In a World… where one man must fight against Fatigue

Good Lord, have mercy, I am so tired.  I have been trying to fight off getting sick all week long.  It has worked, I’m not exactly sick.  But every morning I wake up in a new, watered-down stage of a cold.

The best way to fight disease

The best way to fight disease

 First it was my throat, then my sinuses, then I coughed a little, and today I’m coughing, but it’s because my throat is completely dry.  It just itches.  Not infection.  So, thank God for that.  I’ve been using hand sanitizer like a heroine addict.  I rub it on my pen’s too.  Everyone in our class is kinda feeling crappy kinda not, so everyone is fighting really hard not to get sick.  The thought of something “going around” really grosses me out, too, btw.  


Otherwise, it’s Friday afternoon and class is OVER for the week.  Even though this week was a day shorter, it feels like it was longer than last week.. Maybe the newness has worn off.  Like that new car, but then you spill McDonald’s in it, and it just turns into your car again.  I won’t go through every one of my classes, I’m sure that gets boring.  I finished an editing exercise yesterday.  Turning in a project on a flashdrive is a new experience for me.  You just kinda plug it in to the main computer and then drag it to the folder… that’s it.  For the exercise, we were given some footage an MFA shot last summer.  The scene involved a man who just buried his wife out in the country sitting in front of a camp fire, wearing his suit.  I liked the footage ok, and there were five main shots.  The exercise was simply to edit a coherent sequence together and then write up an argument for why you chose to do what you did.  There was no dialogue to deal with in the scene.  I kept my cuts simple and just deleted all the background noise because it didn’t match up.  I liked the way it flowed, I probably spent a little too long on it.  After this, we are supposed to editing our still frame weekend projects we did last weekend.  Those are do Monday, this in-class exercise was due today.  They really stress a particular type of organization, and that’s where I get stressed.  I’m not great with minutia, so having every single little thing labeled the proper way took me longer than actually editing the thing.  We’ll see how that goes.

We got back back all 5 of our assignments in Screenwriting.  I really enjoy this class.  He made reference to a lot of our thoughts, myself included, in class so that was reassuring.  Tim Long, our teacher, has a very frank and pragmatic outlook on screenwriting.  Like our directing class with Reb, he kicks your ego to the curb and says that you’re going to have to follow rules and have to suck it and do things to make it in the business.  Tim has a consulting business for screen writers as well.  He gets calls from writers and former students and he guides them as to what they’ll have to tweak to make things work.  He talks about how you think this awesome screenplay you’ve been thinking of for years is probably pretty mediocre and that you need to keep writing and be prepared to abandon ideas that aren’t working.  He also says that you need to learn to write genre films, because that’s what gives you work.  Only 4-6% of the scripts that get “optioned” by a studio each year are from writers like you and me.  The other 90-something% are from known writers getting the studios to listen to them or from spec scripts that the studio hires other writers to make.  You and your little “amazing” screenplay are just a tuft of whip cream on the pie.

We read and had to do coverage on a script, the assignment I talked about in my previous blogs.  He really really liked my coverage.  He thought I had done it before, which was a nice compliment.  So that’s good, I’ve always been decent at summarizing and adding an analysis.  My script about the dog, however, needed some work.  I was way too wordy.  Using his comments, we have to rewrite our scripts to read better.  you want your screenplay to read “vertically,” meaning that you should keep the reader going down the page and not add to much description.  He gave an example on how a producer or script reader might take home 15 screenplays in a weekend.  Now, realistically, no one will sit down and genuinely read that many.  It takes a good 1 1/2- 2 hours for each one to do it correctly.  So, within the first 15 pages, you need to make sure that you make something happen and keep the reader moving so that the Dude doesn’t just start skimming your screenplay, or just put it down all together.

He got us to write things without being taught on purpose.  Once he pointed things out, it became quite clear what a script needed.  BTW, that horror script we did coverage on was actually optioned, sold, and made.  It comes out next week.  Here’s the trailer.


  The writer got $300,000 for it to be re-written and sold, and then would get another $300K if it was made.  Well, it was.  A $600,000 payday, not bad.  Not bad at all.  Sure, we’re the asshole film school kids who railed it in our comments, but this dude has $600K I don’t have, so who’s the chump?  It’s that example that shows you how much of a business Hollywood is.  Matt worked on set for the movie The Hitcher and it was written by the same Dude.  There you go.  You start to realize that it’s probably not as cut and dry and you think it is.  This guy probably doesn’t think he’s writing a masterpiece.  He’s writing so that he can further his career.  One day in the future, he’s going to have enough freedom an clout to do a script he’s really proud of.




