Posts Tagged ‘movies’

I make a video a week. And while most of the movies have the audio taken care of already, there are some that need background music.

Basically, I feel bad using http://www.Incompetech.com all the time.

This video will detail my basic needs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkLn7pzqAAM

Some of my videos have received thousands of views. Wouldn’t it be nice to expand your audience that much? I need free music and you need free promotion, so let’s work together.

I need professional-sounding recordings in these formats: .aif, .aifc, .aiff .asf, .au, .mp2, .mp3, .mpa, .snd, .wav, and .wma.

The recordings can’t be live. And they have to be something that sounds like it would be the background to a scene in a movie. It has to convey an emotion without being distracting.

In submitting work, you agree to have your work used in a video that will only appear on the Internet. You understand that you will not be compensated for the work.

I can’t promise I’ll use it, or even contact you, so please don’t send any follow-up messages. If I don’t respond, I’m too busy with real life stuff. I’ll definitely respond if I’m going to use your work.

Keep in mind, most of the time I’m only going to use a shortened version of the work, so viewers wouldn’t be getting the whole thing for free.

So leave a comment here, or on my video if you want to share your songs. Leave a link to your work. Also, list your website if you have one. Provide whatever contact information you want to be public. Because other people will be viewing this link or watching my video. So, even if I don’t use your work, someone else might.

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I wrote a short story for a client, and it turned out really good. Then, after all was said and done, my client mentioned he stole the idea from the Internet.

If all you need to do is right-click on something, why be original? Creativity isn’t rewarded, it’s just copied. People who want to copy something because they like it, but don’t realize there’s a value there.

There’s an assumption that if it’s online, it should be free. If this was the case, no one would be making any money off their creations and you’d see much less of it online.

Anything can be ripped off. That’s why it’s even more important to be 100 percent original. Don’t fall into the easy trap of generating content mashed up from other people’s ideas. You won’t stand out. You’ll be exactly like everyone else who is doing it.

We don’t revere people like Steve Jobs because he copied other people. He got the respect he did because he created something new.

When anything can be copied off the internet the only thing I have is originality. People want original content, not the same old thing. That’s why, for instance, Charlie Sheen jokes got old very quickly.

My writing might not be much, but at least it’s my own.

 

 

Here’s my YouTube channel. You’ll find some very funny and some very wrong short films here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/verylittleknowledge

Randy did it.

That’s what I thought about Scream 3. Randy had somehow faked his death in Scream 2, and he was the killer in 3.

The characters in 3 found a video made of him, so he still appeared in that movie, but he was long gone.

But I was still holding out hope for him to appear again in 4. Maybe he was severely scarred, and wheelchair bound, and ordering Ghostface around remotely.

Then Neve Campbell’s Sidney would round a corner in a creepy old house and find him during the parlor scene.

I had it all in my head.

And that’s what made the movies successful. Any one of the red herrings could be a decent movie. The fact that you’ll never really guess the killer is inconsequential. You’re building a movie in your head.

Part 4 made me feel the same way part 1 did: Not fear, but that sustained tension for 90 minutes because you don’t know what is going to happen.

It also threw more red herrings at you than Lew Zealand.

Movie makers want to crank out sequels as quickly as possible, but Scream 4 benefited from the distance of 11 years.

It made use of technology that has made it that much easier to reach out and touch someone. Everyone has cell phones. An App that makes your voice sound like Ghostface. A GPS in a phone.

It’s a much better movie than if they had just made another one a year after part 3.

My only complaint – the only whole in the plot – was that after all that’s happened to Sidney Prescott, why isn’t she carrying a gun?

The first time she sees a killing, she charges into the house to save the person or catch the killer. Imagine if she’s got a gun at the time. She fires into Ghostface’s chest.

“Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!”

It doesn’t matter if Ghostface disappears. Maybe he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Maybe the bullet just grazed him. The point is, she does the smart thing and shoots him.

Even better, what if she kills him. The mask comes off, and it’s some teenager no one knows. Then, a few minutes later, the killings continue. It would have been a total switch.

As a writer, I wondered what they could have done to make it bigger and better than all the previous efforts.

What I learned was that you shouldn’t rely on one thing. If it had been a huge change, you could have lost some viewers. There’s a contract with your audience that they expect certain things. You can’t change them. You’re trapped in that aspect.

Instead, they changed many little things. The killer using a webcam, for instance. Not the first time a killer’s done this in a movie, but it was an evolution that made sense. There are other little changes, but I don’t want to do spoilers.

So, if you’re lucky enough to be writing a sequel to something, control yourself. Don’t make it too big of a jump for viewers, or they might fall.

Did anyone think that Emma Roberts was filmed in soft focus all the time? Or maybe she just exists in soft focus.

I saw a commercial today for the remake of “Arthur.” The commercial didn’t impress me much, but not because of the content. It just seemed like the studio wasn’t going to go big on this one.

I’m actually OK with a remake of “Arthur.” I loved those movies when I was a kid, even though I’m sure I didn’t get most of the jokes. I don’t know if Russell Brand has the same charm as Dudley Moore, or if his acting chops are up to par…or if he’s even an actor. Is he a singer? I don’t even know.

