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Posts by Andrew Todd

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Judging this competition

These are my personal thoughts, not representative of the competition, etc etc etc:

When I was Chch manager I didn't do what AJ did. Partially because of the insane time commitment required (I literally don't know how AJ manages it), but also because the moment you start publicly discussing the judging decisions, that immediately opens them up for debate and discussion. In my experience once that door opens, it's almost impossible to shut it. It's just cleaner to go "the judging decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into" than to start getting squirrelly with explanations. Then after that it's on a case by case basis.

Furthermore:

It's hard to make statements as an individual judge/manager when the judging panel collectively might have a vastly different opinion to you. God knows some of my favourites missed out on finals placings over the years. We did get quotes from judges a couple times for when awards were given out, but they ended up creating more problems than they solved - basically, people got angrier about the explanations than they did about the decisions themselves. Easier to nitpick when you have nits to, er, pick.

There's also the issue of if you get too specific with your feedback, teams can sometimes take that to heart in the wrong way and start trying to match it point-for-point. Anything from the mouth of the manager is read as gospel by a lot of teams (particularly emerging ones), and I always tried to err on the side of not pointing teams in any particular direction, lest I stifle creativity or contribute to creating some sort of monoculture within the comp. The first year I ran the competition I screened the previous year's winner while we were waiting for launch, and I ended up getting several very similar films from teams that obviously thought it was some sort of guaranteed template for success.

Ultimately the sad truth of the matter is, it makes no difference how well you explain the judging decisions - many of the people demanding those explanations will usually reject anything you say anyway. They'll believe whatever conspiracy theories they want to believe. It's often driven by dismay that their team's film didn't do better, and ultimately nothing's going to heal that wound except time and reflection. Obviously some teams will be a bit more genuine, but you can't rely on it. Finals-night bitterness is a hell of a drug. I know; I've been on it many times myself.

Since I've been back in competition, I've certainly had issues with the judging, but I've also seen behind the curtain enough to know that the judges very rarely agree on their favourite films, and it's all subjective anyway, so the trick - as T.E. Lawrence would say - is not minding that it hurts. Shrug it off, make a film you think is better next time, and try to have fun.

In summary: feedback would be great if we could rely on people's ability to hear and process feedback and respond maturely. Sadly, that's one of the toughest, rarest, and most complex skills in the creative world (I know I could be better at it), and experience has taught me, at least, that it's best to limit feedback to "these films got into the finals, and these others didn't; look closely and draw your own conclusions."

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

New reviews / screening room!

If we're being honest, given that finalists are (rightfully) prioritised in the screening room, most of the films will only ever be watched by large audiences in the heats. If there's no way to post a review right after the heat, those films just aren't gonna get reviews.

Maybe it'll be time for the old-old-school method of posting lengthy forum threads to come back.

More likely, there'll be a bunch of orphan Facebook posts that get buried by the algorithm.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

New reviews / screening room!

in reply to Mista Teas:

Hard to stop I guess.

Well, with this design it is. I'd say that making people put ratings on their posts is sufficient to frame them as reviews instead of comments, but then again people responded to reviews in the old site as well.

One thing when I click on my profile it lists my Entries as THREE. Two of my films and one of TBALCs. Not sure how that works. :)

On "my account" there's Utka, and two films I wasn't involved in (or even in the same city as). I imagine it's a bug to be worked out, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what would make that happen!

Noticed that searching names in the search box also turns up results, presumably drawn from wrapup form data. Neat.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

New reviews / screening room!

Clicking a team name to show all their films is problematic when certain teams enter under different names each year (either by choice or because they accidentally spell things slightly differently), and when teams can also change personnel dramatically / splinter into smaller teams, and so on. It'd require a ton of hand curation to function properly and it honestly probably isn't worth the effort. You can always just use search.

Also: correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems like it's currently only possible to post reviews of films that have been posted online? Surely this has gotta change when we return to screening films in cinemas.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

2020 Lockdown Roll Call

Lamington Wolf, standing by.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Unwanted posts

I came in to check this year's dates, saw the spam tsunami, then noted I still had mod powers from when I was a city manager. So I banned several dozen spam accounts and deleted months worth of spam posts. Just deleted a bunch more now.

Unfortunately they seem to come in nearly as fast as they can be deleted. A rethink of the forum registration process seems to be in order.

(Managers, feel free to strip me of my mod powers, but like, on the other hand, the spam's gone.)

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Christchurch City Finals: morning-after de-brief/-lirium/-tox

I'm personally of the opinion that it shouldn't be about which films incorporate which judging criteria the best, and that it should be more holistic than that. Films shouldn't be made to tick boxes. On the other hand, 48HOURS is a pretty specific competition, so it probably has to do that to a degree. Maybe when picking finalists. Picking winners, though, I feel you have to go for the best short rather than the one that plays the "game" the smartest.

