Christian Filmmakers 36-Hour Contest - May 27-28, 2011

Our goals for this contest were to have fun and showcase the stories Christians are telling today.

Prize Entries are scored in five categories:

  • Story (20 points)
  • Cinematography (10 points)
  • Sound (10 points)
  • Performance (10 points)
  • Editing (10 points)

Amateur Entries recieve a critique from the judges.

Each video needs to include three of seven possible security elements:

  1. Empty suitcase
  2. Cupcakes
  3. Loose tooth
  4. Word: "Russia"
  5. Line: "Am I underdressed?"
  6. Camera Technique: Silhouette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhouette)
  7. Street art or street installation (Always obey local laws.) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_installation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_art, http://www.xmarkjenkinsx.com/outside.html)

Judges

Holiday Contest - Talk to the Judges

Contest Organizers

Below are the entries. The first ten Prize Entry films are scored and ranked, the remaining Prize Entry and Amateur Entry films are listed in the order they were submitted. Judges’ comments are included.

 

Top Ten

1 - The Exchange

Total
Score:

51.6
Story
Score:

15.4
Cinematography
Score:

10.8
Sound
Score:

8.6
Performance
Score:

8.4
Editing
Score:

8.4

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

Many things have been lost in translation… though never quite this way. The Exchange is a quirky, upbeat short comedy putting unusual characters in an unusual situation.

Judge Comments:

“Loved the organic use of the security elements and how you built a story around them completely! The vaudville-esque music really helped to set the lighthearted tone, which was important. Great little story with a beginning, middle, and end. ” -Evan Derrick
“NIce lighting, fun open. Music should have come in and out, too repetitive. Great eye lines and geography in a group scene. Tone was a bit mushy because of the music. Main actor outdid the rest, he was a 10. excellent use of security elements. ” -Ash Greyson
“That was a fun and entertaining film. While the story was old, you gave it a fresh spin and told the story from a different enough perspective to keep my interest. The cinematograqphy and lighting was well done and the blocking excellent. The actor’s comedic timing was on the money and the pacing of the cuts excellently placed. I only had a couple problems with the actors pushing the frame beyond what was artiistically acceptable - The cinematographer should have adjusted. With this type of production excellence, I can’t help but wonder what great good you can do for our world by telling a story with an underlying message wrapped into your ironic comedy. Excellent!” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Written by Bryce MacManamy
Directed by Paul Griffith
Director of Photography: Matthew Kurth
Assistant Director: Solomon Ross
Camera Op: Orrie Holman
Production Sound: Zac Sanders
Production Assistanrs: Cory Weaver, Chase Bielli

Starring:
Tim Cruz
Anna Byrd
Dave Harris
Marshall Sherman
Chad Byrd
Chase Edwards
Evan Rodriguez

Editing : Paul Griffith
Audio Mix: Solomon Ross


2 - Mirage

Total
Score:

44.4
Story
Score:

12.8
Cinematography
Score:

9
Sound
Score:

8
Performance
Score:

7.4
Editing
Score:

7.2

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

What will the mirror show you?

Judge Comments:

“Beautifully shot and staged, a great setup for the metaphor. The music was great, but didn’t feel entirely appropriate for the setting. It felt a bit too ‘epic’ for the visuals. You have a minimalist, understated setting (some furniture in a field). Therefore, a subtle score would have been more complimentary. As it is, the score draws attention to itself and distracts.” -Evan Derrick
“Great opening sequence, nice tight shots. Sound transitions are rough. What made her change? Music gets epic but there is no clarity. Why is she ugly inside?” -Ash Greyson
“Allegories are very difficult to do, as they must hold true in every aspect of the story. While the execution of your story was strong, it is limited to an audience that already understands the story. In this case, further development of the characters would allow someone who doesn’t understand religious symbolism to understand your story. I loved your camera angles and how you revealed the dirty soul versus the physical realm. I was amazed at how well balanced your lighting was for being natural. You must have lucked out or used a butterfly to defuse the bright sun. In either case, your cinematographer did a great job. I also apreciated the sound. The levels and balance worked very well.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Cast:
The Girl - Hannah Victoria
The Knowing One - Anthony DiMaria

Crew:
Director - Christy N. Miller
Director of Photography - Nathan Bollinger
Executive Producer - Emily Miller
Editors - Nathan Bollinger, Christy N. Miller
Production Assistants - Emily Miller, Katie Bollinger
Still Photographer - Katie Bollinger


3 - Simplicity

Total
Score:

42.4
Story
Score:

12
Cinematography
Score:

7.8
Sound
Score:

7
Performance
Score:

8.2
Editing
Score:

7.4

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Cupcakes
Summary:

The simplicity of a child showing love in simple acts that can make a difference.

Judge Comments:

“This is a sweet little movie. Good job getting the boy to cooperate - children are difficult filming subjects!” -Evan Derrick
“Gratuitous “Russia” was distracting. Kid is cute and did very well. 1/6th of the short was for credits. Sentiment is nice but I felt there were too many dissolves and the dutch angles didn’t work for me. ” -Ash Greyson
“What a great heartwarming story. You peaked the audience’s interest with the boy’s prayer and then revealed it through his compassionate actions. This is a film that can make money on a site light Sermon Spice. BTW, I get more picky in my comments when I perceive a film to be in the top ten percent, so if you don’t mind… Your second act, when the boy is working on his art for the little girl, needs the pacing picked up a bit. Dwelling on the child who isn’t creating “real” art seems to be based on a parent shooting his or her own kid, rather an editor tryig to tell the story in the best way possible. Also, consider a little variety in music distinguishing your three acts and epilogue. This would add variety and change the audiences emotions to match that of the kids. Based on your story, the opening music is great. Once he gets the revelation, the tempo should become as exciting as his desire to make something to help the little girl. The bedroom scene would shift back to something tender and the ending would be joyous.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Gustavo Schneider
Isabela Schneider
Paula Schneider


4 - Space Walk

Total
Score:

39.6
Story
Score:

12.6
Cinematography
Score:

6
Sound
Score:

6.8
Performance
Score:

6.8
Editing
Score:

7.4

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Wonderful.  Stupendous!  The most original, brilliant, well-crafted sci-fi television pilot you’ve ever seen.  If you’re interested in producing this series, call us at 1-800-555-WALK.

Judge Comments:

“Ok, this is pretty awesome. First, what really sells this is the wink-wink vibe you have going the whole time. You realize your sets, special effects, sound design, etc. are all incredibly goofy, but there’s no attempt to pretend that they’re legit. I really appreciate that. Second, really good comedic timing (which is why I gave you a higher edit score). Cutting back to the cupcake recipe explanation was very funny.

I only wish the story had been more coherent and less erratic. For example, why were you fighting a giant chicken? Why was the egg going to explode? What was your mission in the first place? (typing those things makes me chuckle a little) It was funny, but if you had managed to create more of a narrative and less of a string of goofy jokes, you would have scored higher.

Regardless, loved the creativity and energy that went into this.” -Evan Derrick
“Campy, fun open that sets the tone clearly. This is a great job of embracing what you have access to and making it work. I love chickens that shoot lasers! Excellent use of the drumstick although, I’m a white meat guy. Great job with using sound and music to control the tone. No other team in this contest could have pulled this off, it’s earnest and oozing charm. ” -Ash Greyson
“A fun homage to Star Trek. The story worked well and you had a nice subplot for parallel action and pacing. I would love to see how you storytelling abilities play out with a real busget and crew. You definitely have talent that needs to be groomed for the future. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Written/Produced/Directed/Edited by:
Grace Pennington
Jacob Pennington

Actors:
Jacob Pennington
Patience Pennington
Noah Pennington
Adam Pennington
Elijah Pennington
Levi Pennington
Poky
Red

Music:
Benjamin Dawson

Costumes:
Hope Pennington
Faith Pennington

Props:
Jacob Pennington
Lisa Pennington

Script Consultant:
James Pennington

Sets:
Grace Pennington
Patience Pennington


5 - Disposal

Total
Score:

39.25
Story
Score:

9.25
Cinematography
Score:

7.5
Sound
Score:

9.25
Performance
Score:

6.25
Editing
Score:

7

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

Abstract/Sci-fi/Animation

A small blue bot switches on in the disposal section of a warehouse to meet a new friend.

