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Character Research II (Dio)

Part two of my little research trilogy is about another character (Dio) who has a very different perspective on life than the first one (Fritz). Again I’m using my train commutes as a time of contemplation and experimentation. It seems repetitive, but it allows me to demonstrate how the three very distinct characters see their world based on mundane travels.

Character Research I (Fritz)

…so I have all this footage lying around which I recorded during my commutes to cologne…and just now I realised how it can help me explore a charakter I’m trying to write a story about. Since I’m not good at writing I tried to make this fake video diary the way he would make it. To see the world through his eyes and follow a development in his perception, instead of making up a half baked background story and writing silly dialogue. Mabe I can sneak in narrative film making this way… ;)

Inception and Surrealism

For a film that does not contain any surrealism, it’s seeping with it…

That’s the weird thing with american block-buster cinema. Some directors manage to hide their art inside an unassuming piece of entertainment. The last couple of decades seem to me like the early communist Russia. During the 20s it harbored the most talented film makers in the world, only to put an end to it in the 30s. Vertov, Eisenstein and the others had to bow down to Stalin, with devastating effect to their art. In hollywood the new capitalist regime in form of big corporation, which took over the broke studios, allowed great artists to emerge during the 70s and 80s (Lucas, Spielberg etc.).  Nowadays there is less risk-taking and the rules are strickt. Everyone who wants to grow out of no-budget movie-making, has to fall in line. That’s why inception is not a great movie on the inside. It’s full of coded messages meant to be decoded outside of the movie theater.

Paraphilia behind the scenes

As promissed the making of Paraphilia. I wanted to capture the rather hilarious and relaxed time during the production inspite of the tough deadline we were given. I remember being rather stressed about the outcome. It’s a risky gamble I allowed myself with the improvisational nature of the film. It’s unpredictable how long it takes to edit something useful out of the huge pile of messy footage. But watching this in retrospective…it’s incredible how much fun we’ve had shooting this! Now we feel like school kids fooling around during an assignment, winging it last minute and getting through with it AND earning an A+  :D

Paraphilia – an improvisational colaboration

Paraphilia

The rules were simple:

1. you get 6 random acting students

2. you have two weeks to make a film together

3. make it about sex and power…

4. don’t forget to have fun!

I wanted to experiment with improv. I was lucky, that my actors came up with lots of good ideas and even wrote their own dialogue parts. After shooting those, we began the improv-session, and let me give you one advice right away: shoot on a tripod! If you’re lucky as I was, your actors will make you laugh so hard….I had to edit around the messed up parts where I shook the camera to much :D Fortunately the other camera was on a tripod. We had to shoot it like a live theater play, to be able to edit without continuity issues. When I’m done editing the behind the scenes video, it will show how simple the set was. To be continued…

 

 

world cup madness in Germany 2014

It’s amazing what you can do with such inexpensive and inconspicuous gear. Not being noticed by the drunk worldcup-celebrating mob is the best! Testing my mirrorless camera at night with a speedbooster and a nikkor 85mm f2. It increases the light and gives me the same creative freedom like a full format 35mm camera at an acceptable quality.

 

Michael Bay – What is Bayhem

Or: Octavian Petreanu – What is Octified?
I’m comparing myself to Michael Bay, yes! But seriously, this is an interessting case of being slave to a distinct visual style, you try to explore and master for years. On the one hand, I’m trying to stick to it but I’m also growing tired of it and want to flee from it. I have some kind of love-hate relationship with myself that way…like I have with Michael Bay. He sometimes creates very artistic/interessting images and cuts, but is usualy a victim to his need to make every shot look epic and awesome. I can relate to that in regard to my octified ‘style’. This video essay elaborates beautifuly:

Michael Bay – What is Bayhem? from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

highspeed photography tests

Experimenting with my new camera. It was dirt cheap but it can shoot 11 photos per second!

Video tests coming up next ;)

The Golden Age of Creative Distribution

So the film industry is bloated with a few big block-buster movies and way to many little indie films to count? The times of being discovered at a film festival as the next hot iconic director is over? Suck it up and read this article!

