Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oscar Nominations

Oscar nominations are usually so commercial, but this
year so...political. Feels like the '70s again. Bleah.

No gold for entertaining films that people bought tickets
to see, even though those pay for everything else.
Here's an interesting take on it.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Super 16mm Bolex On eBay

It had to happen, and on eBay, too!
Easy way to generate Super 16mm with your Bolex,
so all your 35mm and HD dreams come true.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sundance: You Go Bobcat!

They're mind-numbing, the interviews that spew
from Sundance. From the greasy depths of fake
humility, to the nosebleed heights of each
newly-vaulted ego, these interviews are not to
be read so much as shoveled, and waded through.

Here and there, somebody gets over himself long
enough to be a welcome breeze.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bobcat Goldthwaite

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sundance: Hollywood Wildness

This isn't the Hollywood excess I remember.
In fact, it's almost sweet, like a high school party.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sundance: $2M Right At Your Door

Lionsgate has acquired Chris Gorak's
"Right At Your Door," a LA nightmare
scenario, for $2Million. The story is simple,
tight storytelling about a dirty bomb in
Los Angeles. First time director Gorak
swung hard, batted one out of the park.
Take a look.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sundance: Based on a True Story

45,000 stories in the naked Park City,
some of them ring especially true. A few,
based on true stories past.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sundance: Sony's Tapeless HD System

Sony Unveiled its Tapeless HD Production
System At Sundance.


Sony's XDCAM Professional Disc system - a line of
High-Definition optical camcorders and decks - will
be available soon. Zoom!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sundance: Glimpses

Hollywood is a Utah ski town,
once a year.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sundance: New Deal

It's cold and snowy, and late in the game.
Most stars (DannyDeVitoKevinSpaceyVincent
D'OnofrioKathleenTurnerEthanHawke) are gone,
but stuff's still happening. Al Gore's in town,
in a film about how he invented global warming.

A bigger deal than last year's bigger deal
went down yesterday.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sundance: What Would Haskell Say?

Showing his film "Who Needs Sleep?"
at Sundance, the great though self-described
irascible Haskell Wexler has some choice
words about video and responsibility.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sundance: Premieres

Eleven days, 120 movies, 50 handicams in the hands
of as many Beastie Boys' concert fans. Premiere of
a movie called "Kinky Boots," which is reason enough.

Cassavetes is still indy sorta, with "Alpha Dog,"
"A Little Trip To Heaven" is Iceland insurance,
Art can be murder, in "Art School Confidential."

If you're "Cargo," this backpacker's in trouble. "Darwin Awards"
sounds like a great idea, but what doesn't? "Don't Come Knocking"
is Wim Wenders and Sam Shephard, but who knows?

"Friends With Money" is a film made by a woman who clearly
has some. (Opening was packed last night.) "Little Miss Sunshine"
is freaky family road picture. "Lucky Number Slevin"
wrong man in the mob.

"Neil Young Heart Of Gold" a concert for the young,
"The Illusionist" is light of hand, "The Night Listener"
warns careful who you call on the radio, especially if
you're Robin Williams.

"Science of Sleep" is an awakening, "Secret Life of Words"
the pain in Spain is with us once again, "Thank You For Smoking"
Big Tobacco has a little son, "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" how
movie ratings are changing America. (This film is not yet rated.)

Is it toooooo much? We'll see.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Advantages? Super 16mm?

I'm a 35mm guy, I'm mister 35mm, but if I didn't
need to play my movies in movie theatres, I'd be
shooting Super 16mm. I told you about S16's truth.
It even has...advantages.

Smaller, lighter, quicker, there I said it.
Here, read.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pravda of Super 16

Somebody just repeated hearing Super 16mm is useless.
Not so.

Theory is, when you've made a S16 movie, you're as far
away from a 35mm print as the moon. There are no S16
projectors, and yada yada. I've heard this theory
too much. Wanna know the truth? Kino-pravda?

I love 35mm, and it's definitely better, but if you have a
low shooting ratio, S16 is pretty darn cheap to
shoot and develop and print.

Can't screen it? Don't make me laugh. What film print?
It's on my Final Cut Pro, and then my DVD. Anybody can screen it.

Oh, you need to screen it on film? $150 buys an eBay 16mm projector.
$10 buys a square file. $20 buys a selsyn motor. You file out the
gate, bolt in the motor, and have yourself an interlock screening,
just like old times.

Or put in an encoder wheel, and lock it to your multitrack/midi setup.
All you lose is that old AM-radio optical soundtrack, and gain another
55% (35mm blowup) or 64% (HD telecine) image improvement.

No S16 projectors? Please.

If you get a theatrical distributor, somebody's gonna need
to buy a blowup, but it won't be you.

Until that unlikely event happens, your original's on film,
in the right shape for a 35mm blowup, and (more importantly)
in the shape of an HDTV frame. (1.78:1)

You remember HD. It's the next big thing. The FCC makes it
mandatory in one year. You have just enough time to get a
movie done in S16, if you start writing now. Go!

