Thursday, September 29, 2011

Professionally Unprofessional Crew (VIDEO)

My friend Ben shared a link on Facebook that I thought was too funny not to share with all of you. Ellen Degeneres featured a short segment on mishaps involving the chyron, which occurred to such an extent in such a short time that there's nothing to do but laugh through it, and that's just what the news anchors did.

This reminded me of a conversation we had in class about all  crew members knowing exactly what their job is and being in charge of a certain aspect.  Clearly, the person in charge of chyron was either incompetent or there was actually something wrong electronically with the system, but it reminds us all about the importance of specialization. Sure, everybody needs to know how to do certain basics in different aspects of a production, but people also need to be very closely involved with their assigned position, and know how to instantly troubleshoot any problems that may arise, so that something like this never happens (even though this is a studio production, the lesson still applies.)

You Got a Friend In Me

Toy story 3 the third final Toy Story made to date directed by Lee Unkrich is a film about Andy (John Morris) who is now 17 and ready to head off to college, His mother (Laurie Metcalf) tells him that he has to decide what he wants to do with his old toys, and Andy decides to keep them in the attic, except for Woody (Tom Hanks), who he is planning to take to school. However in the rush of packing Andy gets distracted and forgets about the toys. His mother, thinking that Andy does not have any use for the toys accidentally donates them to the Sunnyside Daycare, leaving Woody, Buzz (Tim Allen) all of the other toys to figure out how this will impact their future. At first life at the daycare seems like it will be happy and carefree, but soon they learn the truth. The toys are abused by an evil bear named Lots (Ned Beatty). The toys soon realized they must figure out a way to get back home to Andy. Will they make it out alive, you will just have to go and get the movie to see.

King Kong (1933)The Wizard of Oz (1939) "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" (1955)The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)Cool Hand Luke (1967)"Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" (1969)
"Happy Days" (1974)"Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" (1979)The Evil Dead (1981)Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)The Adventures of AndrĂ© and Wally B. (1984)Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)My Neighbor Totoro (1988)Tin Toy (1988)Parenthood (1989)Jurassic Park (1993)Toy Story (1995)A Bug's Life (1998)Toy Story 2 (1999)Monsters, Inc. (2001)Finding Nemo (2003)The Incredibles (2004)Cars (2006)WALL·E (2008)

A Clockwork Orange

Yesterday I had a wonderful day of shopping for props for my latest involvement in a film series and a lovely sushi dinner from Wegman's. LOVE WEGMAN'S!!! Durring my dinner I had decided since I had been keeping up with my work so well in both shoots I'd celebrate and watch a film, cause gee... since I'm a film student shouldn't I watch FILMS?! So I got on my iTunes account and finding that I still had some money left over on my account from when I bought my laptop, I'd use it to rent a film. In my searching I found a section in the "store" that suggested famous indi films. My eye was captured by "A Clockwork Orange". SO many people have told me "Hey, Lucy if you like films, you like indi films, the film Savage Grace has been and always will be at the bottom of your "favorite film's" list (but always remain on the list none the less), YOU SHOULD WATCH A CLOCKWORK ORANGE!!!
   Anyway, I rented it! I watched the trailer while I waited for the film to load. The trailer is a tiny (said with a high pitched voice) little piece of  the obnoxiousness displayed on screen when watching the film.

A warning to any who feel it now necessary to go out buy the film and watch it six or seven hundred times in your basement with the lights off. IT IS HIGHLY HIGHLY DISTURBING!! If you plan on watching this film I recommend doing being fully prepared for extreme sexual content and incredible violence all rolled into one!

Now, what I really wanted to blog about for this movie is the Psychological references and points this film makes. Specifically conditioned learning. During the film our "humble narrator" goes about his usual routine of selfish pillaging. From the beginning we see the world through Alex's (the main antagonist and "humble narrator") eyes. To him there was no law no order just living for himself and ruling over all. By the end we see though the world's perspective viewing of Alex's character as he changes and how the world still sees him no differently than they should have in the first place. In order for society or the "government" to change Alex's character they had to put him through a medical technique which made it completely unbearable for him to be comfortable in his own skin and upon several encounters when he returns to reality he encounters inadvertently all the things he had now been psychologically trained to avoid. Thus, making his new life a living hell. His true character prevailed in the end to going back to the way he always was before. Only this time he is protected to a degree by the government.

All in all it was an awesome film I highly recommend it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Girl

With all of the new shows debuting this fall, I got really excited to see what was new, returning, and watch my determination to do schoolwork take second priority to catching up on tv shows (haha).

I decided to begin watching with the "New Girl" with Zoe Deschanel. She is known for a lot of different things...She And Him, 500 Days of Summer, and my personal favorite...and I think that this new show will really give all the Zoe fans their weekly dose, and it will get everyone who still doesn't know who she is to absolutely fall in love. I am, however, worried that it will turn out to be one of those fantastic TV shows that goes unnoticed by millions of viewers, only to go off-air like some of my other favorites (*cough* Arrested Development). I do think that, based on the ratings of the first episode (11 million viewers) it could do O.K.

I think that these numbers are really, really high, considering that the pilot episode has been available to view for free via itunes since early September. I think that was a great way for FOX to promote the show..I really hope that they got it right with this one!

Also, I was watching the series premier of SNL and witnessing these two men on the same stage was great...
But what is up with Alec's hair? Did anyone else get really, really distracted watching it wiggle back and forth? Too. Much. Gel.

5 Trends That Make Every Movie Look the Same

I'll be the first to admit that I probably spend too much time online. But it's so hard to say no when there's such quality time-wasters out there! One of my perennial favorites is, a humor site known for their bitingly hysterical, yet informative articles. It may not be the most reputable source available for filmmaking theory, but there was one article that I just couldn't keep to myself:

5 Annoying Trends That Make Every Movie Look the Same

This article covers stylistic trends that Hollywood seems to be stuck in a rut with. Included are:
  1. Movies that are color-coded by genre
  2. The excessive use of orange and teal tones
  3. Time ramping use in action films
  4. Faking the look of a documentary
  5. Using 3D in a way that degrades the quality of the film
Reading the article, I was rather dumbfounded to see how predictable Hollywood has become, if you only know where to look.

