Smelly Coat of Desperation

An inspiring talk from filmmaker Ava DuVernay during the Film Independent Forum about a revolutionary idea that pushed her towards success. One thing Ava said that struck was the term of “smelly coat of desperation”. I think her advise not only can work towards aspiring filmmakers but also to anyone looking to do something with their life. Basically to paraphrase what she said, her revolutionary idea is: Continue reading

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A computer is JUST a tool

A computer is JUST a tool. A pencil is a tool. Photoshop is a tool. Everything is just a ‘tool’ to create something COOL. And each tool has their pros and cons. But it’s not the tool…it’s the person using it.

For example, if my mom and I had a drawing contest with pencil and paper, I’d win hands down. Why? Because I’m more skilled than her. If I gave my mom the same computer and Photoshop software I use, and said draw something… I’d still win! Because I’m a better artist than her. So, what determines how any of these ‘tools’ work is the person whose hand it is in. Skill is a very BIG part of that equation.

If I give her paper to draw on and say “make a horse”, and then give her a computer to draw on and say “make a horse”, it wouldn’t matter to her what the thing was that she was drawing on. Both horses would suck! She wouldn’t be better at drawing horses because she had a computer.

Posted above is one of the first digital (computer) drawings I ever did. It didn’t magically make me draw better or make it easier than drawing with pencil and paper. In fact, I had to get used to it for a long time before I was comfortable with what I was doing. Just like any other new tool you might use at work or at home, there is a learning curve. Now, I’m not saying that ink on paper and a computer are the same. They’re not. In fact, once I began using the computer I could see that there were more ‘options’ for how I could possibly use it. But all of those options are still used at my discretion, with my creativity, with my skill sets. No more and no less.

The moral of this story is to forget about what tools you have or don’t have and focus on your skills and working to improve them within whatever limitations those tools give you! Because in the end only YOU can make great things happen…the tools you use to get there are just an extension of yourself!

Todd McFarlane

 

For me what Todd McFarlane said can also apply to filmmaking, especially to any aspiring cinematographer who thinks having the latest camera or film equipment would suddenly make them a good cinematographer.

Sound Mixer Hell

The video is funny but also very true. I experienced this BS so many times. This not only applies to Sound Mixers but also to every crew member who has worked/volunteered on low/no budget independent films who encountered Producers and Directors that think you don’t need money to make a movie and the glamour of working on a movie is enough for anyone to sign up.

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Behind the Criterion Collection Process

For me the Criterion Collection is one of the best distributors and restorers of cinema. One time I ended up going crazy and buying a lot of Criterion Collection DVDs online which cost me an equivalent of one paycheck of the month. And that was when Criterion had a 50% off sale.

The perfectionist in me would love to have all of the Criterion Collection DVDs from Issue #1 all the way to the current released DVD. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I have come to the realization that I don’t have the disposable income to afford a collection. I think it will cost thousands of dollars in order to have the complete Criterion Collection.

Anyway, the video is awesome in showing insight into Criterion Collection’s process of restoring films.

 

The Art of Editing in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A great video essay from Max Tohine breaking down the technical side of how Sergio Leone and the film’s editors Eugenio Alabiso and Nino Baragli created one of the greatest duels in cinema history. The video essay provides insight into the art of editing and also the genius of Sergio Leone.

In his essay, Max Tohine shows that editing is not just the art of creating relationships between shots. It can also be a lot of things.

– Editing as mathematical pattern.
– Editing as a way to express thought
– Editing as a pure musical rhythm

 

History of Aspect Ratio in Cinema

Have you ever wondered why movies look the way they are when projected in a cinema? Here’s a history of Aspect Ratio in cinema.

“It’s fascinating how aspect ratio have shifted and have practically defined our memories of these films. But it’s still only a shape. A canvas into which you draw your story. The canvas does matter; how you draw it makes all the difference. So use aspect ratio, you these tools to make something great.” (John Hess)

 

Guillermo del Toro’s Bleak House

Oh My God! I want a house just like that. Total geekgasm!!!

Guillermo del Toro: “[The man cave or “Bleak House” was designed to be sort of a compression chamber where we can create a stimulating environment] that provokes a shock to the system and gets circulating the lifeblood of imagination which I think is curiosity. When we lose curiosity, I think we lose entirely inventiveness and we start becoming old.”

Amen Guilermo, AMEN!