Friday, May 16, 2014

Another trailer for Isn't It Delicious

I recently learned of a second trailer for the feature I worked on a while back, so I thought it would be fun to post it here.

"Isn't It Delicious" will have some news shortly about a distribution deal, and hopefully we'll get a chance to see it in a real theater with actual ticket-buying patrons. So far, most of the film fest screenings I've attended have been mostly populated by people who were involved in the production or are otherwise friends of the film. Which are fun, but I'd love to see this film with an audience of regular people who bought the tickets because they are intrigued by the story.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Still here

Wow. It's been over a year since I posted anything here.

I hope you haven't been expecting anything new lately.

Well, I'll continue with something when I get to it.

Have a nice day!

(this has been my most unmotivated blog post ever)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Production

Here's a quick video of a scene being shot during production of "Isn't It Delicious". You'll see a big guy holding the boom pole during the takes...that's me. It was amazing to be involved with actors like Keir Dullea, Kathleen Chalfant, and Mia Dillon!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Isn't It Delicious trailer

This is the Isn't It Delicious trailer just released. The producers are starting a push to get it shown at a marquee film festival, and they can use your support. If you want to see this film get released, please support it by liking the Facebook page, and by following it on Twitter. Bookmark the film's website, too!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Riding on the process trailer

When we filmed "Isn't It Delicious" a while back, we had quite a fun time with various cars on the process trailer.

Including this $200,000 Ferrari.


Notice in the background that my luxury ride is getting ready to act as the "chase car", so traffic doesn't follow too closely and mess up the shots.

Yes, the difference between the two vehicles may be difficult to see at first, but try to remember that the car on the trailer is more expensive than mine by a factor of 1,000! (edit: ummm, actually that's supposed to be 100)

Here's the video:

Friday, December 14, 2012

I won one against Google

Being the ersatz filmmaker/journalist/visionary that I am, I occasionally quote or use content on my blogs that may be owned by others.

This is, of course, common practice on the internet and in other forms of media, and it often falls under the doctrine of "fair use", especially when used to promote something.

So, a couple years ago I posted a quick article about Gorman Bechard's 2009 film "Friends (With Benefits)" promoting the fact that it was viewable online at a free website.

And all was well with the world.

Until I got an email last month from Blogger, the Google-run free blogging service, that notified me a blog post of mine was in violation of copyright law.

Seriously? This is weird. Especially when I read the complaint:
Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to \"draft\" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

A bit of background: the DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. If you believe you have the rights to post the content at issue here, you can file a counter-claim. In order to file a counter-claim, please see http://www.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=lr_counternotice&product=blogger.

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Chilling Effects at http://www.chillingeffects.org. We do this in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). You can search for the DMCA notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Chilling Effects search page at http://www.chillingeffects.org/search.cgi, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed.

If it is brought to our attention that you have republished the post without removing the content/link in question, then we will delete your post and count it as a violation on your account. Repeated violations to our Terms of Service may result in further remedial action taken against your Blogger account including deleting your blog and/or terminating your account. DMCA notices concerning content on your blog may also result in action taken against any associated AdSense accounts. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.


Sincerely,
The Blogger Team

Affected URLs:

[http://futuredv.blogspot.com/2010/10/watch-friends-with-benefits-online.html]
I went back and looked at the blog post in question. There was an image of the movie poster, and a link to a streaming video website that was completely legit and was showing the film with the knowledge of the filmmaker. BTW, the link is now dead as fancast.com no longer exists.

I wrote to Gorman and let him know about my problem with Google, and I asked him if it was OK that I had used the poster image and the link on my blog.

Here's his response:
That is very strange.  Could it be because its no longer on FanCast?  Perhaps remove the link and all will be ok. Otherwise, forward them this email as I am the sole copyright holder, and am giving you permission to blog about the film.

Gorman Bechard

So I replied to Blogger Support with this explanation and I filed a "counter notification":
I contacted the sole copyright owner of the film, Gorman Bechard, and he has responded to me via email that I have full permission to use the image in the blog posting, along with the link to the streaming video site that allows people to view his film. So there is no copyright violation in play. I can provide a copy of his emails to me if required.

DMCA counter-notification form

The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider safe harbor in case of copyright infringement. The administrator of an affected site or the provider of affected content may make a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or other applicable law. When we receive a counter notification, we may reinstate the material in question.
And I filed the following information with their online form:
To file a counter notification with us, you must provide the information specified in the web form below. Please note that you can be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you misrepresent the material or if the activity is not infringing the copyrights of others. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether certain material infringes the copyrights of others, we suggest that you first contact an attorney. A sample counter notification may be found at www.chillingeffects.org/dmca/counter512.pdf.

Please also be advised that, pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, by submitting a counter notification through our web form, your contact information will be forwarded to the original complainant.

