MOVIE CLICHES

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MOVIE CLICHES

Postby Pops Freshenmeyer on Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:33 pm

It's depression era or something like that, character A is poverty stricken and VERY HUNGRY. Character B needs something from character A. Can you guess where this is going?

Cut to some diner, restaurant or someplace and character A is stuffing their face with food that character B treated them too. Character B watches in astonishment.

Two examples, Dick Tracy and the new King Kong, as well as countless other movies. Any other examples?

This cliche is avoidable, it can be better directed. If it absolutely needs to stay in the script, is the direct cut to character A eating like there's no tomorrow really necessary? How about we cut to them both seated at the table, a 2 shot or something and no one is eating yet, maybe waiting for their food. Maybe start with the establishing shot of the place beforehand so the audience can be lead to expect the cliche will about to occur but then we cut to the 2 shot or medium shot of character A with all this food in front of them, and s/he is pensive about digging in. Don't get me wrong, they're starving and would like nothing better then to stuff their face but a little humility, for the sake of cliche busting, at least. How about they take their time to dig in, just feeling awkward and humble about the situation. Then character B says it's all right and they start to eat, not aggressively, not going crazy with it, but slowly, then they build up and gorge, if the gorging is even necessary.

This is a cliche that needs to end.

Any other examples besides Dick Tracy? I know I've seen it hundreds of times, the cliched scene, not Dick Tracy.

Anyone have any other overused cliches and ideas on how to better direct them?
Last edited by Pops Freshenmeyer on Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sat Dec 10, 2005 12:55 pm

A Scriptwriting teacher told me that a cliche is a cliche for a bloody good reason, you know? 'Cos it's message is true, btu so important and profound that it gets repeated over and over again.

You gotta breathe new life into it, present it in another way, attack it in a more edgy way, and obviously make it more profound.

Also not resorting to the same old lines that movies ALWAYS repeat on them is a bloody good way.

American studios, no disrespect, will get a theme and treat it in a shallow whatever kind of way. I always felt that foreign film makes will see it in a totally new light and interpret it in a completely new way.

That to me, is the best way, just be sincere and new in the way you Direct something. Most important, it'd gotta be from the heart.

Just look at all the Foreign adaptations that get remade by Hollywood. Look at how they were in the start, then look at how Hollywood treats them. You're hence, working a cliche backwards.

The differences and lessons are all there for you.
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Postby Pops Freshenmeyer on Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:32 pm

You're a movie cop and you get gunned down, shot in the chest, several times. When regaining consciousness, what's the first thing you do?

You rip open your shirt to reveal your bulletproof vest for the audience. Unnecessary. Maybe this was needed 20 years ago but moviegoers have pretty much figured out, if you get up after being shot, and you're not a robot, you're wearing Kevlar.
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Postby freak2thec0re on Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:39 pm

I liked the way in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang they took that cliche and twisted it . . .

[spoiler]

how he opened his shirt to reveal the book . . . then realized the bullet went right through the book
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:41 pm

That vest one always cracks me up. I think they need to just let go of the main character getting shot. At this point, I doubt anyone believes it. They should switch it to the main character getting crushed by a falling piano.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:42 pm

freak2thec0re wrote:I liked the way in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang they took that cliche and twisted it . . .

[spoiler]

how he opened his shirt to reveal the book . . . then realized the bullet went right through the book


I thought that was well played. I also thought we were going to see that Perry was wearing a vest, but he wasn't. So that was cool too.
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Postby Crayotic Rockwell on Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:55 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:A Scriptwriting teacher told me that a cliche is a cliche for a bloody good reason, you know? 'Cos it's message is true, btu so important and profound that it gets repeated over and over again.

You gotta breathe new life into it, present it in another way, attack it in a more edgy way, and obviously make it more profound.


So I think what you're trying to say is that in the sense of the restaurant/hungry person example, it's okay to do it, but only if Character B gives us, the audience, a full frontal shot of his Kevin Bacon's just prior to the hor'deurve's being served?
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Postby buster00 on Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:20 pm

Howzabout lines like this - "Hey, McLellan! The Chief wants to see you in his office NOW...and he looks PISSED! Might as well just leave yer badge on yer desk, eh? Hehehhe*KRACK!*" (McLellan punches Unnamed Detective Bit Player on the way toward Chief's office)
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Postby Ribbons on Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:24 pm

Speaking of cliches -- "Hand in your badge and gun!"

What movie is that from? Oh that's right. A gabillion of them.
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Postby buster00 on Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:49 pm

EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

NEWSPAPERS SPIN REALLY FAST TOWARD THE CAMERA!

Public outraged, demands answers!
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:03 am

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby bluebottle on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:05 am

ahem, "nooooooooo!"
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:06 am

"You sonofabitch!"

