Tuesday, December 25, 2012

There was a Man - Charles Durning Actor

I met Charles Durning at the Oscars, in 1983. He'd been nominated for "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," Best Supporting Actor. 

I was struck by how much The Camera loved his face. It was stunning. In real life, you'd never know he was a movie star. In real life, he was startlingly, breathtakingly homely. The word "ugly" is not out of the question. Somehow, The Camera smoothed all that out on the movie screen, and fixed it. 

I actually jumped, seeing him in a crowd of really pretty people, which is what the Oscars crowd is. He looked like a potato, lumpy and bumpy, in a beauty pageant. 

Even more jarring, Mr. Durning had two incredibly beautiful women, each a solid Hollywood "10," one on each arm. Huge smiles all around, they clearly adored him. Whatever it takes to rise above a superficial first glance, to a Character Actor Star, he had it, in spades. 

I was 27, and worried I was starting Acting too late. I asked him, and he told me he only got started Acting in his '40s, but that I should hurry. I asked if Acting had been his first choice. He told me he'd had lots of other jobs, including Dance Instructor. But Acting...He grinned, and said, "What else could I do?" 

Mr. Durning was Oscar-nominated the following year, again Best Supporting, for Mel Brooks's "To Be Or Not To Be," and he's my favorite in lots of movies, notably The Coen Brothers's "The Hudsucker Proxy," "O Brother Where Art Thou," and David Mamet's "State and Main."

Rest in Peace, Charles Durning. You were great. A wonderful Actor. (And a war hero). You made your mark.

Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Charles Durning
Charles Durning Actor
Coen Brothers
David Mamet
Larry McMurtry
Mel Brooks
O Brother Where Art Thou
State and Main
The Hudsucker Proxy
To Be Or Not To Be 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TWINKIE Ingredients Twinkie Recipe Twinkie Song Clean and Jerk Sam Longoria The WILD SIDE

TWINKIE Ingredients Twinkie Recipe Twinkie Song
Clean and Jerk Sam Longoria The WILD SIDE

Clean and Jerk (Andrew Lorand and Preston Gould) recorded THE TWINKIE SONG, which played on  The WILD SIDE Radio Show in Hollywood, to great acclaim. 

Never before in History has a song seemed so ripped from daily headlines, in this case the tragic tale of Hostess Twinkie Snack Cakes.

The Hostess Cake company 
has been forced into bankruptcy by a union dispute, and there's a new and terrifying Twinkie development. They just ain't makin' 'em any more.

So I whipped up a creme-filled little video, as a filmmaking exercise, and to commemorate and commiserate, to benefit The WILD SIDE Foundation.

Song is skyrocketing up the charts, with a bullet-shaped snack cake.

Twinkie Ingredients
Twinkie Recipe

Twinkie Song

Clean and Jerk

Andrew Lorand

Preston Gould

Sam Longoria


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Women In Film - More Women Seem To Be Breaking Into Filmmaking

Women In Film - More Women Seem To Be Breaking Into Filmmaking

The Sundance Film Festival has, apparently, a record lineup of female directors competing for its top honor this January. Half the entries this year, which is eight of its 16 films, were made by women, according to Sundance director John Cooper. Those are the numbers, they might indicate that more women are breaking into filmmaking.


women in film
women in filmmaking
women breaking into filmmaking

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day - Memorial Day Movies

Memorial Day - Memorial Day Movies - Best War Movies

Originally, it was "Decoration Day." Confederate ladies decorated the graves of their fallen soldiers. This spread to the Union, and became Memorial Day, May 31. Now it's the last Monday in May. 

It's Summer today, until Summer ends on Labor Day.

Memorial Day is to honor all Americans who have died in all wars, remembering men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

People visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers place American flags on graves in national cemeteries.

There have literally been hundreds of wars since 1945, the end of WWII, and I've quite given up on this being a peaceful planet, and ours being a peaceful species, that can get along with itself. After a certain point, I just had to quit hoping for any change in Humanity, and accept what IS.

(A good thing, too, that nobody ever asked for my opinion).

War will always be with us, whether you're pro- or anti-, and War is a favorite topic of filmmakers everywhere.

Memorial Day is a big holiday. Post Office and Banks are closed. Play the DVDs, open your eyes and heart, and solemnly reflect on Man's Inhumanity To Man.

