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Topic: Dark Mind Game
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 05:08AM)
Warning some may find this clip upsetting.
It is not intended for children.
You may have to turn your speakers up a bit to hear the cool stereo bits.

It's a new piece of interactive video I have posted to YouTube.

It is a rather dark mind game that the viewers may play along with against the Devil.

I put it together for a short film contest that Steven Spielberg and Fox is having.
The prize it a 1 million dollar development deal.
(My thought is it will be good advertising just to have my work on their site for the show).

For those who want to know it was shot with only one camera all camera movements were done digitally in post production using a 29 dollar editing program on my laptop.

I scored it using a laptop the opening piece I played the guitar part on.

Some of you might recognize the effect with cards used in the middle of the clip.
This will only be up for a few days because I will be sending it off to Fox Tuesday.

Hope you guys enjoy it.

Best Wishes,


PS. Those who have my DVD will recognise the beginning.
I re-edited it to be used for this project.
Message: Posted by: Mark Roberts (Feb 12, 2007 05:28AM)
Hi Jack,

Tried to PM you this but your inbox was full.

I enjoyed the film very much. Thank you for posting and I wish you the very best of luck in the contest.

Just one small detail before you send your entry into the competition. If you have a quick look, you will find that "experienced" is spelt incorrectly at the end of the film.

Thanks again for sharing.

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Feb 12, 2007 05:38AM)
He should also look at spelling friends and remembered right.

I didn't like it. It didn't hold my interest, I watched it to the end out of politeness. Good luck with it though.
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 05:43AM)
Thanks for the spelling help guys much appreciated.

I posted it to get a bit of feedback so that I might have time to fix things and re-edit.
If need be.

I may pull a bit more out so that it moves quicker.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Feb 12, 2007 05:46AM)
As well as "remembered"and "friends" but I think Jack would be comfortable. Jim, you'll have to decide when you submit.

Wonderful premise and film. Thank you, Jim.
Message: Posted by: DJM (Feb 12, 2007 06:28AM)
I really enjoyed the camera shots, looks very professional. But I think maybe you should make it a bit shorter, as it gets a bit slow at times..

BTW, looks like Jack is even crazier than I thought..
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Feb 12, 2007 06:50AM)
I think that there is too much dialogue. You need to have some tension moments using silence. I would suggest from the moment you get up and walk down the stairs until the scene by the table should be silent, just for starters. With the background music only, not completely silent of course.
Message: Posted by: DJM (Feb 12, 2007 06:56AM)
Also, I didn't really like the scream at the end, it reminded me of those silly videos you can see on Youtube where everything is silent and then a scary sound comes right from nowhere. It just annoys everyone watching it. I think you should either remove the scream or make it less surprising..
Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Feb 12, 2007 07:11AM)
That was another point too, I thought it was out of character with the rest of the film. Get editing!
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 07:37AM)
I am Salsa and thanks I needed a new bit of perspective.

Have already pulled some dialog and now have a moment of silence from the middle of the way down the steps until the scene fades in and the cards are being dealt. (About 16 seconds).

I do like the end bit because of the explanation directly following it.
Kind of goes together I think.

I forgot to mention that this is an interactive experimental documentary film.
Figured no one else would be entering such a thing.
(But I imagine some of you already figured that out).

Thanks again guys for the new perspectives and assistance.

Message: Posted by: John Smetana (Feb 12, 2007 08:20AM)
Good work Jack...much good luck and continued success,

all the best,
John Smetana
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 12, 2007 08:43AM)
I was thinking of the four of hearts. You were correct on the geometric shapes. Excellent editing.
Message: Posted by: johne (Feb 12, 2007 09:07AM)
I had a tad trouble seeing the actual cards...when you revealed your hand (of cards) I thought the card I had chosen was still there. Perhaps a tighter shot on the cards when they are laid out on the table.

Message: Posted by: salsa_dancer (Feb 12, 2007 09:37AM)
Good luck with it Jim.
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Feb 12, 2007 09:45AM)
Jack, I enjoyed it even having a pretty good ideal of where you were going, I think a public & lay audience would really enjoy it. I would fine tune the quite moments of tension & correct the spelling before submitting it though. Good Luck
Message: Posted by: themindreader (Feb 12, 2007 10:10AM)

Thought that was REALLY good. At the very least it was nice to see a more original premise for the princes card trick.

Thumbs up!

Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 12, 2007 10:29AM)
My bad. I thought he meant think of any card, not the ones on the table.
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Feb 12, 2007 10:37AM)
I miss Jack...
Message: Posted by: DJM (Feb 12, 2007 10:45AM)
I think Jim's mission is to try and win a million bucks from every person that is offering it..
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Feb 12, 2007 10:45AM)
So that is why J ack is dead and back. Cool.

Like the video: black and white is the way to go for the mood - no colour is excellent. Captures the whole dark noir aspects. Psych forces and the ghost card is good - except I swear somehow I saw the same card I picked... I escaped the Devil ;). The whole concept of interactive format with the audience is also a good bonus - i.e. Dora the Explora etc. have proven this for kids - adults it needs to be sophisticated.

