On a lighter note today, surfing the net always leads to the discovery of the real value of digital video editing software. First, a State of the Union address where George W. Bush proclaims the truth about his training and motives. Watch Al Qaeda Bush
Then, even more silliness with a music video capturing the adoration George Bush and Tony Blair have for one another. You will need Windows Media Player to view Bush Loves Blair.
“You know what’s interesting about Washington? It’s the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature.”
George W. Bush (7/6/46 – )
43rd U.S. President
“Power without principle is barren, but principle without power is futile.”
Tony Blair (6/5/53 – )
English Prime Minister
MEN WANTED for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. — Sir Ernest Shackleton
At the 2000 Telluride Film Festival, the documentary Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition debuted. It was the true story of Shackleton’s 1914 expedition to the the South Pole and his struggle to lead his crew to safety after his ship was crushed in the pack ice. This image was taken by photographer, Frank Hurley. An Australian, Hurley ran away from home at age 13, working in an ironworks and the Sydney dockyards before becoming a photographer. Susceptible to flattery, he had a reputation for stopping at nothing to secure a memorable photograph. For that reason, Shackleton threw some of his film and cameras into the ocean rather than lose men trying to preserve the images.
The PBS Shackleton Site is very rich with transcripts, photographs, and timeline. You can even view Hurley’s actual footage of the ship cruising, crushing and collapsing. While Antarctica is inherently breathtaking, Hurley’s images of the voyage are even more dramatic and moving. With a documentarian’s eye, Hurley’s film and photos secured Shackleton’s heroism into the history books.
“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; But if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.”
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
“What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.”
Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879 – 1962)
Canadian Arctic Explorer
I saw this image on television a few weeks ago and it really struck me. It’s a photo of North and South Korea at night. The complete lack of simple public utilities in the North is staggering. I find myself wondering why so many South Koreans are eager for reunification with the North. It reminds me of the reunification of East and West Germany. Perhaps it is most indicative of the impact of severing families; nations are willing to take on enormous financial and social challenges for the opportunity of its citizens to feel whole and complete once again. For more exciting images of, go to NASA’s Visible Earth.
Speaking of incompletions in Asia, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, a pivotal figure in one of the 20th century’s great epics—the struggle for control of post-imperial China waged between the Nationalists and the Communists during the Japanese invasion and the violent aftermath of World War II—died on Thursday in Manhattan, the Foreign Ministry of Taiwan reported yesterday. She was 105. The NY Times Obituary covered an entire page (that’s a lot of ink!). It had a summary of her early life, her political career and several paragraphs devoted to the Soong sisters. I had forgotten that Madam Chiang Kai-shek was the sister of Madame Sun Yat-sen. Madame Sun Yat-sen (who died in 1980) was named honorary leader of Communist China the year before she died.
I think this would be a GREAT movie. It seems like something that Yimou Zhang could do brilliantly. Perhaps he could persuade his former lover, Li Gong to take on the role. She has had such amazing performances (many in his films—e.g. Raise The Red Lantern, Ju Dou, and To Live). In 1996, I saw Temptress Moon at Sundance (the film was made toward the end of their relationship). It was a beautiful but depressing film. At one of the panel discussions, Yimou talked about the Technicolor film equipment that China had purchased decades earlier and was the reason for the deep reds and yellows he captured in film.
“To govern is always to choose among disadvantages.”
Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970)
“Never complain. Never explain.”
Katherine Hepburn (May 12, 1907 – June 29, 2003)
The world’s largest maker of film, yesterday reported a 63-per-cent drop in third-quarter profit because of higher costs and said full-year profit will fall by more than half. Read the complete article for staggering details. You know I love digital video and the possibility it brings to film but, at the same time, I think of Candace, a wonderful, kindly, enlightened Kodak rep I met at Sundance. I wonder if she is still with them given the challenges they’re facing.
Speaking of Spectacular Solar Flames
An enormous solar storm is expected this evening. Huge sunspots and flaming coronas. Space.Com offers details, time-lapse images and safe viewing hints. At this point, I wish I still lived in Wisconsin because they’re predicting a particularly good chance of viewing aurora borealis (something I remember often in my youth). What is is with all these remarkable celestial phenomena? How long before Chicken Little (and doomsday alarmists) start squealing about the end of time?
