21 May 2017


by Leigh Lundin

You can learn a lot about story-telling from movies, but ounce-for-ounce, you might learn even more from short films. Much like comparing short stories to novels, these compact stretches of faux celluloid take a lot of work and often collaborative effort.

I've kept the examples short, partly because our time is valuable but also to demonstrate the impact of tight story telling. An issue seen in YouTube shorts is that student movie-makers sometimes haven't figured out the definition of plot. Instead, some present vignettes masquerading as stories. Undoubtedly our editors at AHMM and EQMM come across the same problem when parsing new submissions.

Following are three short samplings. Pick and choose as you will. I saved the most unexpected for last.

Print Your Guy

Old theme, new technology. You know what's going to happen, but it's still fun watching it play out.

Waltz Duet

This brilliant little film packs a lot into three minutes. You'll notice the music-box theme. I don't have sufficient adjectives to describe the plot and I've struggled to come up with a way of explaining it without giving it away. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Future

You'll need 3-D VR googles (like a high-tech stereiscope) and  an Android or iPad tablet or smart phone. Google Cardboard goggles priced at $10-20 are very cheap and easy to use. Without the right gear, you'll only get a hint of what to expect, but imagine a modern-day ViewMaster and watch this Justin Lin short movie to see where the future or presentation technology is heading.


Elizabeth said...

I loved these, especially the music box one! Husband gave me a music box for our anniversary.

I don't have an android or anything like that but I do have a pair of disposable cardboard 3D glasses from a movie theatre. One lens is red & the other is green. I'll watch the third video again & will post again if I see anything different.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Leigh! I've watched only one film so far but enjoyed it very much. I'll try to get back to the others later in the day.

A Broad Abroad said...

I want a sequel to the Valse.
Think the make of piano may be a gentle homage to the co-joined Hensel twins.

Leigh Lundin said...

Hey, Elizabeth! The red/green glasses won’t work in this case. Google ‘Cardboard’ (google Google cardboard to see what I mean) is an inexpensive device literally made out of cardboard and lenses. It works by keeping what each eye sees separate from the other, much like the stereoscopes of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s the same principle the ViewMaster of the 1950s and 60s used. They way the work is you put your smart phone in them (iPhone or Android… e.g, Samsung, LG, ZTE, etc.) so that your smart phone serves at the projector. You can find Google Cardboard for $10-20 or you can find more expensive third-party versions made out of plastic. By blocking out the light and surrounding images, you see a 3-D world that your phone projects.

Bonnie, you didn’t say which one you watched, but I’m glad you liked it.

Hi ABA! That reference hadn’t occurred to me. That’s a clever thought. I didn’t start catching clues until after they rose from the piano, then I had to go back and watch it from the beginning. It’s clever… and gentle. I’m pleased you liked it.

Eve Fisher said...

There are some great short films. I attach, for (hopefully) your viewing pleasure one of my favorites: "The Big Snit":

Barb Goffman said...

I watched the first two. The first one had more plot than the second. That and the humor probably led me to enjoy it more, though the second one was touching.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Leigh. I don't have a smartphone, but if I ever get one I'll try watching with the device you describe.

Leigh Lundin said...

Eve, what a strange and funny cartoon. I liked that. I burst out laughing when I saw his scrabble letters.

Barb, that's true. It's unspoken, but both contain morals as well.

Elizabeth, if you do, I mentioned somewhere coming across a 3-D VR version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. A number of people are making 3-D videos for Google Cardboard and other devices. Actually I went without a cell phone for years until friends, tired of not being able to reach me, bought me one. Now I'm official.