Things to think about changing: besides the spelling - the pace - because its video, you'll need to be thinking Simpsons level hits i.e. things jolting the person a few times every minute. Also, the character needs to be identified with by the audience to help hook them in - consider maybe a decline into madness as opposed to being freaked from the very beginning? Why the game? Some emotional hook to things - even Ghostrider (which will soon be butchered by Nick Cage) had a good premise that way. Also, the scream might not be needed at the end. Since you are going for subtlety - how about a pan to a doorway..the framespaces slowly begin to glow as smoke comes from under the door... pan back to you as the creak of the door is heard... a shadow falls upon you... and you start to huddle in fear... pan up to darkness....

Well, you asked. I actually consult to a bunch of film and TV productions - so PM me if you want any other suggestions.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: entity (Feb 12, 2007 11:23AM)
Spektor: In what capacity do you consult?

- entity
Message: Posted by: Celloboy (Feb 12, 2007 11:29AM)
Amazing. I loved it. my girlfriend went mental over the spelling tho (i can't spell, she can...) lol.
Great stuff. here is to you wining!
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Feb 12, 2007 11:35AM)
I didn't even knoticer the spelling. BUT, I agree with the doc above, you really want to watch it otherwise you wont. I started it 3 times and finally watched all the way through. And I like yah jim, imagine what someone who has no like or attention will do. More shock or simpsonesque entertainment...
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Feb 12, 2007 11:46AM)
Entity: Numerous things - mostly addiction and mental health realism, sometimes psychological / psychodynamic issues for characters, realistic plot complications, issues on gambling, special populations etc. I do script reviews, train actors and consult with directors and writers. Picked up a bunch of general narrative pointers along the way. Did this for a variety of film, TV and live action plays. I also do simulation and game design so I'm often working with emotional hooks and psychological buy-in techniques. So, I've done action, drama, horror, etc. themed consultation. Its a lot of fun!
Message: Posted by: entity (Feb 12, 2007 11:58AM)
Could have used your insight on a recent project for which I acted as Magic Consultant. It (the play) involved a young lady on suicide watch.

Pm me your info so I have it on file if the situation arises again.

- entity
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Feb 12, 2007 12:10PM)
Ya know, with a bit of a mustache and a 40's suit, you could be doing an Annemann show. Dead ringer, so to speak.
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 12:52PM)

I agree with most of what you wrote.
Unfortunately the submission can only be five minutes long.

I like your suggestion for the ending.
But I also like to jump out and scare people.

I decided to use text screens to establish the situation, basic story and rules quickly.
Just could not figure how do build a character and deconstruct him in so short a time.
The spelling has been fixed and the dialog edited.

My thinking was that with the interactivity it would engage and the strangeness would be interesting.
I personaly do not like working in a five minute format.
Fifteen would have been great.

I have added something else.
Since the beginning is a bit strange I think it will hold people they have been asked to do something.
and should be content to wait a bit.

Now after Jack goes down the steps they are then informed via text overlay
"That it is time to play the game"

I hope that this will create the impression that the game is now starting at that point and hopefully will negate the last minute and a half.
In a way it is like the starting over thing from my DVD were people edit out the time you wish them to delete from their memory.

However I have no idea if this works with this type of presentation.
It is rendering out now so we shall see.

Funny thing is I looked at the other submissions thus far and thought they went to fast.
The edits to quick the shots not long enough to convey the atmosphere of the surroundings.
Not enough atmosphere.
that's why I went for the Nior feel.

Parts of the clip are time stretched to give it a not quite real feel.
(This is most noticeable on the step decent).

However I can now see were some may think it needs to be quicker.
Hopefully the second start business may take care of that.

The problem with some of you not being able to see the cards is mostly because of the size and frame rate etc. of the clip on YouTube and should not be a problem on the Fox site or when viewed on a television monitor.

I am going to pull down the YouTube clip in about an hour and will post the new edited clip later today.

Once again thank you all for your help and suggestions.
This has helped me greatly thus far.


PS. DJM I liked your post found it quite funny and clever.
Message: Posted by: DJM (Feb 12, 2007 01:04PM)
Thanks Jim, I try my best.
Message: Posted by: Virungan (Feb 12, 2007 01:05PM)
Hi Jim,

Nice work in terms of camera-work, lighting and sound. As I edit professionally, I do have to agree with the Doc above- you need some judicious edits- too much lead time and vocal repetition.

It's a tough thing to do- we always say the best way to edit is to have the director cut it down to the version that he/she likes the best and then have someone else cut that in half.

Sometimes as a creator its hard to butcher your baby and there are small nuances that you appreciate- but your audience won't.

It's a really good strong concept, but as an editor I'd slice this down to about two and half good minutes. If your runtime needs to be that length, try and introduce some narrative elements as Dr.Spektor suggested, add in some character elements- possibly a V/O flashback?

The titling is also a little overdone- maybe try and summarize that message into one fade through.

