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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Robert Mckee's Seminar Notes

Why go to expensive seminars if you can read the seminar notes online and there's a book on the market?

I believe in Saint-Nicolas

Okay, i'm doing even more follow-up stories on the WGA and their credit system but really, some of these stories are just fabulous. Please hop on to

The Koepp and I part 1
The Koepp and I part 2

This is the blog of screenwriter Josh Friedman, who at first didn't get any credit for writing War of the Worlds. Yes, I know, that movie that you thought David Koepp wrote. Yes, also that movie that was arguably one of the worst movies this year but readers beware, these blog entries are golden. And actually, Josh (and Koepp) seem nice. So we'll forgive them this faux-de-pas and blame it all on steven and tom.

Luckily for Josh though, he won the WGA arbitration process and he now shares a credit with Koepp (proof over at imdb). Which not everyone took the good way and which is why you should read those blog entries:
Agent's assistant calls the studio: Josh and Wife are coming to New York for the premiere.
Studio: That's well and fine for Josh and Wife. But don't think we're paying for his airfare or his hotel.
Agent's assistant: It's in his contract that you have to pay for his airfare and hotel.
Studio: No it isn't. Prove it to us.
Agent's assistant: I'm faxing over the relevant page right now.
(sound of fax machine...)
Studio: Would they like a smoking or non-smoking room?

But really though: Friedman, Mazin, Rogers and August: who would have thought you could just go on a tool called the internet and read all these big insider stories? It's really great, thankyougod for screenwriters! (anyone know any hotshot director blog btw? (no not you daily!)


More screenwriter goodies:

Craig Mazin blogs about Set Lingo.

My favorite one is obviously MOS = Mit Out Sound. I was always told it was actually german genius Erich Von Stroheim who couldn't pronounce "Without Sound" correctly but some commenters seem to disagree. Don't really care whether it's true or not, the explanation is just great. Check the article for more good terms and use it wildly!

Eiben Scrood

Do you future screenwriters know?

Upon completion of a film, the producer must present the proposed credits for screenwriting to the guild. If any of the writers object or if credit is to be assigned to a producer or director of the film who rewrote someone else's screenplay the WGA requires the parties to compile drafts of the screenplays and an account of their work on each. This information is submitted to arbitration by a panel of three members of the Guild, which renders a decision.

The WGA resolutely rejects the auteur theory that only the director is the "author" of a film and so when a "production executive" (a producer or director) claims credit, he or she must meet a higher standard than others to receive credit. A writer must contribute at least one-third of the final screenplay to receive credit. If subsequent writers labor on an original screenplay, they must contribute more than half of the final screenplay to receive credit. If a production executive works on a script, he or she must contribute at least half the final product to receive credit.

The WGA negotiations are so complex that they have resulted in a strange code in which the difference between the word "and" and an ampersand can be measured in millions of dollars and years of glory. A screenplay by, say, "Christopher Marlowe & Thomas Middleton" means that the two men are a writing team but, if it says "Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Middleton", the pair might never have met and may well have spent months in litigation.

WGA: Writers working collaboratively as an established team may split WGA minimum compensation, and are both credited for literary material. When writing teams are credited for a film or television program their names are separated by an ampersand ("&"). When writers worked separately (one writer is assigned to rewrite the work of another), and both receive credit, their names are separated by an "and."

Only three writers may be credited for the screenplay if they collaborated and a maximum of three teams of three may be credited no matter how many actually worked on it. For example, Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) had about a dozen writers, as did Hulk (2003). The film adaptation of The Flintstones (1994) supposedly had over sixty writers. Those awarded credit for creating the characters elsewhere and the original story are not included in this limit.

The Guild also permits use of pseudonyms if a writer requests one in a timely fashion but has been known to refuse to accept one which makes a statement. For example, screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski wanted to take his name off the Babylon 5 spin-off series Crusade and substitute "Eiben Scrood" to protest the changes made by the production company. The WGA refused, however, because "it 'diminished the value' of the show and basically made light of the studio" said Straczynski.[

Good links and more stories can found here:
Wikipedia on Screenwriting Credit
Guardian article
WGA manual
Craig Mazin Blog Entry

No Second Unit

Good interview about Batman Begins with Christopher Nolan. I really believe David S. Goyer was one of the reasons I didn't like the film as much as I was looking forward to it but Nolan also wrote quite alot of the script:

How did your collaboration with David S. Goyer come about?

