Sunday, October 7, 2012

EARRINGS: The Commentary


I had originally planned to record and release a commentary for my short film, Earrings, a few weeks after I put the movie online. Then indifference kicked in.

There’s this weird thing that happens after you create something. You move on from it, possibly even before it’s done. I’m better off speaking strictly for myself here, but by the time Earrings was released online, I had all but considered it a thing of the past. I acknowledged its completion and was happy and ready to move on. This isn’t to say I’m not proud of it. It is as accurate a reflection of my vision as I hoped to achieve, and I am continually humbled by the kind words people have lent toward it.

The point of all this is: when Earrings was done, it was done. It was time for me to share it, and subtly step away. A few weeks ago, I got the urge to record my thoughts about the film via a director’s commentary. I think (...hope) I’ve kept the track equal parts entertaining, technical, and informative. I surely hope those interested enjoy listening to it. If nothing else, the track is a perfect verbal documentation into one of my life’s most beautiful dark twisted fantasies.

Here’s the film with my commentary:


For those new to Earrings:




Thanks to everyone for your unwavering, continued support! 

32 comments:

  1. Hey, It's your voice! My First Director's commentary. Your camera did a nice job though. It explained a lot by itself.

    I really don't understand why don't you like "Alex Withrow Presents Tupperware Box With Name On it" though ?? I mean, Come On!! :D

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    1. Ha, yup, there I am!

      I think you're right, I think I seriously faulted the film by not calling it Tupperware... adds to the overal mystique perfectly.

      But seriously, thanks for listening!

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  2. Great work Alex, this was an interesting listen. The one thing that struck me about the film the very first time I saw it, almost before anything else, was the enormous care you'd given to the tone of colour in each image. Cinema nerd that I am, it was wonderful to hear you talk perhaps too eagerly about it. Excellent stuff! Cannot wait for your next project, whenever it is.

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    1. Thanks man!

      "Perhaps too eagerly..." ha, no doubt. I was fascinated by the manipulation of color during the editing of this flick. I definitely wanted to draw particular attention to how much work goes into the post production of a film. Filming isn't a walk in the park by any means, but the panic attacks are all in post. So many different ways you can play it.

      Thanks for listening, hope you're doing well!

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  3. Hadn't thought about what she is wearing(at 07.28) , that's what a commentary is there for!
    The eye makeup on the pillow was a nice touch(at 21.14), and as you say, the actors can contribute things the director hadn't thought of. By the way, I love the use of light at 15.24. I also like that you don't explain the ending. Interesting listen :)

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    1. Thanks so much for listening Chris, really glad you enjoyed it! Catherine is much in part to thank for the overall wardrobe of the character. Those are all her clothes, but she made certain to keep everything dark and modest. The scrubs were scripted because yeah, hopefully it adds a certain level of desperation.

      All the light in the movie is natural, no additional lighting, so that's really cool that you dig it!

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  4. Great stuff man! Your comments just reinforce the fantastic job you and all involved did. I'm with SDG. I want to see something like "Alex Withrow Presents Tupperware". :)

    By the way, I completely agree on the friend's name thing. It really annoys me because, like you said, people don't talk that way.

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    1. Thanks Josh! That really means a lot (even the Tupperware bit haha).

      That's cool that we agree about names in films. One of the biggest abusers of that is Alec Baldwin in The Edge (which is a film I love, by the way). He must say Anthony Hopkins' name a good 50 times in that flick. "What do we do, Charles? Where are we, Charles? What did you mean by that, Charles?"

      They're the only two people in the fuckin' woods, so why constantly repeat his name?! Haha, just one of my nit picky things.

      Thanks for listening duuuude.

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    2. You're welcome man. I never noticed that in The Edge. Of course, I can only think of classic examples like "Oh, hi, Mark" and "Oh, hey, Denny". :)

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    3. Josh, thanks so much for your comment here. It really means a lot that you leave these, Josh.

      How is blogging going on your site, Josh? Can't wait to see what Best Of lists you decide to crack next! Josh.

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    4. No problem, Alex. ;) Things have slowed down a bit on the blogging front, but lists are always fun. You want more? Hmm... Directors? Performances? I aim to please.

