The great equipment debate #indie #filmmaking #photography

It has been a big year so far. I have graduated from my Media Studies and Production degree with a first, moved countries and got a job, which I start tomorrow.  One thing I loved about my Uni was the availability of equipment. PD-170’s, D300’s and sound equipment galore, I used it all and milked the system. I had those cameras all over the place filming on cliff tops, hotel rooms and across the continent. I now regret not taking ever more advantage of them as I now have a problem.

Too far?

You may have noticed an increase in stop motion creation on my behalf. This has been solely down to my equipment. I have a Canon 450d. That is it. I have no way of capturing moving images. This has pushed me to work on various techniques and styles I wouldn’t have previously, based upon my lack of equipment. Look at my 15sff entry Duel. I had a number of ideas for the 15 second film festival but made Duel because I did not have the equipment. Most people talk about equipment as thought its the be all and end all, some people get rather angry about it and some companies go a bit too far.(see right)

This of course is about iphoneography which is on the incline. The use of your iphone as a camera. Along with instamatic anyone can take a boring picture put an effect on it and bam retro photography at its modernist. Graham Smith is a great representative of this band. I think he is a talented fella and knows what he is talking about.

“the only camera I own now is my iphone and I edit all my photos onboard this. I can kinda see why people get surprised about this but it is simply because I enjoy it and in my opinion I am now shooting better photos than ever before. Not that it comes down to megapixels…but….the iphone is over double the megapixels of my first DSLR (with photos from this being published in NME, Kerrang, Rock Sound etc). ” (link)

I am rather glad of my lack of equipment. I think it has tested me as a creator of all things and pushed me away from short films as such and focused my attention elsewhere. I have done a lot more photography and my animation ability has certainly improved. Until i sort out my equipment issues I shall write. Its still free right?

Margot at the wedding (2007) – View

vFound out this week during to much “Wes Andersoning” that Noah Baumbach was a co writer on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I also enjoyed his directing style after watching The Squid and the Whale. So I decided to give another film he has directed a look see.

I was not expecting much due to a certain Mr. Jack Black acting in it. He gets on my nerves. This came to fruition but yet was not the main reason behind me disliking the film. The film starts off with Margot heading to her sisters wedding with her son. She is of course running away from her husband and it just so happens her sister is getting married near to where her co-author and ex-boyfriend lives. Her sister Pauline (Noah Baumbachs partner in real life) is marrying Malcolm (Jack Black with a mustache), a useless waste of space style artist with a load of ‘problems’ like everyone else in the film. There is a tree and a weird family next door and Margo’s son, Claude falls in love with the babysitter. There is a gay couple who have an autistic son and there are family arguments regarding this. The film is really just awkward scene after awkward scene. Its not really enjoyable at all and feels like some bizarre alternative reality. I reckon its just representing a messed up family.

My problem is though that Noah Baumbach only makes films about messed up families. In Margot at the wedding, we get a whole bunch of messed up people all messing each other up a bit more. The film in places makes very little sense and some scenes are just unnecessary and completely pointless yet very provocative and creepy. A large proportion of the dialogue is unnatural and bizarre leaving you feel sorry for Noah Baumbach if this is some sort of child hood life reenacted.

His other directed film I have seen The Squid and the Whale touches on similar family relations and bizarreness. This lead me on to then even analyze The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou which whole plot revolves around Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) being Steve Zissou’s (Bill Murray) lost son. Another family relations mess up.

I do not mind directors touching on their own experience, it can make scenes more believable or make stories funnier. When it comes to a director just rehashing the same story in a number of various locations however, it gets a bit tiresome.


I dread to think what Madagascar 3 is going to be like with Noah Baumbach working on the screenplay. Rumour has it that Alex the Lion and Marty the Zebra have the same dad. Its a roller coaster of emotions with numerous mentions of self gratification and random nods to affairs. Kids are gona love it.

Lets give Margot at the wedding a solid 0.5/5 .

For Lovers Only – Zero Budget Indie Film grosses $200k in itunes sales

Another win for the Indie film maker has been the Polish brothers “For Lovers Only”. No massive budget, no fancy equipment, no expensive advertisement campaign and no massive stars just raw filming making talent at its very best.

Its great to see that a film made on a canon 5d and equipment already owned by the brothers, along with some money for food, accommodation and travel is being taken seriously by the industry. And now through word of mouth and some smart promotion on social media sites they have managed to have a big success on their hands.