Granted, this article does stem from the view of a snarky pundit. There are understandable rationals behind these trends rather than the production staff becoming "lazy," as the author suggests. For example, the heavy use of orange and teal imagery is really just a side effect of filmmakers wanting color contrast in scenes with the flesh tones of their human actors. You can't change the color of their flesh, and the color wheel dictates a nice blue looks great with the slight orange of skin. There is not much leeway there.

Also, there are considerable commercial reasons behind many of the trends listed. For example, the "color-coding by genre" argument never takes into consideration the importance of playing to the audience's expectation. If an unprepared audience is presented with something completely foreign, then they will not accept it as readily. Could you imagine Dark Knight done in vibrant Technicolor?

Still, some arguments ring true, especially the one about lackluster 3D movies. Some filmmakers have used the technique to immerse their audiences in a visceral way. Others do it for the 15 dollar ticket price they can charge. Though unfortunate, that is the way things are.

The article gives a refreshing perspective for me as a filmmaker. I have made a mental note to try not to unnecessarily add my work to the evidence supporting this article. Still, I believe filmmakers should be free to make their films using whatever techniques they want, regardless of how trendy or worn out they are.

Fantastic Flesh

So I've always been a believer in real, live special effects in movies.  Unfortunetly there's a growing number of movie productions that only use CG to show special effects.  I don't have a dislike for CG, I just think there's a time and a place for it.  Horror movies are not usually that place.  I found a special on netflix about horror movie effects and how a lot of the directors feel about what to use and when. Fortunetely a lot of the major directors in hollywood agree with me that 'real' special effects have a better screen prescence than CG.
This behind the scenes special shows a lot of the props and devices used to create creatures in movies over the last century.  It has fantastic interviews from directors and make up artists from recent movies such as The Chronicles of Narnia and Grindhouse.
One of the best examples of combining real effects and CG is shown in the movie The Mist that was made a couple years ago. To get the desired tentacle effects they used real objects on green screen, then overlayed the textures in CG.
They didn't have a large budget, so the tentacles aren't amazing looking, but I think straight CG would have been much harder to make convincing.

The Lazy Song

Call me old fashioned, but I like it when a music video actually goes with its song. That's why I thought Bruno Mars's video for "The Lazy Song" was great.

This video could not fix the song more perfectly. It's not a high production music video, it looks as if it was just filmed on his web cam (but no I'm no fool)! In essence, it's a lazy way to go about a music video. On the other hand, this took some intense practicing, especially when some of the shots don't cut for a very long time. They obviously thought this thing through and took a long while to get everything right, which is completely contradictory to the whole "lazy" thing. I think it's a great concept and I'd love to try to do something like this one day.

The show that I co-produce for ICTV, Entertainment16, is filming its intro this Wednesday. I'm thinking of exploring this idea of not cutting the shot between the action, where we truck the camera from cast member to cast member as they are "getting ready" for the show. We'll see how it turns out!

Stories without motion

    A lot of people, when I talk to them, think that in order to be visually engaged something must be moving.  A car exploding, a person running from police, or even just a conversation between friends.  This idea however neglects the amazing storytelling abilities of still images. A single image can capture emotion and explain an entire story.  The frame is what makes work difficult for both still photographers and videographers.  A photographer has to capture the moment in just one frame, known as the decisive moment, a term coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson.  On the other hand a videographer has to fill 27 frames a second with interesting imagery that helps tell the story.  Personally I think both are difficult to accomplish successfully.  However I find telling a story in a single frame much more challenging.  The Concord Monitor did an excellent job at telling a story that is engaging and emotionally involved with only still images and words. Their work will not be seen by the masses nor win an Oscars, but the quality of storytelling is just as powerful.  This is the quintessential example of great stories without motion.

                                             Photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien writers

Late Night with Conan O'Brien is my favorite late night show ever ( conan's new shows haven't been as good as late night). Anyway one of the things I find interesting about the show is the writers and how they make bits for the show. Most of the bits are shown after the monolog and before or in between the guess and are only a few minutes long. What is cool about them is that once a writer has an idea in a full script format s/he is in charge of making the bit, so they take on the role of producers, directors , writers and some times actors. I guess this is kind of like what we do in class but they do it in one day. Not all of the bits are great, and in class most of our's aren't going to be movie quality but its like the writers say "It's a volume business" and the important thing is to make as much as you can so that you can get your style down. Heres a link to some of the writers talking about some of their failures.

Drive, Bullitt, and Cars

So today I got to see Drive. For those of you who haven't seen the previews, Drive stars Ryan Gosling who is a stunt driver by day and get away driver by night. I wasn't totally blown away by the story itself but the direction on the other hand was awesome. There is very little dialogue, the story is almost completely told by action. The movie has a very distinct 80's pop soundtrack that I actually ended up liking, which is kind of surprising. What really stood out to me in the movie though was the car chase scenes. After a little research the reason why became apparent, all the scenes were analog. By that I mean, no CG was used in the car scenes. This style of car chase filmmaking immediately reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Bullitt. Bullitt has by far one of the most famous car scenes of all time. The two cars winding their way through Las Angeles definitely reminded me of the night car chases in Bullitt. Drive certainly isn't he game changer Bullitt proved to be but leisurely watching it one weekend with a friend is something I could recommend. Bullitt however, that is a must see.

The Emmys

Last Sunday I watched the Primetime Emmys and I would say it's improved somewhat from years past. Modern Family won/was nominated for pretty much anything in the comedy category. (I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've only ever watched this show once so I can't really judge how deserving it was.) I particularly enjoyed the Office scene they played with cameos by people like Ashton Kutcher, Tracey Morgan and even Kim Kardashian.
Amazing Race won for best reality program, and I had recently read an article that was wondering when the Emmy's will add more awards for reality related programs:
the idea behind the article is that while reality TV is often looked down on by those that do the nominations for the Emmys its ratings show that it deserves a little more consideration. I don't really know how I feel about this either, really.
And I always love seeing The Lonely Island perform live, even if they've had better performances.
And one of my favorite parts of the night was when when they announced the winner for best comedy actress and all the nominees went up there, prom queen-style.


