The Story Beyond The Still

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!?!!!

dalas verdugo Alum locked this topic on Jul 29, 2010 because

a new thread should be started with constructive ideas for judging improvements. Let's start from a positive place this time.

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

I didn't watch too many of the non-winning films, but COME ON!!!

I saw at least a couple that were better than a few of the top 5. (by almost any decent or objective comparison or definition or measure)

This contest has officially gone off the deep end. What were the judges thinking... or were they at all?

I was looking forward to doing a Chapter 7 film, too, but this is ridiculous. (with a 7D or T2i, because that is very obviously a minimal requirement)

Unfortunate.

I REFUSE to vote for any of the Top 5, and call for a boycott of voting in protest.

(no offense toward the T5 films, which are okay to good in and of themselves)

Blake Whitman

Blake Whitman Staff

I think this is a little rash and very insulting to the finalists. Put yourself in their place for a second and see how you would feel if someone said they are going to boycott voting for the films just because they didn't like the finalists.

It's important to realize that there are five, independent judges, with different tastes, and different backgrounds judging each round. There is not a time when we all get together and decide which five videos will go through and which won't; it's a blind rating and then the votes are tallied.

To say that this ground-breaking contest has gone off the deep end because you are not happy with the finalists is a bit dramatic and does nothing to spur any sort of meaningful conversation regarding *why* you may feel this way which could actually be constructive. This type of rant is not.

Jacob Snyder

Jacob Snyder Plus

Blake, I have to second what you've said. The extreme negativity on this forum puts a bad taste in my mouth. There's no constructive purpose for hate.

And I'm one who, to be forthright, is disappointed in the path this contest has taken. I lean on the side that wishes the contest could have focused more on independent interpretations, nonlinear experimental narrative, more focus on artistic value of final still images, etc. etc. However, why would I even state my opinion if I wasn't inspired by and didn't believe in the concept for this contest? It's an awesome, inventive idea with an unlimited amount of potential. Sure, this is a prototype and I personally think there are some rough spots and some rules that need refining. But there's no reason to be mean and harsh about that. The contest is still opening a big wide open door for a ton of extremely creative and talented unknown filmmakers who are still entering and still winning.

People need to respect the judges and accept the direction of the contest; and if you are unwilling to make what you can with what you've been given, then seriously, just brush that chip off your shoulder and move on to something else. Don't waste your energy and emotion on such negativity. And don't poison other people with your ill will.

Layla

Layla Plus

Tho dissapointed with a few that didn't make it, boycotting the votes is not at all a good act of the filmmaking community. What about the people who worked very hard to make it into the top 5? Just because we are dissapointed in some that didn't make it, it doesn't mean we should take our anger on those that did.

Color Bars

Color Bars

POPEYE, I totally agree. It's effing ridiculous. These vimeo'ers think they're so liberal and open-minded. I didn't get picked because my story was TOO original for this contest to handle. I'm not the soar loser type, but with the SH*T that was picked for this round is nonsense. I watched the videos. Two of them are worthy of top5. I was a one man crew, lighting, sound, directing, editing, effects, etc... and mine's still better! For whoever is reading this I know it sounds like I have a huge ego, maybe I do, maybe I don't, the point is my first short is more original than this crap on here. I will no longer ever support any vimeo contest or enter any vimeo contest because it's all bs. These judges are scared to hurt their cliche story because I killed the cabbie? Was my film that bad that it could not EVER make top5? I started watching when the Chapter 3 winner won. Those first two winners (Chapter 2 and Chapter 3) were pretty damn good. I was excited to submit for Ch4 but I read the deadlines the wrong way because the weird wording in the "Official Rules" Chapter 4: Allison won, followed by what was supposed to be a continuation (Chapter 5: Miracle) which was just avoiding going further with the story and left us in the same place as Chapter 4, a cabbie entering a warehouse. Is there anyone that agrees with me besides Popeye? Do the people watching these things only have an eye for documentaries and no taste or eye for a good original story? I just don't get it. I mean what more to promote Canon than having a top5 winner who filmed on there consumer T2I camera, his first short film, and made it look like a real film. Continuity off the charts.

Is there anybody out there? or am I just talking to myself?

Film Festivals here on out vimeo, and good luck to anybody submitting for the "Vimeo Festival Awards" haha, you'll need more than luck, maybe someone on the "inside"

sincerely,
an angry, furious, disgusted, used and abused
J.P Floral

*I had filmed the butcher scene for Chapter 5 which had a different beginning (it's called "Inside You". It had the bear included in the first scene. The only thing missing was the key and the trunk, which didn't matter because the story was that they didn't care about the key that was just to get the Cabbie to the damn warehouse, what they really wanted was INSIDE THE CABBIE. Since this was already shot I could only change the beginning for Chapter 6 to fit the last still, the FBI guy (so original let me tell you). So this is why you will see no key, no bear, no trunk. However the story still works and deserves to get top5, if I did get top5, I'm sure I'd get a ton of votes because it was completely different and original, with actual fine acting. I don't know what these judges are about. Please watch mine "OFF-DUTY" and let me know if I am deserved a spot at top5. ERRRRRR coming to a theater near you.

