Archive for September, 2008

Little Saturday Morning Post here…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2008 by thenexman

My weeks are getting busier, for sure, so that’s why I’m having a hard time posting as often as I’d like.  That being said, let’s get it to it.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman

First off, Paul Newman died last night at the age of 83.  He was a really successful salad dressing entrepreneur for those of you who don’t know.  He was also nominated for 10 Academy Awards in his life time too, and won once for his role in The Color Money, a film, I’ll be honest, I have never seen.  It’s strange to see Hollywood icons steadily disappear, these juggernauts who used to be the face of the industry.  Now, there is a generation of people, myself included, who were never really familiar with his work, or at least had not rushed out to see a Paul Newman movie.  It’s just mainly cause of age.  That, and he had really taken to being part-owner of a stock car racing team and being a philanthropist in the twilight of his life.  I guess maybe I have some Paul Newman movies to watch now.  If you have any personal faves, feel free to let me know.

As far as film school is concerned, we’re really starting to gear up here for our D1 projects.  Next week is the last week of actual class.  We’ve been assaulted with information since we got here.  Now, we actually have to use it.  After we’re done with class, we have a week of what they call “crew drills,” which is essentially you learning from the second year MFA’s and professors on a real set environment.  This should be a little nerve wracking.  We had an exercise the other day in Directing where we were to set up lights and camera for a closeup of one person in a two-person dialogue scene.  After that, we had to set up another over the shoulder shot for a second person.  Then, a wide shot.  What Reb was doing was showing us how clunky it is to light fr a scene in a close-up and then try and move the lights for a wider shot and such.  When you film a scene, you typically want to shoot from the outside in.  Meaning, you need to light the entire scene first, and from there you can move in to the close ups and such without having to adjust the lights much after that.  On a film set, it’s all about time.  You have a specific schedule of shots you plan to shoot and if you’re not being efficient with how you set up, you’re going to blow the whole schedule.  If you blow the schedule, you don’t get as many shots or coverage of the scene.  If you don’t have as many shots, you’re stuck in the editing with whatever you have.  There is no way out of it.  Everything in film is like this assembly line and one little snag has ripple effects way down the line.

For our D1’s, the whole point is just to get through with a some semblance of a movie on the other side.  They’re only going to be 5 minutes long.  We pick our scripts from a pool of shorts written by written by writing students based on the 7 deadly sins.  They vary in genre: horror, comedy, thriller, drama, etc.  We get 1 or 2 actors assigned to us, and we might have to cast smaller roles to fill out the script.  It’s pretty much just a test to see if you can even handle making a movie.  Our MFA class has two tracks of 15 people each.  You only make the movies with your track.  Each person gets one day to direct their project with everyone else in the track filling out the crew positions.  We rotate through every position on set, from Above the Line positions (Producer, Director, Director of Photography, Production Designer) to Below the Line positions (Key Grip, Gaffer, 1st AD, 2nd AD, 1st AC, 2nd AC, etc).

I’ll be honest, I have no idea how this is going to go.  I keep having this vision, like I said, of showing up to the location and no one having any idea where to start.  It’s going to be fine.  I think everyone is a little concerned.  Our track has had a few clashes of personalities lately and we need to make sure there isn’t like “an incident” on set.  I’m not expecting to make a groundbreaking movie here, I just want my set to be calm and fun.  No yelling or screaming.  Let’s just shoot something and hope it goes well.  The cool thing is we get our films assigned to the other track for editing.  So, we’ll have a completely objective opinion about what works and what doesn’t.  This will be a big help when you are dealing with a very complicated dolly shot you spent 3 hours on doesn’t fit into the overall feel of the film and it needs to be cut.  You would want to keep it becsause you’re attached.  The editor will say, “this blows, lose it.”  I mean, this could be good and bad.  So, maybe I’ll cut together a directors cut with some commentary for the DVD.

Ok, I started this blog in the morning, but then I left ot eat some Qdoba with Dave and Matt.  We saw Eagle Eye after that.  Not bad, kinda long.  It was a fun movie nonethelsess.  Then we had a little Back to the Future Part II.  Not sure I like Part II as much as the first but it is so cool.  They really had a fun time splicing in new scenes into the old ones.  That was really awesome.

