a brightly dressed, jester-like character fidgeting in the background. Huh?

All of the above makes me wonder how much of each scene was shot on the fly, how much was fully storyboarded and blocked, were some of these shots re-shoots a week later, etc. As a primarily still-photographer (at the moment), I'm commenting above my paygrade, but I would see these as straightforward directing & cinematography oversights (or even "mistakes") that spoil an otherwise good production.

It thought the sound went a bit flat in the middle, especially during the flashback - Alcove Audio's comments on Odd Ginger's thread would apply here too: needs more Foley! And some "epic" music for that long walk.

Ignoring the final scene, I found the script/dialogue pretty good (for the genre), the choice of locations was in keeping with each sequence, and the CGI was nicely done, not too over-the-top (a definite positive compared to many big budget movies). If it was re-shot with more attention to wardrobe&make-up and to those lighting details, and probably tightened up to about 10 minutes, I could better imagine it as a teaser for the adventures of Bosko & Priah.

Hope that's not too brutal a review ....
Not too brutal at all. I seriously love it and find it super refreshing to hear all this feedback from everyone.
And I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to really critique it to such detail. Super helpful.

Most of it was shot with a super large crew and very closely storyboarded. Except for the flashback scene where Bosko is standing by a tree and has the confrontation with Priah. That was a pretty last second reshoot we did months after with the little available gear we had. Really as an exposition dump (without that scene, you don't even know his name is Bosko) mixed with a bit of added tension between the two characters. I shot it myself, which may explain why the cinematography is a little lesser than the other scenes where we had a full crew. That was really the only "on the fly" stuff we shot.

I'm actually really not a huge fan of the tavern scene either. It doesn't make much sense within the short film, but is really there because it's a proof of concept and supposed to show a larger scope to the story and world. But I think in working on the tv pitch, we'd probably lose that "20 years later" narrative all together. I think you're right in that it doesn't really work or make sense or is simply not that interesting.

The part at 2:09 was actually all filmed in the exact same place so not sure why it feels that way but I'll have to look into that.

Seriously, thanks for taking the time.
 
The part at 2:09 was actually all filmed in the exact same place so not sure why it feels that way
Oh, I know why it feels that way! It is (just/only) a question of camera angle - a small move of the camera to the left, nudging the tall trees out of shot and bringing the other character into unobstructed view (he's mostly hidden behind Bosko before the cut). I'd wonder did your DP change lenses between the two shots, too? A shorter focal length, with the camera placed nearer to the actor for the close-up would also affect the feel of the background. If the angle was exactly the same, that might not be so noticeable, but with either the camera or the actor having moved a foot or two to the side, the effect is exaggerated.

If I appear overly sensitive on this point, you can blame my mother: she was the first person to warn me that the background can really mess up an otherwise great shot :cry: - and that was back when she used a Box Brownie; so it's hardwired into my genome at this stage! 👴
 

OddGinger

Member
It may not be perfect, but it is a pretty strong extremely low budget fantasy film. I will add that it was of a high enough quality that I subscribed to your channel so I can see what's next. Are you going to explore this world more, or are you moving on to new ideas?
 

HU_Nathan7

Member
It may not be perfect, but it is a pretty strong extremely low budget fantasy film. I will add that it was of a high enough quality that I subscribed to your channel so I can see what's next. Are you going to explore this world more, or are you moving on to new ideas?
Thanks so much!

Yeah we currently have 2 other scripts ready to go; both which I think are much stronger than the first. Hoping those will be much more streamlined than this one, and we’ll skip the whole festival process so it will be more about faster, regular releases.

And we’re fleshing out the world and putting together a pitch deck as a television series to show through our agent. I’m honestly really proud of how that’s turning out. That wouldn’t be on our YouTube directly but I think we’ll have a lot of behind the scenes content. Also going to be posting some tutorials and even a LUT pack in relation to this film.

Working on other content as well, but as far as YouTube goes, I think To Wander Ros Cala is going to stay the focus.
 
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