Comments Made During the Contest
Ayal Pinkus (Level 5)
Very very nice short! From the start it radiates professionalism, the rotating logo, onto the titling, subtle, piano underneath it, all very polished good production values.Very subtle how you handled staging; having the woman in the middle at the beginning so it is about her, and at the end it is more symmetric (she to the left, he to the right), so there is a visual divide between them which I also feel when looking at it.The lighting looked very natural, cool white morning light.
Bill Clar (Level 5)
Script: The ending would benefit from more back story. I can't empathize with Beth's decision without knowing what happened to David. Editing: No problems. I didn't notice any jumps.Acting: Beth and David are very good. Cinematography: Very good. I like the blues and browns in the bedroom. They work well together.Good use of depth of field.Nice job using the mirror to your advantage.Great lighting. I can clearly see the actors faces.Sound: The voices are clear and rich. Score: Good opening piano score. Direction: Stays true to the script. No problems.I like the "NJ Film School" bumper. Very professional.
Bill Sarre (Level 5)
One page long!!! Gosh, thats a good punch for something so short. Of course there are a few questions such as, does he repeat this every two minutes or is it just an overall short memory and just how can she live a life etc but what do you expect in that short period.Nicely filmed, acted and with a delightful, soulful, sound track.Great stuff.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
The acting was passable. Obviously the equipment is all pretty top notch so lighting and sound are right on.The story was okay for me. For some reason, I think I felt like it was more effective in the script than it was in the film. The score was basically a little bland, but fitting and appropriate. Overall, this looked and sounded nice, but something in the structure of composition of it seems to have diminished the effect of the story for me. Sorry I can't pinpoint what it is. Perhaps someone else will mention it as well. Anyway, nice work!
Byron Matthews (Level 4)
Just a disclaimer: I didn't have a chance to read the script for this short. With that said, I think it's pretty clear what's going on here. Great quality and lots of hard-work from everyone involved. The shot of the medicine bottle was clever. I don't like to criticize actors, because it takes a lot cajones to act with the entire world watching. Now with that said, I don't know what it was; it just felt a bit off...not bad just off.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
I like the simplicity of the opening credits and the soundtrack - oh, now I see it was Michael Whalen - that explains it!I'm not a technical person but I can tell when things don't look right from the editing POV and this was perfect. Easy on the eye and with stunning imagery and great visual and sound quality.I wasn't 100% sure of the storyline without looking at the script but that didn't take away from my overall enjoyment.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
This was cute. Ok, maybe not cute. Good none the less. I'm not a fan of your color correction, but really a well done job.
Chris Setten (Level 4)
Very nicely done. I thought both actors were effective and believable in their roles. The cinematography was good as was the sound.The score was appropriate and well chosen to evoke the proper mood of sobriety. The direction was slightly different from the script especially the man's directives but I didn't think it had much impact on the film.
Chris Westfield (Level 3)
Simple, effective, good performances from both. Nice level of angst from the woman. I like the reveal and the score. Had a nice bittersweet sadness at the end. Well done!
Christopher Pedersen Cook (Level 3)
Good work! Conveys its story and message with skill and clarity. When their little ritual is repeated, it's not all that different yet there's so much more there. He's looking up so you see his scar. (Great makeup by the way) And there is a slight tweak in the mood as well. The first time they just seemed happy. The second time she still seems happy, but slightly exhausted and you can tell her patience is under strain. A few shots were really nice in themselves as well. The shot of the pills and the glass of water was really cool.
David M Troop (Level 5)
DevotionDevotion, written by Don Riemer, won Honorable Mention in the June contest this year.THE SCRIPT was well written except for one question. A few reviewers had the same question during the contest. It could have been easily answered in the film version with a few added lines, but the question still remains. How long ago did the husband have the surgery that limits his memory? THE DIRECTING by Ash Patel was good. Nothing fancy, but this story didn't need tricky camera positions to tell the story. THE ACTING was very good. I liked Jeannie Sconzo as Beth. Kevin Bohl as David did a fine job of delivering his lines without tipping the ending. Both actors did an excellent job of making this situation believable and touching without making it too sappy.THE CINEMATOGRAPHY by Mark Menditto was very nice. He only had a bedroom to work with, but the colors and lighting added warmth and a sense of romance to the film.THE SOUND by Nassar Salley was good. It was a quiet movie, but you could hear everything clearly, even the phone conversation.THE SCORE by Michael Whalen was very soft and underscored the romance between the two characters beautifully.THE EDITING was fine. Very smooth, flowed nicely.OVERALL a VERY GOOD job by everyone involved.
