Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Interesting Film Noir link

Another really neat web site is Film Noir of the week. It's created by Steve-O, and if you're a fan of film noir films then this is a good place to start. I'm always amazed at the depth and how Steve puts it all together.

I'm a big fan of noir films, and I guess Deadly Obsessions is my little tribute to it. When people tell me about the dialogue in the film and just how much there is of it I just refer them to such film classics as "Detour", Double Indemnity, and "DOA". A lot of noirs were dialogue driven, so I didn't see a problem with it. I'm not comparing myself to any of these classics it's just my argument in using dialogue. I do notice especially among the young that their attention span is quite limited. I see this in the students where I work. Maybe it's an age thing I really don't know, but as the French say "c'est la vie".

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Some Links

Okay it's Father's Day and so I'm taking a small break and enjoying the day, but here are two great links I think you should check out if you already don't know them.

One is Badazzmofo.com which is run by a cool dude by the name of David Walker. I actually bought a couple issues of Badazzmofo back in the day. I've rediscovered that he's on the web, and still kicking ass and taking names. Check it out if you have some time. His love for spaghetti Westerns is unparalleled.

Then go on over to Sunset Gun, and take a look at Kim Morgan's web site. Her love of the cinema, and her knowledge leaves mine in the dust. Her credits are numerous, so head on over there and begin to be amazed. She's awesome!

Still writing. As they say about writing it's all in the rewrite. ~sigh!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Beginning....

So how do I start my story. I've already based it on someone I know and that is my dad. He was a complex guy who said little, but still waters ran deep. The one event that transformed him into the person I know as daddy was the war. My dad was a soldier in World War II, and he was in the German army. He was a radio operator, and he had some stories, but they are few and he rarely talked about his experiences. Once in a while I caught a glimpse into the nightmare when he would talk about people he knew. He would go silent when too much of the memory came back, and the wall went back up.

So it's hard to write about someone who didn't share. Even if I would known how important those memories were back then I still wouldn't have gotten much out of my dad. Here where I work we've been video taping World war 2 veterans and their experiences. We've also been chronicling other soldiers experience from the various wars American has fought in. I directed a series of these early on called "Bridging the Generations through oral history". The series covers the Korean war, the Vietnam war, and world war 2. My mom was suppose to be interviewed for one of them because she lived though the American bombing of Germany, and she was an American citizen which was ironic, but she never did because she was in the hospital.

I even have audio tapes from my dad which I've been trying to get to play, but have had problems with it because of a format incompatibility. I've translated letters and have notebooks from my dad when he was a young man. All this material and yet their is still gaps in the collective memory.

So where do I start my story? I've come to the conclusion that it has to be from when I knew him, and go from there. In the end my dad suffered from dementia, and Alzheimer's, so in the end when we were close it was hard to get through the memories which were clouded, and lost to the disease, but there were bouts of clarity that I saw and heard of, so its from there that I have to jump off on.

I've been writing memories and stuff that I know of. I also go back to old photos of the family for reference, and inspiration. The film I envision is NOT a documentary. I don't think I can do justice to the film as a documentary. Too many facts uncertain, and I don't want to spend time dissecting events and get facts right. I want feelings to come through the film. The loss we all go through, and the things that make us us. It is the collective experience of fathers, mothers and children that make us who we are. That's what I ultimately want to cover, and its very frustrating to write about, but there is some progress.

Like I said before this is going to be really hard, so I better get it right and do it right.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So long Sopranos!

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Okay so I have to comment about the last show of one of my favorite series on television. It seems that the creator of the series David Chase has pissed off a segment of our population, and it's making news. It goes to show you that in our media savvy culture hype is everything, and yet here it lead to disappointment or that's what their saying. I don't buy it. The Sopranos was a series about a mobster and his everyday life. All the characters in it were reprehensible goons who you would never associate with or friend for fear of being eaten.

In real life the mob is worse. Being born & raised in Brooklyn & Queens NY I know. I've seen the real thing in real life. I've never seen someone get "whacked", but I remember the stories and the people. For Chase to make these characters even worth our time watching is an amazing feat. It's like a car accident. We don't want to look, but we can't keep our eyes off the accident itself. The Sopranos was a well written series that dealt with unusual characters in unusual events.