How it worked was I’d gone to the studio and said what I’d wanted to do with the film and the basic idea of the story, which was drawn from what I knew of the origin stories from the comics – and I was certainly no expert. So I had the basic idea of dealing with the origin story and the seven years where Bruce goes around the world. I was looking for a writer to do a first draft, one who was very knowledgeable about comics, more than I was. I felt that the first draft needed to set us on the right track, in terms of the myth of Batman, the mythic quality and the iconography, and with all of the things we needed in there. David Goyer had some great initial thoughts on who the villain would be, how the villain could relate to the origin story – so I got very excited about working with him. He was about to direct Blade: Trinity, so he had a very small window of time. We met for a couple of months and talked through the story and he came up with a story outline based on us thrashing around ideas and me saying what I wanted in the film. Then, he – within seven or eight weeks – provided a first draft, gave that to me and then had to go off and do his thing. So I took it from that point and did another eight drafts.

Did he come back and work with you again?

No, he was actually busy the whole time. But I would call him up and talk to him from time to time about things that I was changing, ask his advice on certain things where I was departing from the first draft, in terms of how it related to the comic mythology. He was always a good sounding board but it had to be long-distance.

So it was David who suggested the villains?

Yes. Ra’s al Ghul was not a villain I was familiar with. As soon as he mentioned him, I went back and researched him and read a lot of the 1970s comics he appears in, in the Neal Adams/Dennis O’Neil period. That’s a period of comic-book lore that draws very much from the James Bond films of the time. So Ra’s al Ghul has a lot of similarities / affinities with the Bond villains of the 1970s – such as Hugo Drax from Moonraker.

In the comics, he revitalizes himself regularly to increase his life expectancy . . .

He does, but it’s sort of cloaked in pseudo-science in the comics. So even with that, he’s still a pretty grounded character. He seemed perfect for me. You’re looking for a Bond villain in a sense because you’re looking for a villain who is colourful and interesting, and has a degree of threat to him that relates to the real world. So you’re looking for a villain who can be threatening but doesn’t overshadow the hero. And I think the best of the Bond movies have done that really well. They’ve given you these memorable villains, but Bond is always the centre of the movie. That’s never been in dispute.

You don’t, however, use Scarecrow as a ‘sidekick’, a Jaws to Ra’s al Ghul’s Drax. Rather there seems a hierarchy we must progress through to reach the real villain . . .

We wanted to have an escalation of threat. I think Scarecrow, in a sense, performs the function of a henchman, but because Ra’s al Ghul is off-screen he seems like the central threat. We always thought it was very important that we have a second-act villain who would be seen as the main villain so that we could bring back our first-act mentor as a third-act villain. The central difficulty David was facing was my demand to relate the first act to the third act. What you have is Bruce Wayne leaving Gotham; he’s not Batman yet. He goes on this journey which could be a detour – and something the audience wants to get past to get to Batman. The challenge in the screenplay when we were first working out the story was, ‘How does that pay off at the end of the film? How does that relate to what happens?’ So we decided pretty early on that the mentor of the first act should be the super-villain of the third act.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

us in navy blue hoodies and khakis

One Pimp. Two Pimps.

Alright some more plugging. This one is in particular for all 3D employers: vrlabs has a new demoreel online. There's also a slight preview in it for our gaming fans worldwide (but it's only a model, so yea wait for more goodies).


Multi Muff

Okay I was going to do a post about totally underrated movies after another blowout with muffhaters and suddenly I find the missing link!


