Monday, 31 March 2014

Great advertising posters

Advertising? I hate it. I mute the sound, I change the channel, I beg.
Please stop assailing my brain with adverts. Bring back the gamma rays from Jupiter!
But there is no escaping. It's everywhere. 

My wife likes the ads. She hums those dumb irritating tunes. She willingly sits through the commercials, then gets up to go to the loo once the program resumes. It kills me.

I was told that marriage was character-building. No one mentioned commercials.

Anyway, occasionally, just occasionally, I see an advert that nails it and I forgive the Madmen all over again.

Here are some posters from PlayBuzz which qualify:










Sunday, 30 March 2014

"High Maintenance" - Jonathan

High Maintenance is a web series created/written/directed by: Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair.

Need to feel better about your day? Take a look at what's happening for Jonathon?


IMDb    Website    Vimio

Saturday, 29 March 2014

When No One Wants To Buy Your Script - Steve Kaplan

It's that heart-breaking moment of realisation—no-one wants to buy your script. What now? Give up? Take up serious drinking? Bore people to death whining about the glass ceiling, or whatever ceiling it is that keeps guys out?

Steve Kaplan has some constructive alternatives for you to consider. Have a listen to this excerpt of another great Film Courage interview.



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Friday, 28 March 2014

"Reverse Angle"

Jery October has put together some interesting videos. This one shows the uses of reverse angle in film, much of it taken from films showing the camera at work. It's fun to play spot-the-movie as you go.


IMDb    Vimio

Thursday, 27 March 2014

"Am I Going Too Fast?"

Hank Willis Thomas is the creator of Question Bridge: Black Male a non-fiction new media project and recipient of a New Media Fellowship, New Media Fund grant from the Tribeca Film Institute and Aperture West Book Prize.

Co-Director Christopher Myers is an artist and writer best known for his books for young people which have garnered Caldecott Honors and been shortlisted for the National Book Award.
"Am I Going Too Fast?" is a digital tapestry of the intersecting worlds and interactions of craftspeople, shopkeepers, and ordinary folks whose lives have been transformed by new technologies, cell phone banking, and micro-finance; threads that weave together to form a web of connection and possibility in contemporary Nairobi.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Big Day In - Adelaide - Saturday, 5 April 2014

Are you a screenwriter who is looking for the opportunity to network with South Australian producers?

Do you want to understand more about your role as a screenwriter working within the film production industry?

Are you keen to explore new ways of working in the changing landscape of screen development and production in SA?


The AWG, with the support of the South Australian Film Corporation, is launching an exciting new event that aims to foster conducive and professional relationships between South Australian Screenwriters and Producers and to provide a platform to build better networks between both vocations.

Speakers on the day will include highly acclaimed producer, Liz Watts (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) and leading screenwriter, Andrew Bovell (A Most Wanted Man).

Special guest Viron Papadopoulas will present on the SAFC new development initiative, D-Lab. You will also have the opportunity to hear from and meet representatives from SAFC Seed Development Investment recipients:


When:   Saturday 5th April, lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Where:  Green Room, Adelaide Studios.

Cost:   $70 for AWG Members; $100 for Non-Members; $75 for Students, SPA, ADG & Fringe Benefits Members.

Register now and don’t miss out for what promises to be a great Big Day In.

AWG Members please LOGIN to the website to receive your discount when registering online.  Students, SPA, ADG and Fringe Benefits Members please contact the AWG on 1300 552 228 to book and receive your discount.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Audition tapes for Star Wars Episode VII

The announcement of an Episode VII of the Star Wars franchise sent a spasm through the directing ranks of Hollywood. Seems everyone wants a crack at the job. Here are a few of the audition tapes that surfaced recently.










Monday, 24 March 2014

WTF Happened to Movie Posters?

Cecil Trachenburg of GoodBadFlicks takes a look at just how lazy movie posters have become.

Yeah, that's it. Movie posters.


Facebook    Twitter    Website    YouTube

Sunday, 23 March 2014

"A Boy and His Dog"

This short film, made by Jonna McIver as director and producer, depicts the transformative relationship between a rescue dog called Haatchi and Owen Howkins, a boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder. 
Last year we made this film as part of our documentary filmmaking course at the University of Hertfordshire. We managed to find this special family and document an incredible few months of their lives. We made this film to not only tell the families story, but to raise awareness of Schwartz Jampel Syndrome and to show how incredible rescue dogs are. 
See just how far a little bit of three-legged love can go.


IMDb    LinkedIn    Twitter    Vimio

Saturday, 22 March 2014

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Carolyn Gregoire recently wrote an article for The Huffington Post called 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.