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
Robert F. Kennedy (1925 – 1968)
U.S. Attorney General and Candidate for President
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)
Assasinated U.S. President
I’m lecturing printmaking and fine art books this week. The Bill of Rights book set by Richard Minsky is one of my favorite concepts. I find his book cover for The Eye to be quite eerie.
Some other great sites include Colophon.Com, Philobiblon.Com, and Keith Smith Books. For me, fine art books are like a “movie for one.” Like films, you have the sequencing of thoughts and images, a juxtaposition that unfolds in such a way as to elicit a response from the viewer. Unlike films, books are not generally viewed with a group, they are experienced by one person at a time. I often say that I experience each of the students as an ongoing movie that I check in on every couple of days. Some stories are more interesting than others, some more dramatic, some more challenging. Maybe they’re more like fine art books since I’m experiencing them from my solitary point of view.
“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you – if you don’t play, you can’t win.”
Robert Heinlein (1907 – 1988)
U.S. Science Fiction Author
“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”
Buddha (563 BC – 483 BC)
Indian Religious Leader
Aspiring Animator’s Alert! If you’re itching to make a short film with one of the best pieces of software on the market (in my opinion) then you should get the FREE Maya 5 Personal Learning Edition(TM) from Alias. A beginner’s guide is available for purchase with a disk copy of the software. This is the same software that earned an Academy Award in March of 2003.
If you’d like to see the kind of film you could make using Maya (or similar software), take a look at 405 The Movie. This short film really catapulted the filmmakers, Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt, into the limelight. (You will notice they used a software package other than Maya, but, hey, you can learn on Maya for free with the PLE.)
“Reality is something you rise above.”
Liza Minnelli (1946 – )
Actress, Singer, Daughter of Judy Garland
“Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.”
David T. Wolf (1943 – )
Sixteen years ago today, our little bundle of joy arrived on the planet. What a great surprise! What a great kid! (Of course, there have a been a few bumpy moments along the way but he’s been a WONDERFUL addition to our world.)
Alec wants to be a filmmaker. He loves history and people watching. It gives his films and story ideas depth and accessibility. And he has a sense of irony and desire to bring humor to his pieces. It’s hard to believe he used to run around in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas and sing to Little Mermaid.
Now he watches Citizen Kane, A Perfect World and sings more contemporary music. He thinks it’s funny that he shares the same birthday as Snoop Dogg. Happy Birthday Alec! Happy Birthday Alec Hart of Phoenix, Arizona!
“The beginning is always today.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797 – 1851)
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again.”
The Greatest Miracle in the World
This weekend I was on a quest to find ways of making mini-DV footage have more of a filmic look (an obvious concern for the independent filmmaker). Among the sites I found that were helpful:
- Simulating a 35mm Motion Picture Clarity Signature by Daniel Broadway;
- Simulating 35mm Motion Picture Color Saturation also by Daniel Broadway;
- Achieving a ‘Filmlook’ with Digital Video by Michael Pappas;
- Give Digital Video That Film Look by Aaron Rhodes from The Orphanage and finally
- The Quest For Film-Look .
In addition to the Creative Cow tutorial site, I’ve found a few other editing sites that were useful. If you have any other links, please email me.
“The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.”
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
“Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.”
Quentin Crisp (1908-1999)
Boing Boing is a collection of some of the weirdest links on the planet. Today, BoingBoing announces that it has posted its 10,000 link.
Russian Prison Tattoos is the sort of link you’ll find on BoingBoing. An eerie description of markings, methods and meanings of the Russian incarcerated. You’ll find a link to the new Pez Museum, Koi Body Art, Unusual Holiday Crafts, and Xeni’s Site. This site makes John Waters seem almost mundane.
“Barbed wire tattooed across the forehead signifies a sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.”
Teaching Media Arts means that I live my entire professional life on the “bleeding edge.” As soon as you master a software package, there’s a new version of it, or a different program that has gained popularity, or a new operating system that renders everything you knew before useless. The new Digital Filmmaking program we’re developing is exciting and, at times, daunting. Fortunately, there are places on the web like Adam Wilt’s Site that help tease apart some of the crucial points regarding DV production.
Equally useful was DV Info Net and DV 2-Pop (the digital cinema section was very useful). Even better than data mining online is data mining in the flesh! In December, I’m looking forward to the DV Expo in L.A. Count on future postings regarding the Expo!
