Thursday, October 25, 2007

Gone Baby Gone

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Ben Afflek's new film "Gone Baby Gone" is a nice modern noir about a missing child, and the people who seemed to be involved in the plot. Affleck uses his brother Casey Afflek to portray Patrick Kenzine a private detective. His partner is played by Michelle Monaghan. The film depicts the underbelly of Boston. Affleck populates the cast with original actors from the area, and it gives the film a lot of credibility. John Toll does the cinematography, and it is the photography that makes the film seem very authentic. The film is from the novel by Denis Lehane, so the dialogue feels real.

I liked the film, and felt it was a good debut for Affleck to do. I heard the budget was around $20 million, and it looks it. But what sells the film to me is the use of actual locals as actors. These parts aren't just for atmosphere, but the majority of the local players have actual lines. Along with the dialogue by Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard who share screenplay credit the movie feels like a a tight and taunt little thriller. My problem with the film is why the characters do what they do. I won't give it away, but I'll say that good intentions go bad here, and how others don't know what the police are doing is beyond me. Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman all have good parts to play, and they do their best in the film, and their performances in the film are worth the price of admission. Affleck picked a nice tight script to make his directorial debut, and his work with the actors in the film make it an interesting film to see.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Everybody's Lonely

I've been playing around with Premiere, and finally was able to post a short film I did while I was in school. My professor wanted us to do under and over exposed shots. I believe the exercises was called "daydreams". I shot this over two or three week-ends. We shot it with a Bolex, and the stock was plus-X reversal film.

I learned that when you under-exposed reversal film it turned to mud. Over-exposing reversal was better, but still you couldn't over-expose too much. negative film has a much better latitude, and is very forgiving. I soon learned to love negative film, and my favorite at the time was Kodak's 7294. It was a color stock and it had a fast ISO, so you could shoot with few lights and get a really decent picture.

I received my grade, and moved on. Later I transferred the film to videotape from the work print. I also put to video most of the footage from that shoot, so I could edit on video later. I added the still pictures when I worked at an advertising agency and used their equipment in the evening. The pictures are of my cousin, and her family. I thought I could establish her as the girl I shot while in school. I kind of liked it, and it stayed. I added Harry Chapin's song "Everybody's Lonely" at this point, and I soon had a new film I could show others. I've been a Chapin fan since I was a little, and so I made it a sort of tribute video to him. It wasn't my best, but it did have the feeling I wanted.

I believe I over-exposed the reversal film by a stop and half, and also did the same for the under-exposing. I tried two and three stops, but over-exposing that much burned out the image, and under-exposing made the emulsion too thick, and the images looked like mud. I would have loved to see a print struck from the footage, but expense was a problem. When you're a film student all your money goes to text books, and then processing, and film stock. There's little else you can afford, so making a print was saved for you're final film.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jamie Stuart

Check out the web page The Mutiny Company. Jamie Stuart's take on the 45th Annual New York Film Festival is funny, and interesting. The videos are located here at the Filmmakers Magazine web site. Stuart is a very talented and interesting filmmaker. Check them out you'll be inspired.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Write like you mean it!

Okay so I've been having trouble writing something about my dad. It needs to be about him, and not about our relationship, or am I wrong? How can I write something about someone without having my own feelings put in there. Isn't it about the relationship?

Well no it isn't. It's about a mans decent into confusion & chaos. It about the man's feelings on loosing himself. I know, I know movies have been done about this. Most recently a film called "Away from her" by Sarah Polley has tackled this issue with great skill, and has been hailed by critics as a wonderful and powerful film. I have not seen the film since I was writing something that was similar, and I didn't not want to be dismayed by what I had written and what Ms Polley film had portrayed. In no way could I probably approach what Sarah Polley had done due to my budgetary restraints, but I am hoping to make it a true account of how my father felt as he was being taken from us ever so slowly.

Why do I write about this here? Partly to try and express the difficulty of writing good material. I know that it will take me some time to complete this project, but it is something I am passionate about, and its something I feel worth saying. I have no high expectations for this film other then to tell my fathers story to his grandchildren. The grandchildren he never got to see. The film is a worthwhile endeavor and something that I really want to make work. I don't know if I can pull it off given the budgetary constraints. Every time I think about the story I dread writing about it. I feel that I may never do justice to the memory of my father. As I write I seem to reject more ideas or material then I accept, and I know I'm self censoring myself at times. It's not about me, it's about a fathers journey. It spans 80's years, and a lifetime of achievements that are good and bad.

Finding the time, and getting it all down on paper seems a chore. I've at least identified what I want to do, but the task at hand still seems daunting. I know I can make a film. My first film showed me that, but this time it's personal and it means a lot more to me. Wish me luck I'm going to need it.