Saturday, July 28, 2012

EARRINGS: The Film


Well, the time has come.

I’ve spent the past year putting my heart and soul into my short film, Earrings, and now it is finally ready to be viewed.

To all of you who have lent your support over this past year, I will never be able to fully express my gratitude. My praise and admiration for you is limitless. I simply could not have done this without you.

I really hope you enjoy the film.

Here we go.


Click here to read more about Earrings

89 comments:

  1. I didn't know that it was possible, but somehow you've actually exceeded my expectations. Earrings was amazing. Like many great films (and a startling number of my favourites), it manages to convey so much in scenes that probably wouldn't make the final cut of a Hollywood production simply because not much happens. I loved the long stretches without dialogue, I adored the intense camerawork, and Catherine Warner seems to be one of those few actresses that can convey so much simply with a blank facial expression.

    Alex, I adored Earrings. It's exactly the kind of film I enjoy because of its enigmas, its subtlety, its care and the obvious skill of its cast and crew. It's an unnerving film that at times projects a haunting menace, and it's this terrifically delicate feeling that keeps it the interesting, effective film it is in just 30 minutes.

    I couldn't ask for anything more than you've delivered, and I congratulate you for what you've achieved. Wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, what a comment, and from a blogger I respect so much. Thanks for this, Tyler (and for your Letterboxd review, and constant support over these past months). I am really, truly glad you liked the film. You "got" exactly what I was going for.

      Delete
  2. Very sad, very sparse (almost too sparse for me - but I imagine it's exactly what you were going for), very beautiful in a strung-out way, much like the lead. I liked it a lot. Totally distinct visual style. A couple of shots here & there reminded me of Paul Thomas Anderson, but for the most part I can't draw up any similarities. On Twitter I praised your dialogue - generally that's what I go for in a film, and the absence of it's probably why I found it slightly too sparse, but you don't always need it. I was drawn in. Makes me pretty optimistic that people can do stuff this good completely independently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jack! I was definitely going for sparse, you're right. Thanks for the dialogue shout out on Twitter, glad you dug that line.

      I've had tons of people tell me that Earrings has inspired them to start shooting their own flicks, and man, that is really the best compliment you can give me. People can DEFINITELY do this independently. You just gotta do it!

      Delete
    2. Yeah dude, this is genuinely inspiring. A mate and I have been knocking abound an idea for a comedic short, and I've written a draft (which I accidentally expanded into a currently 30 page screenplay...whoops), so hopefully we'll get filming that pretty soon. Admittedly it's less ambitious in scope than "Earrings", though.

      There's no reason, there's no FUCKIN' reason (to quote Walter Sobchak) why creative types should feel indebted to the big, fundamentally un-creative companies that are the movie studios. It's one of the reasons I can't wait to see "The Canyons".

      Delete
    3. Oh man, I can't wait to see your short. It's funny how the idea just expands and keeps growing. These things have a mind of their own.

      That Walter was a smart dude haha. But really, I couldn't agree more with you. I think The Canyons has some great people running it, and I really can't wait for it either. Nothing better than a good flick that scuffed the studio system. Very curious to see how that plays out.

      Delete
  3. That was amazing! I love how you structured the film. It makes the end much more meaningful. The cinematography was excellent, capturing her despair and the bleakness of it all. One thing that really struck me was the shot where she's walking down the street near the beginning of the film. She's in the sunlight, but it gets darker when she comes to the intersection. Brilliant touch! Catherine Warner does a great job at conveying so much by doing so little. I love how we get to spend time with her character without much dialogue. And that music! Those songs were perfect choices. I think I'm rambling a bit, but it was terrific. I hope you plan on entering it into some festivals. Congratulations man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ramble away my friend! You know, I'd like to take credit for that sun popping out then going into hiding bit, but credit goes to the California sky for that one haha. I did shoot that scene three times though, and chose that take specifically for that reason. Just one of those little pieces of movie magic. Pretty groovy.

      Thanks for all your kind words and your praise for Catherine. They mean the world to us.

      Delete
  4. Dude, THIS IS AWESOME !! and to think that you would put all our names at the end. That is so nice of you.

    About the film, Cathrine is just amazing in here throughout, but especially in first 10 minutes before any dialogues in. Your direction is great, but more importantly it’s your story which has such an amazing flow to it. Great use of music in the background as well. You will get this a lot but seriously you deserve every bit of it.

    Do not stop here Alex !! DO NOT Stop here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, that credit at the end was the LEAST I could do. You all have been my blanket of support for the better part of this production. No way I could have done it without you all.

