Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Culture, Technology, Audience, and Industry

Media is greatly influenced, both directly and indirectly by culture worldwide, particularly America.  Things like war, pop culture, and stereotypes affect almost every movie to a certain degree.  Cliches are everywhere even if it doesn't seem like it. Obvious ones like, hot blonde girls, ghetto black guys,  nerds, sweet librarians, mean teachers - all the way to subtle ones like funny dad's or overbearing mom's.

Technology is going to affect me, and every other filmmaker in my generation immensely, when trying to get our work out there.  Our generation is one of the internet, which is an amazing networking tool because pretty much everyone now has an E-mail or Facebook, or even just uses Google.  Also, better and better editing softwares come out all the time, and there will probably be even more advanced ones by the time my generation is in the work world.  Back in the day, filmmakers had to edit essentially by hand - so the ability we now have to edit something online for free with no previous knowledge of filmmaking is a profound change in the industry.  Anyone can use iMovie, and it's easy to learn how to use things like Final Cut or Avid.  Anyone can film things now too, and everyone does; using cheap flip cameras, camcorders, or even iPhones.  The tools have gotten so much more advanced, accessible, and affordable in the past few years - and it's only going to get better.

The advanced technology we have today not only enables our filmmaking abilities, but ensures that everyone has access to watch the movie they want to watch.  It used to be that if you wanted to see a movie you HAD to go to the theater; my mom saw Marry Poppins dozens of times in theaters when she was young.  But now, if you want to watch a film you can just hop on to Netflix or any of the other countless free movie watching sites - which are often illegal.  That's another issue though...

The audiences of the future is everyone - same as today.  The films that make the most money now are family movies like Up and Toy Story, so judging from how it's going today, families will continue being America's biggest film audience in general.  If I had a choose a more specific group of people, I would guess young women because they statistically visit movie theaters more often than other demographics.  But that's just movie theaters, which is where a very small percentage of movie watchers actually go because of the price and endeavor this involves...Who would walk all the way to a theater and pay twenty bucks for a ticket and popcorn, when you can watch it for free in the comfort of your own home?

The industry of the future - I believe - will be very technology based. It already is and I don't see why it won't continue to get more and more so.  Although some people feel the internet is an ingenuine way of networking and that these new creative resources we have are "cheating" or "fake", they help us get things done faster and more efficiently without paying a ton of money.  So why not let technology take us over?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Bicycle Thief (Revised)

The Bicycle Thief is a film that takes place in post-war Italy about a man, Antonio, who's bicycle is stolen.  He must find it in order to keep his job putting posters up throughout the city.  His friends and son help him track down the bicycle thief, which they fail to do, and at one point he is so desperate that he steals someone else's bike.

There aren't many movies like the Bicycle Thief today; most modern movies have more of a complex plot line and surprising twists.  This movie reflects the Italian Neorealism movement that took place in Italy, post-World War II, when films showed people of lower or working class, filmed on location, and often using non-professional actors.  Italian Neorealist films displayed the hard times economically in Italy during this time, and the general despondency that was felt by the people.

The Bicycle Thief communicates the desperation during that time through Antonio's need for his lost bike.  People act rashly and impulsively when trying to get what they want.  Antonio gets almost violent with people when accusing them of stealing his bike, and when he is caught stealing someone else's bike people are coercive and and brash, rather than acting democratically.  We also see the economic and moral struggle that was present during post-war Italy, at the very beginning when there are crowds of people yelling and pushing in order to be considered for a job offering.  And throughout the whole film, we see people desperate for money and food, stealing, yelling, and starving in the streets.  It all seems so glum and hopeless and peoples morals start to crumble with their hope.  People act unjustly and rude towards each other and it's all because of the general poverty, oppression, and desperation.

Neo-realist films typically were filmed very plainly, with long takes and little to no effects.  This represented the gloom and despair that was felt in this time, and The Bicycle Thief is no exception to this rule.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Bicycle Thief

The Bicycle Thief is a film that takes play in post-war Italy about a man, Antonio, who's bicycle is stolen and must get it back in order to keep his job, involving putting posters up throughout the city.  His friends and son help him track down the bicycle thief, which they fail to do, and at one point he is so desperate for a bike that he steals someone else's and is caught.

The film is in black and white and is in Italian with English subtitles.  There aren't many movies like this today; most modern movies have more of a complex plot line and surprising twists.  This movie reflects the Italian Neorealism movement that took place in Italy, post-World War II, when films involved people of lower or working class, filmed on location, and often using non-professional actors.  Italian Neorealist films displayed the hard times economically in Italy during this time, and the general desperation that was felt by the people.

