"What You Know" by Aaron Williams

Contest: Short Film (Nov. 2009)

Contest Scores
PoorFairGoodVery GoodExcellent

Comments Made During the Contest

Audrey Webb (Level 5)

Your film has a great look and feel to it. I really enjoyed the opening sequence with the man mowing his lawn. There were only a few shots that I didn't like: the Charlie Chaplin shot, because it was no longer filmed from Joe's POV in the taxi (or didn't appear to be), and the angled shot for the trees lining the streets.

The difficulty with this film for me is in the script, when it turns so horribly violent. It had been so comedic until then. I would suggest that you could find a way to get the same message across but in a humorous way. It's very schizophrenic with the ugliness at the end.

Brian Wind (Level 5)

SCRIPT: I gave the script an Excellent the first time I scored it, which,incidently, was the first contest I ever reviewed here at MoviePoet so it's entirely possible that this script was the first Excellent I ever gave. No pressure...

PERFORMANCES: The main character and wife were only mediocre. The producer did a nice job though.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Very strong. There were lots of great shots in here.

SOUND: A bit uneven at points, mainly during conversations. Audio could have been leveled a bit more in post production.

EDITING: For the most part it was pretty good, but for some reason the shot of the Charlie Chaplin look-a-like seemed too long.

SCORE: Subtle, yet fitting for the film. Very nice job on this.

DIRECTION: I didn't notice any problems with direction. I thought the end product turned out very good.

OVERALL: I loved the script and I liked the film a lot too. Some of the actors could have been stronger and the audio could have been leveled more evenly but all in all I thought was a very solid short.

Nice work to all involved.

Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)

SCRIPT:"The first page - the build up to Joe revealing his news to Patience - was unnecessarily long - I think more script time would have been better spent elsewhere.

The scenes with the movie guy are great. Loved those. Loved the ending too."

Let's see what the film is like!

PERFORMANCES: The guy at the beginning made me laugh. Good performances - especially the woman. The guy is bizarre! Hopefully that's as a result of very good acting :) The film guy was brilliant.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: I liked the quality of the film. Clear - fine colour quality.

SOUND: Good.

EDITING: A lot of chopping and changing about. Do you need to dwell on shots a bit more?

SCORE: Lively!

DIRECTION: I think it must have been good!

OVERALL: Ii made me smile and I'm giving it a VERY GOOD

Chris Keaton (Level 5)

Wow, the compression on this seems terrible. Don't you know never to make a movie about screenwriters, they're a boring bunch. The sound often overwhelmed the dialog. Why no muzzle flash. Good job.

Chris Messineo (Founder)

SCRIPT: Great script. I had forgotten about this one and after rereading it, I remembered how much I loved this black comedy that pulls no punches.

PERFORMANCES: I thought the actors who played Joe and Hans were great. They had the perfect looks for their parts. Especially had the dorky/screenwriter/first time in hollywood wide-eyed expression down.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: I thought the compositions were very good, although some of the lighting was a bit dark, we need to see the actor's eyes.

SOUND: The sound was good. Nice and clean easy to hear everything. You might want to ratchet up some of the violent sounds at the end (the slap, the head butt, the kick, etc).

EDITING: If I had one major suggestion it would be with the editing. I think it could be much tighter here. We're halfway through the film, before we even meet Hans and it's after we meet Hans that the story really takes off. We should get there asap.

SCORE: I think the score is fun. The Hollywood montage music is nice and the dark music at the end works well too (although I think you could go even bigger with that - almost blockbuster style).

DIRECTION: The direction is very good. My one issue would be with the final scene. I don't like the addition of Joe begging for his life. I think it takes a way a bit from the comedy aspect and it also takes away from the effectiveness of Han's last line. Still, I really did enjoy this film a lot. It should be mandatory watching for every aspiring screenwriter.


Dan Lennox (Level 5)

I thought this was a pretty good job overall. I did like your airplane scene as it made its approach into LAX... Nice touch.

What kind of stuck out for me was the guy who is trying to talk on his phone while keeping his mower running. I don't know why, but that just bugged the cr#p out of me for some reason. I guess because it just didn't seem like something people would do. I know we're not dealing with pro actors here, but it did seem like some of the dialogue was a bit stiff and forced from the talent. Sometimes I found it a bit difficult to buy into the man's excitement.

Technically speaking, I thought the editing, soundtrack, and overall choice of shots were well done. I thought this was a really good job!

