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Archive for February, 2005

I try Not to Keep Up With Celebrities

But this is just too funny for me to pass up.

The Razzies are awards given to the worst actors and actresses and movies each year. They even have their own ceremony – although the winners of the awards hardly ever show up to accept their prizes. This year they were highly favorable of Farenheit 9/11 – so I’m sure we wouldn’t agree idealogically. But this story is too funny (hat tip: The Movie Blog):

Berry was named worst actress of 2004 by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation for her performance in “Catwoman” and she showed up to accept her “Razzie” carrying the Oscar she won in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball.”

“They can’t take this away from me, it’s got my name on it!” she quipped. A raucous crowd cheered her on as she gave a stirring recreation of her Academy Award acceptance speech, including tears. She thanked everyone involved in “Catwoman,” a film she said took her from the top of her profession to the bottom.

“I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of s***,” she said as she dragged her agent on stage and warned him “next time read the script first.”

It is rare for a Razzie winner to show up at the spoof awards held on the night before Oscars — but Berry did, saying her mother taught her that to be “a good winner you had to be a good loser first.” She received a standing ovation.

-Reuters

Way to go Halle – I never saw Catwoman but I heard enough negative reviews to know it didn’t merit any of my time.

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What exactly do I do?

‘Twas the question taht was asked to me in one of my precious few comments (thanks Laura!). So I figured I’d answer.

I think my official title according to my boss is Editing Professional or something corny like that. But I’m far from professional in what i do – in my mind at least.

I work for a local (Birmingham based) video production company. We are small enough that right now we don’t have an in house filming studio, but we don’t really have the need right now.

We produce mostly wedding videos – ranging from a barebones ceremony only package all the way up to a we’re-filming-you-when-you-wake-up-on-you’re-wedding-morning-until-you-leave-for-your-honeymoon package. I would like to say that our production level is near the top quarter of the industry… but of course i can’t say that for sure.

We also produce local tv commercials and corporate videos and Photo Montages for any occasion in life. Along with that we can transfer any tape to dvd, and duplicate VHS’s and DVD’s and all sorts of little stuff like that.

I specifically can edit pretty much anything. I’m still learning on the filming aspect of thing – not much practice makes Winston not that great. I do make up for that with my photoshop skills – I’m the resident photoshop demi-guru. I know enough to do anything we ever have to do.

I also sell myself on the side as a graphics designer, but that’s a fledgling work that I have no professional training in. I’m doing a bit of work for a friend who owns a web company now, and that’s as far as I’ve gone with that.

Here’s where I make you jealous.

I am one of 5 guys at the work place – we’re all laid back and goof offs. We are productive about 75% of the time at work – the other time we are riding mini bikes around, shooting each other with nerf guns, or just playing pranks. We all the time have random music blaring from 3 or 4 of our offices, and lately we’ve been watching movies at work too. It’s a blast.

Pretty much I have the best job a 20 year old guy could have. I get to geek out all day long (i’ll spare you the technical aspects of my job), hang out with guys my age and guys who are twice my age but act my age, and in general just have fun while preserving memories for people that will last a long long time.

What exactly do you do? (ok cheesy ending but I can’t think of anything else)

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Finally some Answered Questions

A few weeks ago Evangelical Outpost started a discussion at Postmodern Clog on getting out of the Christian Ghetto. I added some input by recommending a few good books on the subject – and the discussion was continued here at Postmodern Clog. In the comment thread Greg asked some great questions/points about the subject and I’ve been mulling over them since.

Here’s my thoughts on some of the issues he raised:

Evangelical Christians today have very little intersting to say. I spend a lot of time around christians that work in media production who argue endlessly over what is a “christian film/book/song” etc., but at the end of the day, while everyone has an opinion, there are very few people with a marketable idea for a script/book/song.

This is actually very true of the world as a whole; but more so for Christians. Why is that? Well because we lack relevance. We not only have a Christian ghetto in culture, but we have a Christian Bubble in life. Everything is filtered through our Christianity.

