Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

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John Paines

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Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 3:45 pm

It's a retro-70s VHS horror movie, shot in the dark at the filmmaker's house at isos over 100,000 on a Sony fx6, with a heavy layer of video noise (by design). And the better part of each shot has no detail. Of course no actors anyone has ever heard of, and they're not visible most of the time anyway.

In my urban area, it's playing in no less than 8 theaters, including national multiplex chains.

Draw your own conclusions, but given the understandable obsession here with "quality", or Q0 v Q5, or HD v. 6K, this is very telling. And as an illustration of the value of murk, for works of the imagination. Stuff that's actively challenging to watch can be more absorbing than pristine images.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21307994/
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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 3:55 pm

I love unorthodox approaches.

Also, there is a big discrepancy between the things people worry about on forums and the things actual filmmakers worry about :)
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Donnell Henry

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 5:44 pm

Michel Rabe wrote:I love unorthodox approaches.

Also, there is a big discrepancy between the things people worry about on forums and the things actual filmmakers worry about :)


You sir are correct
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 6:55 pm

Michel Rabe wrote:I love unorthodox approaches.

Also, there is a big discrepancy between the things people worry about on forums and the things actual filmmakers worry about :)
Right often pixel peer are obsessed from tech, and not from story. I’m obsessed of both


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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 8:54 pm

Shooting grainy low quality formats (or adding grain and grime to a higher quality capture format) as part of the aesthetic has long been a technique for horror genre movies. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, etc.

When someone shoots this way for a historical costume drama, that will actually be something new.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 9:16 pm

This one is far more abstract and extreme in technique than any prior low-budget horror move. And I don't think they were trying that route with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it's production values are less a dramatic strategy than a reflection of the limits of the production. Same with "Paranomal".

This one is something different.

I was thinking of how a romantic comedy would play with similar technique. I think it could be done. It might even be funny.

It's true low-budget movies fail when they aspire to dramatic illusion which the production values can't support. And all the defects in writing, performance, direction and design are on display, where a big budget production could conceal much of it. So this one sort of cheated. If you don't show it at all, it doesn't have to look real.
Last edited by John Paines on Sun Jan 29, 2023 12:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSat Jan 28, 2023 10:07 pm

As someone that has made a cult movie that’s shot low budget I totally can appreciate this technique. It works best when there’s a storytelling reason for the “anti aesthetics” to lean into the story.

I’d also say this idea isn’t new. Dogma produced a lot of movies in this way where the artifice of production was stripped back to something a lot more basic.

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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 12:00 am

Idk, they created a maximum weakness by turning off all lights and then turned that weakness into the film's strength, by countering it with the cameras maximum sensitivity to end up with this unique atmosphere.

That atmosphere to me works quite different than Dogma á la Lars von Trier's "The Kingdom" or the many 'found-footage' films.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 12:39 am

Most of the Dogme stuff, like the best known of them, The Celebration, aka "Festen", were traditional naturalistic dramas which could have just as easily been shot on 35mm with mainstream production values. And even the one-chip camcorder movies had 7 figure budgets.

Love or hate this one, but it's a completely different approach. I don't think it owes anything to von Trier & Co.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 12:58 am

I’m not sure I see a difference.

Dogma was about using what exists in the given shooting location. It’s also just as “unlit”.

I just watched the trailer. It also has a very obvious film dirt and scratch filter applied in post that I found obnoxious and distracting. Like it was apologising for the original noise in the image.

If it really was pushing a new aesthetic I don’t think it would be doing this. We have no idea why it’s set in 1972 other than as a touchstone for similar lo-fi horror films of the same era. I don’t know what the fake hairs and blotches add to the story here.

Why not actually make it shot in super low light at high iso. It is possible. This is from 8 year ago.



I have some friends who are dropping a film at SXSW called Late Night With The Devil

It’s set in 1977, and in the story world it’s a taping of a live broadcast in a TV with a seance that goes awry.

There’s a storytelling reason to have those visual artefacts, to shoot it 4x3. Slapping a dust and dirt filter on some low iso footage is lazy. The caveat here is I haven’t seen the film, just it’s trailer.

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 1:25 am

"Aesthetic" is probably too grand a word for what he did. But I have to insist: this movie has little in common with Dogme which, according to the manifesto as I remember it, was an attempt to remove the artifice from feature filmmaking. But Dogme movies employed the best actors in Denmark and had professional crews, and most of them were conventional dramas. And they all violated one or more of the "rules"; it was a bit of a joke. If you ask me, it was more a marketing stunt than anything else. They themselves didn't take it seriously.

