How can a comp judge be helpful?

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Mon May 14, 2007 3:30 pm

That's a good one, Roy - and welcome to the forum.

I am not keen on the sort of judging where you have to stand up at the end of the evening and speak about the films. The art of giving off-the-cuff speeches has little to do with your ability to assess movies. I suspect that some of the sillier remarks are made because the person concerned is thinking on their feet.

Dave

Laurie Calvert
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Post by Laurie Calvert » Mon May 14, 2007 5:17 pm

Thanks Dave for your comments.

I've only recently judged my first IAC copetition - a triangle event at Potters Bar. Judging is a very hard thing to do, I realise now even more than before. How do you compare completely different movies for a start. At least in the Triangle they were themed together but at one point I had a bit of a dilemma - one movie was technically superb but another movie actually made me laugh several times (and wasn't that hot technically). So which do I vote for? Do I reward the effort in the technical achievement? Do I vote for the one I enjoyed the most which is more subjective and not so measurable? In the end I decided how much of a technical achievement was it and how much of a good story was the other one. Giving them a score in my mind in each catagory helped me to access overall.

So I had to give points of 3,2 and 1. But really percentage wise the difference between 3 and 2 was much closer.

Difficult job this judging lark. Also I prefer to give more positive comments that negative, so as to inspire and let people know where they are going right. Negative comments need to be balenced (so I've been taught in training) but I find people really respond to positive ones, and I for one want to help promote the film making we all do. I hope that is a good sentiment to have - one I wish some judges had when writing my comments.

I think Dave needs an award for everything he's done over the years. I'm starting to appreciate his efforts.

But the event was fun. Really I admire all of the film makers because they make films for fun, not financial gain. I'm about to try to sell my second feature but really I'll be lucky if it goes into profit. I am really just trying to make a feature film for the achievement of it. I love making films. So best wishes to all of you like-minded film makers out there too.

Brian Saberton
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Post by Brian Saberton » Tue May 15, 2007 11:00 am

I recently revised the soundtrack of a film based on some very helpful judges comments that I received and I think that the movie is all the better for it.

When I am judging I always bear in mind that the movie I am watching is someone's pride and joy on which they will have spent a lot of time and effort. I do my best to set aside any personal likes or dislikes and try to give honest and helpful comments and suggestions that will encourage the film maker to improve, progress and make more movies. Only the recipients can say if this approach works!

I think it helps to keep as up to date as possible on what is happening in the wider world of amateur movies by attending festivals like BIAFF, and also be aware of trends in commercial cinema and TV, both in terms of subject matter and technique.
Brian Saberton

Peter Thomlinson

Post by Peter Thomlinson » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:48 pm

A movie may go against your deepest beliefs: political, moral, religious, ethical ... but you should try to judge them fairly. Movies about abortion, paedophilia, satanism, creationism, National Front, Young Communists etc come along once in a while and have to be assessed.


Dave, I'm not sure if I have missunderstood you on this. Are you saying that movies about abortion, etc., etc are not of interest, but have to be tolerated because they come along once in a while?

I would have thought that these are subjects that, if handled well, could be of interest. And these subject matters are not necessarily ones that the movie maker has to sympathise with, to make a good film. It could be a film exploring the minds and attitudes of the people involved in these areas. Or it could be an expose of say, the National Front, creationism etc.

Some sound like good films to me. Maybe I will make a video on one of these subjects myself, as you have given me some ideas! (I did seriously consider Euthanasia once - no I mean a film on it! And the Euthanasia Society were interested, but I was too lazy).

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Willy
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Post by Willy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 11:41 pm

Peter Thomlinson wrote:
A movie may go against your deepest beliefs: political, moral, religious, ethical ... but you should try to judge them fairly. Movies about abortion, paedophilia, satanism, creationism, National Front, Young Communists etc come along once in a while and have to be assessed.


Dave, I'm not sure if I have missunderstood you on this. Are you saying that movies about abortion, etc., etc are not of interest, but have to be tolerated because they come along once in a while?