Anyway, maybe I’ve been beaten into submission with remakes to the point where I just shrug them off these days, but I really don’t mind that they’ve remade “Arthur.”

You’ve got an alcoholic playboy who builds a robotic suit to fight crime…I mean, an alcoholic playboy who has to settle down to keep his family’s money. That’s a good enough set-up for a dozen comedies. The original isn’t the be-all, end-all. And any remake might only need the set-up, Arthur, the Liza Minnelli character and the John Gieldgud character (this time around Jennifer Garner and Helen Mirren) and the rest just writes itself.

I’ve heard several people say (people ranging from Entertainment Weekly writers to my friend who puts peanut butter on his head) that they shouldn’t remake good movies, just bad ones. This is true. (Come on, people, remake “House!”)

If a move has a good premise, but flawed follow-through, then by all means, give it another shot.

Of course, some movies are dated and need to stay dated. “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” and “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” popped into my head as movies that were indicative of their time. If you did remake them, they’d have to be period pieces.

Disclaimer/background: I’m a traditionalist. I don’t think people should break rules of storytelling unless there’s a good reason. I write comic books, short fiction and children’s books. Just to put my comments in perspective, these are my interests and favorites: My favorite superhero is Spider-Man, and I also like Justice League and Batman. My favorite comic writers lately have been Kurt Busiek, Peter David, and Geoff Johns. I am a huge Transformers fan. In children’s books, I go either simple or meta: either really simple stories or books about stories. In movies and books, I am more impressed with something small that makes me feel something rather than something I’m told is a “must-read” or a must-see.”

A lot of movies and shows seem to have a character with autism, or more specifically with Asperger syndrome, and the characters are all more or less the same.

In “Mary and Max,” Max turns out to have Asperger syndrome. All the charm, for me, slipped away from the character. He stopped being a quirky recluse with no social skills and instead became a textbook.

At the point it is mentioned that he had Asperger’s, it was no longer a story about Max. It was a story about Asperger’s syndrome. The condition became the character.

A commercial I saw advertised an episode of “Parenthood” with the boy asking about Asperger’s, because he was apparently just diagnosed. It felt like “A very special episode of…”

I never thought I’d blog about “Dear John” twice (Here’s the other one: https://whatilearnedbywriting.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/%E2%80%9Cdear-john%E2%80%9D-and-how-weakness-defines-character/), but at one point, John’s father is determined to have Asperger’s syndrome. My wife, a special ed teacher, had it nailed already, of course. Especially because they had already introduced a boy with autism earlier.

“Dear John” wasn’t about Asperger’s. That was just a subplot. “Rain Man” was definitely about autism. But “Rain Man” was based on a real person.

I think writers try so hard to paint these characters in a positive light, and be accurate, that they stop making them characters and just make them cut-outs. They have their little obsessions, which are interchangeable from character to character. And they have their odd way of looking at the world. In sad movies, they are constantly at odds with the way the world works. In reassuring movies, they look at the world through the eyes of a wise and noble child.

Writers have two audiences in mind. The first is someone who knows someone with autism. These people they are trying not to offend. The other are people who don’t know anyone with autism. I think the writers are trying to educate these people.

These are all good goals, but they don’t really make for good storytelling.

Here’s a thought I’ve had before and I’ve got to say it again: The only way to make movies inclusive of people who are different is to make the movie not about the difference. If the whole movie is about a character with autism, you’re not building bridges. They are still the “other.” Studied. Under glass. If you want to show autism as a part of life, show an autistic family member in the movie, but don’t have the whole movie be about that.

I have a comic book super hero whose brother is autistic. Will that fact be the center of stories at some point? Undoubtedly. However, until then, he’s just Jake’s older brother Ronnie, who likes to play video games with him and keeps his mom on her toes.

Some characters in children’s stories are really annoying.

They try to be whimsical, but they are really just standing in the way of the plot. The butterfly from The Last Unicorn, most of the characters from Neverending Story. They all have their own worlds.

But at least they should be like the jesters in Shakespeare plays. They might talk nonsense, but the audience gets it. And they actually know what’s going on. They are even explaining everything to the main characters, but through a filter of whatever idiosyncrasies they have.

I’m sorry, I really am. But when I watched these stories as a kid, I appreciated them more. Maybe it’s true what they say “they added that for the kids.” Maybe I just don’t remember them or paid as much attention when I was a child.

A lot of characters in kids’ movies are filler.

I love Herbie and Yukon Cornelius, but what do they have to do with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? I guess if the story just stuck to the song, it would be a few minutes long. You can’t really blame the writer for needing to pad the story out for the full 22 minutes.

The mice in Cinderella are cute, but they really only serve as someone for Cinderella to talk to. When they make her dress, it’s torn apart. The only difference they make, story-wise, is they steal a key from the wicked stepmother.

