Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday themes within

    If you're like me, there's a list of holiday movies that are essential to watch this time of year! Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Scrooged are a few.  But unfortunetely the holiday movies are the same plots and themes rehashed over and over again. SO if you want to watch some fun movies that you haven't seen (or seen in a while) I remembered a few that have underlying holiday themes for some odd reason or another! 

   I linked the movies to IMDB in case people haven't seen some of them and want more info. Enjoy!

Apple Christmas Commercial

APPLE is at again. This years christmas commercial is so clever, I just had to share it with you guys. Although the new iphone 4s isnt as awesome as many people thought it was gonna be this commercial makes me rethink purchasing the phone this holiday season. How about you? I really love how they made siri usable for even Santa and its really funny without losing sight of the product (which alot of comedic commercials have a tendency to do). A+ once again for apples ad campaign i have no idea how they keep doing it. GENIUS.

On another note I really had an amazing time with you all this semester. I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird was based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book. It was one of my favorite books of all time. The movie basically tells the story of Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a widowed lawyer from Alabama, who defends a young black man who is on trial for the rape of a white woman. It is told through the eyes of Scout (Mary Badham) his six-year-old daughter.

At first the story seems to tell the story of her childhood, how she and her brother Jem (Philip Alford) and Dil (John Megna) spend their free time together. Then she proceeds to talk about all of the different people that make up the small town in Alabama where the story takes place and of course about the trail of Tom Robinson (Brock Peters). The movie shows Atticus follows his principles when he is chosen to defend a black man in light of the fact that most of the people believe he is guilty just because of the color of his skin.

I liked that the film was done in black and white and that the music chosen for the background really highlights what is going on in the movie. The film also follows the book very closely which I thought was important for the story telling process. It is a movie that I would highly recommend. It is a true classic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

bordom for me=watching movies

So this past weekend was a terrible bore for me aside from filming on sunday. Friday and Saturday I watched a whole bunch of movies. I figured I'd blog on each one. Here I go;

Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas: This was one of my favorite movies growing up, created by Jim Hansen and his muppets. I hadn't watched it in year and noticed that it was on Netflix so needless to say I watched it with out hesitation. I even found myself almost unfamiliar with the story line. I also giggled several times at the silly lines said by characters in the film I think my favorite characters were: Chuck Stoat and Wendell Porcupine!
Untold Stories of Columbine: This was just a TV coverage of Darrell Scott (Rachel Scott's Father). Rachel Scot was the first to die on Columbine. Darrell told of his daughter's story of her life and her death and covered some of the events prior durring and after columbine, how his family dealt with the loss and how they believe God was preparing them for this unfortunate event in their lives. He also Covered how his son was also there on the say his sister died as he witnessed Isaiah Shoels, and Cassie Bernall's deaths. The two kids on either side of him were both shot but he was spared by pretending to have been shot. On his way out of the building he passed his sister's body and never knew it was her. The stories he shared were heart warming and very touching. I cried a couple of times. Especially at the part where he mentioned them being on Oprah.
Columbine: Understanding Why: This was a date line show about the events of columbine as detectives began searching out answers to all the questions. I didn't necessarily agree with their up-bringing of the media because It almost had nothing to do with the media they consumed (it wasn't their influence as much as it was just their way of expressing violence to hold them over until their planned date and times.) I think what got them was the bullying more than anything, the stupid thing is that they killed all the kids that were being bullied not the bullies themselves. (Not that anyone SHOULD have been killed) Their "cause" was a failure because they killed kids who were just like themselves but perhaps this wasn't by accident. Who knows I'd rather not be inside their heads. However I'm all for preventing this kind of thing from ever happening again.

Nosferatu: This was a 1920's horror flick about the vampire Nosferatu and his victims. I thought it was very interesting not only to see a silent film from the 20's but also to see the evolution of vampires in film. The acting was also adorable!

Zero Day: This was also a film about Columbine. So I went on a Columbine kick after this movie. I would certainly recommend this film if you enjoy feeling your heart pound out of your chest. I don't believe they used any real footage at all from Columbine but they certainly made you feel like you were there to see the entire event. It also touched on subjects that were of fact in the true story. Such as the fact that they had made underground videos, they never planned on killing themselves, their first plan failed, and in the underground footage of this event they told their parents "this wasn't your fault we love you". By the end of the film I was at the edge of my seat and my heart was pounding so hard I could feel it. In my book, If a film can do that to you it's a success. This film is now number 68/ 89.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly: This was a hoot! I love MST3!
this is just a sample of MST3000!

Scream: Silly and a terrible Horror film but it was kind of a classic for our generation so I watched it for a little laugh. I don't think this one's in my fav's list.

year in film

has anyone seen this yet, i just saw it and i really liked it. This guy gen 1 mashed up 230 movies into a 5 minute youtube video, he does a great job with the music and he take some of the best shots in some movies that you might have over looked and just blends them together so well. It may reach its high point early and change tone a little but it comes back in the end. anyway i thought this was really cool and it reminds me of the old toonami promos that did this kind of mashing

Monday, December 12, 2011


SNL has had a lot of popular recurring characters over the years- The Church Lady, John Belushi as the Samurai, the Coneheads etc. The most recent character that seems to have gained a lot of popularity is Bill Hader as Stefon on Weekend Update. Stefon gives advice for the hottest clubs in the city to go to. However, Hader usually can't get through this character without laughing at his own ridiculousness which is when the audience gets most excited. And with each appearance the applause gets louder every time Seth introduces him. In this interview even he talks about how he can't make it through an appearance without cracking up:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bro's Music video/end of the world!

Just so everyone can share in my agony.... my hard drive just crashed... WOOOOOO. Yup you guessed it... our project's on it!!! The good people of master control are keeping it overnight to salvage my files... pray for us people, pray!

On to other things... my step-brother Tony and his band InAshton released a music video a few weeks ago that I thought I'd share with you all (he's the lead guitar)...

