The Ultimate Indie Filmmaker's DVD. B R O K E N is a indie short film shot for $8000 and has over 100 visual effects shots. The critics agree: "BROKEN is essentially a demonstration of the mastery of horror imagery and techniques...effective and professional. Looking forward to “BROKEN: The Feature." - Roger Ebert (Film Critic Chicago SunTimes/Ebert & Roeper's) ------- The release of the Special Edition DVD has over 3 hours of Special Features including: 6 Commentary Tracks covering - Directing - Producing - Visual Effects - Music Score/Sound Design - Cast and Crew - Film Geeks Unite - Pre-Production: Concept Art / Location Comparison - Costume Design Gallery - Storyboards: The ENTIRE Collection - Storyboards: Comparison with Final Shots - Rehearsal Comparison with Final Scene - Blocking Action in a Scene - Evolution of an Action Sequence A Director's Best Friend - Finding Your Shot - Production: Recipe: "How to Make a Guacamole Gun" • Special Effects Make-up Breakdown - Anatomy of a Stunt - How to Get Pro Looking Guns with Little or No $$$ - Tips on Producing an Indie Film - Post Production: How to Make DV look like Film! - Color Correction Lab - Color Correction Comparison - Visual Effects Breakdowns - The Title Sequence - Visual Effects in Indie Film - Cinematography in Indie Film - Sound Design/Composing in Indie Film - After the Short: The Making of BROKEN - Marketing: Promoting a Short Film - Alternate Ending w/ Commentary - The BROKEN Shoot: Gag Reel! ...and tons more. If you are going to make an independent film, this DVD is a must have!
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A gun goes off. Bonnie (Samantha Jane Polay) awakens with a start. She goes to the kitchen and is taken captive by a creepy man named Duncan (Paul Gordon) and a smokin' hot female assassin named Marquez (Amber Crawford). Cut to a debris-strewn basement, where the bulk of the film takes place. Up to this point I was into it. But rather than explain why Bonnie has been taken to this place, Duncan torments her while delivering a drawn-out analogy of a broken harmonica. I wanted to know more about why Bonnie was abducted. Heck, if Duncan planned to kill her anyway, why not enlighten us by discussing Bonnie's misgivings? Is she an agent gone rogue? Did she hit the wrong target? Is the decrepit hospital (a cool location, by the way) where Bonnie's experiments and training took place years ago? And what's with her glowing blue eyes?
I realize this is a short film, but at 19 and a half minutes, you have time to tell a story. The way 'BROKEN' is laid out, it feels like everyone is simply marking time and checking their watches (I know I was checking mine) as they impatiently await the ensuing gun battle. And 'BROKEN' truly is at its best when the bullets start flying. Using gas-powered Airsoft weapons that boast a blow-back feature, the automatic handguns look very real as the hero and the thugs blast it out. The digital muzzle blasts (courtesy of effects specialist, Dan Cregan) range from eye-popping to a little over-the top, but anyone who's never fired automatic or semi-automatic weapons will be blown away. (I've handled my share of both and I was very impressed with the effects.)
As for the special features, I was most intrigued by the 'GUNS, GUNS, GUNS' chapter and the visual effects, since, as I've said, the whole film feels like a setup for the gun battle. The DVD explains the importance of 24p and good lighting to some degree, it touches on how the visual effects were done, and offers a few ideas on how to market the finished product. The creators are decent enough to admit they don't have all the answers (try to find that in Hollywood), and that their aim is to share what they know and what they've learned. For those just starting out, "Rebel Without A Crew" by the one and only Robert Rodriguez is a must-read, and I'd also highly recommend "The DV Rebel's Guide" by Stu Maschwitz for more insight on action-based films on a budget. Another low-budget Indie with a sci-fi slant and some cool visual effects is a film called 'RADIUS', which also includes extensive special features on its creation. ('RADIUS' was shot on film, but much of the information is still useful to DV filmmakers -- do your homework before attempting green screen work, though.)
All in all, despite the lack of story, I still think 'BROKEN' is well worth the money -- there's plenty of good stuff here.
Find projects, if you can, with a degree of substance, otherwise you're likely to get pigeon-holed (like so many directors out there who showed potential once).
Re: Short. Fine job, basically--with the exception of your two leads: the guy in the dark mask and the chick in the chair. Just not convincing. I understand; low budget--and good actors are not easy to find.
Re: Editing/music/sound/camera/lighting & just about everything else: excellent. Truly professional.
Re: Story. Not plausible at all. There is no way this sort of thing would be going through any woman's mind, not in this fashion or manner. Trust me on that one. (Should have interviewed a few women prior to committing pen to paper.) This is some type of (immature) male fantacy jammed into a woman's head.
Good writing is the toughest thing of all to pull off. If you find it is nearly impossible to write something that will truly resonate with audiances, well, then, find a script or writer who can get it done, someone with the ability and talent.
If you're hooked on doing films with guns...check out something called SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, directed by David Attwood. (Not that anyone would expect you to pull off something this complex on a budget of 8K, but the point is the people and the situations are real and totally believable and what takes place on screen ultimately tugs at the viewer's heart. Why? Because we give a damn and we give a damn because the material is about SOMETHING and there is SUBSTANCE.)
You and your co-writer of Broken might also want to check out a couple of intelligently-made movies (directed by Billy Ray) entitled BREACH (starring Chris Cooper) and/or SHATTERED GLASS, starring Hayden Christensen (because you won't find any fancy gun displays in it.)
My point being: a movie can be suspenseful as well as interesting without all the ridiculous gun-twirling and fireworks.
Bottom line: Swell overall package and worth every dime.
from this reviewer.
Poor plot, poor acting, low end effects, GREAT MARKETING!
definitely worth the money if you are an aspiring weekend indie film-maker with your teenage friends...
...but if you are serious about learning how to pull off effects, or enjoy watching short films, well...you know that feeling you get when you're falling back in your chair and you catch yourself, and then still fall anyways? it's a lot like how you feel after you watch this DVD, and then glance at your wallet.
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