All of this digital craziness makes me long for the good old days. So imagine my delight to find there is a new wooden keyboard for those who like the tactile experience of typing (although the website I found it on said they were really making the oversize wooden keys for the elderly market). I don’t care; I want one anyway.
Is anyone else miffed at Carnivale? I was so excited about that show but now it’s moving at a lethargic snail’s pace with everyone suffering from serious avoidance issues. I’m getting quite tweaked. And speaking being tweaked, what the heck happened on NBC this week? NBC Primetime Sucked because they advertised the heck out of new shows and aired nearly all reruns. Anybody know what happened?
“It’s pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness.”
Jerry Garcia (8/1/42 – 8/9/95)
This is the FOURTH blog entry I’ve written this evening. Each time the entry is almost complete, the computer freezes, Explorer quits, or Userland hangs up. Each time I’ve done a DIFFERENT entry (because it’s boring to do the same thing over and over again). If this one doesn’t go, I’m throwing in the towel for tonight.
A few years back I had the opportunity to attend a fine art bookmaking course with author Julie Chen at the amazing Pyramid Atlantic Printmaking Workspace in Maryland. Chen’s workshop was fabulous and I still covet several of her books. Bon Bon Mots is a delicious collection of five small books. Radio Silence still haunts me and Leavings means so much more having heard how she came to make the book. If you have a love of finely crafted, deeply moving fine art books, check out Flying Fish Press. Chen’s newest book, The Veil is a personal response to the situation in the Middle East.
“All we hear is radio GaGa. Radio GooGoo.”
Freddie Mercury (1946 – 1991)
Lead Singer of Queen
“The voluntary exposure of the brain to microwaves from hand-held mobile phones is the largest human biological experiment ever.”
I’ve been terribly under the weather for a few days now. After taking care of a few emails and trying to get caught up on some work, I decided to check IMDB Pro to see what new films were going into production. I noticed one film looked like it was independent (no distributor listed). It was called JINX. I decided to see who was making it and found it was being made by Sunflower Films. It turns out that Sunflower Films is Liz Shawe and Flora Cyrus. Neither of these filmmakers have entered their second decade of life yet. That’s right, they’re both in their teens.
In addition to feeling a tad more nauseous, I was also shocked and amazed. Their mission statement is good [Sunflower Films is an independent film production company established in 2003. Sunflower strives to produce low budget but high quality feature and short films. As Sunflower Films continues to grow, it will develop and produce films that will inspire, enchant, and touch audiences around the world.]. If anyone has any more information on this film, please let me know. I’m curious [sunflower] yellow.
“Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.”
Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
Greek PhilosopherNicomachean Ethics
“Keep true to the dreams of thy youth.”
Friedrich von Schiller (1759 – 1805)
German Dramatist and Poet
Horror filmmaker David Cronenberg inspires some terrific book titles (e.g. The Artist as Monster) and visually stunning websites. Spider which was at Telluride last year. Crash and JasonX. And his fan site, The Plasma Pool boasts some incredible downloads. Greil Marcus reviews The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg, by William Beard, Bookforum, Spring 2002.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)
The truth is that the most recent Indigo Girls CD (Become You) was released on March 12, 2002 and I’ve had it for quite some time BUT it is one of my favorites. The first track, Moment of Forgiveness is filled with the yearning I love in songs. The more defiant Become You appeals to me more these days. So I was delighted to discover their site and notice that they’ve posted video for that song.
I guess I’m in a musical state of mind today. We went to the Desert Botanical Garden to hear Sharon Burch perform. She’s wonderful but the concert was scheduled in the blazing heat of the day. It was uncomfortably hot. She was great, though. She did several of my favorites including Pidgen Corn, Yazzie Girl and Kaya. Canyon Records has her music and many other Native performers.
“What makes me think I could start clean slated? The hardest to learn was the least complicated.”
Emily Saliers (The Indigo Girls)
Serendipitous searching has led me to some wonderful sites this weekend. Mastication is Normal, a wonderfully written site on design, Judaism, drama and other fine arts by Cheshire Dave. The website pages are beautiful to look at and even better to read! His list of links is fabulous, too!
For a site on book design, (the companion to Cheshire Dave’s discussion of book cover design, Osprey Book Design Blog is an exploration of letterform, image and structure that distracted me for way too much of my afternoon.
And, just for silliness, revisit your childhood with a trip to Digital LiteBrite and make yourself something bubbly.
“Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation.”
James Thurber (1894 – 1961)