Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Future of Star Wars

Until I can get more details in Disney taking over Lucasfilm and regarding episode 7, I will keep an open mind. This may very well be the breath of fresh air Lucasfilm is looking for. I am sure this will also open more doors for exciting video games and props to build. I am a little concerned on the possibility of recasting the roles of Luke, Han, and Leia if they plan on bringing in those characters. Many hope for a story from the books and comics but an equal amount would like to see a whole new story. I am opened to both ideas and I am just excited for a new Star Wars Trilogy to be back in theaters. 

Here is an Idea, before all you haters judge something, why not wait until something actually gets done writing and come out before you make your ''HATE" remarks for Star Wars and George Lucas. I am tired of all the people who say they are fans of Star Wars but immediately put down the films and the creator of them. I mean, you speak ill of a man (George Lucas) who revolutionized the film business beyond any other single individual in history; the very man who made every film, tv show, and video game that you currently enjoy even possible. He had the mind to improve computer and special effects technology to their current levels (and editing technology as well to point a fact). He was the one who legitimized sci-fi and fantasy films in the first place, making movies like "Aliens" and "Avatar" realistic possibilities. So what, you don't like his movies? It's no reason to hate the poor man or go on and on for years and years and years bashing his pet-projects.

I swear to God, all of you haters think and act like you're 7 years old. If it's not tits and sex all the time, it's hatred and bitching for all eternity. If you're going to hyperventilate every time something you love changes, do me a favor and just jump off a bridge. Less haters in the world would actually solve most of the problems in our society. If only most of the earth's population wasn't living in denial and delusion all the time, maybe people wouldn't go around throttling each other.

I have made so many lifelong friends because of the Star Wars franchise. Lucasfilm is definitely a very special company and I'm so thrilled to see the Star Wars films continue in the very capable hands of Disney. If there is any doubt, look at where they have taken the Marvel films. Congratulations and thanks to Mr. Lucas for sending the Star Wars franchise into overdrive for all of us fans. I think he explains the future of Star Wars perfectly in the short video released today. I'm excited to see the limitless Lucasfilm creations that will be brought to life under the new Disney umbrella. Now lets all go daydream about what they could be dreaming up for STAR WARS EPISODE VII. Thanks Mr. Lucas not only for what you have done but also for what you have opened up to be done...

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Life of Radio

Radio is the first 'modern' media form, and had a huge impact on the history of the 20th century. For the first time information could be broadcast,  it could be received by anyone with the right equipment, without wires. The birth of radio ushers in the era of mass communications. Many people have likened the explosion in radio in the 1920s to what is happening with the internet today. Many enthusiasts are setting up their 'broadcast slot' and sharing their knowledge with similar people. Wireless communication has really come full circle, as more and more people turn to mobile phones and handheld computers that can receive internet transmissions. In this blog post, I will share with you my research on simplicity of past radio broadcast and how it compares with today's radio.

The Golden Age of Radio:
 Radio was an intimate medium that took some getting used to. In the early 1930s, some actors were so scared of microphones that engineers devised lamp-shade covers to make them appear more innocuous. Actors stood very close to each other around the microphone when rehearsing and performing, and often found their bodies pressing close to those of other actors. Consequently, breath fresheners became standard fare for radio performers between the 1930s and 1950s. According to radio historian Robert L. Mott, the breath freshener Sen-Sen was effective for disguising boozy breath during rehearsals and performances. It became so popular that “most actors were afraid to use it for fear of being guilty by association.”

Actors usually received $6 an hour for rehearsals and $15 for a broadcast that was usually fifteen minutes long. Some actors worked on as many as four soap operas a day. Being a sound-effect artist was often nerve-racking and uncomfortable, with artists often standing in two feet of water to get the kinds of splashing sounds the director wanted. The biggest dread was dropping anything accidentally, having an equipment failure, or making some other kind of noticeable mistake. One artist, desperate not to let a sledgehammer hit the floor, put his foot in its path and broke his foot.

Todays Radio:
While watching the documentary “Before the Music Dies,” I was able to get a better idea of where radio has gone today. Before the Music Dies is a collection of interviews and short fragments of music that tells a story of the near impossible challenge facing genuine, soulful, ordinary looking musicians trying to build a career. The main culprit for the difficulties in achieving stardom is revealed to be money. Those more interested in profit than art are now the ones running the radio stations and signing the record company cheques - they bow to the shareholder and instant returns over long term artistic integrity. The argument runs that if artists cannot be allowed to develop their work at their own pace - without the pressure of regular, crowd pleasing releases - there can be no new Dylans, Claptons, Beatles, or Hendrix, as there is no time for new artists to find their sound.