Complainant's Information: Please provide us with information about yourself.

Name *
Enter your first and last names
Your Title
Company name
Address *
Country of residence
Contact email address *
(where confirmation email will be sent)
Phone number *

Material In Question: Identify the specific content that Google has removed or to which Google has disabled access.

URL of the content in question *
Add an additional field

Clarifications: Please provide additional details clarifying the reason for your reinstatement request.
And then I waited.

A few days later, I received this reply from Google Support:
Hi,

Thanks for reaching out to us!

We have received your legal request. We receive many such complaints each
day; your message is in our queue, and we'll get to it as quickly as our
workload permits.

Due to the large volume of requests that we experience, please note that
we will only be able to provide you with a response if we determine your
request may be a valid and actionable legal complaint, and we may respond
with questions or requests for clarification. For more information on
Google's Terms of Service, please visit http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

We appreciate your patience as we investigate your request.

Regards,
The Google Team
Fine. I fully expected it would be weeks or months before they got to it, and once they would, I figured they'd deny my counter notification as a matter of routine.

Plus, they didn't give me any information about the exact complaint or who may have filed it. Judging from the content of my blog, I could received literally hundreds of notices like this. But Blogger is totally mum about the complaint. It certainly didn't come from Gorman, and he's the sole copyright holder of the film and the poster image.

What worries me the most is the seemingly random nature of this complaint. For someone to focus on a two year-old blog post that contains so little that could possibly be considered a copyright violation is troubling at best.

To my mild surprise, here's their prompt reply:
We have received your DMCA counter notification dated {11/09/12} regarding
{http://futuredv.blogspot.com/2010/10/watch-friends-with-benefits-online.html
}. As described in 17 U.S.C. 512(g), we will forward the counter
notification to the complainant. If we do not receive notice from the
complainant that s/he has brought an action in the district court within
14 days, we will reinstate the material in question on Blogger. We
appreciate your patience in this process.

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team
This looks a lot like progress. As something of a cynic, I was pleasantly surprised. They didn't address the actual nature or wording of the original complaint, but they promised to follow up with the original complainant.

So, two weeks later, they followed up with this missive:
Hello,

In accordance with the DMCA, we have completed processing your counter notification and we have reinstated the content in question on http://futuredv.blogspot.com/ 2010/10/watch-friends-with- benefits-online.html
.
This post has been restored in draft version. You will need to sign into your account and republish it. Please let us know if we can assist you further.

Sincerely,
The Blogger Team
Wait...WHAT?!?

You mean I won?

That's all?

Yup. That's that.

Honestly, I found this sudden outcome curiously unsatisfying. I was expecting more of a fight. I was all revved up with lots of righteous indignation, and then they just upped and gave in? That kind of sucks.

Now what do I do? What am I supposed to do with all this pent up anger?

Write a blog post about it, I guess.

Which resulted in this unnecessarily wordy thing you're currently reading!

(Don't worry, it's almost over.)

They reinstated the blog post, but they lost the original date it was posted, which was some time during October of 2010. So it appears on my Blogger timeline on Nov. 27th of this year. Which makes it kind of anachronistic. Especially since the streaming website is gone.

But you can still view the film online for free, and I still endorse this quirky and sexy indie comedy, at Hulu.com.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Watch "Friends with Benefits" online

THIS IS THE BLOG POST THAT WAS TAKEN DOWN BY GOOGLE BECAUSE OF A COPYRIGHT VIOLATION CLAIM. After I appealed their action, Google decided that there is no reason for the post to have been removed, and they ruled that I can repost it. I'll do a detailed explanation some time soon. -------------------------------------------- Local Writer/Director Gorman Bechard has his latest film, "Friends with Benefits", online for free viewing.

I recently watched it and really enjoyed it. It's a smart, sexy, and very funny film that engages and entertains you. A great ensemble cast makes it a pleasure to watch.

Click below to go to the Fancast page where the film is available. Then, post a comment and share your thoughts here:

http://www.fancast.com/movies/Friends-with-Benefits/146205/full-movie

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The IMDB 250 Films in 2.5 minutes

Over 250 of the highest rated IMDB films set to an amazing mash-up soundtrack! This is made for serious film fans! See how seldom you can blink in 150 seconds!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's been a while

Since I last posted anything.

Trying to run three blogs, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook page; along with actually living my life...well, it ain't easy.

Anyway, here's something that is just such a great example of making a movie out of basically nothing. Well, it's got some touching father/son stuff, and some geeky technological stuff, and some quirky editing and such, so I guess it's a bit more than nothing. Check this out:

Friday, April 06, 2012

FITP is on for June 2012!


I took the classes in two years; I was in Sound in 2010 and Camera in 2011. Last summer I worked as the boom operator for a feature-length motion picture shot right here in Connecticut ("Isn't It Delicious").

