Friday, August 21, 2015

New movie masterpiece- YOU RANG?

(deleted the other two rough cuts)
Unfinished sound but the cuts are finished.
I did this film grab from the Avengers Ultron movie.
Most of the buildings in downtown OKC look like those surrounding the Avengers building.
Basic principle of art appeal. Contrast.
1940s architecture with Buck Rogers in the middle.


Tom Moon said...

I liked the shots of him walking down the corridors lit by different colored lights. Kind of surrealistic. Can you sum up the story and the point of the film for me?

MrGoodson2 said...

Sure Tom. Another attempt at creepiness. Guy randomly comes upon a cell phone ringing. He agrees to return it to the owner who has called the phone. Guy is real agreeable and goes to the trouble of a big underground trek to an agreed spot. Gets a second call, can the good deed doer please change the meeting point. Now the do gooder is slightly peeved but he goes to the second spot. This time he thinks the same cell phone is going off, but it is his cell phone. And the mystery guy is on the phone and our hero wants to know "Hey- how did you get my number." Ends with a hopefully paranoid feel. Got my final cut. Now I need Scott to give me the dialogue as voice over. Add some more sound. Check out the latest.

MrGoodson2 said...

I said the cuts are finished. I should at a minimum cut another minute out of the run time. I may do the disembodied cell phone owner voice today. I offer first 10 bucks, then 20 for the good-deed-guy's trouble.

Tom Moon said...

Hey Ellis, just some thoughts off the top of my head even though the film's not finished. When doing super-short films like this I'd like to see it packed with more urgency and mood than it has, without changing the basic storyline or making it longer.

For instance, instead of the guy just strolling down the parking lot ramps casually, have him running for his car looking at his watch because he's late for work. He runs past the phone lying on the ground and at first doesn't want to stop to get involved. But something unusual about the phone catches his attention and piques his curiosity. (Maybe the phone is pink and somewhere deep in his reflexive-male brain he imagines returning the phone to an attractive woman.)

So he picks it up and it is a sexy female voice offering him $100 to return the phone. He runs to the first rendezvous point hoping he can do the good deed and still get to work on time. On the way he trips, rips his pants, almost gets hit by a car while crossing the street, etc.

At the first meeting point in a well-lit restaurant he receives the next call.

It's the woman again but this time she's asking him to return it to her apartment and she will give him $500 for his trouble. He's irritated, but decides it's still worth it, and he's not far from the second address so what the heck.

She gives him the address and he runs the short distance to a sketchy part of town (encountering more minor mishaps along the way), enters a run-down apartment building, climbs one flight of stairs and knocks on the door. Just then he receives a third call on the pink phone. He picks it up and this time it's a man's voice. "I want to thank you for coming so soon. I'll be right up."

He hears the apartment building door creak open on the ground floor below him and hears the heavy tread of footsteps coming up the stairs towards him.


MrGoodson2 said...

Great script Tom. We may do it some day. I'll cut and paste it so I have it around. I see it when I read it. Much more audience involvement.

I could give you a credit "From an idea by Tom Moon, based on an idea by Scott Sackett and Ellis Goodson, with gratitude to Monty Python"

That's my favorite part of the films. Composited credits. So high tech looking.

The past two shorts haven't had a lot of prep or expense. Especially this one. That is the appeal. Do a bunch of filming with a broad notion of what you're doing, then whip it into shape later. Or as much shape as I can manage.

This was going to be based on someone finding a 20 dollar bill with a phone number on it. With no clear idea what that might lead to.

Have you seen the documentary AMERICAN MOVIE? Fun flick about a guy that just had to make his movie. His dreams were tied to making movies.

Tom Moon said...

I totally understand about the appeal being to just plunge in and start doing it without much prep or expense. I didn't really think that you would want to go to the trouble to re-shoot everything. I mostly left the comments because I enjoy bouncing story ideas back and forth, and I thought you and Scott (or anyone else on the TAG blog) might read my little re-write and bounce even more ideas back (without actually expecting it to be filmed). Team creativity!

