WHAT IS ENTERTAINING? WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE?

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
Pqtrick
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WHAT IS ENTERTAINING? WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE?

Post by Pqtrick »

Two short film festivals (Festival du Film Court Métrage) were held here recently in Villeurbanne, France. And being newcomers to the town, out of interest I went with my wife to three of the screenings. Albeit most were made by budding pro film makers and film schools but being only a good walk away, there seemed no reasonable excuse for not going. There was an international section, one from the local region Rhone-Alpes and animation. It helped a little as they were mostly sub-titled in French.

Yes, some were so abstract it was difficult to form any opinion, yet a few others were classically made, but the comedy, sadly I thought, was let down by a 'gag' ending. But wait! These were enthusiastically applauded, even by this more 'sophisticated' audience!

However, at the second festival we found it hard work to form any real conclusions. They were all visually creative and stimulating, yet somewhat bizarre, and abstract. They contained wobbly shots, soft focus ones to be kind, out of frame shots and some inconclusive story lines. All the ingredients to be reprimanded by the meekest of judges at a UK moviemakers night.

But what is to be made of these short films we saw in Villeurbanne? Initially, I was puzzled. But at least they set me thinking.

In comparison, my past efforts have been more tempered for a club-night showing. Although I often strived to do something which was had not been achieved there locally. But doing something in manner just to be different for its own sake, surely cannot be a good reason.

Perhaps I do not fully understand this language of film making. While trying to keep open minded, I do endeavour to see as many film showings as possible, the commercial cinema balanced by a round of film festivals.

But at the end of any film makers long toils, there is usually an audience. They may want go home with some form of satisfaction or even have been slightly challenged, beyond being just been out to see an evening of 'nice little films'.
Ray Williamson
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Non-commercial film forever!

Post by Ray Williamson »

I agree with the n-c idea.
The term "amateur" is widely seen as a term of abuse.
Was Vincent Van Gogh an amateur?
After all, he did not sell any paintings!
In the arts, the term "amateur" is not used. Getting paid or not, or getting someone else to pick up the bill, is irrelevant.
It might also drop you out of the running from any support from the Film Council. They don`t want to encourage mere amateurs -- perish the thought!
Taxpayers want to see an economic benefit, for goodness sake!
Ray Williamson, East Sussex.
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billyfromConsett
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Re: Non-commercial film forever!

Post by billyfromConsett »

Ray Williamson wrote:They don`t want to encourage mere amateurs -- perish the thought!
Taxpayers want to see an economic benefit, for goodness sake!
Wow, you've got your cynical head on. :)

But I'd say us tax payers just want to pay less tax, and giving our hard earned cash to the arts should be criminalised!
Brian Saberton
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Post by Brian Saberton »

N-C may be PC but I for one am proud to call myself an amateur film-maker!
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stingman
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Post by stingman »

Brian Saberton wrote:N-C may be PC but I for one am proud to call myself an amateur film-maker!
I think I agree with you Brian. THAT`S what WE are. I don`t change my beliefs and principples with the times.

So, yes, i`m also an amateur film-maker!
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Stu H
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Post by Stu H »

In a devil's advocate kind of way, I thought I might say that we needn't worry, since often our films could be described as fitting both definitions of "amateur" quite easily!
"Nobody knows anything." - William Goldman
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stingman
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Post by stingman »

billyfromConsett wrote:But this is the film world we live in Stingman.

Not sure if he made all the movies, but on here, he made the top one "Octane" http://www.myspace.com/tyler_waynethompson

So Stingman, how about a brief crit for "Octane" or any of the others...
I`ve started a seperate thread on this.
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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett »

We all can tell who the amateurs are around here :wink: but Ned's label does hold an important point for me.

No I don't get paid for making movies to show at the club, but I want to get up to the standard of the Biaff and Guernsey winners.

It might concern our aims and aspirations that lurk below the surface, but 'a non-commercial film-maker' has both a more modern ring to it and an esteem value than 'an amateur film-maker'.

Our founders might be turning in their graves at the likes of me being fine about questioning our whole trademark, but hey, times move on.

It's another question that can be asked of ourselves when we look at our age structure within our membership.

I'll put a thread up about this.
Roy

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Post by Roy »

Why all this insistence of calling ourselves Amateur or Non Commercial. Why not call yourself a Filmmaker, Because that's what you are, whether you you get paid or not. Roy
Michael Slowe
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What is Entertaining & What is Acceptable?

Post by Michael Slowe »

Surely if a film is good it must be entertaining, otherwise why is it good? Problem is who says whether it's good or not?

