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Made a Comedy Short Film. Would appreciate some feedback

Hi SP Hive mind

I made a comedy surreal short film last year and after an unsuccessful
festival campaign have recently whacked it online.

Any feedback you have bad and good would be appreciated.

vimeo.com/233846902

Cheers

Simon

  • Hello Simon. Sorry, I've looked at this and, in my humble opinion (others may differ) it's funny, but not quite funny enough. Some bits I smiled at but didn't laugh, and other bits I thought "yeah, I can see that that's funny" I know it's difficult to judge one's own stuff, and friends are keen to be polite and supportive, so how would anyone know before they get actors and set up a camera? Sorry. I know it's soul-destroying. Let's see what others say.

    7 months ago
    • Hi, thank you for watching it and taking the time to give me feedback. Some interesting points you have made.

      7 months ago
  • Hi Simon, from a technical point of view it looks great, very well produced, well framed, shot etc. And there's some very good acting in there and characterisations. I enjoyed it. And Lol'd at times :-) But.. If anything it could be too obscure and as it doesn't take itself too seriously then maybe the festivals didn't either. And of course it depends which festivals you submitted it to. What was your target festival/audience?

    I would have also liked just a little bit more context to the story and the opening. Introduce us to your universe before diving straight in - just my opinion of course. As you seemed to start the film at page 2 if that makes sense ? I certainly wouldn't be soul destroyed though - this is a great addition to your show reel.

    Nice job.

    7 months ago
    • Hi Simon, I have to agree with Rob here. Technically really strong, looks like it's come straight off TV, so really well done for pulling you camera, sound and all of pos together so well. Content wise though I'm with Spike, funny but not laugh out loud but deffinetly worth developing it further. OK, so much work done with no real tangible results, but that's not true, build on what you have manged to achieve, I watched so much comedy that not only wasn't funny but the sound was terrible or the lighting or grading etc, you've nailed the technical production side of things so you're ahead of the pack, now nail your scripted comedy, if you can get a few laugh out loud moments next time doors will open for you, yes deffo go again as you're so ver close.
      @RayBrady
      PS I made a comedy feature in the past and really know how difficult it is to get new comedy out there.

      7 months ago
    • @Ray BradyM Thanks for watching and taking the time to feedback. I Completely understand its not for everyone and agree that not all the jokes land as well, the joys of a one day shoot. But plan refine the tone and style more going forward.

      S

      7 months ago
  • Hi Simon, I enjoyed your work, it’s quirky, edgy surreal and very dark, it doesn’t conform, then again being successful you have to take a different approach, you have obviously put a lot of thought into the film and it shows you have a clear stylistic vision. Have you thought about submitting to tv channels, channel 4 etc. Psycob**ches on SKY ARTS for example is completely off the wall, but great because it’s so different and pushes the boundaries. I think you have potential for a series here.

    Simon

    7 months ago
    • Hi, thank you for your kind words. It's definitely a marmite piece and made it for myself rather than anyone else. There was talk of developing further but currently the world does not need another office based sitcom. However I have recently shot some sketches which fit into this crazy world.

      Many Thanks for watching it

      7 months ago
  • Hi Simon,

    I tried to watch the film and it looked very (too?) stylish from the start. That, to me, was a distraction. I was thinking, "How did they color grade that?" "How are his eyes that color?"

    Then, the acting and dialogue began. For me (I'm an American and have a very short attention span) I was initially engaged but then I thought it was turning into an indulgent Meisner exercise. I then stopped watching.

    You and your scene partner may have enjoyed shooting the scene, but it may have read better on stage than on screen.

    I love surreal and anything that is odd or quirky, but this just was not to my personal taste. And my personal taste is... again, odd and quirky.

    Please feel free to hate me based on this feedback. But I did invest some time in watching and writing this. I tried watching it twice now.

    Best to you, Simon.

    Paulina

    7 months ago
    • Hi Paulina

      I appreciate you trying to watch it twice and thanks for the feedback. The Meisner comment made me smirk.

      S

      7 months ago
    • @simon Matthews
      Aah - so that's Meisner. Kind of reminds me of Ernst & Young management consultancy training, back in the day ;)

      7 months ago
  • Sorry, I hadn't noticed until Ray said it, but yes, the technical quality was excellent! Re. comedy: I think if you show the script to several people (my age as well as yours) and they laugh a bit when reading it, then it'll be funny enough when actually played out.

    7 months ago
  • Everyone's nailed it. Which means you went too soon with the script - or are fundamentally a director.

