stack overflow poster.jpg

Stack Overload

Average: 2.9 (7 votes)
The Technological Thriller
Christchurch > 09
A device to download information and skills directly into your brain sounds like a good idea right? Perhaps in the right hands... ++Now in the 48Hrs Screening Room: ++ ======Team Comment====== As a duo team we were way too ambitious and could have easily done a 20 minute film with our material but hopefully the final edit works for you - we like to watch films on fast forward anyway...

Man this seemed like Joe 90- except with an adult in the lead!
After the first brain augmentation/upload/enhancement, I was distracted by watching Joe sit in the chair spinny thing while the theme song to Joe 90 played in my head.
Anyway, what I liked:
-The consequence of uploading too much information into a brain (I think)
-A lot of time was taken to try out some text motion and layers, as well as computer coding stuff.
What I craved:
A chair, surrounded by a huge spinning thing that you sit in while information is being uploaded to a soundtrack similar to that of Joe 90. For me, props is a big thing.
And a mini-gun.
Here is a URL below you can copy to enjoy Joe 90's opening sequence:

Thanks for your film- now I want to go and watch the intro to Joe 90 again.


Synopsis above so read it! A serious short that goes nicely into the perils of experimental technology. Definite Matrix vibe to this with the technology. The good thing is that the tech in your story is plausible and their was a genuine reason for it. I would have liked a bit more variety in some of the camera work but as a two-man team that can be tough.

Solid effort guys! As a duo team you pulled this off really well. I got a little bit lost at the end, probably need to watch it again to understand what happened, but I thought your story was solid the rest of the way through and you delivered your lines confidently which helped make it all quite convincing.

The enhanced-human-brain-that-starts-out-with-positive-results-before-things-turn-bad story is a pretty familiar contemporary scifi narrative, from The Lawnmower Man to Lucy (and often invoking the "we only use 10% of our brains" nonsense, which I was happy to see absent in this case). So yeah, given their Technological Thriller genre, this team made a sound choice I thought in going down this route, and the results, while uneven, were definitely intriguing.

We begin in some kind of research facility, with one colleague entering the office of another. A conversation ensues and we learn a lot about the situation: they are developing an experimental brain enhancement procedure, they need extra funding, and one of them wants to be a guinea pig for the treatment to save both the research and his marriage. So he gets hooked up to wires and flashy lights on a chair, and... it works, apparently. He comes back later with his life turned around, hooray. But, inevitably, he finds he craves additional upgrades, and it gets to a point where things are becoming dangerous, with certain information (e.g. his wife's name) seemingly disappearing - to make way for the new knowledge, perhaps? An allusion to the title, I suppose. His colleague refuses to go any further, so he does it himself, his colleague discovers him prone in the chair, attempts to reset his brain back to Day 0 of the treatment, and then, and then... um, to be honest I'm really not sure what happens then. Something about knocking a glass of water over - did the guy's brain just glitch and freeze from too much data at the end? I have the strong sense there's an interesting twist here, only it hasn't quite been cinematically communicated effectively enough.

Anyway, there's a lot to like in this piece. The conceit of having the control questions was actually a great example of how you can drop exposition in an organic way into a story - for instance, the info about how the two men met, a detail which really helped to give their relationship a sense of realism and dimension. Between this and the wedding anniversary, I really appreciated how the film played with deliberately low, human-level stakes. The use of location was decent, even if the initial office space looked a bit empty-room-hastily-dressed; the lab location had a slightly busier background, so was more successful I thought (even if I'm pretty sure I recognised those flashy light things placed on his head from the $2 Shop...). More importantly, both performances were solid, and I liked how straight and naturalistically they tried to play things, a good fit for the genre and tone they were going for.

Besides the somewhat baffling ending, perhaps the biggest frustration with this film was that, with maybe the exception of a French word dropped casually into conversation, we never actually *see* the effects of the experiment on him. Instead we are just told about how much smarter / better he is becoming. It would have been nice to see the transformed man and his new knowledge / abilities, and in particular see how they inform his actions, and hence the direction of the story.

Still, I really appreciated the ambition of this film. Sure, it fell short a little bit, but a great effort nevertheless.

Really liked the premise and execution. Well done for doing this with only two people! It seems like you had a lot of fun with it.

Main thing I’d say needs to improve is getting some variation is shot sizes. Don’t just rely on your dialogue, but use your camera to increase the tension where needed. This is a visual medium after all.

Wow. Super impressed by you guys managing this as a Duo Team. It makes most bits of criticism of camera shots being too stationary or anything like that go straight out the window when you realise if you're both on screen you can't have a tracking shot for example. There was an odd feeling though of being pushed up against a wall with your computer and experiment chair. Staging that scene differently would have meant the ability to have more depth in your shot. Some nice shallow depth of field shots for example with the second character out of focus in the background as opposed to side on and against a wall. Just a thought camera work wise.

Anyway I thought it was a really solid effort and good film. The ending got a bit lost or confusing somehow but you took on a really ambitious idea for a Duo team. I think perhaps next time if you are duo team again in the future then tailor your story in a way that allows you to exploit your small team size. Like a one room movie, last person on earth or buried alive type story. This movie felt like it should be showing us the results of your experiments but as a viewer you start to become suspicious as to why we aren't leaving this office or seeing any other characters.

Overall though I applaud your ambition and your result. I would be proud of that film too with a two person team. Good luck for the Ant Duo award!

Alexander Jones
city manager

Great location, pretty good character arcs and a really good application of the solo/duo team format.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more polished camerawork and some lighting that wasn't so washed out.

The actors in the film certainly knew their lines, but a lot of the time they were loaded with exposition, and had a 'memorized from the script' vibe to their delivery.

You could have just started with the initial experiment instead of that scene where we learn about the character's failing marriage, you learn enough about this through the rest of the story anyway.

As for your title, is it "Stack Overload" or "Stack Overflow"? Either way works fine for me.

Great job. And I like the story set up, however it did get a little lost in dialogue. One of the actors was looking into the camera a bit at the beginning but the acting improved and by the end of the movie felt more natural.