Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Demo Reel

I didn't realize youtube would compress the everloving crap out of this. Apologies for now.

Getting Fancy with an Artist Statement

Before I came to the University of Alabama, I was stuck with a tiny old sony handycam that my dad bought on a whim at an electronics store that probably isn't even around now. It had a super thick lcd screen no bigger than a matchbox. It shot to miniDV tapes. It took me a good two or three months to just figure out how to get footage off them. I had seen plenty of movies, but knew that they were made with big budgets, huge crews, and lights that were maybe a little brighter than the sun. I wanted to "make movies", but had to find ways to recreate the things I'd seen with what I had.

Which is what got me started in always wanting to try new things with video. I see having virtually no formal training until college as an absolute blessing. If higher end cameras, lights, and sound equipment were thrown at me from the beginning, I probably would have just gotten lazy and followed the rules to a tee. Being forced to come up with creative solutions for low budget video problems has become invaluable to me now that I'm getting a taste of what the professional world is like. Enough prologue, though. No one ever reads that part of the book anyway.

What is it exactly that I aim to do with video? I'll try and keep it short.

I'm all about story. To me, with rare exception, a great story can hold up someone's work incredibly well. I'm not saying that gives you the excuse to be lazy with everything else around it. Not at all. I don't know if this saying is mine or not, but I think that if you have enough creative thought, you can make a Mona Lisa with a box of crayons if it's all you have. Just be sure to go all the way and use all the colors.

My videos, thus far, have been about telling a story in a minimalist style adopted from these ideals that have been embedded in my brain. I like the low budget look with no explosions, call me crazy. I strive to make everything look real and spontaneous. I try to give the majority of my videos this look, but I refuse for it to look cheap. Having a viewer just think I'm lazy is not what I'm going for at all. I just want it to tell a story visually in a way that someone may not be used to, but appreciate as much as they would if it was big budget (and possibly had explosions).

I will be posting my demo reel tomorrow.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

High Fidelity, an analysis of some proportions

High Fidelity is a pretty good movie. Actually, it's probably the best John Cusak movie ever. Except for maybe 2012, because that movie was awesome and not way too long and stupid at all.

So here we go. The opening of 2012 High Fidelity:

XCU of a record spinning on a turntable while music plays. Music is an insanely big part of this movie as you probably already know. Luckily, it's free of hipsters. Thank God, right?

In case you've forgotten the movie title since reading it a few words ago.

Cut to the controls for the player, then a surprisingly long pan along the headphone cables.

And it stops on the back of Rob Gordon's head as the music lowers in quality until it sounds like it's just spilling out of the headphones. Everything is out of focus beyond Rob. Like all those facebook "about me" sections say, music puts him in his own little world.

Rob looks up and, with one of the reasons I like this movie so much, talks directly to the audience.

"Which came first? The music or the misery?"

The frame is very tight on his face, with what little of the background you can see is still out of focus.

Laura walks up behind him, a neat little rimlight on the side of her face. I'm assuming it's moonlight. It makes her look "half angelic".

CU of Laura's hand yanking out the headphones.

Rob pulls them off his head unusually quick, giving Laura his best OH HI MARK face. The background is a little sharper, showing Rob's crapfully dingy apartment. Is that stretched out underwear?

I think Laura sees it too. Funny how prominent the music behind her is throughout the entire scene. Keep an eye on it.

Rob tilts his head slightly. I think that underwear is laying on a snuggie.

After Rob's awful last ditch attempt to get her to stay, Laura walks away. Again, there's the music in the background. Do you think this has any thing to do with Rob having to make a choice? Pfff. NO.


Rob goes after her, and watches her walk out the door. The music frame left shows some nice depth.

Cut to outside his apartment as laura walks down the stairs. The light facing Rob seems to be out. HMMMMM.

Rob slams the door. The movie starts.

Rob walks towards us in silence. Count how many times his music collection (or something music related) isn't in the frame. (Hint: It's like...never)

Rob starts talking about his top 5 all time breakups. The music comes in much sharper focus behind him.

But as he finishes up the list and becomes more self reflective, it falls back out of focus. The whole idea of the movie is Rob viewing his entire life in terms of "top fives". It's a brief moment, but you can see that Rob has figured this out right from the get go.

"Do you see yourself on that list? LAURA?! Maybe you'd SNEAK into the top ten!"

Note the music still in the frame.

He turns around and runs back to his record player in all his medium shot glory.

CU of Rob cranking it up to eleven.

Imagine if it was on some really happy song.
It's not.

Rob, with an excited little hop, darts over to his window. He blends in with the room at this point. If I liked sounding really "intelligent about films", I'd say something along the lines of "The music fills the room like an all healing liquid, blending him into the world as he aimlessly continues to live in his independent life" or something like that.

He leans out his window in a wide shot and screams at Laura. It's a super cheesy line that I can totally see a guy trying to use. I won't spoil it for you if you've never seen it.

XWS of Laura getting into her car. Strangely enough, it cuts before the door closes. I guess if there was finality to it, there wouldn't be much of a movie after this.

Rob totally realizes what he just said sounded really dumb.

He slams the dirty window, sealing himself back in his elitist music cave.

And here we are. The shot that sums up everything. Rob sits down in his older than time, but super comfy looking chair in silence. One light completely missing him, spilling onto the floor. Everything beyond that is in darkness. Exactly how he likes it. For a time, anyway. Everything is an uphill battle from here. How does Rob figure out everything he did wrong, and become a better person while maintaining his...

High Fidelity

Oh my god that was the lamest thing I've ever typed sober.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tim Meets a Priest

Don't like breaking the formatting, so click this here link

This shoot ended up going much more smoothly than I'm used to. I think having everything (everything) written out beforehand helped immensely. Also the fact that it was all shot a good week before the due date had something to do with it too.

I don't think I have any more gray hairs, which is pretty sweet. Next time, I suppose.