Monday, May 19, 2014

Guerilla Filmmaking

Monsters is more of mumblecore love story than a sci-fi thriller. The script was just an outline of what would happen in the scenes and the actors (a real life couple) improvised the dialogue. In this way, the film is very intimate and usually stays away from big action sequences and usually only deals with the aftermath of the chaos. For being shot opportunistically, the film doesn't stand out as guerilla. The world is carefully crafted (most likely in after effects) from the graffiti to the small cartoons telling kids to wear their gas masks.
Personally, I thought the characters we so goddamn boring and for being a real life couple had no on screen chemistry. I thought every once in a while they said interesting things like when she says 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Mumblecore and horror are married to each other in a very logical way. They're both genres that usually come out of new filmmakers working with a low budget. Mumblehore was bound to happen. What we can only hope is that the marriage of these two genres brings something fresh to horror because in my opinion it's kind of a tired genre.
Paranormal Activity is indeed refreshing. As opposed to most recent horror, Paranormal takes it's time to give us a strong sense of the two characters we spend so much time with. Because of this, the characters actions seem motivated and in some ways the film is about the deterioration of a relationship via supernatural experiences. The dialogue seems naturalistic and improved staying true to the mumblecore aesthetic. With films like the Puffy Chair I feel like they're psuedo-found footage films, but the actors aren't acknowledging the fact there's a camera following them. In Paranormal the actors are operating the camera which made the more intimate scenes more powerful and at times felt voyeuristic which I also equate to mumblecore films like the puffy chair.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Black and White Digital

First, respond to "Escape from Tomorrow" and how you think the black and white functioned in the film. Then read the article (linked below) and tell us what you think of digital black and white and wether it has future in filmmaking.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I had seen The Puffy Chair and Tiny Furniture before this class and had no idea they belonged to the same "movement." The movement is logical considering the flux of film students who face the quarter life crisis of, how do I start my life? Also there's no excuse anymore to not make films if you want to be a filmmaker. It's much more of an accessible art form than it used to be.

The thing I find frustrating about this genre is the mediocre nature of the content. The Puffy Chair is an exception because the characters have wants and actively pursue those wants. Tiny Furniture, although I really enjoyed the film, doesn't go anywhere. The characters are unmotivated, which makes it difficult to be invested in them. The dialogue is very well written. Not natural, but well written, snappy, funny, and sometimes profound while the dialogue in The Puffy Chair is improvised and naturalistic like the rest of the aesthetic of the film. The camera freely moves about the action and just observes. Actually, the first time I saw The Puffy Chair it took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't a documentary. While in Tiny Furniture, the quality of the video is better. It was shot on a 5d that Lena Dunham was given for Christmas. At the end of the day, I think the reason I can't say that Tiny Furniture is a good movie, is because it's not telling me anything new. Film is supposed to show me an experience I hadn't already seen or show me something about a human experience that I hadn't thought of before.

Mumblecore is a unique voice in independent cinema and a pretty refreshing one. Filmmakers who are telling stories about characters with emotions and not just pretty images. I haven't seen much mumblecore, but I hope it's not all recycled quarter life crises films.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Television is still film and there's only one way to experience film. In a room, with people, or by yourself, fully engaged in the dramatic action. To pull out your phone or computer out and stare at it during this process is to pull yourself out of the experience completely. I don't watch television when it's airing, I usually just wait for the Netflix release, but it seems that the television world is evolving. I think social media is doing great things for the film industry and from what I've read, the television industry. There's something that turns me off to the idea of live tweeting an episode. Then you're no longer involved in the dramatic action of the episode, you're thinking about what witty thing you can say next. Again, the idea stars of the shows doing live twitter interviews is really awesome. It isn't awesome to do it during the show. Again, I don't watch live television, but it seems live tweeting seems to defeat the purpose of engaging with the story and characters. At the end of the day, what do you care about more. Watching the show or letting people know you watch the show?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Remix=Fair Use

When remixing, I think it's necessary to give credit to the authors in which you are remixing. If creating your own work, I don't think you need to pay the authors. The person in charge of the creation of the piece as a whole is the author. If you sample drums, the drummer is the author of that sample, but the piece in which it is being sampled is authored by the creator.
The media we consume belongs to us, which is why I think remixing should fall under fair use. If something loses it's copyright, I could burn a dvd of it and sell it, which I don't think should be allowed. That's also just stealing, but creation should always fall under fair use. The laws in place right now are completely blind to the direction our culture is headed. Anything being remixed or sampled should definitely fall under fair use.
A lot of this has to do with ethics. I do not believe anybody's personal life experience falls under fair use. Todd Haynes made the film "Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story." The film told the story of the Carpenter's rise to fame and Karen's decent. I'm glad the film was made and I'm also glad I was able to see it because it's extremely inventive. That being said, I feel kind of gross about watching a film about the personal life of people who weren't aware the film was being made. I wouldn't be able to make a film about somebody's life experiences without the direct permission of the person, or people directly related to the person.

Friday, February 7, 2014


I wouldn't be a filmmaker if it weren't for a giant box of VHS tapes at my grandma's house. I didn't go to day care, I would stay at my grandma's house and out of boredom I went through the entire box of movies. I'm not a filmmaker because I was born with a "unique filmmaking ability." It was solely because I fell in love with films and loved watching them. When you enjoy something, you develop a taste. Taste is easy. We either like something or we don't like something. My taste has been completely influenced by the art and culture that I've consumed. My style will inevitably be a monster that I've created over years of consuming culture.
Artists must have the freedom to borrow, because that borrowing is the only way to execute this "taste." Now the hope is to create something that is only congruent with your taste. This is borrowing that is transformative. To steal without giving credit where credit is due or to steal without executing your taste is a crime. Borrowing that is derivative without due credit is something I wouldn't be able to do morally.   The author of "The Ecstasy of Influence" reveals at the end that his article was a collection of things from other articles. He has made a cohesive and comprehensive insight using media that he has consumed furthering the point that everything is borrowed.
In the case of the story told in "Something Borrowed", I believe it was the playwright's responsibility to credit the psychologist. I also think it's a matter of ethics. Creating work based on someone's life experiences is extremely touchy and I don't think I would be able to do it without proper consent. In conclusion, I believe copyright has it's place within the boundaries of taste.