Marc Jonathan de Jesus

Marc Jonathan de Jesus

im all for voicing opinions... if u have beef with the judges, fine, but draw the line there.. just dont start talkin sht on the top 5, we've all busted our a##es to get here...

Blake Whitman

Blake Whitman Staff

J.P. Floral, I can understand your frustrations, and Vimeo is quite open to opinions, but responding in such a way is not in line with anything Vimeo represents.

This contest is an experiment in community filmmaking and contests in general, so its important to remember that. Experiments are by their very nature undefined until their completion and analyzed, and this content is just such a project. To completely lambast the finalists is insulting, uncalled for, and is a good indication that Vimeo may not necessarily be the right community for you if you can't contribute constructively.

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

J.P. Floral, All of us that have created work for this contest understand the frustrations regarding the choices of judges at times. To be fair, part of the problem is the community 'has expectations on certain entries', and when these expectations are not met, there is disappointment. Just as we are open in creating our work, we should be just as open to the judges choices.

J.P. Floral, you probably won't want to hear this, and I'll be the target of your wrath next. Personally, I did not find your film as original as you think it to be. I have seen this type of 'slasher' many times before, yet there is an audience for this type of film.

Your 'Butcher' character if put side by side with the Butcher character in the recent Angelina Jolie film (Wanted), you might take them for twins in look, voice, and action. Just throwing it out there for you to consider, & may have hurt you during judging.

Something else for you to consider, is that you may have not been picked because of not following the "Official Rules". The rules state — "You will start with the still image depicted in the final frames (approximately the last five (5) seconds) of the prior Chapter's winning Submission." Your film 'Off Duty' used 1 second. In addition, the rules also incorporate the Terms of Service of Vimeo community, which state restrictions on content — "No videos depicting unlawful acts or extreme violence". Perhaps you were not picked for technical reasons, rather than creativity. Again, just throwing it out there for you to consider.

From the discussions in forums, it appears that perhaps the better approach to contest in future, is to let the Vimeo community pick the Top 5, and the judges pick the winner. Now, this would be an interesting experiment. Just something to consider.

Win, Lose, or Draw, I entered this contest for the simple love of filmmaking, the chance to stretch my creativity, and interact with a community of my peers. An added benefit, was the feedback from judges and community could help me grow as an artist. That's the power of this contest, and if you ask me we are all winners by participating.

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

You're right, that method of judging is interesting to consider. We can't change methods mid-contest because the rules have been written, but we can certainly keep that in mind for future contests.

I don't believe JP's film was disqualified flat out.

Abe Duenas

Abe Duenas Plus

J.P.
Dude,I understand why your soo upset, When you pour your heart and soul into a project and seemingly get no love for it, that's rough. But still, I'm very disheartened by your reply, and hope it was only written in frustration. Cause you see, if that's not the case and you really still feel that way, I feel for you. Cause you will be in danger of being that kid that got cut from the team, just cause he wasnt good enough that year, and was so consumed with himself that he didnt practice as hard anymore, or autodicipline himself to try harder. I personally have my own opinions about what should have made the top 5. but that doesnt matter anymore. it's time to regroup and hit it again. Everything you've said is just your opinion, and nothing more. (which your more than entitled too) but this path you've chosen, smells more of a yout tube post than vimeo.

So I hope you can take this as a heartfelt concerned fellow filmmaker just saying, "keep your head up"

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

Dalas and Blake -

Whilst you guys are re-considering the judging process, consider how sites like genero.tv conduct judging - which puts some latitude into the finalist selection. 2 finalists could be selected by highest votes (community judged), 2 finalists selected by the judges *blindly*- and how about 1 finalist selected by Vimeo Plus users ;-) !!! - Just to broaden the finalist selection and take the heat off you guys.

Then perhaps the best film chosen by same judging panel votes in conference?

Color Bars

Color Bars

Haha it is for the next year. $56.00 USD

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

While I might not agree with the hostility, I can definitely understand. The judging does come off a little arbitrary. But the only way to really fix that is to make the contest totally transparent, and I don't think anyone wants to give up that kind of control. We'd end up judging the judging! (Which I guess is being done now without any reference point).

Perhaps the judges can start providing feedback again to those videos that did not make top 5, so the rest of us can learn what to work on for our next project, contest or not. That way, even losing has some benefit!

We'd still like feedback for the Top 5 in Chapter 4. Noticed Top 5 in Chapter 5 got it...

Color Bars

Color Bars

I mean has anybody seen the acting on some of these videos? I understand the brand isn't taken into consideration, or the fact that I'm one man. Everyone I show this video to (keep in mind most people hate me) have bugged there eyes out and said HOW DID YOU NOT MAKE IT? Again, am I the only one going crazy? It's clear this contest doesn't want to have the story go TOO out there otherwise the guy that made STORY TIME should BE TOP5! His story was so original and really funny, extremely creative. I was shocked to not even see him there, and I know he's probably disappointed for spending his time to create something OUT THERE and DIFFERENT and only to get thrown to the curb because it doesn't fit the genre of the story. He told a kid he'd throw him the fire, that sour comedy is hysterical.

