Thursday, February 16, 2012

MUSIC ... IN ... SPACE!!!!

If I say "Music" and "Outer Space" believe it or not more than one filmmaker reading this will say, "He's talking about my movie!"

For some reason this year, music in space is a thing. Was there some trendy movie I don't know about that people are paying homage to? Doesn't matter, quality is always what's most important, and we've had that, but ... who knew?

We had our first urination scene, followed almost immediately with our second one. In one case it was entirely unnecessary, though tastefully done. In the other one, it had less taste, but was more filling.

Have you all said, "Eww!" just a little bit? That's kind of the way we feel when seeing body fluids spewed on the screen. Seriously, though, one of the scenes made sense and was necessary for the narrative. The hint of tastelessness fit the comic flying F-bombs just right. This is rare, though, so if you're considering a scene were someone pees, vomits, has snot run out of their nose - just know, it's been done... and done... and done. You want to be original? Write around it.

We had several composers completely kill movies. Granted, they were on life support already, but the bad music didn't just pull the plug, it smashed the machine with a baseball bat. I don't know how many times we've seen films where the music sounds like the composer put his iPad on the piano and improved cords as the scenes came up. Filmmakers, tell your composers, counterpoint. Scenes in a minor key don't need minor chords dragging across them like a boat anchor. Lately, the stereotype of the requiem scores are not complete without a cello. If you have a moody drama, and the music is mostly piano cords with cello droning in between, consider a remix.

We had a lot of black & white video last night. One sort of thought about the choice. There was some texture in the wardrobe and the lead character's face, but for the most part all of these films just looked like they'd turned off the color. If you are shooting in black & white, particularly a feature, understand, you have shot yourself in the foot at the beginning of a marathon. You can still win the race, but it will have to be a Herculean effort. Everything is different when you choose black & white. Even the sound has to be tweaked. Wardrobe, sets, locations, makeup, lighting, camera angles, everything has to be considered in a different way. If you want to see it done right, get your hands on a copy of Mike Testin's 2010 short, The Salesman.

Every time we put a movie in the machine, we want it to be good. The bad ones are so painful and slow that we are pulling for your films more than you can imagine. Last night we got a submission from an alumni I'm a big fan of, so I was excited to load it up. He has an ear for dialogue that is pitch-perfect. I'd love to act in one of their films because I know the words will melt in my mouth like butter. We were not disappointed. They delivered great laughs, performances, direction, and quality in all departments. Sure, this film may not be for girls, but the women in the room were laughing.

Lesson to all of you submitting. We love this movie. We love these filmmakers. But it has been seen at a lot of festivals. When it comes down to one open screening slot for this movie or an equally good world premiere, we're going to go with the premiere. And that's as painful for us as it is for you, but this is a painful business. Of course, that decision is still some weeks away, so sit tight.

That's it for this week. If you've learned anything today, please pass a link to your filmmaker friends. Our goal is to see better movies, so when you're talking on the set while waiting for the next shot to be ready, load this up on your smart phone and hand it to the budding director next to you.

Thanks for reading. See you next week.


John said...

Great stuff as usual Robert; always thought provoking and helpful to hear about what other filmmakers are doing. Even though I don't have a film to enter this year, will still keep checking out your blog.

RSMellette said...

Thanks for the kind words. And you could have a film in the festival this year. Keep an eye out for the 2Minute 2 Step.