Topic: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

This week’s Brickfilm of the Week is Twelve Bucks by Rob Weychert.

Twelve Bucks follows the story of a man who takes a job at a cereal-making factory. But all is not as a it seems. Twelve Bucks was made in 1998, before Brickfilms.com was even established, and is one of the earliest brickfilms with a clearly defined narrative story, along with The Magic Portal and the films of Dave Lennie and Andy Boyer. It appears Rob Weychert was never a member of Brickfilms.com, and his website, Bredstik.com, hasn’t been updated since 2003. Twelve Bucks is Rob Weychert’s third and final brickfilm, and easily his most notable.


Watch Twelve Bucks on YouTube

http://i.imgur.com/o76voar.png

SPOILERY DISCUSSION BELOW!

Twelve Bucks is a very important part of brickfilms history. Released in 1998, it is one of only a handful of brickfilms known to be made before the millennium, and it is one of the first brickfilms to be darkly serious (even if it still contains touches of dark humor). This brickfilm is intelligent, and expects its audience to be intelligent too. While all of the clues are there (and sometimes pretty obvious), Twelve Bucks never attempts to spoon-feed the viewer its underlying plot. The strong narration, smooth jazz soundtrack, and noir lighting really give this film a strong sense of atmosphere. It’s hard to verify if Twelve Bucks was the first brickfilm to tackle a dark subject, but it certainly was one of early notable serious brickfilms. Personally, I consider Twelve Bucks a huge influence on my own style, and Philip Heinrich has mentioned its importance as well. Twelve Bucks almost lets you forget you are watching LEGO, and is a fine example of how brickfilms can tackle any style of story if done correctly.

What are your thoughts on Twelve Bucks? What did you like about it? How does it make you think about brickfilms making serious commentary? Did you have a favorite moment?

Last edited by Nathan Wells (February 13, 2015 (10:13am))

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

Twelve Bucks is the perfect example of how a brickfilm can become a classic in it's own right. The stylized lighting, jammin' soundtrack, and atmospheric feel is really great. Right from the start, it perfectly sets up the narrative, giving the viewer a bit of a clue that not everything is as it seems.

I get a sense that Twelve Bucks was inspired by the works of Quentin Tarantino... Being especially reminiscent of Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, right down to the mood, the highly stylized world, and, or course, that music! That's actually kind of interesting, since, Kill Bill wasn't released until 5 years later!

I'm not that big of a fan of the animation at times. However, since this brickfilm is such an "earlier" one, I can let it slide. It's still really ambitious, and has techniques and shots that even professional animators would find intriguing.

Spoiler (highlight to read)The rotating shot of the living room, and the zoom through the window are just two, to name a few.

Overall, I liked Twelve Bucks. It's nothing super special by today's standards, however, it's still awesome to watch. Another great little gem that I'm glad has been brought back up to my attention through Brickfilm of the Week. I'll look forward to seeing more, like Twelve Bucks, in the future! mini/smile

http://i.imgur.com/3yyBJQq.png
Let's return to the Burtonverse, shall we?  Score Preview

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

Dyland wrote:

It's nothing super special by today's standards,

I disagree with this. I think Twelve Bucks' style and narrative is still one of the best examples around, and doesn't even get many rivals today. It's very impressive that Rob Weychert went in this direction with a brickfilm in 1998. It also has some great indoor lighting and screen effects. This is a very important film that everyone should see.

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

This was awesome.  Thanks Natahan, and anyone else who helps out with this, for picking these out.  You have brought so many great brickfilms to my attention that were made well before my interest in brickfilming.  I would probably have never seen these otherwise.

formerly 0DonkeyKong

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

Dyland wrote:

...It's nothing super special by today's standards...

The lighting in this film is very sophisticated, better then almost any modern Brickfilm, the only thing dragging it down is the resolution and compression of it's time which can't really be helped.

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

Dyland wrote:

It's nothing super special by today's standards,

sillypenta wrote:

I disagree with this... It also has some great indoor lighting and screen effects. This is a very important film that everyone should see.

SlothPaladin wrote:

The lighting in this film is very sophisticated, better then almost any modern Brickfilm, the only thing dragging it down is the resolution and compression of it's time which can't really be helped.

It is an important brickfilm, and, I agree, should be watched by any brickfilmer who aspires to take their films in a more serious direction when it comes to storytelling. However, the lighting just stands out as slightly unprofessional in some instances. Perhaps this is just a creative difference, however, shots like that at 0:37 - 0:44, 2:04 - 2:12, and 4:35 - 4:41 aren't to my liking.

They seem to have a bit of lighting flicker. (which, could be a side effect from poor resolution... which I can let slide) However, they are also too dark, and, seem to lack good contrast. Everything's just light or too dark; there's no in-between. I'd like to be able to see the detail of the protagonist's face a bit more in the close ups. As it is, you can tell a "fill light" wasn't used.