Someone up above stated that my character The butcher was the same character from WANTED. I believe this guy was Mexican first off, secondly it's totally different. You know how I picked the Butcher? I saw my friend at this public pool where we hang out, I said can you do a Russian accent? He said "kind of" I said you're in! Not one day of acting experience.

As for "Marc Jonathon De Jesus", I think he saw SHUTTER ISLAND too many times.

thanks guys for support, I'm not a huge d*ck in real life at all, although I may possess one. I just DO NOT like to see any injustice done to people, especially myself and I FEEL that this is happening right before our eyes. Goodluck all with chapter 7, as I will not be continuing, not because of sour grapes, but because especially now I DEF HAVE NO CHANCE hahah. And btw I promote positive energy all day everyday, just don't like being messed with.

So i bid you all farewell. I was thinking about starting LIMEO.com but uhh no money!
I hope all of you will have to pay $10.50 a pop for my films in the near future! thanks again for support, see you in HOLLYWOOD!

hopefully

BABABOOEY and a BEETLEJUICE TO YOU ALL, HOWARD STERN IS THE KING!

J.P.

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

J.P. Floral, Remember that this is a community of film enthusiasts and filmmakers. Many have seen it all. And, the bottom line is your Butcher character in 'Off Duty', is VERY SIMILAR in look, costume, manner, props, etc. to the Butcher character in 'Wanted'. Check the credits to Wanted movie — it's not 'Mexican', it's 'Butcher'. Making your Butcher Russian, does NOT make it "totally different".

How you picked the person to play the part does not make the character 'totally different'. You make it sound like your friend was walking around the public pool in an old t-shirt full of blood sharpening a bloody blade, and that's how the idea for Butcher part came to you. Do you really think this explanation makes any sense?

I believe you that the person playing the part had not one day of acting experience. That's the nature of doing independent film on short notice — we have to ask friends to step in and help. Nothing wrong with that. Whether you emulated the Butcher character from Wanted consciously, or subconsciously, there's no talking around the fact they are VERY SIMILAR in look, feel, and performance. A picture says a thousand words!

Regardless, I don't see it as a big deal. It's not like there wasn't a Butcher character before Wanted, and I'm sure something influenced the development of this character in Wanted. Also, as you indicated, this was your "first short", so it would not be unusual for you to emulate characters, story lines, and directors that you admire until you have more experience. To me your film looked like the Butcher from Wanted meets Dexter. So what? It is what it is.

While this is what I see, it does not mean I don't think you worked hard on your film. It is obvious you did, and care a great deal about your baby. You had some nice frames, you really pushed your audience to feel how disturbing the situation was. Some effective lighting. But if your honest with yourself, because the front was put on just to make it fit for chapter 6, — it shows. The front feels separate from the rest. The music did not work with rest of short— and script, lighting, color, and camera work was disjointed with what happens in rest of film.

While you are upset about not making finals, please don't vent by cutting down other entries, and the top 5. Like you, I don't agree with all the choices for top 5, but I respect the decision of the judges, and will make a choice on the merits of each film. When you are not as emotional about your disappointment, I hope you reconsider submitting an entry for the next chapter. I don't think you hurt your chances. The judges are professionals, and I'm sure they will view your work on it's merits.

Taking a line from the Rolling Stones with a twist, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you make top 5!" Whatever you choose, Good Luck!

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

Just wanted to mention the actual judging criteria, because Acting is not one of the elements that is judged.

"vimeo.com/groups/beyondthestill/rules

* Cinematography (25%)
* Storytelling (25%)
* Best incorporation of initial still and quality and evocative nature of final still (25%)
* Best use of camera/equipment (25%)"

These are the only elements that are scored. Those scores are what determine the final five. If you disagree with this scoring system, we can certainly learn from that when crafting the rules for the next contest, but we are legally required to abide by the rules as they were set in motion at the outset of the contest.

With that being said, I think there are some fantastic finalists for this Chapter, and they certainly deserve to be here.

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

Are all of the judges provided with definitions or is it left up to them to determine what each of those provisions mean? If there are instructions, can we see them? Would "storytelling" include the acting? Also, I think it's safe to say the third provision was thrown out the window beginning with Chapter Two.

Legal mandates aside, the rules have been ignored from time to time...

Color Bars

Color Bars

Yes agreed, and are made to be ignored if something better is there. Either way I'd say I scored pretty high. And thanks dalas, I didn't read the rules before I spent night and day on this project. My use of equipment was lighting, audio, tripod slider, few lenses, and my brain, the best one.

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

I can see both sides. As filmmakers we have to understand that the judges are all marking these individually in solitary confinement and aren't out to belligerently make entries finalists for the sake of it.