Is that bad? Well no, not exactly – except that the world outside does not have the same filter – and can have a filter quite the opposite. So if we create art (low and high) from that filter, then it automatically will not be understandable to anyone without the filter.

So not only do we have little that’s interesting – we have next to nothing that’s interesting on a mass appeal.

I could go into the idea of subcultures and such – but his next question feeds off this point.

2. Should Christians make Christian art, or should Christians make art and let their Christianity influence it?

I have decided that this should not be an either/or. I think the answer is yes and yes. There are clearly Christians who are called to minister to other Christians through art and music, and I believe there ought to be Christians who are called to engage the world by creativity and such. Missionaries of a different type.

I kind of hope the latter is my calling – but who knows, I could be setting myself up for a fall. In which case I have a nice fall back doing wedding videography – both fun and rewarding.

3. We can disparage them, but there is a market out there for this stuff. People will buy it. We can wish that they wouldn’t make crap, but if that’s what people will buy, should they not respond to the market and produce what consumers want? Before you start in about being “culture formative” and all that, remember that people who work for Chrisitan media companies respond to the market. They have shareholders. They have jobs and mortgages and kids to send to college. They will produce what the market wants, and a LOT OF CHRISTIANS CONSUMERS want to watch/listen/read this stuff. Before you get too indignant, what would you do if you were a production exec or account manager or whatever for one of these companies? Insist that the consumer be damned, you’re gonna make art? Hey, my company works for clients who I won’t watch their show… but it’s my job to help produce it.

He has a point here – but that’s why I’m not about to blame the market or producers. I despise the Christian ghetto with a passion – but I know it’s not going away anytime. Instead my hope is to not be bound by it – not be confined to it.

The goal of Christian artists who feel it is their calling to produce art influenced by their Christianity should be to do what’s necessary to gain credibility in the real world. I’m not such a dreamer that I think if I just go make something cool I’ll be the next Zach Braff (director of Garden State). It takes work and failure and sweat and passion and most of all creativity to gain credibility in the art world.

Especially if you’re going to claim conservative values.

So far be it from me to try and claim that the Christian Ghetto must be done away with – because all my preaching towards that end is hopeless. Instead I hope that Christians will be influenced to create the kind of art that actually starts a buzz and gets one noticed. This is very hard in a society governed by shock and an art culture devoted to extremism and breaking boundaries. But I believe it can be done.

I’ll try later this week to look at some examples of people and groups (Christian and non) who have infiltrated seemingly closed markets. (I also recommend the book Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts by Steve Turner for more on this subject)

One last point he raises:

Most secular stuff is crap too. I mean, before we single out Christian media, walk through a music store or surf the TV or look at he latest movies in your local theater. Most of it is crap as well. Truth is, producing quality art is HARD, regardless of whether you’re a Christian or not.

Again – very good point. And this must always be remembered to keep our pursuits in context, but it must not stop us from trying. Good art is possible and doable.

Here’s hoping that we find a way to create things that are beautiful, true, and relevant.

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Middle East + Democracy = Possible?

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has asked parliament to change the constitution to allow multiple candidates in presidential polls

BBC News Feb. 26, 2005

The world is being amazed as seemingly every week the Arab world moves more towards something that looks like democracy. First Lebanon, now Egypt… the question is beginning to surface could Bush actually be right?

I believe that unless something goes horribly wrong in his second term – History will view him favorably.

But that’s not what I meant to post about. Jeff Jarvis has a very quick round up of some Egyptian bloggers’ opinions on these recent democratic reforms (or the potential for reforms) in Egypt.

You can check them out here.

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The War in Iraq continues to be

… a hot topic for many people who disagreed with it’s justification. I have thought about this; gone back and forth on my position, and finally arrived at the conclusion that I support it and feel it was justified.

My reasoning for that is more based on the suffering under Saddam and the end result of the war. However I don’t always like viewing things from a “ends justifies the means” ideology – and I’ve oft looked for a broader scale justification.

Scylla & Charybdis has a wonderful post outlining the Wolfowitz plan and how it impacted our current war in Iraq. Very very good reading outlining the purpose behind our invasion analogous to the fall of communism in Russia.

