Friday, March 29, 2013

Project Update/Final Project

Last weekend we finished the filming for our second project. Right now I'm finishing cleaning up the sound and figuring out what type of music, n be suitable for this film. Tomorrow we're supposed to finish editing the whole thing.

My idea for a final project is still mostly in the works, however what I've got so far is an odd mix between an Irish ghost story, "Night on Bald Mountain" (from Disney's Fantasia), and the kids book "The Bunny's Ball".

The basic premise is that in a small town, there's a local legend about the dead rising from their graves and dancing on a certain night of the year. As usual the younger generation doesn't believe this and one night a couple of them go out to prove the stories wrong.

However around midnight they DO see the dead dance, and are caught spying on them. The Devil who precedes over the  dance sets up a court case to damn the teens. As they are about to be sentenced, the suns rises and church bells ring. Banishing the ghosts, devil, goblins, ect, back to the darkness, from whence they came.

Arby" Project Update 2

Our project is really coming along well. We have a good chunk of scene 2 editing and looking really nice. Kyle put a nice color grade on the film and it really looks amazing. The blues in the scene really add a darker image for the audience.

We are filming the rest of the film on Sunday for 6 hours or so. We are going to go right ahead and start editing. We are excited to see the final product. We were supposed to film Thursday night but the house plan fell through and we had to reschedule. Can't wait to finish!

For my final project I want to go along with the Chinese myth about the first dream of the new year comes true. I think the original premise of the story is for the main character to forget what his dream was about and he/she has to encounter his dream first hand by surprise. It needs to develop more but that is my idea for now. Could be very fun!

Final Project Pitch

For my final project, I would like to do a story about a girl waiting for her fiance to come home from work. He is an hour late, and she has been calling his phone constantly, but there is no answer. She has become concerned so she has contacted family members and friends. Then she calls his boss to see if he stayed late, and the boss says he left on time per usual. Hundreds of ideas cross her mind: is he cheating on me? is he ok? does he have a surprise? Then, she gets a phone call and answers the phone immediately. After a few seconds, she drops he phone on the floor and runs out of the room.

Later on she appears in a hospital, asks the receptionist where to go, and then follows the doctor down the hallway to the room. She enters the room and sees her fiance laying in the bed, half conscious. They talk and the plot develops (not entirely sure on all of the details of this portion). She takes a break from the room as he gets more tests done and meets a couple in the room next door. As the conversation develops between them and the nurse gives her new information, they come up with an idea. The couple next door lets the girl and her fiance borrow their wedding rings and the chaplain comes up from the chapel. They get married in the hospital room, but as they say their vows, you can hear the fiances breath getting heavier and heavier and see his health deflating in the monitors. Finally, after their kiss, he ends up dying.

Final Project

What Mike said. I helped him with a few of the details and plus, I would love to edit a psycho-horror drama...

Final Project Pitch

For my final project I would like to make a Golden Doorknob. The protagonist of the story would be a male in his early twenties. He comes back to his apartment from class and finds his girlfriend packing up her belongings. The girlfriend leaves the apartment and hands him an engagement ring. The protagonist is both depressed and furious. He goes over to his closet and looks in the shoebox full of memories that he has of the two of them. A little while later he goes back into the closet but when he opens the door, he does not see his clothes hanging or anything. He sees a moment from his past that he shared with his girlfriend. During the film, he will see multiple memories that he shared with his girlfriend. I was thinking of using the time they first met, their first kiss and when he proposes to her. The final moment that the protagonist will see is the time that his girlfriend cheated on him with another man. I still have to develop the idea more but I want to have the protagonist kill the girlfriend and the other man. When he is about to do it, there will be a flash and the final shot will be the protagonist hanging in the closet and all you see is his legs. The protagonist imagined killing the two others but actually committed suicide.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Final Project

     The Purple Cobras shot 90% of their footage last week and everything came out amazingly.  Our editor Mike has been working diligently on the film as we are all excited to watch it come together.  We will finish shooting the footage probably next thursday and move into the final steps of post production.
     For my final project I was thinking about doing something military related.  Not using actual people in the military but instead the story of the friends of those who are in the military.  This story comes from my own personally life in that one of my best friends is in the army and could be shipped to duty within the next 2 years.  I have had many talks with him and his family and all of our friends, it is not always easy to know someone who will be going on active duty soon.  I need to develop the idea more but this is the basis for what I might do.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Final Project Idea

I have a small idea for the final project.  It's going to need some more elaboration, some more thought and some time to develop, but I think it could become something better than just an idea.

The premise?  A movie playing inside someone's head.

I'm thinking the typical kid, probably no younger than 13 and no older than 20, not realizing what they have.  Life gets "rough" for the character, and by "rough" I mean maybe they don't score with their love interest or they're doing poorly in a class- so nothing too tragic but enough to put our main character down in the dumps.  But then, all of a sudden, he sees camera's around him accompanied by lights, microphones, and an entire film crew.

Why? His life is being made into a movie.