On the other, the judges I'm sure can appreciate how much work and money goes into making these films and for us not to make finalist can be a very bitter pill to swallow indeed. (Although I do find it rude and unacceptable to slate the guys who did make it into that 5)

I spent two months of 2010 working flat out for this contest, so I know what it's like to not even make it to the final five. Your mindset is such, you become slightly deluded, so focused as we are on our projects... eg. I thought the $2,000 I spent having a 50 frame snarl professionally produced by a big production house and then an idea to make it 'break' my 2.35:1 frame to 16:9 momentarily was ground breaking and judges would herald it to the top of their list... and... - Yeah, right! Who was I kidding?

I think the way you have to look at it is this - It's all important experience gained. Every time you write, co-ordinate all those people, props, locations, all that time in post - Everytime you make something fresh or groundbreaking - It's all very valuable experience that contributes to your future and which makes you a better filmmaker.

Not to mention, another production for your reel to show potential employers...
Oh... and an empty wallet, with not even a 5D and a lens to show for it!!!

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

@dalas verdugo: Rules? What rules? I don't see no stinking rules! ;o)

(funny, and yet, not so funny, really, under the circumstances)

And as for "the judging is based on the quality of the work", I think it is self-evident and patently clear that that is NOT occurring in this contest. Not even close. (so I don't fault people for going all "conspiracy theory" or whatever, although that's my thing -- I think "the system" is just broken)

I also disagree with this whole "you're being negative -- don't be negative" and "undermine others' success" and "not being respectful", or "insulting to the finalists", etc., etc., etc., blah, blah,blah.

That's bullshit. And it is also not "dramatic" or "hostile".

I'm not the only one by far who has the viewpoints I do -- people have been mentioning this, and discussing it, and complaining about it, and pointing it out, since at least Chapter 2. And many more before I chimed in.

And it's not specifically about any individual's or groups' film(s). In this chapter or any other. It's about the principal of the thing, and an ongoing problem that has been and become increasingly clear through time. So people need to GTFU and get over their supposed "hurt feelings" or whatever other crap they are choosing to use as a false argument, trying to get people to STFU. (or in the attempt to dismiss and minimize their concerns and such) (I'm also assuming all of the people are are adults, not that that seems to mean much these days)

This should be an open forum and part of the WHOLE process. Agree, disagree, agree to disagree, whatever.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go consume some sour grapes.

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

It is absolutely disrespectful to imply that the final five did not pour their own hearts and souls into their productions. They worked as hard as anyone else, and while you are not required to congratulate them on their success, it's not in the spirit of this community to belittle other creators.

Understanding and respecting the feelings of people besides yourself is a positive characteristic.

Awards and prizes are trinkets compared to the feeling we get from making our own films. Everyone here should be proud of the work they've done. I wish I could give you ALL multimillion film deals.

Lew Fraga

Lew Fraga

For both of my entries (so far) I can think of several reasons they didn't rank as high as those that made the top 5 - no matter how cool I think they are in the end. I can see their flaws clearly and hope to correct the mistakes I made as it looks like I just might have some time from work to put together the next installment.

This contest was a fantastic reason to get off my @$$ and shoot something, and I've had a blast.

I did something on purpose this time - for the last 3 rounds I watched every single one, then when the top 5 were announced, either only 1 or 2 of the ones I REALLY liked were in there, or none. So I was grumpy during the voting process.

My solution? Don't watch them in advance this time. Haven't watched one yet. I have NO preconceived notions and I gotta say it's quite liberating. I'm looking forward to seeing the top 5, voting, then going back and watching ALL of them - yes, I fully believe if someone got off their @$$ as well to shoot something and finish it (which is a huge deal in and of itself), they deserve my attention and I need to watch their vids - whether I liked them by the end or not.

As for changing how voting is done - I like the idea of community vote first, WE pick the top 5, and that way the judges only have to watch 5 of them (which is a plus for their busy time as well). The ONLY problem I can forsee is people voting for friends and not the deserving videos. Friends setting up accounts JUST to vote for friends - so he/she who has the most friends wins - did that make sense?

As for the judges voting (and I have absolutely NO idea of this process), if it's something like "they give each video a 1-5 rating", it's VERY possible that NONE of the movies in he top 5 were given a 5 by ANY of them. If 1 judge gives a vid a 5, and the others give it a 1-2, it'll be beaten by one that got solid 3's across the board. Get it?

Well, off to watch and vote. Then watch all of them.

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

Lewis, Good point about potential problem of community vote first, there could be abuse. Perhaps this could be solved with a two level community vote. First level, is a vote by just fellow semi-finalists, with this vote having a higher value than the open vote in Vimeo community. Then, the top 5 are selected based on an overall score from both levels. This, may offset a 'friends' vote.

Also, the vote could be based on scores given in various criteria as the films are currently judged. Any voting that are all high scores, or low scores, are dropped from vote as being bias. Some form of dropping high and lows, can make the voting fair from 'popularity' and 'attack'.

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

You think there isn't abuse in the top 5 voting right now? Hell, we're encouraged to get all of our friends to set up accounts and drive traffic to the webzone to vote for our film, often without even watching it, and certainly not the other entries. How many email addresses do those friends have...each one could represent a Vimeo account. Each account represents a vote.

