Friday, February 24, 2012

I HAVE AN AMAZING JOB!

I may have shared that I am now an elementary animation teacher. It is the best job I've ever had. I get the chance to teach kids about something that is very, very important to me. Animation, unlike any other medium, is the work of dreamers. Especially stop-motion.

What makes stop-motion so special is how it brings the micro to life. There are so many small, beautiful, things around us all the time, from toys, and knick-knacks, to stones and other natural objects. Something as small as a leaf and a tooth pick can become a towering tree. Play-Dough can become the landscape of an alien planet. Anything you can dream, you can create.

While adults tend to think all kids are eager to paint, draw, and scribble, I have found that many do not feel confident in their own creativity. But stop-motion is an incredibly simple concept that any kid can wrap their head around. With camera and video editing technology cheaper than ever, it is the perfect medium for encouraging shy kids to create.

I am working on a project for the kids in my class. Below is a sample of what I plan to do. The video will act as a jumping off point to get the kids excited about the possibilities. I want the video to get the kids thinking about detail, depth, setting, story and character.

video

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS ON WAYS TO INSPIRE KIDS TO BE ARTISTIC?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

THE HUNGER GAMES

  

I just finished reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and I will be starting the 3 book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, tonight. These books by Suzanne Collins are my new obsession, but not for the reasons one might think. I actually don't particularly like these books. I find the writing style woefully bland, and lacking in detail. I find the first person perspective really irritating. The staccato use of periods and the overuse of one or two word sentences drives me crazy.

I am in no way, a literary scholar, I'm not even a member of the grammar police, but even I can recognize the awkward writing style in this book. The story itself is also incredibly predictable, but, for some reason, it is as addicting as frosted animal crackers. You know what is going to happen on the next page, but you just have to read it for yourself.


What I like about this book is that it reads like a script. The lack of detail about the landscape, about the way people look, clothing, ect, is done in the exact style a good writer would use if she was trying to sell her script. There is enough detail to satisfy the reader, but not enough to over power the vision of a production designer.

This book was written to be a movie, end of story. While that irritates a lot of people, I think some writers, with good ideas can get away with it, and I think Suzanne Collins is a great example. I do not think this book works on every level, while reading I find myself saying, "I would phrase that differently," and "I want to know more about that character, or this landscape." On the other hand, I think a director with a clear vision for this story might be able to fill in the holes Collins didn't fill herself.


I even hesitate to call this film an adaptation, because I am not sure any adapting will be necessary. It's a script packaged and sold like a book. Clever.

Gary Ross, director of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit has taken on this film and from the trailers, I think it has a lot of potential. We will see how he does with the graphics, this being his first effects heavy film. I think Ross will benefit greatly from veteran DP Tom Stern, best known for his partnership with Clint Eastwood.


The film stars the young, lovely, Jennifer Lawrence, who flies under the radar, but is probably one of the most talented actresses working today. With films like Winter's Bone, X-Men: First Class and cult favorite Garden Party on her resume, there is no arguing that this girl has talent.

Rounding out the cast are stars like Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland and Stanley Tucci.

Watch the Trailer Here

(The pictures are off of google/video from youtube)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

THE AVENGERS: THE WEATHER IS LOOKING FINE

My favorite time of the movie year is summer. I love Transformers, Harry Potter, Thor, Iron Man, and other movies that fall into this genera. It's not really about the quality of these movies, but about the sheer delight I get from them. I have been anticipating this film for quite a while, ever since I heard they were going to shoot some scenes in New Mexico (where I was living at the time). So, I hope to get all of you excited for Spring/Summer 2012! Watch the trailer below!


The Avengers Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Thor, 2012MA

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY


I am absolutely infuriated by the Oscar nominations this year, and it turns out I am not the only one. I thought 2011 was a transformative year in filmmaking. There were so many fresh, passionate and all around quality films from every genera, from established filmmakers and from new comers.  While the year had a few disappointments, New Years Eve and Jack and Jill take my top spot, over all, 2011 delivered a film for every type of movie goer. Drive, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shame, The Ides of March, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Rampart, Harry Potter, Bridesmaids, are all amazing films, by amazing directions, with an outstanding casts. Yet we hardly see any of these films on the Oscar nomination list. Why? Why? Why?

Instead we see films like War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, My Week with Marylyn, Midnight in Paris. Midnight In Paris? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is a sin. It is a sin to honor "feel good" and "trite" films because (as Peter Travers says above), people want films that make the feel good.

People want to complain about the state of the movie industry, constantly proclaiming that, "movies suck these days," and "there are never any good movies out." Well, ya know what. Shut the hell up. There are always spectacular movies to be seen. But the average American viewer and, apparently the Academy as well, don't want anything that challenges them in any way. Everyone says they want quality movies, but what they really want is for the women to be delicate and nice, and their men to be heroic and white, they want their stories tied up in nice little bows with a little wink at the end so they don't have to think about it once they leave the theater. It makes me want to scream.

Anyway, Travers echos my sentiments much more eloquently. Watch above.