Security elements: Many parts use a silhouette style, and a cupcake and empty suitcase fall onto the trash pile.

Judge Comments:

“Visually striking and PHENOMENAL sound design considering the time contraints. No story to speak of, however, and the security elements were tossed in as afterthoughts. Kudos for attempting animation, a format we rarely see in these contests.” -Evan Derrick
“Obtuse but interesting. Perfect sound design and music, made it work. Security elements were an after thought. Lots of points for high degree of difficulty. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice! I loved the execution of your idea and the clear story you told. The symbolism was great and I wanted so much more at then ending. I’ll have to watch this one over and over. Your execution of the story and animation was brilliant. Again, did I say the symbolism was excellent! I loved your subtle approach and found that the music and sound effects fit seamlessly into your story. Great job, especially since I get really picky with the top ten percent and I’d have to re-watch this one a few times to find something to be picky about - Maybe shortening a bit of time during your second act with the lights flying around his head. Also, due to the dark coloring, cutting from a long shot with lots of elements to a close-up of an object that the audeince might not understand what it is until it moves, might allow them to step out of the story for a moment. Great job!” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Jordan Harris - director
Vicente Orjales Galdo (Galdson) - music


6 - Context

Total
Score:

39.2
Story
Score:

12
Cinematography
Score:

7.2
Sound
Score:

6.4
Performance
Score:

5.8
Editing
Score:

7.8

Security Element 1: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A text-happy teen gets a lesson in the English language from a tactical editing team.

Includes all seven security elements.

Judge Comments:

“I liked this one a lot. It had a well defined beginning, middle and end. In particular, the last 10 seconds of the boy texting “d00d” and the replay of the gear being packed really brought the joke around. If you had not included that final bit, the film would have suffered immensely for it. That you added it indicates you have a real instinct for story structure.

Good shot composition and editing. Sound and performances were a bit stale, but overall this was a good, tight entry. ” -Evan Derrick
“Great opening sequence! Clever, ADR was a bit jarring. Cupcake kid was great. Concept was fun but guns a blazing for poor grammar was a bit much. Maybe water guns or something more fun like slime or silly string. The concept that I might get shot in the face with a machine gun for writing “d00d” didn’t connect with me. Score was well integrated.” -Ash Greyson
“What a fun story. You had some good comedy mixted with adventure and drama. You are well on your path to producing more significant work and have started developing great strengths with this project. Your creative use of camera angles mixed with the chopper sounds made the team’s entrance believable. Your use of visual effects was also done well and helped to keep the interest of the audience. BTW, I’m a firm believer that with new PDA oritented phones with full keyboards, texting language can go back to English. wink Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

David B. Thompson
Elizabeth A. Miller
Mark Kelly
Brittany Thompson
Laura Kochendorfer
Ellen Miller
Katherine Miller
Amber Thompson
Carrie Thompson
Collin Thompson
Evan Thompson
Andrew Thompson
Jonathan Thompson


7 - How to Make a Movie

Total
Score:

36.2
Story
Score:

7.4
Cinematography
Score:

8
Sound
Score:

7
Performance
Score:

6.6
Editing
Score:

7.2

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Loose tooth
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

In this short video Spencer Weaver explains the importance of not only having a good story for your film… but also planning it out before you start shooting!
When it comes to filmmaking… a little planning goes a long way…

Before you start making your film:

1. Know why you’re making your movie.  What’s your message?  What’s your reason for telling this story? What’s the point of your story?

2. Who are you characters? What type of integrity do they possess? What is the story of their lives? What makes them who they are?

3. Growth.  How do your characters grow and develop throughout your film?
Do they change from the time of the beginning of the story to the end???


These are all questions you need to seriously consider as you begin writing your stories and making your films.


Thanks for watching!


http://www.ponderpictures.com

Judge Comments:

“Informative and enjoyable but, unfortunately, not actually a story. There was a moment when you had the whole knights-ninja battle going, and I was hoping you were going to have that take over the “making of” portion of your film. That would have been really brilliant and clever, constructing a meta-narrative where the documentary aspect gives way to the narrative fantasy aspect (kind of like a reversal of Monty Python). But alas, that didn’t happen. So, beautifully shot, but no story.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice transitions, sound is a little hot. Not crazy about the music. Sound edits are rough. Seen this idea before, the fake
movie should have interrupted the “how to” dialog. Missed a huge chance for great fun. The orator could have threatened to write out misbehaving characters, etc. Ironic that the short did not take its own advice. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice job. It’s too bad you didn’t have time to demonstrate what the good version of the dramatic sequence would have looked like after following your instruction. You spent too much time on what doesn’t work and needed to add in the deomnstration of what does work. Your information was sound and the host pleasant to learn from. The humor worked for me, but again, was a bit long. Unfortunately, I really wanted to see how to do it right. Thankfully, you at least had a beginning, middle and end to your training video. Oh, I noticed a couple sound pops that should have been removed. Also, keep in mind that editing plays an important roll in comedic timing, as its not just about actors. Good job.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

CREDITS:
Spencer Weaver
Dylan Weaver
Strauther Weaver
Isaac Weaver

The Weaver Family
The Lee Family
The Kozelek
The Ludwig Family
The Ludwig Family


8 - Is there an Answer

Total
Score:

36.2
Story
Score:

8.8
Cinematography
Score:

6.2
Sound
Score:

8.6
Performance
Score:

6.4
Editing
Score:

6.2

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

A simple music video using images and one actor (cause I didn’t even think I would be entering. smile

Judge Comments:

“Props for writing your own song and performing it! (I’m assuming you wrote it yourself) Unfortunately, this is primarily a narrative contest (hence the 20 points we accord to story), and this doesn’t really have a ‘story’ per se. ” -Evan Derrick
“Initial tone had me thinking this was going to be funny, I would re-work the first 30 seconds of the song. “Spicy” “buffet” etc. set up the tone improperly. Ultimately, it’s a good song though. Really wanted a close up of the face so I could see some emotion. ” -Ash Greyson
“The execution of this music video was well done. The story elements were well chosen and the flow and the pacing entertaining. The only graphic that stood out awkward to me was the one where the words were important but you split it so it could be read on each side of the performer. This actually took my attention away from the strengths of the show. Remember, amateurs work hard to get it right and professionals work hard to never get anything wrong. ” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Well, there’s me, and… well, Google helped a bit. And Wikimedia was a big help. Oh, and yes, I can’t forget my Mom, who brought me all my meals, coffee, and tea. smile


9 - Empty

Total
Score:

35.8
Story
Score:

8.8
Cinematography
Score:

7
Sound
Score:

6.4
Performance
Score:

7.2
Editing
Score:

6.4

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

When a heist goes wrong, three partners find themselves in a sticky situation.

Judge Comments:

“Clever idea but it needed to be fleshed out a bit more. The beginning wasn’t well defined and neither was the end. It was mostly all middle (see “The Exchange” for a similar film that had a more clearly structured narrative). Everything was close, it just needed to be tightened up more. I would have taken the extra 50 seconds you had to work with and given 25 to explaining clearly on the front end that this was a heist, and 25 on the back end to tie things up. Are they caught? Do they run? Do they start hitting one another with their empty guns? That extra time would really have helped the story.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice lighting. Music in the background ruined the tone. Desperately needed some sound design. Acting was very good. No character or real story was developed. ” -Ash Greyson
“Thank you for addressing one of my biggest pet peeves about gun usage in Hollywood movies.  Very fun short!” -Ryan Dunlap
“Comedies seem to be the genre of choice this year and this one didn’t meet its potential. Comedic timing and editing play a critical role is how the audience perceives the film and how willing they are to let go and laugh outloud. Having some point of reference by giving the audience a character they can believe in or feel for, better positions your comedy. However, I appreciate your attempt and wish you well with finding the ba,ance between an actor’s and editor’s timing. Also, your sound editing needs work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Director- Derek Bommel
Writer- Nick Gibson
Actors- Zack Helton
      David Long
      Derek Bommel


10 - Greater Love

Total
Score:

34.8
Story
Score:

11.6
Cinematography
Score:

7.4
Sound
Score:

4.6
Performance
Score:

5.2
Editing
Score:

6

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Loose tooth
Summary:

It’s a typical day for two loggers. But the beautiful day turns into chaos when a freak accident happens that well change Victors life for ever.