Let me repeat this clearly: David Twohy is where it's at. The only really really bad movie I've seen that he has a connection with is G.I. Jane. I still need to check out Warlock, Impostor & Grand Tour though but anyway the guy is obviously doing interesting stuff; going from so-so (the arrival, below) to really good films, namely:

Waterworld - Pitch Black - Chronicles of Riddick

So yesss you hateful people out there, Waterworld and The Chronicles of Riddick are fucken GOOD and totally underrated! They got good concepts (alot evolving around prisons, bleak wasted environments, lonely (anti)heroes and interesting genre mixes) and it's mostly well executed (although the riddick production design really sucked at times)

Off course the mother of all these films is to be found in the magnificent The Road Warrior which is in a league of its own but still, thanks to throwing in more horror & scifi elements Twohy does his own thing with his movies. They're fun, ready to be eaten and enjoyed, with still some salt on it.

And I haven't even started about other totally despised films that are actually quite good, such as Heaven's Gate, The Beach and Alien³. On the latter, notice actually how its concept is quite similar to some of the twohy films. So James Cameron & Jeunet can kiss my harry beaver anytime, only Alien & Alien³ are to be mentioned in my house.

kind regards,
Your Girl Next Door.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

blood of a young wolf

ye faithfull pilgrims, hop on the dailydolores train past nebraska, alphonse mouzon and ingmar bergman and go & check the vx latest effort, a videoclip for milow:

Finally, after a month of hard work it's here. Daily Dolores together with Milow produced, wrote, shot, cut, drank, squeezed, build and tore down this gem for your viewing. You can watch it right here on



or even

and ps: news just got around that a lazypixel put out a reward of 10 bucks per vicious comment, so go and spam forth ye fearless godworshippers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sunlight Strength

Interesting article from ICG magazine on Terrence Malick's The New World. The release date for this picture is 25th december for LA and NY & 13th january 2006 for the rest of the world. Also check the full production notes here or various links here.

Once Upon A Time In America
Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC and Team Recreate the Early 17th Century for The New World
By Pauline Rogers

The New World is an epic adventure set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 1607. To bring this sweeping historical drama to the screen, director Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line) brought together a group of innovative and daring creative talents.

It was cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki’s (two time Academy Award nominee for Sleepy Hollow and A Little Princess, whose credits also include Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Y Tu Mamá También, Ali, Like Water For Chocolate) artistic and technical skills, as well as his limitless imagination that Malick wanted to develop the visuals of this story.

And, it was production designer Jack Fisk (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive), a Virginia resident, who was the catalyst in keeping production in the United States, by introducing the team to the original site of James Fort and the Jamestown Settlement.

Costume designer Jacqueline West’s skills in creating the clothing in Quills provided Malick with the confidence that she could do justice to The New World characters.

And, the collective talents of editors Richard Chew (Academy Award winner for Star Wars and nominee for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Hank Corwin (Natural Born Killers, Nixon) and Saar Klein (two time Academy Award nominee for The Thin Red Line and Almost Famous) would piece together the unusual images created by the team in Malick’s unique style.

And, to document the story, Malick chose Merie Weismiller-Wallace (Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, Titanic, Bloodwork) who had shot The Thin Red Line for him.

The melding of these incredible talents brings together a dynamic, sweeping, story told with as natural an approach as possible—from the historically accurate settings and costume design to the beauty of the elements lit mostly with natural light.


“When Terry Malick and I talked about shooting the life of Che Guevara last year, we wrote down a set of rules—our dogma—to follow,” says cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, ASC. “The idea was to capture the reality of this man’s life with natural light, no cranes, no big rigs. It would be subjective—from the man’s point-of-view.

“A little while later, Terry called to say ‘we’re not doing Che but doing a story based on the foundation of this country,’” Lubezki adds. “The code of belief, the dogma, would be the same.

“Terry is one of my favorite film directors. I’m a big fan of his work. So, I was naturally interested in this new project. No light. Handheld. And, one of the most important tools, the Steadicam (manned by Jeorg Widmer and James McConkey). We, in the camera department, would think of ourselves as the 5 o’clock news team, capturing the reality in front of us. It would just happen to be the reality of a different century.”

Their dogma, natural back light, pervaded all departments. Lubezki worked carefully with production designer Jack Fisk and costume designer Jacqueline West to have visuals that would not only “play” for the story but also “play” well on the screen. It was also important for each department to provide Malick and Lubezki with a complete palette, so that they would be able to document the story from any angle and position.