Read it all, it’s not too long.

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A Blog-erview

That was a juxtaposition of Blog and Interview in case you were wondering and here’s how it works. Laura kindly offered to interview 3 other bloggers via her site. She posts the questions on her site – and I post the responses on mine. The questions are here and my responses follow:

1. You’ve read Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live?. To what extent do you think his predictions about postmodern society have proved true?

My gosh – it’s been so long that I’m going to have to revisit this one. Reading this book served the purpose of causing me to realize how greatly intertwined philosophy and art are, but I must admit I don’t remember the underlying thesis of the book nor Schaeffer’s predictions. Bad me, bad me. If I get a chance sometime soon to pull it back out – I will do so and revisit this question. Right after I answer the questions from this comment thread at The Postmodern Clog.

2. What’s the funniest or most bizarre dream you’ve ever had?

Since I don’t remember my dreams ever, I’ll slightly reinterpret this question as asking about dreams or plans for the future. That would definitely go back to when I was sixteen and my best friend had aims of being President of the US. As all future presidents like to do – he was already promising positions on his cabinet and I was aiming for Secretary of the Interior (I had a fascination with National Parks at the time). Ben said that he would only give me the position if I served at least 10 years as a Forest Ranger or an equivalent position. And for probably a good 5 months I was making plans to move to CO after college and be a forest ranger. Sadly – those plans fell through.

3. When and where do you most often listen to music?

Is “everywhere” an option? The question would be more narrow if you asked where I don’t listen to music. But the best answer is probably work – I have my own office and my own computer so I control all music in my domain. As such I took a personal hard drive and installed it in the computer and keep all the music from my iPod backed up on it. The bad part about listening to work is that I can’t always sing as loud as I might.

Because of that – my favorite place to listen to music is in the morning as I take my shower. Living in the basement allows me the chance to sing at the TOP OF MY LUNGS as I wake up to face the day. It’s a beautiful part of my routine that I will miss at college.

4. You’re an aspiring filmmaker, correct? Name a movie or two, recent or not, that have had a profound influence on the way you think about the purpose of filmmaking.

While I have movies that I like better for various reasons (The Patriot or i am sam come to mind), Magnolia is the movie that has influenced my view of the purpose of film making most profoundly. The first 5 minutes told me i would absolutely love the film – and I was not let down. Writer/Director PT Anderson brilliantly weaves together 6 plots involving about 9 main characters to present the viewer with his worldview. It is the closest I’ve come to a philosophical treatise in cinematographic form.

The acting and the plots and the overall storytelling kept me involved with the film – continually trying to understand the directors purpose in each scene. On top of all this it’s biblical overtones and beautiful plot twist at the end help to make this one of the most mentally engaging films I’ve ever seen.

Second place goes to “City of Lost Children”, which I mentioned a few days ago.

5. Tell us something interesting about your demeanour that those who haven’t interacted with you in person wouldn’t know.

First of all – props for the British spelling of “demeanour”.

I’m told that the only thing one must know about me is that I’m always smiling. I prefer it this way – I find that despite all the horrid things we are surrounded with in the world I can always find something to smile about. Mostly what makes me smile are the people I am constantly surrounded by – whether old friends or new aquaintances. Because of my constant smiling I also am laughing as much as possible – and doing my best to help other people do the same.

You might not recognize this on my blog because my sense of humour is more of a physical idiotic type humor. I view myself as the lovable idiot and do everything I can to reinforce that :-P.

So now the offer is open – does anyone else want to be interviewed? If I were to get some offers I’ll limit it to the first 3, but I’m skeptical that space will fill up! Comment with “interview me” and I”ll get to work thinking of some questions for you.

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Ferocious?

BBC News:

A ferocious species of flesh-eating dinosaur has been uncovered in South America, Nature magazine reports.

How do they know it’s ferocious? Did it attack someone? Did they find caveman drawings nearby showing a rough sketch of it chasing rough sketches of cave men?

Looks kind of funny to me.

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