Sunday, April 19, 2009

6 x 1 part dos

If I could be part of 6 x 1 part 2 I would be so lucky and I would bring lucky charms to every class, I will start by saying that first off.  I would love to see a lot more film work from the department and I know how both the Silva's are fighting for celluloid.  Film is not dead.  I would love to incorporate scratching, toning, and animation into one project like make them correlate and then watch them on a screen with three projectors.  I would like to see more film camera work.  The long take day was my favorite day because you gave us so much freedom as long as we return with the footage.  I really just want to work with film which is why I am so upset that Andy Hulse is leaving.  They cut his program and he is leaving and good for him.  And I am pissed that Hulse never showed up to class.  All winter break I was excite because I thought I was going to get to meet him and work with him on little projects and he would shed some of experience over my head and I would learn from someone Shannon told me to look out for.  Things never quite work out the way you expect them to.  I really want the second part of 6 x 1 to expand to sequels to all the projects we have already worked on.  The art of making one minute films is really incredible and I wish that more festival films where one minute or less.  You never get bored watching a one minute film because if you feel you are getting bored you just blink and it is over.  I really enjoyed the freedom of the class and can say that the Silva classes are the ones I got the most out of, even intro to editing helped me and I became a much better editor since being outside of that summer class.  I apologize for how rotten I was in that class to Shannon.  I had some family problems that I made sure to keep to myself but the misery I had inside of me I was sure to spread like manure.  Back to 6 x 1, I would like to have one narrative project where a story has to done in voice over.  I think more students should take more chances in their projects.  Everyone seems to make the same film which isn't the teachers fault at all.  We still talk about the days of Intro with Shannon where everyone had a bum in their silence film involving a stolen pie. Anyways, 6 x 1 was a great class and I am happy to have spent it with the new father.  I guess this is my last class with the Silva's.  You guys were the most influential throughout my film school career and I appreciate your willingness to help me and applaud your ability and your patience in dealing with me.  Sometimes it seems I can be difficult just to be difficult.  Thank you guys for teaching me to just keep working and keep producing no matter what because great ideas are only ideas until they are turned into art.  Finally, I thank you and hope to see more work from the Silva's in the future where ever I may be.  I think Toltoy said, "Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.  This state of mind is not common, but is essential for right thinking."  Well thank you for showing me that.

48 hour race

Wow, well what can I say that hasn't already been said?  The 48 hour film race was intense as shit and I am so glad that it is over.  Not true in fact because I loved it and found that the time constraints weren't too bad.  I thought that there was some really great ones in the mix.  I really enjoyed the atmospheric nature of Emily Sheetz work and how Landon and Jos both used the same song.  It is difficult to make a one minute without laying a song behind it.  I was excited to see all of my friends and I only know the people in 6 x 1, joke that isn't far from the truth.  This project was great because it made sure that I would see everyone in the class at the lab.  I was really annoyed that we had to view the projects after the Cheese Sandwich Film Festival but once we started I realized that I was a sour puss and that the atmosphere was perfect.  The darkness, alcohol was flowing, condoms were in the back if you needed them.  The stage was set is all i'm trying to say.  I used Taylor's digital camera as my source of image capturing and it was easy as pie.  I called Tyler Nisbet to come in and hold the camera for me.  I had a whole scene set up with my roommate who is also named Tyler but he chicken out.  He has two blonde wigs and I wanted to make us gay roommates that loves cheese sandwiches.  It would start with me working out and trying my best to be really masculine.  That isn't always easy.  Tyler  would be very fragile and tender to the naked eye, but he is devilish I assure you.  He would suggest a moonlight picnic and make us cheese sandwiches.  I would then masturbate into his sandwich that he made with wheat bread so some reason that I am unaware.  This way it would distinguish his sandwich from mine own.  We would go out by the pond behind my apartment and I would look up at the stars as he would bite into the sandwich.  He tastes something funny and opens it and states, " My god, it's full of stars."  I would still be looking at the sky and kind of take it as is thinking that he is just pointing out the obvious.  So later that night the camera would enter his room and we would be having intercourse.  I would be wearing the blond wig.  The darkness would only show our silhouettes and the audience would think that the wig wearer would be the more feminine Tyler.  The next shot would be on feet.  Underwear would drop to the feet showing that someone was on the toilet.  That person would stand up and look into the toilet seeing semen submerged.  This character would be the masculine me.  I would then say OOOOO.  Now I understand what Tyler was talking about and I am the fool.  But he didn't want to do it so I went on to make a less offensive film.  The clean up from the film I made was quite a task.  I had to scrap Ranch dressing off the bathroom walls, what I missed ate through the paint.  There was sour milk along the toilet and egg shells sat in our tub for at least a week.  My roommates hardly noticed.  I was all out of rice puddle for which I used it as a match on action from licking my knuckles clean of fake seamen (believe what you want to believe) and was bummed because they are kind of expensive and should last longer but once you pop.   Am I right? Trust me, I'm right.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