He who hath the largest social network, and can get same to mosey on over Vimeo's way, will be rewarded handsomely...or at least with a 5d and a swank lens.

Only way to truly lock that out, it limit voting to Plus members...but that would defeat the purpose of the contest: Introduce Vimeo to the Unwashed. I hadn't heard of it until I started working on this contest. No one I reached out to for support had either.

Traffic increases, advertising rates go up...it's a good deal for all involved. So what you'll need to do for future contests, is find that balance that allows everyone to get what they want. Maybe let the masses pick the top 50. Can you imagine how many new accounts would be created if all entrants beat the bushes to drum up support for their video...then let the judges pick the top 5 and Plus members pick numero uno.

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

I enjoyed making my film, too, and finally got off my ass and made my first film, even though it didn't make the deadline, and it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to and envisioned. (they never do, anyway -- but mine, unfortunately, had some severe issues as I pointed out and are pretty obvious, and some pretty good stuff, too)

But I'm still messing with it and trying to fix some of the issues to make it better, and add a little something so it stands on its own. (probably eventually about a 6 to 8 minute stand alone short film, which may not be too bad -- maybe not festival-worthy, but more watchable and just better, or good enough, and especially so as a first film)

I think the community should have gotten a single combined vote as effectively one of the judges. (majority or some other formula) Or a percentage spread across all of the films, and then the Top 5, too. That is a much better and fairer voting process imo.

We get a say, but "popularity contest" is more or less prevented. Hopefully the next contest will be like that. And some transparency, too, as a type of auto-feedback to the filmmakers, with the numbers posted as a list so we can all look at them, top to bottom, like when you get your college grades on an exam.

Either totals, or the judge's individual scores anonymously. (except for the community, which has a sort of built-in anonymity in this instance) I think that information would be invaluable.

And if you're at or near the bottom, "man up" and try again, and maybe harder, next time. That is, don't be a crybaby. (I doubt if anyone is that fragile, anyway, and if you are, filmmaking and/or contests are probably not for you)

Either someone wasn't thinking straight, or they purposely did it this way in the attempt to get more people (that is, the filmmakers' friends) to sign up to Vimeo.

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

Again, I'm not trying to dismiss your (and everyone else's) ideas for future structuring of how judging works. I just want to make it clear that we're not trying to blow anyone off. We literally cannot change the rules for the contest at this point, so we will (HONESTLY) listen to everyone's input on how future contests could be better and build on that.

All we require is that you show respect to your fellow filmmakers. Feel free to post constructive criticism of the contest format.

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

Dalas, We appreciate your feedback on these matters and understand that the rules can't be changed mid-game. Vimeo, Canon, and Grey Advertising is learning a great deal about this experiment as well, and are making adjustments for the future accordingly.

By making available the scores of semi-finalists in various criteria, makes the contest more open, and circumvents the 'conspiracy theory' folks. This can be done blindly, where the judges identities are not revealed, so they do not have to deal with attacks by sore losers.

Popeye had a good idea of giving the community a combined vote as 'one judge'. However, this could not be a simple yeah or nay vote, it would have to be by form so the same criteria are judged on a scale, to avoid the 'social network marketing of a film'.

Perhaps would be best to open a new forum chain to discuss creative approaches to improving contest in future, so these good ideas don't get lost in the trivial emotional outburst that have unfortunately happened here. Thanks again for you feedback.

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

Leaving voting *totally* in the hands of the community wouldn't work either as the vote would likely be skewed based on filmmaker popularity rather than their film.

As I mentioned earlier, the best way to do it would be (for first tier judging): finalist selection based on a broader network. ie. 2 based on community votes (those with higher social networks would likely secure these spots), then a further 2 finalists selected by judges, then perhaps the fifth by Vimeo plus users only.

In doing this, you have a wider scope for harvesting finalists. If there are any clashes between the processes, the next one down on the judge's list is selected instead.

The only other big thing I would add is... Make it a *truly* international competition. Believe it or not, there are another 192 countries out there wanting to compete!
I think you will find this will open up the style of the entries a lot more too, instead of them all looking like a hash of CSI Miami and 24 all rolled into one.

Color Bars

Color Bars

You fixed the judging... Now any ideas to fix this economy lol??

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

J.P. Floral, Respect is earned. Frankly, your attitude is so negative. Your acting like a child that didn't get his toy from mommy. Regardless of your disrespect to others, people have been respectful to you in their comments. From what you said above, your definition of respect is — If you agree with me, you're respecting me, and if you don't, you're not respectful.

It's a shame that you have crossed a line by attacking a staff member (Dalas), with outrageous reference. You have really shown how immature you are, and that you have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I hope you get help. By the way, if you think festivals and Hollywood are going to just love your films, you'll be disappointed. It appears you'll have a hard time at festivals and Hollywood. Good Luck, You're going to need it.

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

Respect is indeed earnt. And JP, you're really going to struggle in this industry with an attitude and ego like that.

I don't think anyone has a problem with you airing your frustrations over not making the cut, or even disagreeing. You're perfectly entitled. it's just the way you're doing it, by disrespecting others.

