Making the Movie

17Sep/140

Your Wednesday Links: The YouTube Reboot Edition

Most of these links come from the @makingthemovie Twitter stream. If you'd like to see them as they come, follow us on Twitter.

Fast Company: Rebooting YouTube - A profile of new head Susan Wojcicki and her strategy of promoting 'home-grown' YouTube stars.

TechCrunch: Netflix Is Available In France, But It Still Needs Work - Headline: no House of Cards. The foreign rights were already sold to competitors. Rights issues are what continue to confuse consumers -- difficult to know what movies and T.V. shows are available on what service at any given time. See also Forbes' article on the negotiation dynamics between Netflix & the movie studios.

NYTimes: Kickstarter D&D doc leads to lawsuits - A cautionary tale for tabletop game designers leads to a cautionary tale for filmmakers.

The Film Stage: Quentin Tarantino on Creating a Film-Only Haven, How Oscar Obsession Ruins Festivals, and More

News Shooter: Kinogrip's new Grenoble wooden handgrip

ProdHub: 5 Ways To Give Your Low Budget Film More Production Value

Zeitchik in LATimes: On the set of Birdman with Iñarritú, Keaton and Lubezki - An early awards favorite, along with Imitation Game. Can't wait to see.

Quora: I think I have written a great first draft of my new script, is it worth using a screenwriting service to take it to the next level? - See also What's it like to have your film flop at the box office?

YOUR WEEKLY WISDOM:

12Sep/140

Movie Review: Honeymoon

Fresh review of a Magnet release from a friend who goes by the name Robert Ditzenburger. Enjoy. --JO

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honeymoon-rose-leslieHoneymoon begins with two newlyweds, Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway), telling stories of their romance into the camera lens of a wedding videographer. We then cut directly to their secluded honeymoon on a lake. In all honesty, nothing of dramatic interest happens in the first couple days at the lake. We learn little about the two characters and the newlyweds seem awkward together, as if they were strangers in a shotgun wedding pretending to vacation.

Eventually the duo decides to venture into town where they run into an old childhood friend of Bea’s, Will. Will and his wife give off the same sense of normalcy as Norman Bates in Psycho. Instantly after this chance encounter the forest surrounding this romantic getaway feels increasingly threatening. Paul is plagued by the suspicion that things are not what they seem. Honeymoon follows you through Paul’s frantic search for the truth, while simultaneously trying to maintain his relationship with his wife. His paranoia lets you believe anything is possible in these woods -- supernatural, extraterrestrial, the occult or otherwise. What Honeymoon delivers in the end is as creepy as anyone could hope for.

The film is well-photographed right from the start. You get a sharp contrast between night and day. Daytime scenes feel like a completely different world where the woods are non-threatening. The darkness in the woods at night makes the cabin feel like the only safe haven around.

The early acting in the films leaves a bit to be desired; the couple is hard to believe, the passion of a honeymoon is lacking. The actors do deliver, however, in their moments of distress as the film goes on. They let you feel paranoid and alone in a dark world, where the only person you can really trust is yourself.

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29Aug/140

Your Weekend Viewing: Kick-ass Russian Sci-Fi Short

As far as I can tell, the VFX house BLR put this video out as a demonstration of their talents. There is certainly some impressive work here. Solid character animation and beautiful design.

What did you think of the short? Where do you think the story should go from here?

[via facebook friend JP]

28Aug/140

Avid Error of the Day: Invalid argument, filename:/Volumes…

When I encounter an odd error message and its solution, I make a note. This is one of those notes. I want solutions to turn up better in searches for other Avid users (and myself). As with all error posts on the site, the casual reader can just skip ahead to other less-technical content.

Avid invalid argument error

Exception: Invalid Argument, filename:/Volumes/Media 1/Avid MediaFiles/MXF/2/msmFMID.pmr

Saw this when trying to quit out of Avid after doing some media management. Based on this thread, this is an error that has cropped up for a while when things go wrong with drive permissions. In my case, I think it happened when I changed some partition sizes.

Here's a recommended method by OS X Daily for dealing with bad permissions. They say do a "repair" on the drive using Disk Utility. That gave me an error too. But I was able to use the "verify" command in disk utility and that seems so have fixed it.

27Aug/140

Your Wednesday Links: What You Put Your Camera On

Most of these links come from the @makingthemovie Twitter stream. If you'd like to see them as they come, follow us on Twitter.

THINGS TO PUT YOUR CAMERA ON:
An Ode to Steadicams (Kottke) - CandyCam: A New Aerial Rig (Kickstarter) - Build Your Own C-Stand (No Film School)

Apple Insider: Apple updates pro-level video suite with fixes for Final Cut Pro X, Compressor and Motion

YouTube: Terry Gilliam's feature-length commentary from the Criterion laserdisc edition of The Fisher King - "I had three rules in my life when it came to making films. One: I would never do anybody else's script but my own. Number two: I would never work for a major motion picture studio. And number three: I would never work in America. I've done all three of these things and it's called The Fisher King."

The Dissolve: From box-office bomb to cult favorite in the making: MacGruber

Home Media Magazine: Hulu Drops Out of ComScore Top 10 Ranking

Fstoppers: A Makeup Tip I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Photography

Lights Film School: Indie Film Distribution Deals & Festival Strategies: A Case Study

NOSTALGIA DEPARTMENT:
Bedford + Bowery: The Story of Kim’s Video & Music, Told By Its Clerks and Customers - A must-read for any New Yorkers who remember the weird rare movie rentals institution.