“We chose back light, not because it is pretty but because it helps the evenness of the light,” Lubezki explains. “Terry shoots out of sequence. A close-up in October might be used on a scene later in December somewhere else. By shooting back light, keeping softer light on the faces of the actors, and keeping the sky white (Terry doesn’t like blue skies), we were able to serve the story and keep the continuity.”

The team was always looking for locations that would be versatile, not only to serve the story but also to serve Malick’s need for moving story elements from place to place. “We would shoot inside the forest and trees when the light was toppy and use the canopy of trees as a big silk,” Lubezki explains. “When the light disappeared, we would go to the fields, using the direction of light that would serve us best. Sometimes, Terry would shoot a scene in the forest and then re-shoot it in the fields, deciding later which played best.”

To capture the earthy look as naturally as possible, Lubezki chose Kodak 5218 for most of the picture. It gave him the flexibility to work at a deeper stop. “We shot everything anamorphic with a depth-of-field between f/16 and f/11,” he says. “By shooting at that depth-of-field, we could really make the audience feel as if they were in this world with these characters.

“Sometimes, lack of depth-of-field becomes a barrier and we wanted to take that barrier away. To help the lenses as much as possible, Panavision’s Phil Raden and Dan Sasaki created a new lens for us to use on the XL cameras. They combined the E-series lens that is heavy with the C-series lens. This allowed us to have close focus, keeping with our ‘dogma’ of being in the action and solve the anamorphic contradiction between resolution (which it gives us) and depth-of-field (which is not always possible).

“I wanted to use only the 35mm and 40mm most of the time,” he adds. “We added the 50mm for telephoto, when we needed to get close to the actors, but still give them some room to move.”

Following the philosophy and ideas of photojournalists, Lubezki and team were constantly thinking of themselves as still photographers, moving fast with a camera hanging around their necks, creating images of life and reality in the places where they landed. “Terry allows—actually encourages—the camera to find better ways to find reality and truth in a scene,” Lubezki explains.

“He always wanted to use what was happening at the moment,” says Steadicam operator Jeorg Widmer. “He would say, ‘You have the quail at the wing when it’s about to fly.’ That’s what he wanted from every shot. He pushed us to go for the unexpected. Go with the actors and capture things that we wouldn’t ‘normally’ capture. Terry keeps telling you to ‘go for it’ and trusts that ‘you’ll feel it.’ And it works. Thanks to Terry’s trust, and Chivo’s enthusiasm and confidence, we were able to get more out of ourselves and out of the story.”

“Terry plans everything in his head,” says Lubezki, “but he is always looking for those moments that are unplanned—those happy accidents that breathe reality into a story. For him, the behavior of people, nature, even where the wind blows are all moments to capture. These are ‘happy accidents’ that can’t happen on the stage because you are always restricted to walls or props. And, to artificial light.

“Artificial light is simple. It is a specific color temperature and feel. But, natural light is complex and sometimes chaotic. A bounce from the floor or a reflection from the sky can do so much.

“Terry’s desire to free the actor also freed us from the artificial. The many elements and feelings that the natural environment and light evoked contributed to our desire to capture this story in a different way. When you stop using artificial light, it’s hard to say let’s just ‘turn something on’ and match the feeling.”


“To create James Fort, I studied all of the writings of the colonists, primarily the Jamestown Narratives, what remains of their eyewitness accounts,” Jack Fisk explains. Factor in the studies made by archaeologists, Fisk and art director David Crank were able to create the fort and environs every male child dreams of building. Not of Popsicle sticks, but of three-dimensional real elements.

“Terry doesn’t look at drawings,” Fisk explains. “He just says, ‘Whatever you build, we’ll come in like a documentary crew and shoot it.’ Terry likes to film almost on a found object, so the more complete the set is, the more he can use it. He doesn’t really like the idea of just shooting a bit of a set or a wall in one direction. And, since Terry doesn’t like to light his scenes, he changes his direction according to the sun, so we needed to create an environment where he could move around accordingly.”

Authenticity was important to Fisk. “I wanted to build out of local materials so that the clay and the wattle and daub (common building materials), looked right,” he says. “But unlike the colonists, we had the wood delivered on trucks, used chainsaws for cutting it and had hydraulic forklifts for lifting the board.”

