The Story Beyond The Still

The Story??

Diana Fagala

Diana Fagala

So I saw this advertised on facebook and I clicked over. I must admit got hooked to see where different groups of people lead this story. I played this game as a child where others need to finish the story so I was interested, great idea for a contest.

So I am watching the winners to keep in step with the story line picked by the judges. Video 1, 2, 3, 4 I was tracking with and I got to be honest as a viewer video 5 was a awesome in visuals as far as filming goes, but it totally threw the story off course! The cab driver randomly found the teddy bear and gave it to his dark haired daughter. Not sure where the blond girl came from in video four but the runner up for video 5 pulled off a great new section with the whole innocent kids opening the box and kept with the dark haired Allison.

What was up with bringing that kid back from the dead thing? The past video's didn't even suggest that the cab guy knew what was going on with that whole smelly box thing, he was just dragged into it by the security guard and the unknown teddy bear connection. So now his daughter was once killed and brought back to life and he has no clue in the previous video's of this possible connection to this conspiracy even though now he does?!?!?!?! Do you see what I mean?

Judges: From a viewer stand point I am so disappointed! I think the winner of video 5 did do a great job, but when watching a "movie" I'd like the plot to remain consistent.

Good Luck Everyone

Lew Fraga

Lew Fraga

Well, think about the time(s) you played this kinda thing in school - where the teacher would bring up ONE thing, someone else would add to it, then another and another - when they add, they may sound cool, and a neat progression, but if you really look back on them they don't all fit each other.

Enter adulthood and try a user-generated movie with 4-minute installments.

While we may be TRYING to keep them fitting in some way or another, the pieces won't all fit. We'll think of something we think is cool, it might fit THIS kinda way (maybe, we hope...?), shoot it as best we can, etc. And when looking back, you can see where a character did THIS nod, which negates something in THAT episode, another character say THIS word choice, which negates something in THAT episode, etc.

I think for the most part they're looking for general filmmaking achievement from story, to technique and execution.

-Lew

Diana Fagala

Diana Fagala

Lewis,

I hear what your saying, although everybody else kept with the main foundations of the original plot, and I am saying that with the understanding that things didn't fit because they were totally different characters and setting lol... but everyone did a really great job with costumes and similar props and the list goes on so I was able to move "into adulthood" and go from each installment being able to follow along.

With that said as a viewer I shouldn't be so confused that I am annoyed. If the contest is just for film makers and not for common folk to follow your progress and watch, then I guess it shouldn't be advertised on facbook for all to see. I really loved installments 1-4 they were great and I was EXTREMELY impressed and was excited to see the ending. After video 5 with the complete reversal of the plot I could careless for installment 6. Since they are promoting this to get people interested in this project.. my comments were a simple suggestion to the judges that they might want to continue to pick video's that are interesting to people besides the film makers.

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

Miracle doesn't blow the story off course, because there aren't any rails.

If this contest had gone the way most of the film makers wanted it, there wouldn't be any continuation. The original concept was to interpret the end still of the previous Chapter with your OWN story. The entire point was to tell the story you See Beyond The Still. Instead, the still has become the boring transition piece from chapter to chapter, usually with no interpretation or story about the still.

The judges don't pick the winner, just the top 5. Don't like the winner, blame the world. That is, unless you think the top 5 were all bad and a winner should have come from another entry...wink wink...

Nothing requires the next chapters to be about an emotionless cabbie, his hair color changing daughter, a box, a bear, or a key. But I got money that says they will. Mainly, because the "people" who come to vote have never read the rules. They just expect a direct continuation, or get con-fused.

Diana Fagala

Diana Fagala

Sean the idea of making a 4 min film based off of a still with no connection to the video the still came from was a hard concept to push. All of the video's have had original ideas put into it, yet watching them I am going to vote something that closes out that story I am clinging too. Why do people religiously watch tv shows? Well they want to find out what happens next. Amongst other things, I will complain to the world about this as well and tell them I want to find out what happens to the cab driver and what the hell smelled so bad in the box and why a 8 year old is bleaching at such a young age. Although what I do not want to see is the off spin of a dead kid brought back to life and her stupid father who can't seem to remember any of that taking place, although that did in fact explain to me what smelled in the box so badly that made they security guards tummy turn lol

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

It's funny, if Job Security had not been in the Top 5, we probably wouldn't be having this dialogue. If Job Security had not brought the Cabbie back in at the end, we probably wouldn't be having this dialogue. But alas it was, and it did, so here we are.

I wasn't trying to tell you how to vote or what to root for, just trying to explain the original concept that drew the attention of so many fine filmmakers (check the entry count for each chapter). There was a sharp decline once people realized that six unique stories, connected by six unique photographs, was not going to come of this, but rather six somewhat muddled chapters about the same characters.