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    5. Tough man, tough. Directors would be challenging, I think. But I'd be damn curious to see what you choose.

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    6. Haha. The only part I'd find challenging is whittling my longlist to 10. Plus, I'd rank them... OK, I'll do it. Might even have it posted this week.

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  5. Great commentary. Definitely informative as it definitely answered a few questions I wanted. Especially on what Catherine was snorting. Whoo, I would've been worried if it was real drugs.

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    1. Awesome dude, really glad you enjoyed it. Ha, yeah, powdered milk all the way. She was a little nervous to try it, so I did a quick pop and said it was all good. The sauce, however, is real. Nice and chilled and smooth.... unless it wasn't. Ha.

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  6. Well done Sir. That was incredibly interesting. I agree...you ruled Tupperware out too early.

    - Your Marketing Assistant

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    1. Thank you, kind sir.

      I thought you'd like my use of the word "bangaranged." I verbed it and everything.

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  7. I understand feeling done with your movie once it was done, but I'm so glad you went back and recorded this entertaining and informative commentary. It deepened my appreciation for your vision and art. Congrats again! You're such an inspiration.

    -Your Mysterious Consultant

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    1. Thanks! Your support means the world to me :)

      You consulted me in many a profound and useful way. So... thanks!

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  8. Fun commentary! I didn't even realize the hotel room creeper was on in the background until now! Awesome.

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    1. Ha! I want the Hotel Room Creeper in every film I make. Ever.

      That actor deserves the next four Oscars for Best Supporting Actor.

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    2. Hahaha, I've met the guy before. I'll let em know. I must say, he was pretty damn creepy in that role. Super creeper.

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  9. So that's what you sound like in real life ... cool! ;-) Just as smart and funny as in your writing.

    I'll try to keep my comments to a minimum (Hah! Who am I kidding.) In no particular order:

    1. This is one of the most informative director commentaries I've ever listened to. It helped me appreciate the process of filmmaking, as well as the movie, even more.

    2. I was struck again by how beautiful the film is in terms of use of light and color and the natural quality of Catherine's acting.

    3. One thing I appreciated, while listening to the commentary, was the balance between purposeful choices and intuitive decisions, which flow from the subconscious. I suspect that's true of any effective creative endeavor.

    4. I've always wanted to be able to give a proper "fuck you" stare. Never been able to master it. (Damn it, when I try to give a withering stare, people just laugh!) Maybe someday I'll find someone like Catherine who can coach me, eh? ;-)

    5. Interesting touch with the mascara on the pillow -- it's definitely the kind of thing you need a woman to notice. And "bangarang" is a word that should be used in conversation a LOT more often. I'm just sayin'.

    6. The more subdued bird song at the end is a nice touch -- I didn't pick up on that when I watched the film the first time. It contributes to the quiet, contemplative feeling in that scene, something I did notice on first go (though I didn't consciously know all the reasons why).

    7. Oh, and it's cool that you're a fellow Virginian.

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    1. Ahh, thanks so much for this long and lovely comment.

      HA, yep, that’s me!

      1. Wow, thank you for saying that. Truly.
      2. Thanks!
      3. That right there is, to me, the key to filmmaking. Having things planned, but being completely open to whatever may come up. I definitely have to be able to shuck and jive on set.
      4. Seriously, right? She ranks with the best I’ve ever seen.
      5. She didn’t even ask me if that was okay to do, I turned my back, and when I turned around, she was smearing it. Perfect. “Bangarang” rooocks.
      6. Little touches, little touches.
      7. I didn’t know you were from VA! Born and raised.

      Thanks again, Stephanie! I always enjoy your comments here!

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    2. Richmond is a cool city. I'm originally from N.C. but have been living in VA -- in the Shenandoah Valley -- for 20 years.

      I'm definitely going to be looking for opportunities to use the word "bangarang" in conversation.

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    3. Good stuff. I grew up in Loudoun County, which I. Hated. So, happy to be in a groovy little city now!

      This may help with your bangarang usage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJVmu6yttiw

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  10. You know I never listen to director commentaries, but I might have to start with yours, I am very curious :) great job!

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    1. Thanks, D! Hope you like what I have to say... I tried to keep it informative and as entertaining as possible. Let me know what you think if you give it a listen!

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