All day I have been in my room staring at a book my ex-girlfriend gave me and all I can think of is the urge I have to burn it.  It is called The Glass Castle and it is written by Jeannette Walls.  It is a memoir of sorts and is about her life on the streets.  My ex always considered herself an intellectual, which is why she always read the books on Oprah's book club list.  The girl is as shallow as a tide pool.  One good thing she did for me was she started buying me biograpghies and autobiographies.  Of course much of what is said is untrue, fabricated, or exaggerated but it is at least an incite on events that took place in the past.  Anyways, this stupid girl got me thinking about how important our stories are and why I love documentaries so much.  Some documentaries are not very good and they get old fast.  It is really difficult to sit and watch talking heads for a long period of time if the story isn't captivating.  Yesterday I watched the story of Ali vs. Frazier and I was impressed by the story I had heard so often but somehow learned more from this documentary from all the sports shorts I'd seen on ESPN before.  The archive footage was incredible and it went play by play with commentary from some of the sport's most eccentric characters.  Joe Frazier was a big part of the documentary and he is really beaten up.  Of course, Ali can't stop shaking but Frazier still took a lot of punches to grow into a weather skin suit of armor.  Some of my favorite movies are based on real stories.  Raging Bull is one of those films that if it is on tv I have to watch it no matter what my plans were before, things have changed, Raging Bull is on.  Raging Bull is shot in a documentary like style and it really makes the film come off as real and authentic.  Just like when songs are sang in the first person and don't like about we or they and tell someone else story. A film that is playing tonight for free at Lumina is shot in the documentary style as well, the new film The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourick or however you spell his name.  They shoot most of the scenes handheld and have an arrangements of following shots that make the audience feel like they are witnessing the life of a washed up wrestler not a film that glorifies his failures.  The more documentaries I watched the more I liked films that did not have such an ensemble cast like Robert Altman films.  I still love Robert Altman but my style has drifted from his.  Paul Thomas Anderson takes a huge amount of visual and narrative influence from Altman.  I think all his movies are impressive but his best are his most recent because he starts to move in on the human soul of individuals.  In Punch Drunk Love he focuses on the loneliness, trepidation, and cowardice or Adam Sandler.  His most recent work, There Will Be Blood was nearly a perfect film, maybe it was, I will look at it more as the years go by.  He isolates the greed, abandonment, and sadness for one man that leaves the audience with an insight of a tortured man.  Documentaries focus on the problems inside the bigger problems and I think that is what good film does as well, not always but for 600 words it does.  Thank you very much and I will see you Thursday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Rough Theater

The Rough Theater is the roughest ass shit on da market son, fo shhow.  The Rough Theater is still theater, but it has an edge.  Ok Ok lets start from the beginning of the two page article and maybe I can get this right.  The author focuses first on the design of theaters and how they are all about allowing interaction with people.  People love theater for the meeting place to talk about poltics, culture, art, sex, alcohol leading to sex, needing sex and not seeming perverted, so it is basically like college with grown ups.  Architects come into major theaters and try to figure out what the perfect design could be and what will allow it to become the most successful.  I am not sure what is more prestigious, The West End or Broadway but I know some of the theaters on Broadway are beautiful and others are a little run down.  I really hope that I can stretch 600 words out of this small article but I will do my best.  Theater is not always rich people going to see renditions of William Shakespeare plays.  The article discusses the positives of rough theater in the back allies where bums do drugs and get hand-jobs and I frequent to catch them doing both...and sometimes participate but never uninvited.  Ok, so it is always the big plays like Avenue Q that saves the theaters and keeps butts in the overpriced seats but it is the small off beat theater that gives playwrights a chance to learn and build their arsenal and hone their craft.  I really love some off beat theater but a lot of times I go and I can't stand it but if you are serious and are willing to work then you deserve a chance just not always at the highest level until you have proved yourself.  One of my favorite movies is finding neverland and it is about the playwright that wrote Peter Pan.  He brought children into the theater and with them brought life to a dying art.  At the time it was really taboo and at first the regular trained theater goers did not like what they saw.  People get used to the safe stuff and do not want to pay hard earned money for stuff they might not enjoy.  Seasoned theater goers do not want to see actors that change their accents and moods to suit the mood of the audience which is sometimes an aspect of rough theater.  They did tests and proved that theater goers are trained to focus and find mistakes, they do not understand when things are not completely consistent.  First time viewers who were in this case jail birds had no trouble following the changes and loved when the actors played to the audience.  I am listening to Nick Cave and just watched a movie he wrote called the proposition and thought it as really good.  I am a sucker for Westerns.  I saw Oklahoma at the Hippodrome, an overpriced theater back home and liked it but was not thrilled with it.  It was well done but I would have loved to see something else if I had the choice.  Nick Cave is big into making soundtrack like music and got into music through rough theater.  Is this true?  probably not but I am trying my best here to make it stick.  Rough theater is the breeding ground of artists and sometimes the home of great art.  It is worth taking a chance and buying a ticket to small venues with good atmospheres, you could get laid which we all love unless you get paranoid of where people like that have been.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Yes Man