Pilobolus is my favorite dance company of all time. They got their start in Dartmouth College in 1971 as a Contemporary Dance Company and from there they blossomed into a world renowned dance company preforming at events like the Academy awards, Late night with Conan, America's got Talent, ect. The video above is just one small example of the American Dance Companies style. In the Commercial Pilobolus is Advertising the Hyundai Santa Fe where the dancers contort their bodies and play around with shadow and perspective to illustrate some activities that range from the opera to camping. Finally at the closing shot we see Pilobolus transform into the Santa Fe as the narrator chimes in the background "The all new Hyundai Santa Fe, flexible, agile, for whatever shape life takes". Telling the Audience that the Santa Fe meets every single one of our needs whether it be going to a fancy event or getting dirty in nature. I mean the art directors really came up with a cool concept for this one but adding Pilobolus to the mix is what really made this commercial.

Whatever Pilobolus touches turns to gold, and for good reason. They just take dancing to a whole new level that I have never seen before. Every move they make is calculated, yet organic and pure. They use every inch of their bodies to dance it gets to a point where even the contraction of their muscles becomes a part of the choreographic story. It really is a joy to watch them.

But these guys are from just being Dance Company that occasionally works on commercials, they are expanding their company and working on music videos now. Making there debut in OK GO's new music video "All is Not Lost".

Saturday's Shoot

We had our first shoot for the project on Saturday! *applause* We only had a few hours in the afternoon in which to do it, but we were quite efficient. Right as we were about to leave PPECS, we realized that with all the actor-finagling that had been done, we were one actor short. Luckily, Dylan was able to bribe his roommate with taking out the trash, and the crisis was averted.

We ran into a few problems along the way. As it was the Commons on a Saturday afternoon, it was fairly crowded, so we sometimes had to deal with people walking through the shots. There were also a few people busking, and while it provided great entertainment (there was one guy playing Green Day on an accordion), we had to worry about whether the music would be picked up on the audio. We did our best by putting the boom mike as close as possible to the actors. Also, prayer. We also had some issues with the sun as it got to be later in the day. The sun was casting shadows from the tree on one of the actors faces, so to fix it we first put a jacket in the tree, and then when that wasn't working any more, another tall actor stood on a chair and held up the mike box to block the sun. It was actually really funny!

Even though I've been filming stuff for over a year now, it still amazes me every time how much time it takes to actually film a scene. You don't really think about having to move the camera or deal with one of the many, many little issues that come up. Overall, it was a really fun day of shooting. We are scheduled to shoot Monday and Tuesday night, and hopefully we will be able to get all of it done.

Also, on a side note, the camera that we use is the sexiest thing ever. The end.

Funny, But True

While deciding what to post today, I decided to search google for the trends vs. movies and their effects. The first thing that popped up, even though it wasn't what I was looking for, was just as interesting. An article from Cracked, a humor site that often raises some very true points. The title of the article is "5 Annoying Trends That Make Every Movie Look the Same."

For those of you feeling too lazy to read the article, I'll summarize it for you.
The five main claims are
5. Movies are color coded (color corrected) by genre
4. Everything else is teal and orange
3. Ramping (everything slows down, then speeds up)
2. Faking the documentary look, even when it isn't a documentary
1. 3D that makes the movie look worse

And the thing is, I can agree with all of these claims. Of course, saying every single movie ever made falls into one of these trends is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is still a lot of truth to it with more recent films. The article provides stills and poster images that clearly prove their points. These are all claims I've overheard in movie theaters, except the claims about the color correction--which the general audience normally doesn't think about.

Just figured I'd pass on this article, the link is posted below.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yes Man

Yes Man, directed by Peyton Reed, is about a man named Carl Allen (Jim Carrey), who is down on his luck, when he decides to go to a self-improvement seminar. The lecture is about different opportunities that present themselves to different people and the exercise requires that no matter what options are available, good or bad, the response should be “yes”. After going to the seminar he challenges himself to say "yes" to everything. Carl's world is turned upside down by the power of "yes" he finally sees that things are changing when he meets a girl named Allison (Zooey Deschanel) who has a lot of hobbies including photography while running, singing in Munchausen by Proxy, to name a few. The word yes seems to be making Carl's life go in the right directing until Allison finds out about it and that’s when things get interesting. You'll just have to go out and watch this film to and see what happens next.

Billy Jack (1971), Alien (1979), Body Heat (1981), "G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero" (1983), The Goonies (1985), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994), Mortal Kombat (1995), The Cable Guy (1996), Space Jam (1996), Michael (1996), Titanic (1997), Lost in Space (1998), Deep Impact (1998), The Matrix (1999), Dogma (1999), Gladiator (2000), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), May (2002), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), The Core (2003), The Cat in the Hat (2003), Saw (2004), The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004),
AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), The Matador (2005), Alone in the Dark (2005), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Batman Begins (2005), Flightplan (2005), Doom (2005), Saw II (2005), King Kong (2005), Superman Returns (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), Perfect Stranger (2007), Spider-Man 3 (2007), 1408 (2007), Transformers (2007), I Am Legend (2007), Rambo (2008)

My favorite Director

I think M. Night Shyamalan is a wonderful director. You can all take a moment to laugh at me now....Ok now stop laughing. I'm serious! I think he really puts his heart into what he does and I've always seen that through his artistic view of things. He may not be THE best director in the world but I really appreciate his point of view. When he looks at a story weather he wrote it or not, he really highlights and saturates every beautifully artistic movement and sound. I've always tried to do this in my films as well. I've always noticed his use of fallow shots, and hey I agree its a movie things should move.  We use fallow shots to see where the character is going, we go too, what the character sees, we see too. It's a beautiful thing. He's been known to put a twist on things and every one criticizes him for it. Well, if they stopped being such cranky ex-girl friends and look at why or how or just began to appreciate what's really going on, then they'd understand it. Oh yeah and critics, hey its hard to make a film, you should try it some time.