I love the song and thought the video came out great! The actress kinda looks like Zoe Saldana... but she's not haha my step-bro promises! I really liked the special effects like the fire and broken glass... it definitely took the video to the next level. I wonder what we could do with it if given the raw footage.... hmmm maybe I'll ask him for it one day!

video co pilot

so in class Arturo told me about video co pilot and i guess everyone else knows about it but its pretty cool
and not as time consuming as i would have thought. most of the effect work has been done  for you and it just opens a bunch of possibilities for you to mess with. here are some samples

those were all people that used video copilot to make there productions the tutorials are all on his website so check it out

some are long some are shorter but check it out

Blue Mountain State

   A tv show on Spike that I recently got hooked on is called Blue Mountain State.  The show is about a fictitous college and their once amazing football team that is now in rough shape.  The show is actually only about 10% football and 90% what happens off the field.  This makes it a racy, completely unrealistic show about college experiences...similar to the American Pie films.  Most of the time the cast is partying and doing various team-building exercises that go completely wrong.  The core characters have GREAT personalities and it was an amazing casting job on their part.  One of the main actors (Thad) was an American Idol finalist a few years ago as well.  So if you like outrageous and vulgar shows this may be a new one for you, however I don't suggest sitting around and watching it with your entire family over the holidays!

Ithaca Audio

I stumbled across this the other day somewhere on vimeo. This little sound company appears to be based out of Ithaca. I think its a pretty neat way to use to the internet to market themselves, kind of like what Arturo was talking about. Some of these live mixes have hundreds of thousands of views. Does anybody know these guys personally?


Inception written and directed by Christopher Nolan is a story about a man name Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a thief who has mastered the technological art of stealing valuable secrets from deep with the subconscious during the dream state. He knows that when someone is unconscious the mind is most vulnerable, so it is easy to get to the secrets people are holding onto. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in a tricky new world of corporate espionage, it has also made him an international criminal. This could cost him everything that he has ever loved in the world. Then he gets a chance to get his life back, but only if he can create the most impossible-inception. Instead of stealing someone's secrets he has to commit the perfect crime, Cobb and his team of specialists Arthur and Ariadne (Joseph Gorden-Levitt and Ellen Page) have to pull off the reverse: they plan to plant an idea in the persons subconscious instead of extracting their thoughts. If they are successful this could be the perfect crime, but it is a dangerous task no amount of careful planning can prepare Cobb and his people for the vicious enemy that seems to be one step ahead of them and who seems to have the ability to calculate their every move.

The story is very fast-paced and Cobb has to deal with his own feelings and thoughts about the world of deception he has been creating. He also has to take into consideration that as his plan becomes more complex, his own dreams begin to present themselves into the dreams. Soon the question becomes what is part of a dream and what is true reality.

I watched this quick paced film once and I realized that I needed to watch it again because I missed many things that were happening along the storyline. I would recommend it, but I think that it can be confusing at times. If you like techno drama this is the film to see.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Ariadne auf Naxos (1988) (TV), Following (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Batman Begins (2005), Paprika (2006), La Vie en Rose (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), Shutter Island (2010)

The Stop Motion Movie That Never Was

Personally, I have always had an incredible love for stop motion animation. I have all of the Wallace and Gromit shorts on my phone, and have usernames under at least 4 different stop-motion online forums. There is something so magical about how organic the medium is. That is why, about 4 years ago, I set out to make my own stop motion animation film.

The film was called "The Day Job," and it covered a protagonist's first and only day at his new job in a waffle factory. I had storyboarded it, created the puppets, and even constructed the entire waffle factory set. However, other priorities soon overtook my time, and hand animating several hundred frames took a back seat to homework.

Here are some of the pieces of test footage I could recover:

This was a test of gaining an acceptable depth of field, which I had an incredibly hard time doing, without basic knowledge of how depth of field is established.

This is a test of animating the Waffle Omni-Whomper 2000. Basically, it was a waffle iron that I adorned with K'nex, cardboard, paint, and a broken smoke detector. I still have it in my room back home, along with my clay puppets.

One day, I would love to finish this project, as I am pretty sure I still have the original pieces. The passion is still there, and I would love to apply what I now know to film making to completing this project.

Best show on television

Hands down, the best show on television at lest in my view, is AMC's Mad Men. it really isn't even close. Before we get to Mad Men, it's pretty incredible what AMC has managed to do over the last five years in terms of picking up and airing critically acclaimed shows. Whether it's the walking dead, breaking bad, or mad men, the quality of AMC's shows are on par with those of HBO, Showtime, and the major networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC. Moving onto Mad Men though, what an amazing show. For those of you who haven't had the good fortune of seeing it yet, the show, which will be entering its fifth season in March, follows the lives of advertising executives in New York City in the 1960's.The show is witty, dark, mysterious, and the most well put together show on television. I began watching the show with father and he said it was like a time machine back to the 1960's. The show has won outstanding drama series at the Emmy awards the last four years, no small feat by any measure. The show is available from start to finish on netflix, but I must warn you, once you start, it is nearly impossible to stop. Enjoy, an get hooked, just like I did.
Here is the promo for season season one.

Muppets are Communists

There are a lot of concerns about media literacy and critical thinking in kids these days, because they spend so much time immersed in the media and are exposed to a lot of violence and messages about race and world issues. This is something I am really interested in, and I love listening to these people argue about communism, the evil of Liberals and their evil motives, and...the Muppets. The creators of the latest movie have defended themselves, saying in this article, "Cable news is 24 hours long so you have to fill it up with something. No, the Muppets are not communist. And the character of Tex Richman is not an allegory for capitalism in any way. The character is called Tex Richman."

The world amazes me, every single day. Remind me to never work at FOX news.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

21 Jump Street

So this weekend I saw The Sitter- which was okay. It reminded me a lot a Superbad and just replaced Michael Cera's part with three kids. But anyways I was pretty interested in the trailers before the movie.
One was 21 Jump Street featuring a skinny, blonde Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. I'm super excited about this pairing cause it's so bizarre. And I'm thinking this is going to be better than The Sitter because Jonah is going to have someone funnier to play off of (because the kids in The Sitter were so-so) and Channing Tatum, while not as raunchy or as funny as Jonah at all has the potential to be really good at this. What's also exciting about this movie is that Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation plays the boss of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum and I have no doubt that he will do as good a job in this movie as he does in Parks and Rec every week. And I know really little about the original show 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp but apparently this new movie strays far from the original show. And I also found out that the directors of this: Chris Miller and Phil Lord were producers on Awesometown (for any hardcore Lonely Island fans like myself) and thought that was pretty exciting.