The director keeps changing what he doesn't like about the character's life, as if he is changing what he doesn't like about the film he is creating.  Sometimes, the kid likes the changes the director makes and sometimes he doesn't.  Eventually, throughout the story, the character realizes that he is in charge of his own life.  He learns through the director that he enjoys his life just the way it is, and that he can do whatever he wants.  He also learns that the drama in his life is nothing too tragic, and definitely isn't anything a movie could be based on.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Can You Call Back Please?

So far, our group is doing awesome. We've got everything organized except one thing... The parking lot. Tops hasn't gotten back to me for filming in their parking lot on Tuesday. Hopefully they call me back tomorrow so we can make sure that we have our place to film!

Also, I've been thinking about our last project... I really want to do a horror film of some sorts sooooo... I'm just going to put that out there.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Production is Kabooming

In the production of comedic explosions, we're about two thirds done with filming. With certain parts (the end of the running montage) we used the built in microphone to pick up sound. Mostly because, if we had used the boom mic to pick up sound in the main area we were filming in, we would have gotten a plethora of foley traffic noise and not much else. To the good in regards to the sound, it was easy to pick up for the opening scene.

Tomorrow we finish with the filming of this project, with any luck the editing will be just as smooth.

Good Mood Food Update

 Well, we just finished our first shoot for "Good Mood Food", and it went absolutely fantastic. This particular scene was of the main character, Jake, being bullied by a group of preppy douchers because of his immense love of Arbys. The bullies also be sure to throw in jabs about his alcoholic father and mother who was killed in car accident because of him on Christmas Eve. Sounds like a heartwarming story right? We are really excited to further explore this incredibly melodramatic story that centers around a boy's intense affection for the fast food conglomerate.

Despite a few hiccups, (we had to completely re-route all our lights when each one went out in the middle of a take) I thought the shoot went pretty smoothly. Kyle did a great job as our DP and got some footage that I can't wait to take to the edit room. We also had one of our actors use an iPhone to record the bullying first hand, which will provide some gritty first person footage to cut back to. I am really excited to keep the ball rolling and get going on our next shoot, which will probably be in the next coming week.

Arby's Project Update

So we literally just finished filming one of our scenes for the project and it went great. We filmed the scene in which (Jake) the main character played by Erich Westfield is being bullied in school on his birthday. The scene consists of a posse of 5 bullies who all make fun of him about his love for Arby's and the fact that his mom was killed in a drunk driving accident by his father. Kyle Vorbach (DP) did an excellent job filming the scene. He used a lot of great close ups and wide angle shots. He did the entire scene without a tripod in order to add to the atmosphere of the bullying. He wanted it to feel as if you were in a group of people spectating this in a school. We ended up filming in a hallway of the CHS building, where it looked most like a high school. We filmed for about 2 hours and are getting ready to plan our next shooting date, which will probably be early next week.

Group Update

Today my group and I filmed on location at my friend's house. It was really nice working off campus because it allowed us to bring a real life element to our story rather than being subjected to campus housing. It was really interesting seeing the characters in our script come to life and I give my group members a lot of credit for casting such good actors. If I could have changed one thing I wished we would have slated our video and audio now it looks like we'll have to deal with that issue in post-production. Today we completed about 70% of all shooting and we intend to finish the rest tomorrow. So far, so good.

I Can't Believe It's Not Fiction!

Not many Americans make it in European Soccer. Jay Demerit, former US national Team Defender, is one of those few. Rise and Shine: The Jay Demerit Story details Jay's improbable journey to the English Premier League, arguably the greatest soccer league in the world. There are a couple reasons I chose to write this blog. First, I'm a big soccer fan and I've wanted to watch this documentary for a while and recently found out it was on netflix. And secondly, the US have a huge world cup qualifier tonight against Costa Rico, so this was a nice appetizer to get me pumped for the game.

Jay Demerit's story is one many have written about before. After fighting against all the odds, he finally makes it big. basic and cliche? Maybe. But the fact that this actually happened is incredible. He had no money when he decided to travel to Europe on a whim and tryout for European clubs. He got a shot with a seventh division team in England, and during a preseason match impressed his opponents manager, a second division team, Watford, enough to earn a 2 week tryout. He eventually made the team. And of course, like any good sports movie, the path to the Premier League was littered with obstacles. They were expected to fight it out at the bottom of the division 2 standings, but somehow finished 3rd to earn a spot in the promotion playoffs. As if it couldnt have gotten any more cliche, Demerit got the game winning goal and man of the match in the game that would send them to the top division in England.

This isn't a documentary soccer fans should watch. It's a documentary sports fans should watch. It's an incredible against-the-odds story that couldn't be written any better. It's an absolute must watch.  


Our group has made a lot of advancements in our project since last week.  We completely changed our project idea, as well as wrote the script, casted our show, picked a location, and established shooting times.  We are very excited to begin shooting on Monday with our cast.

One of the obstacles our group ran into was casting our child.  We had to change the sex of the child from a boy to a girl (Timmy is now Ellie).  It's also difficult to meet the needs of a young child, since they are not as flexible with shooting times.  But, we have Melissa Gattine's child casted and ready to go.

We also need to pick up a few props for our project, such as the can of coins, the new stuffed animal, hot sauce, etc.  These things we will probably pick up at a local convienient store or somewhere like Wal-Mart or Wegmans.