      That's so cool that you dug the first 10 minutes, I was really trying to push the silence and remorse to the point of bearability before going in with the dialogue.

      Can't stop, won't stop, my friend! Thanks again!

      Delete
  5. Enjoyed your film and will be rewatching Earrings again soon! I didn't realize it was going to be 30 mins. Here's my brain dump: She has a very introspective look to her. Love the hazzy-eyed opening the fridge moment, did you operate the camera? That hand at 4.30 scared me a little, I thought it was someone else ( : Obviously her situation makes me curious about what preceded. Interesting use of 'thought-dialogue' at 10.05. The male actor reminded me of Peter Sarsgaard, and I found his performance to be very good, though both did a fine job!
    Love the song selections, very powerful. You could have gone the easy route and showed what happened to the guy in detailed flashbacks in the first 20 min, but it’s far more interesting the way you put it together, and you trust your audience have a brain. Finally I agree with Tyler above in that you convey much with very little dialogue. Well done Alex!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chris! I did operate the camera, and I'm glad to hear you like the fridge bit, it's pretty hard to play a character that is hungover.

      I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider flashbacks at some point. But when it came time to write the thing, I realized I wanted to know her fiancé through her eyes only. So we never get to meet him, except in her memory.

      Thanks so much for the comment, Chris. You're the music man, so the fact that you dug the tunes really means a lot!

      Delete
  6. Alex, man I really loved this piece. I was very interested in your project from what you've written about and I have to say I'm impressed. You toe a fine delicate line of letting the cinematography tell the story (with the hazy out-focus shots) and letting Ms. Warner's face convey the emotions. You showed a great balance between the two, showing us that she's not all quite there, able to function in real life. I'll be sharing it with as many people as I can. From the first frame, I really just wanted to give the main character a hug... I'll need to invest in a 5D or 7D soon. Thank you for sharing us your emotions and thoughts through 'Earrings'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, what a compliment(s) here, thanks so much Jeff. Everything you said is just... wow. Thanks for spreading it around, I can't thank you enough for that.

      I cannot recommend the Canon 7D enough, it is such a nifty little device that most anyone can get ahold of. If you go with the 5D, spring for the Mark II. It's a bit more, but worth it. In terms of which is better (the 7D or the 5D Mark II), well, that's the debate of debates among the DSLR world right now. The way I look at it is: either is better than nothing. Buy the thing and shoot!

      Thanks again Jeff.

      Delete
  7. Alex, congratulations on creating such an excellent film! I really loved it. I thought the lack of dialogue really allowed Catherine to shine by expressing most of her characters feelings through subtle facial expressions. And that main conversation was brilliant. As soon as I saw it I thought of the conversation in Hunger and I think you pulled it off just as well here as McQueen did there. Utterly fantastic. Also I really loved your use of music as it fit the scenes perfectly. This was one of my most anticipated films of the year and you really knocked it out of the park.

    Congratulations on creating such an inspiring and well-done film.

    All of my praise for your brilliant work is here: http://wp.me/s2mMj1-earrings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your review was just... my god. Thank you for that. I may have to print that one out and frame it haha. You just "got" it, and you articulated yourself so well. Ah, thank you.

      Hunger was most definitely the inspiration for the dialogue scene. Just set the camera down and let 'em go. Glad you saw the connection there!

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  8. The line between mourning and a manifesting sorrow by having those fears is blurred in Alex Withrow's debut "Earrings", a debut short that displays the exuberance for the medium like Bergman and the attention to detail like McQueen. Withrow's short manages t capture the quiet desperation of character studies like von Trier's Melancholia and McQueen's Shame, with the mise-en-scene reminiscent of, again, Bergman. But don't let this lead you to think that his inspirations take over his film completely. On the contrary, this is a truly original, outstanding work. Artfully directed, but lacking the uppity pretension of many shorts, the color palette, full of blues and purples and desaturated environments, seems to hint at a slightly subjective portrayal of the story. The jump cuts merge the "heinousness" of Tarantino with the style of Godard, but again, retain the originality of Catherine Warner's unnamed character. Like any character study, what is not said is often more important than what is. Thus, the director puts particular focus on actions and detail, giving us a fly on the wall look at who this woman is and how the "little things" make an enormous impact. Warner's minute actions convey an incredible amount of meaning to the viewer, worthy of Gosling's Driver. The sound is also intact, deepening the experience, with excellent choice in music.

    It's an outstanding, engrossing debut, one that is so outstanding that it doesn't need the qualifier "for a debut" or "for a short film". It's just damn good period. The only thing missing? Distribution and a release date for the Criterion Blu-ray.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saw this review on Letterboxd, and I'll offer up here what I did there, which is my most humble thank you. It means a great deal to me, more then I can articulate here.