Yes, this documentary is not to be confused with the 2009 comedy starring Jim Carey, this shit is fo reale.  This is one of the best political documentaries that I have ever seen.  I am sure you and Shannon have seen a lot more than I have so you may laugh at that statement but I really really really enjoyed.  Its funny because it reminded me of a Jim Carey movie, The Truman Show.  The Truman Show is without a doubt the most fucked up movie of all-time.  Ed Harris is the director of a corporate reality t.v. show starring Jim Carey who was bought as a child and brought up in a make believe town with make believe people.  They are all actors pretending to be his friends and family.  When Andre first put on the movie I was a little confused on what the purpose of the Yes Man was.  I thought they were just internet activists trying to mess with the hypocrisy of the Bush administration.  I am not a political person what so ever.  In fact, I am a little ashamed at how apathetic I am towards issues that are so important.  I think it might be because I am from a closed family where no one gets in or out.  This is sometimes a bad thing.  But, even I think that what the Bush administration did was pretty awful and we as America look pretty stupid for not finding someone better the second go around even though the other candidates were terrible.  Anyways, I thought what they were doing was incredible and incredibly fucked up.  They were lying to powerful people, pretending to be people they weren't and the best part they were exposing how flawed our system truly is, which was not comforting.  I thought that both men, actually everyone including the costume designer, but definitely the two main activists were very dedicated.  I do not think I have the balls to go in front of people knowing that I could get in trouble and do it over and over again.  I loved how they shaved their heads to look professional.  I do not know if they are gay lovers but that aspect was really entertaining.  I was impressed to see people backing them.  It was a real struggle to find funding which is kind of like being an independent filmmaker.  I think it would be nice to be Stephen Speilberg in the sense that anytime you get an idea and want to create it then you can go to Dreamworks for the money.  If you some reason they said no, which I don't see happening because he basically owns it, he can say Fuck off, I'm using my own money because I have Jaws.  Anyways, I really did appreciate what the Yes Men were doing.  In this blog we have to discuss why the Yes Man documentary is important to look at in relation to our 48 hour film race.  Everything these men did was a race to create something and pull off the impossible.  Do the film race was incredible and I am so happy we didn't do it during exams because I heard horror stories of sleep deprivation from the class last year.  In your defense, everyone said it was a great time though.  That was one of my favorite projects and the restrictions made it even better.  In the words of Todd Berliner, speaking the words of Orson Welles, "If you believe Orson Welles, (pause for dramatic effect...this worked in a room full of students) and be careful if you don't.  The greatest art comes from under the greatest restrictions."  I for some reason thought that was bull shit until I was watching a few movies from the HUAC period and realized they are all good even though they had to deal with incredible restrictions.  The Yes Man had restrictions, the greatest one being time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

