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.

 

 

The Movie That Will Smash the Gate (Mine)

 
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Yes, this type of Co-Create article gets my attention, speaking of an inevitable fully-indie blockbuster movie that changes the model in the same fashion as Mackelmore (music) and 50 Shades of Grey (literature?).

Eric Kuhn, the head of social media at United Talent Agency, thinks the conditions for a hit are already in place. “Social media provides the reach, broadband streaming provides the distribution, and the public has shown the willingness to consume premium content in new ways,” he says. “The system is ready for it. It’s just needs the confluence of the right film and the right moment.”

Wait, I’m a filmmaker AND an entrepreneur AND a digital marketer. I guess it’s up to me to make this happen. Game on.

 

Making MōVIs

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It seems that every week there is a new revolution in filmmaking. But this, this has potential. There are a few videos of the MōVI” digital 3-axis gyro-stabilized handheld camera gimbal noted by Vincent LaForet, but I feel this one shows what terror it could reign. Now can anyone spot me $15K?

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PT Anderson in 5 Shots

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Okay, so they left out The Master. However, this is still an interesting study as to how PT Anderson uses shots to establish the tenor of his films and define character.

Aviator Travel Jib

Imagine a magical company that produced the gear you wished you had, but didn’t exist. Well, you don’t have to dream any more buster, because that’s what Kickstarter is shaping up to be. I bought the massively successful $50 Follow Focus and the Aviator Travel Jib is next on the list. In most cases, it’s capable individuals who make a product based on their needs and get it produced quite professionally. When they hit the nose on the button (or is that the other way around) response is overwhelming. More importantly, you can add production value to your work with thoughtfully-designed gear at a fraction of the cost, which lowers the barrier to entry and opens up creative opportunities. Okay, who’s going to Kickstart a $10 4K iPhone camera…?