Although the James Fort seen in The New World is 25 percent smaller than the original structure, the rough-hewn fort and rustic structures within had the patina of age and an air and atmosphere of absolute reality. Same went for every piece of location in the picture. “Helped along a little by mother nature,” Fisk laughs. “We survived several tropical storms and two hurricanes during the shoot. The storms aged the sets and created mud, but more importantly, they kept us in the mind frame of the colonists, just trying to survive.”

Lubezki’s dogma of backlight affected the locations and where the sets were constructed. “And, what time of day was used for a specific location,” Fisk adds. “The ‘French reverse’ was used often, putting two opposing actors in the same backlight.

“The anamorphic lenses reflected a lot of light and we constantly fought flares,” he adds. “One time, explaining to Chivo about pieces of a set we shouldn’t see for continuity concerns, I explained that they were my ‘flares’ and he understood instantly.”

Because Malick and Lubezki decided not to use lights, Fisk took a few licenses with the sets, making windows a bit larger and creating more of an opening that would let in natural light. Grips helped “rearrange” the thatched roofs to let in more light.

“The colors for the settings were all from nature,” Fisk explains. “Everything we built was made from natural materials and the paint we used matched the surroundings or was color the Indians could have achieved from the world around them. This carried through in the makeup and costumes and was a natural compliment to Chivo’s natural light.”

It was important for everyone concerned that they immerse themselves in the reality of the 1600s. Fisk’s faithfulness to the time was extended by keeping everything that was “modern” away from the set, hidden whenever necessary. “So, when Terry, Chivo and I were moving through the fort or Indian village or swamp looking for the light that could last for the length of a particular scene, we just saw our story’s environment. We’d trim tree branches to help keep the light a bit longer and, at times, call in a standby painter to darken the walls of the fort or the ground or the mud walls, the costumes and even the Indians to help him balance the light with the overhead sun. We used water or mineral oil to darken the mud. Chivo liked it dark!

“Often in minutes, dressing or parts of sets would be moved to take advantage of the light. Several times we could only be ready for take two or three because Terry couldn’t slow down, and we would be running around putting dressing in place nanoseconds before the pan caught it.

“Working with Terry, you never get bored,” Fisk exclaims. “And you have an interesting time. His enthusiasm and support, and Chivo’s, allowed us to really push ourselves to create the sense of authenticity and history that is so important to this story.”


“Terry doesn’t get involved in the costuming. He is not hands on with the designs but he knows exactly the mood and the feeling and how he wants each character to look,” says Jacqueline West. “There was a mutual trust between Terry, Chivo and Jack that filtered down to all departments. That feeling went a long way in encouraging the creativity of everyone involved.”

That trust allowed West to stretch her creativity, surprising herself and Malick with the looks she designed for this historic picture. “Terry had an exact color palette that he knew would be right,” she explains. “I did a lot of research and worked with Jack Fisk to come up with a look that would work.

“Working with Jack was like working in Caravaggio’s studio in the 17th Century,” she says. “He was immersed in the period. It was amazing, our references were the same. Terry’s idea was to create costumes that would be camouflaged against the backgrounds. Everything had to be muddy, organic and earthy. For Terry, and especially for Chivo, bright was the special enemy. So, no primary colors.”

When designing the costumes for the Indians, West paid special attention to the nature of the materials used in the era. “Of course, everything they used came from the natural world, and we felt that it would have been both unrealistic and spiritually insulting to use mass-produced, artificial materials,” she explains. “We started ordering skins and furs, but only of what already existed. Of course, no animals were killed for our purposes. I also relied on the generosity of strangers, such as Chief Robert Two Eagles Green of the Patwomeck Indians of Virginia.”

West and her department found other natural materials, including shells and freshwater pearls, which were used as adornments by the people who lived by the waters that surrounded them. “The pieces had to be perfect and precise and made like the Indians would make,” she says. “There was no duplication of jewelry, headdress, or breechcloth. Terry didn’t want cookie cutter images. He wanted everyone to look real, so that if he saw someone in the background that caught his eye, he could pull that person into the foreground and the camera could get as close as possible.”