Daniel Piatt (Level 2)

Haha! This reminded me so much of films I've made before. Spefically, the guys flipping out in the yard...I have that exact scene in one of my films. Awesome! This was a funny insight into the L.A./filmmaking scene. I liked the twist in the middle, didn't see that coming. "My god, this dialog. Do you even have any contact with real people?" :-D A couple of quick thoughts: I think the ending could have done without the music...I think it took away from the comedic feeling of the story and made it too dark. Also, the scene where he is driving from LAX to the script meeting is too long. I think it could be 2-4 quick shots and we get the idea. Overall though a fun story with a twist.

David Birch (Level 5)

loved the "campy" tone to the whole thing...afraid that if those of us guilty of poor screnwriting would be "eliminated" this sight might have to shut down...congrats on not just having characters in a room talking...like the airport scene...cab scene...would have preferred a "drive by" of the paramount gate, or warner bros. studio...but the message was delivered...a little far fetched but a good laugh nonetheless...thanks...

David D. DeBord (Level 5)

One thing that always bothers me about new/young/early-in-their-career filmmakers is the less than quality sound recording on a movie. A lot of the sound - dialog and room sounds - worked against this film. Very distracting. A good sound person on set makes all the difference.

The story had an arc to it, that was good. The wife changed her attitude too quickly for me but that's a small detail. And some exposition of the back-story seemed just like that, expository.

Just like the too long cab ride. I'd edit the airport scene out of the script (even though it was quite short) and have the cab arrive at the Hollywood location.

Though I did like the story of someone confronting a bad screenplay and its writer, the ending didn't ring true for me.

Still, there was much I did like about the film. The premise works for me and though his range was not tested, I thought the lead actor did a good job.

Dawn Calvin (Level 5)

This is funny!!! I think the only ones who will like it is writers or other artists and people with sick minds like me!

The actors were great.

Slaps him with script and trash can cracks me up!!! ;-)

That Taxi cab driver looks so real. ;-)

Good filming on Rodeo. I like the reflections in the windows.

The music over takes the voices.

Okay, I tried to take notes as I watched but I have to say, this film surprised me. But the character was so well developed as a dork wanna be (that is mean to say) but that is how it translated.

The special effects were great, the filming great, the music over took at times, but it was good just too loud. The gunshot awesome!

I really liked this!

Don Riemer (Level 4)

This film was so preoccupied with making fun of bad writing (a worthy goal) that it lost touch with it's own issues. Almost the entire first half is unnecessary exposition. The movie really begins at about 4:12, with Hans' line, "About your script..." I realize you need some setup to establish why Joe is there, and that he studied with Hans in the past. But that could have been accomplished far more quickly. The scene with Patience, and Joe's travel montage just feel like padding. (I actually liked your opening shot very much, before I had any sense of where things were going.)

Now, having said all that, I'll also say that Hans' tirade is very funny, and hits close to home for any screenwriter. This scene is so good it really deserved better actors. You should consider doing this short again with a stronger cast. But I wouldn't end with Joe getting shot. I think the humor would play better if it weren't so dark. What would happen if you made Hans the central character, and set the entire piece in his office?

Production values were iffy... Many underexposed shots, choppy audio editing (mostly room tone and reverberation issues) and generally flat lighting. Also, the driving illusion of reflected palm trees was killed by the fact that we can see through the opposite window in the cab, and know the car isn't moving.

However... it was a lot of work, and I applaud the effort. I hope you make another one! A final thought... I realize there is a chance that all the elements that I've identified as problems may in fact have been intentional. Perhaps you were going for a sort of post-modern, Charlie Kaufman sort of thing. If so, well.. cute, but not to my taste.

DW Pollard (Level 4)

It was a little long for a short; it seemed like it could use some cutting (i.e., mowing the lawn, the hollywood drive, even the office scene). Characters were definitely unique and story had a somewhat humorous twist. The ending seemed a little abrupt and not too satisfying for the audience.

Elias Farnum (Level 5)

SCRIPT: Aaron, I gave this script an excellent during the voting period. I'm laughing to myself because I've got to give this a double excellent now. Stretching it out some just added to it. I do think the very last line sounded odd. Right after Joe tells Hans, I won't write again. I would expect to hear, "no you won't," or something to that effect. It's already in my mind that his writing is that bad.

PERFORMANCES: Wow, your two leads did an awesome job, Gerret Vander Werff was outright hilarious over the top caricature of a screenwriter who would act like that, thus making me happy to see him get killed, and Mr. Connor, damn, a serious counterpoint to the incredulous, and that's what helped make this work. The cab driver might have spoken up a bit, and not looked into the camera, but a minor, minor thing. All did a great job here. Excellent.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The lighting, camera work, composition, mood, and tone completely supported the story.

SOUND: The sound recording was Excellent.