Here's my daily photo journal of the 2010 Sound class!

The Connecticut Film Industry Training Program (FITP) will be held at Quinnipiac University in Hamden from June 4 to June 29, 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year that Quinnipiac has hosted the program.

Thanks to legislative appropriation and sponsorship by the Office of Workforce Competitiveness of the Connecticut Department of Labor, the FITP has recently been saved from what appeared to be an uncertain future.

The FITP currently has 421 graduate trainees and over 12,000 days of freelance work, paid and unpaid, internships, and deferrals. Last year, many FITP graduate trainees and over 25 interns worked on several features and television shows which shot in Connecticut. Many of our graduates have also found permanent jobs in the industry.

As in years past, only residents of Connecticut are eligible to apply. FITP courses offered this summer will be:
Assistant Directing
Location Management
Production Office Coordination
Script Supervision
Wardrobe
Lighting and Grip
Camera
Sound
Props & Set Dressing
Due to a significant funding reduction, certain classes may be eliminated depending on enrollment. Applicants should bear this in mind and pay particular attention when choosing their alternate course selections.

For more information or to download an application to enter the 2012 FITP please visit www.ctfilmworkforce.com and follow the prompts to “Summer Film Industry Training Program - Application.”

Applications are available ONLY on the above website and must be submitted by 5:00PM, May 31, 2012. Accepted applicants will be notified via email or telephone by June 1, 2012.

All applications for the Summer Film Industry Training Program must be submitted electronically, with $10 online application fee, by May 31, 2012.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Television Memories

Most of my childhood TV memories are contained in this video. My earliest recollections in this roughly chronological video start with Sandy Becker's "Hambone" appearance. I don't remember seeing Jackie Gleason until his variety show aired, although I'm sure I saw Honeymooners reruns by then.

True, they didn't mention F-Troop, Batman, or Get Smart, but they still showed a lot of great programs that I remember from my happy childhood. Bittersweet memories in a way, but only because those golden days of television are long gone.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Real life GoldenEye 64

The legendary James Bond first-person shooter has been updated with the latest video game technology. It's almost like being in the game!

"We should go to the main control room."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Michael Patrick Kelly Interview


Some weeks ago I sat down with Michael Patrick Kelly, Director and Producer of "Isn't It Delicious?", a film starring Kathleen Chalfant, Keir Dullea, and Alice Ripley.
___________________________________________________

Connecticut Bob: The film “Isn’t It Delicious?” is currently in post-production. Tell me what it’s about.

Michael Patrick Kelly: “Isn’t It Delicious?” is a film about a woman (“Joan Weldon”) who learns she is dying of cancer and so she sets out to reconcile her dysfunctional relationships with her three adult children, her husband, and her ex-best friend. Along the way, we discover that many years earlier Joan had an affair with her husband’s brother, and that her ex-best friend is her former sister-in-law. We witness Joan dealing with her illness, her relationships and along the way, many skeletons come out of the closet.

Her children are for the most part highly functional but chemically-challenged adults. One is a Wall Street banker who is addicted to cocaine and drinking, and is living with his stripper girlfriend. Joan’s daughter is a lesbian who’s an advertising executive and also has issues with partying too much and with her relationships, and the younger son is a medical school dropout who moves back into the house with his mother when he finds out she has cancer.

The film should be considered a dark comedy; it’s very humorous in Joan’s attempts to reconcile her relationships and ultimately set her children on the right path before she leaves this world.

CTB: Where did you first come across this script?

MPK: I was working with the filmmaker/writer, Kathleen Kiley, on a separate project and we discovered that we were both screenwriters, and she said she would send me her script and I gave her one of mine. She actually sent one half of her script, about fifty pages, and I read them and found them intriguing, and I wanted to find out where this Joan character ends up.

We both became very busy over the next couple of years and the project was sidelined. Then Kathleen told me she was getting frustrated over trying to get the script read by producers. At that point she gave me the entire script and told me “if you can do something with this, it’s yours.” So, I took it home and read it, then I called her up and said “I think you need to make a few changes,” which she was initially reluctant to do, but I told her if she made some minor changes, I would hand the script to Kathleen Chalfant personally. So she agreed, and I did just that.

Kathy Chalfant read the script and said she liked the character very much, and would absolutely love to play the role. At that point, Kathleen (Kiley) and I began rewriting to tailor the script to Kathy Chalfant and the other actors we had in mind.


(On location with Kathleen Chalfant)

CTB: So you’ve known Kathleen Chalfant for a long time. How did you meet and begin working together?