Recently He has been writing and honestly as big of a fan as I am for him as a director, I can comfortably say I enjoy his writing more. The director of Devil (John Eric Dowdle) interoperated M. Night Shyamalan's writing perfectly and it was very pleasing. I hope that they'll continue calibrating  so I can enjoy more of what they produce. It's actually a really good movie; ranked number 37 in my favorite movies list.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A film that has been getting a lot of press lately is "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The Film, based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, is about the sabermetric statistics revolution the devoured baseball in the late '90's and early 2000's. The movie centers around Billy Beane, Pitt's character, the much maligned general manager of the Oakland Athletics. The cash-strapped franchise was looking for ways to stay competitive without the financial resources of high-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. In turn, Beane and his staff revolutionized the way baseball statistics came to be interpreted. The film is an absolute must-see for any sports fan and will hopefully live up to the hype it has generated since the movie began pre-production more than two years ago.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reality TV

     I really just feel like venting about reality TV for a bit.
          I understand that it is incredible popular and that millions of people watch it bringing in billions of dollars of revenue, but I still have issues with it.  The problem is two fold: One, it is not reality and two, it is cheap entertainment.
      Reality shows are not at all real.  If it were, no one would watch.  People will watch a show about a family with 18 kids or a bunch of twenty year olds in a house on Jersey Shore, but no one wants to watch a show about real people, a family of four with a minivan for example. Even shows that supposedly present some aspect of real life are fake.  "Teen Mom's" for example is about teen mothers trying to make ends meet.  But each of them are paid $60,000 per season, so all of them are pretty well of compared to most teen moms in America, in which three out of ten end up on welfare within a year of their child's birth.  Of course this is nothing compared to The Situation from "Jersey Shore" who makes $30,000 per episode.  These are the shows that are not completely planned out and they are still fake.  Shows like "The Bachelor" and "Survivor" are even more fake because all the drama is created by a producer.
  Reality shows are also cheap entertainment.  Not in the monetary sense of the word, since billions are spent on creating it, but in the quality of it's production.  There is no "real" story.  There was no writer crafting a tale.  There is not the same level of character development or story progress as in traditional shows.  There is no plot.  Reality shows are just feats of editing that make boring things seem to have dramatic and climatic moments.
    There has been a rise and fall of the creation of Reality TV.  I think most of that has to do with the fact that networks follow what is hot and reality is on the downward trend now.  I just hope that soon we will be back to the time when stories and plots are what fill primetime television.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

new cartoons

so cartoon networks adultswim is launching a new show call China , IL you can follow the link to to get a behind the scenes look at the cartoon. It all based on the web comics of Brad Neely. If you don't know Brad Neely he's had some bits of internet fame he was part of the website and he made a rap about George Washington

he also did a dubbing of the first harry potter movie and called it wizard people, its pretty strange but i thought it was funny he constantly goes off into weird tangents but its great embeding for this was disabled

Brad's pretty funny I think he's worth checking out

The Help

This weekend I finally got to go see The Help and I absolutely loved it. The acting was wonderful, especially by Viola Davis who gave such an emotional performance that everyone in the audience was really able to connect with her. I'm always a fan of Emma Stone and she definitely didn't disappoint.
And even though going into the movie I thought it was going to focus more on her character, and it in fact ended up focusing more on the maids and how they interacted with the people in the town, it didn't matter. The characters were so well developed and everything that happened to every character felt so real that it made the movie much better than it could have been with a focus on Stone's character, Skeeter. It was clever and entertaining and I recommend it to everyone.

Chanel no. 5

A couple years back Chanel created this film for its most famous perfumes anniversary, Chanel No. 5. Its starring Audrey Tautou the star of the famous french movie Amelie( totally awesome movie you should check it out if you ever have time). I love Chanel as a brand, they are always finding new ways to reinvent themselves and stand out from the multiplicity of fashion houses. This short film is just an example of one of the ways they do that. What makes this short film so great for me is just the attention to detail throughout the entire story, from the lighting, clothing, knickknacks on the table, to the mosaic on the floor at the end, the whole thing is just elegant and beautiful and really encompasses the essence of Chanel.

The Lion King!

When I saw that The Lion King was coming back to theaters for two weeks I just about had a heart attack...I love Disney movies, especially The Lion King, and I know that a lot of my friends do too, so naturally I've already got solid, unmovable plans to go see it this weekend.

Reading this article, I found out that the re-release was to promote another re-release...of The Lion King on Blu-Ray. This turned out to be a much more successful marketing strategy than predicted, grossing almost 2 times what was estimated, surpassing all other new releases this weekend. That is pretty unlucky for the highly anticipated "Drive" with Ryan Gosling.

This all got me thinking about marketing strategies like this one, so I "liked" The Lion King on Facebook and saw all of the promoting they had been doing there, posting pictures and statuses about the re-release and its wonderous 3d magic. "Pre-order your Blu-Ray today!" the website shouts at me...Gee, I just might. That's right cooperate got me. And all it took was the re-release of the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

The Hurt Locker

One of my favorite films from the last few years was The Hurt Locker, directed by Katherine Bigelow. The Hurt Locker puts the viewer through an emotional roller coaster in an attempt to convey some of what everyday life is like for the three characters, American soldiers, in the film. What sets this film apart from others for me is how they can create such suspenseful scenes and still show the monotony of life on the ground for the soldier.

For example, in the opening scene a relatively routine ordinance disposal mission slowly unravels until it goes completely bad.

After watching this scene, The Hurt Locker  establishes the danger the characters are truely in and able to subsequently bring the viewer to the same stress levels, same adrenaline, even if all the build up is for nothing.

In this scene two of the main characters clear a building. Same build up but without a violent ending.

