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so I had my new script and had prop complications, then I wrote a new script about a security guard fighting chavs… people instantly thought Harry Brown but it’s much more based on DEAD MANS SHOES.. The script was too violent and too much work for the time I have… So my new scripts underway but here are some shots from “The Security guard with a baseball bat that kills chavs film” (because it was untitled)

T.S.G.W.A.B.B.T.K.C film is set in a film noir kind of city that has been inspired by the GAME Max Payne. An action Film Noir about a serial killer security guard

Also thinking about using it as my “projects” screen on my DVD menu

Keep an eye out for more soon

What makes a film “British” or “American”? Recently sparked up this debate over kickass, someone commented on the spelling of “ass” and the difference between American and British and then people saying the movie isn’t British. But the Director Matthew Vaughn is British, he’s also an autuer with directing British Gangster flick Layer Cake, as well as producing a large number of British set and toned films (lock stock, snatch, Harry Brown, etc.

Then again the production company for kickass are American, and the film’s set in America with mainly American actors and a few British ones. Release date might also play a part with the films release in the UK 20 days before the US release.

Look at the Dark knight though, some say it’s an American film even though the director’s British

Sherlock Holmes even though that has a British setting and British director is backed by a list of US production companies, so even though it’s “British” some people will see it as more American.

Then again, Alexander Mackendrick who’s the big name nationality film maker, born in the US but from Scottish decent and grew up in Scotland.. He’s a British film maker making American films some people say.. Or British films until he went to Hollywood.

To be honest I have no idea what makes a film “British” or what makes a film “American” because the debate about everything is so awash with who’s in what company, where it’s set, the mood and the tone.

Some people may say it boils down to the FEELING of a film, US films have a very distinct feeling as aposed to British films which have a different atmosphere… Then again, Slumdog Millionare, is completely British, Danny Boyle British director, and all production companies are British but it’s set in India and has a very LARGER THAN LIFE, American style feel to it, this is the reason people associate Slumdog with Hollywood even though it has NOTHING to do with the US at all.

Likewise Black Hawk Down which some people call an American propaganda film making the Americans out to be the best and kicking ass, but directed by Ridley Scott who is British and made with 2 US companies and 1 British one.

A university did ask me if I’m British or Scottish and asked me how I view myself but what kind of a question is that, especially in film making when there is no real distinct nationality between film or if there is I have no idea what it is since it’s not the director, not the production companies, not the setting or the feeling.

Then again people contradict themselves, if Michael Bay an obviously American style director, directed a British tone movie people would still say it’s American or some may say Americans should make American films, British should make British films and not try and imitate because imitation doesn’t work… it obviously does because of the massive list of directors adapting styles. So if Matthew Vaughn can make an American film, Michael Bay can make a British one

My work is much more “American” something my tutor criticized me for, I should be more British but there is no definitive film making nationality so having this little film war weather it’s American or British is weird… European cinema on the other hand is set aside by style but even some French style films still have a little touch of American going in to them.

So yeah, I think the only thing DEFINITIVE enough to judge a films nationality by is that of the director…

not setting because settings change, not tone, mood or atmosphere because they differ and it’s narrow minded for film to stick to one medium (British being gritty, US being larger than life) not judging a nationality by production company either because they vary depending on a number of things…

So because it makes the most sense I would say the film shares the same nationality as the auteur (the director) – ergo, Kick Ass is British

But that’s my opinion which doesn’t count for much considering other people would argue tone.. but you can’t make a good argument out of tone because of films I just mentioned, blackhawk, slumdog, etc.. The only thing that stands firm is the directors nationality

Script, budgets, locations, casting, props, meetings, equipment and the list goes on.. so got my Recon script about snipers that I’m rewriting some dialogue, just contacted all my actors and people involved with production scheduling meetings.

Couple of things this week has in store besides a massive amount of meetings, got about 3 meetings this week, if not more.. but my budget also came through £985 budget for my film. Hey if you want it to look good you got to be willing to spend the cash.

So equipment, although I’ve already spent £3k on equipment so far I’m dishing out £400, likewise props and costume I’m guessing will take up £300 – 400 that’s pretty much of it all gone..