      Your final paragraph is just too much. Just... awesome. Thanks again!

      Delete
  9. Just saw it and... wow... it was better than I thought. Kudos to your sound guy btw, great work on the sound editing/design. I really liked how it was done.

    I also enjoyed Catherine and she kinda looks like Shannyn Sossaman so I guessed The Road to Nowhere was obviously an influence. Especially as I noticed a lot of visual traits ala Sofia Coppola, Lynne Ramsay, and of course, Malick.

    I also like your music choices. You can't go wrong with those guys though if I was the music guy, I would've gone for more obscure choice and choose to play the music on location but that's me.

    Anyways, great job and I look forward to what you do next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks buddy! I actually saw Road to Nowhere for the first time after I had wrapped editing, so the parallels there are pure coincidence, but I can definitely see how you're making a connection.

      Good call on Coppola, Malick and particularly Ramsay, those were three of my biggest influences on this project, for sure.

      When you say "music on location" do you mean the character listening to the actual song during the scene? For me, that's one of my biggest pet peeves, like when a character is driving in a car, listening to the radio, and we cut to the end of their drive, and they're at the same point in the song. Maybe I'm not doing a good job of explaining it, but in terms of my style, yeah, I definitely go for more of the music video overlay in terms of music.

      Thanks again for the kind words!

      Delete
  10. Alex - You have masterfully depicted a woman teetering on the brink. Beautifully filmed....the lighting, sound and music are spot on. I could watch it multiple times and will. I am beyond proud of you and what you have created. Ahhh - "For T"

    Catherine - You have outdone yourself. Shifting expressiveness with only the slight change in your mouth or eyes. Absolutely fantastic.

    My congratulations to both of you.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It means everything to me that you liked it.

      I'll pass your praise on to Catherine as well!

      Delete
  11. Alex:

    1. Do you know that your twitter is worth 263.36 USD?

    2. It is very obvious that the sportscaster is you. I actually had to block that fact out for a second because it was distracting for me. Not because you don't make a good sportscaster but because I know your voice.


    3. & lastly...(well the beginning of the end)

    **beware some spoilers**

    The first 10 minutes were so intricately shot. The way you moved your camera & the details involved made me catch new ones each time I watched it (I've watched this twice already). It reminded me of the White Album, every time I listen to it I notice something new. This is because the details are basically layered upon each other but with enough restraint that it is subtlety done. It shows a grand amount sophistication. It also says a lot about the caliber of work you are making & your potential in the future.

    I actually enjoyed your choice in music more than anything. I'm not sure if you have ever noticed but in most of Aaron Sorkin's productions he always uses alternative music that is slightly popular. I think this is brilliant because it adds enough edge so that the average audience can relate. It isn't so avant garde that it takes away from the scene, so there isn't any pretension. I loved the warmth that was added once that radiohead song began to play. It was a great juxtaposition with her her finally leaving "the crime scene" & seeking company, while the song began to play. & because of the tone of the music we know that the moment will be fleeting but it leaves a certain longing that makes us root for Chlo.

    The last 10 minutes were beautifully done as well. It really captured the feeling of when you stop grieving & can begin to live. I think on a level of course this is entertainment, but the way the story is told is therapeutic for anyone that can relate. & the way the moods were conveyed in this film really set the premise for it & took it to a different level artistically.

    It would have been interesting if there was an alternate ending LOL or some restraint on the need to reconcile her with the deceased. For instance if she looked into the distance & saw someone, only to look again & he was gone. Knowing that either her love watches over her or that he does watch over her but is also is menacing around in her memory. But I don't think that would have made the viewer happy & it was nice to see her receive the comfort that she needed.

    Anyways this was really professionally done & sharp. I didn't expect anything less but I definitely, definitely didn't expect this! Wonderful job, I can't wait to see what you do next.

    -Sincerely, Courtenay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also sorry that, that was so long! Anyways take a bow, because I'm obviously amazed.

      Delete
    2. 1. I have no idea what that means haha.

      2. Obvious for you! But honestly, I bet the majority of the people watching this movie are people that have never heard my voice. Just trying to throw out a little trivia there! (PS, do you follow me on Twitter? I don’t see you as one of my followers). (PPS, “sportscaster” made me laugh. I dunno if ESPN does stand-ups from crime scenes, but they may need to branch out and get on it.)

