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11 Apr

There is nothing quite like finding a movie that was made with a shoe string budget and bad acting. And as many of my blogs try to do, inspire and teach about those who have come before us.
EVIL DEAD now considered a cult classic follows the story of five teens who into a cabin in the woods and unleash unspeakable evil, which proves that teens attract evil, when filming a movie like this its best to work with people you know and like and impossible things can done with the right talent.
Oh just watch the trailer:

Bruce Campbell played Ash, the guy with no hope in saving his loved one or friend by the time the demons are finished ravaging their bodies. He’s found later by some passerby who think he’s insane, and the torment starts up for another round. The important note, if you watch how he can switch perspectives of the characters without actually loosing the story. It only heightens the scene when you can only see the back of a head, you look up at Ash’s face, the girl’s head babbles at you.

There was sequal more noted for these scenes WARNING GRAPHIC:

And of course my favorite the laughing deer head:

The movies were praised for their overall amazing work with doing nothing but working with what you have. Film Director Sam Raimi, was young but talented when you notice if you watch the films he combines slack and slash horror with well paced suspense that even when the monsters come out your sitting staring at your screen begging for more!

But EVIL DEAD was more than just a cult movie, it went on to define the gerne of cabin in the woods and even inspired a more reccent movie, “Cabin in the Woods” that takes all the rules of horror movies and splashes them in the face of the viewer.

The movie again follows the same story line but adds in a twist at the end so shocking you’ll have to watch it done by bunnies to really get the full impact.

The bunnies have more shorts and regular update on their main site “


The point is as follows, that movies like these don’t come around very often. The process of getting  funding, setting up a script, finding actors, is very very tiering. So when their shot and produced and rolled out for the public they must be perserved for their originality if nothing else. Movies are not simply a part of us, they are cultural symbols passing on each generations lessons and fears the define the world we live in.

And also forward the movie making process offering more innovate techniques to redefine how a movie is shot and worked and looked at by 1000’s of previous followers.

Yes EVIL DEAD the newest version is a gross out flick, but it does some homage to its predcessor by building off the original. It takes the basic concept and twists it, makes something new and intriguing.

And to be honest EVIL DEAD may be the only series that inspired both a genre and its own spin offs without becoming the trap of Friday the 13th’s long long overdrawn plot devices.

With that here’s the newest trailer and its out in theatre’s now:

But don’t see it on a full stomach.


Sound Effects

3 Apr

Sound is important in video.

Natural Sound is always welcome but cannot always be found like a cow mooing, a wolf howling, a baby crying, or a ten car pile up.

Therefore sound effects are a welcome change when creating a movie versus a documentary.

Some famous sounds as follows:

That was the Wilhem scream the most widely used movie scream. It’s appeared in “Star Wars” and” Indiana Jones” but was originally used in the movie “Distant Drums”. The Warner Brothers studio simply put the sound in file and saved it for future generations.

Castle Thunder was recorded for the movie Frankenstein in 1931, but is used widely still for movies.

The Tardus for any fans of Doctor Who, the infamous time lord and his magical phone box space ship that forever has the emergency brake on. It was created by scraping a set of keys along piano wire added with some back round static.

And of course

The first five seconds of the whoosh for the space age doors was really just a piece of paper being slipped out of an envelope.

Sound Effects artists have been charged with giving movies the extra spark. In the 1960’s the leading studio was BBC (British television network) whose legendary team was on the front for creating new sounds by using organic objects.

But it’s not just with video, before video there was radio. 20’s to the 50’s saw the rise of popular radio programs, which were mostly recorded live in sound studios.

Feel free to skip past the first couple minutes, but Orson Wells Mercury Theater was one of the more popular drama’s during the day. It also caused real world panic when their Halloween broadcast of War of the Worlds, though the actual amount of damage done by listeners is still debated as newspapers may have drummed up the facts.

There are also plenty of opportunities on the internet to find free sound files to add to your creation. A few just to name some are, Flash Kit, Sound snap, Find Sounds. When using music and famous sound effects its best to check if their royalty free, just in case you get famous.

Film Blogs to Read

1 Apr

Since I am constantly looking for ways to improve and a good idea on where to start is to read what’s going on in the industry.

Therefore a few blogs that I’ve discovered and some I’ve known about.

First up is Movie Bob via The Escapist. The magazine which is really more for gamers, boasts the tough in your face critics. My favorite is author, game developer and critic Ben Yacthzee famous for his Zero Punctuation game review shorts.  Why watch the animated sequences? Because he combines wit with visual to get to the point of his review without loosing your interest.

There is also Movie Bob who is again tough on movies and pop culture in general. His reviews take upcoming movies, recently released and previous releases in order to give an honest overall piece together of the film. Is he the best? No, but its nice to get a different perspective then the box office receipt.

Recently discovered is the Film School Rejects, its got news, reviews, trailers, and interviews. Its got awards that it shows on the top banner, but you can assume that the buzz around the website means it somewhat well respected in the online community. What’s nice about it? Very acessible, plenty of topics, and encourage reader interaction like a lot of websites and feedback when the comment box isn’t being abused.

Just discovered are blogs like desktop documentaries and apparently tom The first is for people who work with the iphone, listing of course the essentials of a good camera, necessary basic equipment, and posts nice videos to help out in the explanations.

The second is more about the star tom cruise but has some good advice. The best I got from the recent column is something rather obvious. YOUTUBE is a free screening source, that will let you reach a wide audience fast and for free. It mentions the  youtube screening room which is for more professional film makers, but is the host of smaller independent project.