Vlogging and cameras

I know several people who have tried to start video blogs (Ok...those people have been me), but there's always the problem of how to seem natural on camera. When watching vlogs of people like Philip DeFranco and the Vlog Brothers, you can see that they treat the camera just as a person that they're talking to, not like a camera. Here's a video of John Green being comfortable in front of a camera.

So for those of us that might get a little camera shy, here's an article that gives tips on becoming more comfortable. It's simple things like practicing what you're going to say (but not too much), being able to ramble, and just remembering to breathe. So maybe all of you (and me) will be able to act natural now!


With all of the formal rules about lighting, and the... (let's be nice) limited lighting choices in the studios, I forgot how much fun lighting can be! This past Thursday and Friday I was the assistant lighting designer for the Ithacappella show, which meant driving to Rochester to pick up equipment, setting all of the lights and working on effects, and helping my good friend Andrew (who was the LD) come up with concepts for the different songs they performed. We used lights I'd never worked with before (5R Pro Intelligent Movers, Atomic 3000 Strobes, Chauvet COLORado LED pars) and we created and tested new effects. (While this didn't work entirely well in the concert, we created lasers using the same projector that was used for the video screens. The mirrors on top of the screens reflected the projection back across the haze and over the audience.) I also got to try my hand at a new lighting console, the Road Hog Full Boar. It's entirely touch screen, and much easier to use than the 140+ dimmers we usually use in the Emerson Suites.
My main job as lighting assistant was to be in charge of the video effects. We created the video projections in Final Cut by creating a matte that would only show the images where the screens were placed on stage. Same for matting a box for the laser mirrors.
But all in all the concert was a huge success (I was not expecting a full house of 600+ people...) And 21+ hours of work (on <6 hours of sleep) later, I finally got to go back to bed.

Trusses, strobes, and video screens
Road Hog and Final Cut with the matte
Haze allowed us to see the light beam being cast from any source, especially the projector

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I WATCHED HUGO! It made it to not only my top ten as I expected in my favorites list, but it is now my 4th favorite movie of all time. I've only seen a few predictions so far and so far not all of them have had Hugo winning any oscars but the ones I have seen with Hugo winning an Oscar are pretty darn sure of it. rating it at a 5-star rating. All of my film fans love it to death. Just as I expected I absolutely LOVED this movie any one reading this blog and is even the slightest bit interested in the film world needs to see this film. Honestly I was teary-eyed the ENTIRE time I watched this film. That is soooo hard to do for me. The one down-fall that I could see was a little bit of disbelief in some of the acting (possibly some over acting). But despite that everything went with out a hitch. I saw it in 3D but I'm sure seeing it in any theater would be equally amazing! Please Please Please go see it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

     This movie had a lot of problems getting enough money to film, and for good reason.  If I told you that I wanted to make a feature film about an institutionalized man, only during his time while in the institution, you would think I was the crazy one.  How could this be a good film, there is no action, there are no love interests or bad guys.   The story does not sound like the kind of movie that would be remotely interesting.  Yet the movie is fantastic.  It is amazing to watch this man simply get into the lives of institutionalized people who are in a routine and shake their lives up.  It has great character development and the viewer actually knows each of the characters by the end of the movie.  It all happens in about three locations and most of it is them just sitting in a circle, yet it is engaging, it makes you want to know what is going to happen, and how these very different and very extreme personalities can fit together.  It is fun to see how this story was written and how it was converted from the book, there is a lot to be said for a writer that can externalize so many emotions and ideas that are primarily internal (Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman, screenplay writers).  Its a great movie, bottom line, watch it.

The Doctor Is In

So this semester I finally got into a TV show that many of my friends have been pestering me to watch for years - Doctor Who. I was hesitant at first to be honest. A show about aliens just didn't seem like it would appeal to me, but I've quickly fallen in love with it.

For those who don't know, Doctor Who is about a 900 year old Time Lord (that's a kind of alien) who travels around time and space with a human companion in a blue police box. If you're someone who hasn't really seen it, this may seem like a super odd concept...which it is. It has been on television ever since 1963, which is pretty cool. My Dad actually saw the very first episode as it was being broadcasted live (he's British, so it makes sense). In the old Doctor Who the special effects were pretty adorable...meaning terrible, but hey, it was the 1960s! Here's the first part of the very first episode.

Thankfully in the new series (which returned in 2005 after a 9 year hiatus) the special effects are better. They're not always superb, but they try.

Sometimes this show is pure brilliance! Great stories, scary monsters, witty dialogue, and superb acting, but when it's bad it's pretty terrible. But Whovians (which is what super fans of the show are called) love to pick apart the episodes and find plot holes and just discuss the show for hours. I do that.

The tenth doctor, David Tennant, is arguably the best doctor thus far. Here's a clip of one of my favorite moments with him.

All in all, this is strangely one of my favorite shows. It took me a few episodes to get into it, but now I can't imagine my life without the doctor and his blue box. It sounds strange that a show that can be as hokey as this one has had such a big impact on my life, but it has. I strongly encourage everyone to watch at least a little!

3D for the rest of us!

I still don't know where I fall on the issue of 3D films, even after writing quite a few posts about them. However, the more knowledgeable I get about the topic, the more clear the future seems regarding them. One very important step in the future of 3D films is getting it to the masses. I wrote last week on the rigs the pros are using, but they can become incredibly expensive and unwieldy. So, after some digging, I found an article that goes through the steps of how anyone can make their own 3D film. Check it out here!

Really, the process is incredibly simple. Just set up two cameras 2 1/2 inches across from each other. Shoot your material, and edit the film with one video feed. Once your done, match up the other side's footage, superimpose it, and color one red, the other blue. This will work fine for anaglyph glasses, which is the old-school flavor of 3D films. If you are interested in polarized 3D, then you are looking at much more expensive equipment, but the process is the same.