Don't get me wrong, that's an awesome concept for a contest, it's just not what I thought this contest was going to be about. We are no longer telling stories about the still. We use it to transition to the next Chapter in the same story. Which explains why most of the stills are so terrible (I've got one in that lot too!).

From Chapter Three on, we wanted to do Kill Cabbie, Vol 1. Why? Because we, the filmmakers, came here for a different reason. Instead of telling unique stories about the provocative end stills, none of which I'd want to frame (other than Vince's), now we're stuck with delivering continuity because that's what the judges and voters want.

Technically, we're not stuck, we can do whatever we want. Chapter 4 had some great pieces that did just that (check out anything by Jacob Snyder and for sure The Hard Road). But, they didn't make top 5, and as continuity is not a judging criteria, some of them absolutely should have.

Personally, I feel Miracle balanced both camps, and for that I'm glad it won. It kept a loose hold on the overall story thread, but took it in it's own unique direction.

And I dig the dead daughter bit!

And thanks for checking out our work. My crew has really progressed and our Chapter 5 entry was truly our best effort yet.

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

Keep in mind, Mark old buddy, with Chapter Six, you can answer all of the questions, or none. Go back to the Beach. Everyone wanted to know how the bear got to that exact spot in the sand...never answered. (Deus Ex Machina).

Story is only supposed to be 25% of the judging criteria. You could have no real story and still make it into the Top 5 (Buried). Also, there is no criteria for what the story needs to be. You can try to guess what the judges want, but you never know who's going to be judging. Chapter Four had a few judges actually leaving feedback and expressing their desire (and willingness to pay cash money) for non-continuation pieces...and their surprise that stand alone pieces didn't make it to the Top. And there's no way to know what the voters would have chosen, had one of those pieces made it in. I mean, who doesn't love puppets?

And thanks for digging on Dilate. Too late too be too creative? That's funny. And a criticism I'll take any time!

Oh, and Wrong Place, Wrong Time. Fucking killed it. Which is why you can see shots from it in Vince's Vimeo trailer.

Jeff Turick

Jeff Turick Plus

Sean,
Your post before this one is the best description I've heard yet as to why the story shouldn't have been continued. You know me, i've been big on "continue the story" but pointing out that the stills have just become rather uninteresting transitions is spot on, unfortunately. The original contest did, as you say, mention that those final stills should be something remarkable and frame-worthy and that has def has not been the case, my own piece included! I wonder if the contest had taken a different, non-continuing direction, if there would be more interesting stills, if it would have freed up people's minds to take it anywhere if they didn't feel the still had to in some way support the direction of the story. Maybe in SBTS 2.0 (if there is one!) it will be less literal.

PS... i had voted for "Alderwood" which was a sort of story continuer, but not as literally.

Maladaahn

Maladaahn

Mark,

That's what I loved about Dilate so much and what I feel this contest should be about. If we're going to continue the story here, do something interesting with it. I don't care about the details of how the Cabbie gets his daughter back, or doesn't get his daughter back. If you can take me forward in time and show me something unexpected, a wonderful twist in the story, like Dilate does, then I'm interested.

Previous chapters have set up the kidnapping. O.K. I care. I want him to get her back. But when I see the details start to play out before me, the process of him chasing her down, people shooting people, etc., I lose interest. But take me ahead in time now and show me this psychological, unimaginable situation, and explore it to an extent, and then leave me wanting more. I'm hooked. This is one that stayed with me long after I watched it, and one that I watched many times. It's different and it's interesting, but moving these characters and their story forward at the same time.

But I'm not knocking any of the filmmakers following the story. You have to if you want to win. And this contest is giving people a great deal of exposure. It still takes a great deal of skill to make a film that will make this top 5. So serious props to you guys!

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

But you see, there are two chapter left. And for this competition, I felt like if you're going to add this type of random dystopia in the future and then tag along the cabbie and allison then I feel like it moved it off-track.

Don't get me wrong, I really liked it! I especially liked the part where they both know who they are and it's like a reunion. I LOVED it.

Another thing was the final still. Personally, in a literal sense, it would be hard to re-create. Creativly, it would have been difficult and challenging yet fun and different (in a great great way) but it was just...a picture of the location. So that may have bumped y'all down. But that's my opinion.

And Maladaahn, I completly agree about the whole "running, shooting, chasing" thing. It got really old. I watched 75% of all the Chapter 5 entries and a lot the time it was just that. It was boring. My eyes were hurting.