 

Earlier this year I reblogged about the issue of wage dumping and the inflationary state of the indie film market. Now it’s time to stop whining and try out new strategies.

Your film is a unique snowflake and so is your distribution model, so embrace the unique strategy before the opportunities melt away.

Crowdfunding isn’t just about raising money, it’s about finding your core audience and creating new opportunities to distribute.

Creating Characters: The Behavioral Paradox

One of my rookie mistakes when I started writing were characters designed to close to real human beings (friends and enemies). It’s easy to write down interessting situations which actually happened and just characterise people involved. But the only ones liking those stories and characters were the ones who knew them personally. Without being there and witnessing the weird behaviour firsthand, no one could relate and believe it. My Professor told me, that the only way for a beginner to create believable characters and stories, is to get rid of the desire for complexity and depth. It took me a while to recover my enthusiasm and start writing again. Back then this article would have helped me a lot:

Creating Characters: The Behavioral Paradox

Character is Paradox.

Human contradictions ARE NOT always justified;
Character contradictions ARE always justified.

Get your “dark night of the soul” moment over with as soon as you can!

Article from 5 Things About Crowdfunding That Were True in 1998 (& Are Still True Today)

I say go ahead and — privately, privately — indulge yourself with your whiniest, most self-loathing feelings after your first big setback. Why? Because a) it’s early enough that you will still have the energy to overcome that despair, and b) once you survive that dark period, you will enter a sort of bliss where you just don’t care what happens anymore.

Cool guys don’t win Oscars

Interessting take on the mechanics of coolnes in acting roles:

Why Leonardo DiCaprio Didn’t Win the Oscar

 

He doesn’t invite you to share his position. That is as good a definition of movie cool as there is. The cool actor invites admiration, envy, and desire, much more than empathy, because he is unreadable.

Stop Making Indie Films

 

Please spread to all your talentless filmmaking friends.

 

I like 2014 already!

After the economics-driven article about the wage dumping effect of the indie film inflation, I found another enlightening perspective on this issue at nofilmschool.com :

The Only Way to Save the Movie Industry is to Give Up On Your Dreams & Stop Making Indie Films

So by beeing lazy all this time, I was unwittingly saving the indie film industry?

The Wal-Mart-effect on the indie film industry

I always wondered if our indie film idols (Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky, Kevin Smith, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch etc.) would have made it in our current market situation. Accodring to this profound article, the chances are very bad!

 

The indie film industry is cannibalizing itself.

Many in the industry still refuse to acknowledge that film is subject to the economic laws of supply and demand.

 

…the industry’s problem was not a shortage of films, but a shortage of eyeballs. But the industry’s response to this warning has been to make more films.
Supply-side economics brought about the age of Wal-Mart – an abundance of poor-quality goods in the name of “competition.” Cheap technology, cheap products and cheap labor allowed the company’s owners to nickel and dime their way to billions while steering employees to seek public assistance in order to supplement wages the company refused to pay them. Sound familiar? While the indie film industry is not Wal-Mart, the process of production (and its end result) is growing similar over time. And this should give anyone who cares about the industry cause for concern.

 

So considering ways to boost the economic value of the industry shouldn’t be about suppressing voices, nor would it be helpful to approach this issue by blindly limiting the number of films made. A better approach would be to find ways the industry can work together to maximize the chances of producing quality films and connect these films to eager audiences – an approach focusing on quality over quantity and combatting the culture of “just get it made,” with a culture of “get it seen.”

 

The year “Reservoir Dogs“ was released, about 250 films were theatrically released in the U.S., compared to 1,500 films released last year. An industry with fewer films may have allowed these great talents to get the attention and support they deserved, and given them a better chance to shine.

 

Generation Like

This brilliant report about the impact of social media on the current generation forces me to rethink my purpose and my goals. What kind of content do I want to produce? What is actually important to me and how do I reach a common ground between my interesst and my audience?

Fast forward to about 15 minutes to watch the part about youtubers. Remember, it’s not about the numbers (of likes), it’s about the culture. The more we understand how contemporary culture works, the better we can participate and make something of significance.

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