The hard part is in mastering the technicalities and subtleties of the format, and using it as part of the story telling rather than the ticket margins. It is increasingly obvious that this is where the industry will be focusing on for quite some time, so it is well worth it to get immersed now. Movie making has always favored the innovators, and there is still a great deal of innovating to do in this medium.

Marcell the Shell with Shoes On

These videos are great - I love the stop motion and the cinematography for each shot. Even though most of them are still shots, they are all obviously carefully composed. The writing really makes the videos top notch - you don't even seem to question why he is a shell, has shoes on, one eye, or why he is being interviewed because you're too busy enjoying the silly things he says.

The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin is undoubtably the most loved silent film star and figure, but eventually even he began to write, direct and star in movies with speech. His first movie in which he spoke was The Great Dictator, a parody of Nazi Germany and Hitler. This was certainly not the first "talkie" movie made, but it was his first and when he finally did speak, boy did he have a lot to say...

This was a comedic movie, but Chaplin dropped it for this speech. He denounces hate, greed, and intolerance and instead demands love, kindness, and freedom for all. It is a powerful message that is still important today. The simplicity of the shots is also important to notice. For the most part, the shot stays on a medium shot of Chaplin talking to his audience. It does not change much, strengthening the power of his message and making it seem even more absolute. Sometimes when watching movies important moments get over-edited, when in the end simplicity would better serve to convey the message or sense of an important scene.

Books vs movie scripts

Who has ever mentioned a movie and had a bystander reply: "The book was better." ?  Annoying right? On Thanksgiving my brothers and I were discussing books that were turned into movies and the pros and cons of the outcome.  One book I read and watched the movie of was "1984." This was my example of a movie that followed the book almost line for line, and the outcome was...TERRIBLE! (The book was GREAT) One of my brothers read the "Watchmen" graphic novel series and said a similar thing; the movie was so similar to the graphic novel frame-for-frame that you didn't even need to see it if you've read the book.
This is the distinct difference between books and movies... size. Books can be as long as they need to be in order to tell a story, but movies have to be condensed into 2hours or less.  This shows the format difference between the two mediums, and is why movie scripts have to be adjusted for the "big screen."  What works for one type of media doesn't directly transfer to another.  Drama and action have to be much more controlled and formulated to grab an audience's attention in film.  I feel this is an important point to tell book snobs. On that note, I'd really like to see a remake of "1984" with an actual movie script and today's technology!

The Sitter

Jonah Hill usually doesn't disappoint me and I'm hoping he doesn't in his new movie "The Sitter", coming out Dec 9th. In this movie Jonah plays a babysitter while remaining the lazy, crude, hilarious guy he plays in most of his movies. I'm looking forward to this a lot and I think the kids in this movie will bring as much humor to it as Jonah. It was directed by David Gordon Green who also directed Pineapple Express.

Also an interview with Jonah:
He talks about what makes this movie different from other baby sitter movies and such

lookie what i found

I found a bunch of old footage its all real footage from the some have commentary that was added a little later but this stuff is a bunch of old timey footage and each has different youtube channel

heres some sports

here is some fashion

and here is some war stuff

with titles like italians gooses step for hitler i get a kick out of these old videos and if you ever need old looking footage these channels are a great place to get em

Getting Creative

I was on Vimeo the other day when I stumbled across this article. The article is basically a super basic intro to gels and diffusion. What I found interesting however was this picture from the article.

The neat colorized effect was created by holding a glass of whiskey up the flash. This got me thinking about all the creative, homemade stuff, guys were bringing on set when I was working this summer. The lighting guys were always experimenting with weird stuff to bounce the light off of. I guess the point is sometimes we get caught up in the latest greatest equipment, which is a good thing, but I think we can all think a little more creatively on all fronts. Even if your not lighting. Audio people for example might think of a new way to hide the mic in the car or producers might use a different layout when making the call sheets, etc. Its a struggle sometimes to not become complacent with your work but ultimately that creativity is going to pay off.

Swedish Fish Commercial

So im on a SWEDISH FISH frenzy this weekend, thanks to Scott Hamula and the final project he's assigned for Advertising Class. My group and I are developing an entire new ad campaign for the tangy gummy fish, which is a lot of fun actually(except for the extraneous amount of writing needed for the 30 page ad plan book). Through our research we ran across ONE(thats right Swedish fish only has one full ad campaign out there) ad campaign that the company has created ( which was banned in France which is totally weird bc Europe barely ever bans anything[well compared to america at least]). I really like this campaign its so simple and really focuses on the product. But, our campaign is better;) Creating my own ad campaign really makes me want to produce more commercials while at school. I really just love the 30 sec time restraint and the challenge it creates i to produce something, creative, memorable and that sells in so short of a time.

Project Update

This weekend was our big shoot, and so far we got the green screen of the zombies, and the shots at the apartment complex, the parking lot, and the business campus. Not sure exactly how much is left, but we may have to shoot during class tomorrow. We're also considering how we can get a logo for WonderTaco on the side of a car that is used in one of our scenes. But other than that we're nearly done with the filming and we're getting ready to work on the post-production.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Horrible Bosses

The movie Horrible Bosses is about three friends Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) who try to work hard, be respected and move ahead in each of their jobs, but they each have a big problem in attaining this goal: they have a terrible boss and a job that is difficult to leave without starting somewhere else at the bottom of the ladder. At the financial firm where he works, Nick's mean spirited boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), has always given Nick the impression that he is next in line for a senior vice-president position. This however is the farthest thing from Dave's mind. Kurt, who works for chemical company, used to have a great boss, Jack Pellitt (Donald Sutherland) until he died, which meant that the company was passed on to his drug addicted son, Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell). He has no work ethic, hates Kurt and does not really care about the family business. As a dental hygienist Dale is constantly sexually harassed by his boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). What makes things even worse is the fact that Julia keeps threatening to tell Dale's fiancée that they did sleep together if he does not sleep with her. Because of an innocent accident when he was younger, he had been put on the sexual predator list, so he knows that it would be impossible to get another job. The three men joke about killing their bosses in order to make their lives easier and that is when the craziness really begins. Dale is the first to say that he really wants to do it, and after some coaxing the others agree. Since they are just ordinary men they do not have any idea about how to hire a hit-man. Between a hit-man they meet in the bad side of town, played by Jamie Foxx, and what they have learned on television crime shows they set out to follow through with their murder plot without getting caught. However the way they try to carry out their plan puts the police right on their trail.

