There's a big personal problem I have when I'm watching fan films/low budget films in general. I hate video. The look is off putting, it takes me out of the experience every time and I can't take it as seriously. For the same reason I dislike recent Michael Mann films. Public Enemy, Collateral, Miami Vice, they look so incredibly cheap, even though they aren't, and it takes me out of the scenes every single time.
There's something about that contrast between "great sets" or "good actors" and then "horrible camera and sound" that puts me totally off. For some reason, I can take a bad set and bad acting if camera and sound is great, but not the other way round.
The worst thing is when, even though they only have only low budget video cameras, they decide to use shaky cam and zooming and focussing and over/under exposure and similar things as stylistic device. That makes it look even cheaper and more unprofessional. Stuff like that ruined "Of Gods and Men" for me for example.
The thing is, in my opinion, one should not try to "ruin" the image on purpose when you already are on a low budget. Try to make it look as good as possible.
See, me and you are different in that regard. I can tolerate some pretty terrible special effects, even poor picture quality, I can even handle never getting to actually see the monster, spaceship, or whatever because the budget was so small they couldn't afford a passable prop, so they just elude to it being there off camera.
The one thing I cannot tolerate is the bad acting.
I recall a year ago seeing an independent film on youtube, and this woman read her line which was "Well maybe that will teach you a lesson"
the other woman said "yeah, you got what you deserved, Benny."
And they had read their lines so bad, I just stopped watching half way through the film.
The first woman, who made the statement "Well maybe that will teach you a lesson"" said it like she was asking a question.
I mean it really sounded like she was asking him. It was like "well... maybe? That will teach you, a lesson?"
The next line of dialogue from the other woman was read so monotone it was like she was reading out loud the words off of a street sign like "303 railroad boulevard intersection 2".
The tone and moods were so off.
I recall this Nickelodeon show when I was little, called Fifteen.
The actors were unbelievably bad, it was the first time I ever noticed this thing called "acting".
The scene that made me crack up was where this guy comes into the restaurant and says, in the most matter-o-factly way possible "Dillon was just in a motorcycle accident, they took him to the hospital"
And the girl, I think her name was Ashley, said in the most panic attack way possible "Calm down Jake! just calm down! Tell me! Tell me from the beginning what happened!"
and I swear it's like they got the right dialogue but they completely switched the mood.
Me and a friend used to email each other short reviews of movies we seen. I noticed that I would give movies like Underworld Awakening a 0 out of 10, but give Independent films, even 20 minute ones like this http://cinemassacre.com/2004/05/17/l...the-blue-hole/
An 8 out of 10.
Legend Of The Blue Hole by James Rolfe, is a College film he made back in 2004, and it does a great job of "telling a story".
Underworld Awakening is a multi million dollar movie that is just poor CGI and one pointless action scene after another. There was no story to tell as far as I can remember. It had something to do with vampires and some half wolf half vampire kid.
As I was saying, some people like me can handle bad FX and even cardboard scenery, if the actors are good, and it tells a good story. But other people, like you, want to be swept away by the ambiance of an elaborate set, and striking visuals. And to each to his own.
There are of course movies like Beatlejuice that are good stories, but wouldn't have been good movies if the environment, music, and special effects hadn't been done right.
Here is one more bit of advice for anyone that wants to love fan films, but can't get past the shoe string budget: Imagine that instead of going to the movies tonight, you are going to watch a play.
You sit there and watch the actors perform with no special effects, often less than convincing props, and cardboard back ground for environment.
If you're the sort that can appreciate a great play, than watch a fan film, and keep in mind "it's like a play" and that may help your mind to let go of the expectations of mind blowing FX and earth shaking surround sound.