Just so we don't get stuck in the Twentieth Century. Spartacus? War movie? Stanley Kubrick? Yes!

There were lots of war movies made during the Vietnam era.
"Full Metal Jacket." Best Vietnam War movie? Yes.

Also-Great Vietnam War Movie. Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now."

Robert Altman's blood-soaked comedy, M*A*S*H. Set during the Korean war, but it's really about Vietnam.

Mike Nichols's Great, but too-cute-for-its-own-box office "Catch-22." About WWII, but really about Vietnam. (Recognize some Great Actors, as youngsters?)

Stanley Kubrick's end-of-the-world Nightmare Comedy about Nuclear War.
(Which we don't discuss any more, but it's more likely now than ever). "Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb."

Great Cast (Lee Marvin, Robert Carradine, Mark Hamill), in
Samuel Fuller's masterpiece, "The Big Red One."

America is a land of contradictions. We believe passionately in Freedom and Rights, but historically, America has infringed some American citizens' Liberty.

This is the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most-decorated US outfit of WWII. Composed of Nisei (2nd generation Japanese-Americans), they fought valiantly, despite losing their Rights and Property and Personal Liberty. Their story is inspiring, in "Go For Broke"

Last, but certainly not least, here's Audie Murphy, the most-decorated boy soldier of WWII, who came home to a celebrated movie career.

Audie was 5'5" tall, weighed 110 pounds, crazy brave enough to wipe out German tanks and machine guns and soldiers, while he was sick to death with Malaria.

Audie won 33 medals, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. The movie story of Audie's life was Universal's highest-grossing film for 20 years, until it was topped by "Jaws."

Audie Leon Murphy. Somebody must have told him his middle name means "Lion," because he was brave as one.

I'm a big fan of Audie, starting with his heroic story, playing himself on the big screen, in "To Hell And Back."

Happy Memorial Day! May America and Americans live up to her proud heritage, and take the high moral road.
God Bless America!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Cinco De Mayo Movies

Cinco De Mayo Movies

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, not an American one, although more Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the USA, than Mexicans celebrate it in Mexico.

For Americans, Cinco de Mayo is an excuse to drink alcohol and eat starch, flavored with vegetable irritants.
Americans think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. No, for that is 16 September, which doesn't roll nearly so well off the tongue.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico fighting the French in 1862. France invaded Mexico because Mexico owed them a lot of money. Countries do that. It happened, and will happen again.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates an unlikely victory - that of the raggedy little Mexican Army over the big bad French Army (then the most powerful in the world), in Puebla, Mexico on May 5th 1862. (Not surprisingly, most Mexican celebration of this event occurs in that city of Puebla).

In 1860, Mexico had been waging what historians call "Too many wars." Mexicans fought the Americans in 1846-48, and each other in 1858 and 1860. As has happened, and will happen again, to countries waging too many wars, Mexico's treasury was empty, because war is expensive.

In July 1861, Mexican President Benito Juarez decreed a 2-year moratorium. Mexico would make no payments on its debts to Britain, Spain, and France. This created what historians call, "A tense situation," between Mexico, Britain, Spain, and France.

Britain and Spain reached diplomatic arrangements, (negotiation usually preferable to conflict), but France...

Napoleon III, The Emperor of France, sent 8000 crack troops landing in Veracruz, marching to Mexico City, to conquer Mexico for France. Napoleon wasn't kidding around.

Even so, Napoleon's crackerjacques French army of 8,000 soldiers ran into 4,000 determined defenders at the city of Puebla, who...beat 'em.

Unthinkable, but it happened. 5 May 1862, Battle of Puebla. Outnumbered and outgunned Mexican Army...beat the top-shape French Army. Celebrate! Victory!

Well...the victory didn't last long, because the French regrouped, and wiped out the Mexican Army a year later, establishing Emperor Maximilian I to rule Mexico.  BUT...that's the Cinco de Mayo story.

Here are some movies with a Mexican flavor.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Humphrey Bogart faces the Gold Hat Bandito, played by the unforgettable Alfonso Bedoya, in John Huston's classic film. Negotiation seems impossible.

Viva Max (1969)
Peter Ustinov takes over the Alamo. Jonathan Winters negotiates with him.