Purple Cobras Update

Our first day of shooting was yesterday and it went very well, we shot the first and last scenes of the film. In the first scene, our main character Daryll picks up the mail and sees that he is broke. His younger sister Misty walks downstairs and complains that there is no food in the house. Misty tells Daryll that he looks nice and asks where he is going. Daryll tells Misty that he is going to a job interview at the local thrift shop and the Misty needs to go to the store after school to pick up milk. Daryll also tells Misty to pick up her little brother from school. The next scene that we shot was the last scene of the film. Daryll walks downstairs wearing a shirt and tie and hands Misty some lunch money. This scene is similar to the first scene but Daryll now has a job and the house they live in is much cleaner.

Overall, the shoot went very well. There were only two setbacks that happened during the shoot. The first was that ppecs did not give us the ME-66 that we had reserved and we did not realize until we had arrived at the location. I had to drive back to Park and get the mic. Luckily it did not take too long to drive back. The only other problem that we encountered was that we did not clap or use a slate during the shoot. Since we used Craig's Canon T3i, we had to record sound separately and we also did not have a slate. For the first scene of the shoot we did not clap in front of the camera. This will make syncing sound more complicated but it is not a major issue. The shoot went very well and we are scheduled to shoot on Sunday with Nicky Wood.

Purple Cobra's Project

Yesterday we had our first day of shooting for our project.  We got together our actors and equipment and headed over to the most disgusting apartment I've ever been to.  I think our shoot went really well.  Craig Mike and I worked very well to get all of the shots we needed in order to tell our story.  Of course the scenes in the apartment are not where the meat of the story lies, but it is still an important way to open and close our film.  Obviously you will run into problems every time you go on a shoot, especially in a location as messy as this one.  We were able to overcome difficult lighting, audio and blocking challenges to create a solid final product for the interior scenes.  After shooting my ICTV show all semester in a Studio, it was a real reminder to what shooting on location in the filed is like and how difficult it is to have a very small space to work with.  It also was a nice reminder of how difficult it is lighting wise, where in the studio all of my lights are over head and interchangeable.   The actors took direction well and were extremely solid on their lines.  I was impressed with the amount we were able to get done in the little time crunch and limited crew.  We were very polite and respectful to the people in the apartment.  It will forever be the most disgusting place I've shot a film at. (I hope.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Newsroom

Whenever Aaron Sorkin is involved in a television show it automatically becomes a must see. Sorkin is the main writing mind behind this HBO series and it shows, as the writing of the show is definitely what makes it so good. The coolest part about the show is how the dates of the episodes coincide with major events in the news world in the year the show is taking place. In season one's case, that is the year 2010. The Newsroom, literally, covers things like the rise of the Tea Party, the BP Oil spill, and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. It gives viewers a behind the scenes look to how the news is put together and delivered to viewers in the United States. Much like West Wing and other Sorkin shows, the accuracy of the industry is off the charts.

The other great aspect of Sorkin's writing in this case is how he not only involves real news worthy events, but each character also has a personal life and backstory. Whether it is the lonely, drug addicted life of news anchor Will McAvoy or the different relationships going on around the office, the audience is clued in on it all. What Sorkin is capturing is that not everyone that produces the news for a living is a boring person in real life, these people have interesting and complicated lives that capture the audience when the news stories don't. It is a good mix of high-paced news driven content and slow-placed character development.

As great as Sorkin's writing is, you can't talk about this show and not mention how great the acting is. Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy plays the role perfectly. Daniels is extremely talented and captures Will's up's and down's perfectly. Will is a troubled character, who suffers from depression and anxiety due to childhood issues and his now producer (MacKenzie McHale) cheating on him. Daniels is able to portray the gunslinging anchor in a way that makes the audience wish that Will McAvoy was the anchor of their local news program.

For someone that is interested in going into the television industry The Newsroom is one of the most interesting shows on TV. I am constantly paying attention to how the characters in the show produce the news, and how things work both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. What this shows explains to viewers is just how much work and effort it takes to put out the nightly news. Confirming stories with sources, getting live interviews, asking all the right questions, all while working to get as many viewers as possible. It's a results based business, and viewership is truly the most important thing. After watching this show, viewers feel like they know the in's and out's of television news.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Project Update

After finishing our script, Courtney, Hannah, and I decided to stick with the same ending that we had with the stuffed animal sitting on the counter from Frank. We are working on the character development as well as adding in quirks in order to present the characters better to the audience. For instance, we have come up with ideas of actions by Frank in order to make him seem like the goofy, irresponsible guy who does not know how to handle a child. We have casted our characters Frank, Sarah and Ellie, our character for our child actor. Our child actor is a girl, so it will not be Timmy anymore, but that only required us to change the name, which is not a big deal. The only character we have to finalize is mom, but there is still time before our first shoot.

Our plan for the production process is starting on Thursday when we are storyboarding the project and contacting all locations to finalize them. We will begin shooting on Monday, where we will complete two scenes that solely require our child actor. Then we will shoot on Tuesday and the following Tuesday to finish everything with our adult actors and the 2 scenes with adult actors and the child actor. In between the Tuesdays, we will edit together what we have in order to use the extra time given to our advantage.

