Tag: francis ford coppola

Star Wars: Another New Hope

Memo to JJ Abrams

Dear Mr Abrams

Glad you are taking the reigns of the new Star Wars Trilogy and not Michael “cinematic epilepsy” Bay but a few things to learn from the last three travesties:

 1- No Jar Jar Binks. It took George Lucas until Empire to bring a positive black role model and then we went backwards with this ethically wrong character. So no tacky wacky shit ok?

2- This is a deal breaker when it comes to parting with my cinema money. No CGI sets, please build real sets that actors can walk around in. It was a nice try by Lucas but let’s face it, it was shit. The actors couldn’t act properly and the film was flat. How’s that for Dolly Parton-esque lyrics! Look at Peter Jackson, he built sets that people can touch and you can too and as you are shooting in the UK you have a thousand unemployed carpenters begging to work. Remember, George Lucas sold the farm to Disney so you don’t really have to listen to him anymore about this green screen crap. By all means kiss the ring but he starts talking digital just mention Tron’s box office.

3- Return the fun back like the first three films, the 70’s chic and rebellious and witty attitude. Also try to include the incest three way love angle as it was rather funny.

4- As much as Simon Pegg is brilliant try to vary your ensemble cast by using Johnny Vegas as an alcoholic Wookie… much hilarity will ensue.

 There are more but this is a start….

Remember, I saw the original series as a kid and it blew me away, I saw the next three as an adult and it wasn’t the same. Think about my kids, they will be 4 when they see your film and I want them to have the same exhilarating experience I had watching Star Wars. You don’t owe it to the very dead Walt Disney legacy but to the fans who like the simple things, great story, great action and a happy ending. The first three tapped into the inner child in all of us.  The second three did not did not live up to the hype.

 I know you will do a great job as you rebooted the Star Trek franchise to make me forget Star Trek 5. I actually paid money to see that in the cinema!

Finally I actually live a 28 minute drive from Pinewood so I can pop down for a proper chat if you want. All I need are Samosas.

Real world film school

It seems that the current popularity of film schools are are pretty much redundant considering the experience you can gain in the real world and the cheapness of the equipment available.

A friend of mine want to an interview at National Film and Television School 15 years ago and what they said was that he would learn the theory of filmmaking without touching any equipment. That in itself is a ridiculous thing to do. The principal of filmmaking is picking up a camera and shooting. Not sitting in a room and having a think. You believe that Roger Corman taught film theory with no practical outlet? No, he got a small budget and got his talented crew to make a film, which was essentially learn on the job. His crew consisted of Coppola, Monte Hellman and Joe Dante. Look at what they went on to do. True they did go to film school but back than and even up to 10 years ago equipment was at such a premium you had to go through these educational outlets.

production company alt: logo

Deciding on a ridiculously sensationalistic production company name i decided to try out with this sleazy name in the good spirit of the grind-house distributers.

I have yet to incorporate this as legitimate enterprise but the door is open (as it were)

Fahrenheit 8 Part 2 : Editing

The Post Production Phase

So, the main shoot was a slight disaster in getting what I wanted on screen, a situation that Christopher Nolan never had to go through but then again he had money, lots of money! I just had third party camera insurance and some travel expenses.

I have a background in editing and always enjoy the challenges of cutting but this is way beyond what I expected or signed up for AND THIS WAS MY FILM. Why? Most of the projects I have worked on have a decent budget and big crew and pretty much the entire script filmed from various angles over multiple days. My film didn’t. Also I wasn’t as prepared to deal with everything like that little nugget called continuity.

After the first viewing of the rushes I noticed the lack of continuity of the scenes involved as we had to rush through the script due to the extreme cold which would depress any mere mortal. I have all the shots that I need to build something but it’s not the vision I had in my head but hey nobody really gets everything they need, do they?

Now, if had to farm out this material to an editor I would have plainly been screwed as working for peanuts, one expects at a minimum, footage that looks good (which it was) acted well (which it was) and cuts together easily (ermmm….). Nobody wants do be bogged down in fixing something unless you are getting full pay or you have that Steve Jobs style of enthusiasm of saying magic is in there. Coppola was great at keeping his post staff motivated during his darkest moments of Apocalypse Now and he did well out of it. I can now watch Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse and say I lived the dream!

Luckily as I am editing this I can find ways around the footage and even better I am going in an eccentric direction, which is putting my film in an interesting position. If all went well during the shoot it would have been a nicely edited film like so many other shorts but I have a chance of being different. I allow myself  the chance to experiment in my darkened room.

I am back on track and enjoying the problem solving, as that is what I do best.