Monday, May 25, 2009

Music Videos, Etc.

Christian Rich - Famous Girl from CHRISTIAN RICH on Vimeo.

So in the middle of me doing pre-pro on this project I'm working on, I came across this video, one which I think is pretty interesting. As you watch it, you totally feel like the directors know what they're doing in terms of how they convey their ideas. Creepy Kubrickian touches. Very good use of camera, art, lighting, editing...using the elements of the medium to the fullest.

I've always felt like if I were fortunate enough to be a working director I'd prefer to do feature films over music videos--which is something I guess everyone thinking they want to direct thinks that they'd want to do...but it's refreshing when a music video does something that you wouldn't expect and incorporates symbolism, social commentary, whatever.

It's also interesting to think that a music video has the potential to be a completely different interpretation of a song from ideas that the musician who recorded it originally intended. I wonder if Christian Rich intended for the song to convey the ideas that the video seems to. Judging from the lyrics, I don't think they did. Interesting, though, overall.

And speaking of music videos--I've been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to produce/direct a video for this kid.

Nyle "Let The Beat Build" from Nyle on Vimeo.

I'm really excited about it--not only because Nyle's next few videos are probably going to be seen by a shitload of people, but because this one will be a piece that's going to let me tell a story, which is something I feel like you don't get the chance to do in most music videos (especially not in hip-hop). There's a lot involved in this piece, but if I can pull it off, which I will, it's going to be dope. Looking forward to it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Makin' Moves

We're shooting stuff out here. That's all I'm going to say. This has been a very productive week so far and looks to be a very good weekend. Am very pleased.

More forthcoming.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why the Hell is Sin Nombre Not Getting the Play It Should?

So I'm one of the first that's skeptical about hype, especially when it comes to film, but Cary Fukunaga's (Tisch Grad Film) "Sin Nombre" might possibly be the best film to have been released in 2009 (and I know it's only May). For up-to-date hip-hop heads, I'd say it's the cinematic equivalent of Drake's "So Far So Gone" mixtape--yes, it's that frigging good.

The film follows a young Central American emigrant Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) trying to cross the border into the U.S. via Mexico, only to be sidetracked by a wayward, disenchanted MS-13 gangmember, Willy (Edgar Flores) who helps her along the way.

Sound like a snore-fest? Not in the least. This movie's got sex, gang violence, chase scenes, good old-fashioned vendettas and so on-- not to mention a soundscape so raw and visceral you just might wet your pants (if you're into that kind of thing).

But it's more than that. There were many times while watching that I, myself, even with my vast reservoirs of manliness, was moved to tear up. Sin Nombre is a gangster film with a heart.

Why am I been touting this film so hard? 'Cause man, Wolverine: Origins is amazingly wack and is playing in 3892 screens across the country; Sin Nombre is in 80 and only 1 in NYC: Sunshine. B.S. This film kicks way more ass--from the way that it was made to what's happening on the screen. Aaaand it won the craft awards for Best Directing and Best Cinematography at 2009's Sundance. What the eff does somebody have to do to get some play?

I've been following Fukunaga since way back in high school, when my filmmaking interests just started to bud and I saw him on IFC's Film School, d.p.'ing for Grad filmmaker Alrick Brown's 2nd year project, "The Adventures of Supernigger," grinding, trying to shoot a guerrilla style establishing shot off the Staten Island Ferry in spite of the guards telling them no. Straight Gangster.

Then, he comes back like 4 years later after having done mad research, and does this, a film shot out of the country with local actors, real gang members and apparently (from the nyc q&a) did about a week's worth of shooting on moving trains. Do y'all know how hard it is to get a 35mm camera rig on top of a effing moving train and keep it steady?
I don't. Look at that shit. I might try one day, but for now, I'm just not that gangster.

Anyways, go check this movie out, if you can, especially people in NYC--support your local filmmaker. Save that $14 you would have spent on getting a drink at some crappy bar/lounge/club, smuggle in a turkey melt and go see Sin Nombre.

143 East Houston Street at the Landmark Sunshine in NYC.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Business Cards

So like many other filmmakers, aspiring indie artists, etc.

I need to up my graphic/web design game. Just look at my blog.

I need to know bloody dreamweaver, flash, photoshop, illustrator, yadda yadda yadda.

Currently working on a simple business card design (something that should probably not take long but for me will likely take hours) for this thing that's happening in a few weeks--might be meeting some people...old people w/ money. What with my still needing to raise money for my thesis film, I've got to take advantage of any and all opportunities I can get.

Stealing some cues from some people's cards I've collected and am uploading a simple design to this site, which is pretty cheap for making cards. Hopefully they come out all right.

Eventually, I do plan to start a production company of some sort through or at least do business in my name. A business card should be a pocket-sized reflection of your company's vision/brand. Although I think my first one will be a bit generic just for the sake of getting it out there, stumbled upon a site with some pretty crazy ideas for others.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Real Quick - A Film I'm Looking to See


Director/Producer Lee Daniel's (Shadowboxer, Monster's Ball) urban drama about a (developmentally disabled?) young woman trying to overcome parental abuse, rape, etc. Sheesh. Sure impressed Oprah and T.P. enough to pick it up and def. took Sundance by storm this year...looks to be one of '09's sleepers, especially T.P. knows how to leverage whatever he does . With his and Harpo's name on the piece, it's sure to get seen by a lot of eyes.