I believe Katherine Bigelow does this in an attempt to show the audience how in combat the level of stress and adrenaline the soldiers experience. The movie also shows how this can affect everyone differently. For example one of the main characters develops PTSD and can't handle the stress. One of the other main characters is an adrenaline junkie. While although he mostly is quite and keeps to himself, on the inside, he is yearning for the unparalleled adrenaline rush of being at war. After returning home at towards the very end of the movie there is a scene where the character is in the super market, staring at a seemingly never ending line of cereals. The elevator-esq music cuts to a guitar riff showing the soldier back overseas on yet another tour because he is addicted. Katherine Bigelow uses the camera, editing, music, plot, and characters all to effectively evoke the emotion she wants her audience to feel.

wireless leaps and bounds

So maybe you haven't heard about this fun and exciting new techmology called Digital Living Network Alliance, DLNA for short. It's been around for a couple years now, but this year manufacturers finally started incorporating it into just about every electronic device.

What's DLNA?
      DLNA is built in software that enables electronic devices to connect to each other over a wireless home network.  This includes connecting your  phone to your tv or your computer to another computer etc. Basically devices recognize each other and can communicate without installing confusing, annoying software that takes HOURS to figure out how to use.
Why Care?
     Because it saves massive amounts of TIME!  With DLNA you no longer have to burn videos and music to DVDs for them to play on your television and home theatre! 
  •  You can stream movies from your computer to any television in your house
  • Transfer movies or music to a PS3 or Xbox directly; NO software, dvds or cables needed
  • View pictures on your television off a phone or camera/camcorder instantly
Security Warning
     Keep in mind that you'll have to enable the security settings on these devices or other people will have just as "easy access" to certain content stored on your electronics.

So look for the DNLA Certified logo on electronics before you buy them from now on and have fun saving lots of time, while sharing digital media with your friends and family!

DNLA main website for more info Digital Living Network Alliance

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Now, I'm not just another college girl who plasters her walls with Audrey Hepburn posters just because (though I do have one). I'm actually a true fan of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. I probably watch it at least once a month, it's one of those movies that no matter how many times I watch it, something about it just hits me right every time.

I think this has to do with director Blake Edwards's attention to detail. In almost every scene, there is so much going on, and so much to look at. A perfect example of this is the party scene.

While the scene is a little ridiculous, it also holds true with real parties. You can wander from group to group and there is always something different going on in each one. In most movies with party scenes all you get is a few shots of people drinking and dancing. Blake Edwards actually shows you the party and what's going on, and not just with the main characters. It makes you feel like you're actually there.

There are so many things I love about this movie (the story, the sets, the costumes, and especially the characters), but since we talked about how important music is when considering your project I thought I'd talked about Breakfast at Tiffany's theme song, "Moon River".

"Moon River" was composed and written specifically for Breakfast at Tiffany's. Personally, I think it's one of the most romantic songs of all time. It's been covered by countless musicians and artists and used in TV and movies alike to help convey deeply romantic tones (Sex in the City, Gilmore Girls, Angels in America).

Funny thing is, Breakfast at Tiffany's is not really a romantic movie. Sure, Holly and Paul end up together in the end, but that's not how Truman Capote, the author of novella on which the movie was based on, intended the story to go. In fact, in the Breakfast at Tiffany's novella there is no romantic story line between Holly and Paul's characters at all. The more important story line is about how Holly is a naive-dreamer and where that takes her and Paul throughout the story.

Without the song "Moon River", I think Breakfast at Tiffany's would be a very different movie. The song opens the movie, and Holly sings it while sitting on her fire escape. I believe that it takes her character from just the naive-dreamer to also someone who is a romanic, and who dreams of love and companionship. It sets ups the love story for her and Paul which otherwise might seem unbelievable for Holly's character. The song is romantic, sad, and poignant, but also hopeful and uplifting. These are all of the things that Holly Golightly is, and have made her such an iconic character.

Moments by Everynone

A friend of mine recently posted this on facebook, and at first glance it seemed to me just another random video, but as I started to watch it, I realized that it clearly was something more. To me, this video just shows moments that make up the human experience, and serves as a reminder that no matter how different we all are, we all do certain things that connect us all, whether it's making the bed, taking a drag on a cigarette, or putting on a bra (ok, maybe not EVERYONE does that, but you get my point). What's more, the way this is editing is phenomenal. The way it cuts from the guy throwing up a sheet to put on a bed to the kids in the playground throwing up a parachute, and the shot of the car about to his another car that switches quickly to clinking glasses, and the shot of the math problem that switches to a surgery that switches to tic tac toe. Long story short, I was amazed by this video.

I then went to the creator's website, and found that he had done a few other videos. Most of them are along the same feel and theme. There is one that I really liked called "Laughs" which is made up of Youtube clips of people laughing. It goes from babies laughing at the beginning to old people laughing at the end. I very strongly encourage everyone to check out this guy's website and watch his other videos, if only because I promise they will make a bad day better.

Side note: in his video called "Words," there is a shot of Taughannock Falls! Whooaaaa.

Here's his website. Seriously, check it out.

How Comedies Can Make an Important Case

So after my last post about animation and, by extension, comedy, I received a response saying that comedy is not only used in kids movies and animations, but can also be used to get across some really serious points  that make the audience think. The first movie I thought when considering this was one of the more recent films I've watched, The Invention of Lying. This movie was honestly hysterical, but at the end of the movie my roommate at the time and myself sat down and just stared at the screen when it was done. After a few awkward more moments of silence I turned to her and said,

"What if life was really like that, where nobody lied?"

And just now it's hitting me, that's the purpose of the film. To make people stop and think about if the world actually could not lie. And it's a valid point. People say all the time, "I wish people just didn't lie." And this movie is pretty spot on about portraying that. But it raises another question, if it was socially accepted to not lie, rather, if lying did not exist at all, would we even care about the horrible bluntness of harsh statements?

So I guess I've been shown an important point, Even comedies have the capability to present deep thought-provoking topics to the general public, that not only makes them laugh, but also makes them think.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Golden Circle

When we talked in class about the layered circles of the What, How, and Why messages are sent, I knew that it instantly sounded familiar, only I couldn't remember from where. I did a little sleuthing around the internet, and I stumbled back on a video that introduced the idea to me about two years ago. A man by the name of Simon Sinek spoke about the very same model at a TED conference in September of 2009. Watch it below, and join the audience of over 2 million hits it has amassed.

