Thursday 14 April 2011

Mort Sahl On Movies

"The old movies were made by people that liked what they were doing."

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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Ice Cream

Life is about magic. I'm convinced we know this as kids which is why we leave the sun on and go running around with pretty girls as we stampede towards the ice cream van because if we don't make it in time we might just die.

Being an adult is all about finding excuses for not running after the ice cream. If you're lactose intolerant then fair enough, but for the rest of us - what exactly is our problem?

Life ends.

It stops.

There's no more.

Why even risk the chance of not creating your art. Remember when you were eleven and you stayed out later than you were meant to? Remember when you and Laura rode your bikes over to the hill where smoke was rising from the old haunted mansion? You'd ride so fast, desperate for adventure. Desperate to know life wasn't decided already.

And at some point something in life makes you realise you're not meant to ride your bike anymore. You're not meant to go exploring unknown places with your crazy friends.

One minute you're thirteen and insane and the next you're thirty eight and bored.

That's where art comes in. You get to play. You get to feel again. You get to take risks. Nothing is decided and you can be anyone.

It's not pretend. It's who you really were before the world told you to get good grades and find a job and marry up. It's who you really are.

Every film is about someone throwing off the chains and deciding to be free, or about disregarding the inner oppression and choosing to love again.

Films aren't just fairytales or mythical nonsense. They're the parts of ourselves that get discarded and left on the scrapheap.

Make your Passion project. Do it any way you can. You'll get to play. You'll be running after an ice cream van.

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You still get that little buzz. Silly, really, because they don't make them like they used to. But once in a while they do.

Once in a while they do.

And you let go of everything. The family dispute, the troublesome body symptom, the bill you can't afford to pay. And you wait for the curtain to part. You hope for something special.

You forget the review you read in Empire, you put aside the blogger who projected all their misery and depression onto the movie in the form of a hateful review, you brush it all aside. The IMDB score doesn't matter. The box office doesn't matter. This is between you and the film behind the curtain.

They may have hated it in New York. It may have been a failure in China. But its never been screened in the room you're in to this specific audience at this exact time. Something completely new is about to happen.

There's a voice inside you that's ready to trash it. Ready to think it knows better. And there's someone in you who wants to analyse it; turn it into a review, turn it into a rant when you see your friends. But that part of you doesn't love movies, it just loves being right. You turn it off and the lights come down and for two hours you give yourself over.

This could really be something.

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Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Flip Camera Is Dead. But Now We Can All Make Movies.

They're not gonna make them anymore. That's because you don't even need a camera to make films now, you just need your phone. Especially when you're starting out and making short films. You just have to focus on story, and choose your shots well. You can do it on your phone and if you're doing something more interesting than the guys with the big giant camera and $10,000 budget, then you're going to get noticed.

You'll always have excuses. You'll always want a better camera, and more lighting; but what if you can't afford them? What if you don't have any around where you live? What if you just want to be creative with a couple of friends and see what you can do?

Because you can do anything now. Have you looked at the video quality on the new iPhone's and HTC's? It's great. You can make a movie while you wait for the love interest to text back.

You can write to your budget. Write a mockumentary that is captured on phones. Or make a short film about the day the world ended, and all that was left was a guy and a camera phone. You could make a film about an actress who is video-blogging her failed career when, all of a sudden, she thinks she has a stalker. So she decides to get evidence on her phone. If you're an actress, and you have video recording, you could start making the film tomorrow when you get home from the day job.

That's the power we have now. You can film it on your handset and edit it on Windows Movie Maker. If you don't have a video phone, your friend Bill probably does, and he loves movies. And if you think Windows Movie Maker sucks, then go on Twitter and find someone local who loves movies and has iMovie, or Final Cut, or Adobe Premiere.

Are you a writer or director or actor? And if so, do you have a free day this weekend? You could put the camera in the corner of your bedroom or the kitchen or the garden or the street, and you could make a film with the camera in a still position. Maybe a murder is witnessed by it. ONLY THE AUDIENCE KNOWS. What happens next? Who knows. It's your movie!

Or you could go buy a flip camera. Because they're gonna get cheaper now. Or you could borrow your Uncle's old video camera. The kids are grown up now, so it's just sitting in his attic. But if his kids are in the attic, you should call the police. But after that ordeal is over, make a short film about it, because it's a great concept.

Good luck making your films and let me know when I can see them.

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Monday 11 April 2011

Hey World

It's been a tough year.

I mean, my year's been fine. But it seems like everyone else is really going through it. Last year I had the privilege of becoming close friends with two fantastic people from Belarus. And due to distance and visas, we haven't got to see each other since, but we talk online all the time. And today a bomb hit their home town. They're both okay. One of them, by chance, made a decision which kept him away from the incident. 

But not everyone was so lucky. And that's the story all around the world this year, even more than usual it seems.

Whether by man, or nature; the world is really getting tested, it seems. And some people I love have been through things I can't even begin to imagine or explain. And there's not a lot we can do, when we're sitting on opposite sides of the world. How do you help a friend who's in Belarus, or Christchurch, or Japan?

I guess we can listen, and be there for them. And the bigger job, for all of us, is to witness it. To be present for what's happening in our world. Because you never know what's next. And you never know how people get affected. We need to be there for people without meddling, we need to be strong when we don't even know where the ground is anymore.

I hope you're all keeping safe, and following your dreams, wherever you are, however you can.

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