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Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.
    Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don't have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.
    And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they're complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it's not just a stereotype of the "tortured artist"—artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.
    "It's actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self," Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years
researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. "The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self ... Imaginative people have messier minds."
    While there's no "typical" creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.
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1. They daydream.

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.
     According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming, mind-wandering can aid in the process of "creative incubation." And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.
     Although daydreaming may seem mind less, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state—daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it's related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

2. They observe everything.

The world is a creative person's oyster—they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom "nothing is lost."
     The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:
     "However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable 'I,'" Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. "We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker."

3. They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

4. They take time for solitude.

"In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone," wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.
     Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming—we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.
     "You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it," he says. "It's hard to find that inner creative voice if you're ... not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself."

5. They turn life's obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak—and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and—most importantly for creativity—seeing new possibilities in life.
     "A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality," says Kaufman. "What's happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that's very conducive to creativity."

6. They seek out new experiences.

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind—and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.
"Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement," says Kaufman. "This consists of lots of different facets, but they're all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world."

7. They "fail up."

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives—at least the successful ones—learn not to take failure so personally.
     "Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often," Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein's creative genius.

8. They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious—they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

9. They people-watch.

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch—and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.
     "[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books," says Kaufman. "For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important ... They're keen observers of human nature."

10. They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.
     "There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it's one that's often overlooked," contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. "Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent—these are all by-products of creativity gone awry."

11. They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

Nietzsche believed that one's life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.
     "Creative expression is self-expression," says Kaufman. "Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness."

12. They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated—meaning that they're motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.
     "Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents," write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in Handbook of Creativity.

13. They get out of their own heads.

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.
     "Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present," says Kaufman. "The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind—I like calling it the 'imagination brain network'—it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking."
     Research has also suggested that inducing "psychological distance"—that is, taking another person's perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar—can boost creative thinking.

14. They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they're writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get "in the zone," or what's known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they're practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.
     You get into the flow state when you're performing an activity you enjoy that you're good at, but that also challenges you—as any good creative project does.
    "[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they've also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state," says Kaufman. "The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you're engaging in."

15. They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.
    A study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians—including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists—exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

16. They connect the dots.

If there's one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it's the ability to see possibilities where others don't—or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.
In the words of Steve Jobs:
    "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things."

17. They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.
     "Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience," says Kaufman.

18. They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind—because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.
     And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity—all of which can lead to better creative thought.

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Friday, 21 March 2014

"So Awkward"

Another web series involving awkward people dating. Written, directed and starring Tarah Consoli & Elliot Joseph.
I like intelligent people.

IMDb    Website    YouTube

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Jack Lemmon on 'Glengarry Glen Ross'

Jack Lemmon was one of the greatest actors of the last century. Glengarry Glen Ross was one of the greatest films of the last century.  

Here we have, in two short recordings, Jack Lemmon sharing his thoughts on the subject of acting while talking about the making that film.


IMDb    Wikipedia    

Jack Lemmon
Al Pacino

Alec Baldwin

Alan Arkin

Ed Harris

Kevin Spacey

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Who's who in a film crew?

Neven Udovičić of Zagreb, Croatia, is a freshly graduated graphic designer, open for any kind of job offering. In love with art, design, movies, music, books, astronomy.
I've been wanting for some time to somehow combine my love for movies and posters, but all that "alternative movie posters" thing seemed too obvious and trendy. That's when the idea of doing an (educational?) "Who's who in a film crew?" poster series came to my mind.





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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

"Record/Play"

Record/Play is a fascinating sci-fi short film. Brilliant!
A malfunctioning cassette tape captures more than just audio.
Written and directed by Jesse Atlas, and produced by Chris Bryant.   


IMDb    Twitter    Vimio    Website

Monday, 17 March 2014

"Malaria"

How about an animated spaghetti western short film?
Malaria tells the story of Fabiano, a young Mercenary who is hired to kill Death.
This was made by Edson Oda, a writer/director/copywriter, who was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but now lives in Los Angeles. He is currently completing an MFA in Film and TV Production at USC. 

Malaria combines elements of Origami, Kirigami, Time lapse, nankin illustration, Comic Books and Western Cinema.


Facebook    IMDb    Vimio    Website

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Hal Douglas: 1924-2014

Hal Douglas, one of Hollywood's top trailer voiceover artists, died last Friday at the age of 89.

