Monday, May 28, 2007

On the Lot - Episode 1

Well, not episode one, but the first of the episodes where they show the contestants films in their entirety and viewers at home get to vote.

And after watching 18 of these short one-minute comedies.... enh.

There were only four of them that didn't fall totally flat for me. Will Bigham, Zach Lipovsky and Shira-Lee Shalit and Sam Friedlander. Of those, I'm voting for Will Bigham's "Lucky Penny" film which clearly was the best tonight. Zach "Special Effects guy" Lipovsky was technically the best.

Of course, as an aspiring filmmaker, I was watching these with a "could I have done better than these?", and the answer, at least tonight, was absolutely. I didn't enter this contest, partially because I thought I wouldn't be in the class of what they were looking for.

Oh well...

On to the individual films this week.

Dance Man - clever idea. I was mildly amused. Solid filmmaking overall.

Deliver Me - Shot interestingly, but a bit incoherent as to what the film was supposed to be about.

Spaced Out - Not bad. I wasn't as amused by the projectile puppet puke as some seem to be. But overall, well made.

Wack Alley Cab - ?????????? Bye bye Kenny... What a mess. What was he possibly thinking?

Bus #1 - I didn't get this. I got what the joke was supposed to be (urine smells bad! LOL!!) but I didn't get why she thought this would be a good idea to make a film out of. Still scratching my head.

The Big Bad Heist - The trailer was all imagery and no story. I agreed with the judges that he should have followed the rules and made a short FILM, not a trailer. When he said "I want to take risks.", I thought to myself, you mean like not following any of the rules of the contest? Good idea.

Lucky Penny - For me, this one was the best overall effort of the night. A coherent story from beginning to end. Interesting angles. Can't say it was that FUNNY, but I thought it was the most complete FILM. Nothing jumped out at me as wrong.

How to Screw in a Light Bulb - I didn't get this one at all. What was she thinking?

Soft - Interesting idea, but horribly executed. None of the camera angles matched, color-wise. The humor was way too obvious. Sorry, pal. I didn't like it.

Blind Date - Again...?????? What was she thinking? This was a total wreck.

Getta Rhoom - I totally agreed with the judges. The first thought was that this poor fellow had Downs Syndrome, and it turned from potentially amusing to uncomfortable. Even if that's not what he was intending, a good director would have recognized that the actor had drifted all the way over into Mentally Challenged, rather than Nerdy, and would have corrected it.

File Size - I get what he was trying to do, and appreciated the camera work, but overall, this was sloppily conceived and put together.

Danger Zone - While I didn't think it was all that FUNNY, it was clearly the most competently put together of all the films. While I didn't put Zach at the top this week, I think he is clearly going to win this competition. He's the one that most GETS what filmmaking and creativity is all about. Even if he doesn't win On the Lot, he'll win in the long run.

A Golf Story - Tried to hard to be clever, and in the end didn't do exactly what the judges were saying. It didn't have any mini-golf shots (which are funny in and of themselves) or anything that really played off of the silliness that a mini-golf championship should have had. Looked nice. But nice try, but sorry.

Love in 2007 - Again, another film that makes me question if this filmmaker has ever seen a film before, or any sort of narrative.

Please Hold - Could have been good, but totally went off the rails with that first shot of the girl doing her nails while waiting on 911. And I thought the whole 911 thing was great the first time I heard it... on the Simpsons back in 1994. "You have selected regicide! If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one."

Check Out - I thought this was one of the better ones of the night. Well made all around. An actual beginning, middle and end.

Replication Theory - I put this one number four for the evening. Funny idea, and ambitiously shot (with a variety of locations and settings), but it wasn't pulled off as well as it could have been. It took me a while to figure out what the title (Replication Theory) had to do with anything. A better title would have done more to set up the joke a bit better. But overall a solid effort.

Overall, the show is an odd duck. On most of these reality shows, the person showing their talent actually gets to be the focus of the presentation, but with this, they are the behind the scenes people, so it's hard to really gauge their personalities. Perhaps they will show more making of stuff as the show progresses.

But after having done a couple of 48 Hour Film contests, the films that these people came up with (with significantly more than 48 Hours) weren't any better than the average 48 Hour Film (which isn't saying much). I was really expecting a lot better, especially since a vast majority of these filmmakers attended some sort of film school.

We'll see how the survivors of round one react to the comments their first films got and see if they were really that clueless, or if they were just a bit nervous.

Going home (three people) I predict will be Kenny, Jason, and Claudia.

1 comment:

Dorlana said...

I think “Dance Man” should have been told without any narrative. I liked the “Big Bad Heist” It told a story – an entire movie in 1 minute. I have to disagree with you on “Lucky Penny” for me it was just okay, kind of cliché. I don’t even remember “Soft”. “Danger Zone” was my favorite and the only time that I actually laughed out loud. A close 2nd was "Check Out"