Writer’s Note – On Short Films

I recently published a few reviews on independently made short films. I’ve also begun a foray into watching short films, and most, if not all, are also independent or low budget. I’ve wanted to get into watching more films made by smaller, independent filmmakers for a number of reasons. And as I did so, I began to feel… emotions… about their work, and my own as it reflects on theirs.

Film Reviews

I write my film reviews with a bit of mean streak. I bully people like Vin Diesel or “Marky” Mark Wahlenburger because I dislike their personalities and artistic choices, but I know that that’s not really ok. I’m really just an armchair critic telling more successful and accomplished people that they’re dumb and that my dick is bigger than theirs. I don’t really feel guilty doing it because I don’t think they’ll ever read this, but also because they’re so big that my words and opinions can’t really affect their future careers, successes, or (I hope) their emotional and mental state.

I’m going to the Bad Place because I’m both people in this picture. Just an annoying, sexually ambiguous blogger with fantastic hair and bronze skin.

When I began watching short films, I realized that these movies are made by real people; people that I actually started talking to. I’ve exchanged (one sided) love letters with Stephen Ford. I’ve talked about progress and accomplishments with Daniel Hillel-Tuch, a filmmaker from Amsterdam. I’ve been incessantly harassing Lorne Balfe on twitter for attention. These are real people. These people can read what I write, and I know this. I can’t in good conscience began talking shit about their work.

So then I come across a pretty little conundrum: Are my interactions with these filmmakers affecting my reviews? Will my reviews be biased because I secretly harbor a crush on anyone who’s ever given me any positive affirmation? My initial thought was I’ll simply review their film if I like it. If I don’t like it, I won’t review it, rather than point out its shortcomings or flaws or whatever. That doesn’t seem genuine. It also feels like a failure on my part as a critic to not deliver relevant constructive critiques of their work, potentially hindering any improvement. That brings me to my next point.

85 units of Hubris

I am not a professional filmmaker, critique, cinematographer, writer or editor- at least not by my own standards. I don’t believe that I’m truly experienced or knowledgeable enough to say that I have any true credibility in film. It’s a bit of a paradox, but I attribute all of my knowledge and understanding of film and filmmaking to others- aka those who I learned from. If you’ve check out my “Links worth Clicking” section, you’ll actually find all the video essayists who’ve helped me garner a better understanding of film. I’ve learned about how to frame a shot, assemble misc-en-scene, or block your actors. They’ve taught me about story structure and character webs. They’ve helped me view movies and films as a set of ideas and motifs rather than only entertainment.

Tell me you can hear the words, “Hi, I’m Michael” in your head just by looking at this image

I mean, intuitively I know that that’s how learning works. I can only grow and be better by learning, and I can only learn from other people. I have some expertise, but my imposter syndrome won’t let me recognize it yet. Until it does, however, I don’t feel comfortable going out in the world and reviewing and critiquing movies made by people just like me. People who don’t have million dollar budgets or an A-list actor or thousands of dollars of professional equipment. They’re artists, and their films are full of passion and effort. Who am I to tell independent filmmakers that their short film sucked?

How I tell independent filmmakers that their short film sucked

I’m going to strike a balance. I’m not going to stop shitting on whatever low-quality Dwayne Johnson crap hollywood wants me to watch. I’m going to continue to watch repetitive superhero movies and summer blockbusters and then unashamedly tell everyone just how much those movies sucked and why I watched them four times. I won’t behave the same way with my short films.

I love you bro come kiss me

I want to be a better filmmaker, a better writer and a better thinker. My short film and independent film reviews will follow a different structure than my feature film reviews. I won’t be a sleazebag who ends a review with, “guh. not enuf boobies. caveman 85scenes bored.” I’ll be sophisticated. I’ll talk about acting and nuance and stuff. I also won’t force myself to review every short film I watch. I think it’s ridiculous to write a piece that takes longer to read than it would to watch the actual movie. Also, if the short film truly did lack any innovation or a unique factor, I won’t review it either. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a bad movie, only that I didn’t have much to say about it. I’ll be polite, professional and constructive. I’ll hold myself to only one penis reference per post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my writing so far but if you haven’t enjoyed it,
❤ ❤ ❤ eat shit and die ❤ ❤ ❤
-85scenes

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