Thursday, June 26, 2008

48 Hour Film Project: Live Interview

Right, so. I haven't posted about the 48 hour film project even though it went on two weeks ago. Couple reasons.

First, the usual excuse about having lots of work to do on Descendants, Sandrima, etc.

Secondly, I wanted to wait and see if we won the Audience Choice award before posting, because what a great end to the story that would have been. But we didn't, so there you go.1

did a podcast interview about the experience that I thought covered the bases nicely, plus it's much nicer for both of us if it's audio instead of text -- you can do other things while you listen, and I don't have to type the thing in the first place.

So, instead of writing it up, you can listen to my interview over at Filmmaking Central.

And if you found my blog via Filmmaking Central in the first place, hi! Feel free to peruse the archives, and I hope to see you around here again.

  1. The one that did win was a film called "Stuck", a detective story executed in a single unbroken Steadicam shot. I heart unbroken Steadicam shots, especially when well-executed -- and this one was great, especially for such a short timeframe to orchestrate the thing -- so I can't begrudge them for winning. Hell, I voted for them.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Can all the cool people please stop dying

First we lost Stan Winston...and now George Carlin.

We all know celebrity deaths come in threes. I don't even want to think about who might be next.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt

I know I said I'd blog about the 48 Hour Film Project. And I will. But this came to my attention and I couldn't not share it.

Maybe I'm just a sentimental bitch of a man, but I thought this video was really moving -- in part because of the triumphant music, but mostly because of the triumph of the video itself. It's one thing to watch a guy dance badly on the internet. It's another to watch him dance badly around the world. But it's really something else entirely to watch hundreds of people from around the world, of all difference countries and cultures and ages and races and genders and backgrounds, lay all that aside and dance badly with him.

I'm sure most people watch this video and see a neato little viral. I watch this video and I see hope that human beings might just make it, after all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

48 Hour Film Project: Intro

The 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) has been around for 8 years now -- pretty much as long as I've been involved in filmmaking. It's grown from a local thing (according to Wikipedia, it started in Washington, D.C.) and grown into a worldwide, year-round touring event.

For those who don't know, here's how it works: You are given a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue, and you are told to make a film that contains all of those elements.1 The film must be produced, from start to finish, in 48 hours.2

I've basically wanted to do this ever since I started doing films, but never been able to for whatever reason. I lacked resources, a team, the confidence, the time. But this year I knew it was coming up and I thought "Goddammit, I want to do it." We had just teamed up with Ski-ter and Anthony and I was jazzed to fucking shoot, so I checked with them, they were all down with it, and I entered us in the competition.

This is going to be a couple of blogs, and I think I'm actually likely to make it happen. 48HFP is like an anti-procrastination boot camp; I'm a lazy guy in general, truth be told, and I need to get my ass kicked sometimes to keep moving. I never work better than under a deadline. So every time I thought "Ehh, I'll do this later" I immediately thought back "Motherfucker, there is no later. Cut the fucking scene!"

I remember reading a screenwriting book once that carried that message, essentially. It was talking about how writers used to be contract employees at a studio, who went in from 9 to 5 and just wrote for 8 hours. None of the pansy artistic whims we get away with now, where as long as you finish sort of near the deadline you're okay. You sit your ass down and you write every day if you want your paycheck.

Ultimately the message is: saying you don't want to do it now is stupid, because you're not going to want to do it later either. You're never really going to want to do it. So man up and just fucking do it. That's something I knew but it's good to be reminded every so often.

I will be writing more and talking about this weekend's journey in the days to come. Be sure to tune in.

  1. I'm pretty sure that the early iterations of the project only provided genre and either a prop or a line, but not all of the above. Also, previously I think everyone competed in the same genre, now everyone has different ones that they draw from a hat.
  2. You are allowed to cast performers and lock down locations beforehand, and you are also allowed to use pre-existing music and sound effects provided you own the rights and/or they are royalty-free. But the writing and shooting and finishing must all be within the 48 hour period.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Thoughts on the new iPhone: Moore's Law in Action

As we have been hearing and anticipating for the last six months (if not more), Apple has been developing and is finally ready to release their 3G iPhone, with GPS.

Last year I bought an 8GB, first-generation iPhone the day they were released. It cost me $599, although they later dropped the price and gave me $100 in Apple Buxx1 for being an early adopter. 8GB was as big as they came, and the EDGE network was sort of like dial-up speed-wise.

Today they announced their 16GB iPhone, with 3G (technically almost 3 times faster than EDGE, though we'll see what happens when a half-billion iPhone users are all checking Twitter at the same time), true GPS (none of this cell-tower triangulation ghetto-ness), and a $299 price tag -- as they say, twice the speed, twice the storage, half the price.

This follows perfectly with Moore's Law and, as such, I'm perfectly sanguine with it. As a matter of fact I think this is a little faster -- Moore's Law, depending on the version, is either 18 months to two years -- but the point is the same. I knew exactly what I was getting into when I bought the first gen iPhone. I knew that I was spending way more money than if I waited a year, for fewer features than if I waited a year.

But my iPhone has been so valuable to me over the last year, I would have made the same choice knowing what I know. The ability to load videos on the phone has been huge for me, both as a filmmaker and a film watcher. The touch screen was, as expected, a revelation, and the ability to check the web anywhere, at any time, has changed everything. Sure, it was slow, but it was available where it wasn't before.

I would not part with my iPhone for the world, and with the new generation coming in at half the price, it feels more like a bonus than a slight. I was prepared to pay what I consider "full price" for it, and now I'm paying half that.

Keep it up, Apple. I'm happy with it as it is and it will only get better.

  1. That's not really what they called it, but they should have. Fire your marketing, Apple. What have they done for YOU besides brought you back from the brink of obsolescence and bankruptcy to take back a significant share in both the professional and consumer computer and electronics markets? I said besides that.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Orson Scott Card is an Asshole

I was going to write a whole long thing telling Orson Scott Card to go fuck himself, but I realized that going through it point by point is not worth my time.

So I'll keep it brief: I haven't read the Lexicon, so maybe Rowling's lawsuit IS groundless, but Card's argument is complete horseshit and I can barely stand it; as part of the article, he brings up court cases that found in favor of Rowling (as in the case of Nancy Stouffer, whose case was dismissed and who was fined for committing fraud against the court), peppers in little self-promotional "the brilliance of MY work..." comments, and takes credit for a story structure that predates the ancient fucking Greeks in drawing the comparison between the broad strokes of Ender's Game and those of Harry Potter.

Orson Scott Card is a pompous jackass, Ender's Game was completely predictable and self-indulgent, and his work will be a footnote in literary history at best, when Rowling's is venerated by each new generation.

Oh, and also, basing stories on the same general literary structure -- a literary structure made famous in the work of Joseph Campbell, not yours -- is not the same as actively plagiarizing your work verbatim, republishing it, and reselling it for profit. You moron.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008