_____________________________________________________
Once I made a film about 7 important moments in Irish history. At the end of my film John Hume, who won the Nobel Prize in 1999, says something about peace.

I met his son in Willebroek, the town where I lived. I had kept a letter from John Hume who was a member of the European Parliament. He hoped to meet me some day in Brussels.

In the eighties I contacted him because I wanted to offer 50 children from Northern Ireland a holiday in Belgium. I mean a mixture of Protestant and Catholic children. John Hume was very grateful to me. He wrote this in his letter. So I was proud that he accepted my suggestion to say something at the end of my film. I met him in the European Parliament in Brussels.

At BIAFF I had a fantastic result : an international medallion ! I was very happy, but I was also surprised when one judge told me that he didn't like politicians in a film !

At this moment the situation seems to be very peaceful in Northern Ireland. I am very happy with it and I hope that one day I can visit Northern Ireland and see Mary Casey and other Irish friends who accompanied the children whose parents were on the dole at that time. Times have changed in a good way. I also hope I will be able to film the Giants' Causeway and other wonderful things in Ireland.
Willy Van der Linden

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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:06 am

A movie may go against your deepest beliefs: political, moral, religious, ethical ... but you should try to judge them fairly. Movies about abortion, paedophilia, satanism, creationism, National Front, Young Communists etc come along once in a while and have to be assessed.
The quote was part of something I wrote about judging ...

Any judge may come across films whose subject or approach to a subject is abhorent to her or him. The point I tried to make is that a judge has to set aside her or his prejudices and assess the film in exactly the way they would assess a film on a topic they find agreeable.

Audiences - even quite sophisticated ones - often find it difficult to disengage from the content of a film in order to discuss its merits or lack of them. At the recent "Festival of Nations" I twice had trouble trying to keep discussion on the film rather than its subject. One film dealt with a popular faith healer, the other with the way Lidl and other discount stores treat their staff.

In general I like it when a film provokes such discussion - it means the film maker has been successful in catching the attention and emotion of the audience. But when judging these films the general debate about faith and capitalism tended to get in the way of assessing the movies.

- Dave (trying to elicit sympathy for judges again)

Peter Thomlinson

Post by Peter Thomlinson » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:12 am

Dave (trying to elicit sympathy for judges again)
Dave, you are on to a loser here!! Who heard of anyone with sympathy for judges!!? :shock:

Having said that, I would never be a judge again. It's not a nice job, and the working conditions are often terrible! (So maybe, just maybe, I am sympathetic!) :lol:

Roy

Judges

Post by Roy » Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:46 pm

Hi. There are two schools of thought about Judges, regardless of their skills or otherwise. Winners and theirb friends think the judges are great and the losers and their friends think the judges are utterly useless. Dave is quite right in what he says that some judges ( he didn't say all) might be offended or might dislike certain subject matter in a film, but they have to judge the film on whether the film maker has made the subject interesting to the audiance. How would you expect a film to be judged? do you think that apart from audiance interest, a film should be judged by its photopgraphy, its use of use of sound, its editing? Do you think a judge should make a film the winner although the audiance shows obvious signs that they dont like it. Well you takes your choice and must abide by it. But if you are only going to judge a film by audiance reaction, you may as well go out on the street and drag in the first couple you meet to judge a film.
Like it or lump it, you need judges or some kind if you want to continue to run competitions. Personally. although I was competition secretary for many years. I dont like them as such.
I think they are devisive. I would rather see nights at a club
where members show their films. Other members or visitors
comment on the films as usual but without declaring a winner.
I don't suppose many will agree. But you can think about it.
Roy Alexander

Peter Thomlinson

Re: Judges

Post by Peter Thomlinson » Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:40 pm

Roy wrote: Like it or lump it, you need judges or some kind if you want to continue to run competitions. Personally. although I was competition secretary for many years. I dont like them as such.
I think they are desisive. I would rather see nights at a club
where members show their films. Other members or visitors
comment on the films as usual but without declaring a winner.
I don't suppose many will agree. But you can think about it.
Roy Alexander
In fact an evening of edited videos has been judged at the end by a vote from the club members present. This seemed to work very well, and the best one was picked out by the majority vote. All very democratic, being judged by one's peers!

