Wednesday, July 04, 2007

More mediocre direction from the gallery

I just watched this week's On The Lot.

The judges are way too nice.

It's horror week. The redneck kid, Jason, made a movie called Eternal Waters. It was about a woman who's son is dead and he comes back to save her from a would-be rapist or murderer home invasion guy. Unfortunately, Eli Roth was the only judge who had real criticism because this film is a prime example of an excellent idea poorly executed because of bad writing.

The story opens with a woman in her bedroom dreaming about her dead son. Then two seconds before the home invader shows up we see him. All of the tension is built around her dead son, which I get, but when the bad guy shows up it's kind of out of the blue and I'm not sure what he has to do with the dead kid. On top of that, the mom doesn't call 911 like any normal person would. Then, after we've been in this story from her point of view the entire story, we suddenly switch to the bad guy's point of view for a minute.

And the actress is not remotely believable feeling all bittersweet about her son coming to save her. It's a shame, really, because this was the first film from Jason that I thought had some real potential. But as it is I wasn't really very scared and horror movies are supposed to scare you, right?

Mateen had the same problem as Eli Roth pointed out. In his film the point of view shifted so many times we weren't sure who we were supposed to be following, so the film failed to make its point effectively. That's something you learn when you focus on making your story as strong as it can possibly be before you roll cameras.

The problem is the directors are all filled up with ideas about shot composition and coloring and music cues, but they forgot to think about story. Their shots usually look really good because they all know what to do with the camera but they don't know how to write. But story isn't something you can gloss over. Before you worry about the actor's performance you have to give them something good to do.

I don't know that much about the cinematography - something I'm working on - but I do know story.

And even though I still wish The Lot would do more behind the scenes footage and how-to stuff (for instance this week they could have talked about what fake blood is made), I still like watching this show because I can look at what the directors did right or wrong and rewrite it in my head. And that's always good.


  1. I really should blog about this show.

    It frustrates me more and more every week.


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