The main reason for deliberation, to me, is for judges to make their cases for the films they liked where other judges might have missed something. A bunch of opinions separately don't mean shit when judging art, but a conversation will usually come to an actual decision that means something. Also, with ranked balloting, a film that gets 50% first-place votes and 50% last-place votes will place lower than a film that everyone ranked, like, slightly above the middle, which feels stupid to me.

Obviously though, for international judging it's just going to have to be some kind of ranking system, because you're never going to coordinate all those busy people across all those time zones.

Not sure how much of this is too inside-baseball for the forums but whatever.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Christchurch City Finals: morning-after de-brief/-lirium/-tox

in reply to Brendon:

Thoughts on the amount of/lack of alignment between the Chch final and the Grand final?

I put it down to ranked balloting and no in-person deliberation, which in combination is, pardon my Québécois, une idée idiote en tabarnak.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Finalists

As explained somewhere on the site, the national category nominees are the regional category winners, same as it's almost always been, and Best Ultra =/= Best Film.

Looks like it'll be a strong-ass final!

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Filling up the screening room

in reply to jjosland:

Rubix Dude and Wheelchair Mania

Rubix Dude is AMAZING and you should find someone who can rip it for you!

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Filling up the screening room

I agree - it has to be up to the teams. There's something to be said for films that are made to be screened at 48HOURS and 48HOURS only - it's an extreme reading of the ephemeral nature of the competition, but it's a valid one. There are also a lot of teams who don't want their films to be seen again - either at all, or in the state they submitted them in.

Reminds me of Dan Savage's Humpfest, which is a touring short pornographic film festival with many similarities to 48 (required elements, genres, time limits, etc). They literally destroy their copies of the films once the tour's over, which ensures the films never play outside that context. That's vital for the filmmakers in this instance, most of whom are ordinary folks whose reputations could be harmed by videos being put online without their say-so.

Am I sad that a number of my favourite 48HOURS films have disappeared into the ether? Absolutely. But that ain't my call to make.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

2019 Thoughts

7 stars gives you more granularity than 5 but isn't as stupidly granular as 10. There's a middle rating, 4, and high/medium/low ratings for either side of that. It's great.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Christchurch Finalist Prediction Thread

Also interesting: Best Director has only been a category (in Chch anyway) since 2013. Of the six city winners, three didn't have Best Director nominations (The Ex, Down To The Wire, and Utka), but EVERY runner-up has had one.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

Christchurch Finalist Prediction Thread

in reply to Bloydd:

Script nomination seems to be the one you need to win/place as IIRC only one team has come runner up without one and that was a non-dialogue film.

Hero didn't have one; Eh Team's 2011 body-switch movie didn't have one; New Fish didn't have one; Death In The West didn't have one; and yeah, Azanti didn't have one. (Source: I have detailed files (but they only go back to 2009))

Also, only one team has all of the big five - director, script, editing, cinematography, and performance - and that's Eh Team 2.0. Of course, animated films and musicals throw this all out of sorts, so, uh.........

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)

Andrew Todd
From: Christchurch
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 680

2019 Thoughts

Seems to be a fundamental disconnect between two philosophies on the elements:

1. "UGH I have to put these in my FILM or I get DISQUALIFIED" - it doesn't matter how they're in there as long as they're there somewhere, and they're a necessary evil to keep the competition honest.

2. "I wonder how these can shape my story" - the elements are there to inspire the films and their clever and integral use is a big part of the competition's character.

Both approaches can lead to clumsy shout-outs AND to subtle integrations.

These are philosophies that can be exhibited by both filmmakers and the organisers. This year the competition skewed way towards #1 at the HQ decision making level, and it's consequently the first time I've done the same in my attitude.

GHOST SHARK 2: URBAN JAWS available for download or stream
Senior Contributor at Birth.Movies.Death

2020 Lockdown - "The Quiet Moon" - Science Fiction
2019 - "Schism" - Science Fiction (National finalist; Chch 3rd place + Best Cinematography; Toronto After Dark and Morbido Fest 2019, Chattanooga Film Fest 2020)
2018 - "Utka" - Wish (National finalist; Chch winner + Best Script + Best Animation; Kiev International Short Film Festival 2019 and Abycinitos 2020)
2011-2017 - Christchurch 48HOURS City Manager
2010 - "I Am Single" - Rom-Com (Chch finalist + Best Art Direction)
2009 - "New Fish" - Musical (National runner-up + Best Score, Chch winner)
2008 - "Übermensch" - Horror (Chch finalist)
2007 - "Pain Killer: The Sick Sense" - Superhero (Chch finalist)
ALSO - "As Of Yet Unfinished" (2012, unofficial); "The Contender" (2010, finals intro)