I guess I ran out of things to say.  I’ll have more of an update in a few days.  Some things to look forward to this week: We have to interview as a rockstar in our acting class.  I’m Ozzy Ozbourne.  That should be fun to play.  I’ll just bumble my way through it.  Then on Friday night we have the rockstar performances.  Every person has to perform a song from their respective rockstars and it’s going to be an all-out party.  I think that will be fun.

Pretty upset that UGA lost to Alabama.  But at least we lost to a ranked team, USC, looking at you.

By the way

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2008 by thenexman

Hope you like the new layout.  I thought it looked pretty sweet.  The picture at the top is actually from set when Matt took a pic of the monitor when we were shooting stuff in cinematography.  I know I know, I’m pretty much awesome.

Major Tom to Ground Control

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on September 23, 2008 by thenexman

September 21st, people.  Well into my mission.  Yes, the blog was on a bit of a reprieve there for a few days. It seems to be the consensus that this week was very draining for everyone.  I don’t feel like I had more work, but I felt like I was working harder… maybe?  Not sure.

Friday night it caught up with me just how tired I was.  Bobby had a bunch of people over but I wasn’t feeling up to it.  I went to Dan’s place instead and then more and more people starting showing up there.  It was nice to sit around and not be in class.  We are in so much class, it’s ridiculous.  All we talk about is class, though.  There is no escaping film school… it follows you!  Bru ha ha ha ha ha!!!

I know I haven’t reached “critical mass” yet, but I do feel better about completely being able to handle anything that has been thrown at me so far.  For these first few weeks, I was living under this guise that film school is so insane that I’ll barely be able to hold on.  Not so.  It’s been busy and it demands a lot of you, but I’m proud that I can confidently do my assignments knowing that I’m totally in control.  Certainly, come of the students in our group have had a slightly more difficult experience, but as far as I am concerned, I’m very pleased with my performance so far. I truly believe I’m on a path that was laid out for me.  With that in mind, it gives me peace to know I’m where I should be.

A few of us saw Burn After Reading yesterday afternoon.  Ehhhh, wasn’t feeling it.  it was Coen Brothers material for sure, but it wasn’t funny enough or dark enough or something.  Can’t put my finger on it.  I think all of us thought the same thing.  Later on, we went to watch the FSU game at this pizza place a little ways out from town. It’s only like a 15 minute drive but people were like, “OMG! Where IS this place?!”  I just laughed.  I’m from Atlanta guys, a 15 minute drive is a blessing.  But it was worth it.  Rummy’s Pizza, I think it was called.  I talked to our waitress before everyone got there and she mentioned that her Dad had just moved to Roswell with his new wife. “I live 5 minutes from Roswell!”  I’ve met a lot of people who sort of know about where I live or have family there.  Neato.

We’re steadily grinding toward being on set for our D1 projects.  I think everyone is a little concerned about actually being on set to film something for real with no guidance.  I just have this scenario in my head where we show up to whatever location we’re shooting and everyone just goes, “Uhhhhhhhh. I guess we need to, uh, set up some light and power… maybe.”  Hahaha, oh man, it’s going to be an experience.  

I broke down and got my hair cut yesterday.  I really was itching to, but I tried to convince my self to hold out.  For years I keep swearing to grow out my hair just to see how it would look or how long I could get it.  But yeah, Mom was right.  I just don’t look very good with long hair.  See, my hair doesn’t grow long, it grow OUT.  It gets huge and puffy.  The other night I was in the bathroom and I combed it out into a total whiteboy fro.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m not that guy, either, you know, the whiteboy fro friend.  Nope, not at all.  So, I have always passed this place near my house called “Haute Heads Salon.”  It reminds me of 3-13 back home.  Seems trendy enough.  I don’t go to barbers, never have.  That sounds pretentious, I know.  My Mom has always taken me to salons to get my hair cut instead of a barber.  Truthfully, people know what they’re doing at salons.  I like the result.  Most of my life people have said I always look put together and clean cut. Well, spend a little more money and get a nice hair cut.  So, I called up Haute Heads and they got me an appointment.  Ashley was my “stylist.”  She’s from Cairo, GA.  Wayyyyyy south Georgia.  It’s like a 35 minute drive from Tallahassee, so she spends most of her time here.  She did a great job.  I was amazed at how much hair was falling off.  It felt SO MUCH BETTER.  GOSH.  Check out the results.