John Lethem

I just read the article Ecstasy of Influence by Johnathan Lethem and it was really good and that is important because it was kind of long.  Lethem is a great author.  I have read two of his novels, Motherless Brooklyn, which Ed Norton has the rights to and is trying to get off the ground, and The Fortress of Solitude.  Both were great works that included aspects that I have seen before.  It didn't take anything away from the stories because as different people can be, sometimes we face similar problems.  The main character in Motherless Brooklyn has turrets syndrome.  My little brother had turrets syndrome and he means the world to me, so I read books that incorporate it. Lethem makes the argument that society believes that once something is created it is completely the creators.  Bob Dylan used the world around him to create his music.  Neil Young has had one number one hit song, Heart of Gold.  Heart of Gold is off his album Harvest.  Young had created plenty of songs that were nothing like Dylan's.  Dylan was incredibly successful at the time and Young moved to Nashville to record an album with an entirely new crew of studio musicians.  Heart of Gold and Oldman became huge hits.  When Dylan heard the songs of the radio he flipped out.  He believed if they sounded like his songs then they better be his songs.  But everyone knows that Dylan has been influence by artists like Woody Gutherie.  Vladimir Nabokov's most successful novel is Lolita, which it turns out is to be taken from a German author during the Great War.  Lolita is ranked as the fourth greatest novel of the 20th century by the Modern Library.  Lolita has been made into a movie twice, once by the great Stanley Kubrick.  Nabokov believes that his greatest achievement is the translation of Eugene Onegin.  Much of the world's work is influenced by other great art.  Many of the most beautiful films I've seen are found footage projects.  Much of the greatest artists are influenced by other great art, not always void.  Maybe there is something to be said for all the films that are considered to be modern masterpieces are really European remakes.  I was watching The Birdcage with Robin Williams the other day and in the beginning it states at the bottom that it is based on the French film by some other name.  So where does it all lead, I think in the right direction as long as producers and artists do not rest in safety of remaking already successful art.  Much of the art that is taken from another artist is used as a critique towards society or oneself.  I do not like it when a rap song is made out of a classic blues or rock song because I think that is like standing on the shoulders of great men and cashing in their chips.  But maybe you could make the argument that it is exactly like what we are talking about.  I thought the strongest part of the article was with the music game.  Muddy Waters wrote a song that was very similar to one previously written by the great Robert Johnson.  Waters said that the song flowed right out of him even though it was similar to a song he had heard before.  Maybe the idea of being original is not important but the expression one achieves by the process.  I am sure that what Aaron Valdez has done has also been done by someone else but it does not make him any less of an artist.  I don't think the same can be said for your most recent work Andre, that stop motion underwater with the fish, my god that was awesome what ever it was.  When you're born into a society that makes everything up as it goes along it is impossible to create something completely original without creating your own language, which is an idea.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Molotov Man

This was the most interesting article that we have had to read so far this year.  I did not expect to get a little history with the article but I did and it flew by.  I am not saying it made me want to join a cause or anything but seeing someone so passionate about something is absolutely incredible.  Look in the Mototov man's eyes and you see his fury.  Look at his chops and you see his outdatedness.  I was a little confused with the two authors and both of those authors being primary sources but I reread the article and I got it.  How the article was split was really confusing.  I would read a sentence and the next one would not make sense because it really continues on the top of the page on the other side, not the big paragraph right beside it.  The painter, Joy Garnett, took photos off the internet and put them in a folder because she is cool like that.  She went back and began to filter through the ones she wanted to recreate via canvas.  I never thought of doing that but it is very clever.  The original Molotov Man was almost 6 feet talk which is too small if you ask me.  I kind of see myself as a tall strong beautiful political figure.  Oh yes oh yes.  Joy Garnett painted plenty of pictures and got a gallery to have a showcase and so she went to get permission to use the photos.  She went to some money hungry bitch that had her lawyer write a lot of threatening letters about suing and that she wanted 2000 dollars for licensing and additional fees.  Garnett's art became tainted.  Someone online found the photo and out it on his webpage and it opened the flood gates.  The bottle that the Molotov Man threw happened to be a fucking Pepsi.  Can you believe it?  I thought Coke was huge down there but no it was Pepsi.  So Pepsi goes ahead and sues the fuck out of Joy Garnett.  She is taking it from all angles.  All she wanted to do was painted a picture depicting human emotions and find a way to make it a critique of society, which would have made it ok like our found footage projects.  Which by the way I did a found footage project for Shannon in intro to editing and I was thinking about cutting it down to a minute.  What do you think?  Being a pain in the ass, the original photographer decided to write an article to defend herself and her photo.  She did not want the image to be changed in any way because she believed it took away from the art of capturing a moment in time when humans are pushed to the extreme.  So "Joywar" began.  I had no idea that the image was taken so long ago and all the problems began in 2003 if I remember correctly.  The original photographer, Susan Meiselas ended up not suing and taking any money from the artist but put up a good defense for her herself which I've kind of already explained.  They went back and found the Molotov man would owns his own truck, so apparently he is rich.  The image was been used as symbols for many political uprising in Nicaragua.  The man's real name is Pablo Arauz.  What really bothered me was that Arauz had his image sold.  The article did not touch on the fact that Arauz never gave permission for the picture to be taken or used.  It reminded me of Apocalypse Now where Dennis Hopper keeps going around Marlon brando and Brando wants to crush him like a bug.  It makes me wonder if someone took a photo of me on the toilet and then printed it and then I became the face of a joke political party called the dumbshits.  Maybe I did not want to be the image of such an organization and I would not want my face on billboards or t-shirts.  Everything seems to be on a case by case basis and in this one I think everything turned out alright.