Giving some advice to up and coming filmmakers. It’s nice to hear to coming so generously from such a master filmmaker. And, looking at his movies, just scenes on youtube, you can tell how much his filmmaking transcends time.

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preparation for a short movie


getting ready scene:

In a way this is exactly the scene. A woman has stolen some money from her boss. She is contemplating her decision as she is making it.



fight scene:

Bond. basing on the fact that he realises he’s fighting someone bigger than him, and relies on finding weapons to protect himself.

Terminator 1. Mainly based on the outfit of the woman. she’s more in her home attire when the intruder arrives. although, in this scene there’s no fight with her. The outfit and setting is good, and the close-ups of her face, however, our character will be getting back up. Lighting in the room is good too.

The longer, lingering shots on Sarah Conner, with the beautiful lighting. When she looks up to Reese while she is sitting at the table at the beginning. I’d like to photograph the woman in this way in certain shots. Not during the fight sequence, but maybe in the car. Also, really dig the costume of the terminator.



car rear projection techniques:

A nice little setup. I’m not entirely convinced with the final results. But I like the lights from the car behind technique.

The Rock scene is just ridiculous. It seems to cut to only close-ups in the car and the most ridiculous action sequence. All the actors had to do was sit in a stationary car and shout and do some acting. But the sequence is told with cars and crashes really. Quite an interesting sequence. I think we can’t do something like this, and I wouldn’t want to be so close-up, but it’s convincing the way it’s lit.

Watch from 7.25
This guy has a low-budget technique which is similar to the first example. The second example he examines and prefers seems to work the best.

Anyways. I’ll write the dialog and we can choose the time of day more definitely. I like the idea it’s sunlet, however, maybe a night sequence would be easier technically. But i’d prefer to replicate that evening drive feeling.

This scene is quite a nice technical result. And captures some light in the rear projection. Opening and Ending only.

Obviously, this movie was an inspiration in tone and character. And so, I guess the lighting is representative of that mood too, camera angles as well.

Watch at 4.54

Watch at 0.56
I know the retro style is bad, however, utilising colour is nice. Different, however, may not suit our scene perfectly. I like how the close up works a lot better than the wide shot.

Watch at 5.09
Collateral. Night scene. I don’t like the shaky camerawork. I’d prefer mine to be much smoothly and calm. Like you’re in the car with them.

Watch at 0.27
My short scene. This has problems with continuity. Which is why I want to try the rear projection technique.

Watch at 12.25
Again, my first short film. In this the in-car sequence switches from, actual driving and stationary shots.

Classic scene. I think it has to be rear-projection.

The actual classic scene. How was it filmed?



This style of motel is what the scene needs.


Potential Colours:

Reds, Pinks, Oranges, Blues.

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A breif look at lenses

In this little clip Joe Dunton, BSC, GBCT introduces a few of the lenses Stanley Kubrick utilised during his career. It’s great to visually see the technology used in films, as well as, gain an understanding of the differences of lenses. Perhaps to gain a greater understanding of editing and approaching different scenes visually and for what reason.

arriflex35iicpasoliniarriflex35iiclucas              arriflex35iickubrick2

The three filmmakers: Pier Paolo Pasolini, George Lucas and a young Stanley Kubrick.

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Christopher Nolan posters

Just with the release of Dunkirk I just wanted to do a little renaissance of the history of Christopher Nolan releases, mainly to go back to those two first mainstream releases of his that broadly put him on the map to bring us to the modern big releases (and usually with a stream of posters in the the marketing) of his. I just wanted to flip through them chronologically and was wanting to get the first impression images that would’ve appeared in cinema foyers and what first would interest us in his films.

2000                                           2002                                          2005
mementoinsomniabatman begins2
2006                                           2008                                          2010
2012                                            2014                                           2017

When a filmmaker’s oeuvre starts a big following the filmmaker’s stardom can overlook some of the earlier original releases, hence, losing the original marketing aspects that were employed at the beginning. This has happened with movies such as the original Alien during some box set DVD releases.