As each character went through emotional and physical changes, so did their costumes. “For Pocahontas, Terry wanted the costume to be quite simple at first,” she explains. “He wanted a free spirit unencumbered by possessions. After she meets John Smith, Pocahontas’ character evolves as she becomes more self-conscious, so very gradually she gives up her breechcloth and then her buckskin dress. When the Puritanism of the English is imposed on her, we see her in Western wardrobe with a very constrictive bodice, sleeves, and a lot of padding, crinolines and petticoats. She almost seems to be imprisoned by her clothing. And that gradually transforms in her wardrobe to almost middleclass English later in the story.”

That level of development played out throughout the movie. Even with the British. “They survived hardships as they tried to ‘colonize’ the country,” West explains. “We had to create tatters, changes in the color palette. And, we developed a kind of crossover, the British would acquire Indian items and the Indians tatters of the British items.

“Then, of course, when the British become more ‘upscale’ as the country grew, we moved from cotton to canvas to homespun and then velvet and brocade, still working with our sources to compliment Jack’s sets, and help Chivo’s ‘natural’ lighting.

“Costuming The New World was a wonderful experience,” says West. “We created over 500 costumes, each one individual and distinct, each as close to the real world that was the story of John Smith and Pocahontas—and of The New World.”


Richard Chew, Saar Klein and Hank Corwin had to approach the editing of The New World with a completely different set of mental tools.

For one, they had to forget that Malick would be talking to the actors throughout the take. “He’s like the captain of a river boat—he guides the actors around obstacles and pushes them in directions they haven’t really experienced,” says Richard Chew. “Sometimes, it is to get them to go beyond the preconceptions they have for the characters. Other times, it is trying to catch a spontaneity and freshness.

“One of his favorite things was to throw an actor off by having him or her do dialogue from a different place in a new place. This constant change and his constant comments encouraged most of the actors to new heights—although, in a few cases, veterans tended to want to work in a different way.”

“It was strange,” admits Chew. “It created more technical problems, in that we would pick a piece that looked like what he wanted and have to ignore the overlap of Terry’s dialogue and the actors’. Looping dialogue was just part of what we knew we had to do.”

It wasn’t just Malick’s dialogue that the team had to ignore. They also had to separate themselves from the dialogue. For them, one of the most fascinating things was to listen to the wonderful period English mixed with Algonquin that Malick had written—and know that he was going to throw almost all of it out—for a bit that was much more emotional visually.

“Terry ‘green dots’ on the avid,” adds Klein. “It is a button that allows you to put a marker on things that you like. Terry chose green. Why green? Good question.” Whatever the answer, it was in Terry Malick’s head. And, on the film. A mark that all three editors would look for, then scratch their heads and try to understand “how” to make the shot work.

Another of Malick’s ‘dogma’ was “being very selective in the type of shots that he likes and those that he doesn’t,” adds Saar Klein. “If a shot didn’t have visual strength, it wasn’t in the film. “We needed to understand what he deemed to be a ‘strong shot’—or we’d be in for a lot of guess work.”

“He has a strong philosophical approach to shot selection, emotional content and the music of nature,” Hand Corwin agrees. “For Terry, having the sound of the right bird is as true as any shot. Our playing field had many dimensions.”

“We also had to understand that Terry likes the eccentric frame,” adds Chew. “Nothing can be right on. In editing, he was always telling us not to use too perfectly framed shots. He wanted to be on a shoulder or see part of the face or cut the face in half. Or he’d like being behind the person. One of his favorite angles is over the shoulder to relate distance and relationship between two characters.”

All three editors also had the words “deep focus” burned into their brains. Malick insisted on that style. They knew that “stuff” had to be going on in the foreground, middle ground and background. They were constantly looking for footage that showed life going on around the characters. That was what they would emphasize in the editing.

“We had incredibly beautiful images helped by the accuracy of the location, production design, costuming and the freedom the actors had because the film was shot without lights getting in the way,” says Chew. “Editing everything together was an exercise in learning what minute pieces in the massive amount of footage expressed Terry’s ideas. And, not feeling that we missed the mark, if we were batting 200, when it came to guessing what he had in mind.