Any message that is sent has to be received and acted upon by other humans. That means, to be received effectively, you have to code your message to the way we humans are programmed. Following the circle model from the inside out, rather than the outside in, allows messages to resonate with a viewer's powerful emotional core. This model, called the "golden circle," affects not only marketing messages and advertising, but really all communication in general. What makes Pixar the unstoppable storytelling force it is? What makes almost every corporate training video boring beyond reason? In all honesty, the answer depends on an endless number of variables. Still, a great deal of it comes from the golden circle model.

Underneath of every message communicated, there are whats, hows, and whys. It is up to us as filmmakers to make sure our messages start at the center. With a solid "why," messages break through the noise, and into our consciousness. Without a "why," our messages just become noise themselves.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whip It

Whip It directed by Drew Barrymore, is a movie about a girl, Bliss (Ellen Page), from a small town, Bodeen, Texas. She feels like her life is going nowhere until one day while she is out shopping with her uptight pageant addicted mother she notices a flyer on the store's counter about the roller derby in Austin, Texas. Bliss and her best friend, Pash (Alia Shawkat), decide to go check it out. They meet Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) and she introduces them to the world of roller derby. Bliss instantly falls in love with the sport and the story continues as she follows a different path and begins to make new discoveries about herself.

This is a really great movie because I really enjoyed the actresses' performances in this movie and the fact that it was Drew Barrymore's first time directing. She made the movie very unique and it definitely drew me into the plot.

The Wizard of Oz (1939),2001: A Space Odyssey (1968),"Family Feud" (1976),Slap Shot (1977), Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977),Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), 'Crocodile' Dundee (1986),"The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986), Fight Club (1999),Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Importance of music in film

After reading a few blogs and after what we were speaking of in class today I thought I'd share my opinion on the importance of music in film. The music of a film can sometimes make or break the scene of it. For example, the scene in Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away, where Tom Hanks' character wakes up to find his best friend the volleyball "Wilson" missing and floating away in the ocean, is very heavily weighted on it's music bed. The reason for this being is because if you were to watch the scene with out the actual music  bed, it would actually be slightly comical. The scene itself begins with out a music bed but ends with one and rightfully so since the scene was NOT meant to be comical at all.
Here is the scene:
As the scene ends Tom Hanks' character begins to cry historically, if the music bed were not there to direct the emotion of the scene, the concept of a grown man crying that hard over a lost toy, is quite silly. Knowing the circumstances  it's not meant to be funny. Thus, the epic, emotional music piece. Family Guy actually mocked the scene and made it funny by making the famous reference of "Wilson!" and then adding a bit of comic reality coming from a cartoon volleyball. Notice there is no music bed.
Here's that video:
Oh, easy stupid comedy... On the oposite spectrum; a serious situation that shouldn't be funny is Something like the "WOW freak out kid". If this person were really this way or not is entirely debatable. I understand the boy was on Tosh.0 and made sure to stress that he was just acting. On the realistic side of things Human's can act animalistic and freak out the way he did, if I had a mental break down and freaked out about anything (especially being at his age) and it were filmed and posted on the internet by my Justine-Beiber-look-alike little brother I'd probably tell the world it was fake too so that Some day I could look forward to a normal social life in the near future. Aside from that rant, The concept of Asperger's syndrome, is a very serious issue that obviously can hurt himself and others. The reality is sad but the video is terribly funny.
here is that video:
The point is that music can change the entire mood of a film just like the setting of a terrible concept can make it funny.

real life in animation

That was a look in to the choreography of Samurai Jack. I’m a fan of cartoons and I really like action cartoons. Samurai jack is a great cartoon show for many reasons but what sticks out for me are the fights. What I love about Samurai Jack is how thought out the fight scenes are and how it’s not like the artists just throw in a bunch of cool looking moves, ever thing that is done by a charter is a real Kung Fu move and isn’t just a montage of punches.
For a while I didn’t know how much animation depended on real life for references to how people move and dress. I was watching the special features on the season one dvd of Archer and found out that they even dressed people in the clothing the characters would wear and made them move around just to get a feel for how the fabric and clothing would look from different angles.
This video really shows what goes into make a good cartoon. Good fight scenes use the real world to stay grounded. Unlike some Japanese shows that have characters punching each other really fast for 2 minutes choreography in fights really involves the audience and make a better viewing experience

Uncle Frank from Jimmy Kimmel

I don't know how many of you watch Jimmy Kimmel LIve, but one of the great segments of the show has always been his crazy Uncle Frank. Well Frank passed away last week and the show put together this wonderful tribute to Jimmy's uncle. Just really well put together and made me tear up a little.

The future of digital media...maybe

So after all the time and money spent by production companies creating security measures and user UN-friendly blu ray movies, a possible shift in mainstream media may finally go in the right direction. 

Techies like me, who rip dvd's to our computers for instant streaming purposes, have been breaking the law for years now only because the major companies in industry refuse to adapt to technology.  The Digital Millenium Copyright Act was possibly the most short sighted idea in media today.  If I remember correctly I think it only took 2 weeks for someone in Taiwan to crack blu ray technology and sell the software by mail, so maybe film companies should just offer what digital media users do ALREADY and save themselves the money of hiring lawyers to prosecute everyone.

So anyway, the newest idea by mainstream companies is to offer digital media that can be converted to multiple devices under the same account...was it REALLY so hard??

It's called Ultra Violet and it promises to allow users the ability to buy movies, tv shows etc. and be able to watch them on more than just a dvd player. I'd be shocked if it offers what techies have already been doing, but it's got the backing of the biggest players in the industry such as Sony, Lionsgate, Paramount and Fox.

It's set to launch THIS fall, so we'll see if it actuallty delivers what the b.s. digital copy dvd's failed to provide.

Here's the website link for further investigation   UltraViolet

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Fall Shows

The new fall season for TV is quickly approaching and I’m counting down the days. I recently read this article:

Which gave brief summaries on some of the new shows coming out this season. While there’s nothing that absolutely stands out to me I know that I’m looking forward to New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel, who has never disappointed me and I especially became a huge fan after (500) Days of Summer.