EDITING: The pacing was pretty good, I would have liked to get Joe to the violence sooner, but that's just me. It was a good build up, the cab ride. Nice diversity of shots, and the action/reactions were smooth.

SCORE: The score was subtle, it supported and enhanced the mood of the film. Excellent.

DIRECTION: Excellent - Your director interpreted your script one-hundred percent. The story was elevated because of it. Mr Forsyth took an excellent script, and made sure it stayed that way.

OVERALL: I put this in the top three.

Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)

A really funny movie. Little difficult to hear the main actor talking over the lawn mower. I think many of us can relate to the story in some way!

Herman Chow (Level 5)

Everything seems a bit too dark, I'm not talking about the tone, but the lighting. Like the first scene where the guy is cutting grass, and the last scene inside the office room.

The middle section is like a L.A. travelogue film. It's a nice touch.

The acting needs to be improved, or maybe the dialogue in the script needs to be improved. The first scene where Joe received the call and did his cartwheel moves feels very cheesy to me.

There are some scenes with a lot of shots, whereas others have only one or two shots. The first scene is a very long static shot, I wish we can zoom in on Joe while he's talking on the phone. The scene at the reception desk is very choppy. You are switching shots between Hans, Joe and the secretary very quickly. In my opinion, a more static shot here would be better.

There is a problem in the tone of the story. It starts out with a comedic tone and ends up with a thriller tone. Not so sure about that.

Anyway, it's good to see a Moviepoet script got shot.

Jacob Guerra (Level 4)

I liked this one a lot once Joe made it to L.A. That is when everything picked up steam for me. At the beginning it all seemed kind of cliche, then I realized that was the point. I don't know if the over the topness of the Joe character was intentional, but even though I didn't really believe him most of the time, it was a good contrast to the tone taken towards the end. The score did kind of bother me in the beginning, but really helped the tension out in the end. I was at the edge of my seat waiting for Joe to wake up, but he never did. I was really hoping it was a dream. But I guess Hans wouldn't have liked that at all cause it would have been cliche. And from what I saw, I wouldn't want to tick off Hans at all. Good work.

James Hughes (Level 5)

I like the beginning shot outside while he is mowing.
The short shot of feet and legs when he walks into the kitchen is distracting.
The lighting looks good in all of the shots inside and outside, the film has a good look to it.
The cabbie keeps looking at the camera.
The shot of the charlie chaplin character isn't from the car point of view, so I think is out of place with those other shots.
The lighting in all of the scenes was really good, the lighting in the office at the end was a bit dark. I am not sure if it is meant to be darker because of the situation?
Some edits in the office seem too quick, the one when he buzzes in the muscle and right when they are finished putting tape on him.
I like the actor playing the hollywood guy.
I love the shot and line where he puts the garbage on his head and says, "can you hear me in there, dumbass?" I laughed each time I saw that.
The acting of the main character leaves me a little confused because I am not 100% sure of the intended tone of the movie. Based on the main character, the tone is goofy and silly. But with the action in the second half and the acting by the hollywood guy there, I am not sure if the tone wasn't supposed to be darker. I went back to read the script to see if the script gave indication of the intended tone, but I think it could go either way. I am interested to hear the film maker's comments on this.
In total, I think the film looks good and sounds good. Although I did enjoy watching it and laughed at parts at the end, I couldn't get over the main character's acting and the way it kind of confused me.

Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)

Starts off good. I like the wide shot of the mowing.

Audio needs some work, it a bit echoey.

Husband and wife need a bit of chemistry with one another.

Nice escalator shot.

It's unclear to me as to if this was meant to be a drama or a comedy. Either way, clarification is needed. If you want it to be a drama, it needs more believability. If it's meant to be a comedy, it needs more jokes.

Have to be careful shooting windows because of the awful glare they give.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)

Okay, first I had a problem with the radio. I was wondering who was talking in the room or if it was a voice over.

When the husband and his wife were speaking it didn't seem like the same conversation.
It LOOKED like you directed one person talking and then the other.

And before he got into the cab, his lips were moving after his voice. And the guy smoking in the background was in a different place when you cut scene.

Okay... when he got to the office.... it became the best movie I have ever seen!

I watched it like 5 times over and over again. They guy was so pissed off at the writer, so of course the most logical thing to do was to murder him in cold blood.
I thought that was HILARIOUS!!! And he genuinely looked upset, but not in a personal kind of way. Like it was just business.

I loved the camera work, but the cutting and sound needs some work. I'm still giving this an excellent because I loved the movie!

(and I just got the reference to Michael bay in the beginning) HA!

