Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Next Short is coming


This film has been a major labor of love. It started on the tail end of Der Ostwind while I was still in school. I told Kelly Loosli, my faculty adviser, that I wanted to do another visual effects film but something different from Ostwind. So we bounced some script ideas off each other. We settled on a story idea by Shane Lewis.

The premise of the story is the biggest, meanest, baddest dude in the old west comes to town to take on the cowardly sheriff, only to find himself facing something he would have never expected... a rooster with a badge!

Being that I started the film when I was in school and since then have worked on 3 different Blockbuster movies, it has morphed and changed in its look and approach since starting. Some of the elements I am kind of saddle with but in other areas there was a lot of room to maneuver. It still isn't perfect but hey... it is still born of a student film.

I have a great team of friends whom I attended school with helping me with the project and my tip my hat to BYU for allowing the project to continue to eat up resources at the University. I am hoping that for the students who help on the project will get a taste of a more real world experience of film making that many times is lacking in education.

What I am showing is a work in progress (render artifacts and all) of the new look for the rooster. He has come a long way believe you me. This is what he was:

then he was this (well not really but this was the first attempt at doing feathers and not just painted to look like he had feathers):

Needless to say, but he has improved much. He's not perfect... but then again... none of us are. I am excited as shots are beginning to be ready to render. Hopefully this film will reach even greater heights than Der Ostwind did. I would love to get to attend Sundance again. With out further adu... here he is... (right click play if necessary)

and here are just some fun posed images not really from the film but to give you an idea (not rendered... don't worry we won't have a gray rooster)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Red Baron


ok... Now you've seen it. For those of you who have seen my and Kohl's film, Der Ostwind... this is where we would have loved to take the visuals and one day I will! I hate budget/experience limitations.

Looks like it could be cool. Hopefully not another fly boys. While I found that film entertaining, it just wasn't unforgettable like I wanted it to be. I love aviation films and want them to be over the top incredible and there aren't many modern films that are. They always seem to loose the epic nature of the film by making it a love story and... oh yeah... I am at war flying an airplane... I want to see epic air battles. I want Saving Private Ryan of the air.

Someday I will make that film!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I love Independent films!

Sadly independent films are quite often viewed to be perverse, crass, dark and abhorrent. I would like to correct that misunderstanding. Sure some are as fore to mentioned, but there are many true gems among them. These gems are made by film makers who rise above the mindlessly depraved and take film making to the heights of pure story, relying on true talent to succeed in place of the easy and ungratifying lure of using sex and violence. Film makers who can create films such as those I am about to invite you to watch have mastered their craft and the result is entertainment that uplifts the soul. For eveyone who has a negative opinion of independent films I want you to see two films and report back. First, Sweetland:

It is a wonderful period piece about tolerance, love, friendship, and community. It is as beautiful to look at as it is beautiful to experience. It warmed my soul and filled me with a sublime sense of goodness. It is a must see.

The next independent film you should watch is Dear Frankie. It is a story of a deaf boy and his mother desperate attempt to protect him from their past.

This movie gave me a smile that I could hardly wipe off. It is truly amazing and fantastic. There is an innocence and a love between the characters that draws one into the picture, heart and soul. It is a masterful portrayal of how the human condition should be. How we should always care.

I hope all who read this will take a moment and see these films. You will not be disappointed. If you are looking for a film to rent/buy... it should be these.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Transformers" and "Alvin and the who?"

It is no new thing for Hollywood to adapt popular tv series from the small screen to the big screen. Typically in Hollywood history there was not such a time gap from when the series ran to when the characters migrated to the bigger screen. There are many reasons, in my opinion, why this model of adaptation works better than waiting longer. For one thing the show still has a following and audience are either saddened that there beloved series is being canceled or the audience at one time enjoyed the show but found themselves not able or wanting to follow the week by week drama and are happy to see a condensed version of the characters they once loved.

Star Trek was like that for me. I liked the the tv shows and the movies... the movies were just big budget versions of the shows I loved... same characters... actors... But now it feels like Hollywood is finding it necessary to revive decade old and older shows to bring to the big screen. Fine I guess... but is it?

Tranformers has reinvigorated the race for making eights cartoons into movies... If grossed worldwide: $692,958,051. It was a $150 million budget movie! That is insane... I think the flood gate has just broken open and get ready for the flood. And here they come. I haven't seen Transformers, but my friend put it this way... "It's like making out with a girl you don't know... fun at the time if you don't think about it... kind of awkward afterward at school." The point is that it wasn't good for the right reasons. It took something that many people had an attachment too and made it into something else.