MPK: I first met Kathleen in January of 2003, when I was making a documentary film about the Lysistrata Project, and Kathleen was part of a star-studded reading of the play Lysistrata, to protest of the upcoming war with Iraq. Kathy was doing a reading with a cast that featured F. Murray Abraham, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgewick, Mercedes Ruehl and David Straithhairn. Kathy allowed me to film her and agreed to be interviewed for the film. Over the years, we saw each other at political and anti-war protests and at plays, and finally in 2009 the script was ready and I handed it to her. Once Kathleen read and liked the script, I felt confident enough to send it to Keir Dullea, whom I met along with his wife Mia Dillon also during the filming of Operation Lysistrata.

At this point, this project began to snowball quickly. I first envisioned that I would do this movie on an ultra-low budget with Kathleen Chalfant as my star, and every other role would be portrayed by relatively unknown actors. Than, all of a sudden I had Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon, so I sent the script to veteran actor Malachy McCourt at 8:30 one morning, and I got an email back from him by 11:30 that same morning, saying “I LOVE THIS!”, so now Malachy was onboard, and Malachy immediately suggested I call Jay Patterson.

Then, my wife (actress Suzanne Hayes) was to play Caroline (Joan’s daughter), and so we had a reading of the script here in New York, and Kathleen Chalfant’s agent was in the audience. Suzanne did an amazing job with the part; at the end there were people crying and applauding her performance. During the following Q&A session, we stated that Suzanne would indeed play the role of Caroline unless we were able to secure a bigger star, who would help us sell the picture and get the financing we needed.


The next morning, we got a call from the Kathleen’s agent, who said that he also represents Alice Ripley (the 2009 Tony Award winner for “Next To Normal”) and he said she would be perfect for the role of Caroline. And so, Suzanne graciously accepted the role of Caroline’s best friend Rosemary. We were all thrilled to have Alice come aboard and she was just wonderful to work with, she brought a whole new dimension and was magical in the role.

CTB: This would be a good time to talk about the budget of the film. With all these notable stars lined up, you probably had a budget in the millions.

MPK: Typically it would be, and when I first proposed the budget of $200,000, many people in the film-business told me it couldn’t be done. I was told that to make a film with this scope I would need a minimum of three million, and that it should have a budget of ten million. But all the actors agreed to work under the S.A.G. (Screen Actors Guild) Ultra-Low Budget contract, which allows indie-movie producers to employ SAG actors and pay them just $100 a day. I couldn’t believe that Keir Dullea, Malachy, Mia, Alice, and Kathy would work for such a rate, but it resonated how good the script was and that if these actors felt that strongly, then I felt I had to go forward.

So now I hand this wonderful cast, which grew to include Jay Patterson, and Robert LuPone, and it was at this point that our initial investor pulled out. We were devastated. I felt as if I had built this tremendous house of cards and it was all about to come tumbling down. Then as they say; when one door closes, another one opens. On the day after we received that dreadful news, an old acquaintance, Alfred Caiola, called me up, and Alfred was someone who had considered investing in a documentary idea on car racing. This phone call led to a meeting over espresso that very afternoon and I pitched the script and the actors who were attached and Alfred showed a great interest immediately. Alfred’s family had long been patrons of the arts and shortly after our first meeting, Alfred agreed to be executive producer. Beyond financing the film, Alfred has also been very helpful with creative input.

CTB: There was definitely a feeling of camaraderie and teamwork on the set, where everyone involved seemed to feel that we were working to create something special despite the budgetary constraints. What about the production values with such a low budget?

MPK: Ah, well, we made sure we had great actors and seasoned veterans of stage and screen added a sense of maturity immediately on the set. So I think everyone else was trying to work up to that level. The young crew felt a sense of privilege to be working with Keir, and Kathleen, Malachy and Alice.

In addition, my friend Director of Photography Axel Fischer, who worked on my previous documentary film over in Germany ("Behind The Wall" 2011), agreed to shoot the film. Axel is an amazingly talented cinematographer. Axel instilled a sense of security that made the cast and crew comfortable that the finished film would have the same production values as one shot for five million dollars.

(Michael with DP Axel Fischer)

Our budget allowed us to shoot with a Sony PMW F-3, which is the competitor to the Red camera, and to have that camera and this DP and this cast and a bunch of young eager filmmakers, everything just kinda clicked and flowed almost effortlessly even though we all had to adhere to a grueling shooting schedule, that even managed to weather a hurricane. It worked like a well-oiled machine and people were happy to go to work each day.

CTB: It was definitely that. Most of the time it went great, and those times it was a little bumpy, it seemed that everyone’s enthusiasm and team spirit helped us get through it.

MPK: That was apparent from the first day of the shoot, when we were shooting in the church and the camera went down for several hours after an already long day, and the actors and the crew and the extras hung in there until well after midnight, and when we started up again, the actors got up and danced and acted and performed as if it were noontime. We didn’t wrap until 4:30am; it was very special to be a part of that moment.