Jem Rowe (Level 4)

Haha, this is one of those reviews where there was lots I absolutely adored and lots I just couldn't stand. What this says to me is that you've got huge amounts of potential if you can identify your strengths and work on improving your weaknesses, but that's what these reviews are for, right?

Firstly, what a brilliant opening shot. It established a lot and hooked me immediately all in one shot. At this point I'm just loving the way your lead actors using his voice. The music's very appropriate to the tone of the piece.

The radio was a nice touch, very funny and said a lot about hollywood today (setting up your "theme", if that's what you call it). However, this next scene of dialogue between Joe and Patience needs some serious editing. I found it unnecessaryly long. The shot of his feet across the floor seemed clunky and unneeded and the shaking of the grass out of his hair looked mimed (this isn't a criticism of the actor as he's proved himself in other parts of this short, I think the director needs to more carfully select the shots and material he uses). 2/3 of the scene should be cut.

The taxi drive I also found to be too long, a lot could be cut leaving the same effect (I did like Charlie Chaplin though, he can stay).

I did like Hans Traumhersteller (great casting all round by the way, and what a brilliant movie business name). 4:09 to 4:19 has to be one of the funniest silences I've seen. The masking tape needs some serious sound editing, LOUD!!!

As for the ending to your script, I think it would suit the tone better if Hans was a little less violent. Perhaps just slap him around a bit and the waste paper basket was a nice touch but otherwise I think it becomes too full on. Also, I think it would be better if Hans (rather than killing him) hears his pleas never to write again, takes his drivers license for details and warns him that if he ever sees a screenplay with Joe's name on then he'll kill him. But that's just what I would have prefered.

Joel Davis (Level 5)

head butt, ftw.

This was an interesting story but (besides only appealing to aspiring writers) the protagonist was passive throughout, so it was hard to get engaged.

Cinematography was good, some great shots like the opening, and the tilted hollywood streets. But it felt too hand-held sometimes. Also, minor error, when they were in the cab you could see a red car in the corner of the frame.

Good acting and sound. Great job on choosing locations. Better lighting could help improve the video-look. The music at the opening was a nice touch, too.

Nice job, a fun little comedy.

John Brooke (Level 5)


SCRIPT: Brilliant loved it.

PERFORMANCES: . The nasty guy is very good, believable. The writer victim is just a little too much. Frenetic.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Low key, difficutl to see the actors faces expressions etc. Lighting varies. In LA lighting seems too high key - Washed out crude. Then the interior get’s back to low key mushy visuals.

SOUND: Harsh at times. Especially the buzzing drone which I figured out must have been the lawnmower that I couldn’t see.

EDITING: Cut together competently. The credit graphics are a disaster I was unable to read a single credit.

SCORE: Starts with an annoying SFX - couldn’t recall music

DIRECTION: Competient

CAST: Good choices in all respects.

OVERALL: I shall return when I can figure out how to critique these moving experiences. That's a promise.

Kenneth Hurd (Level 4)

Talk about a writer's worst nightmare! I didn't expect it to take the direction that it took. With the way the film opens, I saw this going on a completely humor filled ride. The excitement of your lead actor really helped carry that aspect too. Then, we get the sudden change in tone. I wasn't sure what to think at first, but I gotta admit, I liked the way you handled it. It definitely surprised me.

All of your actors do a really good job throughout. Your lead actor's excitement was evident in every frame. I really liked how terrified he became when the producer destroyed his dreams.

Your camera work is fairly good, but I think you could have used some lights to help brighten up the image. It seemed overly dark in scenes, especially towards the end when the producer was hovering over your main character.

As for the editing, I think it could really benefit if you were to tighten up a few scenes. The scenes where Joe is heading to the meeting seemed to drag on a bit. You probably could have cut it down in half, if not more, to help move things along.

Your sound was clear and I had no trouble hearing any of the dialogue, but I think you could benefit by adding a bit more airport background noise during the airport scene. Also, if you recorded some ambience on set, it could help smoothen out some of the audio cuts. During the kitchen scene, the shots on Joe seemed to have a louder ambience than the shots on Patience.

Your film is enjoyable and I think if you were to tighten it up in a few places and clean up the audio a bit, it could be really good.

Kevin Carty (Level 4)

What a likeable character. This is so hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing. I saw some opportunities for more comedy but this is definitely original. I just got through some drama so this was nice. However, as a movie on it's own I wish it was a lil bit more believeable. I guess if you want you could give us some more foreshadowing and more of a reason for them to just shoot him. I wish they kidnapped him or something put him to sleep. I guess that last scene was a lil too long and maybe too abrupt. Also when he's at the airport I wish he was doing something funny.

