Watch: 'The Entertain_bot' Camera Test Reminiscent of Alfonso Cuaron
by Ethan Anderton
October 15, 2013
After making his feature film debut with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, director Todd Strauss-Schulson has lined up several future projects including an adaptation of Rascal Raccoon, a horror comedy called Final Girls, and an action comedy Family Getaway. But as he waits to get those projects off the ground, the filmmaker has still been busy. Earlier this year he delivered the David Cronenberg-esque short Valibation (watch it here), and now he's working on a new feature called The Entertain_bot that uses some impressive camera techniques to shoot a dance sequence in a way audiences haven't seen before.
Here's the proof of concept for Todd Strauss-Schulson's The Entertain_Bot from Vimeo:
Strauss-Schulson sent us the video, which is preceded with the text, "I have always wanted to shoot dance numbers in a hyper cinematic way. Doing what Busby Berkeley would do if he were alive today. Having the camera dance with the dancers using modern technology." The director wrote a script over the summer with Matthew Fogel, and it features some big tapdancing sequences. The above video is being sent around with the script to show how he wants the camera to dance with the subjects in the film. The camera movement is smooth and upbeat, and it almost feels like Alfonso Cuaron shooting a 1940s dance scene.
As for that title, it's clear there's some sort of sci-fi angle that isn't explicitly explained in the test reel above. As you might have heard, there's some sort of mechanical robot sound when the tap metal on the dancers shoes appears, seemingly from nowhere. Strauss-Schulson is staying mum on some of the details (J.J. Abrams' mystery box, eat your heart out), but if that aforementioned short film Valibation is any indicator, there should be an interesting blend of sci-fi and pure throw-back entertainment.
It's this kind of ambitious visual style that has us truly excited for what Strauss-Schulson has in store for audiences. If you watch A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, you can see some influences of unique visual style that we normally don't find in stoner comedies like that. It's clear the director has some big ideas for future films, both in story and visual style. If this is what Strauss-Schulson and his Ulterior Productions have put together as a proof of concept (with cinematographer Elie Smolkin, producer Ken Franchi and choreographer Danny Teeson) we can't wait to see what he can do with more time and a real budget. Keep up with Strauss-Schulson at his Ulterior Productions website and follow him on Twitter and Instragram.
Always interesting to see a camera being used in ways that aren't common. Though, I would image this style has to be used in moderation and only when it has a function because I'm sure there will be people who might get nauseous. And of course, it also depends what kind of formalist or realist approach the film maker is going for. Personally, I enjoy watching dance sequences as a whole and this distracted me a bit from it. Then again, the reason for that might be because the clip is only this short sequence, things could be different when it happens within an actual movie I'm already drawn into.
Neuromancer on Oct 15, 2013
Well done! I don't know if the sound effect is necassery though.
Nielsen700 on Oct 15, 2013
Spinning was a bit mad by the 4th time. Quite good though.
Carpola on Oct 15, 2013
Agree with neuro mancer, I really like a well done dance or musical scene. It takes a fine sensibility and simply moving the camera just because you can is not the motivation. This was more than distracting to me, it lacked idea or interpretation. Artless technology. Great dancers though!
S freud on Oct 16, 2013
The comparison to A.C. is insensitive.
S freud on Oct 16, 2013
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