The direction, by Seth Gordon and the writing by Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, plus the comedic talents of the cast, created comedy at its best. I laughed throughout the entire movie. I could tell that some of the script had to have been ad-libbed, which made the scenes especially funny. Even though the critics did not like this film, I guess because it was not sophisticated and I am sure they thought that the plot was predictable, I found it to be a fun film to watch. I would highly recommend it as a rental, or on demand, to be watched with friends for an entertaining evening in.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The living Wake

Over thanksgiving break I had the opportunity to watch to watch an indi-film starring Jesse Eisenberg. It was very witty and clever and made it to my favorites list at number 35. The story is about a man who is dying of an incurable name-less disease and and his doctor tells him the very specific time for him to die. The story is set on his last day on earth. He sets out to find the answer to why his father left him and his mother when he was very young and he later finds his father and he tells him all the resolving facts to the story and brings him to his death. The story certainly keeps you intrigued and interested while taking you on a journey to see the last day of his life and the sadness of his only friend as he carries him to his grave most literally. The story weighs heavily on its characters and their development.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sports Media

Over the break, a father asked me to videotape his son's football game and edit the good plays he makes into a high-light real. He gave me a hand held camera and told me the different angles to shoot at for where his son would be on the field, whether it was defense or offense. This was by far the hardest event I ever shoot at. Football is such a quick game and i was constantly losing concept of where the ball and Jon were. Jon played the running back position so he was pretty much on every play. Jon's father wanted me too be zoomed in as much as possible and to always have his son on camera.

Towards the second quarter, my hand was already starting to get tired, and there was nothing i could really do about it. A tripod would have rally been handy. After halftime, Jon rushed for a 47 yard touchdown, breaking three tackles and diving into the end zone. The best part was that he was running towards me the entire time, so the shoot does like pretty cool as i zoom out and refocus during the play.

In post, I added some music and labeled what each short bit was before playing it. Mr Struss, Jon's father, was very please with what I accomplished and said that if Jon's team makes it to the championship, he would ask me to do the same thing again. Then it hit me. There are so many parents that spend a tremendous amount of money to have highlight tapes shoot for their son or daughter. So currently, I am making a website that will be linked on my old school's website for parents interested in a highlight tape for their child's college resume. I already have gotten few phone calls, and have 3 jobs for when I go back home after christmas. I think I might really have something here. Once the site is finished, I'll post again and have a link to the main page.

Monday, November 28, 2011

stop motion

was up late and ran across this. By far the best most creative stop motion video i've ever seen. The use of google street view to take us on a journey was beyond clever. I can't imagine how many painstaking hours this took to make.

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Battle of the Snow Whites

I know Kari already posted about Snow White and the Huntsman... but there are TWO new Snow White movies coming out in the next year. Here's the trailer for the other one... Mirror, Mirror. Which personally I think looks a lot better. It's not as dark as the Tim Burton version but it looks really funny. Julia Roberts plays the evil queen and I feel like this is going to be one of her best roles in years. Snow White is played by Lilly Collins (Phil Collins daughter btw) who was in the Blind Side, and Armie Hammer who played the twins in The Social Network is the Prince. It looks really good check it out...

There Will Be Blood

I've always been a huge fan of There Will Be Blood. The resurgence of westerns in modern filmmaking is the coolest thing to me. Daniel Day Lewis is one of my favorite actors and I think There Will Be Blood has to be one of the most beautifully shot movies I have ever seen. After watching it again recently I looked up a lot of the making of the movie. I got more interested in the sound when I was re watching the movie. Turns out it was scored by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood. If you watch the video below there is some explanation into some of the work behind the sound mixing itself.

The Glory of Gilmore Girls

Lately, I have been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. My roommate has all the DVD sets and I spent all of Thanksgiving break watching them. I am really impressed with the quality of the show. It seems that there is way more than the usual 50 pages of material for an hour long show. The dialogue is so quick I might guess there are more like 70 or 80 pages of script squashed into that time slot. Not only is it fast, but its witty and intelligent...I would say about 30 references to pop culture that no one person could ever understand in one sitting. It's brilliant, I love it.

After watching so much, though I notice funny things every once in a while. They were filming a conversation scene between two characters sitting at a table. The angle of the medium shot of the man in the scene was taken very obviously without the other actor there - in reality her shoulder and most of her back would have been in the shot. It was actually really weird for me to watch and I couldn't wait for the scene to be over! Now that I saw that it is going to bother me through the 4 seasons I have left!

There are a lot of things like this I notice whenever I am watching TV or movies. I love it, actually. Watching things and going crazy because I can't fix it! I learn so much at school and it is really fun to catch it out in the real world. Very exciting stuff!

Learning the Language of 3D

Black Friday has come and gone, and with it, a crop of the latest technology and gadgets. One item making a big showing this year is the 3D television. The weekend saw discounts deep enough to finally give 3DTV's a push into the mainstream, which will undoubtedly help their adoption.

So far, 3DTV has been a little bit of a Chick-and-the-Egg conundrum, with very little 3D programming available right now. However, TV shows are now slowly making the transition to add the new dimension. Some would think that making the jump would be quite easy. You just add another camera 3 inches away, right?

Not quite. As it turns out, filmmakers are now starting to understand the language specific to three dimensional programming, and applying it to traditionally two dimensional films has proved a struggle. CNET recently ran a fantastic story on the language difference between 2D and 3D programming, and you can read it here: How 3D TV will change the look of 2D shows

I definitely recommend giving the article a read over. It's even more poignant when considering what our jobs may become in just a few short years. With the constantly changing landscape of media, it's vital to have a handle on the latest, because before too long, there will be even new advances to master and adjust to.

Making of Nightmare Before Christmas

First of all Tim Burton looks so YOUNG in these videos.
I just have loved the Nightmare Before Christmas since I was a child. It has always been so magical to me and watching these videos now only further solidifies the magic of this movie. Everyone on Tim's team is just genius and quite frankly the whole idea of stopmotion animation is mind boggling to me. I have no idea how these people make these masterpieces in a mere 3 years i feel like it would take me at least 10 to make something of that scale. There isnt much to say these videos kind of leave you speechless on the entire process. So check them out!