I was thinking Amuse me amuse me. The direction was good enough. Some of the shots were a little bit off like the celebration. I loved the falling with the camera. I thought that the headbutt would have been it granted the guy's head. This is really really funny. I can't deny it.

Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)

Is this a funny movie or a drama? I don't know.
And that's why I don't know how to react to this.

Looks like it took up a lot of effort. Good actors, good shots. But I couldn't understand the genre. Almost like a parody but way too serious for a parody. My score is good nevertheless.

Kirk White (Level 5)

I think you could cut this thing in half and still tell the same story. the stuff at the beginning and the hollywood "tour" is fun but not needed for this. you story begins when he walks in the office. and honestly, if had started there, I'd have enjoyed it more because we'd have gotten in, killed the guy and gotten out. I'm not a fan of movies about writers because I think it's a bit of a cop out...but I fully recognize this is a pet peeve of my own. I think you have a slight issue with setting the tone at the then...it seems like it's supposed to be a comedy but the stuff at the end is a little brutal to fit into that...so it's a bit disjointed.

KP Mackie (Level 5)

Clever and pretty funny. Might be a little niche-specific with all the screenwriting references, but Gerrit Vander Werff, Jr.'s "Joe Escriba" (terrific name) is a scene-stealer. The supporting cast does a good job too.
Several visual locations and interesting scenes. Particularly like Joe mowing his lawn, evolving into extreme joy outside the kitchen window. The camera shot through the window capturing Joe's celebration is unique. The shot of the airplane representing Joe's flight to Los Angeles was different too and well done.
Some nice color in the details representing Los Angeles on the cab ride: palm trees reflected on the cab's window, the Charlie Chaplin impersonator, and the Beverly Hills sign.
The dressing-down, assault, and shooting scene at Mr. Traumhereteller's office is a bit over-the-top; but, the acting is so good it works. The variety of camera shots, especially Joe's reactions in closeup, and the activity is fun.
Enjoyable and entertaining.

Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)

SCRIPT: A little too much dialogue, too little action.

PERFORMANCES: The headbutt could've used some better preparation. :)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: The opening scene with the lawnmower: since it was a wide shot, Joe looked almost insignificant.

SOUND: There are sound cuts between Joe and Patience that are audible. The VO portions are a little too loud and clear, though, almost sounding unrealistically close to the "camera". The cabbie is almost too quiet, however.

EDITING: Joe's Hollywood-arrival-montage was dragging. Long shots, and not many of them. Later, why include the "take a seat over there" line if he never actually sits down?

SCORE: Fun when it needed to be fun, subtle when it needed to be subtle.

PROPS: The gun didn't look real. Was it?

OVERALL: I'm not sure who'll enjoy this film outside of the filmmaking community. It's highly self-indulgent. The ending narrowly focuses on the agent, whereas the beginning of the film was all about Joe, so the film felt discombobulated. I'm left wondering about Patience at the end.

Margaret Ricke (Level 5)

I love this!

It plays a little dark at times, but it's still pretty clear. The "coming to LA" shots were great.

The framing on the opening scene was good, but the actor kept going off screen on the left. I've watched this many times, and that's the only framing problem I've noticed.

The radio interview and news flash are great, and I understood it all the first time through. The cabby's voice could have been recorded from inside the cab to make it clearer, but I still understood him.

So... Michael Bay... and Tara Reid...

This was fun and funny and well made.

Very good work.

Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)

Joe must have had 20 cups of coffee before the scene at his house. I cracked up when he was jumping and rolling around in the background while his wife was listening to the radio.

I thought the whole thing was shot well although some parts were a bit dark. I did like the montage of Cali shots but I think they went on a tad too long.

The score worked perfectly throughout!

I liked the story...really hits home with a lot of us here at MP!! Slapped in the face with your own script. Ouch. LOL.

Nice work.

Marti Young (Level 2)

I did not enjoy this short. Though the ending was witty, I just can't get past the bad acting and jumpy tilted shots.
Perhaps if when the call comes at the beginning, your main character faints instead of jumping around that could work better? And while the wife sits inside, you see him through the window crawling in? And he comes in dazed, maybe? You know that feeling you get after a cat claws you to pieces for rubbing it the wrong way? Pain? That was his performance to me.
The editing was ho hum. There were a couple of darting glances that served no purpose other than to slow the story down.
In regards to sound...if you are going to have a cabby (who glances at the camera twice)speak, then please hook him up to a microphone too. Or dub it in.
The angled shots would have been good if they hadn't been super jumpy.
The music was alright.
The premise itself was novel. I liked the idea. It's a good one. I think you lost a lot with your actors, though.