Judge Comments:

“Nicely photographed (good jib/crane shot at the end) but you needed major, major work on the sound design. The dialogue was so low I kept turning my volume up only to get blasted a second later when the one character shouted.

My major issue with the story is that you sacrifice believability in order to get a message across. Now, if a tree fell on someone and you were there, what is the very first thing you would do? Read the Bible? Or try to get him free? Run for help? Call 911? Or, at the very least, sit in absolute horror because your friend has just been killed in front of you? In a story like this, conversion would happen after the fact - days, weeks, or even months later - not immediately.

Granted, the 3 minute time constraint is a challenge to get over, but I would encourage you (in the future) to think about how to get your message across without sacrificing your story to it.” -Evan Derrick
“Great use of natural light. Dialog needed to be clearer, music was really out of place. Great shot to end. Enjoy the sentiment but it’s too direct which makes it feel unnatural. ” -Ash Greyson
“Good setup and payoff with the tree.  Good shot selection and appropriate music at the end.  The tag at the end felt a bit unnecessary as it wrapped everything up a bit too neatly instead of letting us feel his emotion at the close.” -Ryan Dunlap
“You have great potential and will no doubt be in the top ten percent of films during this festival in my book. However, you might want to improve upon a couple skills. First, your storytelling ability and intelligence is high, but you seem to think the audience is not as sharp. The audince knew once Victor picked up the Bible and read the verse that he gave his life to Christ, yet you felt compelled to hit us over the head with your graphic telling us what we already knew. Argh! Okay, this is my pet peeve. Why do Christians feel a need to hit everyone over the head with the obvious? You are clearly a person who understands story and knows how to conform it to persuade the audience, but you need to assume your audience is smarter than you. Show them respect. Your editing needs the greatest amount of work. The camera shots selected were wonderful, but some shots lost its impact based on the editing. Once you tighten your show, it can be beneficial to many churches if made available through sites like Sermon Spice. I have no doubt that you are also aware of your audio problems and would suggest learning how to do a mix, and if ambitious, how to do ADR.
” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Phillip Haumesser - Jack: Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Composer, Editor, Actor.

Daniel Haumesser - Victor: Assistant Director,  Cinematographer, BTS, Actor. 


Unranked Entries in Order of Submission

Friend

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Cupcakes
Summary:

This video talk about that we need a friends in this life. We can try live alone, but, its hard found happyness alone… because in the end all that we need is a good friend.

Judge Comments:

“Fun use of split screen. The only problem is that your light was slightly different between shots which hurt the effect a little.” -Evan Derrick
“Starting with a big Hollywood sounding soundtrack then going to cam mic is jarring. Would have liked it set up better that he was lonely. Calling some people, leaving them messages on facebook, etc. ” -Ash Greyson
“Your story was clear, but the logic behind it faulty. You need to create a plausible environment with sifi that will stand up to the audiences understanding of technology. The ideas of play were good, but some was hindered by the pacing of your cuts. Keep in mind that the audience doesn’t want to feel bored, they just wnat to understand the character is bored. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Silvio Hiro Tanita (friend)


Simplicity

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Cupcakes
Summary:

The simplicity of a child showing love in simple acts that can make a difference.

Judge Comments:

“This is a sweet little movie. Good job getting the boy to cooperate - children are difficult filming subjects!” -Evan Derrick
“Gratuitous “Russia” was distracting. Kid is cute and did very well. 1/6th of the short was for credits. Sentiment is nice but I felt there were too many dissolves and the dutch angles didn’t work for me. ” -Ash Greyson
“What a great heartwarming story. You peaked the audience’s interest with the boy’s prayer and then revealed it through his compassionate actions. This is a film that can make money on a site light Sermon Spice. BTW, I get more picky in my comments when I perceive a film to be in the top ten percent, so if you don’t mind… Your second act, when the boy is working on his art for the little girl, needs the pacing picked up a bit. Dwelling on the child who isn’t creating “real” art seems to be based on a parent shooting his or her own kid, rather an editor tryig to tell the story in the best way possible. Also, consider a little variety in music distinguishing your three acts and epilogue. This would add variety and change the audiences emotions to match that of the kids. Based on your story, the opening music is great. Once he gets the revelation, the tempo should become as exciting as his desire to make something to help the little girl. The bedroom scene would shift back to something tender and the ending would be joyous.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Gustavo Schneider
Isabela Schneider
Paula Schneider


Greater Love

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Loose tooth
Summary:

It’s a typical day for two loggers. But the beautiful day turns into chaos when a freak accident happens that well change Victors life for ever.

Judge Comments:

“Nicely photographed (good jib/crane shot at the end) but you needed major, major work on the sound design. The dialogue was so low I kept turning my volume up only to get blasted a second later when the one character shouted.

My major issue with the story is that you sacrifice believability in order to get a message across. Now, if a tree fell on someone and you were there, what is the very first thing you would do? Read the Bible? Or try to get him free? Run for help? Call 911? Or, at the very least, sit in absolute horror because your friend has just been killed in front of you? In a story like this, conversion would happen after the fact - days, weeks, or even months later - not immediately.

Granted, the 3 minute time constraint is a challenge to get over, but I would encourage you (in the future) to think about how to get your message across without sacrificing your story to it.” -Evan Derrick
“Great use of natural light. Dialog needed to be clearer, music was really out of place. Great shot to end. Enjoy the sentiment but it’s too direct which makes it feel unnatural. ” -Ash Greyson
“Good setup and payoff with the tree.  Good shot selection and appropriate music at the end.  The tag at the end felt a bit unnecessary as it wrapped everything up a bit too neatly instead of letting us feel his emotion at the close.” -Ryan Dunlap
“You have great potential and will no doubt be in the top ten percent of films during this festival in my book. However, you might want to improve upon a couple skills. First, your storytelling ability and intelligence is high, but you seem to think the audience is not as sharp. The audince knew once Victor picked up the Bible and read the verse that he gave his life to Christ, yet you felt compelled to hit us over the head with your graphic telling us what we already knew. Argh! Okay, this is my pet peeve. Why do Christians feel a need to hit everyone over the head with the obvious? You are clearly a person who understands story and knows how to conform it to persuade the audience, but you need to assume your audience is smarter than you. Show them respect. Your editing needs the greatest amount of work. The camera shots selected were wonderful, but some shots lost its impact based on the editing. Once you tighten your show, it can be beneficial to many churches if made available through sites like Sermon Spice. I have no doubt that you are also aware of your audio problems and would suggest learning how to do a mix, and if ambitious, how to do ADR.
” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Phillip Haumesser - Jack: Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Composer, Editor, Actor.

Daniel Haumesser - Victor: Assistant Director,  Cinematographer, BTS, Actor. 


The Suitcase

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A thief breaks into a couples house as they get ready to head to the hospital to deliver a baby.

Security Items used. Empty Suitcase (0:39) , Cupcakes (0:58), Silhouette (2:55).

Judge Comments:

“Fun idea, but the execution lacked a few things. First, the suitcase-switch didn’t really make logical sense. In order to make a gag like this work it has to be believable on some level. You simply needed to put more time into figuring out how to switch the bags in a funny, clever way, rather than just picking them up and setting them down so the gag worked.

Second, something like this really needs a good payoff at the end, a punchline to the joke. I’m guessing you just ran out of time (which can happen in a 36-hour contest), but it would have been much funnier to have the parents open their suitcase at the hospital with their newborn baby, and much funnier to have the thief open up his suitcase at the pawnshop. As it is, the short just kind of ends.