Spending this amount of money is EXTREMELY HARD! unbelievably so! You have no idea how much it pains me to spend £900 within a few days, especially when the money has just gone in to my bank acount… :*(((((

So call sheets something I’m working on, who’s doing what, when and where.. Scheduling everything, probably one of the most important things, I’m meeting with actors, going over lines, and blocking, scene mood and reaction. Fine tuning the storyboard and adding in shots, planning my visual FX

but the big one and the PAIN of everything to come FILMING ON AN ISLAND… A small sucluded island off the coast of Edinburgh, Cramond island, have to wait for the tide to go down to get there… filming then wait for the tide to go down to get back..

the reason I chose this island beside the fact it is secluded.. Military bunkers… but it also means I have to rewrite the script since I’ll have no acess to cars, also means I might need to bring lights and a generator which means walking across a mile with all this equipment could be a massive strain. Then again Michael Bay did film in the desert with his crew walking over massive sand dunes in blazing heat carrying 10x heavier equipment.. This is film making and got to do this kind of thing.

It’s my biggest project yet and as time winds down to the shoot week everything becomes more intense but I have no doubt it will all be worth it in the end.

Recently applied to Edinburgh College of Art for a film course.. got a reply back for an applicants day and got to admit the email completely put me off what expectations I had of ECA.

Mainly the talk in the email about fierce competition and only the best people being selected, which I know isn’t true since I’ve heard some of the tutors at ECA don’t even know what colour correction is. My main problem is the email is trying to be intimidating and it came across as stuck up their own asses.. They are arty farty people so it’s pretty much what I expected, from students anyway.

Couple of major points that really threw me off “NO SHOWREELS” WWWWWWTF! Everyone knows showreels are a collection of that directors best work but ECA just wanted 1 short film.. showing them 1 short film is like showing 15% of your best work.. likewise the rest of my work lies in loads of other projects I’ve made and been involved in. No showreels means I wouldn’t be able to show case ANY visual FX or amazing camera work I’ve done for previous projects.

What ever reason they give (probably NOT ENOUGH TIME TO WATCH SHOWREELS) is completely outweighed by the fact they’re choice for applicants is selected from 1 short film that’s supposed to showcase all aspects of directing or whatever area you want to go in and it’s completely impossible to get a good idea of the students application without actually seeing his best work… so in short you would need a short film that shows off everything, so it’s pretty ignorant… If they don’t have time they should make the time, their choice could easily be swayed by a showreel.

As you can imagine the students of a university that love themselves are pretty stuck up. From what I hear the students love themselves and love their own ideas, kind of film students that “know everything about film” when they don’t actually know anything except from what they think of a film… Even if their opinion is to critisice everything new.. Narrowminded film makers that wont get to far because of the fact they are narrow minded and they do love themselves (see Uwe Boll) That’s actually a bit tight on Uwe Boll, I do like the guy but he does love himself and his films and that’s his biggest fall, he can’t criticize his own work and hates criticism.

Point being that this kind of pretentious know it all smart ass student really gets on my nerves and if I did go to ECA I would constantly be looking down on everyone and come across as an arrogant asshole just because I don’t like that kind of film maker. Ergo I wouldn’t enjoy myself at ECA (especially not if the tutors didn’t even know about something as basic as colour correction..) My tutor did try and back them up with the colour correction by calling me a geek and saying ECA are focused on arty than technical but colour correction is ridiculously basic I find it almost incomprehensible that they wouldn’t know what it is.

As good as ECA may or may not be, it came across to have a serious image problem and I hate that.. As arrogant as I am and as defence as I am about film I would actually go the opposite way of ECA and purposely go to another Uni and purposely create better films than the guys at ECA to rub then the wrong way. Because as much of an asshole as they came across to be, I bet I can be 10x the asshole… lol

In all seriousness I thrive on this kind of competition, I hate competition but I love competition against arrogant people and I would love to join a less known uni rather than the big uni that claims to be the best (Napier is hailed as number 1 film school in the UK by quite a few books and people all over the world) Napier aren’t arrogant though, they’re down to earth so I’m going to try get in to Napier university, they seem to have the whole thing on lockdown and they didn’t try to intimidate me, they didn’t come across as arrogant and they make the time for showreels even though they get loads of applicants.

Problem with blogs is there is technology that can detect key words and send alerts to people the blogs are about, chances are this post will pop up at ECA with alerts lol Which would normally make me uneasy since I hate criticising things, better to let guys know, feedback is helpful.. chances are ECA would shrug this off though given the attitude.. In my assholish attitude defence I have been watching a lot of Charlie Brooker so I feel the need to rage about something, ECA just got in my war path.

