Sunday, April 15, 2007

Universal Traveler

For the past few months, I've been working on my senior thesis film, and I finally wrapped editing the other day on Universal Traveler. It's a 12 minute short that draws inspiration from people like Grant Morrison and David Lynch, but hopefully has a lot of my own voice in there. If you enjoy reading the blog, you probably like the stuff I like, and this movie is all stuff I like, so I'd highly reccomend giving it a look. Here's a couple of images from the film:

Yes, I did read Zatanna right around the time I was writing this. Check out more on the film here, download it, or stream it below. It's from Revver not because of my desire to make money, but simply because Youtube has a 10 minute limit.

I'd love to hear any comments you've got on the film, and if you want to check out my previous work, it's all online at


David Golding said...

Finally managed to watch this all the way through (with the boy on my lap): I liked it, though I had some reservations.

Great stuff: the electronic music, the song at the end, the first cut from v/o to Tori speaking directly which totally saves the use of v/o, the stage magician bit, the anti-self's mental assault on Kate, the anti-self's physical attack on Tori and pretty much everything from then on. I really like the recurring idea of something-from-nothing, which I think is a proper matter for time travel stories, but which few ever get in to.

Not-so-great stuff: Fuss's solo acting is fine, but the other actors aren't so hot, and their interaction generally seems artificial. The early exposition seems rushed. The break-in and running sequence doesn't look convincing, nor does the later wrist-cutting. The rock music is weak. I'm not a fan of wobbly cam, and I realise this is a personal prejudice, but on the other hand, I think you needed a fixed camera to convey a fourth wall for Tori's hand to touch at the end.

Sorry it's taken me so long to back to you!

Patrick said...

Interesting feedback, I definitely agree with you on some of your issues, most of which stem from the fact that I just didn't have that much time to develop the characters. We had a 12 minute cap on the running time, so I had to zip through the exposition and get right into the action. Originally I had a lot more ruminating about the nature of time and such, but that got cut down.

And, a lot of the acting/characterization issues stem from that as well. I had to use shorthand to convey who these people are in a really short time. So, that can lead to some artificiality, like how Kate is so timid and unassertive, or how Steve just spits out insulting one liners. I erred in the direction of making the characters clearer rather than risking them not coming across. But I'd definitely agree that Alicia's acting is the best, she has a really expressive face and the exact sort of attitude I wanted for the character. I wanted her to be like the Volume II Invisibles, really styled and cool even as she goes through all this bad stuff.

I'm a big 'wobbly cam' fan, though I tried to tone it down a bit for this one. Still, there are some really shaky parts. The reason I didn't have a fixed camera at the end is because that idea just sort of came to me in the moment. Originally I was going to have her move into some kind of odd other dimension, but she was walking out of the room and I saw her in front of the blinds and I was like, this is the image. Then I told her to hold up the hand and that was the ending right there. I wasn't even thinking about what it meant at the time, it just felt right.

But, I'm glad that so much of the stuff works. The thing I like most about this film is that it creates a self contained universe and pulls off doing a plausible big idea sci-fi story with the limited resources I had.

As I'm sure you picked up, this had a lot of Seven Soldiers in it. I came up with the idea when I was reading that book, and my goal was to do something as fun and idea filled as that book. Then all the time travel stuff came up and the whole thing sort of fell into place.

And if you enjoyed this one, I'd reccomend checking out Dream of Life, the latest film I did. It's a short one, just six minutes, but there's a lot of worthwhile stuff in there too, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.