So Dilate impressed me with something different. I myself did something different and brought it back somehow. Although it was really my fault for it not coming out the way it SHOULD have been.

So yeah..my next mission is continuing with my own flair. I've got some interesting ideas...

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

Sean - Actually I answered why the bear was stuck in the sand at that exact spot. Like I said at the time, my goal for 'Fate' was to write down every single plot twist and question mark and account for ALL of them to put the story back on the rails.

If the story segment from the timeline of the trunk in the warehouse at the end of Vincent's chapter 1, to my $2,000 monster snarl shot in Fate had been a dream, the bear in the sand makes perfect sense!! ;-)

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

Sure, but that's like saying Bob Fett survived the mighty Sarlacc. It isn't an episode, so it didn't happen. He met his end in the Great Pit of Carkoon. Thus, despite your amazing entry, the bear stuck in the sand has not been explained...

Kris Koster

Kris Koster

lol... true, but things such as that could only be explained in terms of dreams. Unless some form of magic or heavenly grace was taking place.

Ziad B. Bouassi

Ziad B. Bouassi

I was starting to feel like a huge moron watching that video. To be honest, I have no idea what the hell is happening in the last chapter. I've always prided myself on my status as a solid amateur film analyst, but I was left out in the cold on this one. If someone would like to succinctly explain what I embarrassingly couldn't grasp in Miracle, I'd be very appreciative.

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

Ziad and everyone else who is confused, this is my message to Mr. Ryan Booth about continuity, IT STARTS AT THE BOTTOM, then goes up...

13 minutes ago

mark,

agree with you on the bear. if i got a chance to re-edit, i'd probably take it out because it can be confusing. yeah, i definitely took a risk leaving everything so subtle...for sure...and trust me, i'm as surprised as anyone that it won. not that i think it is crap, i just had NO IDEA it would get that far...it was my first narrative effort for crying out loud! again, happy to clarify. hope it helps.
31 minutes ago

Oh that's where I got all confused.
Well I assumed from the beginning that he was somewhat of a lower middle class. And him picking up this teddy bear is a gift to his daughter because she usually never gets any gifts. If you look at her room in the very first chapter, it's plain. Not a whole bunch of toys. So when she had this teddy bear I was like, why does she have a teddy bear...this screws up everything continuity wise.

At the ending, you subtely show this guy in a car wearing a white shirt and when he pulls it off he's part of the FBI. For days, I thought he was just some person trying to hide himself from being known that he's an FBI (just an average joe). But litterally just yesterday, after reading the cast list, I suddenly realized that it was the beachcomer. It was just SOO subtle.

So when she hand the teddy bear in her hand, obviously viewers are going to assume that's it THE teddy bear. just saying. I know it's not just me

Thanks for clarifying. sorry for being harsh if i ever was.
2 hours ago

when they are running from the house? well, i could only assume that, given the fact that the cabbie picks up a teddy bear off the ground in ch1 to take to his daughter, she must REALLY like teddy bears. therefore, to me, it would make sense that it wasn't the first bear she owned. so, the bear she has then (when running in my ch) is just reference to the fact that she likes teddy bears. it's not the specific bear with the key/mystery etc. just a teddy bear.
3 hours ago

Then why does she have a teddy bear when he takes her back?
19 hours ago

mark,

sorry for the confusion. i appreciate you taking the time to ask about the film instead of just throwing your hands up and slamming it for it's apparent "lack of continuity"

IN MY HEAD (interpret how you like) this is how i envisioned the continuity:

ch5 (mine) begins where ch4 ends. the cabbie has been given the card with the address on it. cabbie checks the card, reads instructions and heads for the train (to go to the address). while on the train (in transit in present) he remembers things that happened in the past (flashbacks). the cemetery, warehouse (where the daughter is mysteriously returned to him), montage (chess thing), and "running scene" where the cabbie decides he won't return his daughter all take place BEFORE ch1. then the cabbie exits the train (back in the present), gets in the car and heads to the warehouse (address on card) where allison is presumably held. cabbie walks in, and we find more than just bad guys are waiting for him...

hope that clears it up. good luck!
1 day ago

Hi Ryan, congrats on the win. This message is about MIRACLE to help me plan for the chapter.

So, questions!

So the whole cemetery, 1 year ago, Allison being dead thing, is this before she even gets the teddy bear and all of Chapter 1-4? I'm still very confused. In chapter 4, a mad scientist contains Allison in a cell, so when does that take place? Is the warehouse at the end of the film the same as the warehouse in Chapter 4? So does that mean that the business man and the scientist obviously are working together. And I don't understand when the Cabbie takes Allison back, where is he going and what time or when is this in relation to all of the other events that have happened so far. I tried to read your notes but it only made me more confused.