MrGoodson2 said...

I went for a jog and thought about your scenario description. It is a really good idea. It would be easy to do.

It has as a common germ the crimes committed against pizza delivery people. Reel in your victim.

Guy in the room realizing his doom is coming, looking for an out or a weapon. What does he see?

MrGoodson2 said...

The last thing he sees is a box- with pink phones brimming to the top.

Tom Moon said...

Ha, good one Ellis.

MrGoodson2 said...

That's the deal that sets apart any planned, slightly more elaborate vision. All the sudden I need props. I need to make a bunch of pink cell phones.

Back in the 90s I made the acquaintance of Donald Jackson who directed Hell Comes To Frogtown. Went with hime to Bronson Canyon one time when he was digitally rolling with the help of some actors he was paying a c note to be there. I witnessed very pointless seeming play acting with Bronson Canyon as a backdrop. Oh, one of the actors was Conrad Brooks who was in Plan 9 From Outer Space. The other was an actress in white make up , in a cat leotard, I think she was using a ninja sword. It was improv really.

Any way, that was how Jackson always did things. No scripts. And he put low quality, direct to video product out there. Nowadays everyone is direct to video. And the stars are cats and dogs. And kids.

He invited me to a showing of The Demon Lover Diary He was a surprise attendee. (It was in the same Hollywood Blvd theatre that I went to to see my PXL2000 film shown to a group. The one you like so much Tom. It did well. Got laughs.)
So Jackson was there to quietly appraise the time he tried to make an early film called the Demon Lover. Which came out and made money. And his alleged helpers were making their own film of what a screw up the whole Donald Jackson approach amounted to.

The scene I vividly recall from the movie was Jackson walking onto the set- In Michigan- in Ted Nugents home- and being furious at the sight of a super tacky archway that was supposed to be a satanic portal to hell. Looked like sub senior prom cardboard work. He goes up to it and starts ripping it to pieces. Fires the documentary guys on the spot. When they are still filming , kinda yucking it up in the car, the get real panicky driving away. They hear a shot. They are now sure Jackson is shooting at them.

Any way, that is film making the moment it becomes elaborate. A zero paid crew, doing shoddy work, with no shared agenda. When digital hit, Jackson was all about getting low quality performance on digital tape and using it later on his random projects.

My next big ambition is to do some composite work where I use live action and cheesy matte painting. Nothing more concrete than that.

MrGoodson2 said...

This would be a fun way to approach shorts. One elaborate set, shoot for surreal happenings and visuals. The Residents

I just checked Amazon for The Demon Lover. Not offered. At the time, even though it had won awards, it was rarely shown. Might be hard to come by these days.

Tom Moon said...

Ah yes, you are right that it would be pain to have to figure out a way to make a bunch of pink cell phones. There are severe limitations on a budget of zero.

So I think the thing to do is simply work with the zero budget rather than fight it. In other words, just reject any idea that is going to require more than you have. The pink phones are out and we need to think of something else. But that's the fun part really, working within limitations, you know? Even directors with big budgets have the same problem. If they can't afford something they are forced to substitute creativity for dollars.

I remember reading about Robert Rodriguez talking about "Spy Kids" that way. He said there was an effect he wanted in the film but he couldn't afford it, so he just thought of something else, and it turned out to be better than the original idea.

A quote from Robert Rodriguez's Wikipedia page:

"He calls his style of making movies "Mariachi-style" (in reference to his first feature film El Mariachi) in which (according to the back cover of his book Rebel Without a Crew) "Creativity, not money, is used to solve problems." Stu Maschwitz coined the term "Robert Rodriguez list", i.e. you make a list of things you have access to like cool cars, apartments, horses, samurai swords and so on, and then write the screenplay based on that list.[31]

MrGoodson2 said...