      3. Thanks for all of your compliments and insights. Very profound of you. As far as alternate endings go, short of aliens coming down and scooping Chlo up from that bench, I thought of literally every possible outcome for this character. My pre-writing process is so unforgiving because I take one angle and run with it until the end, then come back and start all over with another idea. I’ll do this for months (or sometimes years) before I find the resolution I like best. So, there were definitely alt. endings in my head, but we only shot it one way. Ya dig?

      Thanks again, hope you’re well!

      Delete
    3. Hahah somehow I found something where I can calculate how much someones twitter is. I think it is based on how many people are following them. I thought you might find this interesting because I once read that someone wanted to buy your blog. I'm so happy you didn't sell it since then because it seems like your following has become stronger!

      & oops was definitely having a senior moment when I said sportscaster...lol

      I'm pleased you didn't take my comments the wrong way. I realized after I pushed publish that my comment on an alternate ending might come across as arrogant. I just always do that when I watch things for some reason. Mostly I was just having some fun :)

      Delete
    4. Also I DO NOT have a twitter account. Because I'm not sure anyone would want to hear my constant status updates. But I started looking at yours periodically once you started posting some cool things that go on, on yours. So I guess I'm not a follower, more of a lurker. Go figure, story of my life :P

      Delete
  12. You have done some brilliant work, my friend. It felt incredibly authentic, and I love how you used minimal dialogue. The most powerful scenes are where no one is saying anything at all. It looks great, it sounds great. Congratulations to Catherine as well - her performance was amazing, and your direction fantastic.

    I hope this film takes you far, you deserve it! (And you thanked us as your digital family - that was so sweet, thank you from all of us :) )

    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruth, this means so much, especially coming from you, a person I admire in the biz. Thank you.

      It was my pleasure to thank you all, seriously the least I could have done.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  13. Wow. I don't know where to begin. The editing was phenomenal and Catherine's performance was amazing. Congratulations on a job well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, kind Marketing Assistant.

      (PS to other readers/commenters... this is the guy who made the banner at the top of this page and the one-sheet poster as well. Great collaborator!)

      Delete
  14. Holy fuck man. You are a truly fantastic visual storyteller. Earrings achieved a level of simplicity that is rare. Catherine's performance was superb and the editing brought all the scenes together phenomenally. Great job. Oh and those songs were such a perfect fit for the action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Damn Trevor, thanks so much for this. I know you found my blog only recently, so these comments really do mean a lot. Thanks man!

      Delete
  15. Good looking movie. Music was a bit on the nose and I think you could have broken that exposition dump up a bit, but the central performance was excellent and mood was sublimely evocative.

    Can't wait to see what you do next!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Danny! I can't wait to see what I do next too haha. So many ideas floating around!

      Delete
  16. Wow, man, this is some really impressive stuff! Fantastic work all around. Loved the sound editing, Catherine's performance, and especially the music selections! One of the more powerful uses of a Radiohead song I have come across, and then the uplifting M83 at the end... brilliant.

    Also, your attention to detail was phenomenal. This might sound funny, but I was pleased to see the dirty bathroom mirror -- it fit in perfectly with the messy house.

    You are a talented filmmaker, my friend. Take this momentum and run with it. The sky's the limit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and that was a nice surprise to see some digital love at the end. Really cool of you, man!

      Delete
    2. Wow, thanks so much Eric! That Radiohead compliment was just thrilling to hear. I love both of the songs in this movie to death, and I am glad people think they were used effectively.

      Your comment about the mirror is one of the best I've gotten so far, seriously. That mirror was clean when we were getting ready to shoot and I was like, "What a minute, no." Good eye there!

      Believe me, the digital love was the minimum I could do to extend my gratitude.

      Thanks again!

      Delete
  17. Nice work my friend. There are some truly stunning visuals contained in this film. I wish I'd been around to take the journey with you, if I can find the time I'm wanting to read back through your production notes though as I have so many questions.

    I must admit that in anticipating the viewing of your film I was inspired to actually do something about my supposed film career also, so thank you for simply existing I guess and good luck with your festival/competition planning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks Toby! If this movie can act as any sort of inspiration to your career, then that is just fantastic. You're one of my favorite bloggers, so when you went on your hiatus, I was definitely bummed, but I understood. You're back now, and that's all that matters.

      Thanks again for the well wishes regarding Earrings. Happy to answer any questions you may have! You can always email me if you don't want to ask them publicly: withrowag@gmail.com

      Thanks again!

      Delete
    2. Very kind. I may well take you up on that after reading your filmmakers diary.

      Btw be sure to stop by my place tomorrow, the first steps have been taken and the short crime story that has since evolved into a script that is with my producers in England, is going up. Your opinion will of course be welcomed.

      Delete
    3. Oh shit man, I can't wait for that. I will read it as soon as it's up!