CTB: How did rehearsals go before the shoot?

MPK: Suzanne and I had gone over the script many times, rehearsing her for Caroline early on. And then, at the first script reading, Kathleen and Keir came through the door in character. Suzanne and all the other actors complemented each other very nicely.

We had called in Vanessa Morosco to read the part of Laura. I had seen Vanessa on stage a couple of years previously with Suzanne in a play called “The Rape of the Lock”, and when we were looking for someone to read Laura, Suzanne suggested Vanessa, I said sure, bring her in for the reading, I was thinking we just needed a warm body for that purpose, but Vanessa ended up winning the part at that first reading.

We did three readings of the script, and that was it pretty much for rehearsal. The rest of the communicating with actors took place via e-mail and during the casting calls. Our cinematographer Axel, originally intended to join us for three weeks of pre-production, but he was committed to another film that was shooting in locations such as Mumbai, Morocco, Hong Kong, Poland, Germany, and South Africa. Whenever I emailed him, I had to ask which continent was he on, and at first he was planning to have three weeks with us to prepare, then two weeks, and eventually he wasn’t able to come to New York until two days before production was scheduled to begin.


We really knew we were going to have to hit the ground running, and when he got here, we had to do a quick tech scout and went over what I already knew about the locations, having previously visited them. So a lot of blocking was done on the spot, and our actors rallied and were amazing to work with. We felt lucky that we had such an incredible top tier of actors: Kathleen, Keir, Alice, Mia, Malachy, Robert Lupone, and Jay Patterson. And we had a great cast of supporting actors, Nick Stevenson, Alexandra Mingione, Jonah Young and others who worked tirelessly with us.

CTB: The film was shot almost exclusively in Connecticut. What were the benefits of working here?

MPK: Of course we took advantage of the tax incentive that Connecticut offers movie productions. And I had known Tom Carruthers from the Connecticut Film Festival and he turned me onto the FITP (Film Industry Training Program) and the FITP ended up being a great resource for hiring quite a few crewmembers, including yourself and David Pisani, who right now is in the other room editing as we speak. David is an FITP graduate and he worked very hard during production and now is continuing to work as co-editor.

Jeanne Gibbs was recommended as our unit production manager, and she turned out to be a tremendous resource as she is a long-standing Trumbull resident (where much of the movie was shot), and along with another Trumbull resident, screenwriter Kathy Kiley, they were able to access areas of the community that normally would have been closed off to us. And we used those resources to our great advantage.

CTB: Along with the many great locations that were made available, the production had use of some amazing items, such as a $200,000 Ferrari, a 51-foot sailboat, and an S-Class Mercedes.

MPK: Well that’s just it. The sailboat and the Ferrari were worth more than the entire budget of the film, if you think of it like that.

CTB: But you had to give them back at the end. (laughter)

MPK: These were in-kind services provided by friends of the production. I told Kathy Kiley that she had to find us a sailboat because it was so important to the story. Kathy has a friend, Rich Vaughn, who works around boats. We went to see Rich, and he introduced us to Gary and Carol Hohimer. They own the sailboat we used, and they were just fantastic and they loved the script, especially after being there for the second reading. They were enthusiastic and generous with their time and the use of their boat.

Early on when we were securing locations, we tried to cast as many of the actual owners or workers of those locations as possible. For example, Kevin Lesko from the Lesko Polke funeral home and Roger Boroway, owner of the jewelry store. I could have cast non-union actors in those parts and they would have been fine, but going with someone who stands behind a counter selling jewelry and having him act at what he does all day made sense, so we tried it and it worked out really well. The policeman, Phil Hines, was terrific in his role. He was one of those poor souls that was stuck in the church that one night until 4:30 in the morning, and he hung in there and was really generous with his time, just like so many others on this film.

CTB: What’s the current state of the film?

MPK: We have a great rough-cut put together, and we’re preparing to start the color correction and then we’ll record the original score by veteran composer David Amram (“Splendor in the Grass”, “The Manchurian Candidate”). When David saw the first cut, he said: “This is the ultimate film about family's enduring bonds, in a society that has gone nuts. I’d love to do the score.”

After we record the score, we’ll do our final sound-mix and then start submitting it to festivals. Right now, I’m very involved in the editing. Every day I can’t wait to wake up and get down to the studio to work on the film, seven days a week. I feel like so many people helped me make this film that I have to make the best possible film that we can make. That is the only thing I’m focused on right now.

(In the editing suite with David Pisani)

CTB: I’m sure we’ll speak again as we get closer to the movie’s premiere, but in the meantime, good luck with everything, and thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

MPK: Sure thing, thanks Bob.