Star Wars Christmas

So many Christmas movies, so little time! I was very disappointed over the Thanksgiving break to find how few Thanksgiving movies exist. South Park is one of the few programs that regularly has Thanksgiving mayhem, and I think someone should start making more ridiculous movies like Thankskilling!
 Anyway, for the holidays I have a list of movies I absolutely have to watch, including Scrooged, The Grinch and Home Alone to name a few.  I stumbled across the Star Wars Holiday special last year, and boy is it worth watching... for a laugh!
For anyone who hasn't seen it, the Star Wars Holiday special was right after the first movie came out in 1978.    I guess the movie had a way bigger effect on people than George Lucas had anticipated and they threw together a holiday special that is a "Universe Happy Life Day" of some sort.  It is really hard to watch because of how horrible it turned out and I didn't get to finishing it last year.  I'm pretty sure everyone involved in it tried to forget about it and erase it from the history books!  Rumor has it that the cast was all getting drunk back stage while it was being aired! This really just shows that not all ideas from George Lucas are gold!


A year of two ago I read, wait no, I should say watched a book, called Hugo! This book was not written but drawn. On every page was a new illustration telling a story about a boy and a mystery after the death of his father and the discovery of something his father was working on when he died. Over the Thanksgiving break I saw a trailer for the new movie "Hugo" produced by Martin Scorsese. I'm specifically excited to see this one mostly because I loved the new form of book media and the story as well. I also trust Martin Scorsesi's work and the animation in the trailer looks wonderful! I really hope I get the chance to go see this. If any one sees it before I do let me know how you liked it!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Twilight: Breaking Dawn

Oh dear...where to start with this one. Yesterday my best friend and I went to go see it, since she has a Robert Pattinson...obsession. Overall, there were some decent scenes, and the set designs were amazing, but there was significantly less conflict in this movie. It's all about the mental conflict between Bella and the rest of the family about the baby's effect on her. The only time there was any physical conflict was at the end of the movie between the werewolves. Much like the first and second movies, the final confrontation is pushed until the very end, but even so, for this movie in particular, it was lacking. I almost would have been willing to stay another 2 hours to avoid the awkwardly forced ending. While many critics say the ending was awkwardly placed in the storyline, I don't see where else they could have put it. They're forcing two movies out of one book, almost like cutting the book in half and making two, thus needing to stretch out every little detail to make it a 2 hour movie. However, the silly little girl in me who read all 4 books will of course be going to see part 2 when it comes out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Since it is Thanksgiving break I have been watching a lot of TV and this time of year it is all about the big Black Friday sales. I have also noticed that most commercials are all about the really big sales, which just tends to get on my nerves. I understand the advertising has its purpose, but watching the same ads over and over again for every single commercial break tend to get old. I think that maybe marketing companies should take that into consideration when they are bombarding the public with annoying ads to shop at ridiculous hours of the morning to get the best deals. They have convinced me that it is would be easier to just stay at home and shop online. There are no lines, no other customers to deal with and I can complete the task with just a click of the mouse.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chanel 2012

I know this is my second post involving Chanel ( I admit I might have a bit of an unhealthy obsession) but they are just such a fabulously creative company. This is there most recent runway show and I am just obsessed with their set design! The Underwater theme for the spring summer 2012 is so perfectly put together that even the way the seats are positioning are in line with the water theme appearing as waves from an aerial view. I just Love what Karl Lagerfeld has done with the company he has stayed true to the Chanel tradition while at the same time keeping up with the fast moving times. I love Chanel for so many reasons but mostly because they show fashion for what it really is an art form. But I'm posting this for more than just my fashion obsession but to celebrate the fact that I will be working NY fashion week this Spring alongside of B Productions to film and stream Live fashion shows for major fashion houses. I just had my interview this week and I am absolutely thrilled to have gotten the gig. It will be quite the experience to join my two loves fashion and film into one great interview. Hopefully the fashion world wont eat me up and spit me out :0

More Scriptwriting Software Options!

When poking around the internet over break, I stumbled across this little gem of a website: It is an online scriptwriting program, which is great, but not new. The killer feature of Plotbot, however, is it's potential for collaboration.

I've been a firm believer in using Celtx for over 5 years now. It's free, capable, and easy. However, the one problem I've had with it is collaborating with other group members. I always wished there could be a love child between Celtx and Google Docs, that everyone in my group could edit in real time, without having to worry about emailing the latest version. And this is where Plotbot can shine!

It seems to offer all of the core functionality of Celtx, and is being offered for free as well. It's the product of two USC film students, so you can be sure that the creators have an idea what their audience is looking for. If you've ever been frustrated with having "Screenplay final," "Screenplay final 2," "Screenplay final 2 editted," and more clutter up your desktop, give the website a try.

Bonus: You can change the site's language to "Pirate!"

Data lost, data found

 So, with everything being done on computers these days, I feel it's relevent to blog about an issue that will most likely affect everyone who uses a computer to edit video...DATA LOSS!  Every good professor will tell you that when you have a project you need to make copies and copies and more copies to prevent losing footage from shoots. This is excellent advice, but murphy's law tends to strike when the chances are low and the stakes are high! What if the computer you were using to edit on suddenly won't start up correctly on the exact same day that the flash card you had video on showed up blank, and all your files were deleted? 
Don't freak out! There are many ways to recover your data!

Here are some helpful things to keep in mind about computers:
  • Your hard drive files are not entirely controlled by your operating system. This means that if your operating system fails you can usually still get access to your files by using a different operating system! Your computer will still need a new OS install, but your actual files are seperate and still fully intact. 
  • Hard drives and flash media are designed to write ALL of the original storage blocks before overwriting. This means that even if you delete something accidentally from a computer hard drive or flash drive/sd card, it remains on the drive until more data has been written to the drive than the size the drive is. An example: if you have a 16Gb sd card and have only ever written 10Gb of data on it, the physical drive actually still has the 10Gb on it even if it is deleted, until you overwrite more than 16Gb.
I'm sure this sounds complicated and/or boring so you don't have to remember exactly how it works, just remember that technology is robust!! And everything ALWAYS goes wrong at the worst possible time, so don't lose hope until the situation is truly f.u.b.a.r.!