If somebody tells you S16 doesn't work,
ignore propaganda, and search for pravda.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Advantages of Super 8 Film

There are no advantages of Super 8mm film.

Sorry, just kidding. Read this.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Eejits Inherit The Earth

It says "filmmaking" when it means "video,"
it's happy just getting a movie onto the web
(who can't get their movie on the web?),
and overall, it's kinda dorky, but it is
geared toward the compleat eejit, and
that's just great.
Eejit's guide to Film-Making

If you're eejit enough!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sound's Good

Do your films have sound?
Good sound?
Why not?

You need the crash course.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Playing With Dollies

Need a dolly? Not a big one?
All right!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Seattle Victory Sony Vialta

My fave Seattle place for HD.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mitchell Digital Magazine

Joe Dunton Cameras' digital HD magazine,
on a Super-16mm camera may be the
easiest way to capture HD.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The First Indy Filmmakers

Yeah, I know, John Cassavetes and Jordan Belson
and Stan Brakhage and yada yada yada.

I mean before all that, wayy back.
I mean really first, and really independent.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First Stop-Motion Feature?

The usual yammer how a movie is the "first" at something.
But the "First Stop-Motion Animation Feature?" C'mon guys.

I'd think the Editors Guild would know better,
and it's in their professional magazine!

Okay, it's first to use still-cameras to shoot a feature's worth
of digital frames, and it's the first digital stop-motion feature
edited with Final Cut Pro. On a Thursday.
Okay...so what?

This Article says it's the "First Stop-Motion Animation Feature,"
right over the title.

A shockingly ignorant assertion, when you know how long stop-motion's been around. "Humpty Dumpty Circus" was made in 1898, "Modelling Extraordinary" brought clay to life in 1912, George Pal and Jiri Trnka worked throughout the twentieth century, Willis O'Brien's "The Lost World" was stop-motion in 1925, and his "King Kong" was mostly stop-motion in 1933.

The great Ray Harryhausen did lots of movies with lots of stop-motion, Cosgrove/Hall's 1983 "The Wind in the Willows," Tadahito Mochinaga was in Japan animating those Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas specials.

There was that Pogo Possum feature from 1980 (third screen role for Pogo), Art Clokey's "Gumby and Pokey" and "Davey and Goliath," (ran for 17 years!), Nick Park's brilliant "Wallace & Gromit" and "Chicken Run" were feature-length, as was the Claymation (TM) Mark Twain 35mm feature I worked on for a year, in the early '80s.

Tim Burton did another stop-motion feature,
"The Nightmare Before Christmas,"
before this one, for cryin' out loud!

Maybe it's Tim's "First Stop-Motion Feature"
...since Tim's last stop-motion feature.

Interesting article, though.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Find a Finder

When you're deciding what lens you want,
and where to put it, you need a Director's
Viewfinder. Here's its history, and how to
find your finder

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Shape of The Movies

He's got the image flopped, and his spelling is
atrocious, and he doesn't know 70mm is only sideways
for Imax, and it has magnetic sound, but I enjoyed this
article about aspect ratio. I know I'm obsessed with
it this year, but it's kind of important, if you're going
to break through the boundaries, to know what they are.
Movie shapes.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Film and HD Mitchell

Mitchell, the greatest of all studio
cameras, has an HD option.

Friday, January 06, 2006

In Praise Of Lee Marvin

There Was A Man Dept.



Working on my book today, with "The Dirty Dozen" playing over and over in the background. Man, Lee Marvin was just as tough as a walnut shell. Go Lee!

I remember him from "M Squad," as Lieutenant Frank Ballinger, the prototype for Leslie Nielsen's character in the Zucker Brothers' brilliant cop parody "Police Squad." Cool both ways.

I think "M Squad" was the best cop show, and "Police Squad" was one of the two funniest tv shows, ever. (Other is John Cleese's "Fawlty Towers.") "Police Squad" had only 6 episodes, first three were intensely funny, second three were just tv.

Of course, there was Lee's Oscar for "Cat Ballou," and
he was more than a match for Marlon Brando in Stanley
Kramer's motorcycle epic, "Wild One." "Johnny, I love ya!"

Lee Marvin was named for General Robert E. Lee, his cousin,
which makes him and me related. He died in Arizona in 1987,
and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. As relatives go,
and I wish most would, I'm proud of him.

Just check out his story.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Movie Biz is Popping

You'd never know it to talk with Hollywood
Producers, but the movie theatre biz
is not really about showing movies.

Movie theatre owners (I am one) know a dark
secret. The movie theatre biz is threefold:

1) Fast food (Popcorn markup exceeds that of heroin.)
2) Ads (You've got 'em. They can't leave. Show 'em ads.)
3) Charging to see movies, but only if they're "eating pictures."

IF THEATRES SURVIVE, expect to see...

DVD sales
Subscription tickets
Higher prices for quality movies