Born Harold Cone, he was primarily raised by his grandparents after his mother died when Hal was nine. Douglas trained as a pilot and served three years in the Navy during World War II. He wrote fiction in his spare time. He studied acting at the University of Miami, changed his last name to Douglas, after moving to New York, and supplemented his income from acting gigs with voiceover and announcer work on both radio and television. Hal soon became one of the most sought after (and instantly recognizable) vocal talents for commercials and lead-ins for TV shows.

For years, Douglas was among the three go-to voiceover artists for trailers, the others being Don LaFontaine, who died in 2008 and is credited with coining the much-parodied phrase "in a world...", and Don Morrow, who did trailers including A Fistful of Dollars and Titanic. You can see Douglas in a rare on-screen role in the trailer for Jerry Seinfeld's documentary Comedian (which you can view below), where he parodies a voiceover artist.



You can hear him on a few selected trailers.
















Saturday, 15 March 2014

Interview with Neven Udovičić

Neven Udovičić of Zagreb, Croatia, is a recently graduated graphic designer, who has experience designing movie posters.

I used some of
Neven's poster designs on the blog. When I met him on Twitter and discovered that he writes excellent English, I took the opportunity to ask him some questions.
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Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was born and grew up in a small town in Istria, Croatian's biggest peninsula where people mostly live from agriculture and tourism. The sea is near and that's always a great thing! The town is called Žminj, and its Latin name is Geminianum, which is also the name of my design blog and the name I sometimes go by online.

What kind of a family did you grow up with?

A pretty normal family, I'd say. Parents, one older sister with grandparents and relatives all living pretty close (which means full tables at Sunday dinners). I can't say there were any artists in the family that influenced me, but they've always been supportive of all my hobbies.

When did you first take an interest in poster design?

I started doing things that could be called graphic design somewhere around the age of twelve. At the beginning, I was more interested in creating my own magazines, encyclopedias and books, especially when my parents got me a printer which was a big thing to me because suddenly I could get anything I created on the screen out on a piece of paper. My first serious attempts at poster design came some years later, in high school, when I designed a poster for an astronomy summer camp organized by a local astronomical society (which I was a member of). At that time I wasn't really familiar with graphic design as a field and was still figuring out the tools on the computer. But I knew I enjoyed doing it, and wanted to get better at it.

Where did you go to school?

After classical high school in Istria I moved to Zagreb to study at the Zagreb University Faculty of Graphic Arts where I got my masters. I did my thesis on movie poster design, so that was fun.

Who was the teacher who had the biggest influence on you?

My Croatian teacher in elementary school. At that time I was into writing (especially science fiction stories and made-up travelogues) and although it had nothing to do with visual arts, I did create something out of my own imagination which felt great. That teacher was really supportive and took time to help me polish my work. I loved writing and even got a story published in a collection of short SF stories, but soon after design took over and I haven't written anything since. Sometimes I get some ideas for a screenplay, but it seems like too much work and I'm scared to even start, so I just stick to design.

What was your first paying job (in any field)?

Waiting tables over the summer in an rural tourism restaurant near my home. There was a group of of us waiters dressed in traditional Istrian costumes and we would perform traditional dances for the guests.

You’ve completed a number of “alternative“ posters. Which is your favourite?

There are a few I could call my favorites, but I'm always most proud of the last poster I do. At least until the excitement wears off, that is. But if I had to choose something from my archive, it would be a series of movie posters called "A Life on Film" that I did with my friend Lucija Šilić. It's a project where we took the photos from our old family photo albums and put them in a movie context, turning our parents, grandparents, uncles and others into movie stars. Making alternative movie posters can sometimes feel like participating in an overused trend, but I'll always love the intimacy of that project—the photographs we used are a truly personal element.
 


Are you tempted to move to Hollywood and try your luck there?

That would be a pretty bold and expensive change to make. Luckily, the Internet allows amazing things and collaborations to happen regardless of geography so I guess I'll try my luck by making more work and getting better at it.

Not many people know that film personalities ranging from Eric Bana to Jenna Elfman to Cary Elwes to Alida Valli are of (at least partial) Croatian descent. How would you describe the current state of the Croatian film industry?

After the 1950s and 1960s—I must mention H-8 from 1958, which is probably my favorite Croatian movie—the 1990s didn't really bring us much to be proud of. You could say that the last decade or so marks a new golden era of Croatian cinema, bringing lots of new authors and getting a good amount of awards at festivals around the world.
    Making a movie in a country with a population of less than five million won't make you rich. Getting audiences to go see a domestic movie can be a hard task, especially considering the ticket prices and the 3D Hollywood-produced competition. Comedies are usually the only ones that have a chance of getting a bigger audience (meaning something around 20,000 viewers).


Could you suggest a few representational examples of recent Croatian cinema we might be able to find on DVD?