Don't get me wrong... I am not against finding new ways to tell old stories... but I'm not sure of what I think about resurrecting old tv hits for movies, ten to twenty years after the fact. It kind of pollutes the image. It never holds up to your childhood memories and then you rent the dvd of the old cartoons and it wrecks it even more as you realize you had a different perception of what was good.

The point is... Is it worth revisting these old childhood memories in this fashion? I think yes... but let me add that only as the exception, not the rule. People say it is making it new for the next generation... But is it far to rob the generation that loved it so much? In reality Micheal Bay's Transformers wasn't for the little kids of today as the cartoon was for my generation... That film was aimed at... who else... my generation. It was Transformers for grown ups. And really all it does is make me long for the simplicity of entertainment of yesteryear (which was all in my childhood perception).

I like to remember those childhood shows as "great stories" with "awesome animation" that were the "most entertaining shows" and "why can't shows be like that anymore?..." So now comes Alvin and the Chipmunks.

I cringe... If you haven't seen the trailer you won't understand... or maybe you do. Alvin eats Theodore's poop. He tells Dave it's a raisin... then he pops it down the hatch. When Dave leaves, he spits it out and tells Theodore, "You owe big time." When I saw that all I could think of is... oh no.

This is the Alvin and the Chipmunks Movie I remember and loved... However it came out at the time of the series (or shortly there after, can't remember). It, like star trek, feature the characters I knew and loved as a kid... The chipmunks were the chipmunks. Doesn't seem to be the case with the new hip hop gangsta chipmunks that are about to defile the big screen. It seems like they are trying to make it cool to those of us who grew up on it?!? Seems hard to do... they were singing chipmunks... Buy yet I have fond memories of listening to eighties covers and Christmas songs in high pitched chipmunk voices... I don't think I want to let this one get ruined...

I am not against making tv shows into feature films, but when is it too old to bring back or old enough? The films may be fine enough... but at what cost?! I myself am not ready to hand in my fond childhood memories for 3D rapping chipmunks...

What does the does the expansive cyberspace intellect have to say? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Other examples for or against?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Spielberg & Dreamworks pulling out of Paramount?

What in the world would possess Paramount to offend one of the... if not the... biggest directors of this generation.

Paramount Pictures bought Spielberg's baby, DreamWorks, back in 2005 and it has been one slap in the face after another.

Originally DreamWorks was to be a studio within a studio. The biggest part of the Deal was Paramount gaining control of DW's libray valued at $900 million which it later sold a 51% stake of the library to private investors for $675 million dollars. And right from the get go the marriage was ugly.

In an effort to solidify it's claim Paramount's Chief at the wheel, Brad Grey, announced the premeire of the DreamWorks produced Dream Girls alluding to it being a Paramount production. In more and more press releases, DW productions were refered to as Paramount productions which didn't bode well with Spielberg or his top brass.

Spielberg is also a loyalist in the truest sense who believes conflicts should be a private affair. He took offense to Paramounts very public thrashing of friend and actor Tom Cruise, as well as Paramounts criticisms of Clint Eastwood's marketing strategy for Flags of our Fathers.

Wonderfully Spielberg is coming to the end of the contract and can pull out and legally take DreamWorks Pictures with him. I truly hope to see Spielberg take his business elsewhere. I am not a fan of the Studio system. But I guess neither was Lucas and now he is a studio man. You may ask what is the point of this post and it is this... Paramount is crazy, Spielberg is an incredible film maker and... and... I guess that is it. Sorry for the rant.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I want to play!

This is awesome! I want some of this Anti-helium! Very fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

At this kids age I was still eating dirt. I'm not all that impressed by people solving the rubik's cube... but a three year old?! Man do I feel like I was an underdeveloped child!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Do you ever lose your cool in public?!

This is how I feel some days, ON THE INSIDE! Wow!!!!! I think I have been to this very hotel. I think it is the Radison on Centinella in Culver City. Watch the whole thing! Trust me it is worth it. It is obviously fake... his sound is always perfect when every one else is hard to hear, he is wearing a mic, but it is still funny. However, if you ever find yourself in this situation, get help!

and watch out for balloons!

I think that balloons get out of control too!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Celebrity Treatment!

Paris Hilton is free! Sort of. Her sentence was changed to house arrest due to medical reasons. I want to know what others feel about this. Apparently according to the women in the cells on either side of her they had to talk to her much of the night because her crying was keeping them up. She will now serve out here 45 day sentence at home.