If you could please explain :)

Maladaahn

Maladaahn

I think it's going to be difficult to craft a satisfying conclusion to the story. The characters are cardboard cutouts so I'm not sure what sort of conclusion would make people care. But it will be a large collaboration, so hopefully something interesting materializes. But it's difficult for everyday people to relate to kidnappings, double crossings, executions, etc., so I'm not sure how much of the interest is an actual emotional investment in the characters and how much is just a curiosity to see where it ends up.

All of the top 5s so far, and all of the winners, have done great work. If you want to win, then you definitely have to continue the story, and they've done just that. I was also disappointed in the stills. Vincent or Blake, or someone, said the still should be one you would frame and hang on your wall. Vincent's original still was infinitely inspiring. Look back at the 100+ chapter 2 entries and all the different directions they went. Beyond that, since the story is being continued, it's difficult to craft a film that follows the storyline, moves it forward, asks new questions, answers old ones, and naturally leads to an interesting end still, all in 4 minutes. This is also why there are continuity issues. But if the story is going to be followed so literally and linearlly, then continuity should be tight as well.

As for Miracle, I'm assuming we've jumped ahead in time and his daughter is never found after the kidnapping and is presumed dead, or found dead. In the near future, the Cabbie gets to see her again. Then he takes off with her. A year later we see him entering the / a warehouse, alone, followed by the FBI. So if he took off with her a year earlier, then I don't know where she is now and what's happening, but of course that's for the next chapter to explore. It could also be assumed that the daughter never was found, and is not back from the dead, but is still being held and experimented on or something, (they have to monitor her progress) and someone allows the Cabbie to see her for a week.

Lew Fraga

Lew Fraga

I still kinda take it lightly for this contest - the continuity, that is. I guess I just see what won, and THAT is the current state of where we are. It might not fit the previous one, and the next one might not fit exactly, but take elements and turn another direction, etc., but a leaping off point, basically.

As we're all trying to interject our own little stamp on things we'll diverge here and there, so to me it's not a big deal if there are plot holes within 4 minute increments of contest entries.

And Sean is right - I hadn't thought abut it, and I even did it in my last entry - the final still being a gateway for others to continue in a vague direction. I gave 3 distinct directions anyone could go into if it won - not making something that would stand on its own as a frame-able still, but a final image in an episode - to be continued.

My Ch4 entry I tried to make a unique still, but not the Ch5 entry.

Right now I'm working on so many thin gs I have no idea IF I"ll be able to do a Ch6 (I hope so, but work is piles up this time of year), but if I do I'll keep that in mind this time.

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

Popeye Theophilus Barrnumb

Unfortunately, I think this contest is basically all screwed up. The choice to have the "community" choose the winner was so poor that it basically killed the contest, imo. You might as well flip a coin to see who wins.

I also think the judges were either seriously overwhelmed by the number of entries and couldn't cope, or the way they set up the judging was really poor, as well. (I tried to watch all of the Chapter 4 entries, and it was virtually impossible -- I didn't have the time (or much interest) to watch more than the Top 5 finalists this time around -- I was surprised at the general poor quality of the films in a lot of ways, except some had some nice ("stand-alone") visuals)

And the pro-DSLR camera bias/skew is also messed up. They should have just said that you MUST use a DSLR camera. (although that would have reduced the entries and entrants considerably) That's partly why I'm not making a Chapter 6 film, because I don't have a DSLR. I'd rather go do something else than effectively waste my time with this contest.

I think the Chapter 5 winning film fails because, if you don't read the filmmaker's description and explanation of the film, it really doesn't make sense. So it should never have gotten Top 5 because of that. (just like the films that some filmmakers said you should watch more than once to understand them -- again, automatic fail) But, it had some nice visuals because it was shot on a DSLR. (that really seems to be the only requirement and "rule")

He also didn't keep the last photo image up for 5 seconds like the rules state. Of course, it has become clear that there really are no rules here, which is also problematic. Contests have rules for a reason. And, if you have a rule, it should be used as part of the judging for Yes or No. (that is what the rules state, as well)

So it's unfortunate that that has become the state and status of this contest. It reflects poorly on Vimeo and Canon, imo. And the judges.

Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver

I think everyone should be a little more optimistic. With this attitude, we're wasting time away from the next chapter, if you're doing the next one.

Yeah, everything's not the way it should be, but we can't change that. Words can't at least.
Quite frankly, I think we get the point. But Canon/Vimeo aren't going to do anything about it.

So why complain? Find the silver lining and move on with life right?