For a great example of a switcheroo screwball comedy, see Peter Bogdanovitch’s “What’s Up Doc?”” -Evan Derrick
“Good attempt at day for night. Great follow shot at 1:45. Confusing motivation for the criminal, hard to follow. ” -Ash Greyson
“What a great situational comedy with strong visualization. Sometimes to check the strength of a story, I watch it with the audio off. If the story stands on its own like yours did, you know it is a good one. That’s not to say that all your compositions and camera elements worked, but to say that your visual designed moved the story forward. The editing was good and might have raised the bar on your score had it been excellent, especially with such a visual story. consideration should also be given to the color temperature of lighting so each scene that shares a door or entrance way gives matching lighting tones. Over all you did a great job on the story and have room to improve your technical skills.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Actors: Mike & Mindy Brockman as the expectant couple. Ben Wishart as the thief. Squad car driven by Weld County Deputy Sheriff Jerry Porter
Written,Directed and Edited by Christopher Ong
Gaffers: Max Morales and Alice Ong
Thanks to the Weld County Sheriffs Office for their cooperation


Disposal

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

Abstract/Sci-fi/Animation

A small blue bot switches on in the disposal section of a warehouse to meet a new friend.

Security elements: Many parts use a silhouette style, and a cupcake and empty suitcase fall onto the trash pile.

Judge Comments:

“Visually striking and PHENOMENAL sound design considering the time contraints. No story to speak of, however, and the security elements were tossed in as afterthoughts. Kudos for attempting animation, a format we rarely see in these contests.” -Evan Derrick
“Obtuse but interesting. Perfect sound design and music, made it work. Security elements were an after thought. Lots of points for high degree of difficulty. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice! I loved the execution of your idea and the clear story you told. The symbolism was great and I wanted so much more at then ending. I’ll have to watch this one over and over. Your execution of the story and animation was brilliant. Again, did I say the symbolism was excellent! I loved your subtle approach and found that the music and sound effects fit seamlessly into your story. Great job, especially since I get really picky with the top ten percent and I’d have to re-watch this one a few times to find something to be picky about - Maybe shortening a bit of time during your second act with the lights flying around his head. Also, due to the dark coloring, cutting from a long shot with lots of elements to a close-up of an object that the audeince might not understand what it is until it moves, might allow them to step out of the story for a moment. Great job!” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Jordan Harris - director
Vicente Orjales Galdo (Galdson) - music


Bench Perspectives

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Street art or street installation (Always obey local laws.)
Summary:

A bench explains why it doesn’t like people, but an unexpected good deed might change its mind.

Judge Comments:

“An interesting idea that was reasonably well executed. I really appreciate that you didn’t hammer the message home at the end in an overly obvious way. My main criticism is that it is fairly one-note. The bench is basically cynical the entire time, only rethinking his postion a bit at the end. It would have been nicer to give it more or an arc. Show it in the beginning, naive and optimistic about life; then it witnesses some horrible events and becomes angry; next comes the cynicism; finally, years later, there’s a glimmer of hope as it witnesses an act of kindness. That would have been a better way to approach it in terms of story.

So, good idea, it just needed to fleshed out a bit more.” -Evan Derrick
“Clever idea but the delivery is just too dry to be effective. I really wanted a reverse shot from under the bench, something to mix it up. ” -Ash Greyson
“I loved the perspective you brought to an old story. While the acting was a little too theatrical instead of filmic, it didn’t detract as much as the slower pace. By picking up the pace of the story and adding in some emotionally based music, you’d have a clear winner on your hands. I can’t wait to see what you do next time.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Jordan Smith - Camera, editing, sound, story
Doug Smith - Bench builder and story consultant
Ben, Becca, Karen, and Kyle Smith - Actors


Space Walk

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Wonderful.  Stupendous!  The most original, brilliant, well-crafted sci-fi television pilot you’ve ever seen.  If you’re interested in producing this series, call us at 1-800-555-WALK.

Judge Comments:

“Ok, this is pretty awesome. First, what really sells this is the wink-wink vibe you have going the whole time. You realize your sets, special effects, sound design, etc. are all incredibly goofy, but there’s no attempt to pretend that they’re legit. I really appreciate that. Second, really good comedic timing (which is why I gave you a higher edit score). Cutting back to the cupcake recipe explanation was very funny.

I only wish the story had been more coherent and less erratic. For example, why were you fighting a giant chicken? Why was the egg going to explode? What was your mission in the first place? (typing those things makes me chuckle a little) It was funny, but if you had managed to create more of a narrative and less of a string of goofy jokes, you would have scored higher.

Regardless, loved the creativity and energy that went into this.” -Evan Derrick
“Campy, fun open that sets the tone clearly. This is a great job of embracing what you have access to and making it work. I love chickens that shoot lasers! Excellent use of the drumstick although, I’m a white meat guy. Great job with using sound and music to control the tone. No other team in this contest could have pulled this off, it’s earnest and oozing charm. ” -Ash Greyson
“A fun homage to Star Trek. The story worked well and you had a nice subplot for parallel action and pacing. I would love to see how you storytelling abilities play out with a real busget and crew. You definitely have talent that needs to be groomed for the future. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Written/Produced/Directed/Edited by:
Grace Pennington
Jacob Pennington

Actors:
Jacob Pennington
Patience Pennington
Noah Pennington
Adam Pennington
Elijah Pennington
Levi Pennington
Poky
Red

Music:
Benjamin Dawson

Costumes:
Hope Pennington
Faith Pennington

Props:
Jacob Pennington
Lisa Pennington

Script Consultant:
James Pennington

Sets:
Grace Pennington
Patience Pennington


The Exchange

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

Many things have been lost in translation… though never quite this way. The Exchange is a quirky, upbeat short comedy putting unusual characters in an unusual situation.

Judge Comments:

“Loved the organic use of the security elements and how you built a story around them completely! The vaudville-esque music really helped to set the lighthearted tone, which was important. Great little story with a beginning, middle, and end. ” -Evan Derrick
“NIce lighting, fun open. Music should have come in and out, too repetitive. Great eye lines and geography in a group scene. Tone was a bit mushy because of the music. Main actor outdid the rest, he was a 10. excellent use of security elements. ” -Ash Greyson
“That was a fun and entertaining film. While the story was old, you gave it a fresh spin and told the story from a different enough perspective to keep my interest. The cinematograqphy and lighting was well done and the blocking excellent. The actor’s comedic timing was on the money and the pacing of the cuts excellently placed. I only had a couple problems with the actors pushing the frame beyond what was artiistically acceptable - The cinematographer should have adjusted. With this type of production excellence, I can’t help but wonder what great good you can do for our world by telling a story with an underlying message wrapped into your ironic comedy. Excellent!” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Written by Bryce MacManamy
Directed by Paul Griffith
Director of Photography: Matthew Kurth
Assistant Director: Solomon Ross
Camera Op: Orrie Holman
Production Sound: Zac Sanders
Production Assistanrs: Cory Weaver, Chase Bielli

Starring:
Tim Cruz
Anna Byrd
Dave Harris
Marshall Sherman
Chad Byrd
Chase Edwards
Evan Rodriguez

Editing : Paul Griffith
Audio Mix: Solomon Ross


Mirage

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

What will the mirror show you?