Why do celebrities get such different treatment? If it had been a someone of lesser upbringing they would have thrown the book at him. A man that worked for my dad for several years was put in San Quentin, a California maximum security federal penitentiary, for hitting a parked car on his bike while drunk. Granted he had previous offenses, but he was on a bike. For his crime he was in prison for over a year. Paris was driving a several ton weapon!

Why does Paris deserve to sit at home and, according to the radio, have a message therapist flown in from Hawaii, a superstar facial from some famous somebody I've never heard of, tanning machines brought in for a "Hollywood mystique tan", and other luxuries. A woman on the radio said she would rather the heiress to serve her sentence at home and not use tax payers dollars for her sentence. I see that point, however be it a weak argument.

And yet, when we let "Hollywood Royalty" serve PUNISHMENT in a elegant resort style setting... where is the punishment? Isn't jail supposed to not be desirable for a reason? I was under the assumption the penalty needs to be an equal opposite to the crime to dissuade people from committing it?! I mean, think what would happen if everyone got the opportunity to serve out their sentence hanging out at home... or at a resort! Crime rates would go through the roof.

The double standard in our system of justice is sickening and seems to be ever worsening. What's next Phil Specter will get sentenced to fifty years in the Bahamas in his murder trial!?

What say you?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My Super Villain

Your results:
You are Apocalypse

Dr. Doom
Lex Luthor
Dark Phoenix
The Joker
Green Goblin
Mr. Freeze
Poison Ivy
You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.

Click here to take the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz...

So Chris found the counterpart to the superhero quiz! Bummer. Apocalypse is a mean dude. The question is... How could I be that much Superman and that much Apocalypse? They are kind of the antithesis of each other. Hmmmmm.... I guess I have a really clean cut side and a really evil power hungry side.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Dark Knight

The new face of Joker! Heath Ledger has been cast as the Joker in the upcoming Batman movie to star opposite Christian Bale. This is the first image to show up on the web of the villain. This shows how much darker this take is going to be of said Joker! Yikes. I was a huge fan of Jack Nicholson's performance in the 1989 original Batman film. It will be hard to top. I have very much enjoyed the new direction of the Batman franchise, I hope they continue to impress.

It appears that the Joker will take on a more true to his comic roots psychotic personality, not just a criminal minded, facially deformed villain. I am excited to see this new movie. I hope to maybe even get to work on it! That is very far out in the future and since it is being filmed in London... I doubt the post-production will be done in LA. Seeing I have no plans on going to London.... I doubt I will... It would be fun though!

Friday, May 11, 2007

To the Superman Critics

Oh how often we speak because we don't know any better.

I recently commented on a friends blog and recieved an interesting response to my comment. The argument had been made that Superman was a boring character that all he did was swoop down and save people from falling buildings and that he was too invincible to relate to. First off let me say, this desire in today's society for flawed heroes is disturbing. "Superman isn't dark enough" for people to relate to. He has to have a dark past for people to like him believe in him. Well for me as a Christian I must say I believe in Christ because of his perfection and can look to him for salvation because of his pureness. Not that I see Superman as a Christ like example but more as the potential I want to achieve. Being tempted yet able to resist, being able to use my power (choices) always for good. I dont' want to be flawed myself, why would I want my hero to be? Ok, the preachy-ness is over! Now for the geek factor.
To those of you who want a more complex Superman, you would like Justice League Unlimited. It deals with the idea that Superman and the Justice League are dangerous in their power and the government forms Cadmus to come up with a defense to the Justice League. When Lex Luther becomes president he does everything he can to frame, enrage, and manipulate, Superman into retaliation. In his blind anger he fights Captain Marvel, (a superhero of the power of superman) and in that battle of anger and jealousy, Superman levels a city. At one point he has Lex Luthor in his hands and with eyes flaming red with anger and lethal heat vision, he tells Luthor that will not be that man... he will be Superman! He chooses to be good. But the struggle depicted leading up to that is awesome. His battle with to what lengths should one go to serve the right!