Another new show I’m looking forward to is Up All Night. Being a huge Will Arnett fan I was more than disappointed in his sitcom last year Running Wilde. I think that pairing him up with Christina Applegate is going to be much better.

I also can’t wait for my NBC Thursday nights to come back. Especially Community and Parks and Recreation which keep getting better and better with each episode.

John Goodman will definitely be an interesting addition to the show. Fortunately I only have a little more than a week to find out.


When I first saw that there was a new bridesmaid-theme movie coming out I decided I would not be caught in that theater. I was actually thinking it was going to be like that movie with Raven Simone...
But then my friends convinced me to go see it.
It is basically the female version of the Hangover...but honestly I laughed more than I did at the guys and their Las Vegas antics. From the trailer you can see how it is a romantic comedy, but it proves itself to be one step above the rest with the wedding dress and airplane scene.

What makes this movie so great for me was that it was full of fantastic female comedians. They own their roles and hit the nail right on the head every time. Maybe this is a little bit of the feminist inside of me peeking out, but I LOVE seeing women pull off a comedy like this.

It also gave me some hope for SNL. Even though the show is pretty far from it's glory days in the 1970's, they still have some amazing talent working for them. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolf absolutely kill in in this movie, and in almost all other roles I have seen them in. It was so refreshing to see a romantic comedy take such a perfectly hilarious twist.

If you still have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro has to be one of my favorite directors/producers of all time and he has a new movie out in theaters (Don't be Afraid of the Dark) so I thought it would be kind of cool to watch an Interview of the man behind some of the greatest horror films in the industry. The man is absolutely GENIUS. Here’s his IMDB page so you can check out some of his movies :

My personal favorites are The Orphanage and Pans Labyrinth. He does some really cool stuff with his special effects and even in a day and age where everything can be done digitally a lot of his effects are crafted by hand. (which I think is totally awesome)

Heres also the trailer to his new movie, ENJOY!:

Going on the set of "The Soup"

Over the summer I was interning at a video production company called VideoLink Inc. in Boston. What that company did was all types of things involving satellite cameras. One of the weeks I was there I learned that we were going to go on a shoot for the Soup, a comedy show starring Joel McHale, who also stars on Community. Here's a Condensed Soup clip. I couldn't find the one from the week I was on, so here's a different one.

When we got there (at 8 in the morning I might add, made all the more intense by the fact that I drove from New Hampshire to get there), I was put to work right away with the other intern, learning how to set up the super cool cameras, get things for the producers, and a lot of standing around. The first day we were there was purely to set up the set, and the second day was for the actual shooting of the show. Both days were absolutely exhausting, but I had so much fun.

One of the coolest parts (other than seeing Joel) was being able to help set up the satellite truck. This guy Brad from my company showed me all the buttons to press, which I won't talk much about here because it was really complicated and I can't remember much! Basically you had to put in the coordinates for the satellite, and that pointed the dish on the top of the truck to the particular point in space. There were tons and tons of settings to put into the machines, which by the way cost $10,000 apiece! (I got to hold one of the machines, and it totally freaked me out.) Anyway, there was indeed a lot of standing around, waiting for someone to tell me to do something. One time the producer of the show asked me to find her a piece of cardboard for a bingo sheet, that was fun too!

So on the second day we arrived around 9. There was even more sitting around, until 10:30 when Joel arrived. When he entered at first I was super nervous, but then he almost tripped over a chair and I realized, hey, he's a normal person! (Only freakishly tall...dear god, he's a giant.) During the actual shooting of the show I was able to wear a headset that was connected to the Control Room in Los Angeles. And after the show was done, I got a take a picture with him, which was definitely the highlight of my entire summer!

Pixar has long been a source of animated entertainment, which has most likely shaped all of us in some way or another. Dreamworks and Pixar both are renowned for some of the best animation of humans, and other characters ranging from robots, insects, every type of animal imaginable, even mythological creatures.

When I was still in high school, debating whether or not to choose a major in animation or live action, I looked a lot at the similarities and differences between live action film and animation. While animation is now entirely digital and created from computers, whereas live action is shot using real people on a set/location, there are some similarities.

Live action is frequently used in animated films, where someone hooked up to a motion tracking system performs the actions of the character, and the motions are recorded and used to create the motions of the character. On the other hand, animation is frequently used in live action movies to create the backdrops and special effects that would otherwise be impossible to achieve.

Through both styles, the same basic concepts are held constant, where every shot is thoroughly thought through, every line and every motion is carefully planned by teams and teams of crew members.

But besides making some deep concepts more "kid friendly," what is the purpose of choosing animation over live action? Because as far as I've noticed, almost all animated films (except stop-motion shorts) are comedies. Any thoughts?
Faking Reality

     This past weekend I saw the new film Apollo 18.  It was a good movie, a great idea, good acting   (crapy ending), but the most interesting thing was that throughout the entire movie, both before and after, it pretended that it was an actual collection of leaked footage from the government.  This seems to be a phenomena that has taken hold since the Blair Witch Project. Thriller movies pretending to be based on true events.

 This is different than a Mocumentary.  A mocumentary is a fiction film that presents itself as a documentary, they are usually a satire or a parody, and almost always comedic.  The new trend of thriller films that present themselves as fact are serious or scary. Films like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield are filmed in such a way as to appear to be raw footage.  Apollo 18 uses this technique as well, as if the footage we are seeing was originally filmed by those in the movie.  Some films take this a little to far.  The Fourth Kind is a film about an alien abduction and the film makers made it seem as if it were real.  they even went through the trouble of have two lead actresses, one as the "Real" women in "Historical" footage, and another to be the actress playing the "real" woman in the dramatizations.  They faked news releases and created a website of facts so that if you looked into the film it would seem true.  They even went as far as to not credit the actress who played the "Real" women in the historical footage, to make her seem like a real person.
 This new take on thrillers is an interesting trend.  I believe that this way of marketing and presenting a story makes more people want to see it. Inside every viewer is a little part of them that wants movies to be true.  So if the film presents itself as true, it makes it more interesting and gives it an edge.  I feel that in the near future we will see many more films that are completely fictitious but present themselves as factual, simply because it sells.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Below is a video that explores how the movie Inception went about creating its sound.