Nice... Nice

Nice... Nice

I’ve been writing this blog for a few days.  I can’t seem to find the time to finish it.  I’m in the middle of watching Heroes right now and it’s getting pretty crazy.  Of course.  I do think this show has a tough time trying to raise the stakes every season since they started out with the ENTIRE WORLD being at stake.  Come on.  Every time they try and act like the whole world is in danger I just don’t care.  

I need to finish this episode and go to bed. I promise to get back on blog schedule this week.  

Oh, we watched Back to the Future last night at Dan’s place.  It was like 13 of us there.  I can’t even explain how fun it was.  The atmosphere was just perfect for it.  That movie still holds up perfectly.  Every joke, every effect, every line was jut spot-on.  If you haven’t watched it recently, do it.  That is one of the movies that makes me want to make movies.  Period.  

Y’all behave.  I’m tired of typing.

It’d be nice…

Posted in Uncategorized on September 17, 2008 by thenexman

…if everyone just sat back and listened for a while.

“A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.”~ Proverbs 18:7

4 weeks in, Already?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2008 by thenexman

Yesterday, Friday, marked the fourth week since I left Marietta.  One month.  That’s crazy.  This new way of life has been so relentless, so constant, that it doesn’t even seem like I made a big change recently. I haven’t really had time to absorb the fact that I’m not in Marietta anymore.  That being said, I just finished my third week of film school and it’s certainly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I’m glad it was FSU, too. I have a feeling that at any other film school, I would have felt alone and lost.  FSU takes a great deal of care in making sure you are not left out in the cold.  Your class is like your military unit.  I enjoy it, and these past three weeks of class have showed me that there are a great deal of talented and genuine people out there.

In our BTL (Below the Line) lab yesterday, Matt and I got to practive building the Arriflex SR-3 camera that we will be using on all the D1 projects.  It took us about 20-30 minutes or so because we were waiting on Reb to ok what we had done, but we pretty much got the hang of it.

Arriflex SR-3

Arriflex SR-3

These cameras have so many parts to them.  I’m still mystified as to how someone actually invented this thing.  Just the whole concept of light superimposing an image on film is strange to me.  We loaded up some scrap film and shot a few second to get a feel for it.  Felt pretty great, not gonna lie.

We also got to try out our hands are operating the dollies we will be using as well.  We use the Panther line, a German company.  The American companies make better dollies, apparently, but they also require you to lease them.  FSU does not like to lease anything.  But, the Panthers certainly serve their purpose.  They are fully electronic, though, which means you constantly havce to be aware of having batteries charged on stand by.  It has two seats and a boom in the middle the rises about 6 feet.  It’s pretty awesome.  They are extremely heavy.  They come with two sets of wheels: one set is kind of like what you’d see on a piece of equipment, inflated rubber.  They’re mainly used for transporting it.  The other kind are the studio wheels that look like the hard rubber wheels on the bottom of forklifts.  The Panther also has a set of dolly wheels that rest higher up on the assembly so you can roll it right on to the dolly track of you shot.  We laid track as well.  That process is easy too.  It takes a little bit of time because you have to really be careful on making the track level.  You don’t want the camera tilted forward or backward.  You shove little wedges of wood under each joint to make the track even.  It’s a pretty basic formula.

Panther dolly

Panther dolly

I got my writing grade back for the re-write I did of my “dog” scene.  He thought I had improved a lot.  I swung a little too far the other way in shortening my descriptions and made everything a little too stream-of-consciousness.  It’s ok, at least I’m learning and adapting.  He has us continualy reading 5 articles a week from Wordplayer.com.  If you want to write screenplays or have an interst in how movies start, read these articles.  They’re not boring at all and they’re not long.  I had been emailing a few people about this class and decided to start an email class of my own.  Jon, Wagy, Mac, and Randall are all my students.  I essentially just told them to do the same things I had to do.  Read the articles and write a list of “10 films they wish they had written.”  Those lists were awesome.  Then, I told them to explain in 1-3 sentences what they liked about the STORY of each film.  These responses were good, everyone spent a lot of time on them.  Next, we’ll deal with story structure and such.  It’s pretty fun to have your friends go through the classes with you, in a sense.