Since the "good old days," radio has not looked back and has become one of the popular mediums of portable entertainment. In the 21st century, technological developments have introduced concepts like internet radio, thereby broadening the horizon. Despite all these new developments, some critics of radio are saying that we are in the end times of music, that there's nothing good being made, however, this usually indicates that they are looking in the wrong places. There's always good music, it's just that you might not like it when you hear it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Before The Rain

Part I:
Last week our class got the chance to watch the film, Before the Rain, before heading off for our Fall Break.First I would like to point out the cinematography that helped transport the audience to the tragedies that takes place with in the film. With wide open shots of monastery to the bustling city streets in London, the he film is visually beautiful.  Now the film itself is very unique. Unlike most films you see in the theaters, “Before the Rain” is set up in three parts that do not traditionally go in chronological order. Needless to say, immediately after watching the film, I was very confused.  It took a second time to watch the film on my own to truly understand what and why the film was produced in that fashion. In the following post, I will discuss different messages within the film and my insight on the theories on the chronological order of the film.

Part II:
Upon watching the film, it did not take long to realize that film was not going in chronological order. At the end of the chapter “Words,” we see the Muslim girl Zamira killed by, what appears to be, her family. After, photos of a dead Zamira show up in the next chapter of “Faces.”  Now this instance would make the audience feel like they are watching a traditional movie but this is contradicted when we are re-acquainted with Zamira in the chapter of “Pictures.” Now according to a review on the film, “The motto of the film was, "The Circle is not Round" seen in graffiti form on a wall during Pictures but actually stands to deliver a message that in life, people and places may change but overshadowing scenarios (such as conflicts) go backward and forward in a cycle.”

"Time never dies. The circle is not round," is the slogan we see at different areas throughout the film. It's spoken by a priest in "Words," and then it's seen as graffiti in "Faces.” According to a blog known as “Criterion Confessions,” he states that “It's a seemingly contradictory statement since the movie is very much a circle, with the ending of the film taking us right back to the beginning.” This slogan may refer to the design of the film and gives some credit to my time traveling theory.  

Out of all the theories of the film, I believe the time travel theory is my favorite. When watching the film, you will notice that there are several story points that are out of place. Time in Before the Rain does not seem to follow the laws of physics and that it doubles back on itself at random. In the chapter "Words," we see Anne looking at photos of Kiril and Zamira before Aleksandar leaves to go back home, but as events will show us, he clearly could have not have taken those photos, at least not by that point in the timeline. After he has left and is on his way to Macedonia, Anne also takes a call for Aleksandar, in which I assumed it was Kiril at first. After watching the film a second time, I am lead to believe that the photographer is actually the uncle he mentioned in London and may very well be the one who was calling. The time travel aspect of the film centers on Aleksandar and his attempt to fix the past. Unfortunately, as time travel movies will show, one can never change the past. Therefore, Alex’s attempt to going back in time accidentally instigates the events he is trying to stop. This has also happened in somewhat of literary sense, as he has tried to return to his childhood home as a way to escape violence and then becomes a part of it.

Again, to refer back to the blog of “Criterion Confession,” the author stated that “It's through this seeming anomaly that Before the Rain makes its most compelling argument for the inevitability of human action and the difficulty we have in affecting change. Life goes on and on, despite our best efforts to help or hinder it.” Ultimately, the film is trying to state that time is bigger than us and  beyond our control. As a closing statement, I refer back to the film and the same priest who first says that "Time never dies" amends that assertion in the final montage to "Time doesn't wait."




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Color of Paradise

Our class assignment this week was to watch and analyze the sound in the film “The color of Paradise.” The story is about an eight-year-old boy who is blind and lives in a remote village with his widowed father, his two sisters, and his grandmother. We realize early on that the father is some what of a dead beat and does not really care for his son who seems as a burden to him. Regardless, the film focuses on the little boy and how sees the world and the beauty it holds.

At the beginning of the film we as the audience start off hearing what sounds like different tapes being played; this relates to how a blind person would experience the world. Continuing this relation, natural sounds seem to be amplified through out this scene and continues on through out the film. When visuals appear, we find ourselves watching the last  few minutes of a class for the blind. Soon all the children are picked up by their parents, except Mohammed, whose father is very late. While he waits outside, we are gradually shown the world as it is to Mohammad, one restricted to sounds and  touching with the hands. At one point, it seems that Mohammad’s ears prick up; as if he has heard something. slowly, he walk through a path full of fallen leaves and starts searching through them. It turns out to be a fallen baby bird that has fallen from a nest.The boy manages to pick up the bird and climb a tree to place the bird back in it's nest.
The cinematography throughout the film is truly speaks out in this film. Shots like the pastoral scenes of the little boy looking out his window and listening to the sounds it gave off. Or the scene with collapsing bridge, which would have been planned out strategically just to capture it all in one shot. Additionally, these amazing shots give almost a character to the evident sound that ensuing it.
The sound in The Color of Paradise is, above all else,  probably most important aspect to the film. The sound in the film allows the audience to experience as if we war hearing the noises through Mohammad's ears. As you may notice, the sound seems to be amplified to real express the amount of detail he can hear. To refer to my previous paragraph, the sound takes on a role as an influential character within the story. At few times within the film, we hear a very strange noise that appears to be only heard by the father. This may refer to a coming threat or a warning to him on his actions as a father.

Over all, this film really open my eyes and ears to the very important aspects to sound. Through out the film, we are shown perfect examples of the balance between sound and images and how they can create a character within the film. For aspiring directors and sound designers, I particularly recommend this film as a must see.