Martin Jensen (Level 5)

The opening was too long. It was about three and a half minutes before we got to the real story, when he entered the office. You could cut most of the first scene and when he's in the cab, which looked suspiciously like stock footage, and it would still make sense and be more engaging.

The acting was good and very suitable for the tone of the story. I liked the swift turn it took at the end that wasn't telegraphed to the audience from the beginning.

The lighting and sound were also good and there were some good angles, particularly when Joe was on the floor.


Martin Lancaster (Level 4)

Hahaha. This is very funny and very well made. Good comic acting. A little rough around the edges and you could probably tighten up the edit but this one made me smile.

Matthew Fettig (Level 5)

I liked the script better than the film. I just had a different take on the character of Hans. I think it well written with a good pace. I liked the dialog. I would have enjoyed a greater variety of shots in the kitchen scene and the drive from the airport.

With Hans, I expected to see the whole delivery done with a big, maniacal sort of smile. You went a different way which is fine, but maybe Hans could show more disgust, more a performance issue than a script issue.

Micah Ricke (Level 4)

Very entertaining! I thought it was hilarious.

The lighting, music, and effects were well done.

Overall, the acting was pretty good. PATIENCE was a bit wooden, especially when compared to JOE. Joe was played a bit over the top, but I thought it fit well. HANS was played perfectly.

The editing could be a bit tighter. The opening shot of JOE celebrating in the yard went on a smidge too long. And there are a few instances where there seems to be a lag in the dialogue... "Yeah, Joe. It realy is that bad," just didn't pack as much punch as it could.

This is one of my favorites. Great job!

Best regards.

Michael Hoffman (Level 4)

Really enjoyed this satirical little film.

Script- Well done. Good goal and conflict. Some of the twists were forecasted but they always played out differently than I expected. realy kept me off balance with the brand of humor. Props on that.

Performances- All well done. Obviously, the roles weren't emotionally challenging but every character played their role perfectly and stuck to the tone of the humor.

Cinematography- Not real fancy but very solid. Some of the outdoor lighting was a bit hot and indoor color was a little flat but mostly things worked well for a short comedy.

Editing- Again, nothing fancy here but solid work. The editing pace was a little slow at times and some matching action cuts weren't completely smooth.

Sound- Most dialogue was very clear (except for the cab driver). Some background/ambient sound was a bit noisy.

Score- Fit perfectly with the film. Helped with the mood of each act.

Direction- Handled very well. Tough to pull of a such a broad scale of locations but you did well. Kept the focus of the story together and inspired solid work from the actors and crew. Things could have even been better by tightening up the locations and trimming down the number of different scenes.

Overall very entertaining little film. A good amount of work went into this and it shows. Not real fancy in any particular area but focused and solid from start to finish. excellent work.

Michael Johnson (Level 2)

It suuuuuure does feel good to vote on an actual short FILM for the first time!

I was taught that if you submit ANY entry to ANY type of creative contest, you better make certain that you bring your "A game". That being said, I would NEVER intentionally discourage a young writer, director or anyone else in the creative field. But here we go...

The first thing that I noticed was the audio issues. The levels were all over the place and unfortuneately for ME, were ultimately distracting.

Second, the lighting could have used some attention. A lot of attention.

I actually did like a couple of the shots you chose which made the film watchable, though I still struggled with the calibur of acting.

All in all, it appears that at least SOME effort went into producing this film, there is some talent here. I'm trying to figure out why this film looks as though SOMEONE didn't give 100%

Paolo Tinari (Level 3)

Hey, funny and bitter story. I think it could be faster, trimming the guy joy, the couple dialogue and the arrival in LA with the pov's. I read somwhere that faster is funnier. Good luck and keep shooting.

Paul Williams (Level 5)

I haven't read this script before watching the movie, so this one is new to me.

This was funny, some great dialogue about this little business of screenwriting. The public appeal of stories so specific about screenwriting worries me sometimes. Would the general public know about most of this?

Actually shooting and killing Joe in the end...I don't know...maybe there could be another funny way to conclude all this?

There are really good performances throughout by all characters, particularly Hans Traumherstellar, he was great.

The arriving in Los Angeles montage went on a little too long, and it's obvious in the scenes where the taxi is supposed to be moving, that's it's really not.

I understand the title, but perhaps another could work a little better.

The lighting in the opening scene and closing scene seemed a little dark.

Some of the audio was echo-y, especially in the kitchen with Joe and Patience.

I like that the characters' names all have meanings behind them, but some felt a little on-the-nose.

Very Good.

Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)

This movie has a very strong shift in tone. He starts very happy and the feeling matches that and it ends with a really strong down note. It is well made and has an effective story.

