Need an Editor?
I've just posted my 2010 Editor's Reel on my NEWSIGNAL: filmmaking blog. Plus you can continue to follow my monthly photo galleries, this month's entitled Lines.
Have a look and consider me for your next editing gig. . .
By MICHAEL CIEPLY
LOS ANGELES — The movie world has been fretting for years about the collapse of stardom. Now there are growing fears that another chunk of film architecture is looking wobbly: the story.
In league with a handful of former Hollywood executives, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory plans to do something about that on Tuesday, with the creation of a new Center for Future Storytelling.
The center is envisioned as a “labette,” a little laboratory, that will examine whether the old way of telling stories — particularly those delivered to the millions on screen, with a beginning, a middle and an end — is in serious trouble.
Its mission is not small. “The idea, as we move forward with 21st-century storytelling, is to try to keep meaning alive,” said David Kirkpatrick, a founder of the new venture.
Once president of the Paramount Pictures motion picture group, Mr. Kirkpatrick last year joined some former colleagues in starting Plymouth Rock Studios, a planned Massachusetts film production center that will provide a home for M.I.T.’s storytelling lab while supporting it with $25 million over seven years.
Arguably, the movies are as entertaining as ever. With a little help from holiday comedies like “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey and “Bedtime Stories” with Adam Sandler, the domestic motion picture box office appears poised to match last year’s gross revenues of $9.7 billion, a record.
But Mr. Kirkpatrick and company are not alone in their belief that Hollywood’s ability to tell a meaningful story has been nibbled at by text messages, interrupted by cellphone calls and supplanted by everything from Twitter to Guitar Hero.
“I even saw a plasma screen above a urinal,” said Peter Guber, the longtime film producer and former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment who contends that traditional narrative — the kind with unexpected twists and satisfying conclusions — has been drowned out by noise and visual clutter.
A common gripe is that gamelike, open-ended series like “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Spider-Man” have eroded filmmakers’ ability to wrap up their movies in the third act. Another is that a preference for proven, outside stories like the Harry Potter books is killing Hollywood’s appetite for original storytelling.
Mr. Guber, who teaches a course at the University of California, Los Angeles, called “Navigating in a Narrative World,” is singularly devoted to story. Almost 20 years ago Mr. Guber made a colossal hit of Warner Brothers’ “Batman” after joining others in laboring over the story for the better part of a decade.
Forrest J. Ackerman inspired a lot of people who love movies, movie monsters and the Science Fiction genre. The editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, he was friend and influence to many. Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi (he’s wearing one of Bela’s Dracula rings in this picture, and will likely be buried with it, as I remember him saying) Rick Baker, Ray Bradbury, and Vincent Price. He was also friend and advisor to Sci-Fi (Ackerman was widely credited with coining the term, Sci-Fi) writers such as Robert Heinlein, Charles Beaumont and Marion Zimmer Bradley. A look at his wikipedia page will show the wide impact this man had on many generations of creators and dreamers.
When I was a fifth grader at Triunfo Elementary School, I had Alan Grossman for my teacher. Mr. Grossman was definitely one of my favorite teachers. One of the things our class did as a group was to do a large mural of E.T. The Extraterrestrial which we ended up sending to Steven Spielberg. One lucky kid later that year got that mural back autographed and dedicated by Spielberg himself. Grossman did a lot of things like that to capture our imagination.
Mr. Grossman himself was a friend of Ackerman’s. In fact, both of them were in John Landis’s movie, Schlock (Ackerman had a cameo, Grossman was an extra in a movie theatre). He also had an open invitation to the Ackermansion in the Griffith Park/Los Feliz area of Los Angeles for all of his students. I remember hearing about the trips even in 3rd and 4th grade. So when I was finally lucky enough to have Mr. Grossman as a teacher, I couldn’t have been more excited.
The music video I directed and produced for “The Billionaires” last month. This version has not been sanitized for your protection.
To read more about the video you can read this post.
Enjoy. . .
Yeah, yeah. . . Call it industrious boredom.
Trust me. People are going to going to google this post just to find out what one far-from-industrious-blogger is doing two weeks in a row. And then they will pinch themselves. Like I am now.
Ouch. Stop that.
So I made a music video with John McCain in it. Seriously. . .
When I say John McCain was in it, I mean a guy by the name of Bob played John McCain. It’s all about nuance. And really, if you take a look at the video, you’ll see just how nuanced it is. Like Marcel Proust only “Maverick-ier”.
But here’s the deal, I am gonna be a real bastard and make you jump to my new blog for the link. Don’t worry, I am not making you jump through hoops with no payoff. It’s just worth doing because I talk a bit about the video. And, I don’t sound like I am drinking.
Before you leave however, I should do some explainin’. I’ve decided at this point, not to abandon Signal>Noise entirely. It still gets hits believe it or not. Even with my industrious-ness-ness (or lack there of). NEWSIGNAL: is a chance for me to be very specific, very focused.
But I got to thinking, what happens if I decide to write a post like this? Something less focused, or talking about something un-related to filmmaking? Yeah. I’ll do that here. It’ll be neat. And keen. And swell.
God, I talk all hip-like. Just like the kids. . .
And finally, I am gonna do YOU a favor. And a favor for a dope filmmaka’ who lent his mad skilz to “Don’t Vote”. His name’s Garrett Brawith and well he did something dope with his time. Garrett directed a music video too. It’s called “Boobie Tassels and Tangerines”.
This one’s sure to get out the vote come November 4th. Click on da rappa to score da goods. . .
So for now, this signal’s here to stay and I’ll be workin’ up some fresh content in the days to come. In the meantime, you can always add the feed for the NEWSIGNAL: when I get around to hookin’ it up. . .
Peace, young ‘uns!
technorati tags:industrious boredom, newsignal:,coffee cart productions, coffeecartproductions.com, john mccain, bob mcewen, john mccain music video, the billionaires, music video, maverick, dont’ vote, signal>noise, garrett brawith, boobie tassels and tangerines
There are a few of you who might still be curious about what this aspiring filmmaker has been up to. Yes, due to a high lack of blogging activity, I can probably count you on one hand. Lately, lack of activity or for that matter, lack of original posts has been due to time spent to a number of pursuits, all of them valuable.
First of all, I have been spending a lot of time dedicated to my association with Unconventional Media, the producer of Need for Speed: Undercover’s filmed interstitials. I wrote in a bit of detail about that work here, and even more insight can be found on my partner’s blog.
Recently, I was approached by “The Billionaires” to direct a music video just in time for election season. In case you don’t know The Billionaires, they are a political satire group that has been around since 2000, and actively calling attention to financial and political corruption of the American democratic process. We have completed that video and are just about ready to unleash it on the world. More to come very soon. . .
In the coming days, my blog will be moving to its new home at:
It will be a more focused blog, and with any luck, I’ll be posting more stuff on it. Things more centered on work, ideas and the development of those ideas. We’ll see what happens. For those of you who do follow me, I hope you’ll drop me a comment to say hello.
Here’s to the future. . .
technorati tags:unconventional media, new signal,coffee cart productions, coffeecartproductions.com, unconventionalmedia.com, need for speed undercover, unconventional media, the billionaires, music video, new blog
“It was one of my life’s proudest achievements. More than the films, more than the awards — finding out that I was on Nixon’s Enemies List meant that I was doing something right.”