In this case, it's not that he used available light, which would be nothing new. It's that he turned *off* the lights. There are long periods when you can see almost nothing. And yet it's a commercially successful movie. For whatever reason, audiences like it. That's what struck me as interesting.

Beyond that, I think the appeal of murk is undeniable-- forcing the viewer's brain to create images from partial information, as in dreams. If this is an "aesthetic", it's one at odds with traditional storytelling and with a limited scope. But it seems to have worked this time.

BTW, if anyone wants to see a near no-budget costume drama made with non-actors, check out "Winstanley", by Kevin Brownlow. This one, however, isn't in the dark. You can see everything.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 10:55 am

Dogma's intent of using no film lights and handheld camcorders was to create realism (just like the found-footage genre later on).

This one creates surrealism.

The added film scratches are debatable (I don't like them) but I also don't know why it's set in 1973 so maybe they make sense when watching the whole film (kind of doubt it).

In any way I love when people get creative to not just work around a disadvantage, but take that disadvantage and turn it into an actual strength.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 11:04 am

John Brawley wrote:Why not actually make it shot in super low light at high iso. It is possible. This is from 8 year ago.





I think there's a fundamental difference in the approach though. What you suggest and linked to, these guys tried to see in ultra low light.

The guys from 'Skinamarink' did it the other way around. They set everything up so that we don't see. That's how they create that surrealistic atmosphere that seems to draw a lot of people into movie theaters.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 12:43 pm

Dogma was the big lie of the movie world. Von Trier start the idea and never be aligned to Dogma rules… broke every rules
I like the story, if I like story I cannot see tech fault.
If I see tech fault mean story not work.


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John Brawley

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 11:09 pm

I don't think Lars intended for "dogma" to be hard and fast rules.

And many have misinterpreted his intentions I believe. It doesn't even specify using a digital camera, but many think it's a rule.

It's worth bringing up one of my favourite documentaries about filming, the Five Obstructions. If you watch this, then I think you get more insight into why something like Dogme was even created.

It's one of the best examples I can think of illustrating creative process and how our own self imposed non recognised "rules" are what drives us and by acknowledging them we can better understand our own creative process.

By creating an artificial set of rules (aka dogma) then you are forced to throw away your own unacknowledged self imposed rules.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354575/

JB

And the original so called rules of dogma 95...


These rules, referred to as the "Vow of Chastity", are as follows:

Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot.)
The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted.
The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera.)
Optical work and filters are forbidden.
The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
Genre movies are not acceptable.
The film format must be Academy 35 mm.
The director must not be credited.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 11:26 pm

Nobody asked, but The Five Obstructions is the only film of his I can watch now with pleasure, and that's because his sensibility isn't at the heart of it. And observing the despairing subject come up with one small masterpiece after another, under the most restricting and arbitrary conditions, is exhilerating. In one them there's some like a 2(?) second shot limit, and this guy puts it together so well, the jump cuts are practically dancing, it's way more effective than it ever could have been with conventional film grammar.

But jeez: this is far removed Dogme. None of the Dogme restrictions is or proved to be a source of invention. "Academy 35"? Who cares? It was more like sham purity test -- which all of them ignored anyway. I mean, come on - a "Dogme Certiicate" when not a single one of them actually complied?! You can be sure Lars was laughing....
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Jan 29, 2023 11:34 pm

John Brawley wrote:And the original so called rules of dogma 95...


Rules are an anathema to any artform and that was ultimately the demise of Dogma... it was interesting whilst it lasted but very few of it's products are on anyone's favourite movie list.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 12:23 am

Steve Fishwick wrote:Rules are an anathema to any artform


Huh? So the Shakespearean sonnet, or the sonata form in music, or iambic pentameter all killed the arts?

Without restrictions, there's no art, just personality, the insufferable foghorn of opinion....
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 12:28 am

I think he’s laughing because few understand that the rules are for the artist, not for some external judgment.

And they’re a means to an end. It’s a way to force yourself to mentally approach things differently.

Yes , in five obstructions he challenges the protagonist to make the same film five times with a different set of arbitrary and more and more ridiculous rules.

What’s amazing is that he comes up with great solutions to get past those rules and make something interesting. And THAT is the point.

The first rule was no edit more than 12 frames and it had to be made in Cuba. The filmmaker was Danish and the film originally was a series of very long single shots.


What he does to get around that crazy obstruction or “rule” is great and not something you would arrive at without trying to get past that arbitrary rule.

I truely believe that process is an incredibly important part of filmmaking that we rarely pay much attention to.

I think many of his films are unsuccessful but I LOVE how much he challenges the form and the conventions of filmmaking. Like making a film without a set and just painting lines on the ground.

I like to have a manifesto for every project I do. A set of rules to follow. Doesn't mean you can't break your own rules or change them if they aren't working..

Some previous rules I've had for shows have been

"No establishing shots"

"Shoot character A with a 35mm only"

"Character A is always placed in the centre of every frame"

"All adults are shot from below their eyeline"

"Every take the operator starts with a different opening frame"

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 2:10 am

Since Sundance is winding up today, I have Dogme rules for American indies:

-- no character may explain him/her/their self or discuss his/her/their feelings to or with another character (it's supposed to be a movie, folks.).

-- any "quirky" characters must be murdered no more than 20 minutes after introduction

-- any wise minority character to whom the young whites apply for counsel must be a non-black lesbian TERF

-- any "meet cutes" must end with double-suicides. This includes LBGQT+s.

-- any disabled, deaf, blind or mortally ill character will not be virtuous, attractive, lovable or interesting in the eyes of anyone in the movie.

-- any coming of age aspiring artists will be worse than average.

This would pretty much clean the festival out, so I don't have high hopes
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 2:54 am

John Paines wrote:This would pretty much clean the festival out, so I don't have high hopes



Single piano soundtrack is also forbidden.

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 10:30 am

John Paines wrote:Huh? So the Shakespearean sonnet, or the sonata form in music, or iambic pentameter all killed the arts?

Without restrictions, there's no art, just personality, the insufferable foghorn of opinion....


I guess it's all in the name 'Dogma'...the other things you speak of are not rules, they are style and grammar of a language and any artform will have those and like any language it is in a constant state of flux and development...no one talks or writes like Shakespeare these days... the primary function of any communication is be understood, or not and the framework is always being bent to find new ways of expression. There is no rule book for a Hollywood feature film or for a documentary, merely one is supposed to be fiction, the other not. There is a language we learn to make them and mostly that is done at any time, within the current state of the art. And yet the jump cut would be one example of completely breaking any such 'rules', that is now an accepted part of the 'language, as are any number of great poets throughout history who broke the rules you laid down above.

Whereas something like Dogma, is prescriptive and ultimately stagnant. Although in itself, in isolation it could be argued it also follows the precepts above, when something becomes stagnant through too much prescription, it becomes sometimes totalitarian and often verges on the propaganda - there were many such rules for art, like Dogma, in Soviet times... in any case like Dogma it's eventually doomed to failure and fades away, in my very humble view.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 1:41 pm

If you ask me, the lifting of formal requirements that (say) Shakespeare satisfied and which the times demanded that he satisfy, accounts in large part for the miles of bad poetry produced today, and why today everyone is an artist but there's so little art.

But, FWIW, the reason I referred to very specific technical requirements is because conventions and restrictions in the arts today are so familiar, they seem like they're inevitable: the way stories are constructed, for example, is far from "free". Those conventions are still visible, if barely, in the differences between Western and Asian cinema, but even that's vanishing .

And when you say that

Steve Fishwick wrote:There is no rule book for a Hollywood feature film


I think you're forgetting commercial restrictions and the, well, intellectual limitations of the investors and office suites. Every frustrated screenwriter from here to Timbuktu will give you an earful, even though , if you ask me, the formal screenwriting requirements (and restrictions) detailed in screenwriting books are all nonsense -- except to the extent the investors and MBAs have read these books and attended the seminars and expect "great screenplays" to satisfy these strictures. The blather about "3 act structure", "character arcs" and "inciting incidents" is an enormous steaming pile, as any who's actually seen a movie in the last 20 years but doesn't work in the movie business should be able to tell you.

But Hollywood aside, I think you're denying arbitrary restrictions their due. The Dogme requirements aren't and weren't particularly fruitful -- maybe they weren't constricting and arbitrary enough -- and we have to go back to the classical period to find examples because of the decline of formalism, but consider Variations in music. At least one masterpiece in this genre ("Diabelli") was a built on a very silly tune, which the composed (Beethoven) considered silly. Without that silly tune, and the need to refer back to it constantly, the piece wouldn't exist.

Russian/Soviet formalism, since you mentioned it, always struck me as too didactic to last more than a few years and if you get points for predicting the past, I was a great seer. But consider the example that JB offered, "The Five Constructions". It does show you just how fruitful arbitrary, and sometimes ridiculous, requirements can be for art. Give an artist absolute freedom, and he'll bore you to death. There's also a secret not often spoken: if you're having trouble with a work of art, create another difficulty.
Last edited by John Paines on Mon Jan 30, 2023 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 1:52 pm

Well I could debate this endlessly with you, since it's very interesting and you raise many interesting points... but ultimately John, I don't care that much now...I just think this is a great forum and it's an intelligent divergence sometimes... and I am editing too :) But Shakespeare wrote no rulebook, that we know of, he was just writing in the way of his times and very few can actually understand that language now, as hardly no one can understand pre Norman old English at all now, either, etc. Didacticism and Dogma are bedfellows and that was perhaps the point of the movement - to tell stories with only these prescriptive rules - interesting artistic concept, but ultimately unsustainable in broad terms, and less useful to tell every type of story, that we want to.

Or let me finally put it this way, which is perhaps Philistine of me and entirely subjective - I hate Dogma, I thought it was pretentious BS, and I hate pretentiousness, but that is probably my failing :lol:
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostMon Jan 30, 2023 5:39 pm

There may exist something like reverse engineered dislike :)

I didn't know about any rules or Dogma 95 when I watched "Festen" as a teenager and I really enjoyed it, intense and a very different experience for me. Later, learning about the movement, rules - the whole narrative - it kind of made me enjoy the genre less.

Also, I personally think this movie has absolutely nothing to do with Dogma 95 anyways :)
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 7:49 am

I think it’s more like a challenge than a simple list of rules. Like a Mozart music where he decide to compose all without using two musical notes.


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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 5:01 pm

Every generation, someone farts into a napkin and calls it art; and as I get older, I grow tired of this emperor's-new-clothes effect from critics.

Watching paint dry is just as boring as a low-light noisy mess as it is in gloriously lit perfect ISO.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 6:51 pm

Yea but no-one called it art.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 11:08 pm

Looks like it was made in response to all the low bitrate streaming services, lol.

I haven't seen this, and probably wont, but 28 Days Later was made on MiniDV and it is amazing. I wouldn't wish for it to have been filmed any other way. If they make a (good) 28days sequel they should use HDV.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 11:21 pm

Nick Lavigne wrote:I haven't seen this, and probably wont, but 28 Days Later was made on MiniDV and it is amazing. I wouldn't wish for it to have been filmed any other way.


Because Danny Boyle and Anthony Dodd Mantle decided not to purposely use DV as some kind of 'sketchpad', like all that nonsense Soderbergh used to claim. It was beautifully filmed, in spite of DV and furthermore they treated the medium as though it were any other standard choice, available to them. The low resolution was hardly noticed by the general audience but it did provide some atmosphere for the telling of that story. The film in the OP's link, is just a gratuitous attempt at a wilful and fashionable 'style'. It's a social media movie not a cinematic one.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostTue Jan 31, 2023 11:53 pm

Steve Fishwick wrote:The film in the OP's link, is just a gratuitous attempt at a wilful and fashionable 'style'. It's a social media movie not a cinematic one.


wow, you haven't even seen it man jfc.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 7:04 am

Michel Rabe wrote:wow, you haven't even seen it man jfc.


You've got me there, Michael. I missed out some qualifiers like, seems to be, or appears to be from the trailer, genuinely and it reads bad as a result. :)
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 2:34 pm

Art is often an enigma to me. As the herd bumbles aimlessly through the desert sands it will on occasion latch on to something with no intrinsic value to me and exalt it to paramount. I don't find it surprising.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 3:17 pm

Speaking of Dogme:

I set rules in place that I wasn't allowed to break. We never see someone's face. We avoid showing people on screen for too long. Whatever dialogue is delivered is always delivered off-screen. We never go outside. We never leave the house. We’re always in the house. Even if, at the beginning, you see windows and doors in the house, the blinds are always shut, so we never get a view of the outside world. There’s also no music in the movie. I set these rules in place before I even got the script going, just so that I would have a [foundation] to build on. Once I started writing, because I had these rules in place, I actually found it freeing to be working within a set framework.

https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/t ... kinamarink
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 4:36 pm

wemrick1 wrote:Art is often an enigma to me. As the herd bumbles aimlessly through the desert sands it will on occasion latch on to something with no intrinsic value to me and exalt it to paramount. I don't find it surprising.



Is that in regards to the movie linked in OP? Because...


Michel Rabe wrote:Yea but no-one called it art.


The negativity brought towards a film that people haven't even seen is a bit frustrating. Well, forums I guess...
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 5:54 pm

I've seen it...it's basically an unwatchable mess unless you either have a phobia of (artificially) degraded video, or are on a mind altering substance (or both).

There is no "there" there, it's just a bunch of useless film critics deciding that this is the most amazing thing to happen to horror films since The Blair Witch Project (it's not).

The discrepancy between the critics RT score and the audiences RT score is enough to realize the idiocy of the critics.

And before someone calls me a grumpy old dude who just doesn't like experimental films -- I have always been into experimental films and continue to love and appreciate them (when they are made well).

You want to watch an experimental film made recently which doesn't suck? Try the excellent final film by Swedish composer Jóhann Jóhannsson Last and First Men

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8015444/

Or the incredibly creepy ongoing series Backrooms on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/@kanepixels

I was genuinely excited by Skinamarink, but in reality it's nothing more than lazy gen-Z hipster BS filmmaking.
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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostWed Feb 01, 2023 6:35 pm

If you have seen it then you can judge it.

The Backroom shorts are awesome.
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John Paines

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 12:09 am

Kays Alatrakchi wrote:Or the incredibly creepy ongoing series Backrooms on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/@kanepixels


This stuff was new to me but really, it's not all that different from what this guy is doing -- with the glaring exception that the viewer of 'Skinamarink' is not "privileged" with being either mostly or fully informed about what's going or of the ultimate nature of the reality being depicted. And based on what I saw of Backrooms, there's nothing much at stake, it's more of an observed video game.

It can be hard to assess something like 'Skinamarink'. It's probably best seen in a large theater, with a crowd which is disposed to participate in the spirit of the thing, and not complain. At home, with the lights on, and assessed by viewers eager to find fault, it's not going to work very well.
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John Brawley

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 1:38 am

John Paines wrote:Speaking of Dogme:

I set rules in place that I wasn't allowed to break. We never see someone's face. We avoid showing people on screen for too long. Whatever dialogue is delivered is always delivered off-screen. We never go outside. We never leave the house. We’re always in the house. Even if, at the beginning, you see windows and doors in the house, the blinds are always shut, so we never get a view of the outside world. There’s also no music in the movie. I set these rules in place before I even got the script going, just so that I would have a [foundation] to build on. Once I started writing, because I had these rules in place, I actually found it freeing to be working within a set framework.

https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/t ... kinamarink


This is GREAT John, exactly what I was talking about. It's not really about rules, because we ALL WORK inside a construct of rules of our own making, we just don't always acknowledge these rules, many of which are self imposed.

It's only when we create an absolute set of rules for ourselves, that we can shift the perspective and creatively come up with ways to tell a story or communicate an idea that can transcend those rules.

JB
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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 11:37 am

It's a recipe of success that many seem to be aware of but few are capable of actually applying.

I experience it time after time, people are thrilled to change things up and when shooting starts, everyone falls back into their routine and the outcome remains the good ol' same.

Lateral entrants seem to be much more capable of actually applying this in my experience.
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Kays Alatrakchi

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 4:26 pm

John Paines wrote:It can be hard to assess something like 'Skinamarink'. It's probably best seen in a large theater, with a crowd which is disposed to participate in the spirit of the thing, and not complain. At home, with the lights on, and assessed by viewers eager to find fault, it's not going to work very well.


I think that what you say is absolutely true for many movies such as Avatar 2 for instance, and comedies seem to have a more effective "contagious laugh" effect when watching them in a packed theatre.

Unfortunately the pandemic has changed things, and part of the new filmmaker's challenges is that many of these films have to work at home.

IMHO, horror is definitely one of these genres which can work wonderfully when watched at home (granted you don't have screaming kids playing in the background or other distractions), but to your point a good friend of mine who is also a well respected horror filmmaker (and definitely someone who tends to like more than dislike even so-so horror films) felt the same way as me while watching it in a theatre with a crowd.