For these reasons and my personal preferences I’m not going to bother attending the applicant day, I’ll spend that 3 hours preparing my DVD and showreel for Napier

NAPIER FTW!

like people, obviously… I mean point here being DON’T stereotype.. Recently I watched this video, it was a review, asking the public what they thought of the new movie Cop Out and this posh old British lady really didn’t enjoy it.. in the comments section all the comments were “what was she thinking? she’s much better suited to a posh British drama” or something stereotypical like that.

The lady did say she went to see Cop Out because Bruce Willis was in it, which got me thinking she’s probably a big fan of the Die Hard Movies since that’s what he’s best known for.

The main idea here is don’t make your characters 2D by stereotyping them or psychoanalysing them… That’s a very bad idea, likewise actors.. If you’re ever writing and you think the character would never do that it’s totally out of behaviour that’s bullshit.. Nothing is out of behaviour.

Shy people can flirt, kind people can back stab, stupid people can be careful… It’s an argument I’ve had on a few occasions but you have to learn not to decide who the character is.. in some rare and extreme cases this theory can be abandoned if there’s noway a person would act differently.. John Coffey for example I couldn’t see him being an asshole because he’s so anti-asshole.. He hates people being nasty to each other so you have to watch out for things like that.

Don’t contradict the character but don’t psychoanalyse who they are and try and anticipate what they’ll do.. because people are complex, your characters are too

I’ve been over colour in a previous post saying how important it is, I didn’t get in to colour too much I’m leaving that til later and until I have time. Just quickly I’ve been editing some footage to go on my show reel for my university application and I came across so footage I shot and the colour is completely off, so I thought I would share some tips on how to correct it in After Effects using a method that I always use
Other people use different methods, I do this, I like the control I have and I love the way I go about grading the footage so yeah. This will also help you with that film look and show you how to restrict your pallet.

Very quick tutorial though because I’m just going to the gym, good times!
Here we go, the original footage in After Effects

As you can see the red is extremely ugly, very quickly you can get rid of this.
There are a few ways to do this, the way I did it here was quickly add Magic Bullet Colorista

  1. Push the highlights towards blue
  2. Push the mid tones towards blue / green
  3. push the dark tones towards green

You can see how much I did in the example below (look at the colour wheel on the left and look at the difference it makes

Another way of doing this would be just to add a blue filter over it… Perhaps a blue solid, change the opacity value and fiddle with the blending modes you would get a quick fix.. Or you could use Colour correction > Curves.. and fiddle with the red and blue values

Or you could even use Magic Bullet Look Suite and select the preset “Berlin” which is a nice blue shade and it would colour the footage well and give you a lot of control but this way’s pretty fast and it’s adequate for what I want to do here

But it’s still quite ugly because her face is very red, a handy trick I’ve been taught by other tutorials is to restrict your colour pallet… What I’m doing here isn’t so much restricting it. Usually with this term it would be like getting rid of an annoying colour that draws attention away from the video… Here I just want to slacked the reds off a little

  1. Effects > Colour Correction > Hue & Saturation
  2. Place it ABOVE all of your effects (This is very important!!)
  3. Click the drop down box and select the red (or just highlight the red area (so that the only colour we’re effecting is the red channel)
  4. Then de-saturate the red channel… This is a visual thing, depending on your footage the values will be different.. you just have to play around with this

There we go, a little bit better… Perhaps a little too heavy on the green but it takes fiddling with.. You push the colours around until you get the look you want. Here the colours are quite saturated, quite Michael Bay esque, very heavy in the shadows very saturated.. I’m more of a bleach bypass kind of guy but I like this look too.

It looks a lot better than the original, it still needs some work but this is enough to get you started, these colour correction and grading techniques are extremely handy… Especially Hue and Saturation which is extremely simple but incredibly powerful when making movies or just correcting footage!

The Pursuit of Happyness, a film that I forgot about and recently found hiding in the corner of my room, it’s a fantastic film about a father who’s trying to survive with his son, based on the true story of the stock broker Chris Gardener it does make it even more inspiring.

If you ever feel like you can’t work or you aren’t motivated about work or you’re complaining about work to much, watch this film I guarantee it will change you’re out look and I guarantee you will be working like a steam engine once it finishes.

Of course there’s no surprise here that Will Smith’s actually a person that I completely idolise.. like who doesn’t? the guy’s got everything and he’s one of the most charismatic and friendly people about. If you ever want some inspiration you can just look to Will Smith, maybe listen to some of his music, watch some of his movies. Try and learn from the people that inspire you and take their advice to heart.

