Monday, 1 September 2014

'The Big Chill' - Heard It Through the Grapevine

This clip is the opening sequence to Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill (1983). Thirty years on the cast look incredibly young. The dead body being dressed by the undertakers belongs to Kevin Costner, who was edited out of the film due, I suspect, to time constraints.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The screenwriter as orchestral composer

A screenwriter was like someone presenting a hundred folders of sheet music to an orchestra, with not only the parts for all the instruments charted out but how their harmonies and counterpoints worked as well, how they all went together, how loud they'd play and how soft, how fast, how slow, accented and muted, with a final file handed to the orchestra's conductor, whose job it would be to make sure those hundred performed in unison.  ~Marc Norman, "What Happens Next"

Boston - Time Lapse

This video was created by Sean Collins as a tribute to the city of Boston.

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Charlie Chaplin directs 'City Lights'

This clip, shared by The Criterion Collection, shows Charlie Chaplin at work on City Lights. He was a perfectionist and didn’t settle until he was satisfied. The audio commentary is a window into the process he followed. Despite City Lights being Chaplin’s fifth feature film, and after countless short films, the production lasted almost two years. Shot without sound, although sound films were becoming more and more mainstream, City Lights is also the first film where Chaplin took on writing the score, on top of co-writing the screenplay, directing and acting in it.

Friday, 29 August 2014

How to build a rom-com

Johanna Schneller is an American-born Canadian film journalist, magazine freelancer and a 'nascent screenwriter.' She recently published an article in The Globe and Mail, a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, on the subject of the latest Daniel Radcliffe movie, The F Word. The article is called How to build a Canadian rom-com.

The F Word. Let me jump in, for the benefit of those with overheated imaginations. The "F" word in view is... friend. (The United States censors deemed the title too risqué for a PG-13 rating, so they called it What If.) As most of you know, the worst thing you can be considered by that member of the opposite sex on whom you have a heart-thumping crush is... a friend. 

Schneller reports that, unlike many films that purport to be rom-coms, this one is both romantic and comedic. 

She spent some time at the Toronto International Film Festival with the writer (Elan Mastai), the director (Michael Dowse) and the star (Daniel Radcliffe). They helped her figure out three important romcom rules. 

Rule No. 1: Men fall in love, too.

I think men are more romantic than women, frankly. The feeling of falling in love is great on both sides. In my experience, it’s mainly my male friends who go, ‘I love her, I don’t know what I’d do without her.’ It seems to me that women can function well without men. But as soon as a man has been in a relationship for a while, if that’s taken away, all functioning goes. ~Daniel Radcliffe

Rule No. 2: Don’t cheap out on the details.
In a restaurant scene, you want 40 people, not two. You’re better off to take less money yourself and keep that $20,000 in the extras budget. And never cut the production designer’s budget. ~Michael Dowse

Rule No. 3: Don’t omit the falling in love part.

Johanna Schneller says in her article: "In a baffling number of romantic comedies, the section where the leads fall for one another is glossed over in a generic Love montage: wordless scenes of walking along the beach, feeding ducks in a park, etc. In The F Word, that montage is actually the movie. Only with words in it. And jokes."
That’s what I loved about the script. It’s so hard to write those moments of falling in love, to write the connection. Why do these two find each other so funny? Why do they want to hang out so much? We’ve all been through that first flush of, ‘This person likes me, I like her, this is great.’ Being allowed in, as an audience, to watch that intimate, fun process unfold is a gift. ~Daniel Radcliffe
The characters use the comedy as a way to flirt and get closer. The more they take the piss out of each other, the more they’re saying to each other, ‘I love you’ or ‘I forgive you.’ Instead of trying to build the moment with editing, we tried to capture the moment with writing and acting. ~Michael Dowse
Watching people connect is endlessly fascinating. In the absence of that, we’ll take other stuff – car chases and explosions and nudity. But to me those merely fill in the gaps of what we actually want, which is to watch people try to communicate. ~Elan Mastai
Read the full article here.

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The rise of multichannel networks on YouTube

As we've known for a few years now, YouTube is turning into seriously big business, even for the little guys. The ability to have your own Channel, and make money from it, was the start. Now we have the rise of multichannel networks (MCNs). Bloomberg Business Week has a great article on the subject - here.

Short film, and new webseries, both from Adelaide

I heard about a couple of small Adelaide film developments yesterday. The first is a one minute entry in the local Short Circuit Film Competition, made by an enthusiastic bunch of people I used to be in a screenwriting group with. Turn Up The Heat was written by Sally Hardy, directed by Annalouise Sortini, and produced by Stuart Sturgess, Sally Hardy, Nathan March and Annalouise Sortini.

You can VOTE FOR THIS FILM in the competition up till the end of 31 August 2014.

The other item of news relates to the release of the trailer for the new season of the web series Wastelander Panda.

One of the last remaining pandas in the Wasteland, Isaac has grown up with his family under the rule of the Tribe of Legion. Responsible for the violent death of a young girl, Isaac is banished to the savage world of the Wasteland, and sets out to find a replacement to reinstate his family into the tribe.
The new series, called Wastelander Panda: Exile, consists of 6 x 10 minute episodes. It will have its world premiere on ABC iview (September 20th, 2014), followed by the international premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas (September 18th-25th, 2014).

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