Latest Update

The Purple Cobras have their final script finished and we are currently finalizing our locations and actors for tomorrows shoot and preparing our locations and actors for Sundays shoot.  All seems to be going well so far and everyone in the group is doing a great job.  Today in class our group decided to shoot the car scene with a green screen in order to accommodate one of our actors in not having to drive.  I am excited to see what shooting this scene will entail.  Our group will have to carefully plan out everything that we want to shoot for the scene in order to do it in a timely manner.  As we began to move from pre-production to production I am beginning to see our film play out in my head.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Project Update

Finally finishing the script is a very tedious job.  I was really nervous to send it to my team members even though I had spent a good amount of time working on it.  I had to make it seem realistic and actually flow like a story, all while maintaining the integrity of the actual news story the script is based off of.  One thing that I think students and new script writers often have a difficult time writing, is using real voices that make their characters sound like humans.  For example people in real life don't talk with perfect English or have the correct grammar all of the time.   It was my job as a script writer to capture the elements of how I think these characters and how these people talked.  Watching a video of the two main characters was a good indicator of how they can actually talk.  I am proud of my script and my team members were very helpful with helping me edit, and obviously creating the story since we all did that together.  I hope the product is solid.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Project Update

Well, there's not much to say about our project, as Haley covered it in her post.  Right now we're finalizing our cast and our script so we're ready to shoot when we get back from break.  We're also working on contacting someone about the old-fashioned car.

When we get back, we will work with our actors to figure out what scenes we will shoot and when.  Our script is still in the works, as Haley mentioned, but it is coming together smoothly.

I am excited to see everyone's projects when we get back, and I hope everyone has had a great spring break!

Project Update

After discussing our ideas for the project, Hannah, Courtney, and I agreed that Lily and Rooster were the perfect characters to base our couple on. From there we have come up with multiple plot ideas. We are still attempting to finalize the end, but we are sticking to our original plan of the couple attempting to turn themselves in for a small amount of money in order to purchase more alcohol. The couple will be wanted for buying and therefore possessing alcohol, which was illegal during the 1920s prohibition times. We have planned out most of the scenes in great detail, with only a few remaining. Our only big decision left to make is whether they will be arrested or not at the end after turning themselves in or not. The script will most likely be finalized and finished before the end of break. We also have almost completed casting (some have been hard to contact due to break) and hope to have everything set by Monday to prepare to shoot.

Project Update

The Purple Cobras are currently in pre-production for the project. Matt has finished writing the script and we have found our lead actor and are waiting to here back from a couple others. Craig has emailed Nicky Wood and we are waiting to hear back from him. I hope we are able to use him as an actor because he seems exactly like the character Artie in the script. We are still looking for locations to shoot but the plan is to shoot later next week and edit the project the following weekend. We will have our storyboards completed by the time we are ready to shoot. It is expected to snow some time next week but that could actually work to our advantage. The original story did take place during an ice storm in Indianapolis so if it is snowing when we shoot, our project would be even more accurate to the original news story than it already is.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Purple Cobras

This week my group and I have been contacting each other via Facebook and email.  Matt finished the script which looks really solid.  I contacted Nicky Wood who we hope will play Art in our script.  I have not heard back from him yet but I await his answer.  We have not decided where we want to shoot yet but figured that we need two days to shoot the film at two separate locations.  Our main actor is going to be played by one of our friends who is absolutely perfect for the roll and is very excited.  We are contacting our other actors this week to find out their availability for possible shoot dates.  Hopefully the weather will be a little warmer by the time we are ready to shoot next week.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Greer Garson Mondays

Last night, my grampa turned on TCM like he usually does and it happened to be Greer Garson Monday's during the month of March. So basically that means every Monday evening during March, they have a Greer Garson marathon.

We watched her in Mrs. Miniver and Random HarvestMrs. Miniver was about a British family struggling during the first few weeks of WWII. Mrs. Miniver, played by Garson, is a wife and a mother of three, a little girl, a little boy and an older son who joins the air force. Her son also just got married to a well to do girl, and they're both about 18 years old.

The youngest son is overly excited about the war and thinks it's going to be the coolest thing ever, but of course it really isn't. There is a scene that I believe sums up what families in Great Britain were experiencing during the war. Mr. and Mrs. Miniver and the two youngest children have to hide out in their bomb shelter. It's small but cozy with bunk beds for the children, a little room to move around to have tea and knit. Mr. Miniver is showing off to his wife a new air vent he had put in that turns green when poisonous gas comes through so you kno when to close it off. Of course the two kids are sleeping through most of the bombings but eventually a few bombs hit a little bit to close and everything shakes and falls, scaring the children who are crying. After another bomb that hits them closely, their bunker door opens for you to see what the blitz really looked like.

I really enjoyed this film- it was a different view of WWII that most people haven't experienced. Mrs. Miniver. This film won 7 academy awards including Best Actress and Best Movie and was nominated for 3 others. And all of that doesn't surprise me one bit- it was fabulous and well done and the sets were to die for. There were some comedic parts, serious parts and some parts of the film that took you by surprise.

