I can only say... wow! (Now that I've composed myself from the good cry I had after watching it...) I'm holding my dog in my lap as I type this, and know exactly what "Francis" must have been thinking. Thank you for this film, Milethia.
A couple of points - from spending time on farms - guns are not usually wrapped up in a sack - more likely in a gun case and if one was intending to shoot a much loved dog, you wouldn't shoot it in the face - you would quietly approach it from behind and shoot it in the back of the head so it never knew what hit it. Also farm dogs know what guns are about and are very unlikely to look into the barrel of one being aimed at it. I know that this shot is vital to this version of the film - and it's very powerful - but to me, it renders the story less believable
Hi Andrew. Thank you for your comments. Legally, farmers who have guns would have to keep a gun in a gun case, yes; the gun propped up was inspired by a farmer - I grew up on farms - who had a gun that was left out in the kitchen. Propped up. It might not be right, but there are probably farmers out there who are not 'careful' with guns. I take your point about the method of near shooting.
@milethia I agree, technical accuracy sacrificed for dramatic impact. Works great for us.
@Carole_CSSUD and @SYoung1960. Thank you for your lovely comments.
This is just gorgeous. I love the acting, the farmer's and the dog's. I love that the dog blinks when faced with a gun pointed at him, it's as though he understands and loves his master enough to accept his demise at his master's hands. I love that the farmer who must be so used to life and death, doesn't cry but you can tangibly feel his grief. There's only one shot I'd take out/move. At the kitchen table there's a shot of them walking in fields and herding sheep. I think you could move that and keep the emotional intensity of them both in the kitchen. Fabulous film!
I loved the dog just sitting, wagging his tail and blinking his watery eyes at his master. He could have ran away but chose to wait for his fate. How touching. What an emational film. Well done, Milethia and team.
Hi Milethia, Excellent film! Here's what's working for me: the music - understated yet spot on, the pathos - emotional without feeling forced, and of course the performances! Only a couple of things didn't quite work for me - the cutaway which has already been mentioned, and also the first shot with the sheep - the sky is red and moody but the next shot it's blue - is it because it's the day before (in which case would Impact continuity be affected?) but I'm being pinickity because there's really not much at fault here at all! David
Hi David. Thanks very much for the comments. The sky is red moment is a morning at work on the day itself. I'll discuss all points raised with the team.
@Jadesbokhari and @kooi Thank you. I hope you're both well.
Now that I've had time to study the film, I can make some more informed comments. First, Milethia, you really haven't directed a film before this? I'm so impressed. You picked a difficult script to shoot as a first-time director, and you did an absolutely amazing job. I would have looked at this and immediately said, "I want to see more of her work," only to discover there isn't any. Okay, from 00:25 to 01:45, it drags. You can tighten all that up and lose about half of it, make it tighter and really make that sequence stand out. I don't have edit suggestions, though. That's between you and your editor. When he draws the gun on the dog, I think you can work with your editor to compact that whole sequence into one continuous moment and make it really hit home. What I mean is, right now, it's two separate times of him bringing the gun up. In between, he lowers the gun before bringing it back up on the dog. Lose that part. Make it all while he's pointing at the dog. Man-dog-flashback-man-dog-flashback-man. It will be more fluid and will give a more even feel to the entire s equence. Plus, it will just rip the hearts out of the audience while they all sit and wonder if they're going to sit there and watch a dog get shot. There are all sorts of little edits that could be made throughout to tighten it up, too. A few frames here and there. I really can't wait to see a new edit on this, as I'm sure you will find the heart of it and draw that out and make it even more powerful than it already is. Best wishes. And kudos for making a great film.
Thanks for the detailed feedback @SYoung1960, which I have sent on to the team. I'm a first time film director with professional folk. I once directed a short with family. I direct plays/performances with the students I work with.
WHAT I LIKED - Great job overall - Great opening shot - Great cinematography and color grading - Like the black and white flashbacks - Really like the shot at 2:29 - Score at the end is great THINGS TO CONSIDER - Although I really like the artistry of the opening shot, given that this is essentially a film about the man and his dog, it might be better to start with the wide shot you have at 0:13 as this is more focused on the two of them and therefore more relevant to the story overall. Also, the coloring between the open shots and then the first wide shot with his dog is significantly different - 0:30 I think you can cut out the bit about him switching off the radio. I assume you intend to put a voiceover later on, but I actually feel you could just start the shot at 0:33 and do away with the switching off of the radio altogether… I feel we can just assume the set up is done my the broader framework of Impact 50 - 0:46 I think it would be good to cut to the dog again when he looks that way (just after the dog barks) and then cut back to 0:52 just before he raises his hand to his chin. Otherwise, this shot feels a little long and overdone - you could try cutting out everything from 1:21 to 1:30 to speed it up a bit - you could try cutting out everything from 1:52 to 1:58 to speed it up a bit - I’m not sure it’s necessary to show him switching off the ignition? - 2:21 and 2:30 these sound effects are a bit loud. Maybe that is intentional given the reverb you added? Might be good to try taking the levels down a bit?
Nice opening shot and a thoughtful look on the actor's face - as if to say "Well let's get this done." Editing is good but I didn't like the lighting and the ending was a bit inconclusive - could be more dramatic. Maybe the colour could be better - seems a bit bland to me. The film tells a poignant story though and is well made except for my comment about the colour but that can be fixed.
Really good job! I spent the whole film thinking, "don't shoot the dog, don't shoot the dog" - as if the president had got the details of the announcement wrong (let's face it, these things happen!), Francis wouldn't forgive himself. So the ending came as a huge relief! Loved the acting, the cinematography, and the lighting. The only thing that jarred with me (other than the anxiety for the dog!) is that I didn't think Francis would have bought a plastic dog bowl for Moss - I would have expected a worn, pottery/glazed earthenware bowl. But that's a minor thing. Well done all!
What a beautiful film. The dog is heartbreaking when it looks at its master with the gun pointed at it. My only comment is, there was a black and white bit near the beginning. No idea what it was at the time, but by the end of the film I realised it was a flashback or memory. I think you can cut that one out.
The new cut was like watching a completely new film... wow. Great work on tightening it up and bringing way more emotion to it. As an editor, there are still a couple things I would have done differently... but they're so minor they don't matter. If this isn't on Chris's "short list" on July 1st, then you will have been dealt a cruel blow. Good luck.
I think tighter editing at the beginning would improve the film. The dog deserves an Oscar or doggy equivalent - they are so intelligent. I've just watched 2 of them round up 40 sheep that wondered into my neighbours garden. In 3 minutes all the sheep were in the trailer. Amazing. But I digress. I really like this film but cutting a few frames from most of the scenes will make it tighter in my opinion. Good luck.
Thanks for the feedback, everyone.