This hype is all what WE created. Chase knew what he was doing, and he hood-winked a lot of us, but people who got the show weren't surprised at all of how it ended. Life goes on for a mobster. His way of life is in a sort of decline. The good old days were never really the good old days. Unless you count drug trafficking, numbers running, loan sharking, and prostitution as the good old days. Tony's expression before the sound cuts out in the finale, and Chase cuts to black is typical Sopranos. What Chase did was true to form, and that's all I'll say. I just wish I could write as well as he does. I can only hope someday that my writing is as good or contains elements that Chase explored in the series in 51 minute increments.

So long Sopranos! It was a wild ride, and thanks Mr. Chase for bringing television back to where it belonged and that is in writing. Really good writing.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Catching a wave!

I noticed that I haven't posted here in a while, and its not because I haven't anything to say it's because I have too much to say. To make a long story short I've been hashing around ideas and thoughts for a new project. I've also been keeping busy at work with various events needing my assistance. But the main thought is what to do as a next project. I want to do so much but before I go down that path I need to make sure that the story and the project is worth doing. Because I have a feeling I'll be living with this one for sometime.

Short or feature? I really don't know. I've come to the conclusion what ever better fits the story I'll do, but first I need to write it.

I can tell you that it has a lot of personal stuff in it. About mortality, the relationship between fathers and sons, and just plain generational stuff that makes us who we are. If that sounds vague its not on purpose it's just that I don't have a handle on it all yet. Like I said in a previous post I'm writing and seeing what sticks. I've also been busy with the family and that in itself takes a lot of time.

SO why this post? I don't know why, but I felt it wrong not to say what's up. I could write about movies I've seen, or DVD's that are coming out, but there are better authors out there that do it better then me, so why bother. this blog is about trying to make a film.

Try looking at Everybody on Mars is dead blog. Their doing something, and my hats off to them. I do feel good knowing that there are others out there also doing their own thing, and trying to make their own movies. It would be cool some day if we all met and had a sort of convention, but our projects keep us all busy so it's a hard thing to do, but maybe one day.

Till then people keep the creative juices flowing, and don't forget to breath!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Die Mumblecore! Die please!

Okay there's an article about this supposed movement called mumblecore in the Guardian. Can I say please STOP! I've actually seen "Mutual Appreciation, "Dance Party USA", and even "Four Eyed Monster". I enjoyed "Four Eyed Monster" and was impressed how the filmmakers collaborated with others to create a unique urban tale about love in our media infested culture. It also helped that the filmmakers knew their stuff.

But to compare these films or genre of films to John Cassavetes films seems just wrong. I mean sure Cassavetes used his friends mainly in his films, but his friends were such artists as Peter Falk, and Gena Rowlands who were professional actors. These artists brought a quality to Cassavetes films that cannot be duplicated and actually made the films much more interesting.

Filmmaking is filmmaking, and how you get it done is all that matters as long as you get it done, but please don't compare a great filmmaker like Cassavetes to a movement called "mumblecore" or even call these filmmakers ""the Slackavetes". It's just SO wrong. Cassavetes was a filmmaker who was ten times as talented, and was a master at filmmaking and acting. Like everything that is media related the media wants to label something or compare something to something else.

Why not just say it's original and their films have some elements that Cassavetes explored, but yet it's a different animal. Andrew Bujalski is a talented filmmaker. I may not agree that his work is as good as the critics say, but I do recognize talent. Aaron Katz, Susan Buice & Arin Crumley also are talented, so let's be clear these filmmakers are pretty unique. Their part of the DIY attitude out there, and there films show original thinking, and original thought. Maybe that's where the comparison between Cassavetes and them should be written about.

The one thing I found interesting in the above Guardian interview is that even Mark Duplass, writer and star of The Puffy Chair, which made the 2005 official Sundance selection, concedes, "Sometimes I see films like ours and I think 'Fuck off dude, there's a war going on, who cares about your relationship?" You see even the creators of these films realize how silly the hype is.

Picking up a camera and making a story is one thing, but in an age where digital is fast and cheap just because you can do so doesn't make it good. If anything these filmmakers that make up this so-called "mumblecore" ( I wince every time I write it) are ingenious in marketing their films to their core fan base. If they make money at it great, but because of their hype please lets not debase a renowned filmmaker like Cassavetes. Let's have some respect!