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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Carly Rae Jepsen meets NIN

After discovering the Taylor Swift-Nine Inch Nails mash-up, it then led me to this awesome mash-up. I can’t believe Nine Inch Nails can turn Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” into an awesome song. I can’t believe Nine Inch Nail songs can become super pop. I love it!

Rise and Shine!

Right now, I REALLY want to go back to working out again. I feel my body has had enough of the holidays and could not wait to return to “The Grind”. Then I saw this video on my FB News Feed and wondered if its fate or just a coincidence to how apropos this video is to my life.

I hope the video pumps you up, the way it has now pumped me up.

Transcription of the video:

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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.

Teaser trailer to the Teaser trailer

This is just wrong; a teaser trailer for a teaser trailer to a movie. This is equally as wrong as countdowns to the release of a movie’s teaser trailer. Are people’s attention spans that short in this social media world that the marketing department has to try to hype up something that hypes up a movie? Basically it’s the hype that will hype up the hype.

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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Babymetal

This is why I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I love Facebook because sometimes you get to discover awesome things that you would have never found out if it weren’t for social media.

This is the most awesome thing I have heard. It’s one of those crazy combinations that on paper looks like it would never work. But then when you do combine the two, it creates something totally new and awesometacular.

Only the Japanese are crazy enough to combine Japanese Teen Pop and mix it with Heavy Metal. But strangely it works. This may be the best metal song ever written about how awesome it is to eat chocolate. When I listen BABYMETAL‘s music, I can’t help imagine it playing on the soundtrack of “Blade” or on a sci-fi “Blade Runner” type of movie.

 

Kontrabida 101 by Bella Flores

Last May 29, 2013, the iconic Kontrabida (Villain) of Philippine Cinema, Bella Flores died. Today, Feb 27, would have been her 85th birthday. In remembrance of her, here’s a masterclass of how to act as a villain conducted by Bella Flores. Though this type of acting is aching to the 40s to 50s style of Hollywood villain acting which is very grand and larger than life which can still be seen in Philippine soap operas and even in Disney animation.

In the video she said 2 awesome things. The first one is, “Walang Bida, Kung walang kontrabida”. Roughly translated, “If it weren’t for the villains, there would be no heroes.”

The second, “Bidas, they come and go. Pero kaming mga kontrabida, we never fade away,” (Heroes come and go. But villains never fade away.)

 

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.

 

So You Wanna Go Indie

A mockumentary/satire on independent cinema in the Philippines. The short reminds me of “Babae sa Septic Tank” but I think the short is more snappy than the one that showed in Cinemalaya.

Directed by Apa Agbayani
Produced by Apa Agbayani, Lara Antonio, Pia Guballa and Arianna Lim
Director of Photography: Arianna Lim
Production Manager: Lara Antonio

 

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

 

Michael Christian Martinez

Michael

Photo courtesy of Rappler.com

Watching the Olympics Men’s Figure Skating, I was shocked by what happened to Patrick Chan (Canada). As a Canadian, I was rooting for him and felt that the gold was his to lose and unfortunately he did lose it. As a Filipino, Michael Christian Martinez‘ story of being the first South East Asian to compete in Men’s Figure Skating and first Filipino to represent the Philippines in 22 years at the Olympics is nothing short of inspirational.

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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)

 

History of Philippine Cinema (1990-99)

If you can get past the electric fan muffling the microphone and the oddball presentation, it’s actually a very good lecture on the history of Philippine Cinema in the 90s.

The video reminded me of an episode from the documentary “The Story of Film: An Odyssey” by Mark Cousins wherein the presenter’s quirks and voice takes a little getting used to. But once you do get over it, you’ll end up learning a lot about Philippine cinema history.

 

Lino Brocka Mini-doc

A talking heads documentary about Lino Brocka where people who have worked with him and are fans of him talk about his life and legacy as a filmmaker, as an activist and as their friend. We get some insight into Lino Brocka’s films and their impact and influence to Philippine Cinema and also insight into Lino Brocka’s working methods and his management and leadership skills and also some conspiracy theory on his sudden death and the reaction afterwards.

