Saturday, May 17, 2014

Guerilla Filmmaking

Monsters was my least favorite of the movies we've watched in-class so far. I don't think it had anything to do with the genre or the way it was made, it's just a personal matter of not liking sci-fi movies all that much.

That being said, maybe I was reading too far into it, but thanks to my Ecology class this year, I see climate change in everything, and I think a lot of this movie felt like a social commentary on climate change and the way different countries are being forced to deal with it. Poorer Latin American countries often have to deal with the consequences of something that America brought upon them, hence the "monster" and the "infected zones."This theory started once I learned that whatever this infection was started in the trees and then the roots of those trees would infect the other trees.

Anyway, I respected the movie more because it was a Guerilla Film. It seemed pretty well put together for something that they had to sneak around filming. The visual FX were very impressive, and I respected the film even more when I learned that they had been done by the director. Overall though, I didn't enjoy it. I didn't empathize with the characters or buy into their relationship at all, which was interesting after learning that they are married in real life.

B&W Digital - The New New Wave

Going into Escape From Tomorrow, all I had heard of it before was that it was a movie illegally filmed in Disney World about pedophiles. Keeping this in mind, I thought this movie would be interesting. Contrasting adult minds with innocence is an idea I've always been fond of, but nothing (and I mean nothing) could have prepared me for the experience I was about to endure.

It was probably the most original film I had seen made in 2013, and originality is hard to come by. Each time the film progressed, I would convince myself that I had figured out the plot. At first I was convinced it was about the over-sexualization of young people, then it was about Disney being an evil corporation, then it was about divorce, then I still don't know what it was about. I understand what the film was suggesting, that this is all an endless cycle that happens on each family vacation to Disney and that Disney brainwashes children, and other themes of that sort, but it got to a point where I felt mentally violated. I could not stop thinking about it for the rest of the day.

As far as the genre itself, I was pretty confused about the DSLR portion. One of my favorite films of last year was Nebraska. I do understand that filmmakers have now begun to go back to black and white because of the class and the sophistication of older films. It's a way of paying respect to the films that got us to where we are now, and learning what it must have been like to see everything you shot in black and white.

I also understand that people are making independent films that are good quality because of DSLRs and the accessibility to them. I understand that they used a DSLR for Escape From Tomorrow because of the low-profile of the camera and being able to not draw attention to yourself in a place where you aren't supposed to be filming. I just don't quite understand the combination of the two.

I think specifically in Escape From Tomorrow, they used the black and white to their advantage. They took a place that is advertised to children as the "happiest place on earth" and sucked all the life and the color out of everything. They were able to play with the exposure and make things feel grittier and creepier by making them too light or too dark. It was really cool and I don't think the film would have functioned as well with color.

You call it Mumblegore, I call it Mumblehore

I have serious respect for Mumblehore, specifically the story of the making of Paranormal Activity. I was impressed that they were able to make such a successful film with minimal money and crew members. It's truly incredible that this film was as popular as it was, but it wouldn't be at all possible without the digital age. Most of the film's promotion was through the internet, as well as public screenings, and eventually some help from DreamWorks.

I remember asking in-class about who had done the camera operation for the film and the article revealed that the actors had actually done all of it, and when they weren't operating, it was simply set up on a tripod and left rolling all night long. This too, would be impossible without the digital age. Film was far too expensive to just keep it rolling for an entire night.

I think there is something to be said for a horror film that plays with reality. I find most horror films to be ridiculous, and often trying way too hard to do something to it's audience. Paranormal Activity didn't feel the least bit forced. It felt all-natural, and I respect the way it refused to show the things most horror films do, such as the sex and gore.

It also made me respect it even more when I learned that the director was not into film before he made this. I love the way he was so shamelessly open about his fear of the supernatural. It felt so real to me, and I think the fact that he wasn't into film really benefitted the film ultimately. It doesn't feel like some formula designed to scare you, it just feels like natural, unplanned fear that you are witnessing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mocumentelevision Blog Post!

BLOGPOST ASSIGNMENT:

With what you know about this genre, (from the links above, or from watching mockumentaries in general) tell us your personal take on how you feel about it. What the benefits for filming something in this style are, and how does the genre apply to the digital age?

Monday, April 14, 2014

MumbleSCORE!

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this new genre. It inspired me unlike anything else we've seen in-class thus far. Although I enjoyed The Puffy Chair ten times more than Tiny Furniture, I still think there was some merit to the way that Tiny Furniture tried to explore something completely unplot-oriented. I think as filmmakers, we need to make movies about nothing every once in awhile to figure out what we're trying to say with our films as a whole.