Hell on Wheels

     Many networks are trying to build up the amount of original content they broadcast, this is an attempt to pull in viewers.  AMC is one of these networks.  They have just recently created a show "Hell on Wheels."  This show is a period piece which takes place just after the civil war, while the transcontinental railroad is being built.  It chronicles the story of one mans journey to avenge the death of his wife.  There have only been three episodes, but even in just that short amount of time it is clear that this show is going to be awesome.  The characters are extremely well developed, and the drama between them, and the situations in which they are placed are believable and realistic.  I am a Civil War reenactor so I like to think that I know something about how the 19th century looked, and the sets and costumes are beautifully done and even the language is  appropriate.  My issue with the show is that the writing cheats sometimes.  There have been several times where a character will go on a huge monologue about something, and at times they are not even talking to anyone. I feel that this is a cheating way to get information out to the viewer and perhaps it is just because we are in the first few episodes, hopefully it will stop.  The show is very graphic and gritty, a definite draw for some people.  My big question now is whether or not the show will last.  It is very similar to "The Walking Dead" and has the same feel, this could pull some people in.  On the same hand it could drive people away, as they already have a show which fills that gritty show need.  Only time will tell, I hope it makes it.

The Art of the Title

The Art of the Title is a site that collects and documents, well, titles. I really recommend this site as a source of inspiration and information since they have a great compilation of the most important film and television motion graphic title design from all over the world, covering early examples (Saul Bass below) as well as the most recent works like Game of Thrones, Rubicon, TooBig To Fail etc.

could not link the movie itself, click on the LINK below

I really like this title sequence (Catch Me if You Can) which I believe we have seen in class. But this LINK shows a little more about the process of creation for such a sequence which is interesting to study.

Although there are tons of title sequences on the site, many of which I am sure you remember, To Kill A Mockingbird is a particular favorite of mine. I saw the film as a young boy and then recently as an adult (or old man!) and I still love it for its powerful storytelling. It scared me when I first saw it and did not know what the film was about, yet everything that was to come was already present in those 3 minutes.

foreign cops

i don't know if i have to post this we since its break and all but here is a little post anyway. I came across the trailer for the new Nathan statham movie "Safe" and the back story for his character is he used to be "the big apple's hardest cop, once upon a time". I don't get it. Why would someone want to leave there country and start over being cop when your from England or Ireland? It also happened in bridesmaids with officer Rhodes but it was a comedy and he wasn't the main character so it wasn't that big a deal. I really don't understand it and it kinda takes me out of the movie and i was wondering if anyone had this problem as well.

The View is good for something...

So I kind of hate 'The View." Whenever I have tuned in it has been a bunch of women jut babbling about random things, getting into arguments, or interviewing someone either I (a) don't care too much about or (b) was in some random, horrifying accident. Not something I usually find entertaining, unfortunately. I, in fact, am very disappointed in can do better, girl.

But, I came across this video/article...about Eric Stonestreet revealing to the world's population that he is indeed straight on one episode of the view, only to meet his current girlfriend who told him upon their introduction, "Oh, he is straight!" (To those of you who do not know Eric, he plays Cam on 'Modern Family' and is super flamboyantly gay...and hilarious.)

So, while the show, at least to me, is just no good, at least if found romance for one of my favorite current TV comedians. Dawwwww how cute.

A Trip To The Moon In Color

Many people are aware of the iconic picture of a rocketship landing in the eye of the moon, and most film students (the ones worth their salt, anyway) know about the film from which this image comes - A Trip To The Moon by Melies' in 1902. Well, Serge Bromberg discovered a copy of this film in Barcelona that had actually been in color, and knew he had to save it. The film had largely decomposed, but Bromberg was determined to salvage it.

The film was placed in a humidor where the chemicals’ vapors prompted the celluloid to unpeel itself. The chemicals were also destroying the film in the process, making the endeavor a race to get each image digitized in order to recreate Melies’ hand-painted film frame by frame before the original film was gone forever. (Bromberg will not reveal the exact nature of the chemicals.) They essentially made A Trip To The Moon in color!

Now Bromberg is about to release his documentary, The Extraordinary Voyage, that depicts this process. It's being shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Here is a link to the MoMA page about the screenings.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snow White Remake

I'm sure many of you have seen Tim Burton's remake of Alice in Wonderland, well, he's at it again. Next summer, Snow White and the Huntsman will be released in theaters, and I personally couldn't be more thrilled. After being skeptical about the remake of Alice in Wonderland and being proven horribly, horribly wrong, I can't wait to see what Burton does with Snow White. My only criticism is Kristen Stewart being cast as the lead (ugh.)

The IMDb link is posted below, there are multiple trailers and you can view the cast and decide for yourself whether or not this movie will be a bust or a blockbuster.

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach directed by Henry Selick is about a boy name James (Paul Terry)who was a happy boy until his parents died. They were killed by a rhinoceros and because of that he goes to live with his two terrible aunts. When he bravely saves a spider then he finds magic boiled crocodile tongues. Right after that an enormous peach begins to grow in the garden. James decides to venture into this giant peach where he meets the spider he rescued and many other insects including a lady bug and centipede who become his friends. Together the strange group makes a plan to get to New York City and that is when the adventure really begins.

I enjoyed this movie as a child because of the claymation that was used in the film. It was very well done and I'm sure it took a while to get everything perfect. I know that creating a typical movie takes a great deal of time, but adding in the individual movement of each animated character made the filming even more intricate. Even though it is great children's film, I found that after watching it again as an adult it is also entertaining to a wider audience.