In sound, we played around with the Sound Devices 744t digital field recorders.  These things were THE

Sound Devices 744t- aka AWESOME

Sound Devices 744t- aka AWESOME

BOMB.  I’ll be honest, I’m really glad I live in 2008 and not in decades past in terms of film.  Sound used to be the worst process ever.  You have to use these reel to reel tape machines, the Nagra, that could only record 14 minutes at a time.  Then you had to label those, and load them all in to you editing set-up in real time, sitting through every ounce of dialogue AGAIN.  It was brutal.  Our teacher, Chuck, gave us a whole history on what it was like and the horror stories that went along with sound problems.  These new digital recorders label things for you, divide it, buffer like 8 seconds of audio at a time so you can even press

Nagra

Nagra

record late and it still picks up with you missed, and they save to an internal hard drive and a flash card.  RIDICULOUS.  You barely have to do anything.  The old stories of the reel to reel machines were funny, though.  These things are indestructible.  They’ve fallen off cars and been in the middle of staged train crashes and they still found these things on and rolling.  Crazy.  He talked about how when Jurassic Park started filmingin Hawaii, that the humidty completely killed the new “DAT” machines they were using, so they had to go straight back to using the tape.  Hialrious.  Analog will always prevail… but right now, these digital things are awesome.

Last night a lot of people were really tired.  School seemed hard this week.  Dan had a few of us over to his place because Randall shipped me down Transformers on Blu-ray, which was awesome-o.  Totally awesome Friday night material.  It was nice to not do ANYTHING SCHOOL RELATED.  On the way over, I noticed that all the gas stations had taken their prices off the marquee and some had lines of cars in front of them. “Uh oh, hurricane time.”  I remember when things went nuts in Athens during Katrina.  I thought gas was crazy cause it was up over $4.00 a gallon.  Now, three years later, $4 is pretty normal.  Weird.  So yeah, no gas in Tallahassee.  Good thing I have half a tank.  BRU HA HA HA.

Today I did my writing HW all day.  I had to create a new scene with actual dialogue this time.  It had to be new characters and it had to be no longer than four pages and display a character’s flaw.  Not so bad.  I think I came up with something good.  Other than that, I hung out and actually got a chance to cook.  Didn’t watch the UGA game.  Shame on me.

Jamie emailed me a link to this little documenatry on North Korea.  It was CRAZY.  You guys have to watch this.  This country is like another universe.  It’s divided into 14 little 5 minute sections.  Really, watch this.  The other subsequent episodes are listed on the right.

http://www.vbs.tv/video.php?id=1438428757

It’s unreal.  Otherwise, I’ve got nothing else.  I’m going to shoot my second project tomorrow.  This one involves no more than three shots.  Without dialogue, you have to show a character in a space, then they leave, and then they have to return to imply that something happened, either through their wardrobe/make up changing of the actual set design changing.  So like, “Guy is in bedroom. Guy leaves.  Guy comes back, bedroom is ransacked.  He has ben robbed.”  This should be fairly easy, hopefully it won’t take all day.  I got all my writing out of the way just in case.  Tomorrow is also the second week of auditions, so I might stop by and give those a look.  I’m not required to work them, though.

Y’all behave.

Just simply simple

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by thenexman

Man, the “weariness” is starting to catch up with everyone.  It seems that our assignments have kept us up later than we had hoped.  Yesterday, we had our second acting class, which should have been the third one, but last Monday was Labor Day.  It was fun.  We had worked out lilttle scenes in groups to perform using different action verbs to create the scene.  When you look at acting this way, it dawns on you how much of an art this is.  Some people are just naturally really good at it.  They engage you simply by acting human, and I think that is quite a concept.

I didn’t get to go because we ran out of time.  Next week, I’ll get my shot.  I have a lot of confidence on the little scene Matt and I have to perform.  I want to say the dialogue is taken right out of Sex in the City, which I think our teacher enjoys. Some people in our class did REALLY well with their executions.  Even though we might not all technically be actors, I think everyone inherently has a dramtic nerve they can hit if the right approach is given to them.  Jonthan and Smitha did an awesome job.  It wa s areally heavy scene, all simply by tweaking what verb you decided to use where.  Such as, “Hey how come you didn’t tell me about the club?”  can come across a million different ways just by assigning any number of verbs to it– “Plead, “Accuse,” “Mock,” “Patronize,” “Charm,” “Stalk,” or “Explode.”  Say that line to yourself with a different one of those in mind.  Kinda cool, right?  The exercise wasn’t so much about what you were saying but what your tone and demeanor was saying.  It’s incredibly fun when you hear it.