"As for the way I feel about you, I guess you'll never know".

"When I get home from the war I'm gonna get....."
...SHOT DEAD IN THE NEXT SCENE.


"Motherfucker. MOTHER - FUCKER!!! FUCK!! OH FUCK!!! SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! OK! HANDS UP! EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE, SAY FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"If you loved me you'd swallow it."
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Postby buster00 on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:17 am

And then there's "The Nick Nolte Waking Up Scene." It will usually involve a tousle-tressed Nolte fumbling for the phone at about 4AM and managing out a smokey "...Mmhhullo..?"
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:23 am

How about in science fiction movies when some guy walks into a weird situation and yells, "What the HELL is going on here/?@!?"
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Postby minstrel on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:29 am

I can't stand it when something very bad is happening, and then suddenly the character sits bolt upright in bed, breathing hard - IT WAS ALL JUST A BAD DREAM!!

I just HATE that ....
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Postby minstrel on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:31 am

I also hate it when someone is going out to do something dangerous, and someone else being left behind says "Hey!" and the guy leaving turns around, and the speaker just says "Be careful." Then the guy leaves.

Ugh.
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Postby Ribbons on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:36 am

minstrel wrote:I also hate it when someone is going out to do something dangerous, and someone else being left behind says "Hey!" and the guy leaving turns around, and the speaker just says "Be careful." Then the guy leaves.

Ugh.


IPAMPILASH! Good call, mate.
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:47 am

I hate it when the black person dies first.

I mean, COME ON, it's not like we don't know white Hollywood hates the brotha. We know it's going to happen. Try something different.

And here comes the pain . . .
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Postby athenabodicea on Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:57 am

This is why I loved scary movie...
The beginning scene when Carmen Electra is trying to escape... They make fun of how cliche the horror movie industry can sometimes be.. My favorite part was when she came to the table that had all the weapons on it but she chose the bananna... Or when she came to the sign that said "Go this way to escape" or "go this way to die" and had arrows pointing the direction for each choice...(she of course chose to go the direcion in which she would die)..The victims in horror movies are so often portrayed as making the wrong choices which lead to them dying....I often find myself yelling at the tv "go the other way stupid" or "why would you do that?"
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Postby thomasgaffney on Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:02 am

Another funny situation, although not a full out parody, was Drew Barrymore on the phone in the beginning of Scream talking about what the girls in horror movies do wrong.

She says, "They always run upstairs when they should be running outside."

Then she runs into the killer in her house and she runs up the stairs! Too funny.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:06 am

Firing 1 magazine into a guy to make sure he's dead when normally it takes, like, 1 bullet.

So OTT graphic. Oh, but Quentin Tarantino, you can justify that right?
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Postby thomasgaffney on Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:09 am

Speaking of guns, the hero always has to pull the magazine out and check to see if it's loaded. BECAUSE IT LOOKS COOL AND YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN CARRYING AN UNLOADED GUN THIS WHOLE TIME!

Then they have to slam the mag back in with the heal of their palm and pull the slide. Even if they've never held a gun before in their life.
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Postby Monkeybrains on Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:26 am

When ever there is a car chase, there is always some pedestrian that does a "double-take jig" then jumps out of the way (Then the car hits a fruit stand, of course)

In a fight, it always sounds like two pieces of wood smashing together instead of a fist in a guys face.

When ever a cop is killed, and the partner has to tell the guys wife, she's always 9 months pregnant.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Sun Dec 11, 2005 5:10 am

Monkeybrains wrote:In a fight, it always sounds like two pieces of wood smashing together instead of a fist in a guys face.


Agreed. There seems to be a preponderance of poor foley work these days.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:14 pm

I know it;s not exactly a 'movie' per se but...


EVERY FUCKING AFTERSHAVE/PERFUME COMMERCIAL IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For fuxake GIVE IT UP!!! Every time I see these damn things I think they're a piss take or a parody of themselves, they're so OLD, repeated and damn right condescending. CLICHE CLASSIC.

Come to think of it, they HAVE been parodied by Boddingtons commercials. But they STILL churn these ads out.
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Postby Ribbons on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:22 pm

The Garbage Man wrote:
Monkeybrains wrote:In a fight, it always sounds like two pieces of wood smashing together instead of a fist in a guys face.


Agreed. There seems to be a preponderance of poor foley work these days.


A pretty good(?) example is the fight between the Thing and Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four (2005). The punches sounded exactly like that stereotypical noise, that "wood smashing" thing, that you mentioned.

Quoth the TalkBacker drbulber: "What do rock and metal monsters punching one another sound like? Walker Texas Ranger!"
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:25 pm

One I noticed was a fight where guns are involved and once the two combatants reach a close quarters, they pull the trigger at a close range and both of their magazines are empty. Perfect example is the Matrix during the Neo/Smith Subway Station fight.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:31 pm

The biggest piss take and most implausible moment in a gunshot moment is when someone stands there for ages with his gun, trying to creep up on someone. He's planned it meticulously, keeping himself hidden and quiet. He goes righ up to the other guy.