Dawn Calvin (Level 5)
The music really stands out as exceptional and really works for this short. The acting is good and the script is tight.I know it would not work without the phone call, but wouldn't it be great to try to figure out a way to make it work without that tactic?Really good.
Debra Johnson (Level 3)
Reminds me of the First 50 dates. This is a bitter sweet love story. Very touching indeed. I would do the same too. Love the music. It fits perfectly. A shory film but very powerful. Great job!
Denise Jewell (Level 4)
I like this a lot, but unfortunately I'm over conditioned having seen so many short term memory stories. The first view of the couple is so sweet, and they are so happy, that it kind of throws it off that she is immediately cross with mom. And, I knew his ailment as soon as she said "I get to watch my husband experience the best day of his life, everyday." That moment came too soon for me -- I would have liked for her to converse with her mom without directly revealing that. Maybe a more subtle line so I'm guessing but not sure of what's happening. Then the last scene, (which is filmed perfectly) where he repeats himself, we see the scar, he says "21 at last" and it fills in all the blanks. And I think you could almost cut her last lines completely, let her just look away, and smile. Very touching.
Donnetta Williams (Level 3)
I enjoyed reading the script once before. The film was great. Great direction, the characters were portrayed with emotions that captured the feel of the plot. Overall this was a great script and film debut.
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
I see what I missed in the script now that you have it on film. Everything is perfectly clear to me, Don. And I like it much better.It has that 50 first dates ring, but not funny at all, which is good. I like the reality now as opposed to a comedy. Touching, and happy/sad, this film certainly has impact.Excellent acting, and it was fun to see Jeannie, and hear Elizabeth. Excellent.The direction was great, the cinematographer got all the right angles. A very smooth film. Sound and score, awesome man, simply awesome. I was immersed, and impressed.Excellent work to all involved. Excellent.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
Could not hear the mother's side of the phone call very good... you might consider making that a bit louder.
Felipe D. Machado (Level 4)
Take away some cheesy acting, that was actually pretty good. It was a very tragic moment when I realized what was going one. It did happen before the movie made the actual realization, but I liked that. It led me to my own moment of realization instead of holding my hand through it.That really is a devoted wife though it seems odd that her mother is calling to get her to leave after such a long time. It seems like enough time has passed for her to have given up on getting her to leave him.
Gary Rademan (Level 5)
Nicely done.The partial reveals worked very well. The phone, meds, the phone call and the scar.The audio was very good and clear.Passages flowed smoothly.The phone call: In my mind, I saw the wife as a little more irritated with her mother.When I read the script, I worried that the wife would come off as doing it for her own ego but the film avoided that.The film had more emotional impact than the already moving script.VERY GOOD
Greg Tonnon (Level 5)
You picked the perfect title for this story. The actors do a great job, the camera work and sound are very good and even the makeup is good. The story is short and sweet or perhaps bittersweet. You packed a lot of emotion into a two minute film. Very good job.
Heidtmann Oppong (Level 4)
Read this script too and i loved it. The dialogue just fascinates me! Beautifully and cleverly written. What's more, simple and realistic.Nice video too. Excellent
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
AUDIO: Nice and crisp. I heard every word. DIALOGUE: Very good. So many few words that said a lot. DIRECTING: This was pretty good. If I had a few thing to say I wish you moved the camera more. Shooting drama's with the camera moving always gives it a more dramatic effect. I also wasn't a big fan of the blue hue that you probably added in post. You see that in mostly monster movies. Not is dramas. MUSIC: Wasn't a fan. I don't think piano key notes during dialogue is cinematic. It sounds like a soap opera. A mystery soap opera. Silence is always more dramtic. ACTING: They were probably the best I've seen so far. It wasn't grade A, but it was damn good. OVERALL: I enjoyed it. The music made the story drag a bit, but it was still a good film.