    If you want to do another, I've got three thematically-coherence/well-structured/pleasingly-resolved comedy shorts in my portfolio.

    I'd be more than happy to work with you - as you've produced something brilliant on all other levels.

    7 months ago
  • Hi Simon
    I liked it in parts, as did everyone else, so here's my six penn'orth.

    Big ticks for technical and performance. I didn't have a problem with the quickfire nature of the beginning, I liked the surreal element and (having been in lots of meetings in London ad agencies over the past 40 years) there was lots that rang true. Not a fan of grossout humour so the shit sandwich was a turn off for me, and I suspect why it didn't appeal to lots of festivals, but I also didn't see the need for it. It seemed something you added for no reason other than resonating with the saying that 'Life's a shit sandwich' etc. His colleagues egging him on to eat it was very real (I've seen this stuff happen) but the suspension of disbelief was too much. Eat a shit sandwich? Really? But my other disquiet with this device at the end was that it felt you'd run out of the original idea and ways to finish it, so went for the absurd. I loved that Colin woke up and the hyper fright of the other two but I felt (FWIW) it needed something else.I'd try a recut and lose the shit sandwich, maybe end where he wakes up? Nice shock finish... and then try to resubmit to a few festivals. See how it works out.

    Good luck, I liked it and yes I did laugh, loved that it wasn't afraid to shout and scream and be unsubtle.

    Cheers, another Colin

    7 months ago
  • Hey Simon,
    I enjoyed it - particularly up until 4:19. The acting was great AND FUNNY - which is always more impressive with unknown actors as we are less "willing" to LOL at/with them.
    The shit sandwich, although a funny concept, literally made me gag watching it.. Which doesn't exactly leave the film on a good note for me, even if it was what you were going for. But I really did think the first two thirds of it was great! Good job with it! Definitely consider it a success :)

    7 months ago
  • Simon, thanks for putting The Meeting up for viewing. As a festival audience might catch it, I've watched it only once, anticipating some laughs from a comedy screening, and paid absolutely no attention to the closing credits ... so some of the following might read a little tactlessly (but maybe of some feedback use &/or value).

    If there's funny ha-ha & funny peculiar, your short slots into funny pec for me. The first gets more lols than the second and those would probably hitch an easier ride into most festivals (again, depending on which). There might also be a genre-related issue with your labelling it as 'surreal' - it strikes me more in the tradition of farce - that could have contributed to festivals passing it over if picky re. genre classification.

    But I'd echo Rob on not getting too disheartened about lack of festival attention. Look and feel are as they should be for the material - awfully shiny creative marketing office vibe - and likewise wonderful visuals from a cinematographic perspective. Casting is fine and the players are impressive farceurs, wrestling with a challengingly under-powered screenplay. That's where there are problems imv, both structurally and comedically:
    - a "shit sandwich"/eating shit is a hackneyed motif literally to wrap the plot around - it could have been same idea, more conceptually creative, less literal;
    - the gags (mostly) aren't strong enough for the style of direction - (e.g. the chat around the boss's affair with her subordinate);
    - dialogue sometimes defaults to flat satire, out of sorts with the wacky pace of the action - (e.g. wasted op with the Bono 'joke').
    - clumsy emphasis on the 'moral' at the finale by resurrecting the redundant exec simply to walk past the shit-sandwich scenario ... necessary ?

    The sole audible chuckle for me was the throwaway line with the guy spitting out the herbal.

    In short: beautifully shot; ingeniously directed; woeful script. What could happen next/what I'd do if I had the production rights ? Dump the soundtrack entirely, except Foley where possible/relevant; have the screenplay re-written, paying special attention to gags (for which SP might be a good place); re-edit as a (colour) silent movie with interjected textual dialogue. Forget lip-syncing, have the demonstrative direction carry the humour. Change title; re-submit to festivals (but not as a surreal piece). Hope some of this is helpful.

    7 months ago
  • Thanks all, Anyone else want to chip in?

    S

    7 months ago
  • Loved all the technical side.

    My take is that there is a great sketch in there about sacking Colin but it's probably half as long and twice as punchy.

    For example, "Sacking" section ends with Colin saying No, on a slow down. Next time we see him, he's been stabbed. I like the stabbing. I also like that we don't see it.

    How to punch it up.

    In the film we exit on a downbeat Colin, then we come back on what was DONE TO Colin. We get it - she stabbed him - but it's weak.

    This is all about Her conflict with Colin and how she will resolve it. The end of the scene needs to be on her in order to set up the payoff. But we don't want to show the stabbing.