There may be a couple of areas in which this could move along a little more sharply and for me some of the acting seemed slightly mechanical.

Pia Cook (Level 5)

I thought this one was pretty good. Funny story. Wasn't too crazy about the title though...

The cinematography was okay. I didn't really like the long static shot in the beginning, but it got better as the film went along.

The actors were pretty good with the wife being the weakest, but the guy was very likable and I thought he did a great job.

The sound was hollow at times. Especially in the house and the office. The cab driver's voice was a bit quiet, but the sound got better as the film went on just like the cinematography.

Editing was pretty good, especially towards the end. The first two scenes, need a little help. They were both too long and I'm not even sure we need the scene with the wife in the kitchen with the radio show on.

Over all pretty good quality and funny too. :-)

Rich Keel (Level 4)

I had never read this one on MP and it was pretty funny and overthetop. Nice work on the story, I can see why someone would want to shoot it.

Music - Fit the movie perfectly

Editing - Not bad but seemed off in a few spots. I found the music is too loud throughout the beginning when she is listening to the radio show. I could hear the people but I just felt it was too loud and unneeded. The audio was off when he was talking to the cabbie to take him to the location. Off about a second or two. The trash can getting dumped on the guys head, it might have been intentional but in one shot the can empties and in the next it start over with him dumping the can again. Also there were some shots that to me just seemed out of place. Secretary tells him to wait over there and quickly the camera is at the door and the guy opens it...just seemed unnatural or something. But this is all personal opinion but I felt it slowed the pace of the film.

Acting - Was pretty good. The main character was over the top but I am sure that was intentional since he was so excited. Other characters did thier roles pretty well.

Good luck to you this month.

Rustom Irani (Moderator)

Man this was darkly funny! And I think the only comedy I've seen so far in this film contest.

This also comes across more as an actor's script. They relish the dialog and the timing is just right in the delivery. Some very nifty editing compliments the basic stunts rather well too.

My only problem, GET SOME MORE LIGHT!

I hate to see a good film being marred for a technical issue but some frames are have little to no lighting and it is quite murky and dark. Takes away from expressions, reactions and emphasis put in by the actors.

Also, though that little montage is meant to relay the Character's state of mind as a newbie to LA, it comes across as cliched and cheesy, especially that Chaplin impersonator, who is way too long on screen.

Some color correction with brightness and contrast tweaks are a must for this film, a few audio tweaks, especially for the gunshot and this could work quite well on other festival circuits.

Love the nice touch with the radio broadcast.

Good job!

Sally Meyer (Moderator)

I liked the script. It was fun and unique.

I thought all your actors were great. Especially your lead, totally fun and you just know he's a sitting duck!

I liked what you did with this, the use of the outdoor shots at the airport and etc were good. But I thought the taxi ride went on way way too long. We got the idea that he was excited to be in Hollywood, without us seeing a tour of it.

The sound was a little choppy and tinny and echoey.

The music was good, matched the film.

Well the story was really fun. The ending was good. I felt bad for your lead guy. Nice twist to the end. I don't think shooting him at the end works for me.
The lead guy was really fun and believable. I think all of your characters in the movie were strong actors, and that makes a difference. But your lead guy was the best by far.

I liked the build up, but you took to long (imho) to get to the grand finale where he gets shot.

Although it was far fetched, I found it humourous and entertaining.

Nice work.

Scott Merrow (Level 5)

This movie is a lot of fun. It's slow going at first, due (I think) to some on-the-nose, expositional dialogue, but after that the pace picks up and it's a very funny commentary on the wannabe screenwriter's place in the Hollywood pecking order (somewhere south of the sleazy producer).

STORY / SCRIPT: This may be sort of a left-handed compliment (for the writer), but I actually liked the original screenplay much better than I liked the movie. (And I DID like the movie.)

The opening scenes of the screenplay are a lot tighter than the movie. The movie opens with the lawn-mowing scene, which is not in the script, but it's actually a pretty good scene. It's not necessary, but it does create a funnier entrance for us (the viewers) into Joe's wacky world.

But the scene inside the house, beginning with Patience listening to the radio V.O. about movie news, diverges from the script in an adverse way. The radio V.O. is funny (p.s. I just checked -- Michael Bay's Rotten Tomatoes rating is only a "whopping" 7 percent), but it's an inside joke for movie buffs only, and doesn't really add anything to the movie. Then the dialogue between Joe and Patience is a lot longer in the movie than in the script -- and the added dialogue isn't really necessary. The dialogue in the script was short, sweet, and to the point. The movie dialogue just slows the whole thing down. (Probably my biggest recommendation would be to trim that scene down and get the story moving.)