“Yes, The New World was totally different from anything I’ve ever edited. And one of the most amazing projects I’ve ever worked on!”


“On set of The New World, every effort towards authenticity was made and we really felt as if we were transported to the early 1600s, with the natural beauty and amazing hardships,” says Merie Weismiller-Wallace. “When I looked through the camera, I was looking for the emotional core of the shot and the unique circumstances it was taking place in,” she adds. “Crew and cast would be standing in the river then rushing up to shore to look back at where we’d been. We’d be wet, chigger bitten, physically exhausted, sweating profusely, carrying everything, wandering with Indians heading to the settlement, or John Smith trying to find the Indian Village or skipping away to meet Pocahontas.

“I was proudest of shots that caught the emotional tone of the actors, in their faces and body language, intensified or mirrored in the environment and light. The love stories, cold winter, fear and anger and sorrow connected to the battle and the serenity of peace times as well as the unusual world of that time and place in history had to be clear in every image.”

Merie Weismiller Wallace shot 100 percent digital on The New World. “I shoot with two Canon EOS 1D Mark II cameras because of the combination of eight mega pixels, fast motor drive and large buffer,” she explains. “I have mostly fixed lenses, although I do have a telephoto zoom with image stabilization.

“Switching from film to digital requires another set of references,” Wallace explains. “I shoot pretty much the same as I always do, but now when I feel I’ve gotten what I’ve been aiming for, I’ll check. Sometimes the perfect shot has closed eyes! Then, I’ll be able to shoot again, if possible, until I know I have what I’m after.

“I trash images that have false expressions or if someone crossed my frame accidentally. The other thing is that I often bracket f-stops and check the images then compare those to my stop or incident meter, and choose my stop.

“It sounds laborious but I do it so quickly, and know my camera better than ever,” she adds. “Half the time I ignore that it is digital and just enjoy the technology of tracking focus, fast auto focus, and speedy drive. Digital does require additional time during the day or at wrap as I download into my computer and transfer to CD or DVD or drive to send to the lab, but it’s so educating and gratifying to view the body of work each day that it is rarely felt like a burden.”

Of course, everything had to blend with the elements Wallace had to deal with everyday. “The worst problem I’ve had digitally on this picture was the piercing reflections off the James River,” she says. “Trying to polarize the water and still expose properly for the subject without losing the background entirely was a little tricky.

“That’s where the lab is invaluable. They will do a lot of that digital color and contrast adjusting for you if you ask for their help. After a while, they know what you want and don’t want, which is a relationship I greatly value.

“Digitally, low light is not the problem it was with film,” she adds. “If I need to shoot at 800 ASA, I know I have the mega pixels to back me up. If I have to slow down my shutter speed, I can check the images to make sure I’m not getting motion blur to my detriment.

“I used Super Color Lab on this picture, and was in close touch with Greg George and David Schneider there,” she adds. “I relied on them with great results and they supported my insistence on the natural look and technical beauty I was aiming for.

“I truly valued working with Chivo on this film,” Wallace concludes. “It is one of the most stunning films I’ve worked on. He has such a strong, artistic, technical base. Yet, he was learning a new side of his abilities because of the circumstances Terry and Chivo chose. Chivo was very funny, brilliant, irreverent, passionate and sometimes very tough. We all put one foot in front of the other to get through the hard times on this film. The thing that made me different is that I got to go home and croon over the astonishing images I’d collected earlier that day!”

Friday, November 18, 2005

Goddamn, I'm the stuff men are made of

"I never trust a man that doesn't drink."

"I would like to be remembered, well...the Mexicans have a phrase, 'Feo fuerte y formal'. Which means: he was ugly, strong and had dignity."

"John Ford isn't exactly a bum, is he? Yet he never gave me any manure about art. He just made movies and that's what I do."

"I stick to simple themes. Love. Hate. No nuances. I stay away from psychoanalyst's couch scenes. Couches are good for one thing."

