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eldave1
Posted: February 23rd, 2021, 11:18pm Report to Moderator
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Just turned it on


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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eldave1
Posted: February 24th, 2021, 1:04pm Report to Moderator
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Okay, watched it last night.

First - super congrats on having your second feature film produced. That is such a great accomplishment. You should be proud.

Admittedly,  this is difficult to review in terms of screenwriting because it is impossible to tell how much was added or deleted from the original script. Anyway:

SPOILERS

The overall premise/plot points are solid. I very much like the idea of a couple mistakenly taking vengeance on the wrong man for this heinous crime. I think it is debatable how much screen time should be dedicated to this couple pre-vengeance versus post vengeance. Long winded way of saying I was interested in seeing what eventually happened to them (i.e., in the following months/years) from this vigilante act. That may just be a matter of taste/interest rather than storytelling.

The production value was really decent IMO, especially for a small operation. It looked and sounded like a real movie. Special credit for the audio editing. I often watched movies with the CC on because the dialogue is not clear - i.e., you miss lines. Not in this case.

Acting was a bit uneven - across the board. Everyone had good and bad moments. The lead Detective for example - I thought that he was poor in the opening scene where he walked through the crime scene the first time and much better in later scenes. The girl that Noah had the affair with - a bit you could tell she was acting in the first scene with Noah - but thought she did a real nice on in the confrontation scene at the back end of the film.

Editing - I thought this was the Achilles heel of the film. It was if the Director felt the need to include every piece of film he shot. The most obvious indication of this is what I call camera lingering.

It's like this - a writer may write a line - Dave gazes off in the distance. A director may film this and we all know to satisfy the plot point it should only take a sec or so - but here, in far too many places we are lingering there for well beyond that. i.e. the camera lingers well beyond the point where the point is made. Couple that with other scenes that were just too long for their purpose - e.g., the scene where Noah is watching old movies of him and his wife - that really should have had half the screen time that it did - and you start to mess with pace.

To me, efficient editing is especially important in slow-burn movies because you are already asking your audience to bear with you on the pace - nothing wrong with that - it just means that the Director better be real efficient in editing the film - I did not think that was the case here. I think 20 minutes could have been knocked off even with the same scenes.

Storywise - as I said - I really liked the core of the story. There were some elements that I did not think enhanced the core though. The Detective's wife as an example. If all those scenes with her (except one) were removed the film really isn't affected and you same a lot of running time. Now I suspect one reason she is here is that she ultimately does the reveal of the wife's statement that she saw the rapists face. That is important - but that could have been easily put in someone else's hands (e.g., the therapist could have been best friends with the female cop working with the Detective). Anyway - all of the Detective home scenes not really needed IMO.

There were a WTF moments for me:

Noah waking up from multiple gunshot wounds looking like a male model. Yes - I know that is 39 days later - it was still a jarring omission. And speaking of that scene - I did not understand it's placement in the story at all. Why not just show him post gunshot in a coma?? Injuries and all - show us the scars. We want to see them. It is part of the rage isn't it?

The Line-up at the station. That would never fly in the US - you need at least 5 (often 6) in the line-up and they have to look somewhat similar. Here there were only 3 and our villain was about 1/2 foot shorter than the other two fellas. It made the scene look like the budget was running out.  Also in the US - the dude with the DNA and print match that this villian has is not walking from the station immediately after a line-up. I mean - if our victims were dead and there was no ID even possible - would they let the guy who matches the DNA and prints walk??

The 2nd visit to the restaurant - it seemed to both me and the wife that Noah took his wife to the very same restaurant where the girl he was having an affair with worked. Who would do that?

Last add - obviously too late - but I think that the title and the trailer may create false expectations for viewers. This is really more about the Creation of Rage then it is Rage. 95% of the movie is not dedicated to the pot boiling - it's dedicated to the pot simmering - it is a movie about how over a long period of time given the exact ingredients of tragic events rage can make one to something they otherwise would never think about doing.  "Rage" and the trailer sets expectations for 90 minutes of carnage.  Hope that makes sense.