They managed to get up to #43 on the Itunes top 100 movies and its easy to see why with reviews like this. “For Lovers Only is a beautiful synergy of art, words, love, beauty and simplicity. The cinematography is flawless, the score and music are to die for, and the script is stunning.” by FanficwriterGHC

These sorts of things give me hope after going through University being told “you make a film and you will see 1p for every dvd you sell. Maybe.” I think it is the turn of the indie film maker, no longer do we need the big distributors, just like music we will take to the online market place. Rather than being ripped off.

Get it on Itunes now

The Rise of Wes Anderson – Bottle Rocket

This is the the original 13 min short that Wes Anderson made, Bottle Rocket. This was the stepping stone to launching the feature film Bottle Rocket, two years later. The short also created the careers of not only Wes Anderson but also Owen and Luke Wilson, who’s first taste of film was Bottle Rocket.

The short really struck me, with a rather simple script and a very low budget Wes Anderson managed to capture the attention of a lot of critics at Sundance, especially Polly Platt. Who passed on a copy of the short to James L Brooks, who produced the feature.

How do you though make a 13 min film with a few unknown actors and end up becoming one of the top directors in the world?

Bottle rocket
Bottle rocket

Well my first wonder was how much the 13min short must have cost. I have looked in a few places but the best answer came from a board discussion on IMDB “The total cost came to a little over $3,500.” Cannot confirm any of that, not sure where the money was spent, would be great to see a break down. That proves that Wes Anderson truly believed in what he was making. Wes Anderson makes the short for $3,500 and then gets a budget of $7,000,000 to make the feature. Rather good return.

The major break through I feel that Wes Anderson received was the fact he had a family friend, L.M. Kit Carson who managed to get the film into Sundance. Now that’s pretty lucky. With that audience and the raw talent of Luke and Owen Wilson it was perfectly set for feature film investment.
Wes Anderson’s success was not solely down to luck though, an edge of bravery and belief in himself was what made the whole thing come together. This was shown when “before shooting the short film version of Bottle Rocket,  Anderson had been accepted to attend Columbia University’s film school, but deferred, in order to make the short, and, ultimately, the feature.”(link)
Even after the critical success that the short had at Sundance, with invent ment achieved. He struggled to have audience approval. This is shown in a great interview below where he talks about what a disaster the test screening was.

The Rise of Wes Anderson

2007Hotel Chevalier (short)

1998Rushmore

1994Bottle Rocket (short)

The Sun gets hacked

I went to Google and stuck in “the Sun”, as per usual it popped up with top on the list spewing its description of news showbiz celebrities blah blah. You click on the link and…

It goes onto the the sun website and you see the usual rubbish of gossip and celebrity on the beach scandal. Top journalism, high class reporting or what ever you want to call it.
All of a sudden however there is a redirect and then this below appears.

And a spiffing cartoon further down the page.

The hack is being claimed by the international ring of 13year old boys with too much time on their hands aka Anonymous. Good for them. Great to see these big companies taken back a peg or two. They are like mini revolutions. Done in the night where nobody sees the revolution, then everything goes back to the way it was waiting on the next one to appear.
UPDATE: As the cartoon suggested, the attack has been claimed by Lulz Sec and they have now directed thesun.co.uk to their twitter feed.  
Their twitter feed built up to the attack with various digs and suggestions and using the hash tag #MurdochMeltdownMonday

Andrew Bird – free mp3 download

The description of him on his websiteChicago-based multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and whistler” sums him up pretty perfectly. He howls, whistles and whisks you away with his fantastic compositions. Plucking away on a violin he really gets you submerged into the sound. A rather unique sound I feel that gives something a little different to the typical notions of the Nu folk, that is all the rage these days. Any one in the US and A should take a look at his tour schedule and attempt to see him as you will see in the video below, he sounds amazing live
But do not take my word for it give Hot Math a download and watch the video below. You will not be disappointed.

