RocketJump Film School breaks down film cuts

Our staff will be out for a few days for a library conference, so we want to leave you with something substantive to chew on for the week. Enter RocketJump Film School, a film production education group that has been releasing dense, informative videos about specific aspects of filmmaking. It gets pretty wonky; see their … Continue reading “RocketJump Film School breaks down film cuts”

Our staff will be out for a few days for a library conference, so we want to leave you with something substantive to chew on for the week. Enter RocketJump Film School, a film production education group that has been releasing dense, informative videos about specific aspects of filmmaking. It gets pretty wonky; see their video about the difference in camera lens quality for an example.

RJFS’s latest video, embedded above, is an 11-minute crash course on cuts, wipes and transitions. This is an excellent overview of the types of cuts filmmakers use and, more importantly, why they use them. Even regular movie fans will learn something from here. Take “cutting on action,” for instance: it’s a fairly common trick to enhance the action of a movie, and it can help your appreciation of film to look for those techniques.

The entire RocketJump Film School video collection is worth watching if you want to dip you toes into learning about film production, and even for those who are just fans, they’ll help you appreciate the film a little more.

Spotlight’s director talks about filmmaking failure

Tom McCarthy won deserved accolades for his directorial and screenwriting work on this year’s Best Picture winner, Spotlight. But only months before, McCarthy also wrote and directed The Cobbler, an Adam Sandler-starring dramedy about a shoemaker who learns life lessons by literally walking in others’ soles. The Cobbler was roundly considered one of the worst … Continue reading “Spotlight’s director talks about filmmaking failure”

http://www.vulture.com/2016/03/tom-mccarthy-adam-sandler-the-cobbler-spotlight-oscars.html

Tom McCarthy won deserved accolades for his directorial and screenwriting work on this year’s Best Picture winner, Spotlight. But only months before, McCarthy also wrote and directed The Cobbler, an Adam Sandler-starring dramedy about a shoemaker who learns life lessons by literally walking in others’ soles. The Cobbler was roundly considered one of the worst movies of the year, both for its maudlin tone and its surprising racism.

McCarthy has maybe the largest single-year quality swing of any filmmaker in history, and somebody finally asked him about it. The director’s interview with Jada Yuan in Vulture comes off as defensive, with McCarthy insisting that people actually enjoyed it. But eventually, he offers some wisdom to people having to ride through a failure. “You’re that athlete who’s a good pitcher and gives up a home run, and you might think no one’s ever going to forgive you for it,” McCarthy says. “But you’ve gotta be like, ‘All right! Next season!’ and you go back to work.”

Not everyone gets that opportunity, least of all first-time filmmakers, but the advice is well-taken for anyone facing creative rejection. Sometimes your work will be poor, and you have to push on through to whatever comes next. It probably won’t be Spotlight, though.

Hear Betty Boop and Max Fleischer favorites performed live

Discussion about the early history of animation tends to focus on Walt Disney and Looney Tunes, ignoring good old Max Fleischer. Fleischer was the man behind Betty Boop, Popeye, and other Depression-era classics. We could talk about those for a week, especially the censorship of Betty Boop, but one of the most critical parts of … Continue reading “Hear Betty Boop and Max Fleischer favorites performed live”

Discussion about the early history of animation tends to focus on Walt Disney and Looney Tunes, ignoring good old Max Fleischer. Fleischer was the man behind Betty Boop, Popeye, and other Depression-era classics. We could talk about those for a week, especially the censorship of Betty Boop, but one of the most critical parts of Fleischer’s cartoons was the music he used. Compared to Steamboat Willie‘s stereotypically peppy score, Betty Boop was jazzier, riskier, and a little more culturally savvy.

In celebration of Max Fleischer’s career, the currently ongoing Washington Jewish Film Festival will host a screening this weekend of some of Fleischer’s cartoons with the music performed live, as improbable as this sounds, by a Max Fleischer cover band. Hear Betty Boop sing! Marvel at how Fleischer’s animation reflects the Jazz Age rather than glossing it over!

The video embedded above should give you an idea of what to expect. This is really novel performance idea and a great way to celebrate Fleischer’s body of work.

The screening-concert will be at 8:30pm on Saturday, March 5th, at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring.

Alternative programming: Vote if you can

Today is Super Tuesday, arguably the biggest day in the presidential primaries that could solidify each party’s candidates for November. Like everyone else, we’ll be watching the results as they trickle in tonight, and although we expect plenty of discussion about who did and didn’t drive the vote in each state, we probably won’t hear … Continue reading “Alternative programming: Vote if you can”

Today is Super Tuesday, arguably the biggest day in the presidential primaries that could solidify each party’s candidates for November. Like everyone else, we’ll be watching the results as they trickle in tonight, and although we expect plenty of discussion about who did and didn’t drive the vote in each state, we probably won’t hear much about who couldn’t vote. Around the county, voter ID laws intended to prevent fraud continue to obstruct the ability to vote, especially along racial and class divides. Regardless of the perceived benefits of such laws, that’s a big problem.

Up until a court ruling last October partially overturned them, Super Tuesday state Texas had some of the strictest voting restriction laws in the country. In 2014, Bill Moyers covered the Texas law and the suppressive effects of voter ID laws on his syndicated PBS show in the episode “The Fight-and the Right-to Vote.” Moyers elaborates on these problems with help from a member of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund and a writer for The Nation.

We’ll no doubt hear all about campaign momentum tonight, but the people who don’t get a voice in this process – by accident or by design – need a moment too. Thanks to Films On Demand for making this segment available streaming through the AU Library.