      Delete
  18. Good job Alex!

    I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Catherine was brilliant and so fascinating to watch, and your minimal style of storytelling is something I am quite fond of.

    Cinematography was mostly excellent, personally I'm not a fan of handheld walking, I find it distracting and it makes me seasick, but luckily you don't overdo it. The overall visual look is great though. It's amazing what can be done with an SLR these days. Framing and coloring was very well done. I found it quite interesting how almost the entire film takes place during the day; and I also liked the use of the ultra wide angle near the end.

    Also really great use of sound and music. I agree with Void, and would have preferred the music to originate from a natural source, but it works well enough as it is.

    Anyhow, congrats on getting this made, and I hope it opens some doors for you to continue on the path you are on, because it's a promising one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm completely with you on the overuse of handheld camera work... it's getting to the point where it's just too much. So I did try to teeter on the egde of that, without going over.

      Your insightful comments about the cinematography are most appreciated. Being DP of this film was probably the most challenging thing I've ever done as an artist. Lot of thinking there!

      Same question for you as for Void: do you mean you'd like to have the music playing from a stereo in the living room? That's definitely one way to do it, but then you're limited to that room specifically. I do prefer the antithesis of that and letting it play out like a music video. Again, a complete stylistic preference.

      Thanks again for such a lovely comment!

      Delete
  19. Finally! I saw 2/3rds of this yesterday and then my net decided to be a bitch and I was in total agony.

    It is really good Alex! I like how it is almost in segments- I was completely taken aback when the talking suddenly started :P

    RADIOHEAD!! That was my favourite part of the film, because the song was so apt for what the character of Chlo was going through. I really got her then.

    Catherine is a fantastic actress. Like Tyler said, she is one of the rare talents who can say so much without saying anything at all. Also, she is very pretty (why have other people not mentioned this? Shallow Nikhat).

    I loved the way it was shot, like we are peeking into this person's life. The colours are beautiful. Mighty work all together :)

    Also, when the special thanks part came at the end, my little brother was sitting next to me and exclaimed "You made a movie?!" So you are welcome Alex and a huge thanks for this experience :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nikhat! Vimeo can definitely be a pain in the ass sometimes because the files are so large, but it really is the best way to get the best quality out there.

      I've always considered this film a film in four segments, glad you picked up on that!

      I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me that people dig the Radiohead sequence. I've had that in my head for literal years. So weird to see it finally pan out.

      I'll pass your compliments of Catherine onto her, thanks so much for those!

      Delete
    2. Also, that comment about your brother was just too cute!

      Delete
  20. Nice work Alex. So crazy watching this after going to lunch with you and Catherine and knowing this was all shot right there. Kind of made it an odd watch for that reason actually, and I agree with an above comment that your voice during the sportcaster segment is distracting.... to us at least since we know your voice.

    But in terms of the whole package, you've done a startlingly good job here. I know you're a talent guy and pick up skills as you go, but man, I was very impressed with the way you structured/shot certain scenes. What really, really stood out for me was the pre-transition subtle background audio changes, which I absolutely loved, and the color correcting. I loved the "look" of this, mainly because of your phenomenal work in post with color correcting. You really made that 7d shine. You're going to have to give me a tutorial on that so I can put out work of this quality.

    Great job my man, how do you feel now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, yeah, that's kind of why we were both a little withdrawn at the lunch. We knew that within the hour, we would be descending into darkness for five days. Crazy man.

      "Sportscaster" again. Haha, love it. I think it's amusing that my voice was distracting for you. Know what's funny? I actually thought about asking you do it for me, but being on opposite sides of the country, I just didn't think it'd work out.

      Thanks for all the compliments man, they really mean a lot. Yeah, I made a choice really early on in editing to lead with audio. Color correcting was a blast to manipulate as well. Happy to give a tutorial anytime!

      It feels... weird now. I've been working on this film everyday in some capacity for the past year, and very intensely for the past 4 months. So to be able to go home from work and just sit there is very very weird. Refreshing and odd!

      Delete
  21. Good work Alex!! I particularly loved the way you set the mood with the sounds and silences and a great soundtrack selection. Also brilliant lighting and editing! Catherine was great as everyone has said too :)

    Towards the end I was thinking how I would love to make a movie, this really inspired me. You should be very proud of what you have created!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the digital family love was so awesome man. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks Alex! Such kind words, my friend. To hear that I inspired you is, well, inspiring. And the digital family love at the end was really my pleasure. Thanks again for all of your support.

      Delete
  22. Well done, Alex! I love the character study and the gloomy atmosphere. And the actress, is she Asian? She looked Asian.