Laurie Calvert
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Post by Laurie Calvert » Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:24 pm

I do agree with Roy's comments about showing films in some sort of Film Show, rather than having films compete in a Competition. I would prefer this myself. It is so difficult to compare films which are not very alike, and there will always be disagreements.

My friends and I have organised Film Shows with great success. They promote discussion and nobody seems to go home upset that they didn't win, because nobody won/lost.

Nevertheless some people prefer to win something and have a measured achievement. Nothing wrong with that. I like that too.

So the best solution is to have both competitions and Film Shows. But my favourite is a Show, like Roy's. I wish there were more in the IAC, and one day when I have more time I might try and organise some.

Laurie

ned c
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Judging, once more!

Post by ned c » Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:04 am

Could someone explain to me what the criteria are for judging a film other than the judges reaction to the content and the way it is presented? All judging is subjective, full stop, technical skill is importat but not paramount. Remember there are NO RULES, this is an art form not a formalised game. Yesterday's stylistic disasters are today's accepted techniques. If you are over 50 you probably hate wobbly cam and OOF shots, if you are a young film maker these are standard techniques.

Content rules and is the basis of judging decisions,

Ned C

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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett » Sat Jul 07, 2007 2:45 pm

I'm under 50 and hate wobbly cams.

I also hate movies where there is never a held tripod shot, meaning the cam is always tracked across from left to right etc. After a few minutes of that continuous technique, my interest has left the room.

Re judging, it's like refereeing - without somebody to blame, it would be less interesting, and would impact on post-competition 'discussion'.

Roy

Judging

Post by Roy » Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:47 pm

I Wonder if Ned C is a young film maker. If so he is probally to young to remember when there were Rules attached to film making, and they were open to bending but not ignored. These rules were explained in every manual and text book ever written about film making. The purpose of the rules were to make the film smooth flowing and easy on the eye, and to make the plot easily understood by the audience. With the advent of the rock music Videos, it seems that all these rules went out the window. Some of these generally accepted rules were:- The subject moves and not the camera, slow pans accepted occassionally. No hosepiping with the zoom lens., Zooms are mainly for framing the shot, very slow creeping zooms accepted. Start with Long shot to establish the location. Middle shot to concentrate on the action, Close up shot, to show important information (or to show off the actors best features.) joke. Jump cuts to be avoided at all times so as not to confuse the audiance. Crossing the line prohibited so that the actor does not appear to be facing the wrong way in a two shot. There are many more, and these used to come naturally to any filmaker worthy of the name. If this tirade makes me out to be an old Fuddy duddy, so be it, at least I make films that people enjoy without giving them a headache or having epiletic fits triggered off. So perhaps young film makers who make the films with out of focus and hosepiping, and jumpcuts should be in their own groups and be judged in their own competitions by their like minded judges. Roy

Michael Slowe
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How Can a Comp Judge be Helpful

Post by Michael Slowe » Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:06 pm

Judging festival entries is a good way of obtaining some measure of 'grading' for the films and I believe is welcomed by the film makers. It is satisfying to have official approval of one's efforts. But this is by no means a definative judgement as film viewing is such a subjective matter and judges inevitably are influenced by personal preferences.

The idea of audience preference raised by someone here is interesting. I was in the unusual position at last year's Guernsey Lily festival when my film (the Alpaca one) missed a Lily but got voted the audince favourite at the end of the festival. That's not to denigrate the judging - they had to make their own judgement just as did the audience. There are so many factors that come into play.

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Post by stingman » Sun Jul 08, 2007 8:04 pm

It is also good to make films for certain competitions. It gives you a sence of something to work for, and a timescale. If you just make films willy-nilly then you tend to loose track on what it`s all about. Being in a club helps with this a films have to be in a certain time, and also have to cover certain things to be included into the right film competition.

I didn`t put my point across very well, but you get the gist :?

Ian.
Ian Gardner
Film Maker

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