Saturday, October 29, 2005

'THE RAVEN' now on PRX

A radio dramatization of the classic E A Poe poem.


Adapted by: William Spear.

Narrated by: Thos Shipley.

Original Score by: Kevin Mahonchak

Running Time: 9:09 minutes

Produced, directed, and edited by: Emon


Listen to The Raven for free on PRX.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

More Blogs and Links

I've cleaned up the sidebar a bit today. Thought I'd add a few links and things as well. More blogs, more sites, and better categorized.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bloggers You Should Know About...And Read Regularly

So why haven't I found out about these people sooner? Screenwriters who are sharing their art and craft with thousands of people each day....for FREE!!

Screenwriters who actually work and make a living writing screenplays.

How many working screenwriters do you know who'll take the time out to answer your questions?

...tick tock...tick tock...tick tock...

Need I say more?
Anyways...here are a few people all you folks should know about and follow their postings regularly (don't forget me in that process, though...I'm trying my best to share my own thoughts and musings...{is that a real word?}... with you folks). Wow...this last sentence reminds me of a flashback within a flashback a la STAND BY ME.

Anyhoo...here they are. Permalinks also at the sidebar.


John August

Screenwriting by Blog

Screenwriting Life

Complications Ensue

Kung Fu Monkey

Screenwriting

Monday, October 10, 2005

What does anybody know?

The rate at which things are being invented, developed, and updated these days will lead anyone to believe that soon people will run out of things to uncover. So, when you think you've seen it all, stop and think again. Have you?

Editor of Live Sound International, Keith Clark, while doing research on a project, found these quotes that I'm presenting below. Clark's editorial was more to make people who suffer from 'foot in mouth' disease, and think they've said some really dumb things, feel better. I've found it quite remarkable and couldn't wait to share with you all.




1. "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"--H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927




2. "This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no use to us."-- An internal Western Union memo, 1876




3. "I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers."-- IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943




4. "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."-- Ken Olson, founder, chairman & president of DEC, 1977




5. "Everything that can be invented has already been invented."--Charles H. Duell, director of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899




6. "A rocket will never be able to leave the earth's atmosphere."--The New York Times, 1936




7. "But what...is it good for?"-- An engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip




8. "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"--David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s




9. "The world is coming to an end in 1950."--Historian Henry Adams, 1903




10. "There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."--Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Robert Milliken, 1923




11. "Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night."--Producer Daryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946




12. "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy!"--Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist in his project to drill for oil, 1859




13. "The atom bomb will never go off-and I speak as an expert in explosives."--U.S Admiral William Leahy, 1945




14. "By 2000, politics will simply fade away. We will not see any political parties."--Visionary and Inventor R. Buckminster Fuller, 1954




15. "You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck."--The Grand Ole Opry's Jim Denny to Elvis Presley, 1954




16. "The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C', the idea must be feasible."--A Yale University management professor in response to student Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express)




17. "And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all, safaris in Vietman."--Newsweek magazine, predicting popular holidays for the late 1960s.



William Goldman hit the jackpot long time ago when wrote, "Nobody knows anything."

If you have more such quotes to share, please do.


Thank you, Keith Clark, for sharing this with your readers!

Top 10 horror films of all time? You decide.

UK film magazine Total Film conducted a poll recently and came up with the Top 10 horror films of all time.


1. TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

2. HALLOWEEN (1978)

3. SUSPIRIA (1977)

4. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)

5. THE SHINING (1980)

6. PSYCHO (1960)

7. THE WICKER MAN (1973)

8. ROSEMARY'S BABY (1968)

9. DON'T LOOK NOW (1973)

10.CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)


Read full story on the BBC website

Monday, October 03, 2005

My Question Selected for Filmmaker on PBS

Well, it's not like I've won the Emmy or anything.

I'd seen Hubert Davis's film HARDWOOD on the PBS series P.O.V and, naturally, wrote to ask what equipment he'd used (I do that a lot). The question was selected and Mr. Davis was kind enough to answer. The response is now posted on PBS.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Woody Allen 101

I declare that Woody Allen is one of the best writers/directors in film. Not just comedy, but in film altogether. I've seen people dismiss his films because of incidents in his personal life which is a ridiculous thing to do.

Why is he great? As a comedy writer, he is way way up there. One can judge from the various prose, plays and films he has written. His ability to write dialogue is unmatched. His scripts are tight, well constructed, and are always full of surprises. Like any filmmaker, he has his hits and misses but he manages to keep writing script after script ever year.

As a director, Allen's ability to bring out great performances by actors is noteworthy. Why do you think his films always manage to have who's who of actors? I've used the following analogy before. He is more like an orchestra conductor than a director. Actors take huge leaps in their portrayal of his characters. Now why do they do that? I'm sure each one of them will have his/her own reasons.

One aspect of Allen's direction is never discussed and that is his shot compositions. I have yet to see an unnecessary shot in his films. There're no clever eye catching camera movements. Don't get me wrong, his films have several, very clever and genius camera works, but they never attract the viewers attention away from what's important on screen, the performance. He is a minimalist in his shots with very little close-ups, inserts, and fast cutting. A lot of his scenes are simply master shots. His camera is almost never in the actors way. Quite ingenious the way he blocks the camera and actors to create smooth and seemingly effortless performances. It's difficult for me to remember crafty amazing shots or angles in his movies by themselves. They are there, no doubt, but none can be singled out like that long take from 'Citizen Kane'. However, the moments those particular shots or angles were created for are quite vivid, and, I think, that's the way it should be. For example, there is a great sequence in 'Manhattan Murder Mystery' where a shootout takes place behind a movie screen with lots of mirrors. It's a breath taking sequence with fine camera movements and angles, but the impact of the scene goes beyond the technical construction creating a sequence that shows us how life is imitating art.

There are several books written on Woody Allen's film direction and writing style. I'd rather discovered things my way. Although I have read interviews with him. I must admit I didn't like his films some years ago. It all changed after watching 'Sweet and Lowdown'. Still have a few of his films remaining to watch, but I'm getting there.

Here's something a lot of people wonder as to why Allen plays himself in his movies. Why does he have to be in the movie? Ahh, a good question indeed. But listen to my take on that. Think of 'Seinfeld', all four main characters are great and all, but would the series have worked without George Costanza? If you really think about it, all the movies that Allen's been in can only work because he's the glue that holds everything together. His presence makes all the other premises, situtations, and plots acceptable no matter how over the top they maybe. My explanation makes sense to you?

No doubt Woody Allen's a genius. His films are very intelligently designed with real, yet over the top, characters, unusual, yet familiar, situations, and all tied together with a chain of wit. He is one of the greatest American filmmakers...period.

A suggestion about watching Allen's films. Multiple viewings. Although, like any episode of Seinfeld, every time I try to watch his movies to analyze shots and compositions, I find myself, each time, captured in the story.


Below is a list of films I recommend starting out with (if you are unfamiliar with his films). Happy viewing.




1) ANNIE HALL

2) INTERIORS If I'm not mistaken, his only dramatic feature.

3) MANHATTAN

4) A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY

5) ZELIG If you think 'Forrest Gump' was the first movie to use existing footage technique, you need to see this.

6) BROADWAY DANNY ROSE

7) PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO

8) HANNAH AND HER SISTERS

9) RADIO DAYS

10) HUSBANDS AND WIVES

11) MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY

12) BULLETS OVER BROADWAY

13) MIGHTY APHRODITE

14) SWEET AND LOWDOWN Sean Penn's best performance on screen.

15) SMALL TIME CROOKS


Woody Allen Movies

A site for all things Woody Allen.