Friday, November 18, 2011


A little while ago my friend Maxwell told me about a little app called Voxer! Ever since I downloaded it I have been hooked. As much as its cool for friends It is also extremely useful for filming!
The App is used to voice text people you can connect it to facebook to see you is also on Voxer with your friends! You can group some of your friends. Film wise this is very convenient since you can make your crew into a group and during filming you can press the button down and tell everyone in the area that may not be able to hear you say "action" and "quiet all around". The entire crew will get the message (assuming they're all on iphone's, or ipods with wifi.) The App is also available for Android phone users but that version is much more buggy than the Ipod/Iphone app. You can also do a one-to-one chat with just one of your friends! And when you're not on set and you just happen to be a props master, you can ask "Hey does anyone happen to have this prop that I need for the next shoot?" I love it mostly because it is so much more exciting to voice text people and a lot faster than just texting them. NOW, say if you're in a class room and someone Voxers you. Hopefully you have your volume down! You can listen to the message later or if it's an immediate situation, you can text them right there on Voxer in the same window and just ask them to text what they just said to you. If you're in a crowded room full of loud people you can switch it to the ear piece built into your iPhone and listen like your listening to a voicemail. The only thing I didn't like about it at first was that you have to train yourself to wait a second and listen for the beep before you talk otherwise it will cut you off. It's also created a sort of new polite behavior, you also have to train yourself to text the person first and ask them if they're in class or if you can voice them, just a polite thing to do for your friends. Other than those tiny issues, it's really a very useful app! I love it and encourage others to try it too!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bye bye Community?

NBC recently announced plans to change up their Monday and Thursday nights due to lack-luster ratings:

The most upsetting part about this is their change to Thursday nights, as the Thursday night comedy block on NBC is my favorite time to watch TV. In the article it mentions that Community is being benched. Which is a huge disappointment, as this one of the best shows on TV right now as it never fails to try new things and still be funny. The only upside of this is that it's being replaced with 30 Rock-which I miss desperately. The show isn't cancelled but it makes me nervous that this is getting benched while Whitney simply gets a new time slot. And fortunately Up All Night will be moving to Thursdays where it definitely belongs, as this is one of my favorite new shows.

Just not ready to say goodbye to this yet:


When I came across this video mixing clips from 1980's movies and television shows with electronic music, I was interested to see how many of the movies and shows I would recognize off the top of my head. Some of my favorite movies are from the 80's. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Back to the Future (only the first one of course), Weird Science, Risky Business, Terminator, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and The Goonies are among my all-time favorites. While I have to say 95 percent of the stuff was completely unrecognizable to me, I did manage to recognize some clips. How much can you recognize?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm so excited!!!!!

The muppets have a new movie!!!!!! I've loved the muppets ever since I was little. So now that Jason Segal and Amy Adams are starring in the new one... I've been excited since seeing the trailer for the first time!

My all time favorite Christmas move has always been the Muppets Christmas Carol... the old guys in chains kill me every time!

When I first saw the trailer for their new movie I thought it was just another dumb movie at first I didn't understand where it was going.. then Kermit showed up...

The other clips released for the movie look pretty funny too (Poor kermit... YOU ARE A CELEBRITY!!!)

Recently on Muppet's creator Jim Henson's birthday, Google did their thing and paid tribute to the great puppetier.
Truth be told I had not even know that he was dead (for my entire life, actually) and when doing research found this image of Mickey comforting Kermit after Henson died. The world lost a great imagination that day, and I found the drawing incredibly moving. I wonder why Mickey and Kermit have never teamed up before.

Network Styles

     It is a well known fact that networks play shows that are similar, specifically original series.  In todays world, with thousands of channels, they must work hard to get an audience, to do this they focus on niche markets that are interested in only a few story lines.  What I find most interesting however, is that it is not only the type of show, such as crime or comedy but the entire look and feel of the programming.  The color pallets are the same as is the over arching concepts and editing styles.  USA for example has  many original shows.  They all have the same concept of a main character who is good at what they do even though they are not accepted in the professional world.  A detective who must pretend to be Psychic, a lawyer without a degree, a doctor without a hospital. On top of that these shows all have the same colors, witting, and quick edits around witty comments.

Somewhat new to the mix of original series AMC has "The Walking Dead" "Hell on Wheels" and "Breaking Bad" all of which share the down and dirty feel with people on the brink of disaster just trying to hold on, again the same colors and cinematography.

FX does the same with shows like "Wilfred" and "Always Sunny in Philadelphia." I find it interesting that they don't necessarily stick to a topic, but a feel.  USA is witty whether it is a medical show or a cop show. AMC is dark and cinematic with a dying father or a world overrun by zombies.  This tells us that we don't really care what kind of show we watch, as long as it plays the same emotional tune.

Mega-Misconceptions. Why Megapixels mean nothing.

So, I was just in a discussion with my roommate about what makes a high quality camera (He's a PC, and I'm a Mac, so we always get into tech debates). He was extolling the latest offering from Sony, which touts over 16 megapixels. Thinking he was talking about a video camera, I called foul. Though he was discussing a still camera with video capabilities, it sparked a discussion about the difference between resolution for video and still photography.

My roommate is a Photoshop junkie, and a bit of a HD fanatic. When I told him that DVD's resolution wasn't even half a megapixel, his jaw just about hit the floor. But it's true! Take a look at some common resolutions broken down below:
  • DVD - 720 x 480 = 345600 = .35 megapixels
  • 720p - 1280 x 720 = 921600 = .92 megapixels
  • 1080p - 1920 x 1080 = 2073600 = 2.07 megapixels
So right now, the gold standard of HD video is basically the same quality than my very first cellphone's camera, almost 6 years ago. What gives?

Well, for one, still photos use resolution in a very different way than video does. Traditionally, high quality printed images use 300 pixels per inch. The standard for media seen on any type of screen is actually only 72 pixels per inch. This originally stems from technical limitations (It's really hard to make screens with 300 pixels per inch, let alone process the signal to it), but it is part of the viewer's expectation, and seems totally normal to us now. If you were to print out a web image though, you could easily see the pixelation, which seems like a rather low quality picture on paper.

The the thing is, you never print videos onto paper, so video image quality never has to be seen in the harsh light of print. Even tech-lover director James Cameron isn't in a race for more pixels. He said, “4K (ultimate HD) is a concept born in fear. I would vastly prefer to see 2K/48 frames per second.” So there you have it! If 2 megapixel images are enough for James Cameron, then they are good enough for me!