El Mariachi (1992)
Robert Rodriguez takes over Hollywood. Victory didn't last, but he had a great start. Negotiations continue...

viva max
el mariachi
cinco de mayo movies
treasure of the sierra madre

Friday, March 09, 2012

Tax For Washington State - Film Industry Incentives

Tax For Washington State - Film Industry Incentives

Congratulations to the Washington State Senate who passed the Washington State Film Incentives Bill SB 5539, with a vote of 92 to 6.

Congratulations also to the many film and video persons in the NW who gathered and rallied and lobbied to get this Bill read and voted on.All right!
As I understand it, the tax benefits were removed from the Bill 
and other compromises were made, but it did pass. Now the Washington Governor has 20 days to sign it. Time will tell...

Here's an interesting photo, from the KOMO-TV (Seattle ABC affiliate) website, reporting this news:

See the microphone? It's supposed to point forward, but it is backward. Lens pointing forward, mic pointing backward. Oops!

Will somebody please tell the girl in the picture she's pointing her mic the wrong way?

Maybe she's trying to record somebody behind her, but he left.

Or, she's recording narration. I know, it's a retro-directional mic! 
Um, yeah.

Pretty girl, but hardly a photo choice to indicate Washingtonian filmmaking 
proficiency.  Too bad, KOMO-TV!

tax for washington state
film industry incentives
industry incentives
film industry

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Your Film Movie Camera Is Not a Story-Teller

Your Film Movie Camera Is Not a Story-Teller
This article tickles me, I love it!

Cameras Don't Make Movies People Do

Remember, you are a Story-Teller, That is your Filmmaking Function.
Cameras are Cool Tools, but only in support of Telling your Story.

film movie camera
movie camera film
movie film camera
film camera movie

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Film Producers Wasting Time, Money and Paper on Non-Compliant Film Financial Projections

Film Producers Wasting Time, Money and Paper on Non-Compliant Film Financial Projections

This blog post is horrifying. It is entirely possible to spend a great deal of time to get Film Financial Projections which are completely a waste of time, money and paper.

The article is by Mr. John Cones, and its warning is clear and factual. I urge Producers with film projects to turn to him for information, as he is a fount of reliable content on the topic.

Sam Longoria

John Cones

film projects

film funding
film finance
film funding finance
film financial projections

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Watch Raiders Of The Lost Ark

I was present at ILM once upon a time,
 a guest of my friend and mentor Richard Edlund ASC, when they were shooting "Raiders Of The Lost Ark."

The day of the film's premiere, I attended a theatre screening of it, and was married in a hot-air balloon. That's an adventure!

Later, I bought a movie theatre, and ran that wonderful movie, for much of that year, in it.

I went on to work in Hollywood, with Richard and many of the "Raiders" visual effects team, on "Ghostbusters" and other movies.

I have met Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and Harrison Ford, and lots of those guys, and I love "Raiders Of The Lost Ark!"

Nothing could have prepared me for Jamie Benning's wonderful treatment of the film, in his "Filmumentary" movie, "Raiding The Lost Ark." It is GOOD.

KOSU article about "Raiding The Lost Ark."

NPR article about Jamie's filmumentary.

Benning turns "Raiders" on its head, inserting new angles and making-of footage and interviews and commentary, from remarkably unlikely sources.

You would think this would be distracting or detrimental to your viewing experience, but NO. It is a whole new experience, and quite a good one.

Take it from this jaded Hollywood Visual Effects Man and Filmmaker and Movie Theatre Owner: Set some time aside, and watch this movie. Do it NOW.

raiders of the lost ark
raiding the lost ark jamie benning 
harrison ford george lucas
steven spielberg
richard edlund asc

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Nikon D800 - DSLR Essentials

Nikon D800 - DSLR Essentials 
I'm a Nikon man, but even I admit it - 
Canon's had the lead for a while, over Nikon. Canon's DSLRs shoot HD, and are state-of-the-art. Such bloody good cameras.

Well, Nikon's now thrown its weight behind this competition, and has raised the bar. There is some incredible Nikon DSLR hardware arriving. Quite the jump to 36.3 Megapixels, for one thing.

Take a look at some of this footage. 

Let me know what you think of it, and check out the Nikon D800 DSLR.

Nikon D800
Nikon DSLR
DSLR Essentials