Anyhoo...I don't want to overcrap too much on this movie. I'm happy for the filmmaker in catching a massive break with this film and hopefully he'll move on to cooler projects. But I also know that there are a ton of really great, creepy and innovative horror films out there who never catch any breaks, so it's a bit frustrating to see those being largely ignored while a guy who basically pointed his Sony at the carpet for 100 minutes straight gets critics to fawn all over him. Perhaps I would feel differently if this had been a short film.
>>Kays Alatrakchi
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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostThu Feb 02, 2023 6:04 pm

Kays Alatrakchi wrote:But I also know that there are a ton of really great, creepy and innovative horror films out there who never catch any breaks


Any recommendations?
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 9:29 am

John Brawley wrote:It's only when we create an absolute set of rules for ourselves, that we can shift the perspective and creatively come up with ways to tell a story or communicate an idea that can transcend those rules.


We don't work under self-imposed rules or rather I should say define them and set them down ourselves, individually. We learn a language and grammar of professional filmmaking and the better proponents bend and develop new syntax as we go along. We are communicators and as there is no governing body over spoken and written language, mandating how we speak, although many try futilely, there is no governing body on filmmaking either. If you don't know the language well or have never learnt it well, it's simply perceived as unprofessional. Dogma was a conscious attempt at such rules for artistic reasons, perhaps legitimately, but it was an isolated thing within the sea of that language, not a defining one.
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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 2:01 pm

As a lay person within the confines of this conversation I'm still back at I saw some really grainy, noisy video. I heard a poorly modified voice moan in this room repeatedly. I sensed the target of the horror was a child. I'm out. I couldn't even finish the trailer. Next contestant please!
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Ryan Earl

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 5:37 pm

Steve Fishwick wrote:We don't work under self-imposed rules or rather I should say define them and set them down ourselves, individually. We learn a language and grammar of professional filmmaking and the better proponents bend and develop new syntax as we go along.


I think this is referring to 'convention." Whether or not a work of art is conventional or unconventional (experimental?) is based on how well it behaves according to the rule set in the convention.

Steve Fishwick wrote: If you don't know the language well or have never learnt it well, it's simply perceived as unprofessional.


Within that filmmakers or artists often play with what is seen as professional or amateur in the horror genre. It can often be purposely amateur and still be successful.
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John Brawley

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostFri Feb 03, 2023 7:56 pm

Steve Fishwick wrote:
John Brawley wrote:It's only when we create an absolute set of rules for ourselves, that we can shift the perspective and creatively come up with ways to tell a story or communicate an idea that can transcend those rules.


We don't work under self-imposed rules


Of course you do.

I’m sure there are automatic choices you make all the time. Maybe you always use a certain diffusion filter. Maybe you always set the same white balance with the light you use. Maybe you always use a tripod for an interview. You could argue that using the same camera (model) on all your shoots is an automatic choice.

It’s these automatic choices you make on every shoot that are the self imposed rules that I’m referring to.

If you really think you genuinely approach every production without these notions weighing those choices you must be some kind of artist and I congratulate you on your process.

JB
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Henchman

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Feb 05, 2023 3:55 am

Another "Bl;airWitch" style, hyped marketing campaign to push an actually *******, boring movie.
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0972296/
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Michel Rabe

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostFri Feb 10, 2023 11:16 am

Kays Alatrakchi wrote:
Or the incredibly creepy ongoing series Backrooms on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/@kanepixels.



Apparently, 17 year old Kane Parsons (aka 'Kane Pixels') will make a feature film for A24 based on the Backroom shorts.

We've seen short film phenomenas fail when attempting to adapt to a feature length film before ("Lights Out" comes to mind) but it's great to see these guys get the chance to try. On the other hand, lots of producers involved - given Kane is only 17, I'm afraid he won't have the last say in creative matters on this.

https://www.escapistmagazine.com/the-ba ... -director/
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John Brawley

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Feb 19, 2023 10:58 am

Interesting and detailed take on the idea of creating found footage and the logic behind…

https://www.brightwalldarkroom.com/2023 ... s-of-fear/

“ Five people in the audience at my screening walked out, likely more due to frustration than fear.”

BO for this film seem to be 2 million by the way. Hardly “millions” but I guess a good return considering the production cost.

JB
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roger.magnusson

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Re: Unlit, nearly invisible $15K feature makes millions

PostSun Feb 19, 2023 12:17 pm

Michel Rabe wrote:We've seen short film phenomenas fail when attempting to adapt to a feature length film before ("Lights Out" comes to mind) but it's great to see these guys get the chance to try.

Did it fail though? I wish they'd kept the original ending but overall I liked it. With a budget of $5M and world wide box office of almost $150M, David (who used to be on this forum before moving to Hollywood) is now making movies with $100M+ budgets.
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