I can understand your frustrations, I've been there myself - twice. However, it isn't really necessary to get angry with the finalists or the judges, is it? You might not agree with the judges decisions, but all of them have earnt that position to judge based on their own achievements.

Afterall, they must be doing something right, eh?

Layla

Layla Plus

JP I'm going to be brutally honest. This is no attack, you can attack me back if you wish - that is up to you.

But really, I can't understand your delusion in think your film was magnificent! Give it a few months, go back and watch your film again and you will see the millions of errors you don't see now.

I do that with my work all the time. I'll think it's amazing, then later realise it wasn't - it had loads of flaws. And I think that is the level you're at now.

Your film was ok, lighting not so great, acting kind of cheesy, no real originality in continuing the still (was directly followed without unique interpretation like a lot of entries)

Lots of shots were way too long and attempting to be dramatic without actually being dramatic (i.e. the cleaning of the swords).

It was a good attempt, but in no way as amazing and better than everyone else as you think it was. I'm no professional, I only make movies for fun (I'm in the UK, so knew I would never get top 5 anyway, but continued to make films for the experience)

But I enjoy watching & critiquing movies - and sometimes you need someone very honest and brutal to tell you the truth.

If you keep at it, like all of us - we will all continue to grow and get better. If you say you will stop because of the 'injustice' you have suffered, then you're really only hurting yourself.

Color Bars

Color Bars

lol many mistakes yes, clips I would love to control but couldn't with my old powermac, now I have the most advanced macbook ever. However even with every mistake, or shot you don't enjoy, it's still better. Trust me, I'm not tone deaf. Or pixel deaf!

JP

Layla

Layla Plus

Wow, you really are quite blindly arrogant huh? Well, whatever floats your boat.

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

Let's not have this conversation lapse into people insulting each other. It won't be tolerated from any parties.

Patrick Collard

Patrick Collard Plus

I like so many others here have "got off my ass" (as some have put it) and made films for the contest (I made four). None of them were easy and the last two took five "all nighters" to complete and meet the deadline. I've learned a ton in the process and could have purchased a 5D with the money I spent on making these films. In my opinion this contest is not about winning a camera or lens. It is about capturing still images and film making. A process I'm fortunate enough to do every day for pay. I too have been disappointed when my films haven't made the top five but I never disrespected the other entries or people involved in the contest. Those type of comments have no place here. You can get as mad as you wish but funnel that anger into improving your next project.

My biggest disappointed with the contest has been the lack of feedback from Judges on why they picked a film, what they thought was good and what they thought was bad. As artists we are so closely connected with our projects that we rarely take a step back to objectively look at them and see how we can improve them. These films are like our children, we want to protect them. What we really need is outsiders looking at what we have done and with some constructive criticism help us improve. That is why the feedback from judges would be so helpful in my opinion. I photograph several events each year where the competitors are encouraged to ask the judges for a critique. That is priceless feedback in my opinion.

So with all that said I would love to hear some feedback on why the top five were chosen and I'd love to hear why "Homecoming" was not chosen (no it was not my film but many people were surprised it didn't make it). If we could get this feedback it would help us to become better film makers and that is more important than winning a camera or lens.

Just my thoughts,
Patrick

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

Homecoming was actually tied for highest score on my personal scoring sheet. It was a fantastic piece.

Patrick Collard

Patrick Collard Plus

Dalas,

Thanks for your response. What in your opinion would have kept Homecoming from making the top 5? Was it the content of the film?

Also, I have submitted in the last four round. I would like to hear your comments on what I could improve on in my films.

Thanks,
Patrick

Patrick

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

It's hard for me to say what would have kept it from the top 5, since it was in my personal top 5. Perhaps other judges did not like the story? In terms of cinematography, I think you could improve by pulling back more and giving us a grander sense of place. Rewatching your entry just now, it did seem a little claustrophobic at times.

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

J.P. Floral, Please don't send your multiple excuses of why your film wasn't better to my personal email. I'm a big boy and can handle anything you want to say to me in the open forum. J.P., you can't honestly feel there is "controversy now surrounding my (OFF DUTY) film". The so called 'controversy' is NOT your film, It's YOU and your ATTITUDE man!!!

I do NOT see anyone agreeing with you on your film being so great and deserved making TOP 5. You are the only one blowing your own horn about your film. In fact, I see opposing opinion, with some honest, constructive criticism — that if you were open to it would HELP YOU GROW as a filmmaker.

The positive side of what you write here (BELOW) is that you show you are human, and can admit to your film as having multiple flaws. Sharing this with the community can redeem you because everyone's been there, and understands:

Hi Anthony Conway!