My main problem with Tiny Furniture had to do with the protagonist. I did not find her to be a likable character. It felt as though she had no motivation or ambition to do anything. She repeated several times that she wanted to be a successful filmmaker, but for most of the movie, she doesn't do anything about it. The only person really giving her a hard time is herself. She goes after these disgusting tools and then is surprised when they hurt her (which normally I wouldn't mind, but I really didn't like her.) Her mother seems pretty well-off and is happy to have Aura staying with her until Aura begins to overstay her welcome. It just felt like a pity party. The film had nothing redeeming to it, except maybe the ending, which I found to be undeserved as it seemed as though they were trying to squeeze some meaning into the last 10 minutes.

That being said, it was an impressive film. Each shot was carefully framed with the moment in mind. I didn't hear any audio issues. The setting was beautiful, although didn't help my lack of sympathy for the protagonist. I really enjoyed the colors throughout the film as well.


In my opinion, The Puffy Chair was much more relatable, entertaining, and overall inspiring than Tiny Furniture. Lesley had mentioned in-class it is questionable as to whether or not The Puffy Chair qualifies as a "mumblecore" film because of it's more plot-drive structure. I hope that it is mumblecore because if not, I have no hope for the genre.

The handheld, natural lighting, zoom-type aesthetic that this film possessed reminded me why I love just taking videos of my friends while we're all hanging out. I want to capture their dynamics and all of the little non-moments that add up to everything I'll miss here at Interlochen. I loved the content of the film as well, it provided some serious insight to relationships while you're still young. It was a great objective perspective of their relationship because, at times, I found myself agreeing with the guy, and finding the girl super obnoxious and over-analyzing, while at other times, I found myself hating the guy for his immaturity and inability to communicate with her. I also loved that they broke up at the end because that felt very real to me and I wasn't siding with either of them at that point, I just knew it was for the best.

These two films have sparked my interest in mumblecore and motivated me to begin some independent research and watch some more to see what I think of the genre as a whole.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lost in TRANSlation

Upon reading the Reign of The Mothership reading, I recognized a few things that engaged me from the first page. It was interesting to learn about characters that I know, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario Brothers in a transmedia setting.

It was cool to learn about L. Frank Baum and his life prior to The Wizard of Oz. I think his approach to department stores was a unique and creative one. I looked up one of his window displays with fantasy characters portraying a story, and I would probably end up buying the clothing because of it. I'm surprised that more stores are not still using this technique to attract customers.


It was also interesting to see the influence that mythology has had on filmmaking and storytelling in general. I had never thought of relating Superman or The Lone Ranger back to something as ancient as mythology, but now that I've read about it, I'm surprised that I had not connected the two earlier.

The Blair Witch Project and True Blood transmedia campaigns were incredible and it shocked me that I hadn't heard about either. I know it would scare the crap out of me to see a missing poster with the characters from The Blair Witch Project. It also sort of freaked me out the way that True Blood fans participated in the campaign. It made me feel like companies like Campfire could somehow brainwash everyone and takeover the world.


I am now a big fan of transmedia storytelling and I want a lot of my favorite movies to be turned into theme parks like Disney World. Before reading this reading, I thought the term "transmedia" only referred to fan fiction and Twitter, but I now realize that I have always been a consumer of transmedia. I played all of the computer games they came out with for every television show I watched and even had an account on the Disney channel website. There is something so enticing about being a part of the story or the world that the characters are living in, which is why transmedia is so great.


One thing I find interesting is the low-key transformation taking place in transmedia. Our generation's transmedia works a little differently. It uses toys and products, making them into characters and putting them onto the Silver Screen. For example, Barbie: The Pearl Princess is the "27th CGI-animated Barbie movie." It came out this month and they've already planned the next upcoming movie, titled Barbie and the Secret Door, but that's not all.


If Barbie doesn't do it for you, why not check out something like The Lego Movie? It was released this year, directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the guys who made 21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but the directors aren't the only radical element of The Lego Movie. The film also incorporates popular actors. The movie has sold kids from the beginning simply through the brand of Lego, but through it's actors and directors, it has attracted adults and teenagers alike and become much more than a marketing campaign.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

So This Is Love

Here is my Creative Mashup Project. This project is fair use because it is a social commentary on the warped perception of love in abusive relationships, as well as the twisted illustration of love in Disney films.




It is also fair use because I am not distributing it, and if I did, it would not take away from Disney's potential profit. It could also be considered educational. I am also not claiming this as my own material, the videos come from Disney and YouTube.