Saturday, December 27, 2008

Select Media Festival

Cool festival features the yes men, tim and eric, eric fensler among others.

Friday, December 12, 2008

48 hour vidrace: evaluation

I liked the idea of the 48 hour video race. I thought that it was a great opportunity to do anything. The constraint being time didn't phaze me because I'm last minute anyway. In reality though, it was a horrible time for me. The end of the semester was a horrible gauntlet of deadlines, and I was down to the wire for about 2 1/2 weeks straight. My 48 hour vid race was a ruuushed sequel to Wayne's vid race. Wayne was supposed to be in this one, but I couldn't bet ahold of him. Buuummer. I knew I wouldn't have anytime to edit so I just did it in one take (actually 4 takes). I guess that's appropriate for a timed film race though. That adds to the fun. Also a lot of fun was dubbing it live, something I had joked about doing while making it. When Shannon suggested that I do that I didn't even think about the "psychedelic" scene. I did my best to keep my random noises the randomest.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Los Cronocrimenes

The Horror/Thriller genre is full of shit. There's good and bad, but on average its pulpy cliche worn out stuff. Los Cronocrimenes was very fresh however. It went between these genres and sci fi deftly, starting out as a horror. The protagonist, a middle aged man who just moved into a new house with his wife is relaxing in the backyard, looking off into the distance with binoculars when he sees a girl take her top off in the woods. He also sees a man in a trenchcoat with bandages all over his face. As soon as his wife leaves, he's off to investigate. There's already a creepy mysterious tone. I was ready to skip this movie, but the beginning got me into it. Nothing seems to make sense for a while, but its apparent he's in danger. He has to run from the mystery man, while talking to an unknown scientist on a walkie talkie. That is an awesome suspense scene. Early on you are scared for the guy. The scenario is so at once casual, everyday, believable, and yet it is out there as well. Neither you nor the protagonist get what's happening until the end really. I don't want to spoil it, so I guess I'll stop describing scenes, but I will say that this is a time travel story that is impressively tight and coherent. Everything comes back.
Aside from being a great thriller piece, this film was impressive because of it's spare setting. A house, an unadorned scientific compound (which is really just a few house looking structures) surrounded by a fence, and the woods. Limited sets imply to me a limited budget which is great because this plot was awesome and didn't need anything fancy really. The Time Travel lab might have cost more, but whatever, I"m just speculating aimlessly. I also really liked the fine balance the film had between really serious and very funny. The humor was always just a little implied. The events of the film were serious, it was tense, but I feel like it never got that heavy. It never evoked all out laughter, but a lot of the movie was just an inch away from it. I don't know how to describe it more than that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wesley Willis' Joyrides

I hadn't heard about this guy for a while. To me he was that crazy crackhead who wrote those crazy songs where he tried to advertise in the end. I probably heard about him in ninth grade or something. This documentary showed me a lot about the guy. He wasn't homeless, nor on crack. He was a chronic schizophrenic who seemed to always be working in his own way.
He spent a lot of his days drawing cityscapes of Chicago. He would sell these by bartering with people. He would always be talking to people and was supposed to be hugely friendly.
I found the commentary by an art critic interesting, the way Willis' perspective is actually quite interesting despite the childlike quality that the colored markers and scribbling gave. Willis' drawings had some amazing detail; apparently the numbers on cars and license plates are real numbers he remembered. The scribbling was rudimentary looking in detail, but shading was secondary to representing the shape and design of all the buildings and all the little cars and buses on the freeway. The freeway and buses were favorite subjects of his. A standout quality of his drawings are the little commentaries he puts on it. It's like a cartoon version of Chicago where Wesley Willis made all the graffiti. There are little bits about Hellbuses, and McDonalds and America whooping ass that resemble his hilarious outbursts and song lyrics. Like the artist himself the drawings seem remedial at first, but are pretty genius.
A true renaissance man, Willis' creative mind expressed itself in multiple mediums. A poet and a singer, Willis joined his roommate/guy who owned a couch that he slept on's band. They became Wesley Willis and the Fiasco's. They gathered hype and toured the nation and apparently made a lot of money. Willis purportedly would carry tens of thousands of dollars with him, which you can afford to do if your a crazy looking 6'5" black guy screaming "demon profanity" in sweatpants. They didn't last forever, partly because of the demon profanity and other schizophrenic related mood disturbances. In the mean time Wesley Willis charmed america with such tunes as "rock and roll mcdonalds", "I wupped Batman's ass" "Elvis Presley" and "hes doing time in jail". That last one was about a man who cut him with a boxcutter on a Hellbus. Elvis Presley is just one of many songs in which he directly addresses pop culture. Rock and Roll McDonalds fits in that category as well, but also is emblematic of a certain motif, wherein he would try to get money from corporations for mentioning them in his song, maxwell house for instance. I don't think he ever got the money, but he tried. There was a great quote: someone was asking him if he was in it for the music not the money and he said he was in it for the music and the money. Good combo.
I love hearing about people with mental difficulties who are actually geniuses. I think idiot savant is not the term to apply here, because he wasn't an idiot, he was very clever and resourceful as well as creative, he acted unusual and had disturbances I guess. He was heavily medicated though. The tone throughout was very good. It was hilarious without making fun of him. I saw all the crazy things he said as if he knew exactly what he was saying all the time. They compared him to a sanskrit(?) concept--I forget what it was called. There was a word for crazy/mad and a word for someone who was crazy because they were in love with the world, in love with god. One could distinguish them because the madman was destructive, had evil urges, whereas the ___(concept) made those around him happy. He made me happy. I wish I could have headbutted him while he were still alive. The film did get more serious towards the end, when his schizophrenia got worse and then when he got sick, recovered, died, but it wasn't a downer. The death was brief and noone cried. The director kept the films ebullient tone balanced and intact.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