    I've only watched the first 20 minutes since the video stopped buffering, but I'll watch the rest once I've got the chance. But, can I add just a little feedback? I would really be thankful if there's a subtitle and it would help many people in other nation too.

    I also liked your framing composition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Andina!

      Catherine is of Filipino descent, and a few other things as well, but that's where the Asian connection comes into play.

      Now as for subtitles... do you mean subtitles in your native language or English subtitles? Let me know, and thanks for your compliments! Hope you get to finish the film soon!

      Delete
    2. Haha, just realized I'm being unclear. I meant English subtitles. I just finished it :) Wonderful, you definitely have a potential on film making! Before I know that you've been influenced by 'Shame', I thought the atmosphere was 'Shame'-like. So, well done!

      Delete
    3. Aww thanks Andina! I honestly hadn't thought about English subtitles, but if you'd think they would help, I just might do it!

      Delete
    4. Hope you don't mind. I linked the image of Earrings in this post to my monthly round-up post, which have my thoughts of it too.

      Delete
    5. Not at all, thanks for linking and writing about it!

      Delete
  23. Wow, Alex that was really great. The whole thing had a great flow and feel to it and Catherine was fantastic. Great job man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks dude! Really glad you liked it. And, as always, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Delete
  24. Alex, let me say again what the others said before me: wonderful job! I really hope you enter this into festivals, I think it will catch on, please do try!
    Here are my thoughts on it, I hope you like it :) http://azizaspicks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/earrings-2012.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Diana, and your review was just, ah, it was lovely. Thank you. I'll keep doing my best to get it out there, thanks for the encouragement!

      Delete
  25. Hi Alex. First, allow me to congratulate you on this awesome work - it's terrific (if a little heavy for me....) and you should be commended. I've taken the liberty of embedding this over at my own site, the Cinematic Consensus Group, a site for which you've been nominated for Membership - can you please email me at rodney (at) fernbyfilms (dot) com so I can communicate with you privately?

    Feel free to follow the link to check out the CCG, and let me know if you're interested in becoming a member!! Cheers

    Rodney T

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Rodney, this is great news all around. Thanks so much for considering me! I'll send you an email very shortly, but really, thank you for all the positive feedback.

      Delete
  26. I had to watch this a second time just so I could both piece together my thoughts and watch this fantastic film again. On a visual level I was very impressed, by both the intimate use of the handheld camera and the icy blue lighting which really captured the feeling which was alluded to with the posters for the film. I also thought the musical choices were both perfect, I'm familiar with both of the songs (one of them thanks to you), and using a song which is already loaded with emotion such as How to Disappear Completely can be incredibly dangerous for a filmmaker as they can often become too reliant on the song itself. But you pull it off, not having to rely on Thom Yorke to provoke an emotional response, but your own visuals and Warner's performance are the clear focus of the scene and the music is there to assist with the action of the scene, and not to overshadow it.

    My favourite moment of the film by far was when Chlo wakes up after her one night stand. The amount of realism captured in that scene was fantastic, her distress and regret noticeable without Warner having to speak a word .Tt reminded me of the brutal realism of McQueen's Shame and Soderbergh's under-appreciated The Girlfriend Experience, the latter of which felt like an influence on the piece in someway or another.

    Catherine Warner, as nearly everyone on this page has said, delivers a fantastic performance, particularly with her face and eyes, as there is little dialogue in the film aside from her conversation with Andrew(?). And despite the short 30 minute run-time manages to clearly portray the growth of her character, which in no way feels rushed or forced but incredible natural.

    I also loved the usage of Intro by M83 which worked incredibly well with the change in tone in the piece, evidenced visually by Chlo sliding down the wall, a movement which had previously been associated with her boyfriend's death but now signifies hope. And you'll forever give me a visual association for when I listen to the song.

    Really impressed with the film, keep working and honing your craft and I'm looking forward to whatever you're working on next.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, first off, wow. This is so remarkably kind of you. Thank you so much for all of this feedback. You got everything I was going for.

      Could not agree more about films relying on music to tell the story, and I am so incredibly happy that you felt the film complimented the music and visa versa, equally.

      That’s a groovy favorite scene of yours. That was actually the very last thing we shot, and we had a lot of fun with it. Again, that was something where, I dunno… what can you say? You’re up, and you’re here because you got yourself here. So… get up and get out.

      Shame was, by far, the biggest creative influence over this film. The fact that you even see a basic, elementary, amateur correlation is the finest compliment I think I could receive. The Girlfriend Experience (and Soderbergh’s other tiny flicks) have had a massive influence over my creative career. I love everything about that film, particularly the blue filter, obviously haha.