To be honest, I don't really have a habit of watching Croatian movies (I've only watched a couple in the last few years), so I'll have to go with what others recommended to me. A Wonderful Night in Split (2004), Armin (2007), Metastases (2009), Mother of Asphalt (2010), Halima's Path (2012)—these were very well recieved by the critics.

If you had to suggest just one poster design book to a newbie designer in Adelaide, which one would it be?

I have lots of books on graphic design, but only one on poster design—The Poster in History, by Max Gallo. It features posters from the French Revolution to the present and can be a great source of inspiration.
    I'm planning to get the new Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design book, as he is, along with Toulouse-Lautrec and Anton Corbijn, my favorite artist.
    Of course, there's also lots of good stuff on the Internet on posters and graphic design in general—I must recommend a blog called Movie Poster of the Week by Adrian Curry.

What are your ten favourite (favourite, not ‘best’) movies of all time?
The Tree of Life (2011) - USA
The Cranes are Flying (1957) - Soviet Union
Control (2007) - UK
Heat (1995) - USA
There Will Be Blood (2007) - USA
Betty Blue (1986) - France
Pulp Fiction (1994) - USA
Oldboy (2003) - South Korea
Before Sunset (2004) - USA
Once (2006) - Ireland

What’s next for Neven Udovičić?

Well, it's hard to predict, but I'll keep doing what makes me happy and hopefully become better at it, as there's always room for improvement. I'd love to do work for a magazine, make a poster for a new movie, or—what would be my dream project—get the chance of doing a Criterion cover. I think they make the best designs and find great inspiration in their catalogue.
    At the moment I'm working as a UI/UX designer at a nice little company in Zagreb, making websites and mobile applications. It's a different world from poster design, but also very interesting, has its own rules and I'm learning a lot everyday.




    Also, for the past few years I've been running a brand of tote bags with my friend Karin Milotić, called "Themebags," which mostly feature my movie-themed designs and we have lots of cinephiles as customers. We really enjoy doing it so I'm sure that will continue, as long as we have time to do it. 
 
Where should people contact you if they are interested in obtaining a Themebag?

This is our Facebook page where most of the action happens. For any questions we can we contacted at: themebags@gmail.com 

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Friday, 14 March 2014

The Soviet Theory of Montage

Here's another in the series 'History of Cutting' by John Hess.
Building on the works of D.W. Griffith and the development of "continuity editing" in early film history, Soviet silent filmmakers would pioneer new innovative ideas about editing that moved film from an extension of theater into a mature and powerful artistic medium.



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sam Mendes’s 25 Rules for Directors

The Roundabout Theatre Company honored Sam Mendes recently, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. There were speeches (inevitably), including one by Sam, in which he tried to share with other directors things he's learned along the way. Here are twenty-five of them.
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  1. Always choose good collaborators. It seems so obvious, but the best collaborators are the ones who disagree with you. It means they’re passionate, they have opinions, and they’ll only ever say yes if they mean it.
  2. Try to learn how to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar. Direct Shakespeare like it’s a new play, and treat every new play as if it’s Shakespeare.
  3. If you have the chance, please work with Dame Judi Dench.
  4. Learn to say, “I don’t know the answer.” It could be the beginning of a very good day’s rehearsal.
  5. Go to the ancient amphitheater at Epidaurus, in Greece. It makes you realize what you are a part of, and it will change the way you look at the world. If you’re an artist, you will feel central, and you will never feel peripheral again.
  6. Avoid, please, all metaphors of plays or films as “pinnacles” or “peaks”; treat with absolute scorn the word “definitive”; and if anyone uses the word “masterpiece,” they don’t know what they’re doing. The pursuit of perfection is a mug’s game.
  7. If you are doing a play or a film, you have to have a secret way in if you are directing it. Sometimes it’s big things. American Beauty, for me, was about my adolescence. Road to Perdition was about my childhood. Skyfall was about middle-age and mortality. Sometimes it’s small things. Maybe it’s just a simple idea. What if we do the whole thing in the nightclub, for example. But it’s not enough just to admire a script, you have to have a way in that is yours, and yours alone.
  8. Confidence is essential, but ego is not.
  9. Theater is the writer’s medium and the actor’s medium; the director comes a distant third. If you want a proper ego trip, direct movies.
  10. Buy a good set of blinkers. Do not read reviews. It’s enough to know whether they’re good or they’re bad. When I started, artists vastly outnumbered commentators, and now, there are a thousand published public opinions for every work of art. However strong you are, confidence is essential to what you do, and confidence is a fragile thing. Protect it. As T.S. Eliot says, teach us to care, and not to care.
  11. Run a theater. A play is temporary, a building is permanent. So try to create something that stays behind and will be used and loved by others.
  12. You are never too old to learn something new, as I reminded myself, I learned to ski with my 10-year-old son, of course, who did it in about 10 minutes, and I spent four days slaloming up and down, looking like a complete tit. But, don’t be scared of feeling like a complete tit. It’s an essential part of the learning process.
  13. There is no right and wrong, there is only interesting, and less interesting.
  14. Paintings, novels, poetry, music are all superior art forms. But theater and film can steal from all of them.
  15. There are no such things as “previews” on Broadway.
  16. Peter Brooks said, “The journey is the destination.” Do not think of product, or, god forbid, audience response. Think only of discovery and process. One of my favorite quotes from Hamlet—Polonius: “We shall, by indirections, find the directions out.” 
  17. Learn when to shut up. I’m still working on this one.
  18. When you have a cast of 20, this means you have 20 other imaginations in the room with you. Use them.
  19. Please remember the Oscars are a TV show.
  20. Get on with it. Robert Frost said, “Tell everything a little faster.” He wasn’t wrong.
  21. The second production of a musical is always better than the first.
  22. Learn to accept the blame for everything. If the script was poor, you didn’t work hard enough with the writer. If the actors failed, you failed. If the sets, the lighting, the post, the costumes are wrong, you gave them the thumbs-up. So build up your shoulders, they need to be broad.
  23. On screen, your hero can blow away 500 bad guys, but if he smokes one fucking cigarette, you’re in deep shit.
  24. Always have an alternative career planned out. Mine is a cricket commentator. You will never do this career, but it might help you get to sleep at night.
  25. Never, ever, ever forget how lucky you are to do something that you love.
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IMDb    Wikipedia