This is why I love TCM- you see movies that you never thought of seeing before with actresses or actors you've never heard. Next time I have the opportunity... well, next monday... I'm going to watch more Greer Garson films.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Regarding our group project Ted and I have basically decided to create a comedy of explosives. We got the basic idea when I put forward the story of the Rosenberg's who sold atomic bomb secrets. He's the one who thought we could make a comedy put of this. Frankly, I think making a comedy about a bomb, could be an interesting challenge. So I look forward to when we actually get to shoot.

So far we have hashed out the story outline and the script is in the process of being finished. Over the break we'll be working on the paperwork, so we don't have to worry about it when we actually get to shooting. I'll also be working on finding music for this flick, which will be another interesting aspect to this project. Mostly because I've never done the music for a comedy before...

Annie Inspired

As I got thinking about the project Haley, Hannah and I are working on, I got thinking to what other stories are similar so I could get some inspiration.  Thinking about the two characters that we have envisioned (a couple in the Prohibition Era getting themselves into trouble for selling alcohol, and stupidly turning in themselves for reward money), I immediately thought of a funny couple from the childhood classic Annie.  

Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis from Annie are a conniving, ridiculous couple who are trying to help Mrs.Hannigan get reward money.   (Gee, sound familiar?).  I just couldn't believe how similar these two characters are to the characters that Haley, Hannah and I have envisioned in our heads for this project.  They're silly and try to plot ridiculous schemes.  I think that we should definitely use Tim Curry and Bernadette Peter's interpretation of these characters to our advantage when we think about putting this project together.  Not to mention we could probably get a few costume ideas from this film as well.

Our project and Annie also take place around the same time period, the 1930's and Prohibition Era.  Again, I think watching this 1982 version of Annie will help us encompass a comedic interpretation of this era.  Annie is a movie that focuses on the light side of the Great Depression and 1930's, and puts a comedic twist to a time that wasn't so bright and happy.   Since that is the approach our group is going for, I think it would be a smart idea to study this movie.

So I think I'm going to pop in this version of Annie, as well as the 1999 television remake of Annie directed by Rob Marshall to help come up with a more solid idea for this project while I'm home on break.

Japanese Myth

My group and I finally discovered a story that we want to explore and expand into our short film. There is an old Japanese Myth that states the first dream of the new year always comes true. The very premise of this idea immediately struck us as something we could play with story wise and really have quite a bit of fun with.

The main idea we've been throwing around is a very "Hangover" type of scenario where the main character can't remember what his dream was and has to physically live it out in order to remember what it is, and soon realizes how incredibly insane it was. The script is in development right now and we are all extremely excited to get started.

Project Update

As of right now, my group (Kyle Vorbach & Erich Westfield) are going to be developing a story based off of a Japanese myth that says the first dream of the new year comes true.

We want to take this idea and tale it for a spin. We were thinking that maybe the main character has no idea of what his first dream was and he has to re-encounter his dream, and realizes that his dream was very crazy. The story is basically his adventure of his unforgotten dream.

We haven'e been able to meet, so the idea is still in progress.

A Simple Story

Craig, Mike and myself are working together as the team "The Purple Cobras" for this assignment to develop a short film around a story about a teen who was struck with kindness of strangers when a man offered him a well paying job.  This man had heard about the teen's struggles to support his brothers and sisters after their mother passed away and how the teen had trouble getting a job.  This sounds like a good ol' heart warming story that can be turned into a film?  But can it really?  Does it have a 3 act arch and does it have character development?  We had to find some ways to creatively tell our story and still make it appealing as a film.

We have decided that the story it's self will remain the same, but will be the middle chuck of our film.  We still need a solid beginning and end.  Without these our project might as well be useless.  Without the beginning we wouldn't be able to get into the characters situation and learn about his life and the hardships he goes through.  We need a reason to root for this character and learn a little back story about him and his family before we can develop the plot.  On the opposite spectrum we also need to wrap up the ending with closure.  We can't just leave the audience wondering what happened because we ended our film in the middle of the story.  We have to show the effect and reactions to what happens in the plot and how everything turns out.

I love writing but this should be an exciting challenge for me as I write the script.  My writing excels in scriptwriting for television.  I love how the characters have room to grow and develop over a broader sense of time and how intimate you can make certain situations that would be cut from a film.  I'm very lucky to have such hard working and brilliant team members to help me develop the story and change/add things to the script.  I look forward to writing it this weekend.  But it will not come as easy to me as if I were writing an episode of TV.  We have to tell an entire story in a very short amount of time and still develop strong connections to the characters and produce a heartwarming story.  It will be a good challenge for me and I hope I can do this story justice.

The Purple Cobras Project

Along with Craig Babcock and Matt Roser, the three of us have decided to make our next project about  a young man named Jhaqueil Reagan and a restaurant owner Art "Papa" Bouvier. On a cold and wet snowy day a few weeks ago, Jhaqueil was walking to job interview at a local thrift store. As he was walking he stopped and asked for directions. He came across the owner of a cajun restaurant, "Papa Roux,"getting ready to open the local eatery. He asked Art Bouvier for directions and Art said that the thrift store is about 6 or 7 miles away and that Jhaqueil should probably take the bus because of the bad weather. Jhaqueil told Art thank you and just kept on walking.