John Padgett (Level 2)
Good story. Good job of hiding the ending until the proper moment.Acting was decent. Did not distract me, but did not inspire me.Direction and cinematography were good. Again, nothing distracting but nothing amazing. But this this script I thought that this was appropriate. Overall: Good. A quality production.
Jordan Littleton (Level 4)
As far as the screenplay goes, this was good. There was some emotion elicited from the dialogue but there was something about it all that felt flat. I'm not sure if it was the acting or the script. Good effort.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
Hmm... I may have no criticizm for you here:)You started with a very good script. It's a great performance from the actors I've already seen several times.The sound is great. The cinematography - I'd say it's the best feature even though I enjoyed all the other aspects of the movie.The only thing - Maybe in one or two places the phrase "best birthday" could sound a bit livelier. Then may be not...:)Congrats, great job!
Kirk White (Level 5)
very nice, haunting film...it has a sweet simplicity that creates a really sad/yet satisfying resolution. Good job!
Kisha King (Level 4)
I like the mood of the actors and mood of the music. The script does not seem over or under played out, it feels like we are peeking into someones life. It is happy but sad and everything seems to establish that within two minutes on a one page script.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Clean, concise and effective. Especially like that the actor's words are clear and easy to understand. Nice to watch Jeannie in action -- David kept right up with her -- and didn't know Elizabeth was an actress. Great job from everyone.The Michael Whalen (sigh) score is a lovely treat. Always perfect.Excellent film. Congratulations.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
This script was a masterful effort by a wonderful writer, and deserved to be filmed. The director and crew did an excellent job holding the reveals for the just-right time.This looks great, sounds great, and flows just right. The acting is well-done, too.Excellent.
Lee Lyons (Level 2)
I thought this was really well made. I liked the simple premise. I think that with a premise like this it might tempt some people to over complicate it and then you really just run out of time to tell a cohesive story. I thought it was well shot. I think it could have easily been a bit more up beat though. The choice of music I felt kind of gave an imposed feeling of doom or whatever.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
The first time through, I was thinking that the actress sure looked a lot like Jeannie Sconzo... The acting was very good. I really like the shot with the pill bottle and glass of water.The blue color pallet is perfect. The music is perfect.Chris - How the hell do you keep getting Whalen to work for you?Don - Your script was a director's dream come true.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
Great work here all around. Nice reveal. The pacing for this was sopt on. No need to drag it out. Very good work and congrats to the whole team!
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
Ah, the NJ Film School logo. A guarantee of an excellent product if I've ever seen one ;) I can't remember if I'd read the original script or not, but I liked it, especially how it finishes as soon as there's no more story to tell, instead of dragging it out. The acting was good. It could have easily been too over-the-top but it wasn't. The make-up effect was, again, subtle and entirely believable. I was afraid the music was going to build to a sentimental finish, but it ended creepily, which I think was appropriate. The piano riff could have gone either way. All round an excellent film.
Martin Lancaster (Level 4)
Great concept. I wish I hadn't read the script already. The story is tight. Every line of dialogue adds to the intrigue.I thought the acting was solid, shot choice and composition. The music is subtle and fitting.Very good!
Michael Berg (Level 3)
Interesting idea. Presented well. Not much happens, but the point of the story comes across. Scar might've been displayed a bit closer to get the point across, though it leaves up the viewer to what happened that he thinks he's only 21, even when he looks in the mirror?
Mike Senkpiel (Level 4)
Script:I gave this a good at the time that I reviewed it. I would probably rate this higher now as my appreciation has matured for the skill involved in writing a good one-page script.Performances:I thought these were pretty good, well cast and believable.Cinematography:I thought this was very good. The wide screen ratio fit well, especially with the bed shots. The lighting was natural and the blue tones fit the mood. Nice composition.Sound:Excellent. Crystal clear and perfect mix.Editing:This was paced well, but it felt a little choppy to me. I think a fade in at the beginning would have fit the mood better, and the jump cut from the medium to CU before the kiss was a bit jarring, but I know I'm nit-picking. Nice titles and font.Score:Very nice. Simple and appropriate.Direction:I thought this was very good. Nice composition on the shots, but there was no camera movement. It worked ok, but I wonder if this added to the "choppy" feeling I had from the editing.The end product here is very professional and enjoyable to watch. All involved should be proud of their acheivement.