Shout out to Xosha Rocquemore (Tisch Drama '07) who appears in the trailer playing a classmate that "just wants to get her G.E.D." These Tisch drama kids are about their business. We film kids need to catch up.

Also shout out to Mariah Carey playing a not so glittery looking, raspy-sounding guidance counselor. Didn't see that "Tennessee" piece that she did, but is Mariah trying to get some performance chops?

More forthcoming.

The (Not So?) Lost Art of the Old School (Black) Dance

I fear that in 20 years, when I have kids, they will not know how to dance, at least not in proper fashion. Instead, all of our children will be dancing like this:


Now, depending on where you're from, everyone between the ages of 9-21 that I know is pretty much prone to grind, dub, or freak depending on where they're from. In fact, most of us born between the years 1984-1993 most likely grew up on a lot of popular music that involved just moving your body from side to side, making a bitch crawl from a window to a wall, or just plain supersoaking them with skeet. Still, it's not so much the oft-alleged prurient immorality of the dance style that often accompanies such music that I take issue with. After all, much of Afro/Latin dance traditions involve close contact, gyration, undulation, booty shaking, etc. It's just what we do.

Still, my concern lies more in the fact that when I think about the dances that I, as an increasingly grown ass man want to do, I find myself wanting to distance myself from gluteal-crotch contact and do something a bit more sophisticated. All I feel like I know how to do, however, are variations of two-steps, cabbage patches, stanky legs, etc.

Then I remembered "hand dancing," (apparently the D.C. name for it) something I've been wanting to be able to do since I saw one of my exes's parents do way back in the day at some family gathering. My mom being a Bronx-D.C. transplant acted like she didn't know what it was. Still, I'm pretty sure it's just an old school style of dancing, something like stepping and possibly also known as "shag dancing?"

Whatever it is, old folks know how to do it and how to do it well. I started googling stuff after seeing my aunt and uncle do a little in this wedding video I'm still cutting for them (something I've unfortunately put off doing for a while now...smh). Even before my uncle gets to really going around 4-5 seconds, you can see him working in a bit of that old school niceness here in this 8 sec rough clip:

From there, I started youtubing some stuff and started trying it out--hence the shoes:

playing "Back Together Again" by Donny Hathaway and Robert Flack in my room.

Complex shit.

Then, I remember having seen my girl Elle Varner (the gurl can sang)

break it out crazily at my man Nyle's house party this past summer. She made me jealous. All that to say...I think I should learn this stuff so I'm not looking like a fool in the future, so that I can look cool as an old man, and so I'm not supersoaking my wife at my wedding, my kids, at family reunions, etc.

I need to find a dance place in BK. Another thing on my neverending list of things to do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

1st Ramblings.

Why not start a blog, a real one? Everyone else seems to have one. Besides, I think I'm annoying the hell out of all the people I know with my constant twittering.

So yeah. Yesterday I graduated. Today I begin a whole new journey into life: the final frontier. As such, I feel it commensurately important to go see Star Trek in Imax. Dean Campbell delivered some inspiring words for us Tischies (much appreciated when you go out into the world with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree) something by G. Bernard Shaw about jumping, taking chances, etc. It was really cool. I feel like most of the time people don't pursue what they're good at 'cause they're scared. I feel like there's a lot of societal pressure to be perfect and good as an artist, especially in movies, as everything always ends up being presented in this tight little package. Still, people have no idea how much goes into making these things and that it's not the contribution or genius of any one person that makes things work, but rather the collaboration of a team and the fluid, willing exchange of ideas between the people in it.

On another note:

I need a home office, or something like one. I have been up since 5:21 A.M. and have not gotten a damn thing done. Part of the reason I think is that I have this bloody laptop, my macbook pro super-steam engine, sitting on this desk with other things that distract me from my focus. To the left--raisins. To the right, just...a bunch of junk. But I'm a messy guy and I can't help it. Whenever I start writing, which I often do--as with this bloody feature that I'm trying to finish a draft of, once I get blocked, which happens often, I immediately start looking for something else to's like I'm trying to escape from the task at hand. Distractions. That's probably what I should call this blog.

Other things:

Trying to get locations for Nyle's vid. Got some cool spots I've seen, so far. Need to get some more things rolling, though. We're supposed to shoot in a month and this concept I've got is a bit ambitious.

I wanna shoot here:

I don't know, we'll see. These people have been a bit evasive so far, but you gotta try untiil you just get an outright "no" and always have a plan B. Kind of like pursuing a woman. Anyways, I've got about 10 other spots that I've seen, and about more that I plan to look at...but we need to have an idea by like the end of this week.

Need to have a production meeting and quick. People (including me) have been dragging their feet a bit because of graduation, but we need to kick things into high gear. I get restless when shit doesn't get done.

Speaking of shit needing to get done...I need a bloody job. I can't go back to D.C. Anything happening filmwise is out here, in NYC, or in L.A. D.C. is....just not for me anymore. Just something to sustain myself while I grind.

eh...NYU me.

Need to get moving. That was productive, though, wasn't it?