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Nothing Is Free On Facebook

Veritasium, a science video blog posted something interesting about what is currently happening in Facebook.

Veritasium created a video highlighting how Facebook has started monetizing the access and distribution of information and content. Content creators and basically anyone who posts something on Facebook are being encouraged to pay to get their message out. But the problem is the underhanded way Facebook is going about to make you avail of the service not to mention the service Facebook is offering is not delivering as advertised.

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Indie Writing by Alexis Tioseco

Alexis

In remembrance of Film Critic and Cinephile Alexis Tioseco who will have been 33 today. Here’s an essay he wrote for the Berlinale Talent Campus during 2005 about what it was like to be a film critic in the Philippines. He also mentions the key to improving film criticism in the Philippines is to work independent from any influence in order to have a chance of creating progressive works; similar to what indie filmmakers are doing.

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Remembering Tado

Tado

Photo courtesy of Dakila

Arvin Jimenez, more popularly known as “Tado” passed away on the morning of February 7, 2014 in a bus crash in Bontoc, Mountain Province. The first time I saw Tado was on Word of the Lourd’s satire “How to make an Indie”. I thought nothing of him other than found his performance funny.

But then last week, I finally got to watch Brillante Mendoza’s “Captive” and as I was watching the movie, I instantly recognized Tado with his long hair and thick black-rimmed over sized glasses playing one of the Abu Sayaf bandits. I said to myself, “Hey that’s the guy from ‘How to make an Indie’.” Knowing nothing about who was in the movie “Captive” other than it being a Brillante Mendoza film; I was surprised to see the movie full of who’s who of character actors from Philippine indie and mainstream cinema. Some where even very brief in and out cameos, that you would not notice them unless you are familiar with the actor.

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The Awesome Lego Movie

I’m loving “The Lego Movie“. It reminds me of “Wreck It Ralph“. It’s the kind of movie that hits the inner child in me. Plus it’s the first time in a long time where I watched the movie with a cinema full of kids. It was a special experience when a hardcore cinephile gets to feel like a kid again enjoying a movie. And you know a movie is awesome when you overhear kids say “This is the best movie I have ever seen”.
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Denim Psycho

Whoever thought about this jeans advertisement is a mad genius. It may be a parody but it eerily captures the pathetic truth on the absurd lengths “some” hipsters will go just to maintain their image.

The 365 page book

Year end

I haven’t really been posting a lot but I figured this is the best idea to approach every New Year. A lot can happen in a year and the way it looks 2014 will be one heck of a novel in the life of Michael Edillor. May you all have an awesome 2014.
 

The Broken Circle Breakdown

The soundtrack to one of my favorite films of 2013. “The Broken Circle Breakdown” is one of those rare films where the music is so interconnected with the story to the point where the music and story become one. The story cannot exist without the music and the music cannot exist without the story. Together they elevate the film and the emotions to a powerful level.

I have never really got hooked on country music but after watching the movie it made me reevaluate my opinion about country music. I have never really given country music a fair assessment. But after the movie, I’m now a fan of the genre.

 

Nuclear pissing contest

This is the most scary, mind boggling and strangely cool video that I have seen. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project’s “Trinity” test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan’s nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea’s two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
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Jeremy Jahns

2 things I like about Jeremy Jahns‘ movie reviews is the tone of his reviews. When you watch his reviews, it feels like listening to a friend telling me his thoughts about a movie he just saw or what he thinks about something.

And the 2nd reason I like watching Jeremy’s reviews is to see the random impressions he does during his reviews. Whether I agree or disagree with his opinion about a movie, one thing is for certain, his reviews almost always makes me laugh.

