Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



So I didn’t make it down to the festival for two events, but I did go to one. I went to see the film The Toe Tactic. I have to say for all the great screenings that I wanted to check out, I really had trouble finding the time between school and work. That and I felt like absolute shat last week because of this head cold.
I can’t even say I really had interest in seeing the film I watched, more that it was the most convenient block for me to get to. Anyway, I guess I’ll give a brief summary and review of the film…

The Toe Tactic

The film takes place in New York and it is presumably modern day. The film’s main character, Mona Peek, is a girl who is between jobs, and lost in the wake of her father’s untimely death. The film uses animation to convey a story of the perfectly abnormal cause and effect scenarios that we, in the real world, wish could explain everything that happens to us: good or bad.

This was Emily Hubley’s, the animator, feature film debut. I have no real connection to her work and I don’t know if I’ve seen it in the past, but it was pretty interesting. It has that kind of third-grade kid doodling on notebook paper look to it.

In the animated realm a game was occurring between some dogs. It was basically a card matching game and once they had a match they could interact with Mona’s world, which effects the outcome of each event that happens in the film. Sometimes the dogs helped in her journey towards reconciliation with the memory of her father, sometimes they didn’t; in one scene a dog possesses (yes they are able to possess people when they get a card match) a homeless man and tries to mug Mona in order to get a bone from her. The bone is actually a surviving fragment from when they cremated her father… Pretty odd thing to carry around.

The story seemed a bit bipolar on if it was going to take a positive route or a negative one, and it basically ended right in the middle. Each character was a bit too complacent to offer up any sort of existential sentence they could. A couple of the dog scenes were particularly annoying, because they seemed to talk in circles around the audience (or maybe it was just me.) Some of it just seemed like hosh-posh nonsense for the sake of sounding smart and contemplative. Nawmean?

I’m not saying it was horrible, it just didn’t make much sense to me. The acting was mediocre and a bit strange or random at times, but again I think the film was reaching for something beyond my personal scope of enjoyment. In the end, Mona had to basically explain the plot in a dialogue, for me to get it; apparently she was forgetting what her dad was like when he was alive. We get a gushy crying scene as she admits this to her mom, the dogs say “good game” and the bird, who hosted the entire game, possesses an old man and waves to Mona as her and her mother drive off into the future.

This is completely off that topic, but I caught the Yes Men on CNN (I think it was CNN) this past weekend. It seems that they completely fabricated a false edition of the New York Times and it’s headline read “Iraq War Ends.” I forget exactly how many copies are in circulation, but I would love to get my hands on one and read some of the gag articles. Some linkage

Monday, November 10, 2008

the new jam session

Freestyle Time
I hope I can reach 600 words because this is not the time of day I’d prefer to be doing this. Right now I’d be much happier eating something hot in front of the TV. The urge is tenfold what it normally is because of this shitty little cold I picked up recently. So here goes nothing...

We have to do a visual essay in my ENG 306: Essay Writing class. It doesn’t really matter what approach we take; it can be an argument, instructional, informative, it’s just that whatever it is, it has to be primarily visual rather than textual. The professor is trying to get us thinking like writer’s while applying that knowledge to a different medium for the same cause.
I feel like I have an unusual advantage over this particular project due to the fact that we just got done with our Found Footage culture jams in 6x1; I can’t think of a better way to make an argument using the visual medium of film(aside from a documentary).

My culture jam for 6x1, which is posted below, was arguing that the benefits of drugs usually don’t outweigh the risks, especially if we consider that the risk is 9 out of 10 times is heart failure: which may cause death. There is nothing more satisfying than taking something out of context and turning it in on its own head.

I’m thinking about comparing our current war with Vietnam. That’s been discussed many times before and even I‘m sick of hearing that comparison, but I‘m going to take a new approach to it.
I’m going to show how, in one respect, these to wars are very different. Particularly, how they are different at home.

I’m talking about the media coverage now and the media coverage then. What do they show us? What don’t they show us? What impact does that have on our national/global community?
Because the media is not allowed to show pictures of wartime hard-truths, such as bodies returning to the United States from Iraq, the idea of war has not resonated as strongly as it did during the Vietnam War. I believe we, as citizens, brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers, sons, daughters, etc., should have access to these truths. There is no need to pull the proverbial wool over our eyes since, in one way or another, we are all involved in this nation‘s decisions.