Beth and Chris did an awesome job too.  I was on the other side of the room, so Beth was facing me and I was able to read her eyes.  It was great.  It dealt with a couple having some sort of trouble and their handling of the conversation was awesome.

Speaking of acting, the FSU film school holds an open casting call in the fall for anyone around town who wants to come audition and get put into our database for the year.  We take your picture and get your contact info, then you go pick from a number of scripts based on your age and gender.  I was in charge of taking pictures.  Dude, this brought some RAISIN CAKES out of the woodwork, for real.  I mean, in dealing with “actors,” you’re always going to have some pinwheels, but good LORD.  Think Tobias x10, for all you Arrested Development fans.

Perhaps a student film I shall seek

Perhaps a student film I shall seek

Some thought they were brilliant, others were so self-concious that they ruined it from the get-go, and some I was surprised even knew how to tie their shoes.  Lots of stage moms bringing kids as young as three.  Lots of older people with probably a lot of free time, which is good, because casting people NOT IN THEIR 20’S is helpful in separated your film from a “student film.”  We had a pretty basic little form they had to fill out on the computers while they were getting their pictures taken by me.  Aside from the fact that they were Macs, people were taking like 20 minutes on something that should have taken five.  I had one guy walk in and say, “I’ve never been online before, what do I do.”  Well, sir, you don’t have to go online to do this.  What he meant was that he had never ever used a computer.  I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking it, “He’s used it somewhere.”  No, TURST ME…NO WHERE.  This guy spent 30 minutes filling out this form.  When I looked over and realized he wasn’t making much progress, I walked over to help.  He had a pop-up window on the screen because he had clicked out of a field somewhere.  So, this prompt was saying he needed to continue on the previous form and it had a glowing blue “OK” button to close it and keep going.  I told him to click “OK,”…. he pressed the screen with his finger…. no lie.  “Yeah, but Mike, how old was this guy? 50? 60?”  Late 30’s MAYBE.  I was really befuddled.  How does even know how to use an ATM?  I know this sounds mean, but WOW.

I did get a chance to sit in on 2 auditions.  Both of them were older people, a man in his 70’s and a woman in her late 50’s/early 60’s.  They were good.  The dude had prepared monolgues and stuff.  He was kind of kooky, for sure.  I wished I could have been up there whole time!  That was a blast because one person got to read the other part of the script with them.  I love that process.

crickets

crickets

Sunday night came fast.  I went upstairs to finish my weekend project and edit together the still frames I had shot and, of course, someone from another class was using my “assigned” computer.  This is something that really makes me mad.  The lab has 15 G5’s, all loaded with the exact same version of Final Cut Pro and they’re all linked to the same server.  BUT, we’re not allowed to use any other computer but the one to which we’ve been assigned.  I can’t even save my project on a flash drive and move it somewhere else even though there ARE TWELVE COMPUTERS NOT BEING USED.  This is a really stupid rule, because, as roll of the dice would have it, I have people on my computer that want to use a lot of time outside of school.  Instead, I spent half of the lecture on Monday editing my project.  The editing part isn’t hard.  I’ve been using Final Cut for 5 years.  What’s hard is following the protocol they require everyone to use when they do a project.  Each project has to be labeled the exact same way, saved in very specfic places, and then the projects are turned in a graded.  These tiny little details add up to be extremely frustrating in an already rushed environment.  I was done editing in no time, but following the printouts to correctly organize things, even though I didn’t use 90% of the folders labeled is arduous.  I’ll stop ranting now.

My project turned out well.  I think I did what Reb wanted in terms of having shots that told a story when cut together in a particular way.  We’ll see how it goes when we watch it tomorrow.

