Thursday, December 22, 2005

The State of Things

I've been lamenting about movies not being good anymore, and that everything is so corporate, but I would be remiss if I did not say that there are filmmakers and films out there that truly are works of art, and which are highly entertaining. Films such as the one pictured above. It is from a scene in "The Memory of a Killer" by director Erik Van Loovy. The above shot is of the actor Jan Decleir. The film is from Belgium, and it is an extrodinary piece of cinema. It should be put on every cinefile's list to go see. Other films such as "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" starring Julianne Moore, and Woody Harrelson is another film that is fabulous. Directed by Jane Anderson the film follows a women who is extra-ordinary.

Then there is the movie "Separate Lies", starring Tom Wilkinson, and Emily Watson. This film is truly a bright gem. It is the directorial debut of Julian Fellowes who creates a strong story driven by interesting characters. Just these three movies make my heart aglow, and inspire me to create better films. All three films have their uniqueness, and I'm sure these films will be given a good life on DVD, but it is unfortunate that most Americans will never see these films in theaters due to the blockbuster mentality. More and more the market is driven by niche areas, and when Hollywood says it's an independent film it usually is further from the truth.

The world is a big place, and cinema is being created all over this earth in every corner. It's great to see foreign films get their due, and it is inspiring to see how others are telling their stories. Seeing these picture I am envious at their level of production, and expertise. It sometimes makes me question on why I am doing what I am doing. Doubt sets in, and sometimes makes one paralyzed in ones own fear, BUT then it passes, and I come away invigorated, and refreshed. Like a fresh breeze that blows off the ocean on a hot and humid day, and then you realize WHY you want to tell stories.

Treat yourself and see these films. I'm sure you won't regret it. They aren't your usual Hollywood fare, but they stand on their own, and are damn fine entertainment.

Happy Holidays! See you at the cinema!

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Demise of Tape!

So I've just read up on Panasonic's new camcorder which is releasing this month sometime. The AG-HVX 200 records on tape, but also on P2 disks, which give you 18 minutes worth of HD footage. So in essence you can now download all your footage to a HD array, and then plug that in after your shoot, and start editing on your NL editor. Digitizing becomes a distant memory, and now companies will expect you to have their projects done instantly. With every great advance there will be headaches, and a lot of them won't be technical. The price tag is steep, and one P2 4 gig disk is about $1,200, so this isn't cheap. Slowly the future reveals itself. Check out HD for Indies for more info on the camera and the street date.

As the industry gets closer and closer to HD, and it becomes the norm it will be interesting how it does against actual film. Remember compression is DV's Achilles heal. With HD things get closer and closer to the film world. Such things as latitude & definition within the picture area become important especially when the final film will be projected onto a screen. It's an interesting development, and something I'm a bit excited about.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chomping at the bit!

I got my first review in for "Deadly Obsessions", and it isn't great, but I agree with a certain part of it, but still I'm proud of the film. After all most people who've seen the film seem to like it, and are interested in it. I've gotten some nice comments, and for that I am eternally grateful, but having lived with the film for so long I see more of it's flaws then anyone else.

And you know what that makes me want to do? Do it AGIAN! You always learn something new and different on every film you do, and I want to jump on the next one, and apply those things that I learned. Everyone is a critic, and you have to have some pretty thick skin to go into any of the arts, but I still want to do more work. I have stories to flesh out, and characters to create. My problem is that I like doing films that I can realistically create. I'm no special effects techie who can have spaceships flying around galaxies, and I'm in no position to create a period piece. I'm stuck with MY REALITY. The here and now, and that's fine with me because there is no shortage of stories here. Read a newspaper, open a magazine, or even watch some TV news. There are stories abound, and each one is different and unique. So there's no limit to what you can do, but sometimes when your sitting alone at your computer the words don't flow as well as you'd like. Distractions are everywhere, and sometimes it's real frustrating working on something that may never see the light of day. I'm sure there are thousands of artists in the same boat who experience the same feelings as I do.

For me the strongest thing is the image, but I've learned that words are important too. I've watched many a one act plays which are very engrossing and interesting. The actors make it come alive, and for the briefest of instances you are transported to that place by the sheer performance of the cast & crew, but alone at your typewriter, or computer the words don't inspire, and certainly the images can't. There are no actors to give it life, and sometimes when writing the writer becomes uninterested in the story and bored by his or her words. I find myself there now. Production is a maelstrom of activity where I thrive. Alone it is much more difficult. I am in awe of authors who have written masterpieces for both the literary world and the stage. How did they deal with their demons and their insecurities? How did they know what they wrote was of some worth, or mere tripe? The answer I can only summize is that they knew because they failed more then they succeeded, and they KNEW what was crap and what was literary gold. I also think they knew because of their wealth of knowledge in reading other authors works.

It's the same old story. Experience can only help, but how do you do this in today's market where not only are there books to read, but movies to see, TV to be programmed, and journals to read. It's all quite maddening on how much we are bombarded with all kinds of media.

So why am I chomping at the bit? Find time, write, and then re-write. That's usually the way it goes, but collaboration with others can make a project even more powerful then it is on paper. Hence the frustration. To be the writer, and the director is simply maddening. If I had to choose I so much like the directing part over the writing. The interaction between actors, & the crew can be stimulating and invigorating.

One can argue that too many chefs in the kitchen does tend to spoil the pot. If your a good director you'll know this, and you'll know when to say no to some ideas and yes to others. That's why I'm "chomping". I want to get back to that, and tell a good story. Sitting alone at a computer is not my idea of fun. It's interaction, and using the creative collective to create great pieces of cinema that I enjoy. I haven't done it yet, but I feel I'm in reach, and that's the frustrating part. I'm always learning, and I'm always going to try and strive to do my best. So I need to push onward!