Somewhere, in my DVDs-in-a-sleeve, I have the Rodriguez commentary track on El Mariachi. There is a ton of good tips. Found this on youtube. Boiling it down in Ten Minute Film School
We're going to shoot another one in a couple of weeks. We left out one of the guys from the Hobo's Bindle. He wants to catch up and be in the next one.

MrGoodson2 said...

We're going to shoot downtown again. I suggested this

"Lets make it a doppleganger movie. The dopplegangers wear sunglasses. That's the props we need. Same style sunglasses. 3 pair."

See what I mean. Write me a zero budget doppleganger script.

Tom Moon said...

I never saw "Blair Witch" but that was supposed to be a near-zero budget movie, wasn't it?

So you mean there are three guys wearing sunglasses and they all supposedly look exactly alike like they are clones of each other? But of course, your three actors all look different, but everyone who sees them acts as though they all look the same? Is that what you mean? That's a funny idea!

MrGoodson2 said...

Tom. The guy without sunglasses is the original. And he is menaced by himself (via cuts), wearing sunglasses as a tell that he is the doppleganger. We'll all be dressed for comfort, wearing shorts. Probably a bad idea for suspense with dopplegangers. No costume changes. Just sunglasses. I may want everyone to do some matte painting that I can use later. Maybe passing through a brick wall effect. Gloves might be a good idea for the dopplegangers. Establish wearing gloves- you could strangle 'originals.' Again- prop complications.

Tom Moon said...

So this a three actor movie, each one playing himself and his own doppelganger who is trying to murder him, right?

MrGoodson2 said...

Maybe a 2 actor movie if I'm manning the camera again. That's basically what i'm thinking. Going back to the old Martin Milner Twilight Zone for how dopplegangers behave. But we've got a week to let it stew.

Tom Moon said...

I watched that Twilight Zone on Hulu just now. The part I liked is the way the cops just pulled up to the bus station, jumped out of the car and hauled the woman away to the insane asylum, no questions asked, all because some anonymous guy phoned it in!

Tom Moon said...

Have you got a general plotline for the doppleganger story? I'm intrigued as to what the "passing through a brick wall effect" would be used for.

Davis Chino said...

Elz, I can't believe Studio Goodson OKC has minted another movie adventure--where's the fanfare?? We need another podcast!

I enjoyed reading the back-n-forth between you and Tom. Tom, your rewrite is so good and filled with clear ideas--Ellis, hire that man!

My one suggestion is an echo of Tom's encouragement to "speed things up"--I might shy away from so many cross-dissolves. They come across (to me, at least) as an even greater time elapsing. I think of them as the comic book equivalent to a box of text in the upper corner of the panel (or frame) saying, "Later that day..." Maybe just a straight cut might trim a little of the inertia from the proceedings?

It's so cool you are making more movies!

MrGoodson2 said...

Thanks Marty. Cross dissolves are being used to forgive a little jump cut ugly instead of a proper use, which as you say, indicates time has passed. So I'm murking up what is a accepted vocabulary. I'm digging back in today. We'll see if I can improve that. It's all about sound today.
Tom. Great point about the TZ Milner episode. Real cops will grill the guy who called anything in as hard as the subject of the call. They take them both in half the time.

Doppleganger plot. Divide and conquer. Sitting in a restaurant , 2 friends. Camera reveals dopplegangers in a corner, maybe sparate tables. One friend goes to the restroom, pushed into the mirror. Comes back out. Takes the place at table with friend. The other doppleganger has moved closer. The doppleganger at the table suggests the survivor have some more tea.

MrGoodson2 said...

Last shot- pushed through the mirror victim in the phantom zone- pressing against glass.

I think I have the restaurant we can do it in. Called Coffee Slingers on Automobile Alley in OKC. Layout is perfect. Has some big plate glass that will work as the mirror barrier. Should be able to shoot it in 15 minutes.

MrGoodson2 said...

Here's the script-

add thoughts

Doppleganger plot, tentatively set in Coffee Slingers on Auto Alley.