Personally, I would have lit his back a bit more, to give a nice crisp edge of light to his shaded side - or, I would have lit his face more, while having the room a bit darker. I think that this would have given a better overall visual for when he's watching TV.

Just as there are examples of poor lighting (in my opinion), there are also some examples of great lighting!

The city-street car driving aerial shot, for example, holds up very well, and is certainly a spectacle! Another good example of excellent lighting is the TV screen's glare. It only seems to flash one or two solid colors somewhere between blue and green, and, certainly ads to the overall atmospheric feel of the film.

I suspect that Rob Weychert had some professional cinematography experience or education - but only some. While he's able to pull off great shots with excellent lighting sometimes, he also creates some rather dull shots, that make the overall composition hard to take in.

Overall, it's got much more positives going for it than it does negatives; however, I definitely think that there are shots within Twelve Bucks that others can learn from...

http://i.imgur.com/3yyBJQq.png
Let's return to the Burtonverse, shall we?  Score Preview

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

This was very well done! I really love its unique and original narrative--you don't see that special quality in most brickfilms today. I also admired the lighting effects and cinematography--sure, the animation isn't eye candy by today's standards, but this is extremely incredible knowing it's from 1998! I'm just interested, is there an existing thread that shows a list of links to known brickfilms made before 2000?

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

I assembled a large list of pre-2000 brickfilms with links here: http://www.bricksinmotion.com/forums/po … 8/#p336298

Also, Dyland, it must be a creative difference because you just listed some of my favourite shots. I love how the lighting actually appears to be coming from an in-set source, and so it makes perfect sense that there would be darker areas. I can't help but feel that you must be too used to the standard flat, even lighting in brickfilms. I'm not sure how there is even a debate here because if Sloth says its some of the best lighting going, then, y'know. That's all I'll say further; I don't want this thread to be totally derailed by lighting snobbery. Also, I'm not sure what point there is to meticulously picking apart minute details; it's a great film that I hope everyone can enjoy.

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

sillypenta wrote:

I don't want this thread to be totally derailed by lighting snobbery. Also, I'm not sure what point there is to meticulously picking apart minute details; it's a great film that I hope everyone can enjoy.

Agreed. It is a great film, and, has certainly inspired me to experiment a bit more in future brickfilms. Even if the entire film wasn't particularly engaging to a perfectionist like me, it's still a perfect example of what brickfilms should be - more story focused than technical focused. I can only stand 24fps fighting shorts for so long... Engaging narratives are always more memorable; and Twelve Bucks is no exception! mini/smile

http://i.imgur.com/3yyBJQq.png
Let's return to the Burtonverse, shall we?  Score Preview

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

Spoilery rant / film discussion below.

As a fan of the work of Andy Boyer and Dave Lennie, digital version of which are comparable to this film as far as quality and resolution, this also stands as one of my favorites despite the (minute) limitations.

To digress for but a moment, Hearts of Darkness, by Boyer and Lennie, is easily one of the best brickfilms I've seen, and not because it had perfect lighting etc., it just managed to hold a certain spirit and mood in storytelling that I haven't felt in a long time. It's weirdly wonderful, poetic, and dramatic, and it sucks the audience into a world that is engaging, mysterious, and at times just bizarre.

Twelve Bucks also accomplished that. I guess what I like about the film is that it's moody. It's sexy. Good voice-overs that actually work are a rarity in brickfilms, and TB knocks that out of the ballpark. There's a very definite laid-back, mysterious feel that is established by the repetitive shots, the narration, and the lighting. And it fits the story of the film, which is mysterious in its own right. I love the main character's ignorance to the true significance of the job he's really working, and the grimly humorous revelation the viewer comes to at the close of the film. Irony of that sort, especially one which leaves a lingering impression, is genius. I still remember lines from this film to this day. Same goes for a bunch of older Lego films.

As far as the technical stuff goes, it's easy to forget what people were working with 12+ years ago. I think some of the Boyer and Lennie films were shot with a VHS camera. There are a lot of luxuries afforded by modern tech that weren't available then.

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/GlenFunberg/Misc/edmo.jpg

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: Twelve Bucks (Feb 13, 2015)

I'm going to bump this thread simply because I wanted to say something about what is strangely my favourite brickfilm. "Strangely" because I usually don't make lists, and don't like talking about "favourites".
Some people seem to forget that movies are not about storytelling, light, acting, or messages. If I want to tell a story I write a novel, if I want to have pretty pictures I either make a painting or take a photo, if I want to act and send a strong message I'd be a politician. Movies are about all of those things together and none of them alone: each aspect should be considered in relation to the others.
This movie is all of the above done right, plus a rare perfect combination, not only in brickfilms but in moviemaking in general, of music and visuals.