(If you enjoyed this interview and want to help support the film, please click here and "like" the "Isn't It Delicious?" page on Facebook)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Few Goodmen


This made me laugh. Who doesn't love John Goodman?

"Look upon me! I'll show you the life of the mind!
I'll show you the life of the mind! AAAAHH!"


(via The Best Roof Talk Ever blog)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cartoons by Don Hertzfeldt

Very weird and compelling stuff. It makes me wish I could draw even simple shapes so I could do my own animations. I supposed if I practiced enough I'd eventually get good at it. OK, I'm lazy.

And I hate most computer animation programs. There's nothing that looks quite the same as pencil on paper. Check out the final cartoon to see what I'm talking about.



And see more at BitterFilms.com

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kathleen Chalfant Interview


During a break in a night shoot at Trumbull’s Twin Brooks Park, I sat in the driver’s seat of a huge limousine next to the amazing Kathleen Chalfant, and we talked about the movie "Isn’t It Delicious?".

(As an aside, the limousine was a prop was used in the film; the actors all agreed to work under a SAG Ultra-low Budget agreement, meaning they were only receiving a pittance to act in the movie, and they all voluntarily gave up all the usual "star" perks like limos and personal trailers. Kathleen and the rest of the cast are involved in this movie purely as a labor of love.)

CT Bob: Hello Kathleen. Tell me, what drew you to do this movie?

Kathleen Chalfant: Well, I’ve known Michael Kelly (the Director) since 2002, when I met him and Suzanne (the film’s producer and Michael’s wife) at the very first meeting of Theaters Against War (www.thawaction.org), and at that meeting the idea of the Lysistrata Project came up. The idea was that you would do productions of Lysistrata all over the world. A year later Michael had decided to make a documentary about it (“Operation Lysistrata”) and I was involved with it.

We have been friends since, and about a year ago he sent me the script for this movie. I was involved in a play at Yale and didn’t read it right away, but Michael and Suzanne came to see the play and Suzanne asked me if I’d read it, so I went home that night and read the script and wrote back and said I really, really, really liked it!

CTB: What is it about the character (“Joan”) you’re playing that you like?

KC: Joan is a wonderful character, because she’s one of those impossible people that you come to love by the end of the movie and who learns something by the end of the movie. She has a real journey throughout the movie but she’s also fierce and funny and very smart and impossible, and she’s kind of a dream character to play. I can’t imagine in my life that I’ll ever get a better part to play than Joan, so I’d be a fool not to do it. It’s a great opportunity.

(Kathleen with Keir Dullea)

CTB: How is the cast to work with on this film?

KC: It’s a wonderful cast! Keir Dullea, Mia Dillon, Alice Ripley who just won a Tony (2009) for what you have to say was a towering performance in “Next To Normal”, and the younger actors are really, really good, who I didn’t know before. Jonah (Young), Nick (Stevenson), Ally (Mingione) are all really, really good young actors! The cast for this movie is extraordinary at this level.

And the other thing that Michael has done is to use people who are non-professional actors but they’re playing the things they do in life. Often that doesn’t work very well, but in this movie it’s worked extraordinarily well. Today for instance we just shot a scene with Phil (Hines), who is a member of the Trumbull (CT) Police Department, and he was a swell policeman on camera as well.

(L-R Nick Stevenson, Alice Ripley, Keir Dullea, Kathleen Chalfant, Jonah Young)

CTB: What do you think of the way Michael is putting together this film, with it’s certain look and certain feel for such a ridiculously small budget?

KC: Well, it’s astounding what Michael and the producers have managed to beg and borrow because this is a movie with a budget of around $200,000, and we shot scenes on a fifty-one foot sailboat, tonight we’re doing a crane shot, we have the same model camera that shot “The King’s Speech”, we have a spectacular Art Department that consists of one indefatigable person named Chris Hancock, who has managed to transform raw rental space into a million dollar apartment in New York City. And we have amazing cars; a top-of-the-line Mercedes and a Ferrari, along with a vintage MG and an amazing aquamarine Jeep, and we’re sitting right now in a huge stretch limo with a psychedelic roof (laughter), and it’s going to look good.

It’s also going to look good because we have the wonderful Axel Fischer (Director of Photography) joining us from Germany, and also a crew of camera, lighting and sound whom are for a large part products of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program. And they’re 22 years old! (laughter) But they’re really good at it.

And I have to say there are a few other things, such as the make-up and wardrobe departments, which are departments that people often don’t pay enough attention to in the making of the movie but it is their work as much as anybody else’s that ends up on the screen. And in this movie continuity has been a huge issue because we haven’t shot in anything like in script order; we shoot based on the locations we can get, and they’ve done an astounding job.

CTB: So what’s next for Kathleen Chalfant after this movie wraps?