J.P. Floral just sent you a message on Vimeo:

"Anthony,
I don't care what tune you dance to, there is no making the top5 if you have a good film here. It has to fit with the judges in their minds. Sorry, a few amish guys, and an overrated photographer will not come between me and winning awards. This was just a fun test run, and it's still fun with all the controversy now surrounding my film. If you look at my stuff, you'll see the second scene is the same as Chapter 5. I was not being cheap or cheating the audience. I missed the submission deadline for Chapter 5 by 30 minutes. A vimeo.com failure. Again my fault for not buying the fastest laptop and editing with my 10 year old powermac. I know what you're saying how the music doesn't fit. At the time I was weary of choosing the music in the beginning, I liked it because to me it made me happy that we were finally going to see what happens next. I felt it fit with the "FBI" guys urgency and happiness to nab the cabbie. I should have put down the weed and let it sit in my head for an extra day. Also the shot of the sign, "Beware of Dogs" or whatever it says, I made a mistake and should of had the closeup behind the long shot. I did that backwards, which erks me. I did bang out the first scene real quick, I had written a 2 minute beginner and I was going to cut down on the butcher part. Only problem was, every time I scheduled a shoot, it rained, and poured. So this was literally the day before. I like this contest because it shows what you can accomplish in 3 weeks. Of course given more time, and money, I'd have the War of the Worlds soundtrack in there. But shit happens. I don't see how the first scene visually doesn't fit but maybe you can explain that to me in more depth??? I continued the still exactly as it was, the cabbie walked into a warehouse, where there was a green light near the entrance. I had the FBI man, who was following him (clearly), follow him to wear he entered. The FBI man is expected by the GERMAN scientist. I wanted to cut a shot of a security cam as he looks up, but no time. Then the FBI man goes in disappears, we cut to the butcher preparing and waiting, and the cabbie arriving at the door, there the cabbie gets freaked out and backs off right into THE FBI man who chokes him out. Plain and simple lol. I don't see how the beginning visually doesn't fit, maybe I should have negative bleached it? because that was the only difference, more vivid colors than the other half. Anyway thanks for the comments, the good ones at least.

JP

As for the butcher idea. I think you asked about that. I did literally see my friend, he chopped up a guy right before and I was like holy fuck, you gave me a sick idea lol jk, I saw him, and he's actually fucking crazy. He took too much acid in high school and trips his balls off all the time now. It happened just like that, and I didn't think of the Russian accent until I asked can you do a German accent? and he said nope, but I can do Russian kind of. I guess I spend more time on continuity, and making sure the characters looked like the previous story and all that when I should have been worried about camera work. But sorry man, I can't create garbage to win a competition. I only make what I think is the best, I will not trade up, focusing on good acting and writing, for focusing on how well my indie slide is moving. Oh well. Anyways this was just a test to see what I could do considering my first short film. I feel great about it, especially since it was rushed and my computer wouldn't get me the freedom to move clips around as I wanted. Now i bought the newest Macbook pro on the market, which will let me do some amazing graphics animation work, and make some classics. Starting to write today, for a short for 2011 Slamdance due end of October. It's basically one of the biggest well-known independent, no/low budget film festivals. Hopefully I make a classic and win. Thanks for your support

JP again"

Anthony Conway

Anthony Conway

J.P. Floras, Believe it or not, I'm trying to help and encourage you. As a creative person that publishes their work for the world to see, you really need to check your ego at the door. You can't expect everyone to love everything you do. You can't expect to be 'Orson Wells' with your FIRST SHORT FILM, that's unrealistic.

Every artist only becomes 'Great' with experience and growth, and this will not happen without humility. Even the 'Great' know they are not perfect, and there's room for improvement — That's what makes them 'Great'.

I've looked at your film several times to make sure I wasn't missing something. Since you asked me to explain my critique in more depth, here it is:

First, it is NOT a Vimeo.com failure, when you did not keep track of your time, and work within the limitations of your equipment. That's your failure, and you must take ownership of YOU missing the deadline for Chapter 5.

(2) If it is true you were doing 'weed', while editing your film, I hope you learned your lesson that things look and sound very different when you are not stoned. It's good to see we can agree about the opening music, and you can admit it might not have been the best choice. Also, you must watch the break to the next scene, it was too abrupt a jump. Needs a smoother transition between music and sound effects.

(3) Having the FBI Agent taking a casual stroll into warehouse yard, and up to door does not express urgency, but the opposite. It did not fit. I did not see him as being happy he finally 'nabbed' Cabbie. It was not clear he was following the Cabbie until Agent got to door and told us that talking into radio. Also, If you recall, the FBI Agent talked to his team, at the end of winning chapter 'Miracle'. However, because you did not have the time to shot that 'the team' was the Butcher, you left a BIG HOLE in your storytelling. Without showing this connection between FBI Agent and Butcher, it left your audience lost and confused. To make a scene fit with the next, involves all elements, not just visual ones, and for these multiple reasons it did not fit.

(4) The choice of shots of the "Beware of Dogs" sign is a subjective one. The key about planning shot choices and camera moves, is finding which are most important and best impact in telling your story. Always plan shot list for worst case scenarios to account for weather delays and unforeseen problems. The plan B can save you, and it's inevitable you will have to go to it from time to time. We had to go to Plan B, on all our submissions to this contest. With the tight schedule between chapters this is only option. That's the nature of low budget independent film. No Excuses Cinema — Just make the most of what you have, and what you're dealt.