I agree with those that promote films that go beyond the 'steam engine' genre but I showed one of my (very successful) films at a modern art gallery who were showing a programme of 'independent' films and it was the only one that I came near to recognizing what we would call a film. Mostly they were completely beyond my understanding, and I see a lot of films both commercial and non. The technicalities were abysmal, no story, very odd audio consisting of peculier sounds and FX. Now obviously the youngsters who made them knew what they wanted and the gallery man in charge called them "very interesting pieces of work". My film (a documentary on a trapeze artist which I think won an International at BIAFF) was received in complete silence and virtually ignored by the 'arty' gallery man.
So there you are, you pays your money and take your choice as they say!
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billyfromConsett
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Post by billyfromConsett »

Sound bites, techno bites - as long they're short and don't require people to give them much attention.

If the pace requires people to stop and think, it might be seen as too slow.

Not my view, but in our remote control hopping attention span, it happens.
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Stu H
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Post by Stu H »

With regard to giving the audience what they want to see, frankly, who are you to say what I want to watch? With the approach of saying "films such as 'abc' do well so I''l make a film like 'abc' you have an audience that is self selecting. Make the film you want to make, that must be your only criteria, otherwise you will not make the best film you can and, just as importantly, you patronise the audience.
"Nobody knows anything." - William Goldman
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FILM THURSO
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Post by FILM THURSO »

Oh look, Film-Thurso has just found some small change and is about to spend it... here!
Right, I'm a mere 39 (40 on July 4th 2008) and as much as I love old films I am very keen to see new ones. When I'm at the cinema, I usually pick the fantasy adventure films but can also be found taking in flicks with deeper stories, "Shawshank Redemtion" or "Green Mile" etc. It's not just for entertainment that I watch films, it's to learn what is being done by movie makers. What stories are current, what techniques are in use. Each movie has it's own style even if it is just a fast chase scene from end to end. The latests adverts at the cinema present interesting gems of movie prduction that suggest new tricks or twists on old ways of doing things. Overall I'm very much a traditional player but will use whatever is available to make a film happen. Each movie finds it's way to being what it is and none are hemmed in by any strict style. We make our films according to content and keep them fresh by keeping up with the fashions of the industry but often by going the opposite way.
Before I go on, there is not a problem to us that older players make the films they do. They are no less able than any of the rest of us. I usually like all the films I sit through. (So far only a handful of mainstream movies have made me switch off but no amateur ones). I am getting on myself and I'm working with young film makers of 16 years old (bring on my mid-life crisis) and find it a good experience to learn from them as well as teach them. They are coming into the industry with fresh viewpoints and we show them how to bring their ideas to the screen but we don't dictate any specific way of getting it done. We say, "here are the options we'd use" and then leave it to the juniors to decide whether they go with the advice or find another path to complete their project. If the find something new we ask to see it so as to learn from them.
One of our members made a film which had one of the funniest uses of a tree-swing I have ever seen and it totally made the scene funny as intended. I had never seen the idea before.
What I am seeing here is similar to musicians who are happy to do covers. Whilst this should not be pushed at, if you have an ability it is more beneficial to oneself to make your own music or films. Even if you keep them to yourself you still expand your world by doing so. If amateur film makers keep making the same kind of film, they can be happy with it but it is still a bit of a waste. It's good for the mind to broaden the horizons (slap on the 2x anamorphic here) of creativity. It wouldn't do any harm to our older members to get out an watch a big loud action movie with little plot and heaps of special effects and our juniors would fair well by seeing more monochrome movies from the 30s and 40s. Progress-Digress, plenty to learn from old and new!
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stingman
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Post by stingman »

Nice writtings Film Thurso. I agree with it all. We must be joined at the hip!

When I watch films or television, I always take notice on how scenes are filmed and done. It`s like watching a magic trick and you know how it`s done! I often pick holes in films and television programmes and think to myself - I wouldn`t have done it that way! or Wow, how did they do that. I also love the English and forein Arty films. Slow panning shots of the countryside with really well lit and construstive scenes.
Being a Fimmaker, it really is more excitting watching films etc, then if you were an `ordenary person` watching. We get soo much more out of it!
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Dave Watterson
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Post by Dave Watterson »

I sometimes find the DVD extras helpful and occasionally the director's commentary.

A good set of extra featurettes can shed light on how a film was made and explain some the decisions behind shots. A good commentary does an even better job.

Peter Jackson's commentaries on "Lord of the Rings" gives useful insight into how the stories were assembled.

Guillermo Del Toro's commentary on "Pan's Labyrinth" is great for about an hour then seems to me to tail off a little.

The best commentary I know is Ridley Scott on "Alien" but he has been lecturing about the film for 30 years!

Even the odd few minutes at the end of BBC Natural History Unit specials where they show you how the material was filmed is fascinating to me.

Bad DVD extras ... well, see the neat parody in Ned Cordery's film "Bonus Feature" where he sends up the genre.

Dave
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