About 15 minutes later, Art was driving down the road and passed by a familiar person, it was Jhaqueil.  Art pulled over and asked Jhaqueil why he was walking all the way to the interview in the terrible conditions and why he had not taken the bus. Jhaqueil told him that he did not have any money for the bus because his mother died two years ago and he had to provide for his younger siblings. Art was so moved and touched by this young man's work ethic that he drove him to the thrift store and also offered him a job at his restaurant, Papa Roux, that pays double what the thrift store would.

Art Bouvier posted this story on the Papa Roux Facebook page and since then the story has gone viral. Both Art and Jhaqueil have appeared on television shows such as Good Morning America and Fox and Friends. Bouvier said that after five minutes of the story being posted on Facebook, it had 500 likes.

Since the story came out, Jhaqueil is now set up with a stable job and was able to get a new apartment. The local transportation company also donated a free one-year bus pass for Jhaqueil so he will be able to get to and from work. There have been many donations to Papa Roux since the story became viral so, Art and Jhaqueil have also decided to set up a non-profit organization with the donation money. The organization will help unemployed job seekers with transportation, clothing and resume building.


Hannah, Courtney, and I are doing our project based on the Taliban member who turned himself in for a reward, which he obviously did not receive. For our project, we want to set it in the 1920s-1930s era during prohibition. The prohibition portion is important to the piece because we want to use this in order to create the conflict and to form the story around the criminals.

I have been watching different documentaries on the 1920s to understand what the lifestyle was like under prohibition. I also realized through research on the Internet and through the library that we could set it in the period of prohibition and the Great Depression. When we were discussing it, we thought basing our couple off of Lily and Rooster from Annie would be a good idea after watching a few clips of their actions. They are not the most intelligent criminals, which fits in perfectly with turning themselves in for a reward. While watching clips, we have paid attention to the way they talk and act in order to help us know what the script should be like and how the characters should act. We want to make sure we help them capture the image of criminals in Prohibition and the Great Depression, so we will be sending them the clips after we finish casting.

During break, we all plan to rent movies on this era so that we can get the exact feel that we are looking for. In addition, we will be talking to people about casting for roles in our film, which we will be doing right after break. Finally, we will be completing the script over break in order to be prepared for shooting when we return.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Boston's Finest

One of the cool things about being from a major city is when television and movies shoot in your home town. The Wahlberg's are also two of the cities favorite celebrities so the fact that Donny Wahlberg is so heavily involved in the show just adds to its appeal for a Bostonian. The show is a documentary style look at the Boston police force. It follows a few different police officers that are in a number of different units of the department. Regular patrol men and women, drug investigators, and detectives give the viewers a complete inside look into Boston's crime fighting scene. Just like any major city there  is plenty of action, but the show also covers some of the personal lives of the reappearing characters.

My favorite part of the show is obviously seeing the city I grew up in on TV, but I also really like the pace of the show. The show really takes on the schedule of the police officers it's about. There are times where the specific characters are just with their families and friends, and we get to see what they are really like not just what their job turns them into. Then all the sudden they are in the thick of a drug bust and the shots are much more shaky and fast paced. I think it would be an unrealistic depiction of the job if they only showed the police officers running down criminals. Of course that is part of their job, but we have too many shows on TV that just try to show people that side of their personalities. People want to see gun fights, chases, and people getting arrested. It makes good TV. But Boston's Finest breaks away from that script and takes us in to these peoples lives.

Probably the coolest scene of the entire show for me was when the patrol men pulled someone over right outside my aunts apartment. But I think that everyone can like this show, not just people from Boston.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Strangers Generosity

     Mike Nobile, Matt Roser and myself have chosen to pick a heartfelt story about the generosity of a store owner.  It has been said many times before that this country is losing its mom and pop stores to bigger corporations.  As that may be true, a little mom and pop restaurant in Indiana has made major headlines for the generosity of the owner to an unemployed teen.  Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, was walking to a job interview when he stopped to ask Art Bouvier for directions.  Art pointed him in the right direction and recommended that he take a bus due to the bad weather.  Later Art was driving when he saw Jhaqueil walking.  Art pulled over and offered him a ride.  As they were driving they had a conversation where Jhaqueil explained to Art how his mother died two years ago and he was heading to a minimum wage job interview to support his two younger siblings.  Art was touched by his story and offered Jhaqueil a job for more money at his restaurant.  Art's generosity has sparked news and headlines around the country.  People have come in swarms to meet these two people and some have given gifts to Jhaqueil to try and help him.  Our group is going to take this story and re-create it to our own interpretation.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nolan In The Deep

As I lie in my bedroom, my eyes slowly, slowly closing, checking Facebook right before I pass out into my first full night of sleep in God knows how long... I SEE THIS:

Christopher Nolan Taking Over Justice League, Bringing Bale Back As Batman

And then I explode and die at the same time.

The idea of Christopher Nolan running the entire DC Universe is an exciting one for me, considering that Joss Whedon (another critically acclaimed writer/director) has more or less taken charge of the Marvel Universe, and these two opposing viewpoints bring a very interesting contrast in tone to the table.

The movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have very much adopted the tone of comic books, with larger-than-life characters, bright colors and snappy repartee. Conversely, Nolan's Batman universe is filled with steely grays and muted blues, telling the story of the Caped Crusader in a gritty, down-to-earth way. He has furthered this vision by producing DC's new Superman movie, Man of Steel, with one of the main questions during production being "how would the world react if Superman existed?"

Over the course of the past year, there have been abundant rumors regarding a possible DC Justice League movie to combat Marvel's immense success with the Avengers, which has scared me as a massive fan of the direction of Christopher Nolan and Zak Snyder's DC superhero movies. But more importantly, I think that DC would lose their biggest weapon: their unique voice and tone. The Dark Knight trilogy was an entirely different entity than the Marvel movies, and as Green Lantern demonstrated, DC can't beat Marvel at their own game.

If the DC universe (including the Justice League) can be united under Christopher Nolan's vision, they have a chance of continuing to combat Marvel's movie dominance. Otherwise, they will be poorly imitating, in typical Hollywood fashion, and they will lose.

Also, as a continuity junkie, the prospect of Christian Bale returning as Batman in the Justice League, alongside Henry Cavill as Superman, makes me happy all over.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Good Will Hunting

 The other night I took the liberty of watching the classic "Good Will Hunting". As most of you probably know, the film follows Will Hunting, a 20 year old janitor who lives in Boston and acts like a thug, but consequently happens to be a genius. The film was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, launching them into stardom. The film won the Academy Award that year for Best Original Screenplay, which was quite an achievement for young Ben (25) and Matt (27) and a testament to their natural talent, being that this was the first real piece they had ever written.

 The story itself is absolutely impeccable. It's one of those movies that I can watch over and over again without ever getting sick of. Damon and Affleck did such an incredible job creating a story with characters that were so multidimensional, they really help bring you in and keeps you invested in what's happening. It's astounding to me that these guys were able to write such an incredible piece at such an early age, given the stories complexity and overall genius. Good Will Hunting is a movie that will remain a classic for generations to come.

The Adaptions Keep on Coming...

Watching adaptions is starting to become an extremely bad habit, because usually I don't like what I see. I thought it would be different with the third in the Narnia film series, because I loved the adaptions of the first two books. Like the "Lord of the Rings" series the movie versions of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Prince Caspian" were decently done. As with all adaptions there were flaws but they were relatively minuscule and the movies were fairly true to the story without being boring. This was not the case with "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", Michael Apted (the director of this particular adventure) turns what is essentially a road trip story into what seems to be a weird mix between a quest, a road trip, and a adventure movie.

The quest, is Prince Caspian, the two youngest Pevensie kids (Lucy and Edmund), their cousin Eustace, and the crew of the Dawn Treader, going out to sea to find the lords of Prince Caspian's fathers court. The road trip and the adventure story, is how they get to the different islands and what they do out at sea and on said islands.

 What makes this movie so bizarre is the addition of a villain who doesn't seem to have any goals, distinct shape, or the ability to achieve those non existent goals. Said villain is a shape shifting black miasma, with absolutely no reason to exist. Said clouds life ends pointlessly as a sea serpent. Basically what I'm saying is that if you're going to add a villain to a story without one, at least make them make believable. 

Cinemetrics, the geology of cinema

This (in response to Daniel's post) is a more advanced tool to examine movies utilizing pattern analysis, including color, movement, sound etc, part of a trend that goes back many years already. They are a kind of "fingerprints" or unique identifiers for a film.

Take a look at Movie Core and other works by Frederic Brodbeck the developer of Cinemetrics.

In a related technology, for those of you who have ever wondered how the app Shazam works its magic here is a link to a PDF that explains the inner workings of another fascinating "fingerprinting" technology that allows to identify practically any song or piece of music in seconds.

How these technologies can be applied depends on your interests. However they have such an strong aesthetic appeal that I can just enjoy them as a window into a parallel universe.

Where everything is made up, and the points don't matter!

Good news to anyone who is a fan of improv and good television. Collin Mochrie recently tweeted about the return of Who's Line is it anyway! This is some of the best news I've heard in recent months. Now as for the legitimacy of this there is still some doubt. But hopefully the previous cast member and still improvising comedian will be back on the airwaves soon. 
Now as for the host. I could see Drew Carey coming back, but with his recent move to The Price is right I wouldn't be surprised if they opted to bring in a new host, or make Colin himself the host. My hope is that the cast remains the same, with Mochrie, Stiles, Brady, and the extra. But chances are they might change up some of the cast. This could cause a stir, but we'll have to wait and see. Brad and Colin went on an improv tour after Who's line stopped, and I was lucky enough to catch a show. I think if Colin were to move to host that brad would replace him as a cast member. 

A new way of looking at films

I recently discovered a new tumblr, which is often dangerous to my productivity, but I've found this one particularly interesting as it offers an interesting new way of looking at films.  It is called moviebarcode, and it posts single images, or barcodes, representing the entire course of a movie.  These images are made up of a number of still frames, evenly distributed throughout the movie, which are then stretched upward so that only the main color information remains.  It offers a very nice, birds-eye view of the art direction and overall color tones and moods of a film.  There is also an index so that you can easily look up movies you are interested in.