2 friends sit, discussing things, having lunch. They are observed by dopplegangers. They are at 2 tables. Different stealth points. Observers. One "original" goes to the bathroom. Doppleganger follows.

Doppleganger pushes original into mirror- trapping him. Done wirh a white out fade jazzed up a bit. Maybe a bit of negative film filtering.

Doppleganger comes back out. Sits with last "original." Other Dpplgngr wtaches- attentive but cold. Converstaion driven by the original. Doppleganger has a suggestion "How about some more tea?"

Last shot- shot through plate glass, the trapped original in the phantom zone

Tom Moon said...

So the guy that goes into the restroom first is followed by his doppelganger and pushed into the mirror and trapped. Then the doppleganger goes back to the table and suggests more tea to the guy because he wants the guy's bladder to get full, forcing him to go to the bathroom. Is that the joke? Funny!

Would suggest that rather than actually showing the first guy pushed into the mirror, just show the doppleganger following him into bathroom, camera remains outside, then sounds of a scuffle, a muffled scream, and the doppleganger comes out again. Save the mirror reveal until the very end.

And at the end, again, maybe it's not necessary to show the second guy really go through the mirror. Could be both easier and more effective to imply it. Interior of the bathroom - both dopplegangers struggle with the second "original", grab him by the jacket and hurl him at the bathroom mirror. The guy's (and the audience's) expectation is that they are trying to knock him our by hurling him against the mirror and we are about to see shattering glass and blood.

Instead, cut to the exterior of the bathroom again. Two doppelgangers exiting bathroom.

Then the final shot of the bathroom mirror of both guys trapped behind it screaming.

Maybe think of some funny back-and-forth between the doppleganger and the second original where the doppleganger is doing everything to subtly manipulate the original into the bathroom, but for some reason the guy is resisting.

Maybe also think about why the doppelgangers want to take the originals' places, and figure out how to communicate that to the audience.

MrGoodson2 said...

Great notes Tom. I think the scuffle outside the bathroom idea is the kind of low budget solution I should have realized. That is how it will be done. All sound- closed door.

So that's definitely happening.

Good ideas for the rest of how it might play. But I don't want to tax my actors. Who aren't actors.

Tom Moon said...

There's an old Cary Grant movie called "Mr. Lucky" where a scuffle behind a closed door takes place. They did it by focusing the camera on the bottom of the door where the gap between the floor and the door is. There's a light on in the room and you see the bottoms of the two men's shoes close together facing each other and moving around as they wrestle. You can hear them bumping up against the door.

It's been established earlier that Cary Grant carries a roll of quarters around in his pocket to give his fist weight in case he gets into a fight.

After a few minutes of scuffling you see and hear a whole bunch of quarters go clinking to the floor and the fight ends.

Tom Moon said...

Hey, doesn't this whole movie storyline sound like something you could do up in comic book form for Marty's "Gorgon" comic?

MrGoodson2 said...

Now I have to watch Mr Lucky. Foreshadowing. The audience loves it when they are shown something and it pays off.

It could go right into Gorgon. In stead of redrawing it, this will be done Fumetti style for the comic book.

Also a style of not shown fights. The one that plays out in front of Jack Elam in Kiss Me Deadly. Elam has been playing it mean as a snake. Until whatever he sees Mike Hammer do to his thug buddy changes his face to stark terror.

Tom Moon said...

Okay, so at the beginning of the movie, a mystery is established with the showing of the two doppelgangers. Who are these guys and why do they look exactly like the other two guys at the table?

Then, after the first guy is thrown into the mirror (off screen), we know that they are up to no good of some kind, but we don't know exactly what (mugging? murder?).

With that we enter the middle part of the short movie where we build suspense. Can the doppleganger trick the second "original" into the bathroom where the same unknown horrible fate awaits him?

