Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Toys! Canon EOS C300

Canon USA will once again be joining us for the 2-Minute 2-Step Short Film Challenge, and this year is particularly exciting. Over the past five years Canon has used the 2-Step as a show case for their latest and greatest toys. In year one, it was the A1. A couple of years after that, we put the iconic 5D Mark II in the hands of our filmmakers, who had never seen anything like it before. The next year, half of the eight production teams asked, "Can we just bring our own 5D (or 7D)?"

This year Canon's new toy is the EOS C300.

Yeah, baby! In year one, the late Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back) dropped by to see the A1. I have a feeling that our little 2-Step competition might draw more such visitors this year. I can't wait!

If you've already entered the festival and want to hedge your bets, start writing your best 2-minute script now. If you don't have a film to enter, do the 2-Step and you might have finished film by June 7th.

We generally close submissions for the 2-Step after we announce the festival line-up, so you have time, but a good 2-page script can be hard to write, so get those submissions in. It's cheaper to enter than a stack of lottery tickets, your odds are a lot better, and you get to have a blast doing it.

Speaking of deadlines, March 31st is our FINAL DEADLINE. Yes, Without A Box has us do some kind of late-late deadline, but you're going to pay through the nose for that – so why not just buckle down, get it done and save some money?

On to the current submissions.

We are seeing some great looking films, that are not so well written, acted or directed. All of the cool cameras I've just talked about have definitely upped the game when it comes to photography, but how many times do I have to say it? A good picture of bad acting is a bad picture.

Along those same lines, good acting that can't be seen, is a waste. Yes, these new toys are fantastic in low light, but sometimes the light is so low – or the contrast between what is lit and what's not, is so wide – that we can't see the actor's faces. Yes, yes, sometimes that's a choice – but it's almost never a good one. You want it to be dark, fine. Get a flashlight, tape on a piece of diffusion and a nice color and stand behind the camera to pop in a little glow on your actors' faces. I've seen Dean Semler do that a thousand times. You should, too.

I've noticed a trend over the past couple of years of comedies that aren't the list bit funny, and they remind me of radio DJ's who think they are hilarious, but aren't. Since they can't hear if their audience is laughing or not, they have no idea if their bits are working. As theatre becomes a museum art form, film artists are getting further and further from training in live performances. Gone are the days of the Marx Brothers, who did their bits so many times in front of a live audience that they knew when to pause for laughs. Everyone in film should do themselves the favor of working in live theatre – there is no better way to get a feel for what works and what doesn't than an immediate response.

My head has bruises from being hit by filmmaker's messages last night. I'm not going to repeat Samuel Goldwyn's quote, "if you want to send a message, use Western Union." I like stories that have a message buried within it, but the burying is important. Let the audience find the point of the story, don't stick them in the eye with it.

We had a movie that was overall not-so-hot, but contained some good transitions and it reminded me how important those are. Getting from scene one to scene two in an interesting way can give a film voice, which is so important in telling any kind of story.

Finally, I want to give a f#&king shout out to a f#&king hilarious spoof of every movie we've ever seen in the submission process. We f#&king laughed our f#&king asses off, and that's f#&king real, man! That's the truth.

Thanks for reading. Mind the upcoming deadline, and get those 2-Step submissions in – 'cause it is ON!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've noticed a trend over the past couple of years of comedies that aren't the list bit funny, and they remind me of radio DJ's who think they are hilarious, but aren't. .
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