After the binaural sound post I found myself searching for more on just creating sound for video and stumbled upon the above video. Inception is one of my favorite recent movies and a large part of that the sound is responsible for. I think its amazing the level of detail the sound team went into when creating the movie. In the video they mention how they tried to gather as much real world sound as possible and I think this is important and really makes a difference in your final work. Although databases pre-recorded sounds are extremely helpful, especially to those without the resources, I think that getting real world sound when possible should be a priority. The most important thing I think one should come away from this video with is that sound in general is extremely important and paying close attention to it can be rewarding.


The romance comedy Juno hit the theaters in 2007 and was a great film. This film was different because the writer Diablo Cody, who changed careers and became a writer after working as a stripper; came up with this new idea that put a spotlight on teen pregnancy. The film was written in the style I was able to relate to because I could connect with the slang she used to carry out her characters opinions.

The cast that was chosen for this film, Juno (played by Ellen Page) and Paulie Bleaker (played by Michael Cera), as well as Vanessa (played by Jennifer Garner) and Mark (played by Jason Bateman) brought the screenplay to life as they all gave realistic portrayals of their on screen characters. I do not think I could see any other actor play these parts like they did.

Some References: "Thunderbirds" (1965), Suspiria (1977),"PicturePages" (1984), The Goonies (1985), So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), "My So-Called Life" (1994), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Bone Collector (1999), Coyote Ugly (2000), Faust (2000), Battle Royale (2000), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

This movie also has a very nice soundtrack that Kimya Dawson wrote and performed. The music that was chosen was instrumental in moving the story along. I know that this is a movie I could definitely see over and over again because of the actors, the music, and the memorable quotes throughout the entire film.


Juno MacGuff: You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.

Juno MacGuff: I think I'm in love with you.
Paulie Bleeker: You mean as friends?
Juno MacGuff: No... I mean for real. 'Cause you're, like, the coolest person I've ever met, and you don't even have to try, you know...
Paulie Bleeker: I try really hard, actually.

Bren: When you move out I'm getting two Weimaraners!
Bren: Oh, go fly a kite!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just thought everyone could use a good laugh!

Everyone in the entire world should see this video montage!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I want to share with everyone this video I came across in my Introduction to Field Production class. It's from a series of short films that Sony produced called "Dreams", and the writing really impressed me. I feel that a good script is not always lengthy dialogue with lots of complicated characters. Sometimes the story line does not need to rely on the dialogue. When a script accomplishes this it really draws the audience into the film. This gets you thinking and makes you an active audience member.

The first time watching this I knew something was off with the main character, played by Tony Hale, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I realize some people will catch the twist before I did, but it caught me off guard. I love it when a script can do that to me, just like in The Sixth Sense.

I really enjoyed all the Sony Dreams short films. I thought they all had a very high production value. The next video, Intolerable, does the opposite of the last video and does not really leave you with a clear idea about what is going on. Sometimes it's also best to leave the viewer guessing instead of the script providing the twist or ending.

40 Year Old Pixar Animation

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (Pixar, 1972) from Robby Ingebretsen on Vimeo.

I found this video in an article on Huffington Post. I found it really interesting to watch some of the early versions of 3D animation, especially because I love Pixar movies and shorts. I know this makes me sound geeky, but I always really liked watching how the character's hair was animated. I first noticed it in the scene in Monster's Inc. where Mike and Sully are banished into the Himalayas with the Abominable Snow Man. Mike is throwing snow cones at Sully and they way that they hit his fur while it blows around in the fierce storm wind. Unfortunately, I can't find the video from the scene, but I did find this trailer...

...for a new Pixar movie coming out in summer of 2012 called "Brave," where the lead characher has large, frizzy red hair. While I have never gotten very into animation outside of loving the movies and shorts, I think that it would be really interesting to learn about. Watching the 40 year old animation project made me wonder what the process looks like today, and how much similar the processes are. I would love to work at Pixar one day...not particularly in the animation department but perhaps in the creative aspects of story development or production.

It is always fun to see how far technology has progressed over the years, but this 40 year old animation was not what I expected at all. I had always imagined that 3D animation was a younger technology. Watching this video helped me realize how far the technology has come, and I am so excited to see what comes next....


Monday, September 5, 2011

Theodore Case Film Festival

Hello Everyone! This is my first blog in the whole world! It's not that exciting, but there is a first for everything I suppose. So my topic for this blog shall be (drum roll please),  Theodore Case Film Festival in Auburn, Ny at Auburn Public Theater. The Auburn Public Theater is owned by one of my former mentors/ professors at Cayuga Community College where I just transferred from! THIS IS THEIR WEBSITE!  The Video above is a virtual tour of the theater where the films submitted to the Theodore Case Film Festival are viewed for the festival. Over the past summer I entered one of my recent short films called Pleasuring Grief. It was selected for the festival and was played on the big screen. I knew many of the other local film makers who had entered their animations, documentaries and films. One of them was my mentor Mike "DooWittle" Widger who I have been working with in his new film studio and suite in East Syracuse Ny. I thought I'd share with everyone some of their entries and mine as well! I also hope to see some of you entering into this film festival next year it happens around June every year. This festival is also where I met a recent alumni of Ithaca entering a couple of his short films, J. R. Newell. There were a lot of Ithaca student entries other than him and myself. I hope you enjoy the videos!
The Boys of Oswego, Documentary, Oswego State hockey team!
Masters of their time, Documentary, A band in the recording studio comes up with a brilliant sound.

Office MVP, short film, shows the human hard ships of a working class average office man.

Ashtrays are Everywhere, Short film, a man in his domain!

American Beauty French New Wave, short film/reenactment of American Beauty, one of J.R. Newell's short films

How to be Alone, Short film, J.R.'s second film entry

Pleasuring Grief, short film, MY SHORT FILM
written and directed by Lucy Lynne' Hall!