Monday, April 18, 2011

The Film Mom at the film festival

I attended and volunteered for the Sunscreen Film Festival this past weekend and much to my surprise, the films I did get to see, weren't as interesting as prior years. But I didn't get to many. Our daughter Blair The Moviechic actually made very good connections at the Sunscreen Film Festival 2 years ago and has since worked for Harbinger Pictures/Dreamworks on "The Help."

She did all the hard work, networking, staying in touch and landing the job. It's not an easy business to break into if you are timid. Blair is not. She is constantly meeting new people in various aspects of the industry and trying new jobs and braved moving to make it happen. Her short film, "Relative Eternity" will be entered into festivals in the latter part of 2011 and 2012.

So I began to ponder what we learned from our earlier research of film schools, UCLA and USC. They stress that the filmmaker's main job is to tell a great story. Many film hopefuls are not writers but visionaries. Like many parents, I thought film school were focused on the technical aspects of production, camera technique, special effects, but in truth, those processes don't mean a thing if you don't have a solid marketable story and that's where the hard work comes in!

Take the block of short films I had the chance to view this weekend, I disappointed at the "lack" of conclusion in many of the comedy shorts. I was spoiled by the quality I saw 2 years ago. The films I saw this year reminded me of the "rushed" but talented films of the "48 Hour Film Competition" we crewed as volunteers for Blair's production. It's understandable that a 48 Hour project would have a less than perfect story, but a festival entry in my view, has to be more.

Now, I do appreciate the filmmaking process and heart that goes behind the shortest of films, but I feel the tweaks these films needed would likely have been stressed through several viewings by family and friends. Afterall, we all spend money to watch entertainment and some quality feedback would go along way in making a promising movie a great short.

The take away for me:
  • Lottery stories are overdone and I don't challenge anyone to prove me wrong!
  • Don't bring a baby/cute kid or dog into a story without telling us where they went?
  • I don't like dance remixes and I definitely don't like movie remixes. Example: one story was basically the "pina cola song" in a non-musical video with few scenes changed around.
  • Don't go high quality on the intro if the story doesn't match. I was swept away by the opening of one film only to be bored by the final product.
  • Do make sure you have good sound quality. My favorite film was hard to hear.
Ok, I'm just a fan of films, so give me stories to rave about and I'll glad do so.

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