MJ Hermanny (Level 5)
Not sure I understood this. I intend to go and read the script and then watch again. Giving it a fair this time after first viewing but that´s down to not understanding it trather than the film making.
Olga Tremaine (Level 4)
The sound is crisp, the music is sad and emotional. It's well directed, it has a professional feel to it. I like the story, sad, but well told. The acting is very good.Well done.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Camera operation, great. Colours good. Audio clear.The acting seems a bit stiff though. Emotion just isn't there.There should be so much subtext, instead it seems they just recite lines. Could be the director's fault too.Script is strong and the movie is just averagely good.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
My preamble: For the first time, I produced and directed a short-film this year, so now I approach the reviewing process with a new perspective. I never thought it was easy, but now I know it's not.I love the theme here. We've seen it before, but it still resonates with me.The acting is top notch, but Jeannie and Kevin usually do a great job.There are some great shots and angles throughout (particularly in the mirror). The pacing is where it needs to be, and this is just the right length.Very Good.
Pete Barry (Level 5)
As usual, NJ Film School turns out a highly polished production. Lighting, music, composition, everything's top notch, in its place. The nice reveal of the scar on the side of the husband's head is perfect timed, foreshadowed by the pills all around the apartment, looming large in the camera.The actress is a little muted, although that might be the script. It's lacking a little energy. Yes, she's been through this conversation (with her mother) before, but she's not convincing me. Maybe that's part of the character, maybe she's tired, but it lacks the defiance that needs be exist for her to really commit to this man. The situation itself is a little tough to swallow: the husband seems a little too blissful, the "Memento" style amnesia seems movie-world, and the phone call from Mom seems to exist for not much reason other that exposition. (I may have mentioned these in my critique of the script originally.)Flawed script or not, this is still a wonderfully made film.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is a solid simple story that plays well at this length.The editing, sound, and camera work all work fine.For me I guess the pay off arrives so quickly that it's hard to get uneasy before it lands. In that respect that story ends up being a bit flat. Also the concept feels familiar from 50 First Dates so again it didn't hit me as hard as it might have done.
Pia Cook (Level 5)
I remember this script!Short and sweet. I thought the actors did a great job. Well directed and well edited. It looked good!A lot of people worked on it! I wish I lived up there!!! :(A Very Good from me. :)
R. L. Robinson (Level 3)
Without getting too long winded I would have liked to have been given a tad bit more insight into David's accident. The lasting sentiment surrounding "until death do us part" is understood and accepted. Though sappy you expressed well in her conversation with her mother that the extent of her husbands injury will not separate the love shared. Good
Reginald McGhee (Level 0)
The screenplay “Devotion,” is a cute story. I had to read it two times to understand it. A lot of showing helps keep the story moving. One thing I notice about this movie is that you showed us the pill on the counter to illustrate David’s disability. The screenwriter did not describe the pill in the screenplay.The two characters acted well. However, Beth’s dialogue sounds as if she’s a teenager. Her dialogue being on the nose makes Beth seem childish. Other than that, David’s acting did not distract the movie at all neither did Beth’s.The cinematography of the film with no errors proves me that you’re not an amateur in that field. The clear sound makes things clear. No extra base is in the sound.I didn’t notice any editing issues with the screen. It would be nice if you could expand the film a little bit and give us more details about the movie. It adds more tension, since it seems that you know everything about filming. The music sets the tone of a drama like this movie. Based on the movie, I would rate this as excellent. I enjoyed this cute story.
Rich Keel (Level 4)
I want more. Two minutes for this film is not enough. I get what happened but there just isn't enough to tell the whole story. Something happened when he was 21, or around that time. What was it? A women being devoted is obvious but why, just because it is her husband? That's too easy. The audience needs a lot more in my eyes.Audio - PerfectActing - GreatLook/Feel/Lighting - GreatOverall: Everything was technically done right but the story itself...the thing people go to movies for is barely present.Good luck to you this month.
Richard Buckley (Level 4)
Congratulations on your completed film,A very good job all round really, I've not read the original but it felt like you stuck to it well. The technical and acting sides were very well done, my only gripe is whether I believe people would act that way in real life, and that the phone was only there as a device to tell us what happened. This made the scenario a little forced.You can be proud of your efforts. An accomplished film.