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

33 Simpsons impressions in 5 minutes

Brock Baker calls himself "The Man of a Kajillion Voices." In this video he impersonates thirty-three characters from The Simpsons in five minutes.

How do you rate this guy's impressions?




Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Faux-Saul Bass

Neven Udovičić of Zagreb, Croatia, is a graphic designer, with a website called Geminarium. Just for the fun of it, he set himself the task of creating alternative movie posters for this year’s Oscar nominees. He limited himself to remixing the work of Saul Bass, rather than make something new. That restricted his options, but at the same time made the process of finding the solution of representing a movie visually somehow easier, he said. Some examples:







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Monday, 10 March 2014

"Millionaire Droopy"

A couple of weeks ago, the town of Taylor, Texas, held their first-ever Tex Avery Day in honor of their hometown animation hero.

We didn't get to participate, so here's a Tex Avery cartoon instead.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Al Pacino on Letterman

I was going to run an Al Pacino clip, but just noticed that it's been pulled off YouTube. So here's a substitute. Al Pacino, Letterman, Kevin Spacey, The Godfather, Johnny Depp and a skeleton. I think that's how it goes.


Saturday, 8 March 2014

How to ask people for money

For many people, asking for money is one of the hardest things they face in life.

Read the following list. If even one of these things pops into your mind when you think about asking someone for money, this video is for you.



Sure, the video runs for an hour and a half. It's a workshop; they do that. But it's worth it.

When I was a kid, I stood on street corners after school, bellowing out the name of the local paper and hoping that the drunks coming out of the pub would buy one. (Only older Australians will appreciate this story.) Those were pre-decimal currency days. The paper cost five pence. I hoped the drunks were sober enough to want a paper, but drunk enough to pay with a sixpence and say "Keep the change." Tips were the point of the exercise, not the miserable pay. I quit that job when Australia changed to dollars and cents. The paper suddenly cost five cents and the drunks paid with a five cent coin. Keep the change.

The point of the story is that I faced up to asking for money early in life, but it still makes me uncomfortable. I was deeply impressed by Andrew Frank and his workshop.

Okay, enough procrastination. Watch the video already.



Friday, 7 March 2014

"Office Ugetsu"

Here is a short film from the UK.
Sometimes office fantasies are the only way to get through the day...
"Ugetsu" is the name used in the West for a 1953 Japanese film, Ugetsu Monogatari. It is summarised in IMDb as "a fantastic tale of war, love, family and ambition set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century." That film involves a lot of fantasy, so does this short film.

Office Ugetsu was directed by Peter Owen Brook and Luke Doolin, who also played a part in the writing. The 1st AD was the incredibly hard-working Patricia Hetherington.


I think we're meant to recognise an homage to the grapefruit scene in Public Enemy (1931), starring James Cagney and Mae Clarke. [Cagney and Clarke were close friends in real life. They appeared in three films together.]