I watched three short films from the selection on the Hillman Curtis site, Bridge, Soldiers and Roof. The thing that is difficult about appreciating and even making short films is that they’re almost a snippet of a larger story but they should be able to stand on their own. Two out the three of the films that I watched were easy to connect with while the other got lost in translation.
Soldiers is the story of a dead soldier being pushed by another dead soldier to allow his mother to feel his presence at his grave site. Initially, based on the pacing of the editing and shot selection, I thought that perhaps the soldier that was calling for his mother was still alive and was being haunted by a ghost of perhaps his brother, whom he could only see, to talk to his mother. I think that use of different shots could have explained the story clearer and perhaps even the dialogue could have allowed me as a viewer get the point of this story easier.
However, the other two movies Bridge and Roof had better story line, perhaps, because they were a bit longer than the first film. The thing both these movies had was great use of pacing in the editing. There were times that shots were allowed to linger which greatly added to the tone of the film. Also, Bridge had nice shot composition and use of movie camera to show the body language between the characters. This movement definitely clued the viewer into the fact the two characters have a definite chemistry outside of just friendship. In contrast, Roof, used more hard cuts which added to the drama of the scene. However at the end, the wandering camera that pans left as the classical music plays adds a tone of sadness and almost clues the possible demise of the characters.
The big take away here is that pacing, appropriate camera movement and framing and use of sound greatly help tell your story. Even the use or lack thereof of dialogue can enrich a scene.
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