Judge Comments:

“Beautifully shot and staged, a great setup for the metaphor. The music was great, but didn’t feel entirely appropriate for the setting. It felt a bit too ‘epic’ for the visuals. You have a minimalist, understated setting (some furniture in a field). Therefore, a subtle score would have been more complimentary. As it is, the score draws attention to itself and distracts.” -Evan Derrick
“Great opening sequence, nice tight shots. Sound transitions are rough. What made her change? Music gets epic but there is no clarity. Why is she ugly inside?” -Ash Greyson
“Allegories are very difficult to do, as they must hold true in every aspect of the story. While the execution of your story was strong, it is limited to an audience that already understands the story. In this case, further development of the characters would allow someone who doesn’t understand religious symbolism to understand your story. I loved your camera angles and how you revealed the dirty soul versus the physical realm. I was amazed at how well balanced your lighting was for being natural. You must have lucked out or used a butterfly to defuse the bright sun. In either case, your cinematographer did a great job. I also apreciated the sound. The levels and balance worked very well.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Cast:
The Girl - Hannah Victoria
The Knowing One - Anthony DiMaria

Crew:
Director - Christy N. Miller
Director of Photography - Nathan Bollinger
Executive Producer - Emily Miller
Editors - Nathan Bollinger, Christy N. Miller
Production Assistants - Emily Miller, Katie Bollinger
Still Photographer - Katie Bollinger


I’ve Been Meanin’ To Tell Yous

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

Joseph Di Rattoni learns he’s dying - a series of wacky confessions reveal a lifetime absurdity.

Judge Comments:

“So, great setup (killer opening shot), impressive diversity in your cast, decent performances (especially from your lead), and very solid story idea. However, the sum of the parts didn’t end up working. The impression I get is that you sketched out a basic story, threw a bunch of different personalities together, and had them adlib most of their lines. It suffers because of that because your narrative isn’t resting on solid foundation. You’ve built it on sand rather than rock, and it collapses under the weight. A solid script, with clearly written lines, is always your best bet for a satisfying story. Take “The Exchange,” for example. Their story is not any more clever than yours, but the execution is much tighter, indicating more work went into it pre-production.” -Evan Derrick
“Great opening shot! Visually sold the environment but you needed some sound design. Hospitals have lots of beeping, sounds of motion, announcements, carts being pushed, etc. New characters introduced well. Raced to a confusing end. ” -Ash Greyson
“Fun performances helped overcome the simple staging.  Good use of angles and shot selection.” -Ryan Dunlap
“That was a nice skit and gives you room to explore what a cinematic version of the story would look like. It was clear to see the fun your team had, but I can’t wonder what would happen if you took it up a few notches and made it filmic.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

I’ve been meaning’ to tell yous


CAST

JOE Joe Comisky DOCTOR Laureen Fallahay

ALBERT Jacob Camboia NURSE Felise Esposito

CARLO Dean Carl TRIXIE Libier Reynolds

ROXIE Lorrie Esposito PRIEST David Esposito

WAITING ROOM PATIENTS AND VISITORS

Evan Esposito Christine Carl Rosalie Smith Zackary Farrington

PRODUCERS

Jeff Miller Laureen Fallahay David Esposito Lorrie Esposito

DIRECTOR & EDITOR Sean Farrington

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY David Esposito & Chris Cohenour

JIB OPERATOR Chris Cohenour

BOOM OPERATOR Evan Esposito

GRIP Jacob Farrington & Zackary Farrington

SET DESIGN & PROPS

David Esposito Lorrie Esposito Evan Esposito Laureen Fallahay

HAIR & MAKEUP

Christine Carl Lorrie Esposito Libier Reynolds

WRITERS

Lorrie Esposito Evan Esposito David Esposito Sean Farrington

Chris Cohenour Laureen Fallahay Julie Kouri Jacob Camboia


How to Make a Movie

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Loose tooth
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

In this short video Spencer Weaver explains the importance of not only having a good story for your film… but also planning it out before you start shooting!
When it comes to filmmaking… a little planning goes a long way…

Before you start making your film:

1. Know why you’re making your movie.  What’s your message?  What’s your reason for telling this story? What’s the point of your story?

2. Who are you characters? What type of integrity do they possess? What is the story of their lives? What makes them who they are?

3. Growth.  How do your characters grow and develop throughout your film?
Do they change from the time of the beginning of the story to the end???


These are all questions you need to seriously consider as you begin writing your stories and making your films.


Thanks for watching!


http://www.ponderpictures.com

Judge Comments:

“Informative and enjoyable but, unfortunately, not actually a story. There was a moment when you had the whole knights-ninja battle going, and I was hoping you were going to have that take over the “making of” portion of your film. That would have been really brilliant and clever, constructing a meta-narrative where the documentary aspect gives way to the narrative fantasy aspect (kind of like a reversal of Monty Python). But alas, that didn’t happen. So, beautifully shot, but no story.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice transitions, sound is a little hot. Not crazy about the music. Sound edits are rough. Seen this idea before, the fake
movie should have interrupted the “how to” dialog. Missed a huge chance for great fun. The orator could have threatened to write out misbehaving characters, etc. Ironic that the short did not take its own advice. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice job. It’s too bad you didn’t have time to demonstrate what the good version of the dramatic sequence would have looked like after following your instruction. You spent too much time on what doesn’t work and needed to add in the deomnstration of what does work. Your information was sound and the host pleasant to learn from. The humor worked for me, but again, was a bit long. Unfortunately, I really wanted to see how to do it right. Thankfully, you at least had a beginning, middle and end to your training video. Oh, I noticed a couple sound pops that should have been removed. Also, keep in mind that editing plays an important roll in comedic timing, as its not just about actors. Good job.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

CREDITS:
Spencer Weaver
Dylan Weaver
Strauther Weaver
Isaac Weaver

The Weaver Family
The Lee Family
The Kozelek
The Ludwig Family
The Ludwig Family


Is there an Answer

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Word: “Russia”
Summary:

A simple music video using images and one actor (cause I didn’t even think I would be entering. smile

Judge Comments:

“Props for writing your own song and performing it! (I’m assuming you wrote it yourself) Unfortunately, this is primarily a narrative contest (hence the 20 points we accord to story), and this doesn’t really have a ‘story’ per se. ” -Evan Derrick
“Initial tone had me thinking this was going to be funny, I would re-work the first 30 seconds of the song. “Spicy” “buffet” etc. set up the tone improperly. Ultimately, it’s a good song though. Really wanted a close up of the face so I could see some emotion. ” -Ash Greyson
“The execution of this music video was well done. The story elements were well chosen and the flow and the pacing entertaining. The only graphic that stood out awkward to me was the one where the words were important but you split it so it could be read on each side of the performer. This actually took my attention away from the strengths of the show. Remember, amateurs work hard to get it right and professionals work hard to never get anything wrong. ” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Well, there’s me, and… well, Google helped a bit. And Wikimedia was a big help. Oh, and yes, I can’t forget my Mom, who brought me all my meals, coffee, and tea. smile


The Offering

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A hero tries to save a damsel from being sacrificed to a dragon.

Judge Comments:

“Sound design needed some work (levels were all over the place, dialogue popped in and out). Story wise, I really don’t know what just happened. Apparently there’s a dragon and a sacrifice and some customs but it’s very unclear what the point is. It feels like an inside joke, where the only people who will get it are the ones who made it. Always think about how your audience will respond, especially if they’re not in on your particular brand of humor.” -Evan Derrick
“The ADR was a bit distracting. Costumes were solid, sans the colander hat. Editing needed to be paced much better. Watch your eye lines on group scenes. I had a really hard time getting the tone. ” -Ash Greyson
“The story was a bit muddled and we kept hearing about rituals and what was customary but until the end we weren’t quite sure what they were trying to accomplish.  Also, the message at the end of talking to them being no use because they were unbelievers was a bit confusing especially mixed in with the lighthearted performances throughout.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Creating humor on the level of The Princess Bride takes more than 36 hours to master. However, your attempt was notable, though your editing played against your efforts. I certainly hope you had fun producing your customary sitcom.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

The Ludwig Family
The Weavers


The Last One

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Selfishness never pays.

