Stirring & Stylish: Distinctively Dark Imagery

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Vita Bella: The Dogumentry goes live

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 2:58 am

A web series I did a little work on recently is going live this Friday, Nov 19, at 7PM PST.  We sure would love it if you tune in!

Check out the website here.

Many Thanks.

Advertisements

Stimulus Package wins 2nd Place!

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 2:28 am

Stimulus Package, a short comedy I shot in the not too distant past, won 2nd place at the DSLR Film Festival in Vancouver.  Everyone is quite excited!

Knowing is half the battle.

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2010 at 9:50 pm

I had a tough weekend.  Not ‘carry that boulder up that mountain,’ or ‘your puppy died’ tough, but creatively tough.

I am lucky enough to be one of the pre-screeners for the Vancouver Short Film Festival.  What’s tough about that?  Well, I sifted through many piles of films over the weekend.  The tough part wasn’t watching them, however, it was rating them.  No, I don’t have final say as to what will screen at the festival, but I am the first layer of adjudication that a film must survive in order to be considered for screening.

I work in film.  I have a trained eye and a particular sensibility.  I have seen a lot of films, and am very familiar with short films.  I also know what it takes to make a short film.  The hours writing, organizing, planning, shooting and editing.  I also know that most short films are financed out of people’s pockets and have no hope of making back any of that money.  Logically, making a short film a stupid thing to do.  Were you a regular person on the street and I came up to you and said, “Hey, do you want to spend the next year of your life investing all of your free time and money into something that won’t lead anywhere?” you’d probably say, “F%#& off!”  And rightly so!

And yet well over a century worth of people hopes and dreams sit on my desk, all that effort and money distilled down to a 4 5/8″ plastic disc.  And now I have to crush some people’s hopes and dreams.  For me it’s tough to do.

Quality in filmmaking is so ephemeral it can be maddening, so let’s not start there.  Instead, let’s judge a film first on its technical merits.  These are less subjective.  Is the sound audible, the image readable, the camera work decent, the disc’s compression noticeable (a tip to filmmakers, if the disc won’t play then you’re really up s*%# creek!).  Now, assuming that the sound and picture are acceptable you’re looking at a whole bag of creative choices, and this is where things get interesting.  A filmmaker can point a camera at anything in the whole world.  How does a screener, me, judge a filmmaker’s creative choice to point the camera at a house plant or an actor?  Only through experience, I guess.

For me, the choice comes down to the film’s impact.  Not ‘car chases or big explosions’ impact, but emotional resonance.  I noticed that watching most of the films my attention tended to wander, but several of the films captured me totally, and folded me into their worlds.  These films were effective.  For those people the film was well worth the year of investment.  It is impossible to say without sounding condescending and self-important, but for those that didn’t make the cut I hope the year was a good learning experience and that this small failure doesn’t dissuade you from making another film.  I hope I don’t have the power to hurt you.

I’m really glad I’m a pre-screener and not a judge.  That would be way too tough.

Shooting Exteriors

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 at 6:22 am

I’m shooting a series of exteriors for the short horror film HIKE tomorrow, and very much looking forward to chance to get outside now that the beautiful weather has arrived.

I’m hoping this will be a great chance to break out the polarizer. We’re shooting on the 5D, and with it’s limited dynamic range the sunshine might prove problematic. I’m expecting we’ll have to underexpose the image somewhat to keep the highlights within range, and with a pola we should be able to get some absurdly dark skies. Perfect for a horror film!

I’ll post up a few still from the days shoot on Thursday or Friday.

I will also try my best to remember my sunscreen! Burning bad, dark blue skies good!

Bad dentistry or good demolition?

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I was a valence...once.

I’ve found it’s tough to type with a crowbar in my hand, but I had to stop and snap a photo when I stepped back and noticed my house’s wizened mouth and snaggle-toothed appearance.  The only solution?  Full extraction.

Please pay special attention to the pink ceiling paint.  Oh, there are miles to go before I sleep.

My new friend, the reciprocal saw, and I have some work to do!

The Land of the Long Fingernails

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm

The funniest thing about graveyards? Charles Wilkins fine memoir of a summer spent as a grave digger in The Land of the Long Fingernails.

It is both touching an funny, shining a light on the business of death, and the lives of those who practice it. Well worth the read.

A bold new day

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 at 6:07 am

I know, it’s not exactly earth-shattering, but here I am finally taking a step into the future. This blog will serve as a creative diary of sorts. Here I hope to give you a better idea of what drives my creative passion, and open discussions – not necessarily all film related.

Stay tuned, and more posts will be coming soon as I explore this new space.

Best.

Thomas.