Speaking of Reb, we had the strangest email encounter with him on Sunday night.  We all send out questions and comments through the MFA email list, and we were all wondering where this week’s schedule was, we had never received one.  We all made jokes about classes being canceled all week and going to Islands of Adventure, and then Reb emails us the schedule.  It was like when the teacher walks in and you’re like WAY off task.  I sent out an email, to Reb too, about how that was “sufficiently embarrassing,” and then Reb starts sending out existential emails, bating us to engage him in some sort of wordplay.  Keep in mind this is the super-intimidating assistant dean of the film school I had my interview with.  He’s obviously warmed up quite a bit.  We had started by complimenting out classmate, Chris, on taking the intitiative to alphabatize a list of verbs we had.  Then Track 1 started trying to make trade offers to take Chris away from us.  This quickly escalated into Lord of the Rings quotes about “words being poison” and “You SHALL NOT PASS!”  Anyway, NERDFEST 2008, I know, but then Reb emails us and starts trying to get involved.  His emails consisted of things like:

In the midst of darkness
All things seems worth expressing
In the presence of light we second guess
Which is real
Which is truth
Neither light nor shadow
Can define
Only a leap of faith
Lands us on firm ground”

Uhhhhhhh, what?!  What leap of faith?  So a lot of us jumped in and started making up poems, which ended up sounding a lot like LOTR again.  This went on until about 1:00AM.  The next morning, everyone started yelling at Chris, Matt, and me about hwo they woke up with THIRTY FIVE EMAILS.  They were scared they missed something… and oh how they did.

We watched another interview with a screenwriter like the Paul Haggis one last week.  This time, it was David S Goyer (Blade I-III, Batman Begins) and it was awesome.

Goyer-- caught in the act

Goyer-- caught in the act

He seems like a totally cool Dude.  These little interviews are very informative and give you a strong sense of what day to day life is like in the industry.  I decided to just stay at school and finish up all my writing assignments before I went home.  This would save me from burning 45 minutes going home and screwing around before I got back to it. I felt like such a movie character, up late in the film school, lights out, TOILING AWAY on my laptop.  How lame.

Today it seemed like everyone was dragging. Lots of people are sick (I’m totally better, btw).  Producing this morning was lots o fun.  We learned how to break down a script and input it into a scheduling program used in the industry called EP Scheduling. Pretty simple program, but really really helpful.  It breaks everything down by scene, actors, props, fx, locations, etc.  Quite a resource, especially for someone like me who is not detailed oriented… like me.

Dave and I made a ruckus because we kept laughing about stupid stuff, mainly the fact that he named his Production company “Falcon Talon.”  That is the funniest crap ever.  I found a link and started playing it as loud as a could.  Check it out.

http://www.audiosparx.com/sa/archive/Ringtones/Animal-Tones/Falcon-Screech-RINGTONE/273085

So funny.

Then we laughed about that stupid SNL sketch where Will Farrell and Chris Kattan do a storytellers as “Air Supply” and they make up lyrics to that stupid “I’m All Out of Love” song.  Heck, here’s the link:

OH! So we actually lit and SHOT something today in cinematography class.  It was awesome.  We had a dolly set up and everything.  I think I’m starting to get this lighting thing down.  Beth stayed behind and re-spooled the exposed film, she must have been a rock star at it because she was done in no time.  Game Ball, Beth.  Game Ball.

So, lastly, I’ll talk about our “Genres” class for a second.  Obviously, this is the class where all the drama happens.  Each week, a hand full of people are scheduled to start a topic on the class blog for everyone to discuss, MFA’s and BFA’s alike.  I was one of the people this week.  I wrote a blog on how it’s a bit difficult for me to break things down into political motivations, left wing or right wing.  How, sometimes, movies are just as assembling of things meant for entertainment and a profit.  Yes, ideas are funneled through the medium.  Sure, but I was having trouble seeing the political motivations of some of the films we watched.  Apparently a lot of people either agreed or disagreed with me and I had quite a thread of responses.  Out teacher is a younger guy.  Super nice.  He just got his doctorate from USC in a film study of some kind.  He types up a little slip of paper with a grade and a response to our blogs.  WELL, mine was like 3/4 of a page, like 4x times longer than anyone elses.  He handed it to me and said

“I went on a little bit of a rant, nothing personal, but just some thoughts.”  I think I must have pissed him off.  His grade slip said the following–

That my “depoliticizing stance on entertainment is more of a refusal than a reasoned argument.  When you said ‘I don’t think motivations in the film are political at all, they are simply reflecting a mindset,’ I have to ask: is reflecting a mindset not political?…such statements seem to be rooted in dismissing the idea of probing of cultural/politcal dimension of these films; they are statements that seem designed to shut down debate by asserting that these films are just simply simple.”