And of course there are 100’s if not 1000’s of others that will continue to update and be more specific to the needs of the viewers.
And overall the advice I’ve gathered is:

Watch alot of films
Listen to the critics.
Watch for the differences in your favorite directors
Look and read everything you can on how to make film
And then try and do it yourself, it’s not always easy, but as this class is teaching me it doesn’t have to be complicated either.

Finding Inspiriation

28 Mar

Alright there is nothing like attempting to find inspiration especially when your inspiration seems to have dried up on the sidewalk like a stomped earthworm. When in doubt write about what you know.

Therefore I call in my favorite film direction, the british and brilliant, Alfred Hitchcock. He directed a total of 53 films but is better known for, The Birds, Rear Window, Pyscho, and North by Northwest. His movies were mostly known for twist ending, mcguffins, and fantastic angles. He also had cameo’s in most of his films as well. Then the second most interesting thing is he also produced a tv series called Alfred Hitchcock Presents then ran for plenty of seasons.

His movies also starred mostly blondes who gave an icy cold shoulder to their leading actors, only to come around eventually to either help or hurt them.

Or that he had the shortest acceptence speech in history.

“Thank you…Thank you very much indeed.” -hitchcockimages

Hitchcock Was known for having cameo’s in his movies. cameo-torncameo-rear

His of McGuffins, which are in a word nothing. They are what drive the plot forward, they ranged from a coat belt to coded music sheet to a diamond.

And his famous use of camera angle’s to continue to build suspense in his movies.

Rope (1948) – 1. The rope used to strangle 2. The wrong hat picked up by James Stewart

Working with What you Have

25 Mar

So in order to become better at being creative, it’s best to work with what you have. I have an iphone as many people do, but also as many people I’m perpetually broke.

Therefore as much I want to get more into photography a DSLR camera can easily be a great investment but expensive, not to mention various lenses that can come with it. I went through so many Nikon Digital camera when I was younger, in hopes that I could take clear pictures. It never really worked out, because I working with the wrong kind of camera. I had a friend when I was abroad who had a great big camera, but she took some amazing pictures.

oxfordcurch sky oxford, england

She was really into digital photography.

Anyways I can’t really afford to get a big camera right now, even with the great J-School resources I want to be able to use something simple even after I graduate.
Introducing the iphone which with its many apps can high resolution pictures. For 3.99 you can download a camera app that will adjust exposure, you can check adjustments etc on the side. So like a real camera without having a real camera.

Anyways, for inspiration and proof that camera’s can be used for just about anything,



Costume. Costume. Costumes.

20 Mar

I love sewing. One of my many working on it talents.

I love even more costume design for movies and tv shows.

I have never watched the series “game of thrones” showing on HBO but know enough about it. It follows a series of seven kingdoms at war or peace depending with plenty of naked gratuity, extreme violence, and costumes to make it a success.

The head costume designer however has fit every season and every character to their clothes, Michele Clapton.

“”Ninety-nine percent of the costumes are made in-house, in Belfast. We have everything on site: our armorers, our weavers and our embroiderers. We weave our own fabric with our loom — many of the fabrics are literally made from scratch” – Clapton


Game-of-Thrones-Exhibition-Props-and-Costumes-game-of-thrones-33866638-960-710 Game-of-Thrones-Exhibition-Props-and-Costumes-game-of-thrones-33866652-593-960 6a00d8341c630a53ef0168e9264089970c-300wi

It takes one of a kind to a whole new level.

My favorite example was in “Snow white and the Huntsman”

The evil stepmother on her wedding dress wears a gown that looks like bones designed and created by Colleen Atwood.


tumblr_m5ikpuJ6NO1rpfxupo1_500 snow-white-and-the-huntsman

The actual dress however was nothing more than folded paper, tediously cared for and folded and shaped. tumblr_mdecfebg2a1rweo7n Of course nothing beats an entire cloak. Guess what it’s made of? Give up? Hand sewn rooster feathers, each one placed inside to create the crazy flow pattern.

Half the fun besides directing people, is placing them in costumes to really set the scene. Of course most costumes are dictated by huge budget, but that doesn’t mean or stop any one else from trying it out. 1000’s of people manage to use their local fabric stores to get the same look and feel, with nothing more then extreme dedication.

Take this young film maker, Kate Madison, who made her own prequel version to the lord of the rings for 25,000 pounds.

You can view it below, it’s pretty impressive since she directed, produced and starred in the film herself with 400 extras who worked for free shooting in the damp, soggy woods of England.

Daily Mail

Shooting at Night

7 Mar

Unless your on the hunt, there is nothing more annoying and painful than attempting to film at night.

First there’s the fact that everything is dark.

Second your camera is going to need to have subject illuminated in order to create light. This is done as most people know with a flash that gives the lovely deer in the head lights.

Third the dark is constantly refusing to just stay dark. Cars, buildings, and street lamps flicker on and off.

Fourth people may want to have a life outside attempting to film.

One trick for budding camera techs is to manipulate people into thinking its the night when in fact your shot during the day. It’s called day for night or night for day.

The video explains some basic tips and tricks to manipulate light to make it look natural.

There are other more high tech filters that if you were professional you may be able to afford, but they range from $500-$50,000 , plus the camera, and more often then not require a five man crew and a train track. There’s also the three light method.

This is the key light: Another great blog by David Heinzel
Another great blog by David Heinzel

The Fill Light: Another great blog by David Heinzel
Another great blog by David Heinzel

The Back Light: Another great blog by David Heinzel
Another great blog by David Heinzel

So it doesn’t really help if your subject is going to be moving around, but each shot of a movie is fixed for the light and the feeling. If your shooting on the fly, just try to get the best shot you can since you won’t have time re create the perfect type of light.

And of course there are always better ways to create light, but it’s not bad place to start. below is one last video that explains both the three basic ways to light and how to create your own light kit for under $25.

Video  found via: