The Escapist Film Festival 2010: Lamer

Lamer

Michael and Adam's world gets turned upside down as Michael discovers how to control human beings through his super controller.

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Wow that was great.

Some really funny moments!

This looks like a winner here.

ahhhhhh! TOO LOUD!

Still, i loved it! So using the "Intercourse with you is desirable" line.

Awesome job on the video HFK crew.

HankVenture:
Awesome job on the video HFK crew.

Welcome to the Escapist!

Really good
I liked the way he went from straight face to emotional and back.

The Cheezy One:
Welcome to the Escapist!

Thanks! I appreciate it.

This gets my vote!!

This was really good. I want to see hard punch used more, though. I'd definitely look forward to more episodes.

Neeevermind.

Moon_Called:
...Woah.
Woah woah woah.
What the hell?
Please tell me I am just being paranoid and he did not drop a roofie into her drink at 2:52-2:57.
Date rape is not funny. Get out.

If you had payed closer attention to what was going on you would have noticed that it was a credit card he dropped into the drink (which you can see is placed closer to his plate setting). Hence the -$120 and the +10,000 points for making a good impression and paying for the bill. Next time instead of making an assumption like that and ruining the potential reputation of a video, try asking what it was instead of guessing something controversial and then bashing it.

HankVenture:

If you had payed closer attention to what was going on you would have noticed that it was a credit card he dropped into the drink (which you can see is placed closer to his plate setting). Hence the -$120 and the +10,000 points for making a good impression and paying for the bill. Next time instead of making an assumption like that and ruining the potential reputation of a video, try asking what it was instead of guessing something controversial and then bashing it.

Ah, alright then. I'm really jumpy about that stuff, is all.
My bad, I'll delete the post.

Best one I've seen so far, and I actually want to see how this plays out. This has my vote.

Moon_Called:

Ah, alright then. I'm really jumpy about that stuff, is all.
My bad, I'll delete the post.

Yeah, my sister had that happen to her back in the day so it's something I'm a little sensitive to as well. So I understand completely which is why I actually went back and viewed it again even though I was sure that it was a credit card in the first place.

Enjoyable episode. I liked the concept and thought a few of the jokes in there were good. Enjoyed the running score counter.

What I liked:
- the concept
- the running score counter
- HARD PUNCH!
- The pick-up line was funny
- Him running off like a crazed man when he jammed the joystick up

Points to work on:
- The audio needs to be balanced out a bit better. Sometimes it was too loud and you don't want to scare the viewers away.
- The HUD should be a bit more interactive. At the moment it looks like an image layered over the video (which I know is *exactly* what a HUD is) But the trick is to try and make it feel unobtrusive and responsive. Right now, it feels like it gets in the way of some of the action and you don't want that to happen. You need to pay attention to how much your camera is moving and where the action is taking place. Smooth camera motions will really make the HUD seem more natural. Also, most of the items on the HUD seemed to be put there just to take up space and weren't actually utilized.

Overall, I think you guys could definitely be onto something with this concept. Even if you don't win, I encourage you to pursue this project (if you're having fun with it). With some practice, you guys could make huge improvements.

Out of curiosity, do you guys have any awesome ideas on where you'd take the plot (other than him controlling his friend)? Does he start controlling other people too? I can definitely think of some funny things for those, but I would run out of ideas after a handful of episodes.

Best of luck to you guys! I hope you enjoyed the feedback. Thanks for sharing your video.

Hi all! My name is Michael Lehr, one of the actors in the short (the Asian one, lol). Thanks for all the positive feedback on the video, guys! You've been very supportive with your constructive criticism, and make many, many valid points.

@Moon_Called & HankVenture: One of the things that we had hoped would be clearer is the series of jokes running throughout the date montage; however, because of time constraints not only on the film itself but the production/post-production schedule as well, a lot of those jokes have to be paused and reviewed to be understood. Of course, I don't think that should be the case, and with more time, we definitely would have edited that better so the jokes wouldn't have been so confusing. The minor car stunt where I get hit and fall down at the beginning as a valet is barely noticeable, too! So, I completely understand that that joke can easily be misunderstood. I'm actually very happy that you misinterpreted it -- it shows how much we could have improved it to keep something like that happening at all! Thanks again!

@Paul Hearding: Excellent feedback, Paul: I agree with you 100% on those points. I would say that audio is our weakest point so far. We shoot with very low-grade equipment on a two-man crew (Adam and myself) and one of the things we desperately want/need is a sound op, someone who'll run a mixer and a shotgun/boom mic for us. Of course, crew in LA costs money unless you have the right connections, one of the reasons we hope that "contract" means "funded" in Escapist terminology >:) Even in post-production, I was the only person editing the audio, and I had about an hour and a half to not only edit all of the audio, but compose the music as well -- it led to the audio not only being unbalanced, but I'd go as far as to say that it's one of the worst audio editing jobs I've ever done. So definitely, that's something we'll be paying more attention to in future work.

As far as the HUD goes, again I'm completely on the same page as you. I created that thing, and it's one of the things we almost cut out of the finished product because of how low-grade it was, but it seemed to help keep the spirit of a video game alive. As for it being out of place or obtrusive a lot of the time, I agree; the HUD was an afterthought, something that we didn't know whether or not we wanted to try up until about the last three hours of editing, when I decided to just put it in for the heck of it. It's actually the biggest and most consistent mark against the movie that we've had so far, so I want to do things like that better in the future. One thing we'd put our money towards is hiring someone to actually design and create good visual FX for us, if we had it.

For future plots, Adam's really the writer. We come up with ideas equally, but he spearheads more of the full plot developments. Unfortunately, we don't know if this is something we want to do more of in the future unless we start getting money for it. Both of us are Los Angeles actors, constantly working on-set for other productions, blasting our dayjobs, networking and socializing, marketing, etc. It's difficult in there to find time to devote to our own short filmmaking process when there's no money at the end of it. If we get picked up or find some other place to shop this short to, then we'll definitely be taking everyone's viewpoints here into consideration when writing/filming our next project.

Thanks!!

Oh, here are some links to other HFK stuff, if y'all are interested. Love and respect!

http://www.youtube.com/homefridayknights
- the Home Friday Knights main video page, where you can check out several of our previous shorts.

http://www.vimeo.com/homefridayknights
- The Home Friday Knights' Vimeo page, includes the best quality version of "LAMER" as well as the "Living With a Ninja" martial arts comedy webseries that we get to every now and again.

http://www.youtube.com/tricksterjwk
- my personal YouTube video page, includes my 60-second acting reel and STUNT ACTION REEL!!

E-mail us personally at HomeFridayKnights@gmail.com

Het JongWooKim, thanks for the reply.

I understand the pain of making no money for filmmmaking. I started making videos about a year and a half ago and I have been filming/editing/writing in excess of 40 hours per week for about a year now. I get no money for it, I simply have a passion for it. When I started out I'd like to say my videos were good but that'd be a lie! I couldn't do any visual effects and I didn't know any camera tricks (also I was broke). Any way i have learned many things about filming over the past year and am 100% self taught.

I would be happy to share some tips/tricks with you to help you improve production quality. I did quite a few visual effects in my entry for this years contest (Pro-gamer Gauntlet). If you check out my video, you can see my attempts at making HUDs and other visual effects. If you have any questions on how I did certain effects, I would be glad to help out a fellow filmmaker.

I see potential in your guys work so please don't give up filming unless you're 100% sure that's what you want.

Best of luck!

@Paul Hearding

I like PGG! I definitely know what you're talking about with the HUD -- much smoother interface, still easy to see. How did you overlay them without any pixel bleeding? I was just chroma-keying bitmaps that I'd made up myself, something I have no idea how to do.

Also, what part of Maryland are you from? An ex- of mine is from Hagerstown, MD, so I got to visit the state once. My family's also in the DC area.

Finding time to make films is very rough out here, and almost everything we do has to be in the service of moving forward with our career. We're left with only a handful of hours of free time per week between the two of us and Los Angeles is a very expensive place to live as an artist, so if our work isn't getting us further connections or money, we tend to scrap projects very fast.

"Lamer", for example, was shot in our spare time over a week, which gave us about a grand total of 10 hours to go from pre-production to uploaded, final product.

What do you shoot/edit on? We used an HV20 and edited on ULEAD MediaStudio Pro, which I think is some kind of relic from the Triassic.

JongWooKimX9:

What do you shoot/edit on? We used an HV20 and edited on ULEAD MediaStudio Pro, which I think is some kind of relic from the Triassic.

That is the source of a lot of your frustration when it comes to using overlays. Ulead Mediastudio Pro's last version was 8.1 which had a service pack released back in June of 2006. It doesn't have support for a small chunk of, now important, filetypes like .png, .aac, h.264, and so on. The reason for a lot of the hard edges on the effects in your video stems from not being able to use images/image sequences that have native transparency built in. Not being able to use .png alone can be pretty crippling.

For visual effects I suggest a program like Adobe After Effects. It's pretty streamlined and easy to use. If you have people who are also working on the project with you and they have After Effects, you can send them project file and all they have to do is load up the project file and they have all the same effects and settings you do.

JongWooKimX9:

What do you shoot/edit on? We used an HV20 and edited on ULEAD MediaStudio Pro, which I think is some kind of relic from the Triassic.

I shoot on a DSLR believe it or not. I do a lot of photography too and just don't have the money to do both photo and video. I've learned a few tricks to make it look quite professional. If you like photography and want to pursue video as well, I think it's a good direction to consider. As far as the editing software, I use Final Cut. I would recommend either Final Cut or Adobe Premier and After Effects. You may be right on the dating of ULEAD haha.

JongWooKimX9:

I like PGG! I definitely know what you're talking about with the HUD -- much smoother interface, still easy to see. How did you overlay them without any pixel

You're on the right track with chroma keying images, but the key is to add a smoothing filter to the outside edges of the image. Also, something like adding a drop shadow can really help make it look like part of a HUD and not just an image overlay.

As far as stabilization goes, I'd recommend making your own poor man's steady cam. Basically anything that is long and heavy that you can mount your camera to will really help the stabilization. If you have a tripod, experiment with filming while carrying the camera mounted on a tripod. You should see marked improvements just from that little innovation. On top of that, you can run down to the home depot and make a pretty legit steady cam out of about $18 worth of galvanized steel pipes. I currently have one that I have even added a 2.5 pound weight to the other end of to get even steadier shots. Surprisingly simple and effective.

JongWooKimX9:
.

Also, what part of Maryland are you from? An ex- of mine is from Hagerstown, MD, so I got to visit the state once. My family's also in the DC area.

I am from the Annapolis area. Hagerstown is about 2 hours west of me.

I liked the idea a lot.

I laughed hard when he punched a hole through the door. It was just so sudden!

That was awesome!

The evil laugh was probably the most epic I've heard in a while. Good luck!

Thank you for your support guys. Please keep passing on word of our vid as we're on page three and not likely to get seen by the casual viewer. You all rock!

Nearing the final day. Good luck HFK crew!

Maniac Laugh! Hard punch! Date montage! Loved it! Especially the cute actor with the glasses :)

cro247:
Maniac Laugh! Hard punch! Date montage! Loved it! Especially the cute actor with the glasses :)

Yeah, intercourse with him is desirable.

good work man

why the hell didn't this win?

 

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