Sign of the Times (view this story)

3 comments - Login to comment

Rep: 21
Chuck Fadely May 23, 2010, 9:31 p.m. permalink

I'm not at all worthy to critique a piece like this, but I'll try anyway.

If one were to make a checklist of how to shoot a story, you've done it all:
Great character. Check.
Scene setting shots. Check.
Sequences with wide/med/tight. Check.
Nat pops. Check.
Different angles and perspectives. Check.
Great script and narration. Check.
Technically great shots and sound. Check.
Fast pacing. Check.

This is a terrifically executed story on an engaging and interesting person.

For anyone starting out this is like a textbook of techniques you can use in visual storytelling. Every frame of this piece has something to learn from... it's amazing.

But you're not someone just starting out.... so I get to rag on you a bit: I think maybe this is a story where all those techniques you brought to bear get in the way of the story, rather than helping it. I was aware of the photographer throughout this piece... All the crossing-axis phone pad shots; all the one word or one phrase sound bites; all the rapid fire edits.... those are all techniques one uses to build up to something. I kept waiting to get to the meat of the story. I wanted to hear her tell me why I should care enough to hire her. I wanted some insight on why she wasn't living in a tent city. Where's her family? I wanted some emotional connection with her that I never got. She needed to say something profound and then have some breathing room to savor it.

You served up a tremendous Sunday buffet of all the trimmings of your story.... but I felt like the main course was not fully cooked.

My comments are directed at the story structure on a higher plane. I'm talking about seeing the forest when you've delivered on the trees. (The techniques and edit were solid... except for one little thing that bugged me: the guy in the overalls, a great character, kept reappearing when time had obviously passed. I know he was too good to let go of, but it was another instance where I was aware of the photog and not the story.)

I wish I had your mad skills in shooting. I wish I could cut a piece word-by-word and make it flow. Great job. But the story is everything - make me care.

Rep: 91
Peter Huoppi May 24, 2010, 6:46 p.m. permalink

First of all, what I like:
-The editing technique and pacing are fantastic. I was never bored, which is a common problem with pieces of this length.
-This is a story that needs to be told, and you found a fantastic character through which to tell it. By letting me get to know her and to care about her, I start to identify with her and feel for her. This does a lot more than sitting at an anchor desk and reading unemployment numbers to me.
-Sounds. Clearly you know what you're doing here, because there was natural sound to carry me through the entire piece.

Here's what I didn't like:
-The editing and the technique. While I love the quick cuts, after 8 minutes, I started to feel a bit dizzy. At some point, I wanted to take a breath and hear something more than a quick blast of one sentence.
-Too much unrelated material. It was a full minute before I even met your main character. The music provides nice thematic bookends, but the story is about Simmjaze, not the musicians or the panhandler. I was fascinated by the trip to the tent city, but but it came and went so quickly, I was left wondering what happened.

Like Chuck said, I wish I could shoot and edit like this. But for a story of this length, as a viewer I'd like the pace to relax at some point and hear the subject speak from her heart without all the quick cuts.

Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan May 28, 2010, 6:18 p.m. permalink

That was great. You really made me feel for Simmjaze. I gotta know, did she get a job after the story aired?

I love the way you shoot. The editing was well done but I agree with above that it could have used a little breathing room. I would have liked to get to her story sooner. I think you could have gotten to her in half the time and made the story better.

Really nice storytelling. Thanks for sharing it.

Login to comment

Likes3 likes

You must be logged in to like this story

Others who like this