All in all, it was certainly worth renting and I a nice job given what I am sure was a limited budget.  And - kudos - fucking - kudos, man. Two features under your belt!! Looks like you're going to have a career in this biz.




My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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spesh2k
Posted: February 24th, 2021, 4:07pm Report to Moderator
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Hey Dave, thanks for checking out the movie! I always appreciate your support!


Quoted Text
The overall premise/plot points are solid. I very much like the idea of a couple mistakenly taking vengeance on the wrong man for this heinous crime. I think it is debatable how much screen time should be dedicated to this couple pre-vengeance versus post vengeance. Long winded way of saying I was interested in seeing what eventually happened to them (i.e., in the following months/years) from this vigilante act. That may just be a matter of taste/interest rather than storytelling.


Yeah, I thought the overall premise was kind of a weak point -- at least in terms of marketing and drawing an audience in. It's the premise that usually sells the movie -- and, especially with spec scripts, it's the premise that draws producers. But this was independently funded.

While writing this, the director really hammered home the point to me that he wanted the trauma to be a main focus... while also making this an ensemble piece. So, there were a lot of moving parts. And before I even started the script (I had a rough treatment ready at the time), he already cast Richard Norton to be the detective -- he was the most experienced actor, albeit in action movies. I do admit, it does meander -- and the long, quiet takes didn't really help with the pacing. But, nevertheless, there was probably too much screen time dedicated to the "C" story, that of the detective.


Quoted Text
The production value was really decent IMO, especially for a small operation. It looked and sounded like a real movie. Special credit for the audio editing. I often watched movies with the CC on because the dialogue is not clear - i.e., you miss lines. Not in this case.


It really is a good looking and well put together film, definitely it's high point.


Quoted Text
Acting was a bit uneven - across the board. Everyone had good and bad moments. The lead Detective for example - I thought that he was poor in the opening scene where he walked through the crime scene the first time and much better in later scenes. The girl that Noah had the affair with - a bit you could tell she was acting in the first scene with Noah - but thought she did a real nice on in the confrontation scene at the back end of the film.


Yeah, that crime scene -- it really gets a lot of flack. I think it's like 5 minutes long. And, yeah, the detective does repeat things we've already seen. But I think this wouldn't have been such a hated scene (by critics and audiences) if they just stuck to the script -- that scene was about a half a page long.

And the script itself, some of the dialogue, didn't help the actors. Perhaps the long, wishy-washy monologues could've been stronger w/ stronger acting -- but I really pushed hard against those blocks of dialogue, offering more subtle resolutions, but the director really wanted a lot of things explained, such as character thoughts. Subtly clearly wasn't the director's strong suit, here. And some of the dialogue I pushed against, especially the end dialogue in the final scene -- I felt simply one line and character expressions would've sufficed and been stronger. That final scene in particular, they did away with my dialogue to have this big explanation of the character's feelings for each other, which was frustrating. There was no structure to that dialogue trade off, it was so all over the place and poorly written -- and then they ended the movie on that rather than using MY ending, which would've offered more resolution and a more rewarding ending, especially after sitting through the movie for 2 hours 20 minutes.


Quoted Text
Editing - I thought this was the Achilles heel of the film. It was if the Director felt the need to include every piece of film he shot. The most obvious indication of this is what I call camera lingering.


Yeah. I think the editing of transitions and flashbacks was really great, but all that footage was unnecessary. The script was long at 127 pages -- but they cut out a lot of scenes that completed character arcs and brought a more satisfying conclusion to the film. With the script parts they cut out, the movie should've been an hour and 45 minutes. And if they kept some of the stuff that I really thought were necessary, it still would've been under 2 hours long... if it weren't for all the unnecessarily long takes.


Quoted Text
It's like this - a writer may write a line - Dave gazes off in the distance. A director may film this and we all know to satisfy the plot point it should only take a sec or so - but here, in far too many places we are lingering there for well beyond that. i.e. the camera lingers well beyond the point where the point is made. Couple that with other scenes that were just too long for their purpose - e.g., the scene where Noah is watching old movies of him and his wife - that really should have had half the screen time that it did - and you start to mess with pace.


Yeah, that montage was less than a page long -- and it wasn't written as a montage.


Quoted Text
To me, efficient editing is especially important in slow-burn movies because you are already asking your audience to bear with you on the pace - nothing wrong with that - it just means that the Director better be real efficient in editing the film - I did not think that was the case here. I think 20 minutes could have been knocked off even with the same scenes.


Yeah, I think a lot of the negative reviews really brought the director down to Earth a little bit. He did admit that he went too big and too soap-opera on it, too melodramatic w/ some of the music, etc. With this this next film, which is much different and more fun, both he and the producer will be trusting me a little bit more w/ decisions.


Quoted Text
Storywise - as I said - I really liked the core of the story. There were some elements that I did not think enhanced the core though. The Detective's wife as an example. If all those scenes with her (except one) were removed the film really isn't affected and you same a lot of running time. Now I suspect one reason she is here is that she ultimately does the reveal of the wife's statement that she saw the rapists face. That is important - but that could have been easily put in someone else's hands (e.g., the therapist could have been best friends with the female cop working with the Detective). Anyway - all of the Detective home scenes not really needed IMO.


Yeah, again, I pushed against this a little, but kinda just did what they wanted. Now, I did have the wife/psychologist in there, but they wanted me to write a big monologue on how the trauma affects people differently -- I prefer subtlety, but they really, really felt the need to hammer home the point. And in the script, there were more fun, subtle parts in there that they did take out in favor of exposition.


Quoted Text
There were a WTF moments for me:

Noah waking up from multiple gunshot wounds looking like a male model. Yes - I know that is 39 days later - it was still a jarring omission. And speaking of that scene - I did not understand it's placement in the story at all. Why not just show him post gunshot in a coma?? Injuries and all - show us the scars. We want to see them. It is part of the rage isn't it?


Yeah, like I told Warren, I think logic was compromised for the look of the film and for certain shots. He said he already had the character's look in mind and didn't want him physically deformed. I had him getting shot in the jaw rather than point blank in the face -- and I was against the use of silencers, too -- but he liked the look of silencers, which defied logic IMO. I pushed back against it and I thought we came to an agreement... but they glossed over the little details I put in so that it "looked" the way they wanted.


Quoted Text
The Line-up at the station. That would never fly in the US - you need at least 5 (often 6) in the line-up and they have to look somewhat similar. Here there were only 3 and our villain was about 1/2 foot shorter than the other two fellas. It made the scene look like the budget was running out.  Also in the US - the dude with the DNA and print match that this villian has is not walking from the station immediately after a line-up. I mean - if our victims were dead and there was no ID even possible - would they let the guy who matches the DNA and prints walk??


Yeah, this is another example of logic compromised for a shot that they wanted. I could tell that the director wanted to end it w/ the two characters staring at each other from a distance. I had Madeline walking out of the line-up. Then I cut to them in an Uber, on their way home -- in my script, Madeline still wasn't sure if the guy in the line-up was the guy -- meanwhile, in my script, Noah knew it was the guy. They have a brief argument, scene over -- they need to stick together to get through this. Next scene is days later, the detective is informed that they didn't have enough to charge the guy in the lineup and he was released. Next scene is in the private eye's office -- Madeline is calling him to ask for information on Robert Conway (the guy in the lineup). And the final scene, the guy in the lineup, Robert Conway is stalking another girl. He sees a car following behind him -- and then we see its Maddy and Noah stalking him.

THE END

Was disappointed they were so stuck on this one shot that they wanted because it did defy logic. There's no way they're letting a suspect walk right after a police lineup.


Quoted Text
The 2nd visit to the restaurant - it seemed to both me and the wife that Noah took his wife to the very same restaurant where the girl he was having an affair with worked. Who would do that?


Yeah, I think the crew really missed the point of the scene. The point of the scene was to show that Madeline knew that Noah cheated on him -- SHE was supposed to be the one bringing him there and he's supposed to be nervous in this scene and show resistance. Paranoid, looking around. And they completely missed that part of the script, including the actors, who completely played it off differently.


Quoted Text
Last add - obviously too late - but I think that the title and the trailer may create false expectations for viewers. This is really more about the Creation of Rage then it is Rage. 95% of the movie is not dedicated to the pot boiling - it's dedicated to the pot simmering - it is a movie about how over a long period of time given the exact ingredients of tragic events rage can make one to something they otherwise would never think about doing.  "Rage" and the trailer sets expectations for 90 minutes of carnage.  Hope that makes sense.


I was completely against the title from day one lol. Even the contract we signed, the movie had a title that I made up. But they went w/ Rage -- as you probably know, David, I'm all about originality and standing out. And I was well aware that there were a million movies called Rage... including one from 30 years ago starring the actor who played the detective. They wanted it to be called Rage and I said, yeah, for a working title, we'll call it Rage. But for some reason, they felt that it captured the essence of the story, which I didn't see. I even mentioned it in a podcast interview I did like 2 years ago, kinda poking fun at the title and the director heard it and explained to me why they want it to be called "Rage", which I still didn't fully understand. "Rage" suggests like an action film or something.


Quoted Text
All in all, it was certainly worth renting and I a nice job given what I am sure was a limited budget.  And - kudos - fucking - kudos, man. Two features under your belt!! Looks like you're going to have a career in this biz.


I actually enjoyed the film on the most part -- I didn't fully mind the long, quiet takes, but I knew the run time wasn't doing the film any favors. It was just compromising the smaller details and not fully trusting my decisions in the story in favor of capturing certain shots that they already had stuck in their mind. And though I was willing to look past the 2 overly melodramatic monologues by Noah, it was the last scene that really bugged me the most.

But, with this next script, I'm making sure that we go over the script together via Zoom page by page, scene by scene, moment by moment so that they really understand what I'm going for.

It is a little disappointing that reception wasn't great -- I was disappointed that "The Suicide Theory" only had a 79% rating on Rotten Tomatoes lol. But I'm not as devastated this time around, though for as long as the process took, it's a bit of a buzzkill. But me and the director keep close contact and, again, we're working on another project together, so we'll learn from our mistakes with "Rage" and put together a little something more easily digestible, fun and fast-paced... and more commercially viable. There's definitely things I could've executed better in the script, but the changes they made and things they omitted in favor of longer takes and melodramatic dialogue definitely didn't help.

Still proud to have this as my 2nd film, albeit a bit of a misfire. The next films will be better. I just wish more producers and directors would trust my ideas more -- they'll hire me because they liked a script of mine -- Honey Mustard is a big example -- yet, they'll hire me to write their premise, which is usually weaker than the premise of the script they read of mine. I mean, we all think OUR ideas are always the best, but I'm pretty self-deprecating and have enough self-awareness and overall awareness to know whether something has legs or not. I dunno. It's a fucked up business, a little annoying. But I guarantee these next few feature films coming up will be better. I just really hope it doesn't take so long for all of them to come out.


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2


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spesh2k  -  February 24th, 2021, 4:24pm
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eldave1
Posted: February 24th, 2021, 4:54pm Report to Moderator
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You should be VERY proud, dude - two features made!!!!

Funny about the title thing. Based on the title and the trailer it screams crime thriller. It's odd that if the Director wanted to emphasize the drama/trauma that he'd do with that title. Oh well. And again, like your Director - my preference is the drama elements (just my taste). It just took me a sense to regain my bearings based on the opening and the title.

Directors are funny beasts. In my short Meeting The Other Woman - the director went 99% for what I had on the page. In my short The Revelator - 180 degree turn, even to the point of changing an entity that I had written as God to Satan (talk about thematic whiplash). And it foked up the short IMO - but I wasn't funding it - so, whatever.

For me 127 pages isn't a problem - some of the best movies I've seen are longer than 2 hours. I think it seemed long because of some of the editing decisions.

But dude - again - what an achievement! Especially for someone as young as you (keep in mind my benchmark is 65.  Two features  under your belt at your age is amazing!!  



My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Miranda
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Hi Michael,

I have watched your movie last night on Amazon Prime.

I did close my eyes for the violent scenes, as I always do.

I liked Richard Norton acting. To me he is the most likable character.

Regardless of the flaws, which for the most part , I agree with the experts here, I can say it was worth watching. The twist towards the end worked very well. And...

Yes... your ending is better then the one they have chosen.

As you have said, you are learning to have a ticker skin against bad reviews. You will be more ready as you do this, to compromise with many other people involved. We know that comes with the territory. As you prove yourself they will listen to you more and more.

Congratulations! Another milestone! Good Luck for the future features.  
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spesh2k
Posted: February 24th, 2021, 5:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted Text
You should be VERY proud, dude - two features made!!!!

Funny about the title thing. Based on the title and the trailer it screams crime thriller. It's odd that if the Director wanted to emphasize the drama/trauma that he'd do with that title. Oh well. And again, like your Director - my preference is the drama elements (just my taste). It just took me a sense to regain my bearings based on the opening and the title.

Directors are funny beasts. In my short Meeting The Other Woman - the director went 99% for what I had on the page. In my short The Revelator - 180 degree turn, even to the point of changing an entity that I had written as God to Satan (talk about thematic whiplash). And it foked up the short IMO - but I wasn't funding it - so, whatever.

For me 127 pages isn't a problem - some of the best movies I've seen are longer than 2 hours. I think it seemed long because of some of the editing decisions.

But dude - again - what an achievement! Especially for someone as young as you (keep in mind my benchmark is 65.  Two features  under your belt at your age is amazing!!


@Dave -- Thanks, man, I really appreciate it. Again, it's a bit of a bummer given how long these indie films take to get to distribution. But I have more projects in the pipeline. And I think it's a great learning experience for the next feature. Especially considering the 170k budget, overall it's a good looking film and was enough to attract some investors to our next project. I am a bit hard on myself and expect more from myself. Yeah, two features is nice -- the first one was obviously better and more widely seen -- but I'm really, really determined (bordering obsession) now to get these other projects going, some already funded, some still looking for more investors. But having somewhat of a misfire adds to the motivation, I guess.


Quoted Text
Hi Michael,

I have watched your movie last night on Amazon Prime.

I did close my eyes for the violent scenes, as I always do.

I liked Richard Norton acting. To me he is the most likable character.

Regardless of the flaws, which for the most part , I agree with the experts here, I can say it was worth watching. The twist towards the end worked very well. And...

Yes... your ending is better then the one they have chosen.

As you have said, you are learning to have a ticker skin against bad reviews. You will be more ready as you do this, to compromise with many other people involved. We know that comes with the territory. As you prove yourself they will listen to you more and more.

Congratulations! Another milestone! Good Luck for the future features.


@Miranda -- Thanks, Miranda! I really appreciate that! Live and learn. It's still a bummer, but it's a learning experience for me and the director, himself. I think the bad reviews might be a good thing. He has the ability to put together a good looking film on a low budget, now to tell the story more visually and with more subtlety.

-- Michael


THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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spesh2k
Posted: February 27th, 2021, 4:00am Report to Moderator
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Well, despite the movie not getting as many good reviews as we'd like, and yes, there are definitely things in the film I wish I could go back and change... but "Rage" is still Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes!

It's only out of 5 reviews so far. But there's been about 25 reviews of the movie published by critics (not all RT-certified critics) and the reception with critics overall has been slightly over 50%. Fuck it, still proud to have this movie in my catalog!



THE SUICIDE THEORY (Amazon Prime, 79% Rotten Tomatoes) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2517300/?ref_=nm_knf_i1
RAGE (Coming Feb. 2021) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8874764/?ref_=nm_knf_i2

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Kirsten
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Giving up is not an option....

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Congrats Michael, look forward to seeing it!


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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Kirsten
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Giving up is not an option....

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It's funny you mention to Dave all the extra dialogue added and scenes changed by the director. It reminded me of a convo I heard with John Truby about why T.V. writing is so much better than movie writing. Writers are in control.


"Turn that off, our friend has just been killed in a fatal sunlight accident!"....

'What we do in the Shadows.'
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