Community Critique: Atomic Kingdom


(James Peniata) #1

‘Atomic Kingdom’ is a collection of stories that take place within the future of Australia after world war 3.
Australia remains virtually untouched due to the assistance of a group of alien guardians but with one big difference, there are 20 islands instead of a handful of states.
Now a power hungry tyrant is hell bent on rejoining the islands into a one government leadership as it was before WW3. But after years of peace in the way things have become this would cause much chaos and destruction of the new and evolved society that inhabit the country nicknamed the Atomic Kingdom. Although containing the same characters the focus switches on different characters each episode. Much like the show ‘Skins’. Entire show was filmed over a 2 year period (or just under) and edited over a period of a year. Everyone involved balanced work and life with filming.

My name is James and I am the creator of Atomic Kingdom.
I have a minor role in the show itself (as I am an actor too and wanted to flex my chops a bit). However, im not involved too much as i was mostly busy behind the camera.
I love learning and like to grow and evolve as a person and creator/performer.

Below is the big final episode 10 entitled Iron Hearts. Its kind of the peak of our efforts on this series.

Interested in your thoughts all over but particularly in these areas:

. There are multiple character stories, but do you feel there are too many? And do any stand out that you feel should have been focused on more? Are there any you feel should have been less focused on or even cut?

. Do you feel there are too many characters? And if so, which do you feel I should have focused on more? And less?

. The overall story, is it clear? Could it have been strengthened? And how so?

. Considering we had a very large concept for a no money production, do you feel it was displayed effectively?
If not, how do you think we could have altered things to make that particular concept work?

. We promote this show as an action, fantasy. We’ve only just recently added “drama” to that description. Do you feel this is pretty accurate? How could you suggest we promote it as?

. MOST importantly…is it entertaining?

. If we continued with a season 2 OR spin off series, what changes would you suggest?

https://youtu.be/OUt95Xpx5Eg - episode 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpWKGeWeZhM - series trailer


(sam lockie-waring) #2

shit dude 50 minutes? this might take me a while


(sam lockie-waring) #3

first impressions: a lot of backstory up front, very hard to follow. i do think there are too many storylines, and conversations seem to happen for peak drama rather than story content.

i will say- the lighting is dope as hell. very cool sci-fi look, and i really dug the way the fight scene worked as sfx. the disappearing and reappearing. went on a bit long (a statement which can be made about a lot of this so far) so there were moments you could really see the edits, but overall, hella impressive my man.


(Meg Carroway) #4

Oh geez ok so I’m not sure I’ll have time to watch the whole thing but here are my notes:

  • really pretty shots. Now I wanna move to Australia to have access to all those beautiful locations!
  • There are a lot of cliches- a woman slaps a man and he responds “yeah I deserved that,” a person addressing a group and starting by saying “good, you’re all here,” etc.
  • If you need that much exposition (there’s SO MUCH), try to layer it over B-roll. Like how they do in heist movies- if someone is explaining the plan, overlay that VO with them actually carrying out the plan. It’ll speed up the show overall and we won’t have to sit and listen to a plan for ten minutes and then actually watch the plan for another twenty.
  • I have no idea what’s going on, even after the 5 minute info dump at the beginning. There are way too many characters, especially for the web. You guys do a really good job with the resources available, but these resources should have focused more on the few best moments/characters so you could raise the production quality as a whole AND make it more web-friendly. There are very few people who will watch ten 50 minute episodes of drama content that aren’t Netflix-level quality (which yours isn’t- it can’t be! Who has that kind of time/money??) If it’s not Netflix-level quality, it shouldn’t be Netflix-level length. Be ambitious, but also attribute your resources so that the show looks its best for the audience it’s actually seeking. Does that make sense?

(Bri Castellini) #5

I’m going to echo Sam in some ways- there is a LOT of exposition. Perhaps that’s a symptom of it being a finale, but there’s a lot of just people sitting around and explaining backstory and character details. The exposition implies we should be tense and concerned, but due to the fairly monotone levels of these conversations and how long they’re drawn out, the stakes are lost on me and I find myself impatient to get to another cool fight scene. (The fight scene was very cool)

Your production quality is really impressive, and I would have liked more movement as your crew proved you could handle it/ make moving shots interesting.

On a scene level and an arc level, I think you have to ask yourself: is every moment of this scene moving the story forward? How much can I take out so that the story still makes sense, and what exposition can I cut and instead put in as a nonverbal moment or a later scene? There’s a great article by the crew behind @Out_of_It that really explores this concept:
http://community.stareable.com/t/lessons-learnt-the-rewrite/?source_topic_id=3196


(James Peniata) #6

Excellent!! Exactly what i wanted to hear haha.
Your tip with the layering of the plan is the filmmaker advice i was looking for. That scene actually went a LOT longer and i cut out about a minute and 30 secs and STILL couldnt speed it through. But i think if i recut things like that next time it would be better! Thank you!! Haha

When you said we should have focused on the few best moments/ characters which ones stood out for you in this particular episode? There are a few i will be recasting for a spin off if we choose them.


(James Peniata) #7

Your words are seriously so kind! Haha. Yep this was the finale, so we tied up 9 episodes of characters in one ep (which im realising probably was too much for one ep from these reactions lol).
I honestly suspected as much.
Im definitely going to make the next few eps shorter though. Still longform but much shorter than an hour lol.
The crew we had (all 9 of them) were AMAZING!! Neither of them were onset all at once during but we had a rotation based on who was free to help and i seriously am SO GRATEFUL for them.


(James Peniata) #8

Thank you for the feedback. Im happy the lighting worked for you haha. I sat there for a year after work or whenever i had time trying to make it all flow as best i could (at the time). Which characters did you feel were interesting? Im going to reformat eventually and possibly to a season 2 or spinoff (this time with money hopefully).