Kiss Me Deadly-- overtly political, I'll agree

Kiss Me Deadly-- overtly political

WOW, I KNOW, RIGHT?  That was pretty much politely calling me an asshole.  I really didn’t want to undermine his class or the cirriculum he decides to teach.  I was simply stating that, based on the discussions in class, I didn’t see how every movie was somehow a political stance on a particular issue.  Yes, we are influenced by everything around us, so of course films encompass an attitude or tone.  But, I also feel that film is a scavenger’s art, one that assembles thoughts, moods, ideals, puns, characters, jokes, and whatever else trickles in to the making of a movie.  It’s the most collaborative of art forms and the whole reason they exist is for…PROFIT.  It’s a business.  Yes, movies have messages, but in something like Film Noir and the movies from the 40’s and 50’s, our generation is so far removed from them, that I almost felt as though we were assigning meaning to things more than what the filmmakers even realized.  That was all.  I hope I didn’t offend him.  But I’m certainly hanging up this piece of paper on my bulleton board.  He gave me a B-, btw.

If you’re interested in reading some more of the post, then you can see it here on our class blog:

http://syder.org/filmculture/?p=107

I’m sure I lost about 90% of you somewhere up top, but here’s to you all who finished.  This is just as much a part of my film school journey as anything else.  I feel things starting to ramp up and I’m becoming attracted to the things I have a knack for, ie, Writing, directing, and editing.  We’ll see if this narrows.  Hope all is well in your land.  I guess I’ll try and catch up on some sleep since we got out of Genres really early tonight.

Ya’ll behave.

If my stomach was a stock market, then Jimmy John’s would be UP, UP, UP

Posted in film school, florida state, State of Affairs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by thenexman

I love Jimmy Jonn’s, I’ve said it before.  Wagy came down this weekend and had never experienced the magic for himself.  He ended up eating there 3 times in 36 hours.  I full-fledged Tim Wagy endorsement.  I love it.

This weekend was fun.  There wasn’t much in the way of HW so I was able to hang out with Tim the majority of the time he was here.  Friday night, he showed up a little after 11pm (I was falling asleep watching Speed on Blu-Ray).  We headed out to meet up with Matt, Dade, Dave, and some others out at the local hole in the wall, Leon’s.  They have a quite an

Ye Old Thumper

Ye Old Thumper

 assortment of beer.  It looks a little sketch at first glance, but then it kinda reminded me of good ole Johnny McCracken’s back in Marietta.  A good many Track 1 kids were out too.  Jacob, Corey (naturally), Zoila, Allison and Praheme.  Lots of fun had by all.  Tim got a chance to meet everyone and mingle.  He was REALLY excited that this bar had Old Thumper, a beer not seen by many.  Something Wagy found in his journeys in the misty mountains of Tennessee.  You can read more about the beer here:

 

http://www.ringwoodbrewery.co.uk/old-thumper.htm

Turns outs, they only had that one bottle of Thumper in stock and it wasn’t even cold.  Tim pretty much demanded that they give him the bottle and a glass of ice, but the bartender wasn’t having it.  Such a shame, Dave was excited about the Old Thumper.  So, instead, he ordered a Doggystyle.  My knowledge of beer officially ends…. here.

After that, Tim decided he wanted to try Jimmy John’s at 1:30 in the morning, so away we went.  Tim ordered the #9, The Italian, and I was able to make out muffled syllables of “delishthus” and “phenomimull” between bites.  Subsequently, after reading my blog, Jamie texted me from Marietta asking which sandwich I prefer at JJ’s.  Jamie had driven to downtown ATL to find the nearest JJ’s and was standing in line about to order.  I believe his follow up text said: “#9 DELICIOUS.”  

The following morning, Tim and I went out and about to find a place to go eat and hang out.  We were concerned with getting too close to campus due to the FSU/Western Carolina game happening later on that day.  That shouldn’t have been a concern.  No offense, FSU, but you’ve got NOTHING on Athens when it comes to game day.  We literally drove right next to campus, no traffic, and sat down at the Buffalo Wild Wings without a problem.  If that was Athens, it would have been Thursday.  People were tailgating, but I guess I’m used to North Campus in Athens looking like a refugee camp… with TV’s.