    We also, as we get towards the end of the scene, need to signal to the audience that "something's gonna happen".

    My take :-

    I'd play with ending on her being "FUUCCCKKK YESSSSS!!!!", then when we come back, he's been stabbed.

    The Fuck (or such) is important because by not just being a Yes, it tells the audience we are changing pace, and that she is going to take this conflict to whatever the next place is. Understanding that, we all want to know what happened next, and thus you hooked your audience.

    And when we come back to dead Colin, it tells us what SHE DID next. We've changed to being about active HER, not passive Colin. The audience is happy and waits for the next thrill/laugh.

    In general with writing, be brutal. For example you take 27 seconds to introduce Green Shirt guy as a Dominant Prat Shit. The audience then expects him to be a DPS and, because you took 27 seconds to set him up, and, because you took 27 seconds, to be an important character, probably someone about to take charge of the mess*. But no - he's actually very subordinate and quite submissive. You could set that up just by changing how he answers the phone. 5 seconds. Done. Now put him in the room, and you have the audience open to seeing where you go as they don't have too many preconceptions about him.

    And I'm with the others who would lose the shit sandwich. It's a different sketch.

    *E.g., if you want to go that way, as he walks in he says "Susan, again?"....

    7 months ago
  • Hey Simon, your film is awesome I think. The absurdity of acting went well together with the tweak in the story. I loved it: very original voice and style shot in s strongminded, determined way!
    You've framed up the absurd style in the 5th second so audience can know what to expect.
    I think the problems you might have:
    1) picking 2 storylines
    The couple is absurd, acting is funny and the situation is funny. Sophisticatedly funny with several layers to discover. You apply traditional comedy tools such as sudden changes (after the quarrel at the desk we get back to the lady full covered in blood), procastrination (the guy stepping into an office takes 3-4 lines to understand the murder, it was hilarious!) etc.
    On the other hand the shit sandwich story line is funny in an American Pie way or "butt-showing" way. This is a very raw and simple humour for people who are visually socialized on Facebook videos, are able to focus on a thing for 4 seconds only and possibly they attend an American college somewhere in Idaho. (I don't want to hurt anyone just trying to paint a picture.)
    These 2 different humour of the 2 different storyline create an unpleasant tense. They don't strengthen each other but erase both.
    You can cut the shit sandwich, write a similarly absurd scene, shoot that and incorporate with the couple bit.
    Or you can develop the couple bit to the level when it stands for a full scene alone.
    2) the grade is not balanced, saturation is way too much. This was graded for video and not film.
    3) Don't give up! You have a very unique humour and style that you could absolutely show off that not only you have it but you are able to execute an idea the way you have imagined it. This is a very important skill! This short film might not be perfect but you can learn a lot from it and it is still on your reel, well done!
    The path of a creative person is full of failures, you will have a lot of medium level stuff under your belt by the time you direct a hit. It's all fine, keep doing what you do because your voice is unique.

    7 months ago
  • Hi Simon,

    I thought this was very interesting to watch. Personally, the humor to it is not my cup of tea, but as others have said it does very much have it's own style and is well made, and you and your team have done a great job of what is normally a visually boring location very unique.

    Even though the humor is not for me, I can see it being very popular, and does very much remind me things I've seen on BBC3. If you planned to take it further, and with a little refinement and tweaking to some technical aspects I can see it being a successful web series if not a concept a larger platform would be interested to develop

    Hope this helps!

    Nathan

    7 months ago
  • Hi Simon,

    A very we'll put together film, nicely shot (a little over-saturated at times as Zsani pointed out) but definitely the right sort of grading for this comedy. I think overall you tied the style of the piece together really well and you got some great performances out of a very talented cast.

    A few people have said not many laughs but funnily enough that doesn't really matter with narrative comedy. Plot and character are more important. You definitely had both but I don't think you showed them off very well. The word context was mentioned once or twice and I think the viewer is disorientated by the opening scene which doesn't immediately tell us what's going on. It feels more like a sketch than the opening of a story.

    For me it felt like the crux of the whole thing was Steve having to clear up his boss' mess. You could have cut away every scene that he isn't in and it would probably feel a lot stronger for it. And then the whole thing becomes a joke about a very corporate way of problem solving: The problem being the murder of an employee and how even the disposal of the body gets passed to a subordinate. (I liked the delivery of the "Eat Him" gag)

    Also didn't notice the mention of a diaper fetish the first time around and thought the joke about their night of "passion" worked better for me not knowing precisely what happened.

    So in summary everything is there but maybe just needs a tighten to really click with people.

    7 months ago