Log On

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Besides being irresistible bad-pun material, loglines are a subject close to my heart. Boiling down an entire script to one sentence is an art in and of itself. As a former (thank God) agency creative director/copywriter, you think I’d be half decent at it. Or maybe it’s why I’m not. In either case, I’m going to use this post to workshop the logline for my current project:

A heartbroken cameraman gets a job on a dating travel show whose host goes rogue hunting down a lost love.

Meh, right? Or maybe it’s meh-raculous!? Let’s find out… Continue reading

One Shot Bird

Birdman is probably the most original and compelling film I’ve seen this year. A large part of it was how the construct provided a unique platform for character development. Another was how the cinematography leveraged a confined setting to provide a dynamic theatrical experience. I had my theories as to how they filmed it on “one shot”, and was mostly right. However, it’s still fascinating to understand the method behind the madness.

Connect the Dots

I’ve written several scripts that have an easter egg or two. You know, some sly Star Wars reference or a secret meaning you never fully reveal? Taking it one step further, my current project is a re-imagining of Moby Dick set in the world of reality TV (you read right).

However, it’s mind-boggling to even comprehend the theory that every Pixar film is part of one meta story. Even more potentially brilliant is that it’s a bold treatise on humanity, technology and nature. Granted, given the universal themes of Pixar flicks, you could reverse-engineer or sorts of relationships this grandiose. Or could you?

Dustin Lance Black’s Creative Process

An informative look at Dustin Lance Black’s (“Milk,” “J. Edgar”) comprehensive screenwriting process. It’s interesting how he evolves his ideas, especially utilizing cards to develop story elements. Though I’m sure the physical nature of his system is important, I feel Trello, which I use to manage filmmaking projects, would be a great fit for his methodology.

Moving Movie Posters

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With endless ways to innovate in film, I find it fascinating when simple techniques yield dramatic results. Like these GIF movie posters, which elegantly capture the character of the movies themselves. Granted, I have the cinematic experience to flashback to. But if you had never seen any of these films, wouldn’t your interest be piqued?

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It’s a Small World: Custom Spherical Panorama

Photographer Jonas Ginter tried for two years to make a 360 panoramic camera. Then he solved the problem with a “camera ball” 3-D printed 6 GoPro rig (of course). It seems like visual storytelling possibilities are expanding every day with cheap a/v tech and custom manufacturing tools. Or at least we’ll be seeing a lot more trippy sh*t!

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Still Images and Moving Pictures

???????????????In 1945, Stanley Kubrick became the youngest staff photographer in the history of Look magazine. He was 17. After discovering this (and questioning my life’s path), I was struck by how his early work was so…Kubrick. It’s impossible not to see the roots of his distinct cinematic style. From the immaculate composition to the mastery of light. As both a filmmaker and photographer, I’ve viewed them as distinct practices. While there are some connections between my output in both forms, it’s nowhere near as coherent as it could be. The Look Magazine shots below make a strong case for evolving a consistent style for visual storytelling. And being a once-in-a-lifetime genius.

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Peep Show Writers Comedy Masterclass

A few years back a girl I ‘knew’ wanted me to watch Peep Show…with her. I hadn’t really been into a British sitcom for a fortnight, but she had decent taste in film. That, and I feared the repercussions of not watching it…with her. And so I was introduced to one of the most spectacularly awkward and funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

Back in the day, Peter and I semi-optioned a sitcom pilot (don’t ask). But maybe if we’d had sage advice like Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong in this video, we would now be celebrating our 100th episode.

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FUMBO is a unique NY short film festival run by some ‘quirky’ folk I know. Don’t believe me? You’ll probably reconsider when you’re given dozens of roses to throw in appreciation at the movies you like.

I’ve submitted entries for the last three years. This one was shot in a night with two friends, a bunny costume and a lot of Manhattans. But a price was paid. You’ll see.

Color Me Colorful

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I’ve been exploring color lately. Shooting flat for more dynamic range. Sharpening my color correction ‘skills’ (very much in quotes). Playing around with look-up tables. Why? Like a lot of digital filmmakers, I’ve realized the difference color can make, but didn’t quite know the mechanics behind it all. But the video above has definitely helped.

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Take Five: IFP Producing Wisdom

 
investors-IFP-616x354Sometimes, when I’m working on a film, I like to remind myself that the point is for actual people to see it (Right?). But while the pains of production can be many, it’s always nice when folks who are actually good at it get together at conferences to weigh in. Better yet, when motivated attendees summarize those kernels of wisdom in blog form. So in the name of distillation, I’m going even higher level and throwing down the main points. Half as a self-reminder, half to entice you to read the whole article here.

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Let there Be Light(ing)

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Truth be told, even though I shoot, I’m not a cinematographer. However, understanding lighting (a little) has definitely helped me when I’m behind the lens. This video has a bit of a high-school-educational-film vibe, but it still is worth checking out. Don’t want to stay in the dark…

DIY GoPro Bullet Time Rig

One of the benefits of accessible technology like the GoPro is that folks get very inventive in how they use it. This is a great example of a show-stopping effect created using just a few household materials (assuming your house has a ceiling fan) and a lot of ingenuity. See how easy it is to make your own below.

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5D 2K OMG!

I have a Canon 5DMIII, which I’ve increasingly felt bad for. Namely because of haters. They say the Epic and Black Magic are better video options and the Nikon D800 simply better. I’ve defended the 5D saying it’s still the best option for someone who shoots video and stills. But, yes, I’ve had my doubts. However, in the last week, things have changed. First, my camera will be able to deliver clean HDMI out, so you can record uncompressed footage with an external reader. Second, and this is a big one, the 5D might very well have the capability to capture 2K raw resolution! Yes, this is OMG-worthy and ups the ante for HDSLR shooters who’ve kept the faith in Canon.