KC: Well, my very next project is a play with the World Performance Project at Yale called “Mesopotamia” about Gertrude Bell, who was an English Arabist in the teens and 20s and a friend of Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill. The play is written by Robert Myers who is a playwright and also a teacher at the American University in Beirut, where my husband and I went to lecture last Thanksgiving. And then in the spring I’m going to do another movie.

CTB: Thank you so much Kathleen, and let me just say that it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you on this picture.

KC: Thanks Bob!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jonah Young Interview

On the set of "Isn't It Delicious?" I spoke with Jonah Young (“Teddy”) during lunch break at the house location in Trumbull. We sat on apple boxes in the garage while cast and crew milled around us and the craft service tables.

CT Bob: What drew you to the role of TEDDY in “Isn’t It Delicious?”

Jonah Young: I like Teddy because he’s an interesting character. He’s a medical school dropout and a pot-head, but he really has a desire to help people, and he’s found a way to do that through his religion and his natural healing.

CTB: What did you like about the script in general?

JY: The script is really well-written and natural, and the characters talk the way people talk in real life. I don’t have to think about the characters because they come to life by themselves. Kathleen (Kiley, the screenwriter) did a great job constructing the characters and having them interact in a natural way.

CTB: Have you brought anything of your personal experience to the role of Teddy?

JY: Yeah. Actually, in my younger days I was involved in a religious cult, and I was able to bring some of the natural hippie elements of that experience to the table. And also I’m a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and I was at Woodstock ’94 so I can draw upon some personal experience as well.

(Jonah Young with Director Michael Kelly)

CTB: When did you start acting?

JY: I think I started acting the moment I came out of my mother’s womb. I don’t believe being an actor is a choice, I believe it’s like sexuality; you’re born one way or another way, and I was born an actor. I discovered what I was born with through stunt work, believe it or not, I had a gig at Medieval Times jousting and I got the opportunity to act on a film with some friends and it sort of blossomed from there. I moved to NYC in 2008, and I’ve really been serious about acting since then.

CTB: What are your goals for the future?

JY: To keep acting, and to keep getting good roles like Teddy. I do as much acting as possible, and I’d like to continue with movies and stage acting.

CTB: What do you like most about the stage?

JY: Stage acting is great because you get to tell the whole story in one performance, and you’ve got the audience there and you’re living the entire story from beginning to end every night. It’s a lot of work, but when you’re in character you don’t get distracted easily. In films you have to turn it on and turn it off; on stage you simply become the character for the entire show.

CTB: What’s it like working with such an esteemed veteran cast?

JY: They’re great! They’re great to work with, and I learn a lot from being on set with them.

CTB: How do you like working with the director, Michael Kelly?

JY: He’s fantastic. He knows exactly what he wants, he knows exactly how to get it, he’s a great guy, he’s very easy to work for, and he’s definitely got a vision. It’s really inspiring to watch him work.

CTB: Jonah, thanks so much for your time!

JY: Thank you, Bob.

(Jonah horsing around with 1st AC Alex Sherman)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Keir Dullea

I'm working on a film with this guy! I still can't believe how cool this is.


2001: A Space Odyssey


Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Red State" trailer

Jesus Christ! (literally)

This trailer looks amazing! I can't wait to see this flick!



The End is Nigh, indeed!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 years of "The (British) Office"

Heavily influenced by the style of "This Is Spinal Tap", Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant created and produced a revolutionary show that changed the way television sees the "sitcom".

They only produced 12 half-hour episodes, plus a two-episode "Christmas Special", and then stopped. Which was perfect. The 14 episodes exist as a perfect self-contained package that will never outgrow it's relevance.

If you haven't watched it yet, go out and get the entire box set and see how an entire television genre was created and perfected. I guarantee you'll grow to care about (some) of these characters. Including the often exasperating David Brent, who forges on ever hopeful, despite incredible bouts of embarrassingly awkward moments.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

FITP

The training is going well. And I'm having a lot of fun learning all about the new (and not so new) technologies.

We'll shoot our student film in video, but we're still required to know how to load and maintain Panavision 35mm film cameras. It's really neat!

Friday, June 03, 2011

FITP begins on Monday


Once again I'll be attending the Film Industry Training Program at Quinnipiac University, starting Monday the 6th.

I probably won't post day-to-day accounts of the program like I did last year, but I'll put up photos and stories when I'm able.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The "Going Home" project

"Going Home" is a short film about a serious subject. I'm working on the Sound Dept. for this production.

Watch this promo, then please click HERE to support the project on Kickstarter.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Apply NOW for Film Industry Training Program


APPLY NOW
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
FILM INDUSTRY TRAINING PROGRAM
INTENSIVE ONE-MONTH CURRICULUM
JUNE 6 – JULY 1, 2011
QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY


This is the course I took last year.
Read about my four-week experience HERE.