Wildlife Cinematography

I don’t know why but as a filmmaker watching this video gave me a rush. It would have been awesome to film a Black Rhino in its natural habitat. I don’t know though if I would go so far and put myself in the danger zone to get a shot. What I found the biggest mistake the cameraman did was to immediately crouch down when he got near the rhino. Seriously, he looked like a lion suddenly crouching to prepare for an attack.

The last thing a wildlife cameraman/cinematographer wants is to be part of the story. The focus should be all about the animals in their natural habitat and not about someone trying to get the shot. The only reason the cameraman walked away and had a good story to tell was because of how cool and composed he was with his response to the rhino. Kim is the James Hunt version of wildlife cameramen.

CinemAyala?: Indie filmfest goes commercial

An interesting article pointing to the evolution or maybe devolution of the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. There’s an old saying, “Actions speak louder than words” and to know what kind of contest Cinemalaya is; all one has to do is to look at what the organization did in the past. The signs are pretty much there for anyone to figure out.

Oggs Cruz said it best in the article, “although Cinemalaya has accomplished its goal of introducing a market for alternative films, it has “revealed itself as a mutant studio.”

“[Cinemalaya] does produce quality films but to think that it has some higher aspiration than producing films is no longer a reality.”
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We are not a statistic

Around 438 workers died after a garment factory collapsed at Savar Rana Plaza. Most of them are women. Savar Dhaka, Bangladesh, 24th April 2013 / Photo by Taslima Akhter

The most haunting, sad, tragic but at the same time the most romantic photo I have ever seen in my life. It’s like straight out of Shakespeare or a tragic movie where two people who love each other embrace themselves one last time, never letting go in the face of death.

The man’s tender loving embrace on the woman. He put his body in front of her, hoping to protect her from the falling concrete and steel. The tear of blood rolling down his face as if telling her, “I’m sorry.”

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Are “applications” to film festivals newsworthy?

Ekstra
I read an article on Interaksyon.com reporting that the filmmakers of “Ekstra” submitted their movie to the Cannes Film Festival hoping that their movie will get its world premiere there.

My knee-jerk reaction to the title of the article “Vilma Santos’ indie film ‘Ekstra’ submitted to Cannes filmfest for consideration” was of shock at the presumptuousness of the filmmakers. The saying, “Don’t count your chicks before they hatch” has been redefined to another level. It’s not the first time I encountered a filmmaker jumping the gun in assuming something.

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Luzon Lingerie

An interesting movie that is supposedly THE first movie made in the Philippines. There are deferring accounts to the exact date on when the movie was made; some say 1905, while on IMDB it says it was made on 1920. Whatever the exact date is, it is undeniable that the movie provides invaluable insight on the history of Philippine Cinema and also the history of the Philippines during the early 1900s.

“Luzon Lingerie”
Black and White (Silent)
Burton Holmes Library Film

“Luzon Lingerie” is a silent movie but the video I posted is accompanied with a soundtrack. I think it’s easier to watch the movie with sound rather than watching it completely silent.

 

Senate Bill 3384

An odd piece of news that I read today, surprisingly marked under Science and Technology.

Reported by TJD for GMAnetwork.com on January 29, 2013:

miriam-santiago

Photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill seeking to ban the use of gadgets inside movie theaters and similar show venues.

Senate Bill 3384 or the “Silent Mode Act” seeks to mandate persons inside movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums and other indoor venues of public performances to turn off or place on vibrate or silent mode at all times their mobile telephones, two-way radios and other audio visual electronic devices.

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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!

Thoughts: Nov. 23, 2011

You don’t realize how blessed and lucky you are until you lose the use of one of your feet or leg and you are forced to walk, support your entire body, and live on one leg. Don’t get me started on how a bitch it is to live your life using crutches, especially when you are overweight and out of shape. But I guess one needs to be reminded from time to time the value of being able to use both of our legs and feet.

The Lesson: Don’t be cheap and keep using your old worn out shoes, especially if the back heel is worn out on one side and uneven. You might catch yourself crossing a street and have your feet suddenly buckle and the next thing you know; you have a major sprain and can’t use that foot for weeks.