Shakeitta McCord

Shakeitta McCord

Frankly, Chapter 5 was my favorite, and I am glad to read here that other people realized that the story did not (and should not) have to continue after chapter 1. I was extremely disappointed that each winning entry was one that continued the cabby story as I had read that it was NOT necessary to take the same concept and keep going with it. But rather something unique should have been done with each winning entry (IMO). Chapter 5 was the closest to being different and for that the filmmakers there get mad kudos from me. That being said, since we are already 5 chapters deep into this story it seems sort of weird/wrong to completely diverge from it now, with only 2 chapters left to go.

Lew Fraga

Lew Fraga

I agree - unless there is something absolutely stunning that leaves you with your jaw dropped, there's no chance the direction will change from the Cabbie. I was kinda hoping that would happen if something like Leverage had won - an entirely different avenue would open up.

We keep postulating, what if in the 2nd chapter the Security Guard had not gotten into a cab, much less THE Cabbie's cab? What would the contest be like if we never saw it again?

But once we saw it was the Cabbie from the 1st chapter, like the Halloweeen series, there was no going back.

Ryan Booth

Ryan Booth Plus

yeah, this forum thread was kind of interesting to me...given that i felt that Miracle was a (direct) continuation story. Was surprised some people didn't see it as such. I didn't come along in this contest until the last chapter (5) and taking a look at the previous winners, concluded that the voting public was at least partially interested in seeing what might happen to the Cabbie. I didn't view this as positive or negative, rather, just is what it is. As media producers we are always going to be operating inside some kind of constraints. Be it story, budget, time, talent, crew, (a giant trunk!) etc. It is just the nature of making things. I just decided to operate within the existing framework and try and push it in a direction that I thought would be relevant to previous winners, provide avenues for coming chapters, and be interesting to watch in the mean time. Within a narrative filmmaking contest, it is only natural (unless explicitly told otherwise) for people to attempt to tell a narratively linked, overarching story. Hard enough to do on your own, let alone across multiple chapters, styles, and people! I loved Leverage. I loved Seer. I loved Auctioneers. I thought ANY of them could EASILY have won and yet none of them were directly, explicitly continuation pieces. They were excellent, interesting, and compelling. In fact, I'm not even saying that I'd like to see a continuation piece win, I just chose to compete within the "box" I saw forming.

In fact, depending on how this Ch6 plays out, I think Ch7 could be sufficiently challenging that I'd be interested in trying another piece... It's going to be tough to "follow" a few of the T5 and that excites me...

What a great contest. I'd be saying that regardless of how Ch.5 worked out for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to experiment in new forms of storytelling (for me), to stretch creatively, and to have a place like vimeo in which we can then share what we make (and interact with each other).

This contest, like Blake and others have said, is an experiment. I'm sure there is an enormous list of things that will be changed the next time they do one...from rules, to judging, to creative direction.

We'll see.

Ryan Booth

Ryan Booth Plus

Another thing...

If you find things in T5 or winning films that REALLY bug you...the "i can't believe they did that, that's so cheesy/lame/far fetched/whatever" kind of things... LISTEN to that. It should give you direction for the piece that you want to make. For instance, for me, if I saw one more handgun I was going to lose my mind. It was driving me nuts watching people clearly not used to handling guns pull them out and wave them around like a gun automatically added tension. So, rather than bitching about it (who knows, maybe I was the ONLY one who it was bothering) I just decided that under no circumstances would I have a gun in my piece. I wanted to find a way to add tension without a weapon. Maybe the key is killing you. Maybe flashbacks irk you, maybe the final stills are bugging the crap out of you. Maybe you can't stand the driving shots, the dark-ish nature of most of the pieces. Who knows. Whatever it is, listen to that and use that gut-level information to make a piece that you can be proud of. It obviously won't be perfect, but when people make things from a place of conviction, it comes through.

Just my two cents.

Maladaahn

Maladaahn

Hey Ryan,

The Miracle was great because it was different. It's everything so many of us have been talking about here. You demonstrated that you can actually continue the story while also doing somehting different and interesting at the same time, all wihtout a single gun in sight. And look at what you inspired. People went with the back from the dead idea, others went with cloning ideas and plenty of other ideas as well.

Congrats on a great film and well-deserved win!

Sean T. McCoy

Sean T. McCoy

Agreed. The story wasn't moved very far physically: beach to warehouse door, but the flashback added a new depth to the underlying story. I just hope what wins for Chapter 6 will be one that finally resolves the "Allison in the warehouse" thread. We couldn't get a warehouse, which is why we went into the future! Then Miracle ended at the warehouse door!!!

Maladaahn

Maladaahn

I know, I hear you there! Hopefully we move beyond it and can finish strong!

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