We all like special effects. We all like how people can create things that look so realistic, it allows us to engulf ourselves in a different world. But when does it become too much?
If you are a fan of Transformers, you may know what i'm talking about. Yeah, the effects look cool, but after that many movies, it really is just too much. The amount of time it takes to create Megatron should have been spent on an actual story if you ask me. Add all the moving parts that keep flying off their bodies (that magically reappear later on in the movies) and all the explosions, optical flares, gunfire, smoke, and your occasional dramatic slow motion of the main female lead running away Baywatch style, and you just have one huge mess.
Let's break it down, if we take away the complexity of the transformers and all their battle scenes, what are you left with? Some bad acting and not much of a storyline. Those movies are relying on their special effects so much, that they forget that the story is more important.
When you are making your own film or music video, be very careful not to fall in the same pattern. If you're thinking more about the special effects and all the extra stuff you are going to add at the end instead of the content of what's being filmed, then you've fallen in the transformers trap and Michael Bay may be calling you to tell you to stop copying him at risk of him loosing money.
Don't get me wrong, using special effects can really add to a film's worth, but only if it's done right and it adds to the story. If it takes away from your story and people only want to watch the video for that one specific scene, then you've failed as a filmmaker. For instance, the special effects that I used in the short film, "The Damned" aren't really all that noticeable unless you know what to look for. One of them is obvious, the eyes. The next one is the blood coming off the arms and the blinking of the eyes. Everything else is makeup and special effects blood that we got at a Halloween store. I knew what I was looking for in this film and I did what I could to make this as realistic as possible without too much special effects work.
When you are making your film and want to use special effects, use this statement as a good measuring stick, "Is what I'm doing going to make me look like a filmmaker, or is this going to make me look like a Michael Bay rip off?" Some people might look at this statement as a compliment, but in this case, don't take it as one.