For this same reason, I hate it when people bitch about someone like Michael Bay and claim that he’s 
“destroying my childhood with his Transformers movie” or that he “is the most dangerous of directors, a hack who considers himself an auteur.”  What the fat, video store clerk user from is missing is that Hollywood was around WAY before he ever put on his first Storm Trooper helmet.  The studios are fronting GOBS of money to produce something as creatively daunting as a motion picture.  When the Lumiere Brothers projected films or Dickson showed off his Kinetoscope, a lot of people saw it as a scientific breakthrough, something to be displayed at science fairs and used a research method.  People literally ran out of the theater when the Lumiere Brothers projected a sequence of a train pulling into the station because they had no idea how to respond to moving pictures.  You can see this video here:

Once artists got their hands on a film camera, they took off with them and never looked back.  Why?  To DAZZLE audiences.  Show the audience something they don’t normally see.  Bring them somewhere they can’t go.  Put them IN a story in a way that live theatre never could.  Theatre and film are two completely different mediums.  Theatre buffs will be the first to say that.  Many of them turn up their noses at film.  Fine, who cares.  Movies are movies.  Movies take places, sounds, songs, people, and chop up the film to create a nearly-tangible world that doesn’t even exist.  So, yes, when Michael Bay makes Transformers 2, I’ll be there with bells on.  Same as when Spielberg makes a biopic on Lincoln, I’ll be there.  When something is based on a true story, I’ll be there.  When someone turns a Delorean into a time machine, I’ll be there.  In my opinion, movies are the single most powerful artistic medium that exists.  Nothing affects us like movies do.  So, for that reason, we can critique and debate over what we like and it’s fun.  Those two critics I referenced above had made me laugh.  I don’t think anyone should condemn a director for making massively successful movies.  Somehow Michael Bay briefly came up in my directing class and Reb said he wouldn’t pick on Michael Bay because he knows what he’s doing and he has talent.  He actually hates Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1-3, X-men 3).  I found that really funny.

Speaking of Transformers, check out this link.  I found it on AINTITCOOLNEWS.COM, I’m not sure how “plagiarism” works on the net.  Type in the code: AllSpark62609

As far as school goes, I don’t much other news.  We had a genres class last night and watched Kiss me Deadly, the strangest Film Noir I have ever seen.  I won’t go into it.  Afterward, though, the discussions ensued.  Sure enough, the rift between BFA and MFA is growing.  Emily TOTALLY gets the game ball for an incredible statement she made about the characters representing Eve and Jesus and some other allusions.  It was extremely insightful, researched, and factual.  I don’t know how she formed that AND watched the movie.  But after that, little conversations popped up.  Some of the more talkative BFA’s were talking and so were the MFA’s, all while the class was trying to have a discussion.  One BFA turned around and told the MFA’s to shut up which prompted an MFA to call him a pretty funny name and told him to turn around, but nonetheless, that didn’t sit well with any of them.  It was awkward.  After class, a girl friend of the BFA Dude chased the MFA out into the front walkway and exchanged words.  

THIS IS NOT WHAT WE NEED.  As the MFA’s, we need to exhibit some form of diplomacy.  Yes, there is obviously a huge divide between the attitudes of each group, but creating tension isn’t going to help anyone.  The BFA’s need to quiet down, sure, but if any BFA’s are reading this, I apologize for the MFA’s ganging up and laughing at you.  I apologize for using the word “diplomacy,” I never want to sound like a certain politician I won’t name, but seriously, we have make sure that EVERYONE in the film school is respectful.  No one is asking you to make friends.  Akil brought up a good point: Once we get out to LA or where ever, those people are in it with us.  It doesn’t matter who is who.  What happens if one of those kids is a script reader and they happen to get your screenplay?  

Anyway, that is my two cent shot at negotiations.  We had our Below the Line lab this morning. We learned how to set up and build the Arriflex SR-2 we’ll be using to shoot our D1’s.  I can’t explain how pretty that thing looks when it’s ready to roll.  We also practiced unloading and loading film in the black bags that we’ll use on set.  Doing that stuff blind is no easy task.  

Wagy is getting in tonight around 10-11.  Should be a blast.  I’m going to meet some MFA’s at On the Border here in a few.  Hope all is well where you are.  I’ll be updating tomorrow most likely.  Go see a movie.  Better yet, go make one.

On a side note, let’s remember Don LaFontaine (1940-2008), the “Movie trailer voice dude.”

In a world...without this guy

In a world...without this guy

 He was only 68.  That’s crazy to think he won’t be around.  He was actually responsible for creating movie trailers the way we have all come to recognize them.  The whole “In a world…” schtick was his idea.  Here is a funny video I saw a few months ago about him:

Y’all behave.


3 Responses to “In a World… where one man must fight against Fatigue”

  1. Kate Emery Says:

    The Amusement trailer is awful! I can’t wait to see it.

  2. I’ve been waiting freaking forever for Amusement LOL it was suppose to come out in April but it was pushed back…. Funny right…

  3. Kiss Me Deadly has one outrageous ending, but to me what stood out the most was the opening credits…..I loved ’em.

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