Then again cynical IMDB user’s going to come along and say “MONEY DOESN’T MEAN HAPPINESS!!!!” over time I’ve learnt to stop listening to the wonderful people of IMDB for the most part because they are plain wrong and it’s a site full of trolls… because nothing’s more annoying than someone trashing your favourite film.
In this case you will see this like “TOTAL TOSH!”, “UTTERLY ****”, “COMPLETELY BORING!” etc, you get the idea.. basically it would get you wound up… So you have been sad, you watch the film and become happy don’t go on that site because I garauntee you’ll just get frustrated..

Or you could sit there and giggle smuggly because you enjoy your life so much and the trolls obviously just hate theres… that too, if you’re that kind of guy fair play

BAM!
This is a great film, if you haven’t heard of it, get out from under that rock and check out this trailer

This has to be one of the most suspenseful movies I’ve ever watched, I mean this is a real nail bitter.. It’s filled with some really great and some extremely varied scenes I mean Kathryn Bigelow has suspense on lockdown. Hitchcock being the master of suspense as far as that goes I’d crown Kathryn the queen of suspense.

Small details in this film make it really great, I love films that show me details (especially when it’s something I know nothing about) I never knew guys suited up like this and went around diffusing bombs it’s fantastic! From that down to the detail of a 50 cal sniper rifle not firing because the blood on the bullets is making it jam.. It’s really great, then the characters developing during the scenes to get the blood off the rounds I mean I would have never thought about making a film that shines in the details like this and I think it’s pure genius.

There’s so much about this film that’s so great it would take hours to explain it, I’m really not suprised it has been nominated for so many oscars neither am I surprised it won all those Baftas.. it’s really award winning material.

As far as the movie details go, the movie lives in the characters and they are pretty great characters in a pretty amazing setting with an awesomely suspenseful objective.

Check it out if you haven’t done so already, if there’s one movie I really wouldn’t miss it would be this (goes in to my top 10 movies of all time)

In my opinion one of the greatest cinema experiences ever.. I could spend hours talking about this film so I’ve decided to just address some things about it.

There’s an enourmous amount of people that love it, like myself I hail it as the greatest cinematic experience I’ve had to date. My brother loves it, but doesn’t see it as the greatest film, great film none the less he says. There are a few people that think it’s “ok” and there’s a few that hate all the hype it has so they hate it. Then there’s a few people that just generally don’t like it.

Going a bit serious here but this is where people differ.. Movies like music have different genres, movie genres are so much more complex than movie genres but they’re still genres, some people like other genres more than other… I love action adventure more than anything so even watching the trailers for Avatar I was hyped and even from the trailer there was an amazing atmosphere and I instantly knew it was a 2 and a half hour movie when I had purposely read nothing about it, same instincts told me it was going to be fantastic, (and the fact my brother told me all the top directors saw a preview and came out blown away)

The movie was really dream like, and I think that’s what really won me over about the whole thing is that it was like a really amazing dream you don’t want to wake up from. Probably dragging on from that I could say the creativity in this movie is far far beyond anything I’ve seen, conceived or imagined myself.

POCAHONTAS vs AVATAR (vs Dances with Wolves vs Last Samurai vs every other movie with culture clash plot)

Addressing some critism here, there are only 7 types of plot, some say there’s up to 21, I’ve been taught 7 by my writing books so I’ll say 7.. point being there isn’t that many plots going about.. For example, boy meets girl, boy loses girl boy gets girl… (which is actually a plot inside Avatar) It’s vague but it can be applied to LOADS of films.

The battle between good and evil or over coming a monster.. Plots that would be associated with a culture clash theme. What I’m really getting at here is that if you talk about the movies in vague sense they all sound similar. Once you start adding in details in to the story and in to the storyline you completely set the two apart.

For this reason people saying “crappy plot” are completely wrong, it’s not a bad plot it’s just obvious.. Audiences hate plot, once the audience figure out the plot they lose interest because they know what will happen it makes them loosens that sense of anticipation mixed with uncertainty. Admitidly this is one thing Avatar did badly, it didn’t manage to hide the plot… but considering it would be incredibly difficult to hide and trying to hide a plot like this would require mass amounts of elements that wouldn’t be needed other than to hide the plot it would actually make the movie worse.

One thing that’s true about the vagueness of movie plots is in the final hour or so of Avatar it’s NOTHING like Dances with Wolves, Pochahontas or The Last Samurai… Because movies set the scene and the theme (culture clash) and the first hour or so of Avatar was setting the scene and setting everything up. In a way it’s like a game of chess, you move your pieces in to position and then execute your plan.

