The Bird Watching Movie

In anticipation of releasing my newest video on Youtube this week, I thought I would go through some of my older shorts and talk about them.


“The Bird Watching Movie”

This is the first movie I made that was longer than one minute, and I am pretty proud of it. I created this in the fall of 2007 with two other partners. The exercise was ostensibly to create something less than five minutes and use some camera techniques (graphic matches, depth of focus, zooms, pans) that we had learned in class. Most groups did comedies, like ours.

I don’t know how we decided to do birding. I think my partner Jackie mentioned something about bird watching and we ran with it. I remember storyboarding the movie before writing the script, something I have never done, but is actually quite freeing. If you know what is happening, it is easy to write in the details. Once I knew I would play Charlie, the story was easy. I simply had to find my craziness and amplify that about one hundred percent. The bird calls at the beginning of the film are not based on any real calls but simply figments of my imagination. Again, craziness inspires this film.
What I Like:

1. I am glad that we were able to improvise ninety percent of the script. The humor does not feel as forced. Comedy is best unexpected and unarranged, and most of our shots were just that, set up, shoot, and wait for the funny. The plot points needed to be specific, but the dialogue did not.

2. For example, many people laugh when “Andy” tells Charlie his name is not really Andy. This was not in the script but still very funny.

What I Don’t Like:

1.  I would have used a real bird for the chase sequence.

2.  I probably would have switched out that one shot where I approach the camera at the end of the chase. It looks pretty forced.

3. Instead of simply locating Charlie at a lectern for the bird watching “conference,” I would have tried to co-opt a lecture or something and filmed there. It just looks very sparse, and I know that’s what I’m going for, but that scene does not say “conference” to me.

Enjoy, and if you really like the videos, subscribe to my YouTube, I promise to subscribe back

4 responses to “The Bird Watching Movie

  1. You should write for another Ace Ventura ; )

  2. Haha, I agree the Andy moment is priceless!

    Just subscribed, and looking forward to hearing the backstory to your other films.

    • Haha, thanks! I still have “The Race,” but that will be a difficult one to talk about–so many things about that movie I wish I had done.

  3. I like the fact that there’s not a single live bird in it, that’s what makes it funny.

    “oh no, that’s a truck”, priceless!

    I would agree on the opening lecture, I was expecting a shot to the audience with something really unexpected, maybe old people and a guy in a bird suit or something.

    I’d send this to “Current TV’s” viewer related content, it’s just as good as some things I’ve seen on there. You have some creative camera angles, and the music is great, I thought the humor was spot on.

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