It’s important to see what was there from the beginning in comparison to the motifs that now have become the standard way to release the new products. Despite Memento all the releases have a common vertical line moving through the poster. Untypically with Insomnia which, almost by accident, created this vertical streak with the three images of Pacino, Williams and the silhouette. The subsequent movies strictly seem to employ a character solely being the centrepiece of the poster. What is now becoming a common motif (and one that people seem to exploit in fanart) is that of character with his back to the intended audience.

Since the motif of the sole character being the centrepiece of Nolan releases I really wanted to go back to Memento as it was a film so unique and original upon its release (which some may argue but I believe this has to be determined by the time of its making and release). According to fan art, and to obnibus and collective work releases (Hitchcock) it seems some people would like to have released the poster suiting the more recent Nolan. For me, the original still remains the best marketing for the movie. I think the poster catches the essence of the movie and it would have helped propel it to the success it had, thus, to Nolan’s success as well.

Having catapulted himself into the spectacular realm of being perhaps one of the most astounding storytellers currently active it seems certain that with his next releases he will employ this similar modern Nolan. That of the sole, vertical character and the bold lettering. I am totally looking forward to seeing Dunkirk and will potentially cross cities or even countries to watch some form of 70mm release of it. After its release and when there comes yet another Nolan movie I still believe he will knock something entirely new and incredible out of the park and that the poster for that release will be spectacular in comparison to his previous releases, and yet, thoroughly different and perhaps unilaterally building upon these. Maybe with a colour shift in tone.

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Come and See (1985)

Director: Elem Klimov


come and see2

Now I am only posting this because if you have absolutely no access to this movie and you think you want to watch it and have no other way to gain access to it, then here it is. I myself watched it for the first time here because it was a film I had wanted to seek out for a long time and was literally not available to me.

This film has a resonance that stays with you. It is a powerful film from an age of filmmaking which doesn’t exist anymore. It’s from the Soviet Union. If I were to open my own cinema I would definately have this film make an appearance every year or so.

This film is divided into two parts, so there is an interval halfway. It’s powerful but try and watch it out. Devote your time to watching it. The cinema stands the test of time. There’s something about Soviet filmmakers that is unrelenting and awesome. The use of the lens is fantastic. It may be only one or two lenses. One of the first films to be almost entirely shot using the steadicam. A technique that would be employed by many ‘great’ filmmakers even up to modern filmmaking. A true piece of cinema. A film that is not about nothing.

come and see

Part I:

Part II:

come and see3

I’m sorry the film is only in a lower quality but that is all I could source out. The fact it is split into two halves reminds me of another Soviet film, Dersu Uzala by Akira Kurosawa. It must have been a common narrative device for the cinema in those days. A useful tool for stories of such dramatic quality and length.

I would like to just add that the performances of the leading boy, and the girl astonish me.

Enjoy. “Well…”, as Garth Marenghi puts it, “I say, enjoy…”

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Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

It has just occured to me that there is a range of brilliant films available to you for free as long as you’ve got a computer and internet. This makes those films that may be hard to seek out, DVD’s you can’t just afford just yet, films that cinemas just don’t play, anything that you may be interested in almost available to you now. It’s not the same as the cinema experience, but maybe, it could bring you that one step closer to that place where all the films you want to see in the world are playing in that magical cinema that doesn’t exist.

The first film I stumbled across was Alfonso Cuarón’s 2001 classic film Y Tu Mamá También. A road trip film, a coming-of-age social commentry, whatever it is, it is both fused with energy, sexual excitement and drama that plays out before your eyes like a comedy of realism. Check this out if you haven’t seen it before. Turn the lights down, turn the music up and enjoy in the comforts of your home.

Ps. Sometimes watching a movie with your laptop on your bed is a great way to watch a film (albeit, far strung from going into a cinema), however, there are opportunities of plugging your device into a television if that is your prefered viewing designation. Just search how to do it on the internet. Happy travels!

