Video: 1925 Tour of MGM Studios

October 1st, 2016 by

Via Alicia Mayer:

You are going to be as amazed as I was at this short film from 1925 showing off the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. Just a year after its founding, the studio complex is massive, and not only is each department shown – wardrobe, sets, makeup, publicity, directing, writing, music, dispatch, executives, etc – the people behind the magic are trotted out individually and in teams. Hilariously, the directors are not at all comfortable and stand around awkwardly, but the actors all work the camera expertly. The ‘tour’ even visits the sets of two films and a young ‘Lucille Lesueur’ – Joan Crawford – is featured.

I absolutely love that my great uncle Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg show up right at the end, which is a true reflection of their approach: they were there to facilitate the best and the most talented to do their jobs and make films audiences would love.

This video truly is amazing and a real treat for us movie buffs. Check it out!

For more Hollywood Essays from Alicia Mayer, go here.

Video: “MICHAEL CLAYTON: The Tortured Path to Redemption”

September 27th, 2016 by

A lot of video essays come my way and frankly many of them are not very good. This one is as it does a nice job delving into the psychological and existential journey of the Protagonist in the outstanding movie Michael Clayton.

Two things. First, you can watch this movie, written and directed by Tony Gilroy, each day for a month and learn something of value relative to the craft of storytelling. Second, this analysis is a good reminder that many movies have key themes and dynamics which have theological roots. In Michael Clayton, the Protagonist’s journey is one grounded in the need for redemption. As storytellers, we can use religious themes and use them as metaphors to tap into universal human experiences.

For my series on The Theology of Screenwriting, go here.

For more about the video, go here.

Video: Jenny Nicholson – “Batman V Superman Script Doctor”

September 25th, 2016 by

Another funny / smart video from Jenny Nicholson, this time critiquing Batman Versus Superman: Dawn of Justice:

For more from Jenny, go here.

Video: “‘Blood Simple’ – Storyboards”

September 20th, 2016 by

What a beautiful thing. Criterion has just released a DVD of the first Coen brothers movie Blood Simple. This film is like a fine wine, it ages really well. And what’s amazing is how much of who the Coens are as filmmakers is in evidence in their initial cinematic offering.

To wit, one of the Criterion commentary tracks delves into how the Coen brothers do extensive storyboarding on their movies and through the marvel which is the Internet, we can see that track here.

I’ve read almost all of the screenplays written by the Coens for the movies they’ve directed and it has always amazed me how closely the final product is to their written words. The storyboarding helps explain that. They think through every shot before production, indeed, as they write their scripts. As Joel suggests in the above video, this approach is not the only way to go about the filmmaking process, however it works for them.

To check out Blood Simple on the Criterion Collection, go here.

Video: If Rey is a Skywalker

September 8th, 2016 by

Jenny Nicholson = Harmonic Convergence of wit, smarts, and a solid narrative concept. She does short videos in which she plays two characters and critiques contemporary movies. Here’s her latest: “If Rey is a Skywalker”:

Here she is with her Suicide Squad Sales Pitch:

And this: How to Make Up Star Wars Names:

YouTube Channel.

Video: “When Words Fail in Movies”

August 18th, 2016 by

A video essay from Fandor about the use of silence in movies:

Reminder: Movies are primarily a visual medium. Yes, dialogue is important, but sometimes the best dialogue is no dialogue. Silence can speak volumes.

HT Indiewire.

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Video: Mark Duplass keynote address at 2015 SXSW Festival

August 17th, 2016 by

This just crossed my path:

Mark Duplass, a director, actor, writer, and producer, discusses the migration of filmmakers to television, to the emergence of VOD and its impact on micro-budget film. Duplass has eight pieces of advice for those who want to start a career in filmmaking. He also talks on the changing models of film and television distribution/production, how those changes affect those in the independent sphere, and why carving out your particular corner of the sandbox is going to be the key to maintaining creative control in the future.

The video:

Duplass writing credits include Baghead, Cyrus, and the TV series “Togetherness”.

For more SXSW videos, go here.

Video: “The Directors Series – The Coen Brothers” (Part 4)

July 17th, 2016 by

Here is Part 4 of “The Directors Series” on Joel and Ethan Coen, focusing on O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001).

If you are a fan of the Coens, as I am, you will enjoy this series:

Part 1: Blood Simple (1984) and Raising Arizona (1987).

Part 2: Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994).

Part 3: Fargo (1996) and The Big Lebowski (1998).

For The Directors Series Vimeo site, go here.

Video: “The Directors Series – The Coen Brothers” (Part 3)

July 9th, 2016 by

Here is Part 3 of “The Directors Series” on Joel and Ethan Coen, focusing on Fargo (1996) and The Big Lebowski (1998).

If you are a fan of the Coens, as I am, you will enjoy this series:

Part 1: Blood Simple (1984) and Raising Arizona (1987).

Part 2: Miller’s Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), and The Hudsucker Proxy (1994).

For The Directors Series Vimeo site, go here.

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Video: Coen Brothers proof-of-concept trailer for “Blood Simple”

June 25th, 2016 by

For Coen brothers fans, this is wondrous! Via One Perfect Shot:

What you’re about to see is a slice of cinema history never before available to your unworthy eyes. This is a proof-of-concept trailer shot for BLOOD SIMPLE, the Coen Brothers’ first feature, starring family friend and cult icon all on his own, the one and only Bruce Campbell. I’ll wait for you to start breathing again before I continue.

The video will be a part of the bonus features when The Criterion Collection answers every cinephile’s dream by releasing BLOOD SIMPLE this September. Vanity Fair had the early score.

As the story goes, the brothers were having a little trouble raising the money they needed to shoot their western neo-noir when their friend and fellow up-and-coming filmmaker Sam Raimi – you know him, right? – suggested they shoot a short video to show to investors.

They did and used it to raise $750K to start filming their first – and one of their best – movies Blood Simple. Here is that trailer:

Watch this on The Scene.

For the rest of the One Perfect Shot article, go here.