      You’re right on about the sliding down the wall bit. Right. On.

      Thanks again for this comment, Matt. It is appreciated more than I am able to communicate here.

      Delete
  27. Alex:

    I can tell you put your heart and soul into this short! It is one powerful, sophisticated film and your impressive talents are fully on display. Catherine is one fine actress!

    Earrings reflects the growth and maturity in your filmmaking over the years. A big congratulations!

    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! All very kind words. Thanks!

      Delete
  28. I know I'm late to the parade, but I absolutely loved Earrings! Catherine was wonderful. Gurl has face! It's amazing how she can convey so much with her eyes and how subtly yet effectively she changes from looking destitute at the beginning to refreshed and at peace towards the end. She very much reminds me of Keira Knightley, but a less annoying strut-out-my-jugular version.

    Also, I just watched Persona last night and as such I cannot help but see a strong vibe of Ingmar Bergman's film in Earrings. The profound moments of silence, Catherine's deliriousness, the hand hammering the ground, the blood. It's almost like the two films are companion pieces and could be found as two discs in a Criterion (as rots previously mentioned) DVD (60s Ingmar disc and modern Ingmar disc). I cannot wait to see what you will concoct next because this is a most fantastic debut.

    The actor reminded me of Francois Truffaut btw (just a random fact).

    The most amazing parts of the movie for me were the abrupt shutting off of the TV at the beginning, the blowing of the mattress, and the blood scene(s). However, the ending reigns supreme. The cinematography, the song and Catherine were flawless in the ending. Amazing job, Alex. As is obvious by now, you far exceeded people's expectations and have set a high standard for yourself now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teddy, I don't even know where to begin in responding to this comment. It brought literal tears to my eyes, it was just... damn man, thank you.

      I'll start with the crazy stuff haha. Bergman is my favorite filmmaker, and Persona is my favorite film of his, so to hear you comparing Earrings to Persona, well, in the words of Kanye: Dat shit cray. That man is my god, and you're comparing my tiny film to my bible, and that is just so immeasurably kind of you. Persona has had a huge impact over my life and my filmmaking career, and the fact that you saw even the most basic correlation is deeply humbling to me.

      Those are really interesting and unique favorite parts of yours, thanks so much for sharing them.

      Again, Teddy, wow. Thank you for this comment.

      Delete
  29. "Alex, I am impressed" - but without Arthur's tone of condescension ;-)

    I really liked this film, and it is clear that you have a keen eye for the filmmaking craft and have utilised both your own creativity and innovation as well as respectful influence from some of the fantastic filmmakers you have observed over the years.

    I loved the photography - the shifting focus, and the way we were quickly immersed into this character's headspace through the odd-angled close-ups. We weren't sure why she was acting the way she was, but we were intrigued to find out.

    I think the deliberate pacing at the beginning added to this intrigue. I loved the editing in Chlo's breakdown scene and the accompanying music was perfect. Radiohead. Good job.

    Catherine is stunning and gives an affecting performance. What an acquisition. Love your work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now now, you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. Haha.

      Andy, by now you know I hold your film opinion in very high stock, and this comment of yours was just... wow man, thank you for it. I am really, truly glad you enjoyed the film. That Radiohead song is an example of music influencing the movie, not the other way around. I shot the movie according to that song, knowing all well what scene I wanted to go with what bars from the track. I'm really glad people dig that sequence.

      And thanks for the compliments toward Catherine. That's definitely what I'm most proud of, that people are being so kind and thoughtful about her performance.

      Thanks again for this comment buddy!

      Delete
  30. Alex,

    I was very "impressed" with your recent movie, Earring!!! I really enjoyed it, captivated me!! Keep following your dream!!
    Best of Luck.

    Pat T.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thanks Pat, I'm glad you enjoy the movie. "Captivated" is a word I haven't heard in a while, so cool!

      Thanks again, hope you are well!

      Delete
  31. I just realised I haven't commented on here about your work, but as I said on Twitter - you are now one of the reasons why I want to become a filmmaker.

    Radiohead! I seriously love you for that song choice.

    This was on my mind for the rest of the day. Just the way you set up Chlo's life (which definitely reminded me of Shame) was so beautiful. Man, you did good!

    And I'm going to stop now, because I fear I'm going to spaz out on the exclamation marks. Well done, Alex, you are a real inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stevee, this is was so kind of you to say. To think that this tiny little film has inspired people to create and make movies - there's simply no greater reward than that.

      I'm really glad you enjoyed the movie, and that it stuck around your brain for a while after watching it. And you are no spaz, my friend, I dig what you're putting out!