All this is meant to be constructive- as someone who works in both mentalism and multimedia its great to see someone experimenting with combining the two in an original way.

Best of luck!

Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 01:20PM)
Ok I have stopped the render and will take a knife to the thing.

Thanks again see ya'll in a few hours.

Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 12, 2007 09:04PM)
Thank you all again for taking the time to offer suggestions and to offer comment.

One minute has been edited out of the five minute clip.
(I could pull another 7 seconds but it may be OK now)
Two screens of titling were taken out and what was left was edited down even further.

The spelling was fixed.

I will post a new link tomorrow and will once again say thanks.


Posted: Feb 13, 2007 12:10pm
Ok here is the edited vertion described one post up.


Message: Posted by: DJM (Feb 13, 2007 11:31AM)
I don't know, I really dig the camera shots, but I feel like there's too much talk there, mostly the stuff that is repeated a few times. The viewer usually doesn't like to be told everything, but to understand it himself. Explaning everything we see in the video feels like something that is made for children. Sometimes keeping things simple is the best. Other than that, the video is pretty cool. Though I'd still change the scream at the end if I were you..

Only my opinion of course.
Message: Posted by: Eman (Feb 13, 2007 12:07PM)
I liked the video. I really liked that my card was removed. That's pretty nifty! The patter was good, but I didn't like that scream. There was something about it that didn't seem fitting for the video.
Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Feb 13, 2007 01:35PM)
Good editing. Second time round I appreciate the turning of the coffeecup. Then the martini glass shot and the dropping of the cards are very pleasing.

I really appreciate how you share honing work in progress, Jim.

I would trust Eman and others on the scream even though it haunted me. To be fair, I was invited to start a primal scream therapy center in my youth and I am biased.

Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 13, 2007 05:38PM)

Thanks for noticing the bits I personally liked.

With a project like this it helps allot to have a group of educated eyes and minds looking at it.
(Especially with having to get it done so quickly).
It really has helped me tremendously.

I am editing the end again with the scream so that it completes the circle back to Jack in a stronger way.
Personally I just like to scare people and make them jump.
(Still have a good deal of 10 year old boy in me)
However I do see were it was jarringly out of context.
So that is what I decided to fix.
Keep the scare just make it fit better.

Also I think it was a good thing to pull some of the dialog out.
(Even though it is to be an internal dialog).

It is a bit strange using mentalism in such a way and I really think it would work better as a longer piece were the viewer could be made to care for the main character.
(Not unlike a twilight Zone episode).
Before the final bit of mind reading fun or even possibly the viewer would experience the dream more than once in the episode with different outcomes.
(Possibly I will use that in a longer work someday)

Anyway I would like to once again publicly thank those who offered their knowledge and opinions.
You helped me make this thing better than it would have been.

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Feb 14, 2007 01:00PM)
Great work Jim.
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 14, 2007 03:31PM)
Thanks John glad you liked it.

Here is the link for those not reading from the start.

Message: Posted by: entity (Feb 14, 2007 03:42PM)
On the second screen, last line, you say: "He recalled playing a game against the Devil and himself". That is incorrect grammar. It should possibly read: "He recalled playing a game against the Devil".

- entity
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 14, 2007 03:44PM)

"E" I have been going around about that for a couple of days.

Message: Posted by: entity (Feb 14, 2007 03:46PM)
I'd suggest: "He recalled a game of chance, with the Devil himself as his opponent."

- entity
Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Feb 14, 2007 04:13PM)
Keeping true to the spirit of "good grammar" and literature. Here's a link to a source of the highest order of writing we can access today. Dealing with the forementioned subject, the "Devil himself".

Not what one would normally expect. But relative nevertheless. Enjoy. Cheers Jim.

(God, I love this stuff.) ;)
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Feb 14, 2007 04:17PM)
I like this Devilish work even more:

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Feb 14, 2007 04:58PM)
On 2007-02-14 17:17, Dr Spektor wrote:
I like this Devilish work even more: :P



Yes, yes of course :rolleyes:
But please, read the previous link first. (It is much shorter) :shrug:

(Thank you Bruce) ;)
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 14, 2007 08:33PM)
Thanks guys I don't have enough stuff to stuff in the old brain box.
Y'all gotta push more at me.
(Nice guys you are).

How about this.

Want to see the Devil?
Look in the mirror.

But do you know why?

Do ya get it?

And for those wondering were all of this came from look here.

And if you do not care to look in the mirror.

Message: Posted by: entity (Feb 17, 2007 03:47PM)
What's the final version?

- entity
Message: Posted by: Jim-Callahan (Feb 17, 2007 04:04PM)
It has been uploaded to the site for the competition.
(I edited the thing several times and had to rework the scoring to match the new edit).
Also had to do a directors intro abut me and the film that had to be less than 45 seconds.
That's a bit of a trick.

Anyway they take a look at the thing to make sure it does not contain questionable content.
Before they will post it.

I will post a link when it is available.

The Youtube clip is still up but will be taken down when the other site posts the finished version.

Would like to say thanks again to everyone for their help.