One other thing that made the movie drag a bit -- the arrival at the airport, and Joe's ride to the producer's office. In the screenplay, that whole sequence is described in two quick scenes and four lines of narrative. In the movie, it takes a minute and a half -- a little too much, in my opinion.

PERFORMANCES: Joe was really good. Traumhersteller (the "dream maker") was also very good. However, Thug #2 (an actor with the unlikely name of Aaron Williams) was pompous and overbearing and totally devoid of any redeeming qualities. JUST KIDDING. Great to see the writer get a few on-screen moments. All the actors seemed fine to me.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Great. Nice FX with the plane approaching L.A.

EDITING: I don't really know much about editing, but it seems to me that many of the transitions could have been a little quicker and smoother. For example, in Traumhersteller's office, after he says, "About your script...", the camera just hangs on Traumhersteller for an uncomfortable amount of time. Not necessary. Things like that could be trimmed down quite a bit, and it would really improve the pace and flow of the film. There were several awkward transitions like that.

DIRECTION, SOUND, SCORE: I don't really know enough about any of these to make intelligent comments. They all seemed fine.

OVERALL: I really enjoyed watching it.


Tim Westland (Moderator)

Technically, not much wrong here.

However, the dialogue suffers from a problem similar to that which is attributed to the main character in the script. Where the character's dialogue is stated as stale, crappy drivel, the dialogue for the characters COMPLAINING about all of the bad dialogue actually have dialogue that tries too hard to be cute and clever. None of it rings true. Further, you could really cut a lot of repetitive or unnecessary dialogue.

Overall, though, the script is much better than the filmed project.

NOTE: You gotta be a little more careful with your character names. They were all pretty bad. Translating a word(s) from another language to make a name is almost always the wrong way to go. Primarily because those translated words either don't roll off the tongue or they just sound weird. Escriba? Type or scribe? The name of the agent dude... Dream maker (or something like that). Patience? Not common. Just pick normal names unless a unique (but real) name applies.

The female lead did a fine job. The male lead, however, seems a poor choice on a couple of levels. On the surface, you have to admit that a woman as attractive as she would probably never be with a guy who looks as, well, dorky... as that guy. That might not seem important to some, but it actually takes me right out of the film. I kept saying to myself, "No way that dude would score a cute girl like her". It matters.

Another problem... a big one, is his performance. It's like he's on speed. Speed for dorks. He's supposed to be excited and/or enthusiastic, but instead he's manic, frantic, almost hopped up on goofballs. He needs to visit overactors anonymous.

The kitchen scene goes on way too long and is very, very expository. You could cut it by 75% and it'd be just right. And it would allow for more stuff later in the script.

Other than some of the last scenes seeming a tad dark, overall it seemed fine.

It differed from place to place, and even person to person. For example, in the kitchen scenem, her audio sounded fairly rich and clean, where as his audio sounds hollow and tinny. Uneven.

A HUGE chunk of time (Minute 2:17 to 3:34) is spent showing him arriving and traveling to his destination. Cut that to 10 seconds. Almost all of it is wasted time right now. Your script had it right. The editor and/or director seems to be filling time.

Not very good. Monotonous.

I think this is a 50/50 thing. 50% of it was fine, but the direction for the lead seemed almost non-existent.


Victor Ojeda (Level 3)

Once you estblish the sound coming from the radio you dont need to go back to it, unless the tone of the news changes dramatically. The initial shot could have benefited from better framing. Nott bad but it could use some work.

William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)

I thought the script was better than the film. It's a wonderful premise, executed very well on paper -- and funny. I enjoyed the script a great deal. I don't think the film projects that humor as well as the script did.

Joe was over-the-top and over-acted. He seemed more like a caricature, a la Mathew Lesko than an excited writer who finds out he's meeting his doom. If that is how the filmmaker wanted the part played, then fine. I did not care for that particular interpretation if that is the case.

The rest of the acting was a bit stiff and why is the mower on when he's on his cell phone? Is that part of the gag?

As with many of the films entered, the sound and lighting suffered. Was there an external lighting source? Or was the filming relying on natural light? As far as sound quality, was there a boom or built-in? Greater detail on these two aspects would really add to the look and sound of the film.

I think this script would play a lot better with a very dry sense of humor approach, an "Office-type" tongue-in-cheek.

Comments Made After the Contest

Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2010 10:16 AM

I love this dark and twisted story and I'm so glad you entered the film in our challenge. I hope we get to see more of your films in the future.

JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2010 5:53 PM

...okay, why didn't this place? I loved it! A definite favorite.

Note: You must be logged in to add a new comment.
The following members have selected this film as one of their favorites:

JeanPierre Chapoteau