“Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
Error-Prone British Author
Music-related links are the topic of the day. Music marketing information can be found at Buzz Factor. Another resource is Music Business Solutions for information on marketing and selling your music. A great place to find alternative and smaller distributors’ CDs is CD Baby.
Also Music to my Ears: Without A Box is now FREE to filmmakers. Formerly $70 annually, the festival registration service gets its primary funding from festivals. This is GREAT news! (Thanks to Kohl Glass for the update on that one!)
How Did I Miss This? A student from Scottsdale Community College had a short film in the 2004 Sundance film festival. Larry Blackhorse Lowe had Shush in the Indigenous Shorts category. The film also appears to have appeared in the AIFI (American Indian Film Institute) in San Francisco, the Native Voice Film Festival in South Dakota, Canada’s Image Nation Film Festival and The New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.
“Rest is for the weary, sleep is for the dead.”
BBC Cult Figure
“Life is hard. After all, it kills you.”
Katherine Hepburn (1907 – 2003)
From AnimWatch, a link to and story on Cristobal Vila’s short film Snakes. Inspired by the art and science of M. C. Escher, the 3D film appears to be a visual cornucopia of writhing geometry. Vila’s site had so many hits last month that he had to take his film link down. He’s got some interesting 3D tutorials for beginners and more skilled animators.
It’s Almost Oscar Time: You can check out the Academy Award Trailers and go to the Academy Awards site for more information. The Disney-Dali collaboration Destino was nominated in the category of animated short film. At Sundance, the short screened ahead of November and was well received.
For the Film Literati: Explore Australia’s Latrobe University’s Screening The Past, an international, refereed, electronic journal of visual media and history. The context, subtext and coversion of the film media is examined. Everything from Michael Mann’s use of wet streets to the implications of Shaka Zulu interpreted from a hegemonic point of view are fair game. I discovered a terrific book by Rainer Rother called Leni Riefenstahl: The Seduction of Genius. I’ve long been interested in Riefenstahl as a politically blind, pathologically obtuse, visually brilliant and innovative filmmaker. It didn’t hurt that Jodie Foster was developing a film about her. Even Cinemarati, a fabulous film board, had quite the discussion of the project.
“The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool.”
Jane Wagner (1935 – )
US Author, former partner of Lily Tomlin
“Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.”
Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903)
Anyone who has taken a design class from me knows that I am a BIG fan of John McWade’s Before & After Magazine. I would always refer students to his website, PageLab.Com and urge them to subscribe to his publication. Now, many of the best projects in the magazine have been compiled in a book. Very worthwhile!
In the realm of film production, well, there’s always a slew of new books coming out. Lately, I’m looking at $30 Film School. That’s pretty good. Ross gave me Digital Filmmaking 101. I’m fond of this book because it’s written by a couple of dudes from Wisconsin. Economy and necessity would have to drive their filmmaking!
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)
Another British Politician
Want to know when the film festivals are this year? Or would you prefer to know when DVDs are being released? Or when a film is opening in your area? You can Subscribe at Apple.Com. At this point it’s free (hopefully it won’t go the way of Mac.Com) and it’s useful!
Sports nuts will find NASCAR, NFL, NBA, PGA, NHL listings and more. Music aficionados can subscribe to concert listings. For the academically minded, there are even Testing Dates. It’s pretty dang handy. Now, if it could only make me finish that script!
“Once the game is over, the King and the pawn go back in the same box.”
Italian Proverb (timeless)
“If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
Vince Lombardi (1913 – 1970)
We live in exciting times! Gone are the days when only the “suits” could greenlight your film. Digital video has evolved to the point that creative, marketable, compelling films can be made on the tiniest of budgets. (Caveat: when large budgets are involved, people tend to “think” their projects through very carefully. The inexpense of DV can encourage some folks to leap into to production too quickly. Plan your film as though it will cost $1.5 million to shoot … then it will be worth a million.)
Of course, the ultimate goal for nearly everyone is to reach the point that you get to shoot on film. The beauty of film is still unsurpassed by anything digital. As an artist, how can one not love the subtlety of tones, the ability to control so many qualities, to create with light? Unfortunately, film is just so darn cost prohibitive. So, until they start throwing money at you, you might want to consider throwing yourself into learning DV.
Some of my favorite educational DV links include:
“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”
Andre Gide (1869 – 1951)
French Author and Essayist
“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent.”
Sophia Loren (1934 – )
I think the best kept screenwriting secret is John Truby’s 22-Step Method. Based on Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Mythic Hero, Truby’s course adapts, expands and enhances Campbell’s theories for the screenwriting genre.
I’ve taken courses with Jurgen Wolff, Michael Hague, Ron Peterson, Carl Sautter, Linda Seger, Linda Buzzell, and Robert McKee. I’ve read Syd Field, Lajos Egri, Richard Walter, William Goldman, Sergei Eisenstein and most USC/UCLA texts. They were all valuable and offered good information but Truby was, by far, the best.
The Truby Method is more like learning the fundamental architecture of screenplays. (Here comes my screenplay as house metaphor.) All houses have walls, windows, ceilings, doors and so on. A skilled architect takes those elements and creates unique and magical homes for his/her clients. A “hack” architect creates run-of-the-mill homes that neither excite nor intrigue. Think of how many people go to architecture school. Think of how rarely we get a Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry or Mies van der Rohe
Likewise, many people take screenwriting courses and then use those principles to grind out predictable, shallow, derivative screenplays. Originality and creativity require much more discipline and risk aversion. If you’re looking for a solid path to elevate your writing, check out Truby.
“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.”
Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980)
“The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.”
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894)
The Park City Digital Report documented the making of Matt Mahurin‘s documentary I Like Killing Flies” and reported his process. He rented a Sony PD-150A camcorder, bought a box of Mini DV tapes and shot roughly 30 hours of footage during the summer of 2002.
Then he set up an editing system on his Mac G4. Using Final Cut Pro (version 3 and, later, version 4), he edited the footage into a roughly two hour film. Though it was his first experience with FCP, he wasn’t a novice at editing. “I had edited the music videos that I directed.” (Among the music videos he directed were videos by U2, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, REM, Sting, Metallica, and Tracy Chapman.)
He submitted a version of the film to Sundance as a work in progress, but he was rejected. “After that, I didn’t touch it for months and months.” A year later,
Mahurin decided to revisit the film. He trimmed it by half an hour and resubmitted it to Sundance. After an audio mix and color timing, it was selected for this year’s festival.
Like Mark Romanek, Mahurin developed a powerful visual style that translated into an engaging visual film. Romanek’s One Hour Photo was a competitor in the Sundance dramatic category.