No Character Development

This is something I heard from a number of people including another film student, kind of wondering what they’re doing on a film course when I hear things like this. Couple of points, if there was no character development at all nothing would have happened.

  • The most basic character development is to have the main character thinking one way at the start but at the end of the film give him a complete reversal of his views. How some people missed that one I don’t know, considering Jake had a complete reversal of his views I thought it was pretty obvious.
  • Character Development in the story gets more complex, all the characters have to bounce of each other, Norm bounces off Jake, Dr Augustine bounces off Jake, and the biggest developments between characters are the 2 key players Neytiri and Quarich have mass amounts of character development with Jake… The development between Quarich makes us love it when they go at it during the final battle and you want to see Jake win. The development between Jake and Neytiri creates a lot of emotion.
  • Loads of people including myself found this movie to be an emotional roller coaster, this is impossible without character development. (see the Matrix) The characters Neo and Trinity weren’t developed enough so when she says “I love you” I felt nothing.
  • Unfortunatly if you know this about film you know some of the characters that aren’t developed can get killed… I was expecting either Trudy or that scientist with the glasses to die. Trudy died but we didn’t feel too sad about that because her character wasn’t developed. Note that if you want to convey tragedy you develop the character then kill them off like in Tsutes case.. Tsute’s was developed, his character bouncing off Jake or even when he sees his home land being destroyed by the “sky people” he had character development in the film which made it a shame when he died
  • Even Neytiris Ikran (dragon) has development – if you really pay attention there’s quite a bit, if you do pay attention you do feel sad when her dragon gets shot down. Again because of development.

I could go on about it for ages but you get the idea that there was massive amounts of character development so where the claims “no character development” come from I have no idea… Probably the pretentious film student. Problem is that guy doesn’t know a lot about films.

Technology, known through out the film industry for it’s revolutionizing technology Avatar stands really tall, I’m leaving this until another post becuase it wouldn’t be right for this one. It is another reason why I love this film, what it’s achieved via technology it’s now the film that has truly defined 3D movies.

If you speak about the film as the highest grossing film of all time (currently at Box office #1 after 3 months..) unbelievably impressive. I mean it’s actually unbelievable, after 3 months and it’s at number 1! There was a point where it dropped down but now it’s back up. It’s unbelievable. Also the total gross at the moment is at $2.5 Billion… It’s a number enough to make you teary eyed, I doubt there will be a movie that can over take it. That’s ridiculous the film has grossed that much.

Despite what some people say, ticket sales do count, if people are seeing the film it means people are enjoying it, if people are seeing the movie over and over it means it’s a really good film. Avatar’s right up to $2.5 Billion which is the highest grossing movie ever by a long shot.. currently the only movie to ever make over $2 Billion there’s no doubt about it that Avatar is an amazing movie.

As far as hugely successful movies go it means there will be guys anti-hyping. The more successful it is the more people feel the need to shout out in anger at it. Anything with this much publicity and doing this well has these guys. Maybe one day I’ll review Avatar, take some time to look in to the greatest film I’ve seen but I’ll wait for the DVD before I even attempt to understand the movie completely.

The type of film I would absoloutly love if I were young enough. Even though I’ve seen some heavy criticism for this film mainly “why’s it called Karate kid if he’s doing kung fu?” you know I have no idea, hopefully the movie will explain that somewhere but a lot of the other constructive critism I see is “looks shit”

It wouldn’t if you were a 7 year old, Jackie Chan and Will Smiths son kicking ass, it would be awesome and children wouldn’t have embraced the incredibly cliche storyline before.

The thing is the trailer’s actually pretty enjoyable, I’ve always been a fan of martial arts movies, especially when I was a kid… The original Karate kid movie didn’t interest me, but this trailer actually had me hooked… I guess the biggest fall for this movie (for someone my age) would be I know exactly what’s going to happen because it seems to be on a pretty massive cliche level but I could probably watch the movie and really enjoy it on the basis of watching some pretty cool stunts and nice looking lens flares appearing behind a God like Jackie Chan.

anyway, movie’s release on June 10th just in time for the holidays… There’s an atmosphere about summer movies that I just love, this movie would not be the same if it were released now.. which I find odd..

Anyway, I might go and see it if I want to be laughed at the rest of my life lol I’m kidding, in all seriousness it doesn’t look half bad but I think I’m a bit old for this.. If I did see this movie it would be the equivalent of me going to a theme park and riding that really slow catepillar roller coaster

(Not gonna lie, poster’s pretty bad ass)