We watched Ohio State barely fight off Ohio, which was a little ridiculous.  Buffalo Wild Wings was good.  I always thought their name took about zero thought.  You can’t just combine two restaurants that already exist.  Regardless, their “Asian Zing” flavored wings are delicious.  Our waitress was really good too.  Attentive, but not overbearing.  She did her job well.  You could tell she was a pro… she was pretty good-looking too.  

Tim went to meet his friends for the game and tailgating.  Matt, Cindy, and I got together to rehearse our little acting assignment from two weeks ago.  We haven’t had that class since the first day.  Classes were cancelled last week, so it feels like this class was a year ago.  We have to assign different action verbs to each line of this scene our teacher printed out for us.  I want to say it’s a scene from Sex and the City with some of the names and places changed.  It’s a pretty fun exercise.  I’ve become really interested in performance lately and what all it entails. 

We didn’t work too hard and I ended dozing off on Matt’s couch while he watched the special features on the 1985 Ridley Scott film Legend.  Incredibly dorky, I know.  At least I was asleep.

Later on, we met up with Dade, Dan, Dave, and anyone else’s name who starts with a D at Chili’s.  I know I know, it’s a like a suburban eating tour.  It’s the weekend, we have to de-stress somehow.  From there, we were headed to Dan’s house to watch Bladerunner: The Final Cut on Blu-Ray, one of the five versions I own on blu-ray (Props to Randall).  Tim calls, says his friends ditched him, the storm had postponed the game, and so I went to pick him up.  He was like a prodigal son.  He told Matt and I about how how awesome the Seminole was with a flaming spear on horseback.  Apparently this starts every FSU game.  Then he left the game and went to the local KA house and met some of the brothers.  All he had to do was walk in and say, “Yo, I’m a brother from Western Carolina.”  THREE separate guys had the exact same response.  “Oh shit, man, yeah yeah yeah, come on in, Bud. Let me grab you beer.”  There was no beer to be found and each of them ended their search with an apology to Tim.  This made me laugh a lot.  I sort of understand fraternity culture, but it just amazes me that everyone sticks to the code that strictly.

We went to Dan’s and popped in Bladerunner, but not before a rousing game of HALO and then a viewing of the now-defunked Halo Movie project.  The movie was commissioned to be made and they built all these

Los Angeles, 2019

Los Angeles, 2019

props, such as a working Warthog, machine gun, pistol, etc.  It was awesome!  After the project got canned, they put together a little mini 10 minute movie showing some Spartan soldiers in a battle against the Brutes.  Dude, I’m serious, if they ever made that movie right, it would be awesome.  People who don’t give two craps about Halo would totally’ dig that movie.  The universe is so well thought out and the game is so thoroughly made, all it would take is a director with some vision to make it work.  I volunteered Dan to be that very guy.  Dan, MAKE IT. and I want to be “Guy eaten by the Flood #12.”

 

Let’s take a minute to talk about Bladerunner on Blu-ray (Whitney, stop reading here).  The scan on this movie is GORGEOUS. You really couldn’t tell what year it was made, aside from a few special effects scenes.  The movie depended on miniatures and sets, NOT CGI.

 

Tyrell Corporation

Tyrell Corporation

 Gosh, if a movie ever proves that we shouldn’t depend on everything to be done in post, this IS IT.  The landscapes in this movie are simply stunning.  The score by Vangelis made the movie seem classic, but held that depiction of the future from the 80’s that I love so much.  I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure I understand the whole plot, even now, but it serves as a film that belongs whole heartedly to the director and the crew he hired.  The vision of the film is massive.  Ridley Scott proves that he is as much a visionary as any director has ever been.  I would like to see more movies made from the Bladerunner universe, to be honest.  The relationship human have with machines, particularly the human replicants in the movie, is a theme that few do well.  The implications of creating technology that surpasses our capabilities is a daunting thing to consider.  The story is rife with questions about humanity and what a checklist of humanity would entail.  Something like Battlestar Galactica does a wonderful job exploring these issues as well.  So if it’s a rainy night and you don’t have anything to do. Popl in Bladerunner and try and digest it all.  It’s confusing but it’s something you and your friends could have a thoughtful conversation about.   

It’s late, and I still have to talk about the open auditions we held today at the film school, so I’ll save that for tomorrow.  Hope everyone has a nice week.  

Y’all behave.