SELECT FROM:
ASSISTANT DIRECTING
LOCATION MANAGEMENT
PRODUCTION OFFICE COORDINATION
SCRIPT SUPERVISION
CAMERA
SOUND
LIGHTING & GRIP
PROPS AND SET DRESSING
WARDROBE


$10 FEE PAYMENT AND SUBMISSION OF THE ONLINE APPLICATION MUST BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO 5:00PM, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011. DIRECT LINK TO APPLICATION.

www.ctfilmworkforce.com
FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION AND ONLINE APPLICATION

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

David Lynch sells coffee weird

I guess director David Lynch is selling coffee products now. And one of the benefits of being a filmmaker is that you can create your own commercials.

Of course, being David, he wouldn't simply make a 30-second spot that you'd see while watching a rerun of "Two and a Half Men".

No, he'd do something along the lines of a bizarre 4-minute conversation with a Barbie doll, shot in extreme close-up.

And then Tweet about it.

So here's his funny and slightly off-putting ad for his weird coffee.

(I'd like to have a cup right now!)

"Is it fairly traded?"

"Yeah, fairly traded."

"Oh, jeez."


David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee from David Lynch on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Some movies I watched recently

These aren't exactly movie reviews. It's more like some thoughts I have on particular films I've watched in the last few weeks.

Some spoilers below, so if you haven't seen the movie in the title, show some discipline and read no further. I know you can do it.


"Battle: Los Angeles" (2011) - it's like "Independence Day", only played absolutely straight. What a "war of the worlds" might actually look like if the producers weren't committed to making enjoyable family fare or to remaining factually true to an H.G. Welles novel from over a hundred years ago.

The invasion would start like this, with news coverage. Then it would be a conventional military operation, not too unlike what we're doing now in certain countries, but even moreso.

"The Rite" (2011) - I love Anthony Hopkins. I'll watch him in an infomercial if need be. So I sat through this movie, despite it's obvious plot defects and at times silly dialog. I mean, how dense does that young idiot need to be to prove he's skeptical? Anyway, for an exorcist movie, it was rather tepid.

"Wonder Boys" (2000) - I stumbled on this gem recently and found it worthy of a viewing. Michael Douglas and Toby McGuire had a good turn in this film, and supporting actors Robert Downey Jr., Francis McDormand and a wonderfully non-Scientology indoctrinated (yet) Katie Holmes rounded out a superb cast.

Kind of a "Dead Poets Society" meets "History Boys" with a bit of "My Own Private Idaho" and "Rushmore" thrown in. (Don't ya hate it when people combine movie concepts when trying to describe a flick and it only confuses you MORE?)


"The Cove" (2009) - I didn't want to watch this film because I wanted to continue to feel empathy for the Japanese people after the tsunami, but I felt I had to. The film is a documentary about the secret dolphin slaughter that occurs in a tiny, hidden cove in Japan.

Boy, those pesky dolphin-murderers are a bunch of rascally scamps if you ask me! (you can replace a lot of those words with "assh*les", "f*ckers", and "murderous sonsabitches who deserve bad things to happen to them".)

Look, I know all of Japan isn't The Cove, but if everyone in that business suddenly developed terminal bleeding pustules, I wouldn't feel the least bit bad for them. I feel bad for the rest of Japan, but not those cruel shitbags.


"Restrepo" 2010 - A documentary of the war in Afghanistan, directed by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger. Hetherington was recently killed while filming in Libya.

This film should be required viewing by all our Congressmen, who will be voting on whether to stay in Afghanistan or not.

Because, despite all the optimistic rhetoric coming from the White House, this is absolutely another Vietnam. It's been almost 10 years since we've invaded. The same amount of time the Soviet Union spent trying to "win".

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great news about FITP

(Me, standing precariously while booming a scene from "Lover's Leap" (2011))

Two pieces of awesome news!

1) the 2011 CT Film Industry Training Program WILL BE HELD. There was a lot of concern that funding for the program wouldn't be available, but at the eleventh hour the powers that be managed to put it all together, and the program will run again in June.

I've already applied for this year's course, and with a little luck, I'll be accepted into the Camera program.

2) last year's FITP movie, "TO DYE FOR", is finally going to premiere!

On Thursday, April 28 at 7:00pm, they'll be showing the movie (along with other FITP films) at Aunt Chilada's, 3931 Whitney Ave. in Hamden, CT. Come out that Thursday, see the movie, and hang out with the rest of the FITP gang :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jaki's Buzz billboard is up!


A new billboard for the web TV show I've been working for just went up in New Haven!

If you drive by the corner of Whitney and Trumbull St, it's just on the east side of Whitney. Take a look if you're there, and be sure to visit JakisBuzz.com to see online episodes of the new talk/entertainment show!