Friday, August 29, 2008

Cinema Slap Down: Batman Begins

Last night my wife and I went to our first Columbia College Cinema Slap Down. The film chosen for this event was Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. How the event unfolds is the audience watches the film and then afterword, two film/video faculty come out to discuss it. One faculty member loves it and the other one hates it. In the beginning both are given three minutes to state why they feel the way they do about the film. Then the referee (oh yes, there is a referee) will ask them questions to challenge them both on their opinions. Then the discussion is opened up to the audience. We give our questions, support, and criticism to the faculty members of our view on the film. The event was exhilarating even though I stayed silent!

After watching Batman Begins, Referee Ron Falzone introduced the film's supporter Michael Caplan and the film's condemner Jeff Smith. Michael won first opening statement and dragged on, first by welcoming the audience and by talking too much about his love for batman the legend (the embodiment of all things batman). He spoke of Batman's creator, Bob Kane, and how Batman was unique in the superhero world. Before he could really touch on the aspects of the film itself, his time was up. Then Jeff is given his three minutes. He opens up with the fact The he believes bruce wayne is a whiney brat with a daddy complex. He further explains how a mentally unstable person is able to be given such power and reign over Gotham. Jeff also takes a stab at the president by comparing Bruce Wayne to George W.
Overall, Michael kept to the fact that this movie was the best representation of the original idea of Batman, and that it did something no other Batman movie had done, and that was explore Batman's beginning. Jeff stood annoyingly firm on his view that Bruce was just whining over the death of his father and looked for father figures in the other characters of the film including the villians. It was a heated night of debate and discussion, and yes, some people took it too far by calling Jeff a prick under their breath and saying the event was stupid. Then why did you come? Why do you continue to talk about it after we are finished?
The point of the Slap Down is to get us to look at the possibilities and ideas that are out there that are not our own. We are encouraged to discuss how we view the film and consider new ways of interpreting. I believe attending the Cinema Slapdown sessions excersizes your thoughts and knowledge of film/video and story.

I look forward to the next Slap Down. Maybe this next time I'll speak up about something!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

September 2nd

School will be starting in a week. I am excited with the class schedule I have and I am just all around excited to be going to Columbia. There are a few things, financially, that I need to work out still, but I cannot let it stop me from attending this year. I waited a long time to come to Columbia. I have waited through chemotherapy, through community college, through an art academy, but I have always wanted to go to Columbia from the beginning. Other schools may be better or cheaper, but something about this school always spoke to me.

I was lucky enough to get my classes consolidated into two days a way: Monday & Wednesday. My Mondays are packed with 3 classes from 8 am to 6 pm with only 10 minute intervals between them. Wednesday is more relaxed with 2 classes with at least an hour and a half break between them. So far I am taking History of Cinema, Art History II: Renaissance to Present, Preproduction & Developement: Animation Emphasis, Animation I, and an Evolving Vertebrates class to cover a Science General Ed. requirement.

I am excited and determined to do the best I can for these classes. Not only am I paying a lot for this schooling, but what I do in these classes and the work I produce represents me as a film maker to my professors, colleagues, and future connections. So I am shooting to produce the best work I can, not only to prove to others my capabilities, but also to prove to myself that this is something I can do and hopefully be good at it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ecclesia Update

I have finished my first draft of the pilot episode to Ecclesia, and I must say it is junk. Aside from the fact that I am proud to have stuck through it enough to write it out in such a short amount of time and to have it tie together better than I had hoped, it really needs some work. I know that a lot of formatting is off, because while I was writing it, I just wanted to put it down and didn't worry so much about how I worded certain things or typos. Some scenes seem unnecessary and others I just don't like how the scene unfolded. The characters don't seem crafted well enough. I know for a fact I cut to the ending too quick. I think my first order of business is to go back a write MORE. I shouldn't worry how long the script is at first. I can always cut back later. I also worry that it isn't interesting because as of right now the most exciting element happens in the middle of the script. I have nothing towards the end to really stick. Anyways, you can see for yourself at my Celtx Ecclesia page.

I have never seen myself as a writer, but if I want to make anything of my own, I've got to write something. So I better get used to this! What I really am excited for is beginning character designs and storyboards!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Here it is. Disney's "return" to traditional hand drawn animation. I seem to remember it being under the name The Frog Princess, no? Wonder why the name change... and I wonder what ELSE has changed behind the scenes?

View teaser trailer for Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Overall the animation seems a bit off in the anticipation and squash & strech department. Her reactions come too fast and the frog seems to be animated... well, strangely. Maybe it was a throw together project to put out a teaser quickly, but the quality didn't feel Disney enough.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Ian Escher is a high school student who is afraid of death. He is often struck with severe anxiety whenever he daydreams of getting hit by a car or falling of a bridge. Otherwise, Ian lives a fairly uneventful life and most his days are spent doing nothing with his best friend Rachel Kirby. One afternoon, the peace between the U.S. and an invading country, Ecclesia, is broken, and havoc descends upon Ian's hometown. After accidentally stumbling into a battle in which the enemy uses extraordinary supernatural powers, Ian is rescued by a military group called the ECC and labeled as a person of interest. Already traumatized by his near death experience, he further discovers that he was kidnapped when he was young and was originally the property of the ECC! Ian soon realizes the true horror of his situation when the ECC recruits him to fight in the war, as their long lost secret weapon...

... Early synopsis of something I am currently working on.