Ronald Ford (Level 1)
I really like this. It was focused on the two characters and it seems to be a story involving a true love between the two lovers.I'm curious to see as to what the story involves being that it starts off as intense as it can get. I get the feeling however that there is a conflict within the wife as to whether she is making the right decision in staying with her husband.
Rustom Irani (Moderator)
Jeannie, you've got great camera presence and excellent dialog sense.This was extremely precise and zen like in its execution, though a bit of slow pacing would have helped to delve a bit more into the back-story of these two very interesting characters.I personally would have preferred not to have the husband framed within the shot that she's in talking on the phone. It's too uncanny to have him within ear-shot of the phone conversation to suspend the plausibility that he isn't aware of anything else except the one memory that's in a loop inside his head.Other than that, technically a joy to view and crafted like clockwork.Very good job!
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
I really liked the simplicity of this. The two actors were very good. It tells a simple story, a good message of devotion.The mom was a good addition from the outside world, this is how society would treat someone with a brain injury, they'd want to forget and move on.I wonder if the story would have been stronger if the devoted one, had been the husband. Just because it's generally a woman who sticks it out, when things go awry. If it had been the husband being the one to take care of her, it could have been stronger imho.Good setting. Lighting good. A short film with a quick message that worked well for me. Your film was one of my favorites. I can see that it is a labor of love and you did a great job.
Shaheryar Ahmed (Level 3)
Overall this was a good film for me.Cinematography: I liked it but it sort of felt a little bit cliche. I read the screenplay first and right off I knew what your establishing shot is going to be. Challenge the viewer.Editing: I really liked the pace of the edit. Loved the inserts of the husband while the wife talks on the phone. You get the feeling of his character from there. This is a perfect example of editing. It is not in the screenplay.Writing: Its a good one pager. I really like the sub-context of their relationship. It really fits into the whole bigger picture. I like how simple the dialogues are, knowing fully how difficult it is to write one.Performace: The guy was better than the woman. I did not see the conviction of the woman. I could see hesitation in the kissing scene from the woman and I am fully aware it is not easy to shoot a kiss scene. Direction: In the script the scar was on the back of the head. I would have loved to se it there instead on the right side of the forehead. This small details make the bigger picture better. With the scar on the back of the head creates a totally different back story for me as compared to it being on the forehead. Nice job and keep filming!
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
The production is very good - the framing of the first three shots is excellent. I have no issue with the acting as well, I think it is also well done, especially David - he appears very natural on screen.However, I am not making an emotional connection with the story. I didn't when I read it and I'm not here with the film. I don't think that's any fault of the filmmaker or the writer. The fault is entirely due to my own prejudices - I find it impossible to connect on an emotional level with a one-page script or film. There is no time to emote, no time to become involved, for me, anyway.Congratulations on a well done production - from soundtrack to direction.
William D. Prystauk (Level 5)
Great acting and lighting, and a nice, tight story that's "not on the nose." The actors were also fantastic for their very natural looks - well done.I only wish there had been a delay between the phone ringing and her answering. It was just too abrupt.Regardless, a wonderful little tale of love and, well, devotion.
Zach Jansen (Level 4)
I remember reading this over the summer.And I still have a problem with the phone call from Mom -- it's too much for my taste. The scar and last lines tell us all we need to know about the husband's condition.But it's still a great film about love and the lengths we sometimes go to to keep that love alive.
Comments Made After the Contest
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 1:47 AM
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 1/1/2012 8:55 AM
Thanks for all the great comments and thanks to Don Riemer for letting my class shoot his wonderful script!
David M Troop (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 9:09 AM
Congrats on winning Third Place! The competition was very tough this year.Very good job by everyone involved.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5) ~ 1/1/2012 6:30 PM
Thank you. It was great working with Chris and I hope to do so again.
Sally Meyer (Moderator) ~ 1/1/2012 8:45 PM
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 1/2/2012 10:25 AM
Congratulations! I had this script in my wish-I-could-film file. The script is a short film producer's dream. Compelling story and characters; one easy to line up location; a few characters with wonderfully written dialogue. This was one of my excellents.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 1/2/2012 7:27 PM
William D. Prystauk (Level 5) ~ 1/3/2012 9:20 PM
Outstanding! Congratulations! I hope this inspires you to shoot more films. This is awesome news!