3-d workshop

I have to say I was a little bit detached, a little bit discouraged about this project/assignment. I wasn't too into it because I couldn't see the effect. My eyes separated the images: only one color at a time would be in focus. I could see the other with the other eye but it was as peripheral vision. I couldn't get the images to combine. I think this has to do with whatever is wrong with my eyes. It seems like I'm always being told something different about my eyes, which I guess means I'm fogetful, but I'm pretty sure I have esotropia myopia, or whatever it is called I think it makes one eye focus at a time when I'm not wearing contacts or glasses, with the other serving as peripheral. I think I'm nearsighted.

I just wikipedia'd esotropia myopia and I think it makes sense. Myopia means nearsighted, which means trouble seeing far away. There is also a statistically significant correlation between Myopia and higher IQ's. Esotropia is a condition where one eye goes a little crossed while the other dominates the focus. According to the wiki entry I have alternating esotropia because neither eye is dominant all the time, it just depends on what I'm looking at. People used to notice the crossing quite a bit more, or would at least think I wasn't looking at them. I've never really noticed in a mirror. But being "nearsighted" is confusing because I actually have better than average sight when taking the eye tests with the letters. I don't know. I haven't worn my contacts for a couple months because they wore out. sometimes they feel a bit strained but I guess it's not too important. We'll see next time I go to the eye doctor.

Back to the subject at hand, I can't really see the 3-d effect. The esotropia is probably worse since my vision is split and my brain loses its ability to combine my binocular vision when it is blue and red. Or something. I think I understand it better than I can explain it.

I'm biased based on the above but I thought we spent too much time on it. It's an unusual technique which is what 6x1 is about but It's a bit gimmicky. I didn't think it was as fun also because there aren't many variables; it wasn't something you could play with like the other assignments we had, it was kind of technical. Also, we only had so much time for the actual production so it turned out kind of stupid so I was sick of it by the time we were editing it.

I guess this was kind of an experimental assigment so I'm at ease with it. I guess on a positive note I have some sweet 3d goggles to give away and at least an understanding of a process that I won't necessarily use, but you know, the more you know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Freestyle eh? ...

OK, I really love the Rush Hour series of films. Yes, Films. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker is a combination of the ages. As good as Beverly hills cop or whatevah. Shanghai knight was good, but pretty much just as good as Jackie Chan. Owen Wilson, while a good actor and writer, added nothing to that movie. Rush Hour... mmm... I'm watching the third installation right now. While not the same character at all Chris Tucker really proved himself to me first in the fifth element. His art shines through in both that movie and this series.

You may say, "Rush Hour? Quoi? Average Hollywood Dumpshit?" Not true. Anyone with an ounce of grey matter knows that anything Jackie Chan touches is gold (nevermind The Tuxedo). But this dynamic duo. Brilliant. Like butch cassidy and the sundance kid, cleopatra and mark antony, J-Lo and Mark Anthony... Robin and Batman, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass...

They're great.

They make me feel good inside. I see that it is trite, uncritically acclaimable and whatnot, but this is my equivalent of a chick flick. I get warm fuzzies all over, joy and happiness. It's like I'm right there with Jackie and Chris (Li and Carter) non-lethally destroying bad guy ass in a new place each time.

Last time I was home me and my little brother and our friend Alex played a drinking game to this movie. Drink every time Jackie does his own stunt or Chris Tucker says something sassy. It was a silly, silly.. silly night.

In other news I'm getting my wisdom teeth taken out tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to being fucked up and watching five movies per day all weekend. Also... well thats all. I'm going to be so zonked. It won't be that great, I have things to do but I guess I better enjoy my zonkosity.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

48 hour video race.

This is no problem. Most of my projects are started 48 hours from the deadline anyway. This class isn't special. I'm talking papers, groupwork. Everything. Horrible idea most of the time. I just can't help it yet.

ANYWAYS, I think this will be really fun, I'm glad its right after everything else I have to do is due so I won't have to worry about anything. I plan on using Wayne Moss in mine since he used me in his.

Capture methods. I think I'll combine. I like the scanner idea. I don't know if anyone is going to let me borrow and play around with theirs though. Can I borrow yours? Anyone? Andre? I would like to see what kind of abstract image I can get, or at least less representational, less a image with a unique texture but more a unique form all together. maybe? Something to do with the scanning light going across slowly. Blurring and whatnot.

But I don't want to do just that. I'll probably use some cellphone or still camera (w/ video) footage for more straightforward sequences. I have no idea what this will be yet though. How can I without the mystery prop eh?

The zoetrope idea is fun, but I don't know how I would do it for a whole minute unless it was huge. I could possibly incorporate it into the vid and just tape it, perhaps a zoom in from the spinning thing to the moving image in the slits. Might be too much to do though.

I'm interested in doing everything with this. The scanner is appealing because of its novelty obviously, and the lack of a forseeable event/assignment in my future where I'll be able to try that again. Same for the zoetrope. But if any of that falls through this will be a fun event just to make any kind of video I want without the constraints of an assignment or a group assignment. The fact that we can use stil cameras with video is nice because it encourages experimentation, but we can pretty much do anything. It's less of a constraint than a licence for us not to have to check out cameras or have it look clean or "good" or whatever. Low budget, makeshift and fun.