As to Superman being invincible he most certainly is not. He was battered, beaten down and nearly defeated by Darkseid, but when he unlocked his pent up inner rage and reservation, which he always held back in fear of killing an enemy because it wasn't his place to kill, he was able defeated Darkseid. Superman was in fact killed by Doomsday and then again later by Gog. Both times he was later resurrected but he was defeated non the less. In his battle with Doomsday, which lasted three or so issues, Superman heroically sacrifices himself as he and Doomsday land simulatious fatal blows on each other. Both were resurrected and in a later battle Superman defeats Doomsday again and gives a cool revelation into his character and feelings:

"You're different now. You can think for yourself. So think about this. Before, you were a mindless thing. Nothing could hurt you. You couldn't feel pain, much less understand it. But once you have felt it -- it changes you -- forever. And you'll begin to understand something new. Fear. I've lived with it all my life. You don't want to die again, do you? The agony of what's happened to you affects your speed -- your strength ... and that little bit of doubt -- that you cannot win today -- grows. You understand now, don't you? You will never hurt me again. You will never kill me again. Never again!"

Superman also has struggle with love, wanting to truly belong to earth, and his heritage. He is not merely a man who swoops in and saves everyone. If it is cliche and lame to want my hero to be iconic, heroic, noble, and good... then so be it. But one thing you can not say is that Superman is not an interesting hero. Even if you don't buy into him... he is most definitely not simple.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC. (Mac PC Parody) #1

I thought these were funny and yet lame!!! They are making assumptions that the Spidey and X-men films were great just because they did well in the box office. (like that is a reason to brag! HA) Called me old school but DC will bounce back. And yet they couldn't touch Batman because he more popular than spidey (be that my opinion). They make fun of the Justice League movie notion... but I say to all you Justice League nay sayers...

When they do (and they will) make a Justice League movie, it will be the ULTIMATE comic movie ever! Don't believe me... watch Justice League Unlimited (the cartoon) and see the potential!!!!


Check out the other "Hi, I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC. (Mac PC Parody)" #2, 3, and 4. Lower than low budget but still comical. What?... I know what I just said!... If you can't laugh at yourself then who can you laugh at! I still think DC is cool.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Which Superhero are you!

Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

I have been watching a lot of Warner Bro/DC Comics cartoons and am on this weird superhero fix. I guess part of it is my excitement as it is looking more and more like I will get to work on the next "Hulk" film. I have always loved comics... especially DC characters. Superman will always be my hero but the cool thing about comics and superheros is there is a little of each hero (and probably a pinch of a few villains) in me!

Monday, April 30, 2007

What's you're Daemon?!

So being that I am on Golden Compass and lighting all these "daemon" characters I thought it would be fun to see what daemon I am. This is what I got. The tiger but you have seven days from today to give your opinion and possibly change my daemon! Have fun!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back to Ratings!

I apologize for beating this dog but I just can't help myself. Recently I have spent some time reading the criteria for the ratings system. And frankly, I am blown away by the naivety of the organization. The current ratings system was established by three organizations, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the International Film Importers & Distributors of America (IFIDA). The system was put in place in 1968 to replace the Hays Production Code, which was a list essentially of "Do's and Don'ts". It was easily viewed as censorship which is one of the most frowned upon things in American culture.

The part that gets me is this website...


It appears to be written by the founder of today's system. To make a very long gripe short, he/she says:

"The MPAA President chooses the Chairman of the Rating Board, thereby insulating the Board from industry or other group pressure. No one in the movie industry has the authority or the power to push the Board in any direction or otherwise influence it. One of the highest accolades to be conferred on the rating system is that from its birth in 1968 to this hour, there has never been even the slightest jot of evidence that the rating system has ever deliberately fudged a decision or bowed to pressure. The Rating Board has always conducted itself at the highest level of integrity. That is a large, honorable, and valuable asset."

They may not have "bowed to pressure" of a studio head or producer or director. But they most definitely have bowed to the pressures of the ever declining morality of society. I am not for censorship, we must all have the right to choose, but I am also not for letting ones moral convictions slide to fit with society. History has proven that people tend to lessen their morals to the lowest level with in their society verses those with the lowest level of morality raising it to that of their society's pinnacle.

So the question is who are these people who are judging the movies to place this rating system? The president of the MPAA gives us the answer:

" There are no special qualifications for Board membership, except the members must have a shared parenthood experience, must be possessed of an intelligent maturity, and most of all, have the capacity to put themselves in the role of most American parents so they can view a film and apply a rating that most parents would find suitable and helpful in aiding their decisions about their children's movie going."

That is a bit scary! Not all parents are created equal. The website goes on to list the basic guidelines for each rating in the system. This rating can have nudity of a non-sensual nature, this rating can have "

single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words," and so on. Which is fine and great but it seems that it just keeps sliding and making exceptions.

I will make a praising remark that more people need to read and understand about the mpaa and it's purpose and mission:

"But, importantly, we urge and implore parents to care about what their children see and watch, to focus their attention on movies so they can know more about a film before they consent to their children watching it."