The Bicycle Thief communicates the desperation during that time through Antonio's need for his lost bike.  People act rashly and impulsively (including himself) when accusing people of things.  He gets almost violent with people when accusing them of stealing his bike, and at one point when he is caught stealing someone else's bike, people act violently and chaotic, rather than democratically.  We also see the economic and moral struggle that was present during post-war Italy, at the very beginning when there are crowds of people yelling and pushing in order to be offered a job by the man assigning jobs.  And throughout the whole film, we see people desperate for money and food, stealing, yelling, and starving in the streets.  It all seems so glum and hopeless and peoples morals start to crumble with their hope.  People act unjustly and rude towards each other and it's all because of the general poverty, oppression, and desperation.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Silent Film Project: Research Assessment List


1. http://listverse.com/2010/01/27/top-15-greatest-silent-films/

2. http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/92535%7C0/Sherlock-Jr-.html

3. http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/pl_prototype_sherlockjr/

4. http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/great-directors/keaton/

Silent Film Project: Explanation

     Sherlock Jr. was made in 1924 and directed by Buster Keaton.  It is a 44 minute black and white silent film that, like many others in its time, is fast paced because the camera was hand cranked and the slower the camera man cranked it, the more frames per second the film would be. And the camera man could only hand-crank so fast. This is a picture of Buster Keaton:
   Sherlock Jr., like many of Buster Keaton's films, is filled with humor and spontaneity.  Often they are deadpan; He understood quite early in his life--when he was part of a vaudeville act with his parents--that he would get bigger laughs if he retained a serious expression.
 
      In Sherlock Jr., there is a sort of nervous man in a suit, tie, and homberg hat (who Buster Keaton actually played), which inspired the character, Jimmy, in my screenplay.  Many men in old silent films are dressed similarly.  Also it is fast paced, in black and white, fades in and out, has title cards, and has a comedic conflict-y tone to it.  I tried to incorporate all of this in my screenplay.

This is Sherlock Jr.


Silent Film Creative Piece: Screenplay

Title card: The Man and The Watch
FADE IN:
INT. GENERAL STORE - DAY
Black and white. We are moving about 20 frames per second. JIMMY (35), in a suit, a tie, and a homburg hat walks in and there is a jing-a-ling-ling when he opens the door.
A man at the counter, GEORGE (41), also in a suit, a tie, and a homburg hat sees him and waves.
Title card: "Heya Jimmy!"
George moves his mouth in sync to the words we don't hear. 
Jimmy waves to George and meanders around the store, picking things up and putting them down, checking prices and grimacing. He picks up a silver watch. The price tag says 80 dollars.
A woman enters and starts perusing around. Jimmy glances nervously around him, at the woman, then at George.
George picks up todays newspaper from the counter and reads. The woman is leafing through a book, her attention averted from her surroundings. 
Jimmy glances at the silver watch on the shelf, then at his pocket, then back at George, then at the woman. The coast is clear.
Jimmy picks up the watch. We can see every detail: The indents perfectly stripped on the gleaming silver band, the gorgeously scripted numbers on the small circle of time. It is 3:23. Ticking, ticking.
He quickly shoves the watch in his suit pocket, then scans his eyes across the room for any hint of recognition to his crime. The women is still reading and George...
...has looked up from the paper! He's staring right at Jimmy.
Jimmy is startled, panicked, terrified, bright red. A wave of ruefulness rushes through him and he reaches in his pocket. He's going to surrender.
George smiles kindly at Jimmy. Jimmy relaxes his shoulders and a smile overtakes his anxious face. Everything is A-O.K.
FADE TO BLACK.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Birth of Cinema Blog Post--Part 2

I chose this film to write about because it was short and simple.  If this movie was made in the 21st century people would be bored by it, and confused by its significance.  But back then, the mere moving picture was a revelation of it's own, so people were probably shocked and thrilled to see something like this.  I would be.  I liked how the actors in this were pretty bad and they exaggerated a lot, but even so, the film was popular and interesting. That just shows that back then, the actual story and believability of a film wasn't as important as the camera work itself.

Birth of Cinema: Wresting Match Review

My name is Ferdinand McGee and I am a man.  I watched the Wresting Match in a theater yesterday with my family and it was spectacular!  It really looked like people were having a wresting match right in front of my eyes, it was so smooth and real.  But to me, surreal.  I loved how they wrestled with so much passion.  It inspired me and made me laugh, chuckle, giggle, roar, snicker, and go "ho ho ho."   I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can't wait to see another film sometime in the near future.