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Archive for February, 2009

Morning Distractions

Brett McCracken at The Search has a great little post about an insidious scourge in film criticism today; Ted Baehr and Movieguide.

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Cinematical lists seven tips for future or aspiring film critics. Reading down the list I’m very impressed, these are helpful tips for anyone who wants to write about any medium.

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Interesting in the behind the scenes of filmmaking? Work in any technical field related to movies/video production? Scott Simmons at Studio Daily Blogs has an article listing quite a few movie-making related podcasts.

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Last of all, Studio Daily also recaps some recent speakers takes on online video and compression. Goes into how to shoot the best footage for the web, and what to do to make it look good online.

I personally find that Vimeo.com is the only place I’ll trust with my video once it’s ready for the web. And using Cram Compressor you can compress the video with vimeo optimized settings; a wonderful add-on.

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For your Reading Distraction

I have this habit at work of opening a few interesting looking articles, then working for spurts and reading part of an article when my mind needs a break. Very helpful way of keeping focused and learning while at work.

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In the December issue of the Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan does a detailed psychological, personal, and intellectual breakdown of why Twilight is the best series in years for Adolescent Girls. Seeing as how I was never part of this demographic, the article was enlightening; although I think it has great content outside of that.

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Over at the LA Times Big Picture blog, Patrick Goldstein comes to a realization about what Hollywood is missing by ignoring Tyler Perry. Perry’s film “Madea Goes to Jail” opened this past weekend to the tune of $41 million. Perry consistently gains notice in other arenas too for his outspoken faith and desire to incorporate that into his films.

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The Cooler has decided to review Danny Boyle’s previous film Sunshine after his recent success with Slumdog Millionaire.

And while I’m on the topic of The Cooler, this post from a few weeks ago on The Wrestler has a lot of thoughts that I agree with very much. In discussing the film a few days after seeing it, I remember making the comment that it was yet another Aronofsky film about addiction; and in my mind even more powerful than Requiem For a Dream.

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UPDATE: Just saw this Oscar diary from Mike Leigh, director of Happy Go Lucky. Great thoughts on what it’s like to be nominated and be a part of the craziness out there in LA.

And I guess I haven’t mentioned it here, but I’m addicted to twitter, so check me out : @winstonavich

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Optional Fathers?

There’s a fantastic article on a Salon blog about the way women today act and whether or not fathers are optional:

Fathers are not optional, though. On almost every possible parameter of child well being, children with resident fathers are far better off than those with absentee fathers. A concerted push is being made, particularly within the black community, to alert fathers to their responsibilities. Everyone from Bill Cosby to Barack Obama (who was deeply affected by growing up without his father in his life) has been exhorting black men to be a part of their children’s lives.

Check out the full article here.

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Misrepresentation

When Dustin Lance Black accepted the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (my vote would have gone to Wall-E, but oh well) he gave this short speech:

“But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk.”

Some Christians have lambasted that speech for its support of the homosexual agenda. I have defended that speech for its Biblical Truths.

Soon after that discussion; an article came out on Christianity Today regarding the idea that some Christians have of creating a Replacement Film Industry  so that we don’t have to watch Hollywood’s filth. The article (found here) was well balanced so I posted it on a forum where many of the Replacement Film Industry peoples like to discuss their nefarious and brilliant plans.

This was a day or two after a thread had been created by the Replacement Film Industry head honchos (Known as the San Antionio International Christian Film Festival, or SAICFF) had posted a press release tooting their own horn entitled “While Hollywood Fails, a Christian Film Movement Prevails” that opened with Dustin Lance Blacks “homosexual activist speech.”

After debating the content of his speech and being frustrated at the SAICFF people for various reasons, this article on Christianity Today was a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t lambasting the SAICFF, just questioning their purpose and why we need this activity; why we would create the film version of CCM.

I titled the thread “While the Christian Film Industry Toots its own Horn, other Christians are Forlorn.” I know, creative.

So just now, I revisited that thread and was thrilled to see this gem of a response to my  copying and pasting of the article on CT to the forum, on which I did not add any comments aside from titling the thread:

I pity you Winston.  You support pro-homosexual filmmaking in Dustin and Sean and lambast Doug Phillips, a God-honoring man with a solid Biblical foundation and extraordinary vision for the future.

And this is probably only funny to me, but it is, and I had to preserve it for the internets.

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Links for the Morning

The Onion A.V. Club has a post from Nathan Rubin asking the question “why do we knowingly rent mediocre movies?”

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Slashfilm is reporting that Michael Cera ;is not holding out on the Arrested Development movie any longer.; I doubt he ever was, he just knew his fan base was rabid and didn’t want to get their hopes up.

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Spoutblog’s Christopher Campbell took the time to do an overview of the best of the liveblogging from the Oscars.

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David Bordwell talks about the Spatial and Dimensional cues used in Coraline to help create depth. He also points to an article in American Cinematographer about working in 3 dimensions.

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I guess the President addressed the nation last night, and that was probably interesting. My wife and I spent the evening watching movies until she got tired and then I stayed up writing. We watched “All the Real Girls” and I’ll be posting some thoughts on that film hopefully later today.

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Fiction

Victor sat on the wall looking dejected as he stared at the crimson splotches on the pavement.

He realized that the low stone wall surrounding the cemetery made for a ironic place to figure out what to do now, as his eyes remained fixed – staring through the streets into the beyond.

“How do I explain? What now? How do I explain?” he asked himself.

His circular thoughts were broken when his cell phone vibrated and fell off his leg.

“No response huh? This might be the last time, ever.” Not exactly an open-minded text message. She was pissed, although he conceded that she was absolutely justified.

It wouldn’t even be so bad if the roses hadn’t landed in the gutter. There might be one or two that he could salvage, but as they lay on the ground, strewn about in the mud like animals after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, he knew it wasn’t worth it. A dozen roses was the only hope he had had for making her stop long enough to listen.

He had realized, in hindsight, at the very moment he opened the door to leave the florist, that planning a surprise party for her with her best friend while things had been so rocky probably wasn’t the best idea. Proving a willingness to work things out by sneaking about for a few weeks was not really something that has the ability pan out well, and when you couple that with being seen on two separate days eating lunch with her best friend, yeah. Regrets.

Down the street a store proprietor was pressure washing the sidewalk. The spray collected in the gutter and pulled itself into a stream, snaking along towards the roses. Slowly, like a wild animal creeping towards its prey, the stream found its way to a petal. At first the petal resisted, holding fast to the rough patch of concrete and wedging itself under a small pebble for leverage. But the water grew stronger until the petal was swept up in a slow passion that carried it out of his sight.

“I’m two blocks away, I had to stop and pick up something for you.” He texted. Then he stood up, flinching as the setting sun reflected off a building into his eyes, and leaned over to pick up the flowers. He deemed three to be worthy of rescue, and, clasping them tightly, turned to continue his walk home, careful now to look for uneven sidewalk squares.

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Giving Up

Sometimes wisdom is letting loudly barking, annoying dogs be loudly barking, annoying dogs and walking on by.

So I think this message is me coming to grips with something I thought would be worth my time, is actually not worth my time. Enough vagueness.

I’m setting some goals for myself in the coming months. In a few weeks I leave for SXSW, attending the film+interactive parts. I’m hoping to network and meet some people, and my goals are something like this:

• Actually get on to a couple sets and start working my way up. Even if they are commercial shoots.

• Writing a short film screenplay in the next month or so

• Have a full first draft of a feature screenplay by August

• Have a completed short film by the end of the year, to submit to festivals.

That’s enough for now. It’s time to put my rubber to the road.

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