Sunday, December 18, 2011
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
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.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
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
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
Friday, April 29, 2011
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
FILM INDUSTRY TRAINING PROGRAM
INTENSIVE ONE-MONTH CURRICULUM
JUNE 6 – JULY 1, 2011
This is the course I took last year.
Read about my four-week experience HERE.
PRODUCTION OFFICE COORDINATION
LIGHTING & GRIP
PROPS AND SET DRESSING
$10 FEE PAYMENT AND SUBMISSION OF THE ONLINE APPLICATION MUST BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO 5:00PM, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011. DIRECT LINK TO APPLICATION.
FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION AND ONLINE APPLICATION
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
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."
Friday, April 22, 2011
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
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
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!
Monday, March 28, 2011
The first is the band Waking Elliot playing "Affliction":
The second is artist Kerry Kozaczuk painting in fast motion while Waking Elliot plays another song.
Be sure to visit the SWAN DAY CT site for more info on this great event, and make plans to attend next year!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This may look like any old car parked at a gas pump, but what you can't see from this photo is that it's MY old car, and it's LOCKED with the KEYS still in it!
On my way to a video gig last night I stopped to fill up, and I stupidly locked the car because I had all my camera stuff in the back seat. When I went into the mini-mart, I mentioned that I locked the keys in, and an older fellow suggested I call the local police and see if they'd open it.
I thought they discouraged that sort of thing these days, but I gave it a shot. Surprisingly, they did dispatch a squad car to help out, possibly because I told the dispatcher that I was blocking a pump at the gas station and I wanted to get the car moved to allow them to do business (they did have 8 pumps at the station, so I don't think it really caused them much harm).
Officer Darby showed up, and had the little flat tool that car thieves everywhere have used for years to pop the locks on older cars. The newer cars are more theft-resistant, but my 1994 Chevy wagon was a bit more agreeable to thievery. Working together for about ten minutes, we managed to pop the passenger side lock and, after thanking him profusely, I was on my way to the gig, and got there in time to set up and shoot the video I needed.
I don't know if I'll add this skill to my resume, but it's always good to know that I have a new career option if I want to get in the business of stealing crappy old Chevys!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I saw a webcomic a few weeks back where the artist said she'd just watched Fargo for the very first time. And I was jealous of her, to be able to see the film with brand new eyes! She even made a comic based on the movie (with a tie-in to Charlie Sheen, which is wicked funny!)
The Coen Brothers are already well entrenched in American movie history, even though they're far from done with their careers. And how friggin' great were Frances McDormand and William H. Macy in this flick? Steve Buscemi was terrific, too.
So yeah, watch this clip, and see how many times they say "yeah" in this movie!
Yeah, you betcha!
"Hon, prowler needs a jump."
Fifteen years later, this movie still holds up!
Friday, March 11, 2011
To help Red Cross relief, you can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999, and the funds will go toward helping victims of the disaster. See AmericanRedCross.org for details.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Who exactly was the joke played upon?
SEMI-SPOILERS BELOW, DON'T READ IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE ENTIRE FILM:
This is a very nicely-made documentary/narrative about graffiti/street art, but the final third of the film sort of blows everything up out of proportion...to the point that it reminds me of all those movies that pass off mediocre creativity as "art", always to extraordinary effect.
See these films for examples:
"High Art" (1998)
"The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
"The Linguini Incident" (1991)
If you haven't seen any of these, they each basically have someone create some "art", and then everyone in the movie goes totally nuts over it, until the audience is bashed over the head enough to suspend disbelief and agree that it's really art. At that point, the plot can move forward.
This is kind of the feeling that I got from this film, especially toward the end when Mister Brainwash (the artist) opens his first show to wild success in Los Angeles, selling over a million dollars worth of art that obviously is a blatant Warhol rip off.
Several well-known street artists are connected with this film, such as Banksy (whose face and voice are disguised as if he's commenting on how he stole money from the Mafia or something) and Shepard Fairey, who created that iconic Barack Obama poster that was everywhere in 2008.
The idea that it was a joke is obvious, especially when the director is listed as Banksy himself. The guy is a street artist, not an international spy. I'm sure plenty of police departments already have his mugshot available, as pretty much every street artist has been hauled in at one time or another. The hidden face gimmick is surely a joke.
Anyway, the supposed success of the show indicates that the joke was played on L.A.'s cultural community. If the show was as big a success as they said, then that's the point of the movie.
Anyway, it was a good movie, and for fun check out the message boards on IMDB for "Exit Through The Gift Shop". It's great entertainment to see the debate raging endlessly.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
SoundWorks Collection - The Sound of "Black Swan" from Michael Coleman on Vimeo
This is a video I found that looks at creating the sound scheme on "Black Swan". It focuses mostly on post-production and re-recording, along with the sound design. Fairly interesting.