Movie Barcode from "O Brother, Where Art Thou" (2000)
O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)
For example, this is the barcode from the 2000 film "O Brother, Where Art Thou".  This was the first film to be digitally color graded in order to make an artistic choice.  In this case, much of the footage was tweaked to make the landscapes look drier and more golden, to fit the setting of the Dust Bowl in the midwest.  This is easily apparent in the barcode, which is overwhelmingly gold and beige.  You can also see, right at the very beginning, how the film starts out in black and white, before the saturation is added back in to produce the color.

Movie barcode for "The Matrix" (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Here's another example: The Matrix.  Almost every scene in The Matrix has a distinctive green tint to it, which is easily apparent in this image.

Harry Potter: The Complete Series (2001-2011)
Harry Potter: Complete Series (2001-2011)
This is one of my favorite examples, because it shows some of the applications that these images could have.  This is all eight Harry Potter movies, sequentially, which means we can see some interesting trends.  First of all, we can see that the mood of the series gets progressively darker, until the last installment is almost entirely black.  This visual trend clearly follows the tone of the films and the stories themselves.  It also shows the differences in the styles of the directors; for instance, Chris Columbus filmed the first ones primarily inside, which is shown by all the warm tones at the beginning of the image.  When directing the third installment, Alfonso Cuarón made the conscious decision to shift to a more outdoors, location based film, which is shown in the abrupt transition to blues and greens.

By looking at multiple films at once like this, we can observe patterns, similarities, and differences that are both interesting and useful.  Using these images could be an easy way to examine multiple films by broad categories such as genre or time period, which might expose some of the stereotypes or tropes that are used in different types of filmmaking.

ABC Guilty Pleasure

Kerry Washington is one of the most beautiful and graceful actresses in today's world of film and TV.  And she is becoming quite the powerhouse.  Her previous film credits include Ray, The Fantastic Four, and The Last King of Scotland, and most recently Django Unchained.  Washington starred in Quentin Tarantino's latest Oscar winning screenplay as Broomhilda, the wife of Jamie Foxx.  (Note: this is the 2nd time she is playing the wife of Jamie Foxx) This isn't the only big development in her career, she currently stars on the ABC drama Scandal.

Scandal stars Washington as Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to the President of the United States, as well as other political figures.  The show, created by Shonda Rhimes, is a very popular ABC prime-time soap opera that airs on Thursday nights from 10-11pm.  Shonda Rhimes has created many other popular ABC dramas including the smash hit Grey's Anatomy and it's very popular spin off Private Practice.  The political-thriller focuses on Olivia Pope who is loosely based off Judy Smith, the former administration press aide to George Bush.  Smith also serves as a co-executive producer.

The show is a very guilty pleasure of mine, and it must be to others as well, it scores pretty well in the ratings usually gaining an audience of around 7 - 8 million viewers an episode. (Most of those viweres are not in the 18-49 demographic)  The show is critiqued for it's soapy concepts and plot twists, but it is still a fun time and Washington's performance is beautiful and won an Image award for her performance as a leading actress.  The show really heats up when Washington's characters plot develops into a love triangle with none other than the President of the United States.  Although it might not be ABC's smartest drama or have the following of Grey's Anatomy or LOST, I think this show is one to watch for as it continues it's second season.  And Kerry Washington is definitely one to watch for at the award shows.

Wilfred... What?

Last week, I wrote my post about the pilot of Psych, a comedy about a man who claims to be a psychic.  I haven't watched any more episodes of it. Oops.

However, I watched another pilot of a show recommended by a good friend.  Wilfred, a show featured on FX, was hilarious but left me wondering so many questions- all coming down to one word.


My expectations for the show were high in terms of comedic effect.  I heard that the show was very funny, and was expecting to laugh a lot.  And I did.  It was very well written.  The concept of a talking dog induced by overdose just screams one word.


I really appreciated the deeper meanings behind the comedy.  The episode opens with the main character, Ryan, writing an edit of his suicide note.  He attempts suicide, fails, so tries again.  After overdosing on what looks like NyQuil and some pills, he begins to feel hazy.  In this haze, Ryan is asked to watch his neighbors dog, Wilfred.  Ryan, due to the overdose, thinks Wilfred as a talking dog.

Again, what?

But as I was saying before, there is a deeper meaning.  Ryan is depressed.  The blank stare in his eyes, the sinking inflection in his voice, and the lack of effort to make something of his life shows that Ryan just doesn't know where to go.  But somehow, through this hallucination of a talking dog, he learns to "live his life" instead of float through it.  I was reminded of my project that I did with Kyle and Jake, Sperm Bank.  There are two characters, one on the serious side and one on the silly side, and the silly character helps the serious character come to a realization.

Aesthetically, this show is pretty modern.  The lighting is bright and the colors are saturated, which I believe helps make light of the serious aspects of the show.  There is low depth of field throughout most of the show, allowing you to see every last thing in the frame.  It is shot in handheld format, putting the viewer in the show and making it feel like they're actually there.

I really liked this show.  It was really weird, leaving me asking "what?" a lot.  But I think it has potential to create some great laughs and a very meaningful story.  I'll definitely be watching more episodes.