His brilliant plan has payed off, he's spent about 20 minutes to get up to this point to finally pull the trigger. NOTHING CAN STOP HIM! he can't lose.



Only, it's only at this point does he finally decide to take the fucking safety off, letting it make a huge loud 'CLICK!!!!!!!' sound, blowing his cover, letting his victim spin around or whatever, then shooting him dead.

What a PUTZ!

Silence of the Lambs lost all it's credibility at this point. It ALWAYS happens.

Running at a close second is the 'creeping up on someone in the woods, then stepping on a twig, then letting the guy spin round and hit you' moment.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:36 pm

ONeillSG1 wrote:One I noticed was a fight where guns are involved and once the two combatants reach a close quarters, they pull the trigger at a close range and both of their magazines are empty. Perfect example is the Matrix during the Neo/Smith Subway Station fight.


Or the opposite, where 2 guys have been going at it like WW3 trying to shoot each other, then they have a struggle, then end up face to face with their guns at each other's faces. (Then the loud music comes to a stop with a crescendo percussion bang.) They DO have loaded magazines, BUT for some reason, it is only now that they decide NOT to shoot each other, but instead, think that the best way to kill their opponent is simply to stand there, looking at each other in puzzled 'what the hell are we doing!?' expressions.

JUST PULL THE FUCKING TRIGGER!!!!!!

How much fun is this thread?
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Postby Buzz McCool on Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:00 pm

The phrase "You look like you've seen a ghost" is only ever used when the other person has actually seen a ghost (or soemone they thought was dead or will be dead in the future or whatever)
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Postby vicious_bastard on Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:09 pm

I love it when a witness to a rampaging monster/alien invasion/superhero, etc who happens to be drinking (often a bum), looks quizically at his bottle as if the sweet booze caused them to hallucinate. Sometimes (though rarely with bums) accompanied by them throwing the bottle away/pouring it out and in an instant being free of a lifelong alcohol addiction.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:18 pm

Ribbons wrote:A pretty good(?) example is the fight between the Thing and Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four (2005). The punches sounded exactly like that stereotypical noise, that "wood smashing" thing, that you mentioned.


Good example. Another is pretty much every punch or kick in the Matrix sequels. The lameass sound effects in the Neo/Seraph fight pushed me over the edge into hating Reloaded.
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Postby asphyx on Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:25 pm

five words:

"it's quiet..." - "yes, too quiet..."

C'MON!
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if i hear that line one more time i'm going fucking nuts!

also, killers/monsters that should be dead but implausibly come to life one last time just to provide a cheap scare, just to then be killed a second time in an even more graphic way.
it's even worse when the killer/monster is not necessarily dead but unconscious and people (usually women), instead of getting past as quickly as possible, tiptoe by in the most agonisingly slow way, giving the villain enough time to regain consciousness and grab their ankle.

there's a million things, not just in lines of dialogue or scripts, also in directing. those are more like shorthand writing in a way, cyphers that are used to convey certain messages. the way a scene is framed, the way a character is visually introduced and so on. that can be used in a great way for establishing subtext if it's done well, but it can also be done very clumsily. then it's like directing by numbers.

wow, that last paragraph sounds totally pretentious...
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Postby TONY DEWONDERFUL on Sun Dec 11, 2005 7:56 pm

When a character is blissfully happy and someone is OBVIOUSLY trying to break bad news to them and they don't get it.

'John... it's your mother.. she's...'

'Made me a pie? Sweet?'

'No, I'm sorry she got hit by a...'

'a sudden feeling of elation? Me too!'

etc

Exposition where characters establish what they both already know for no reason.

'Look at us - you, an ex-alcoholic hot-shot lawyer and me, the ex-prostitute with a nine-year old daughter with cerebraql palsy. It can never work (It works)

Strippers/prostitutes - like black men, probably not going to make the final reel. No one will care much because the nice heroine will survive.

And this one kills me - people joking around in the aftermath of an action piece. Dead bodies everywhere, people have seen their best friends revealed to be double-agents (KER-CHINGG!), then shot them because they spent too long explaining how and why they did it (KERR-CHING!! KER-CHINGG!!) and then after their female/best buddy/partner-they-now-respect runs into their arms they decide that levity is appropriate.

The end of Beverly Hills Cop 3 is a particularly good example.

The real trick is finding ones that Airplane and Police Squad and Scary Movie, etc haven't already parodied.

