June 24, 2011
Is Hollywood Getting Its Balls Back?
So if you’re like me and feel like our culture is seriously over sensitive on just about every single issue from love, sex, death, murder, race, religion and… WORDS – then you just might like what I have to say here. I have to say that I’m not a big fan of standup comedy, but I rather adore a wise ol’ fellow by the name of Don Rickles. Rickles is a guy who has spent his entire life waging war against human sensitivity and has made a wonderful career out of it.
After 9/11 Hollywood flaked out and started removing images of the World Trade Center from films they had shot prior to September 11th, but were still editing. In addition, older movies that went to air on TV had such images removed. In addition, no big budget action film showed NYC being destroyed or any major city or tall building being destroyed for that matter. After seeing the latest trailer for Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon debut on Vimeo.com, I must say – Hollywood is getting its balls back.
Does this mean Hollywood is moving on? For all of our sake, I hope so. Because let’s face it, Spiderman was obliterated when they removed the WTC sequence from the film. That would have made it for me and now it’s just an empty mess of mediocre acting and overdone CGI with no real content. That WTC would have changed this opinion ten fold. They certainly screwed the pooch on that one.
Anyway, I give props to Michael Bay. He’s got talent, he’s got a formula that works and has has the audacity to create imagery like this in a post-9/11 America. He’s gold in my book.
June 24, 2011
COV Screens This Summer
So the long wait is just about over folks. Caroline of Virginia will be premiering in New York on July 4th at 7PM as part of the New Filmmakers New York Shorts Series at Summer Fest. This event will be taking place at the Film Anthology Archives in Manhattan.
Here’s a screen shot from the New Filmmakers website:
It’s a 37 minute film and we have a good time slot so come on down and check it out, please.
In addition, for you folks up in Maine, we’ll be screening it on July 29th at the Long Island Community Library. This screening is free of charge and it has been independent arranged by the Long Island Recreation Center as part of their occasional movie night.
These of course are the most recent screenings and I’m working diligently to get in more. It’s really just a heck of a lot of wait and see, talking, wait and see, talking and so on. So hang in there. I want you all to see it and I don’t want to resort to the internet to make that happen. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
June 22, 2011
Shorts & Newsreel
In this week’s BNG blog (there’s only one this week) Jan writes about the similarities between popular YouTube videos and the short films of yesteryear – the pre-show entertainment that exhibited at movie theaters before the feature. Children’s movies had cartoons, grown up films had newsreel in addition to short artistic and entertaining shorts (like a popular one where a dog does tricks – sounds like every six youtube videos doesn’t it?).
Her blog was surprising because I’ve been pushing, more and more, for YouTube contributors to really put forth an effort to create solid content that will last and connect generation after generation. Much like the shorts of yesteryear, as Jan pointed out, the silly off the cuff material was phased out in place of serious, well thought out pieces that clearly took a lot of time and effort to produce. This is what needs to happen with internet video sites if they are to survive and we see that with the popularity of Hulu and Vimeo.com. More and more people are flocking to these sites for general viewing. When I joined Vimeo several years ago, it was a mechanism for connecting with other people in the video and film industry and in many respects it still is. But I recently have caught several non-professionals using it in the same manner they would use YouTube, as a mechanism for browsing for entertaining content.
Hulu of course is a bit different since it’s owned and operated by the biggest media conglomerates in the country and so it’s expected to keep is content polished. After all, it’s content is nothing more than re-distributed tv shows and movies that have already gone to air. Hulu is a good template for these video sites to follow, not in that they should only put up mainstream material, but they should push for their users to make an effort to create material that is as pleasing and entertaining, thought-provoking and educational to watch. There’s a reason the mainstream works and could be used as a template for all low/no budget filmmakers. I’m not saying sell out, but take and expand on what they’re already doing and make your own.
*This article was not proofread*
June 14, 2011
Super 8 – Quality Filmmaking For All Filmmakers!
If you’re like me and started out making films in your hometown with your close friends, then you will relate to J.J. Abrams “Super 8″. I saw this on opening weekend with Jan and we went to a matinee at the Lincoln Square AMC in New York City. The movie is the first in a very long time to be graced with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin logo and rightfully so. It brought us back instantly to the kinds of fun movies that Spielberg used to make in the 80’s and early 90’s, before he started tackling serious subject matters. Not that I don’t appreciate his ladder work, I am fond of Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan and Munich. But I love fun movies and I love the way he does them.
Super 8 is about a group of tween filmmakers who are producing a short super 8mm film for submission to a film festival in Cleveland. The story is set in early 1970’s America and the film that’s being produced within the story is a horror short, inspired by George Romero’s work. I graced in the pleasure of seeing the kids use his name in their film, where in it they use his name as a plot device. This is something I probably would have done had I been making a film inspired by another film director’s work.
The overall story of the film circles around a series of mysterious events taking place in their small town in Ohio and the short film shoot is put on hold so the community can adequately deal with it. The U.S. Air Force is suspected to be the main culprit of these phenomena and the children are the only ones with access to enough information to solve the mystery.
June 06, 2011
Product Placement in Indie Film
This week at Breaking New Ground, I wrote briefly about product placement in film and TV, in an effort to open the idea up to small businesses. While many small businesses may not have the budget to place their logo or product in a Hollywood production, they certainly have the resources to place it in an independent film, a pilot or a short/experimental. This is something that filmmakers of all budgets should explore because product placement is a wonderful tool for acquiring the funds needed to finish a film, but also it allows you to gain more experience on the business end.
The closer independent filmmakers get to operating on “the level”, the more likely they’ll be able to attract investors to their projects. I don’t want to talk too much about it here because it’s mostly a business related subject and should be included at BNG, but it is something that should definitely be considered.
It starts with a letter, a letter to all of the small businesses in your neighborhood or the neighborhood where you will be filming. Trust me, people want their presence out there, especially people who run businesses! Not only is it a wonderful form of advertising, but they may be able to write off the expense as a contribution as happens when companies fund artistic endeavors.
Think about it.