Community Critique- Who Run This Town


(Stephon B) #1

Thank you! My name is Stephon Brown. Director, Editor and Writer For Lavish Film Factory.

I have a new scripted Web Series “Who Run This Town” that’s getting ready to premiere this weekend and I would love to see if I can get you guys to take a look at the series.

The Web Series is a scripted drama series, created in Columbus, Ohio. I wrote, directed, edited and produced it myself and filmed the entire project with my cell phone.

Summary: After Zeus Parents are assassinated, it’s up to him to keep the Infamous Family Empire standing. As old and new enemies start to move in on his Territory, Zeus doesn’t know who to trust in the mist of War over control of the city.

You can check out episodes, previews, trailers and behind the scenes looks for Who Run This Town on my YouTube page: Lavish Film Factory.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Thank you for your time,

Stephon Brown
Lavish Film Factory
Twitter: directorlavish


(Bri Castellini) #2

Hi Stephon- are there specific things you want people to pay attention to? Things you’re worried about, or feel you aren’t as strong at? Ways to do certain scenes or moments differently?


(sam lockie-waring) #3

some gorgeous cinematography- great use of transitional lighting. the camera moves add a lot of energy to the scenes. i did notice a black screen sometimes in transitions between cuts and it’s distracting and looks like a mistake (if it is a mistake, keep an eye on dropped frames while editing. sometimes they’re so small you’ll miss them). the pregnancy scene had some extra weird cuts too, even in the middle of lines, which also looks like a mistake.


(Bri Castellini) #4

Shooting the entire thing on your cell phone is really impressive- way to use your existing resources!

The audio in the beginning is obviously filtered for an effect, but the effect is still a really bad auditory experience, and it’s hard to parse any words or tell what’s going on. The audio is a consistent problem throughout the first episode- it kind of sounds like everything is happening under water.

Some of the editing is interesting and adds movement and energy, while other editing is obvious and riddled with what look like quick fixes in post when a scene isn’t stitching together properly. I agree with Sam that there are some excellent camera moves- makes the scenes feel alive and fluid- but the editing can get in the way.

By minute 11 I still have no idea who the characters are, what’s happening in the story. There is never a scene where I’m introduced to who these people are, where we are in the world, or what is going on in the world. A confusing cold open with lots of energy and chaos can be good, to draw viewers in, but at some point you have to pause to let us know what’s happening. You can’t keep the audience at arm’s length for longer than a minute or two, especially in a web series. At some point, you have to slow down and tell us what’s going on.


(Stephon B) #5

Thank you for watching, I definitely agree with you’re critique, smoother transitions and steady camera work and shots would definitely make it better. Definitely one of many things that I am working on.


(Stephon B) #6

Thanks Bri! I was waiting to hear a response from you. Your Critique is very accurate, one issue I realize I have is trying to do everything myself. Getting a team of people to help with this production will definitely help the outcome of each episode and make the storyline easier to follow. Working on that each each episode. Episode 3 is coming very soon


(Bri Castellini) #7

I’ve run into that problem before, trust me- just because you CAN do something all by yourself doesn’t mean you SHOULD. It’s especially important at the writing/planning stage to have a second (and third) pair of eyes, so that you make the most of your time on set. If the script is confusing, it doesn’t matter how pretty your shots are, or how engaging your actors are, so getting feedback early on is vital. I know for me, I never show a script to an actor before I have two separate people read it and give me feedback, then I usually read it out loud with my partner to get a final opinion.


(Blair Hunter) #8

My comments: the writing is confusing and the actors mumble so it’s card to understand what they’re saying. They say the N word, like, a lot, in a way that is definitely going to alienate potential audiences. any profanity used too frequently (using “bitch” in the tied up scene also comes to mind) sounds like you’re faking intensity rather than actually having intensity. Saying “fuck” to show anger instead of just showing anger is lazy.


(Alex Barbag) #9

Really good video quality for an iPhone. As others have stated, the audio at the beginning makes it hard to hear what is going on.