Have you ever noticed that when two star-crossed lovers finally overcome their initial hostility and mid-act misunderstanding and fall into bed, it's never the woman's period.
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Postby freak2thec0re on Sun Dec 11, 2005 8:08 pm

Guy's in his bosses office, afraid his boss found out about something really bad he did

They talk for a while. The guy finally starts leaving, with a look of relief that his boss didn't say anything about it.

Right as he reaches the door, the boss yells "HOLD ON ONE SECOND"

The guy winces, turns around, and the boss says "you forgot your keys", or something lame like that.

I believe it had me going the first time I saw it. Numbers 2-10,000, it just stopped fooling me.
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Postby minstrel on Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:32 pm

Why is it that EVERY SUBMARINE MOVIE has to have a scene where the sub goes TOO DEEP, BELOW CRUSH DEPTH, and everyone is sweating as they stare at the depth gauge, and finally a rivet pops out a zips around like a bullet ... jeez. I like sub movies, but it seems like it's in some contract somewhere that the sub just has to go too deep at some point.
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Postby minstrel on Sun Dec 11, 2005 9:34 pm

And how many comedies have a scene where some macho guy has to deal with changing a baby's diaper, with "hilarious results"?

About 712,000, give or take.
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Postby RockyDennis on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:00 pm

Just once I want to see an action movie where the main charactor in the stressful moment knows how to defuse a bomb.
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Postby Lord Voldemoo on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:02 pm

RockyDennis wrote:Just once I want to see an action movie where the main charactor in the stressful moment knows how to defuse a bomb.


Or thinks they do, then they blow themselves to hell, ala Sledge Hammer...
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:30 pm

I like a the Terry O'Quinn inna the "X-Files: You Gotta to Fight a the Future," eh?

They find a that huge bomb setup anna the guy is a like "do a you know how to a defuse a the bomb?!?" Anna O'Quinn, he's alla like "yes I do..."

He lets alla them leave anna then he just sits down anna stares at it, eh? Like "goddamn iffa I know... I guess I'll a just a wait a this one out." BOOOM!

Hehehe...
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:34 pm

Here's a the cliche that a the Dino, he canna stand, eh? You gotta the wimpy kid anna the veteran war hero... Anna the hero gives him a the gruff alla the time like "you better just a stay outta my way, chickenshit!" anna of a course, inna the big a battle, the hero, he bites a the bullet, anna the wimp, he yells "nooooooooooooooooooo!" anna picks uppa the gun of a the hero anna blows away alla the other putzes. GODDAMN that sucks! I HATE that kid!

Used to a the cliched effect inna Matrix Revolutions, no? With a the Mouse kid or a Rat or a whatever inna the hell a his a name was...
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:47 pm

I actually wanted the machines to win that battle, not the humans.

Is that wrong?
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Postby thomasgaffney on Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:48 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:I actually wanted the machines to win that battle, not the humans.

Is that wrong?


Kirk, everything you say and do is wrong on some level.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:04 pm

Anna how Matrix, she remind a me of a the 'nother cliche...

The hero, he's a trying to bring down a the big bad, eh? Anna he's a got ONE SHOT LEFT...

Anna right a before a the shot, he gotta to say something like "Fried egg anna ham samich, you sonofa..." BOOM!!!

Goddamn....
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:06 pm

thomasgaffney wrote:
Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:I actually wanted the machines to win that battle, not the humans.

Is that wrong?


Kirk, everything you say and do is wrong on some level.


Like replaying Monica Bellucci's red dress scene over and over 124 times in a row?

People behind me on the plane didn't seem to think so as I did this all the way from the Fiji to New Zealand flight.
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Postby Pops Freshenmeyer on Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:38 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:I actually wanted the machines to win that battle, not the humans.

Is that wrong?


You mean they didn't?

At least a the Dino make a movies with a easy to understand endings, no?
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Postby Vegeta on Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:39 pm

Speaking of the "wooden sounding sound FX" alot of you have been talking about: Probably twenty years ago HBO used to run a short (I don't know if it had a title) of a split screen fight. One side was the fight and the other was a sound fx guy watching a making the sounds. He'd break boards, punch sides of beef, make running or stumbling sound fx. it was actually pretty neat. Does anyone remeber that or if it had a title?
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Postby Pops Freshenmeyer on Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:42 pm

I don't remember that but the Florida Universal theme park had a pretend Foley stage a few years ago to school the public on the art of SFX design. It was cool.
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Postby havocSchultz on Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:10 pm

or the "now i am about to kill you - so this is what i've been up to the last 98 minutes and this is what i'm gonna do to kill you. oh yeah - any last request...?"

and - "fuck - only 2 days from retirement and he gets himself killed - talk about irony. what're the odds...?"

and black cats in horror movies piss me off... always jumping out at the wrong time - why can't somebody just yell out at that time - "wait a minute - who's fucking cat is this..."

oh well...
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