So we have this conflict going on while we watch the two guys sitting at the table. Instead of tea, have the doppleganger keep buying the "original" beer after beer, trying to get him drunk and in need of bladder relief. Meanwhile the "original" keeps looking at his watch and saying, "I gotta get going. The wife is expecting me." And the doppleganger keeps talking him out of it. "Just one more," he says buying him another beer, and the "original" keeps giving in. "Okay just ONE more."

While this first layer of conflict is playing out, a second layer is simultaneously happening. As the "original" gets drunker and drunker he starts talking about his "Big Gripe".

He's saying things like, "I don't know what the world is coming to! I've worked hard for over twenty years building a good life, and THOSE GUYS think they can just COME OVER HERE, JUST COME OVER HERE WHERE THEY DON'T BELONG, TAKE OUR JOBS, TAKE OUR WOMEN, TAKE OVER OUR WHOLE LIVES!"

The audience assumes he is talking about illegal immigrants. His voice gets louder and louder and other patrons are looking over at him. Here's where you can use your cross cuts to make it seem like some time has passed. Dissolve to the "original" slugging down beer after beer and getting angrier and angrier. The doppleganger eggs him on in order to keep him at the table.

Now the "original's" wife starts calling him on his cell phone asking him where the hell he is. The "original" yells back at his wife, "I'm comin' already!" You have a third simultaneous conflict. Tension builds.

After more back and forth, the "original" finally says, "I gotta take a piss." and the doppleganger goes with him, propping him up 'cause he's so drunk, into the bathroom where the "original" meets his fate.

So now the whole thing becomes sort of a twilight zone metaphor for illegal immigration. We think the guy is mad about immigrants from Mexico or Iran or India, but all this time he's been talking about the "mirror people" coming across the dimensional barrier and taking people's places.

MrGoodson2 said...

Great story Tom. It would be cool to have a delay effect. Do a build. It would be kind of tough to do as casually as I have imagined. Going to a coffee shop we're using for a set and somehow get extras to pay attention to what we're doing. And any acting dialogue.... tough to do right. At least tough to get on the same page about delivery.

American Movie- I watched it recently. The auteur film maker is fuming about the casting process. How the actors are F-ing up his script! In desperation he acts a scene for one person. His Godawful, screaming, unnatural, off putting performance is captured. I may have put in on pause to let the embarrassment dissipate.

That's what I would get with a lot of emotional dialogue.

But I like a lot of the notes that could still be inserted from your story study. Really glad I have that off camera fight note.

Tom Moon said...

Last scene, the drunk guy's doppleganger picks up the "original's" phone and re-dials his wife. "I'm on my way now Hon. Yeah, why don't we have a romantic night at home tonight, just you and me?"

Tom Moon said...

If you don't think your actors can handle emotional dialogue then let's think of an innovative way around that. For instance, make it like an old-time silent movie. Just film the actors talking, then insert those dialogue cards with the written lines.

MrGoodson2 said...

You did it. That would solve the problem. Really get everyone to overact like old time silents. Great idea. Filter it. Make it BW and grainy.

Tom Moon said...

Yeah! Black and White. And maybe you could do that thing where the frame speed is slightly faster making it a little jerky looking.

I never saw that movie "The Artist" that was big news a while back, but it might be worth a look to see how they handled it.

Tom Moon said...

Hey Ellis, do you know how to green screen stuff? I was thinking it would be fun sometime to shoot your actors against a green screen, then drop them into the film with your drawings as backgrounds. Sort of a combination of live action and drawing. It might be a cool, funky style of filmmaking and you would no longer be dependent on scouting out locations and waiting for the lighting to be right. You could set the stories anywhere in the world. Heck, anywhere in the galaxy!

MrGoodson2 said...

The Artist is a very cool movie. Worth watching. The actor is awesome as the chauvinist (super chauvinist) spy in OSS 117.

I can do green screen if after effects for sure. I'd have to research iMovie but i believe it is easy. You're right. Time for some matte painting and composit film making.