      Delete
  32. Hey man. I've just given you an award. If you want to accept it, stop by my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks Josh! Gonna post mine today!

      Delete
  33. You have gotten so many magnificent comments -- it's a real tribute to your work. It's great when people "get it," isn't it? And you're inspiring viewers to create their own films.

    I don't have much to add, right now, to what others have said. I was thoroughly absorbed in the film and impressed with your mastery of your craft. I jotted down notes, as I'm hoping to post a brief review on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Stephanie. I knew pretty early on that Earrings was going to be... different, for lack of a better word, so yes, the fact that people "get" and dig it has been incredibly satisfying (and a little surprising!).

      Look forward to your review, thanks as always for stopping by!

      Delete
  34. I liked the directing a lot, with the exception of the handheld stuff. Felt a bit distracting to me, but overall i like it. I can't say i loved the movie overall,but i think that has more to do with my taste in movies. Also, did you use natural light for all the scenes,and what kind of mics did you sue for the conversation scene?

    Btw i presumed the scene where Chloe was giving the guy the rings was a flashback, so the ending confused me for a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Julian, thanks for watching the flick and commenting here. The look of the movie is definitely "in your face," so I completely get where you're coming from. With the exception of two brief scenes (and the opening shot of the trailer), natural and available light was used exclusively throughout the movie. The only mic we used was a pro-style boom mic. Sorry I can't be more specific than that, audio really isn't my thing, so I hired a far more capable person than I to grab audio.

      As for the ending, it certainly wasn't meant to confuse, and I'm certainly not trying to be purposefully ambiguous here, but I think it is better off unexplained in detail by me.

      Just the way I prefer to do it! But again, thanks so much for watching the movie. I really do appreciate it.

      Delete
  35. I owe you an apology. Not because I've badmouthed you anywhere, but because I had skimmed your earlier posts about making a movie and my reaction was along the lines of "Okay. Whatever." This is not because I knew anything about you, but because for every Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino there were tens of thousands of other video store clerks who stood there with movies running and thought to themselves, "I could do that", but they never did. So when I saw a blogger saying he was going to make a movie I was just figuring that you were one of many. As it turns out, you are one of the few. You actually carried through with your plan, and it wasn't just a slapdash job either. It was easy to tell that you really cared about what you were doing. Kudos.

    I've never taken any film courses, so I'll leave the technical comments to others. I will say that I appreciated the lack of score because of the crispness of the ambient sounds (doors latching, insects, television white noise, etc.) The use of the songs was well done and fitting. And what can I say about Catherine's performance that has not already been said?

    I went to your IMDB page (up 415% in popularity this week - I wonder why) and I saw that you and Catherine did an earlier short titled Full Circle. I watched the trailer for it there. Is the film available to be seen anywhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Chip, what a thoughtful comment you've left here. Thanks for this.

      First, let me say I completely understand where you're coming from. I think it would be very easy (and understandable) for someone to take my pre release making of journal as the work of a real wannabe. I wanted to articulate that I take movie making very very seriously, without coming across as a pro, which I certainly am not.

      Either way, I think it's really cool for you to admit all that here, and to end up watching the film anyway. I'm glad you enjoyed the audio in the movie. Audio is admittedly not my thing, so I tried to manipulate it in anyway I could, while still being based in reality.

      As for Full Circle... I don't think I could bring myself to ever publish that on a semi wide scale. It is so raw, technically. The acting is on point, and the passion in the storytelling is there, but the technical aspects of it are total dogshit. If I ever get a free month, I would love to comb back through it and do a Criterion-style make over. Maybe one day!

      Thanks again for watching and commenting. It means a lot.

      Delete
  36. Good stuff Alex, like Chip above I’ll leave the technical talk to others. But you could genuinely see the effort and love that you put into it and Catherine was very good. Really enjoyed the scene with her and the male character (or Peter Sarsgaard as he is now known) and thought the song selection was excellent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for that, Ed. Very glad you enjoyed the film. Your comments here mean a great deal to me!

      Delete
  37. I actually only just got around to watching this all the way through (I had to be in the right mood for it). Excellent job! My favourite aspects were the music and the Catherine's acting. She really draws your attention, which is crucial in a character study like this.

    I'm going to be honest and say that the conversation scene didn't "pop" as much as I wanted it to. Overall though, it's a very well-made film. You should be proud of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and good work on the technical stuff too (sound design and cinematography). Looking forward to your future projects.

      Delete
    2. Hey man, thanks so much for the kind words. Really glad you dug the overall flick. And thanks for the specific compliments about the technical aspects of the movie! It really means a lot!

      Delete