(5) You had continuity issue of where the Cabbie entered warehouse. He did not go in same door as agent. It was a different door, which did not make sense if the "Agent was right behind him". How did Cabbie get in big green door that was opened for him from someone else? Audience not shown who opened door for Agent? Don't expect your audience to assume who this is, show them.

(6) The more I look at your film, the more I think you lost major points on script and storytelling, which is 25% of score. While your intent was to show a connection between FBI Agent, Scientist, and Butcher, you never established that for your audience which made film confusing and disjointed. Also, take a moment and look again at your film, when you say the Cabbie is 'chocked out by the FBI Agent'. There is only a hand in the frame, the audience does not know who is choking Cabbie. Perhaps a medium or wide shot from behind of the FBI Agent choking Cabbie that shows it is the FBI Agent would have solved this hole in story for audience. Make sense now, why doesn't fit for many of us.

(7) To be fair, while the 'Butcher scene' may have fit for Chapter 5, it doesn't fit for Chapter 6 in my opinion. It's hard pill to swallow, but when you missed the deadline for Chapter 5, you should have shelved what you shot, and moved on. It really does look like you are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The fact is, the story changed dramatically when 'Miracle' won, and the plot shifted from previous chapters. You didn't develop story from where it left off in a way that made sense to the audience. Your audience judges your film based on it's understanding of the story to date, not as a standalone.

(8) Look at more creative ways you can use the camera to bring your audience into the story, by pulling focus, dolly, tracking etc. If you don't have equipment, get access to it, or plan shots according to your equipment limitations to get the most out of it. Lighting was good in places, and hard in others. This is a very important detail that you can't cut corners on. Double check your exposures when you shoot, so you don't lose important detail or over expose. You can only do so much in post. Old saying is very true, "Garbage in, garbage out." Watch your sound mixing. If the levels are not balanced it will hurt your final product. Learn more about color correction for continuity, so it doesn't look like two films put together. Didn't care for your choice of coloration at end, and did not think the end still that great. However, that's subjective.

(9) Do your best to leave time in end to screen your film with people that know nothing about it to see if 'they get it'. Very important step, because as creators sometimes we are too close to it to see it objectively. We did that with each of ours and it makes a big difference in how well you are communicating the story to your audience.

You know my opinion on the Butcher character. Take it or leave it. It is what it is. Don't recall Butcher in previous Chapter winners, so I don't see where you are coming from about time spent on 'continuity'. Your right, balance of all the elements is important in making a winning short film.

J.P., you should feel great about your first short film. It's a very good first effort, and shows that you have potential as a filmmaker. Learn from this experience, and keep trying. You will get better with each film. So I encourage you to reconsider creating something for the last chapter. The newest Macbook Pro is amazingly fast with 4 processors, and can compress film in 15 minuets, what took an hour and a half on older model. Just remember the tools don't make the artist, it's how you use them to share your POV in telling stories. Good Luck at Slamdance Festival.

Blake Whitman

Blake Whitman Staff

Several of the judges were not able to judge this, and previous, rounds so we have asked dalas and other staff members at points to judge certain rounds to fill in those judges spots.

Maladaahn

Maladaahn

So many of us regret the story direction the contest took, but there's certainly no turning back. As repeatedly stated, this is an experiment. The idea of different interpretations and directions for each chapter appeals to all of us, even the judges have said the same, but this is the direction it went and that's that. Many of us have also felt there are films who belong in the top 5 that did not make it. But hey, judging is subjective. How do you judge best use of equipment? Even story is extremely subjective since we're dealing with individual films in each chapter, yet also a longer film as a whole.

One thing I would love to see is how the scores for opening and ending still have stacked up. That's definitely one area I wish was taken more seriously.

But in the end, we have to remember that this contest has been a great opportunity to create and network. Just the fact that these judges are looking at our films is a miracle of the times. When in history could you ever have had this many people, pros and the rest of the Vimeo community alike, look at your film so easily? The only avenues to screen your film, even as recently as a few years ago, was submitting to festivals. You have your entry fees, a limited number of films accepted, and even then, unless you're in a huge fest, how many people are in the audience seeing your work?

These are good times people. And yes, there have been frustrations here, but all in all, this has been an exceptional experience.

I love the ideas for judging in the future. Perhaps it's possible to do like most festivals do and have judges pick a winner and have an audience choice award. I like the idea of having a winner chosen by Plus Users as well. Perhaps even categories?

Best of luck to everyone!

Karl Jull

Karl Jull

Blake,

Is it not possible to send the judges a template spreadsheet with the 4 judging criterias and the link to the video.
This way you could collate the judges scores for all videos and post them so that people can see how their film faired.
I think it would stop a lot of this speculation and seeing as the feedback from the judges has stopped, this could be a good alternative.

Keep up the good work

Regards

Karl

dalas verdugo

dalas verdugo Alum

I honestly believe this would lead to even more arguing over where films placed. We'll try to go back to providing feedback in the final round, because I think that is more useful and constructive than publishing everyone's score.

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