YOUR WEEKLY WISDOM:

OLD POSTS UPDATED:
What are Martin Scorsese's favorite films? - Added links to more of Scorsese's lists of films to watch.

23Aug/140

Your Weekend Listening & Viewing: Pop Culture Podcasts & Hyperlapse Stop-Motion Techniques

NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour had an excellent discussion of the effects of movie ratings on the types of movies that get made. You don't often think about it, but the small group of people who give movie ratings are a big determining factor in the types of language, violence, and sexuality that is considered culturally mainstream. For a less sober, more in-your-face look at the issue, see This Film Is Not Yet Rated.

Also, Slate pop culture podcast, The Gabfest, had a nice discussion last week about movie soundtracks:

If that's not enough to keep you busy this weekend, well enjoy a demonstration of the latest experimental film technique: hyperlapse. It's a Microsoft algorithm that smoothes out sped-up footage to give a nice steadicam effect to your crosscountry timelapse.

This music video claims to use hyperlapse, but really it just seems to me to be some good old-fashioned stop-motion. Either way, pretty cool:

And here's the how-to:

[via DIYPhotography.net]

15Aug/140

What was Volker Schlöndorff’s key advice about directing actors?

Adapt the role to the actor, not vice versa.

In an interview on the Coup de Grâce DVD, German director Volker Schöndorff (Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Film The Tin Drum) gives his key insight into how to fit performances to actors. Like many directors, he believes casting is key. But he takes the principle even further:

I find that once casting is done and you have all the actors, the actor becomes more important than the role. You have to adapt the role to the actor, and not vice versa, once the casting is done. Because every film is a documentary. Or at least a document about that actor. What the camera sees is not the acting. That's the performance; that's the construction. But the camera also sees the man or the woman.

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12Aug/140

What did Jorge Luis Borges say about Citizen Kane?

He called Orson Welles' directorial debut a "work of genius" -- but with a some caveats...

It is little known that the famous, blind Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges was, for a time, a film reviewer. (This was in the late 1930's and early 40's, before he went blind.) I've been reading a rather obscure book that collects his writings about film, and was shocked to find that Borges predicted Citizen Kane would 'endure' and called out the groundbreaking deep focus photography of Gregg Toland:

There are shots with admirable depth, shots whose farthest planes (as in the paintings by the Pre-Raphaelites) are no less precise and detailed than the closest.

Not to give Borges too much credit. He was rather harsh in his overall assessment: (more…)

8Aug/140

Your Weekend Viewing: Analysis of Snowpiercer

The analysis can get a very film-school pedantic at times, but I tend to agree with overall gist: Snowpiercer uses the tools of film storytelling to create heart-pounding entertainment whilst also having a strong point of view about the global class system.

In my opinion, until you've seen Snowpiercer, you should skip Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Lucy and even Boyhood. For all it's apparent flaws, no film this summer intrigued and surprised me more.

No excuses when it is so readily available on demand. Like the first Matrix, this film seems destined to have an out-sized influence on genre filmmakers and movie buffs.

8Aug/140

Movie Review: Not Another Happy Ending

Movie review from Lillian, our favorite resident Whovian (fan of the Dr. Who TV show). Enjoy... - JO

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not-another-happy-ending_heroLast night, I was very excited to curl up to Not Another Happy Ending. It's a Scottish (yes!) rom-com (score!) staring Karen Gillan, who played Amy Pond for 2.5 seasons on Doctor Who (even more bonus points). Seriously, it's as if the movie had been crafted by my brainthoughts.

Here's a quick plot summary: Young/possibly first time novelist, Jane Lockhart (Karen Gillan -- who lives in an unrealistically fabulous apartment in Glasgow) is going through rejection letter after rejection letter trying to get her book published. With little/no explanation as to why, she goes to visit one publisher, Tom Duval (Stanley Weber) who picks her up and publishes it. It becomes a roaring success, but unfortunately, this and other things in her life (the most successful screenwriter in Glasgow moves in with her), make her too happy to follow up her success -- apparently, she's too happy to write. Publisher, Duval, however, is desperate for another best seller, and so decides to make her life miserable so she can angst up and write already. Mix-ups and "comedy" ensue. Along the way, Duval and Jane are falling in hate-love with each other.

Sadly, I could basically see this film coming from the opening credits. Definitely from 15 minutes in, when I realized that so far the movie had pretty much been comprised of two montages packed-to-the-brim with clichés.

How it could have been improved? Step one: be more creative with costume design than just, "Dress her like Annie Hall so everyone will know she's quirky." Step two: change her occupation. For the love of god, writers, why do you make your protagonist a WRITER? Instantly less interesting. Third possibility: add more of the cast of Dr. Who, maybe? Come on, David Tenant's Scottish? So's Peter Capaldi, come to that. I'm sure there are loads of other people who have played British on Dr. Who, but are actually Scottish...

And I suppose that's what they call digressing. Where was I? Oh yes, step four: rewrites. It felt like an early draft of any romantic comedy you see coming out of Hollywood. I really would have liked to see something more surprising and different. I feel like if they had kept working on this premise, they could have found some new angles.

Things I liked: the soundtrack was fun! Lots of good Scottish music. I liked that Henry Ian Cusick was in it, although his character (a screenwriter, argh!!!) was one of the most poorly-written characters, possibly in film history. But he's not done much since Lost, so it was nice to see his face.

I will go on in more nit-picky detail, full of spoilers, but suffice it to say, Karen Gillan had better put some effort into her next film choices if she wants to keep us loyal Whovians who love rom-coms around! I'm thinking her role in Guardians of the Galaxy might please the fanbase a bit more. ;)

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD... (more…)