The media guides us to believe that the Iraq war is under control. I’m excited that we have a new president and all, but the situation is far from over. During the 60’s and 70’s major anti-war protests took place, I believe that we can attribute some of this to the reality that was broadcasted into America’s living rooms. War is as decaying and ugly, as a Newsroom is lavish and shinny. Bells and whistles, charts and numbers, feature stories about Brittany Spears: it is all content with no context. I hope to make this argument within the editing and restructuring of coverage from both of these controversial wars.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

dun dun DUNNNNNNNN...THE MAFIA(W) blog

I plan on using the technique, which we learned a while back, of using a template with clear film and a jet ink printer. Since I have no idea what the mystery prop will be, I haven’t really thought of a scenario yet. I’ll be using my digital SLR to shoot the project, so every image will be a still shot, but I’m going to use pixilation to animate people and objects. I’m probably going to play around with a lot of Photoshop brushes and filters to give the film a painted on look.

It’s going to be tricky indeed to pull all this off in 48 hours. To edit 1440 images wont be an easy feat to undertake in that amount of time, its gonna take a lot of coffee and a new pair of contacts.
I’m probably going to create a couple of filter templates within the next couple of weeks, that way all I’ll have to do, once the trigger is pulled, is shoot the pictures and throw these filters onto the whole batch. I still haven’t figured out the most efficient way of doing that, but it’ll come to once the pressure is on. If anyone has played around with that sort of thing, and you are reading this blog, please feel free to give some advice.

Once all that is done, I’m going to transfer it to mini-dv, take it into Final Cut, and make whatever adjustments might compliment the initial structure of the film.

Also, I might try using film stock with a soundtrack. The different pulsating rhythms created by the dots in the example we looked at really added a neat dimension to the film.

I really don’t know much more than that at this point, which I think is the interesting part of the assignment. I would like my concept to reflect whatever the mystery prop might be, so it’s all basically a mystery to me until the mystery prop is revealed.

I realize I’m a few words short here so… I’m going to go ahead and say that my film is going to change the entire industry, as well as the viewing experience as a whole. That may be a lot to take in, but it’s true. It’s going to rattle the heads of world leaders and create an indiscriminant peace for all of mankind. That is, of course, if the mystery prop is more of a mystery budget than it is an actual prop. Think about it. Just make a mystery (blank) check out to me and I will accomplish all of this in the name of Andre “Dr. Dre” Silva the great.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes Men

Yeah man, the Yes Men are funny. I was a little thrown off at first, I would never claim to be an expert on the happenings of the WTO, but I definitely got the picture, or at least the commentary made by the Yes Men, by the end of the film.

I think its important that there are people out there combating corporate monsters such as the WTO. If it weren’t for like-minded individuals making this king of stand, these big money organizations would spiral even more out of control.

It’s pretty clever that these guys can infiltrate this corrupt system of bureaucratic nonsense by simply acting the part of business men with perverse moral/ethical grounding: they fit right in.
Watching it as a documentary, and in essence being in on the gag, is really an eye-opening experience. You have to ask questions like: Where was security to escort this man (in a gold leisure suit with a phallus) out of this conference? Why didn’t people from a television network catch onto a false representative of the WTO before allowing him to be on air?

It really is a statement of the amount of absurdities corporate interests can get away with.

I took a little pride in the fact that the college students saw past the smooth talk and that they weren’t actually sold on the idea of literally selling shit to third world McDonald patrons. If there was a single agreeable individual in that audience, may he/she burn in hell (in my opinion).
I would have like to have seen how that presentation would have gone at the scheduled conference it was intended for, with a more money-washed audience, but it didn‘t work out that way. Hopefully, for humanity’s sake, the reaction would have remained the same, but we’ll never know.

In the last gag, the Yes Men declared that they, the assumed WTO, were disbanding and reassembling as an organization geared towards the betterment of mankind and not big business. It was pretty cool to see all the positive reactions from the press members present at this conference. It was as if some of the people giving reactions to the camera were slapped by the idea that the World Trade Organization would truly be concerned with the interests of the people. It just goes to show you how accepting a lot of us have become towards these organization’s, such as the WTO, roles as merciless and unbeatable villains. It kind of makes me want to stand up and boycott a local McDonald’s or something, but honestly I’d probably just order a number ten once discouraged.

Film is definitely a strong vessel of awareness and opinion. The Yes Men was a great example of film as action in that it promoted joining or supporting their cause at the end of the movie.