The list goes on and on. Supporting characters are supposed to support. But most supporting characters in kids’ movies just serve as comic relief, which is weird, because they are often already a comedy. A movie like Beauty and the Beast gets it right, so I could argue that the newer movies have a sense of this.

Stories about finding love aren’t as interesting as keeping love.

This is a conversation my wife and I have had several times, touched off by watching relationship movies like “The Kids Are All Right.”

There are infinite stories about finding love. But maybe it’s because I’m married that stories about keeping love are more interesting.

What happens after the ever after?

I think part of this is that the audience craves conflict and drama. And sometimes the challenge of staying together isn’t so dramatic. It’s the little things. Your life is made up of finding something to do for dinner, finding time, finding new things to do together. This is not as dramatic or as visual as say, an affair. So maybe that’s why there aren’t as many stories about it.

I suspect that given interesting enough characters, this could be a good story. A challenge, if you will…

Review: Deathly Hallows Part One

This contains spoilers only if you haven’t read the books. Mainly you’ll learn about what was included and where the movie leaves off.

Was it a bad sign that I was actually nervous that this movie would be good?

I’ve been so disappointed with movies that I don’t let myself get worked up for anything lately. And maybe that was why I was surprised by how good it was.

No review of this movie can avoid comparisons to the book for what was put in and what was left out. I think the parts they left in worked, and the stuff they added in worked.

It still wasn’t better than my favorite of the series, “Order of the Phoenix.”

The things they added were really good. Harry trying to dance with Hermione to lighten her mood, the awkwardness of getting caught kissing Ginny…they all felt right. I don’t remember Hermione mindwiping her parents, but it was sad.

Some scenes were extended, like Hagrid and Harry fleeing Privet Drive, which made sense. It was an extended action scene to show how dangerous it is now.

The one where they’re running from the Snatchers was hard to watch. Too much flashing around. Why not just apparate?

I had seen Hedwig being freed in press photos, and thought he was going to be spared. I thought that would have been better. It was too sad to lose her in the book. But it wasn’t meant to be. I guess it was better than losing her in a cage, but still, she should have been free.

And I still never bought that Delores Umbridge was a Death Eater. A prudish, power-hungry, cruel bully, yes. But not everything needs to be so black and white. Not everyone needs to be on one side or the other.

Rufus Scrimgeour didn’t have much of a role in the movie, or a point really. I guess they had to explain that there was a new Minister of Magic, but for all his function in the movie, it didn’t really matter. Wouldn’t it have been great for Umbridge to become minister, the job she clearly coveted, and then it turns out she’s the one who’s murdered by Death Eaters when “the Ministry has fallen?” Scrimgeour has to bring Dumbledore’s will to the kids, but wouldn’t it have been painful if the person doing this was Umbridge? And with all the magic they have, couldn’t Dumbledore’s voice been recorded into his will?

I knew that the movie would end where it did. Dobby’s death and the escape from Malfoy Manor was a key point-one where there were a lot of characters around. It was an emotional touchpoint that a lot of people focused on. I also appreciated that there wasn’t any wrap-up dialogue at the end, which always seemed hollow in the other movies. They always had a few words exchanged between the main characters, and no amount of words could sufficiently sum it all up.

People watching this movie all have the book in their minds, they’ve read it recently. So the argument has changed: There’s no “they needed to explain this for people who didn’t see or read previous movies and books.” No one’s going to see the 7th installment without prior knowledge. And if they do, they accept that there’s no way to get all the references. But will it hold up in 20 years, if they haven’t reread the books during that time?

Again, there’s too much to explain to get everything. There’s only so much dialogue you can give to Ron to push the plot along and fill in the holes.

Looking at the ads, people I know didn’t understand why they were introducing a Snatcher with such a prominent role this late in the game. But it makes sense to have some of the Death Eaters more prominent-something I wished they had done from the earlier movies, so it didn’t seem like these people came out of nowhere.

At least in this one, they weren’t even pretending to have a full movie. That was the problem with “The Half-Blood Prince.” It was trying to be a movie, when in reality, it was just a chapter.

It seems everyone is all too complacent to beat the drum of a form of media dying. But I march to a different drummer.

I’ve come from newspapers, which people say are dying. Then I saw this:

http://www.comixology.com/articles/412/-Ten-Things-to-Know-About-the-Future-of-Comics

This article says monthly comics are dead, turning over to online and graphic novels.

This is something I said about newspapers and I’ll say it again for comic books: They didn’t stop making books when movies were invented. They didn’t stop making movies when TV was invented. They didn’t stop making TV shows when the Internet was invented. All of these things have existed simultaneously. You just have to be smarter about your project, and you have to work harder, and your expectations can’t be as high.

When articles say that not as many people are buying movie tickets anymore, they’re comparing billions of dollars in sales. They’re still doing OK. Just not as many people are getting rich. Or, they’re merely getting rich, and not filthy rich.

You have to be smarter. You have to work harder. And the chances of being wildly successful are slimmer. But people think that if you have to be smart and industrious in order to get a small benefit, that it’s just not worth it.

I have to thank those people. Leave the business now. I don’t need the competition.