The system wasn't put into place for people blindly attend a film with no question to content. One should still investigate as to the exact subject matter of a film before subjecting their children to it, no to mention themselves. Mass media has a huge effect on society for good and for bad, and society has turned a blind eye to that fact. All we care about is that we are entertained, no matter what it is doing to our mind and/or soul (how ever you would like to see it).

When it all boils down to it. Personal responsibility is what is important. I guess what saddens me most is that film making more and more relies upon sex and violence, sensationalism, to bring in audiences. It is less and less about good story telling. I question why people can't relate to some of the older silver screen classics anymore! In all forms of media and entertainment we are drawn more and more to the sensual, the gruesome, and the depraved. I worry about where the entertainment industry is going to take us.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Discovering the taste of sand

So this photo was taken at my family's favorite beach in Hermosa Beach California. I love to carry around my dad's old 1970's Canon FTB SLR. It's a wonderful machine that takes great pictures. I love to think of myself as a photographer... but reality is I am a hobbiest with an expensive (old but still expensive) toy. I love to shoot nature and my kids. I try to shoot other human subjects but the huge 200 milimeter lens weirds people out. My Dogs would be fun subjects except they jump all over me when I am around so aside from an extreme close up they don't do so well.
On this day we were at the beach (mostly because I was in the mood to shoot on the beach, but the luckily who doesn't like the beach!) I finished my first role and decided to throw in some Kodak 400 bw. This was the first role of black and white that I had shot in a long time. It was a blast to see how it all turned out. Now to the point... this picture. I happened to turn just at the right moment. Well really a few moments before, my completely manual camera isn't as simple as point and shoot. I saw Lauren considering the sand in a strange way and realized what was coming. I was so happy this photo turned out. I was able to catch on film my daughter discovering the taste of sand! (I try not to think of what was in the sand... Just a cute photo) I guess that makes me a true photographer, shoot first, worry for the person later!

For more of my photos go to http://2bitfx.com/photography/

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hulk is coming!

So they are redoing the Hulk movie! There has been a great deal of discussion about the Hulk as a remake. Like for instance, is it a remake when its predecessor only came out about 5 years ago? Must a comic book action film stay 100% true to it's source to please fans? Can a superhero movie be the backdrop for a deeper drama film?
The first Hulk film was met with complaints that the film was too much about Bruce Banner and not the Hulk... the dislike of the picture in picture editing... the lack of wall to wall smashing... and other such complaints. I mean wow! First off... this was an Ang Lee Film! Need we say more. I felt he brought the same creative ability that he did to his other films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sense and Sensibility. While the film was not perfect, no film is. It's story was engaging and entertain, not an industry changing film. Yet does it have to be the pinnacle of films to be enjoyed? It's visual effects were good but not grand, I must admit I did not care for Hulks character design. Yet overall a very enjoyable movie. For those who cry of too much Banner I say... Banner is the Hulk! What are you crying about! And as for those who didn't like the picture in picture editing, it was a comic book movie. I found it the most comic like visual presentation of a movie to date. And for the wall to wall smashing, only wanting to see 120 minutes of the Hulk smashing things... Well we can just write them off as uneducated fouls who don't know what they want. Because I guarantee you that if you gave them that with no actually story, they would last 30 minutes before leaving the theatre.
I must say I have great hopes for the new Hulk. It is going to look amazing! That much I "KNOW" (emphasis). As for the story... without having read the script I can't say but I think from what I "KNOW"... it is going to be good. And for all the "Hulk SMASH" guys... It looks like it should have a lot of that too. But this is all just speculation based on a few things I can't discuss without getting fired. Hulk fans... what say you?

The Rating System

I have some concerns with our rating system in today's America. I am interested how a film with teen violence (none of it graphic or glorified, but still sensitive in nature) which is trying to make a social statement with out using sex, profanity, or excessive violence and gore, would be rated R. Yet films such as Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Behind Enemy Lines can use extreme violence and gore (even if it is an Orc), nudity, and language and yet be rated PG-13. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed those films, some more than others... but it seems odd to me where our society places its values. It can handle wanton violence and sex and vulgarity, but not something the shines a spotlight on an unpleasant social truth which we would rather ignore. Although with the way the continue to adjust the ratings system to allow for more and more "exeptions" eventual what is today's R will be tomorrow's PG. And yet... I feel this is all moot because society doesn't seem to really even care anymore what a film is rated! What is to be done.