One thing I really liked was the lighting in the garage for the hostage scene. That added to the confusion and darkness of that scene.


(JustWalking2017) #10

Watched the first episode and I think the series has potential.

I am impressed that all of this was shot on an iPhone but I think shooting on an iPhone does have it’s limitations. The cameras not able to quickly adjust to the lighting in scenes where you are going from outdoor to indoors or vice versa. Therefore at times it is hard to see the faces of some of the actors/actresses in the scenes.

Quality of the video overall looks great though. Audio from the iPhone especially in scenes with a lot of background noise like the opening scene makes it hard to hear what people are saying.

I think as you go forward character development in the series needs to be focus. Take the viewer more into the world of some of these characters so they can care. I like that we are thrown immediately into Zeus story but I want to know more about him personally.

Overall I think you can build and get better with this especially as you invest in equipment for both video and audio. Keep up the good work!


(Stephon B) #11

Thanks a lot, I really appreciate the feedback. Im definitely working on getting the full potential out of this project


(Keif Gwinn) #12

Look at using an app for your phone like Filmic Pro, or something where you can set the exposure for the shot. It was very distracting to watch the first few minutes as the auto-exposures going all over the place.


(James Peniata) #13

Theres not much i can really say that others havent.

But here goes haha.

I really liked Medusa. She has a genuine quality to her character. For me she is quite instantly drawing.
I want to know more about her story and see how she fits further into all this.
There are quite a lot of characters (im not one to avoid a big cast on an indie project no matter how stressful lol) but the one thing that let it down is that not all of them had a sufficient introduction. So that combined with the lighting and audio restrictions left me confused as to what was happening at times (especially the back street scene where the girls find the other girl shot).
Also, when some of the actors are talking the camera isnt on them which isnt too much of a problem given the constant moving flow of the camera working (which i like) but sometimes its a bit jarring. We spent a lot of time looking at the back of an actors head while they were talking. To touch back on something i said before, i really like the flow of the series and camera. I like it constantly moving. Constantly keeping us on our feet to what will be revealed on screen next. So to fix the issue of actors not being seen whilst acting maybe get them to practice a few times and use that to practise camera movement around them to capture each necessary key moment on camera while maintaining that really cool moving flow.
I actually really liked the quality of your iphone. I think there is a plugin or something you can get for a microphone for the iphone which might help you a lot. Plus an app that helps adjust lighting for your camera while filming.
If you can, maybe try to add a bit more lighting in there for the actors and locations (again, if you can). It can really add drama to your sets and locations as sometimes they look a little bland and dont really add much to the intensity of whats going down…fully relying on the actors to sell their performances…that you cant see sometimes.

I really like this show though. A lot of room to grow and improve and i see a hint of its direction in the future. I like these kind of stories. Maybe cut down the use of the N word a bit? I get that in this group of friends and in this kinda story it might work but it honestly did feel over used to the point where it felt like a “hands in pockets” moment (the issue some new actors have while acting is hiding their hands in their pockets). Zues seemed to sway a lot during his scene in the mechanic shop (i think thats what it was). Which i thought was clever seeming he is trying to prove he is strong enough to take over the family business yet swaying kinda made him look nervous, restless or anxious. Either a sign that hes not ready to take over but is forcing himself to be ready and speed up his growth for the sake of his familys name. Or just a weird in the moment choice from a slightly inexperienced actor. Ive got a lot of experience in the latter and its good to work with them to relax and let go of the nerves.
I really like the change up in the locations. It keeps it fresh and jumping along.
Im a fan of the HIT THE GROUND RUNNING storytelling technique you have. A lot of webseries dont usually utilise that kind of storytelling but primarily because of time i guess. But i like that youve packed so much into each ep. It keeps it moving along and progressing.
Personally I would like to see more of a variety in the runtimes with a lot of shows but i completely understand the reasons behind the times. But i like longform and your series is right up my ally so im definitely wanting to watch some more.