DM Stith – free mp3 download

Happened upon this fella when he was supporting and playing with Sufjan Stevens in Dublin.
His hypnotically powerful tunes are catchy and soothing. Its a beautiful concoction of noise at times, amply suited to Sufjan and could be considered influential and influenced. Such a hard sound to place into a specific genre but the indie style with some beautiful lyrics and guitar plucking with his beautiful voice somewhere between Nick Drake….Ben Gibbard and a whisper on the wind.
First download Just Once, then watch this beautiful music video below. By french film maker Armel Hostiou, he brings a David Lynch Esq touch to the video that suits the music so perfectly.

DM Stith – BMB from Asthmatic Kitty Records on Vimeo.

Blue Valentine (2010) – View with a Grizzly Bear free mp3 download

Had heard great things about this and with a certain Mr. Gosling in it was hard not to give it a watch.
The story is of a young couple’s journey. It spans across from their early days of meeting to years down the line in more uncertain times, flicking between various days from their past and staying with the one day in the present. This “time travel” juxtaposition is captured beautifully by the use of a super 16mm film camera during the youthful days and then a RED one digital camera during the present day shots. This is pretty brave I have to say but it works really well with the textures being so different in the two stages of their lives.
As per usual in all my reviews I have to point out that the film a mere £1million helped by the director Derek Cianfrance not getting paid for the film and instead paying the taxes on what he should have got paid just to be able to make Blue Valentine.

On to the film, beautifully shot with so really powerful and emotional scenes that you would expect from any romantic drama. It has a lot of your typical cliche’s but it looks great doing them so you can accept them. My only quarrel with it during watching was understanding what the problems where in the relationship. I struggled to grasp what was wrong but I feel there are a number of hints of Cindy(Michelle Williams) not being happy through out. I was expecting to see something big, for the two stages in their lives to

meet and us to go ahhh thats why she is so unhappy. We also have a number of other small subplots that really leaves the viewer confused as to what may be going on. I think it is very much left open ended on all front right down to the ending. This gives each viewer a chance to, depending on their out look on life, to decide how it all finishes up and what actually went wrong or right. As Dave Sexton put it “Did it have to be such a downer?”
Another aspect of Blue Valentine that drew me in was the score done by one of my favorite bands Grizzly Bear. What an amazing soundtrack, taking a lot from their Veckatimest album they bring a strong emotion to the already intense scenes. I think that similar to the Tron sound track I could watch this film with my eyes closed and still enjoy it. Overall its a solid 4/5 from me, yeah there a few dogey scenes but nothing a quick eyes right cant fix.

Here is a free mp3 download of Cheerleader from Grizzly Bears 2009 Veckatimest album, give her a listen.

Google “Nike Football Wesley Sneijder”

Tonights gone a bit footy mad. Just got told by a friend to google ‘Nike football wesley sneijder’ and this is the first link that pops up. Sneijder on his was to Manchester United?
What is interesting thought, is that it was first leaked on the twitter account of Frederico Macheda. He stated he hoped the Inter Milan’s Dutch playmaker would be joining the club on their US tour very soon….
This was where the rumors began and were then amplified by a quick deletion of the tweet. Will these footballers never learn. I bet fergie is raging but perhaps now its pretty much all coming out as I have just read that the deal is coming out as a £35Million transfer with £190k a week (Mirror)
Inter and Fergie are denying it but after Nasri deal not working out I can see Sneijder moving into the midfield of Man utd.

As a Bolton fan I would love to see him arrive at Old Trafford. He is a top class player and would be great to have him in the premiership. 

Bolton FC 11/12 kits.

You may or may not know that I am indeed a Bolton Wanderers fan. Have been for a number of years after dabbling in Man UTD fanage during the treble winning years before coming to my senses.
I have never blogged much about Bolton, due to not many people like em and I don’t really know that much about football to be going on about it but I felt I should bring up the kits for this season.
On the right here we can see the home kit. Its pretty terrible if I am honest. I see that reebok are attempting a bit of a retro look but look at that mesh at the bottom. Another part that I found weird is that the junior kits do not have the 188bet on them which I think is great. It got me wondering if Liverpool Junior kits did not have the carlsberg logo when it was Liverpools sponser?

 The away kit I have to admit to liking and I would consider actually buying this one. I do however question how they are getting away with the “back in black” and the lightning bolt and AC / DC font. Its a bit much. If it was on the actual kit now that would be a different story.

And here is the goal keeper kit, you can just see Jussi the big finn bounding out of goal in this lovely number. I doubt you would see Peter Schmeichel in such a colour but he is only half the keeper Jussi is….