Judge Comments:

“Really liked the idea of a bad Russian date who commits one faux pas after another (It’s like a Nazi boot!), is rude, and generally has no idea how to act. That’s a great hook and you could build a fantastic story around it. Unfortunately, all that remains is the hook. Camera work, sound, editing, all that needs work, but the story just doesn’t go anywhere. It doesn’t really have a beginning nor an end - it’s all middle. For example, you could have had the Russian blow the date so badly and so laughably, that at the end he walks off in despair, only to find that the girl has seen past all the bad pronunciation and poor manners and is willing to give him another shot. That would have been a wonderful way to end it. But as it is, it just ends. ” -Evan Derrick
“Sound comes in abruptly. The entire outline of the principles need to be in silhouette or else the subject gets lost. Setting is very important, you have to sell that this is a real eating place, music, shot of the kitchen, etc. this looks like a table in a living room and with the inconsistent lighting, it accentuated that this was such. ” -Ash Greyson
“Fun performances but felt a bit ad-libbed.  The payoff didn’t quite sell because I’m not sure where the story was going other than a date going horribly.  Make sure not to overdo a security element like the silhouette shot, as other coverage came into the short a bit late.  Also, avoid using jump cuts when you can unless you are trying to achieve a certain effect instead of cutting out time between moments in the clip.” -Ryan Dunlap
“You had good humor in your story and I look forward to the day when you increase your technical skills and improve your production values.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Cast:
girl: Rita Kotey
guy: Damon Latham
waiter: Truett Billips

Directors:
Ezekiel Decker
David Criswell

Camera:
Truett Billips

Set Design, 2nd AD, Gaffer, Make-up
Lynda Kay Sawyer

Make-up
Heather Lamb

Sound
John Decker

Craft and Outfitting:
Dana Decker

Editing:
Ezekiel Decker


Empty

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

When a heist goes wrong, three partners find themselves in a sticky situation.

Judge Comments:

“Clever idea but it needed to be fleshed out a bit more. The beginning wasn’t well defined and neither was the end. It was mostly all middle (see “The Exchange” for a similar film that had a more clearly structured narrative). Everything was close, it just needed to be tightened up more. I would have taken the extra 50 seconds you had to work with and given 25 to explaining clearly on the front end that this was a heist, and 25 on the back end to tie things up. Are they caught? Do they run? Do they start hitting one another with their empty guns? That extra time would really have helped the story.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice lighting. Music in the background ruined the tone. Desperately needed some sound design. Acting was very good. No character or real story was developed. ” -Ash Greyson
“Thank you for addressing one of my biggest pet peeves about gun usage in Hollywood movies.  Very fun short!” -Ryan Dunlap
“Comedies seem to be the genre of choice this year and this one didn’t meet its potential. Comedic timing and editing play a critical role is how the audience perceives the film and how willing they are to let go and laugh outloud. Having some point of reference by giving the audience a character they can believe in or feel for, better positions your comedy. However, I appreciate your attempt and wish you well with finding the ba,ance between an actor’s and editor’s timing. Also, your sound editing needs work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Director- Derek Bommel
Writer- Nick Gibson
Actors- Zack Helton
      David Long
      Derek Bommel


Recalled

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Fern is a man who has been recalled by his maker.  He has been less than perfect.  Needs to put on the breaks sometimes.

Judge Comments:

“Oh man, I really wanted to like this one. I have a soft spot for puppets. Additionally, the acting was pretty good. However, the story just didn’t come together (SHOW me the puppet’s bad behavior, don’t TELL me about it!) and the sound work was pretty icky. But please, try again next time! We need more puppets!” -Evan Derrick
“I’m a sucker for puppets. Transition to heaven was abrupt. Heaven was not very heavenly. Try some diffusion and more light. Need better geography for the heaven space, eye lines are all over the place, really needed a wide shot in there. Clever, just rough execution in spots. ” -Ash Greyson
“Fun use of a puppet but I was hoping more would be done with him than a lot of “Mhmm, yeah, mhmm” in response to many of the questions.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Nice attempt at the hardest film genre to produce. One thing that might help you is focusing on your protagonist and determining what change and caonflict he goes through from the beginning to the end of your story. Just doing gads might work if you hit an audience’s funny bone, but I’m afraid this film might be recalled because most of the humor didn’t connect with the audince.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Alisha, Veronika, Reuben, Rian Killoran. (wife and children)


Memorial

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Street art or street installation (Always obey local laws.)
Summary:

A tribute to all those who have died in the service of The United States of America

Judge Comments:

“Nice Memorial Day tribute, but not a real story. Also, I’m curious where you got your Gulf War casualty statistics, as less than 300 Americans were killed during the Gulf War. Even if you count Operation Iraqi Freedom, the number is still under 5000. ” -Evan Derrick
“Would have liked to see the text animated or at least have some motion. Watch light in high contrast situations like at 1:30. At 2009, I would have not scrolled, I would have done something more clever so it didn’t feel like a credit sequence. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice PSA. Editing and transitions can make or break the continuity the audience has with your story. In this case, it seemed like the film was over and then all of a sudden the death toll scrolled. Having a better traqnsition would keep the audience’s mind on topic until the very end. Also, the juxtaposition of the confederate flag right after you talk about our flag was awkward. You might want that segment a bit later in the film. Aside fromthos two concerns, you have a great PSA you can be proud of. ” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Austin family


Misunderstood

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Brian, with encouragement of his friend Steve, takes the first step in a short lived romance.

Judge Comments:

“Camera work, sound, and editing all need a little work. That will come with time, though. I liked the idea and was excited about where it was building to, but man… what a bummer of an ending! I think you probably meant it to be funny but it was just kind of depressing, especially when his buddy drove off and left him. Part of this is due to the fact that your main character is fairly likable. He’s the protagonist so the audience wants him to succeed. So either 1) you need to make the protagonist a major jerk so his comeuppance at the end is gratifying or 2) you needed another 20 seconds or so to add on a more hopeful ending. For example, he’s just found out the girl has a boyfriend and his buddy has left him. He wanders off and, without looking, tosses the cupcakes over his shoulder. He hears a SPLAT and turns around to see this cute girl with cupcake sliding down her face. At first he’s horrified, but then the girl licks the cupcake and says, “Are these strawberry cupcakes? I LOVE strawberry cupcakes! Where did you get them?” He smiles and the audience is happy because they know things are looking up for him.

That’s just an example of an additional scene that would have made the film better. Remember, unless you’re specifically trying to create a tragedy (which I don’t think you were), the audience HAS to see the protagonist succeed. It doesn’t have to be in the way he originally hoped (i.e., the first girl really does become his girlfriend), but he has to succeed somehow. That’s hardcoded into the DNA of comedy. Otherwise you’ve got tragedy (and a depressing short film).” -Evan Derrick
“Sound transitions are rough. Pacing is a bit off and didn’t sell the performances which were generally pretty good. It just ended, we needed to hear from her or have a better pay off at the end. ” -Ash Greyson
“Setup didn’t really have much payoff since we never learned what she wanted to talk to him about and everything was building up to them meeting.  It looked like you were using a DSLR camera which are light and susceptible to shaking a lot when handheld.  Good use of multiple angles and shot composition in a few spots.” -Ryan Dunlap
“I’m not sure where to begin with this critique, except to say it is important for you to create a character that the audience can relate to before you embarace him. It is better for the audience to feel something for his embaracment than to think he is a loser from the first moment. Without the audience on board, the humor and awkwardness of the moment comes across less skilfully.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Production Team

Chad Braker
Chase Reatherford
Jordan Lehman

Actors
Greg Butler
Jonny Lehman
Maddie Phillips
Jordan Lehman


Tooth Fairy Land

Security Element 1: Loose tooth
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A little girl loses a tooth and, expecting the tooth fairy to come and take her tooth from under her pillow, unexpectedly finds herself on a journey through Tooth Fairy land.

Judge Comments:

“Super ambitious - the first time I’ve ever seen a claymation short in a contest like this. I’m just really confused by the story. Apparently the tooth fairy is evil? And locks people up? And they somehow escape? Or was it all a dream? So, points for trying something this ambitious, but next time make sure your story is a bit more concrete before you begin animating. ” -Evan Derrick
“Great job with the environment! Charming but I really wanted some dialog. ” -Ash Greyson
“Nice work with the painstaking claymation. It is a difficult artform due largely to the fact that the expressions on claymation characters needs to be clear or it might give the audience the wrong persepctive. Making sure everything is just right takes more hours than most realize. You did a good job in handling the details, but I must confess that I was raised thinking the tooth fairy was a good guy and not an evil guy that I perceived from your character’s face. I’ve never seenthe redition of the fairy who locks people up for losig their teeth. Agan, nice job on the technical achievement.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Directed by Riley and Wesley Parish
Music by McKenna Parish
Animated by Wesley and Riley Parish
Edited by Riley Parish


Sinister Roots

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 3: Cupcakes
Summary:

An abortionist comes full circle with motivation for his chosen career and the connections to its ancient beginnings.

Judge Comments:

“Some nice camera angles and color. Unfortunately, a topic as serious as abortion probably requires more than 3 minutes. It might not be the best subject matter for a contest like this. The pharaoh comes off as kind of goofy within this context. Also, it’s difficult to believe that an abortion doctor would simply walk out of his practice (essentially turning his back on his entire worldview) after dreaming about an Egyptian pharaoh. A decision of that magnitude must have a catalyst of equal magnitude.

So I applaud you for taking on a topic this important, but the contest’s limitations (as well as the approach) worked against you.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice lighting but average sound (dialog) sends a confusing message at the top. Starts to get too dark 60 sec in. Interesting concept, story came across but modernizing everything but 1 element just didn’t work. ” -Ash Greyson
“Your story seems to have a middle and an end, but not a beginning where we learn about who this doctor is and why we should care about him. In fact, we don’t care about him, just what he shouldn’t be doing. This makes the first few seconds of the story hard to follow for the audience. The audience is looking for someone they need to care about, before they can care about change. Also, your entire 2nd act is a monologue and unless you have an incredble actor, it is hard to sustain a monologue that goes beyond three sentences.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Our precious long time friend and her Church!
Michael Higdon
Kyle Graves
Jim and Janet Brown
Steven Farris
Ryan Limpus
David Rohrer
Starbreather Studios (Kayla, Don, Ryan, Sarah,Emet and Caleb)


Context

Security Element 1: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A text-happy teen gets a lesson in the English language from a tactical editing team.

Includes all seven security elements.

Judge Comments:

“I liked this one a lot. It had a well defined beginning, middle and end. In particular, the last 10 seconds of the boy texting “d00d” and the replay of the gear being packed really brought the joke around. If you had not included that final bit, the film would have suffered immensely for it. That you added it indicates you have a real instinct for story structure.

Good shot composition and editing. Sound and performances were a bit stale, but overall this was a good, tight entry. ” -Evan Derrick
“Great opening sequence! Clever, ADR was a bit jarring. Cupcake kid was great. Concept was fun but guns a blazing for poor grammar was a bit much. Maybe water guns or something more fun like slime or silly string. The concept that I might get shot in the face with a machine gun for writing “d00d” didn’t connect with me. Score was well integrated.” -Ash Greyson
“What a fun story. You had some good comedy mixted with adventure and drama. You are well on your path to producing more significant work and have started developing great strengths with this project. Your creative use of camera angles mixed with the chopper sounds made the team’s entrance believable. Your use of visual effects was also done well and helped to keep the interest of the audience. BTW, I’m a firm believer that with new PDA oritented phones with full keyboards, texting language can go back to English. wink Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

David B. Thompson
Elizabeth A. Miller
Mark Kelly
Brittany Thompson
Laura Kochendorfer
Ellen Miller
Katherine Miller
Amber Thompson
Carrie Thompson
Collin Thompson
Evan Thompson
Andrew Thompson
Jonathan Thompson


Amateur Unranked Entries in Order of Submission

Happy Birthday Mrs. Adrienne!

Security Element 1: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 2: Loose tooth
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

A birthday greeting for our pastor’s wife, Adrienne! smile

Judge Comments:

“Love the loose tooth kid! Nice birthday card for Mrs. Adrienne wink” -Ash Greyson
“Looked well rehearsed and like you all had some fun creatively including the security elements in the birthday greeting!  Since it was a locked down single shot I can’t really comment on much technically, but if I were to give a suggestion it would be to allow your creativity to come up with a story to place those elements in beyond wishing someone (I’m assuming real) a happy birthday for a filmmaking contest.  So now I’m curious if Mrs. Adrienne is real…” -Ryan Dunlap
“I loved the energy and humor in this video. It captured my attention and made me wonder what these kids could accomplish if they put their mind to a full story. Keep up the good work and consider diving into a narrative next year.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Alisha Chipchase
James Chipchase
Sarah Chipchase
Thomas Chipchase
Wesley Chipchase


From Russia With Apologies

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

Just a vog from me and Russia explaining why I was unable to submit something better.

Judge Comments:

“Yeah, I’m sorry you didn’t have enough time either. That robot was awesome.” -Evan Derrick
“Clever “non-entry” but the idea is pretty worn at at this point. ” -Ash Greyson
“Loved it.  Excellent use of VFX and casual placement of the robot.  Using it sparsely actually worked in your favor because I was waiting for the next shot when it would be in the background so I could see what it was up to.  Hearing it clank around back there occasionally also led to some curiosity being aroused.  I did feel like it could have ended at about 1:33 instead of repeating the same thought, but I also know this was more tongue in cheek for the people involved with CF.org instead of a standalone entry.

Overall, impressive robot effect for such a cramped timeframe and I’m curious how much time was spent filming versus putting Russia into the film.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Your dry humor is noteable. Clearly you had a pan and excuted it a fashion that few will think of the actual work involved. I think that’s what they say about pros who make the complex or difficult look simple. wink I’ll look forward to your next entry. Oh, and by the way, you have great potential with visual effects.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Dallas Lammiman
Russia


The Ultimate Weapon

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 3: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Summary:

One boy ambushes two and the fight for the ultimate weapon begins!

Judge Comments:

“Music is a little too “keystone cops” especially right off the top. Clever idea, love the crude “weapon” but you could have had a LOT more fun with it. I would have lost all the kung-fu stuff and gone around zapping everything I could with that thing. Brothers, dads, guy next door, cop who came to knock on the door and maybe paid it off by zapping the annoying dog who barks across the street. ” -Ash Greyson
“Looks like you guys had a lot of fun putting this together and putting some action moves to good use via the trampoline.  My biggest suggestion is to make sure that whenever you cut, you generally need to cut to a different angle on the shot.  You can use jump cuts to shorten the amount of time doing one thing, but you need to be doing it to achieve a certain effect.  It also sounded like the voiceover high-pitched voice was looped perhaps a little too long.  Fun video!” -Ryan Dunlap
“I had to give you a few extra points for what appeared to be in camera editing - a difficult task. I enjoyed your story and found that this cute drama has the potential to become a dramatic narrative when you decide to give it a try. The performance I marked down in points slightly due to the editing revealing the “rehearsal” portion of your shots. Over all you did a good job. Oh, and nice stunts.” -CJ Powers
“Fun little short, guys. Reminds me of some of M. Night Shyamalan’s earliest films. Next step is for you guys to get some cheap editing software so you don’t have to edit in-camera. ” -Evan Derrick

Credits:

Joe and Bros Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/joeandbros

A film by Joseph, Joshua and James Stibral


Bob’s Vacation

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Empty suitcase
Security Element 3: Cupcakes
Summary:

A two-minute, stop animation short film.

Judge Comments:

“I feel as if I just watched a future YouTube viral video hit. The claymation, the music, the blaring fonts, the cutaways to still pictures… this was really entertaining. It’s not much of a story, but I appreciate the effort that went into it and it made me chuckle.” -Evan Derrick
“FUN! Would have liked to see the “sets” dressed up more and needed some VO from Bob to give him more character. The motion cadence was nice, not too many frames but enough to follow the action. ” -Ash Greyson
“Good job on the correct usage of the 180 degree lined for being able to complete a time-consuming stop-motion process for the competition.  Something to stretch your storyteller legs a bit is to consider framing your story outside of what someone might do in a day (waking up, doing things, and ending on going to sleep).  Another suggestion is that when you do a stop-motion video, try to make sure that you are able to control the light to have a consistent setting so you can keep the same coloration throughout every frame. Very good effort, and keep making videos!” -Ryan Dunlap
“Nice job. Shooting a story over time is very difficult to do when you’re trying to use natural lighting. Over all you puled off the story and have a nice piece of work to show to friends. However, taking the story to the next level would have allowed you to capture the hearts of the audience using some form of irony. Keep up the good work and look for that special moment in your story to grab the audience.” -CJ Powers


Real Lives

Security Element 1: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Street art or street installation (Always obey local laws.)
Summary:

Memorial Day
Real people who served America

Judge Comments:

“While I appreciate honoring all those who died, this isn’t actually a story. ” -Evan Derrick
“You have to start with better sound in order to grab people. Took too long to get to the actual interview. More close-ups of peoples faces. Need to see eyes in order to convey proper emotion.

” -Ash Greyson
“More a PSA than a story, but I might recommend working on keeping the types of shots similar (either keeping them all still or all handheld).  Had a slightly difficult time hearing what the boy said at the beginning until he was closest to the camera.  Thank you for honoring our vets this weekend.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Your opening was powerful and I had hoped you would have sustained that level of story telling. However, it appears that the editing choices you made worked against your project. You have great potential as a documentary filmmaker and should always consider what the key point is you want the audience to take away and find visual ways of enhancing the message. Keep up the good work. You are heading in the right direction.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Alisha Chipchase
Wes Chipchase
James Chipchase
Tom Chipchase

Music Alisha Chipchase
Battle Hymn of the Republic (public domain)
Taps (public domain)

Special Thanks to Ed Gill


Reasons

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

When a long awaited mission trip is cancelled due to violence in the country, William Richards must discern why God would allow it to happen when so much could have come of it.

Judge Comments:

“Music doesn’t match the tone on the open. Try exploring the space with some different angles and extreme close-ups. Watch your geography, I got a little lost around 90 seconds in. Watch consistency on your sound editing. Good use of dissolves at 2:15 to show passage of time. The message was very clear but too “on the nose” with the beer and smoking guys. One story idea might be that the kid ignores someone in the beginning, say a homeless man or needy neighbor. When he finds out he can’t go to Russia, he then discovers the mission field he’s been ignoring all along. ” -Ash Greyson
“Story made a good point and had some good visual storytelling elements (i.e. showing the Missions jar instead of having the main character say he was saving for a missions trip).  You could probably get away with not having the voiceover of the prayer and instead show him praying instead as we understand that the main drive of the character is going on the missions trip and it has been thwarted, and the audience would understand the point after he looked over and saw the two people on the street.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Your storytelling abilities are high and you should consider competing for a prize next time. However, your sound and editing will need some improvement to bring your film work up to the level of your story work. You had a great opening, good middle and wonderful ending. Very few short films actually fulfill those necessary story elements in a competition, which would put you ahead of many competitors. Find some friends with high audio and editing skills and enter next time for the win. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Director: Daniel Thompson

Producer: Cody Milner

Director of photography: Daniel Thompson

Musical composition: Daniel Thompson


The Box

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Cupcakes
Security Element 3: Empty suitcase
Summary:

A mysterious box livens up the afternoon for two bored teenage boys.

Judge Comments:

“You guys should have entered this in the professional category. The gag didn’t really play out at the end (I was expecting the Mom to get big or small). I think it was all in their imagination the whole time, but they were eating pizza… so it was unclear. Good camerawork, great editing.” -Evan Derrick
“Nice opening, needs cleaner sound and some close-ups. Clever but sound would have made it SO much better. Some “boinks” “clicks” etc. Really wanted some more close-ups of the stuff changing. Missed the punch-line, mom should have shrunk or changed dramatically some way. Good acting by the two principles. ” -Ash Greyson
“Good changeup of reality and creative uses of props.  Fun opening segment and good use of setup and payoff with the ending.  A couple times the box didn’t match the effect on the prop, but it was a fun short regardless.  Well done.” -Ryan Dunlap
“What a fun romp. Your team has great sense of comedic timing and put a good concept into fun mode. While your sound and editing needs a bit of work, you captured the essence of the story and executed it well. You also selected some nice composition to mix up the mundane and bring vitality to the repitiion, giving the story a freshness in approach. You had a good ending for your set-up and the middle montage was cute. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Peter Mixon
Paul Leavitt
Tim Mixon
Helena Mixon


Resounding Music - Your Movie, My Music, Our Story

Security Element 1: Empty suitcase
Security Element 2: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

An advertisement for Resounding Music/Gabriel Hudelson.

Judge Comments:

“Had to dock story points simply because this is an ad. It’s a pretty good ad, but not a very good short film. Great music, obviously. I would seriously consider you as a composer after seeing this. ” -Evan Derrick
“Good clean VO, like the handheld work. Music is your strong suit and it came through. More of a commercial for you talent than an actual film. On that level, it really worked, I suspect you’ll get some good offers from this clever piece. ” -Ash Greyson
“Great editing and mix of shots to keep the piece interesting, as well as you having a nice little promo for your work at the end of it.  Good music, but the one thing I would suggest is to keep your voice as clear and effect-free as possible.  Well done on this piece.” -Ryan Dunlap
“Great job. You are sure to get opportunities from this promotional video. You were able to tell a three act story in a way that reveals a benefit to the viewer. Your composition was excellent, both musically and visually. Your story was told as artistically as your music played out. You are certainly headed some where with your talents.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Moriah Hudelson, Rob Hudelson, Nechet Hudelson, Gabriel Hudelson


whats the problem

Security Element 1: Cupcakes
Security Element 2: Loose tooth
Security Element 3: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Summary:

A professional has a family emergency but runs out of gas.  Usually the professional would look on the down and out with sympathy and would like to help.  What would happen if the role was reversed?

Judge Comments:

“Clean your lens off next time.” -Evan Derrick
“Need better sound to open. “Is he still alive?” line was confusing at the time. Actor did not deliver it with enough intensity. Needed some facial close-ups on the main conversation. Don’t use dissolves to cut a conversation, use some close-up shots to allow you to do direct cuts. ” -Ash Greyson
“Don’t be afraid of using hard cuts instead of fades and getting more coverage like over the shoulder shots and closeups during the main conversation.  Fun performance by the homeless man.” -Ryan Dunlap
“This was an interesting take on a common story. The use of sarcasm with blessing was a unique approach that got my attention. The story worked for you, even though the pacing wa a bit long for the simplicity of story elements you put together. However, the comdeic elements reveal that you have potential for soing some very funny stuff in your next film. Keep up the good work.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Brandon Wheeler - Writer, Director, Homeless Man
Keith Brooks - Writer, Director, Professional
Melissa Reynolds - Camera, Support.


Street Evangelism

Security Element 1: Word: “Russia”
Security Element 2: Line: “Am I underdressed?”
Security Element 3: Camera Technique: Silhouette
Summary:

A documentary on how Wes became a street evangelist

Judge Comments:

“I love that someone actually did a documentary with some thought behind it. Camera and editing need work (turn autofocus off if you can, your edits are cutting off lines and popping in too soon). Also, I know the 36-hours is short time, but if you’re going to do a doc about a street evangelist, you actually need footage of him doing street evangelism. Interviews just aren’t enough. ” -Evan Derrick
“Too many cuts in the first 30 seconds. Try making the “confessional” footage black and white or somehow treated differently. Had trouble deciphering the tone, some music could have helped. I was really missing the “in the field” footage. ” -Ash Greyson
“Good content, good implementation of a couple of the security elements.  On the technical side, you might make sure the interview subject is in focus and that you stay on the same side of the 180 degree line for close-ups and medium shots. Could definitely use more B-roll throughout of examples of being a missionary on the street instead of it focusing mostly on just the interview itself.” -Ryan Dunlap
“The heart of your message is good. Your documentary style is contemporary, yet simple. If you were to reshoot your story, I’d suggest better camera work and to pick up the pacing of the story. Other than that, this is a good video for others to consider evangelising.” -CJ Powers

Credits:

Wes Chipchase
Sarah Chipchase