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The Year of Living Dangerously and The Life of Pi

The last two films I saw over the last weekend (Kafka was in there too) and I guess I didn’t really do much this weekend. That’s not a bad thing and I’m glad if I’m going to spend a lot of time watching movies, for whatever reason, it’s a bonus when they fill you with something – I don’t know what – maybe some sort of comradery.

yearoflivingdangerouslyI guess the reason I liked The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) was the setting. The ambition of the film. A period drama set against a politically unstable background. That sounds a little cliche’d but cliche’s are sometimes what draws me to films. I had wanted to see this film for awhile. It always shouted adventure, romance on foreign exotic soil. Same reason I guess I liked Phillip Noyce’s The Quiet American when I first saw it. There’s something about the East that is mysterious and I remember sitting in a cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that there is something mysterious about the East.

I don’t know why all the countries in Southeast Asia always seem to get mashed into one thing, though I guess its the region, the climate, the natural life spawning from the earth there, the animals all help to assimilate them. There is vastness but you have to identify it over some sort of greeting to the place – through the culture, attitudes or something like that. So anyway, if a film is going to make something adventurous of a type of situation, a foreigner in the foreign country, a reporter covering a government indifferent or different from where they are from, the relationships that reporter goes through in his situation, I guess it has to pay its respects in the end, and forever remain indifferent in his place.

I thought the film did it well. It’s great for once to see a film not hold back within its limits. The filmmakers fared really well. Respect, Peter Weir, Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, Russell Boyd (even John Seale was 2nd unit) and Maurice Jarre and all the other filmmakers who made the most of the opportunity. I think they got it right. Sure, they are dealing with a political situation here though from this film’s point of view it stays with the character of Guy Hamilton – the young Sydney reporter played my Gibson – and especially Billy Kwan – the Indoesian guide / translator who carts Hamilton around and pretty much stands up for the right reasons played by Linda Hunt – and these are the two vessels that carry across the unstable understandings the media can make for situations that cannot be fully understood to some degree.

The film kind of paved the way, on a Sunday with nothing much else to do, for me to go and see Life of Pi (which came out November last year) in 3D. Ok, the 3D, for me, is getting less and less neccessary. The drawcard was the music and of course, the lovely tale and if you’ve read the book its already affected you to some degree.

life-of-piCouple of things – I saw it in 3D  so when the visuals were as wonderful as they were I can’t comment on whether this is enhanced by the 3D but having been a watcher of films for a long time I don’t think it matters. What’s the point of changing something that hasn’t been broke. These filmmakers all fell in love with cinema from a young age, the same reason someone falls in love with a painting from Millet, even if they only see it on a computer screen. Does that mean seeing the real thing you are going to feel any different. I haven’t even seen an actual Millet painting, still love some of his paintings.

I remember some of the music from the Year of Living Dangerously, and there are a couple of instruments that stick in mind, that have a greater power to them, and a cymbal / bell used in the Life of Pi score does the same. Brings up images just from its sound. Brings up images and emotions. Pretty sure they utilised this instrument in both movies – its an Asian cymbal, but that’s just a personal taste that appealed to me. Also, the way its used, for me helped with the emotion of the story in the certain scenes.

Anyways, I kind of like to go off onto random tangents, so here’s another one. I read the book over a month and a half of travels through Vietnam and Laos and when I finished it it really affected me. Really, was alone in the four thousand islands, couldn’t think properly. It must have been a mixture of being alone and in a foreign country. Made the book really harsh. Well, I am alone and in a foreign country now too, but somehow the film didn’t have the same force behind it. I suppose the imagination doesn’t work as well with film as it does with words. In some ways you can sit back in awe at the splendid images (there’s quite a few previews of just how wonderful they are in the trailer if you happened to have avoided them by living under a rock which isn’t a bad thing) and I guess that’s why this film is, in Ang Lee’s sort of words, disguised ‘as a adventure story’. Can’t really elaborate on my point, hope you get it.

Anyways, both films grasp to me, a spirit of adventure. One is more emotional than the other. One is more profound in its teachings. I guess one if, in essence, an adventure slash romance, where the other is a spiritual journey, but as films, these journey’s can only be displayed to you, and I guess you can follow them through on it and take something away, but there is definately something there that tears at the inside of you to follow through on something as profound.

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