"I felt many of the Western stars of the twenties and thirties were too goddamn perfect. They never drank or smoked. They never wanted to go to bed with a beautiful girl. They never had a fight. A heavy might throw a chair at them, and they just looked surprised and didn't fight in this spirit. They were too goddamn sweet and pure to be dirty fighters. Well, I wanted to be a dirty fighter if that was the only way to fight back. If someone throws a chair at you, hell, you pick up a chair and belt him right back. I was trying to play a man who gets dirty, who sweats sometimes, who enjoys kissing a gal he likes, who gets angry, who fights clean whenever possible but will fight dirty if he has to."

"God, how I hate solemn funerals. When I die, take me into a room and burn me. Then my family and a few good friends should get together, have a few good belts, and talk about the crazy old time we all had together."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

kaikkeuden kauneus ja käsittämättömyys

"The evocative use of loops evokes the damaged starfields of William Basinski and early Indrustial pioneers like Two Daughters, while the melancholic grandeur finds an echo in the evanescent peaks of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Just Fantastic."
-- The Wire (UK)

I've only now discovered this beauty of an album and it's so gorgeous. Here are some interesting reviews and links about Es aka Sami Sänpäkkilä & the finnish wasteland:

Foxy Digitalis review

Pitchfork close-up on the finnish scene

Es' (K-RAA-K)³ Page

Es' personal homepage

Fonal Records - Sami's record label

Monday, November 14, 2005

My heart is like an upside-down flame

I have at last detached myself
From all natural things
I can die but may not sin
And what no one has ever touched
I have touched, I have felt

And I’ve explored what no man
Can imagine in any way
Often I’ve weighed
Even life the imponderable
I can die with a smile

Accustom yourself as I have done
To these prodigies I announce
To the kindness that will rule
To the suffering I endure
And you will know what is to come

Je me suis enfin détaché
De toutes choses naturelles
Je peux mourir et non pécher
Et ce que l'on n'a jamais touché
Je l'ai touché, je l'ai palpé

Et j'ai scruté tout ce que nul
Ne peut en rien imaginer
Et j'ai soupesé maintes fois
Même la vie impondérable
Je peux mourir en souriant

Habituez-vous comme moi
A ces prodiges que j'annonce
A la bonté qui va régner
A la souffrance que j'endure
Et vous connaîtrez l'Avenir

(c) Guillaume Apollinaire's epitaph

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thee Silver Mount Elegies Live

20.10.05 - Thee Silver Mount Elegies / Hangedup - Botanique (Brussels)

This concert features members of A Silver Mt Zion & Hangedup:

live in brussels pt 1
live in brussels pt 2

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Jet Set Club

a true, authentic shoutout and very warm feelings towards the fabulous reserved northerners wilson & crimson who just truly lighted up this past week. this has been a blast and we shall not stop, falter or be afraid. let's stay on our path to world dominion.

Tack Tack Tack.
Minne Monnie For The Real Deal.
Rock on.

Weekly Observations

there are no riots in center of Paris
japanese guys do snore, make no mistake
the swedish have a screwdriverpussy
charalambides is the must must see live act of the galaxy, just fan-fuckin-tastic and I don't even like Michael Jackson
don't hold your breath, Lali Puna live can be disappointing
the english language is more difficult than you think
make sure you check Daedelus juggling his mixer whenever you can
please don't let yoga-hiphop become the new hype
do not dance with guys
learn as much dirty words as you can
visit the red light district once and a while
invite pop into your country
and let them play at your house
the freaks will find you, make no second mistake
a dog can be vegatarian
uppsala people are very nice
goteborg folks are hip and all own dirty pins
but who's the real cowboy that wears em?

Monday, November 07, 2005

a healthfreak and a kinky fuck

Still very much enjoying our holiday, 4 november went down the history books, reports soon!

Friday, November 04, 2005

4 november - book your plane tickets

Viktor Sjöberg Live
4 november :: 22 00u :: 5€
TAC :: Eindhoven :: The Netherlands

The music that Viktor Sjöberg started to compose in 1995 was built around a naïve idea of what hip hop could be. More often than not, it failed, with the end result not even remotely resembling hip hop. This was the starting point. As time went by, actual hip hop was produced and therefore producing “real hip hop” soon became boring and predictable. New ideas came into play and Viktor began developing his sample based music, his firm belief being that “hip hop is the ultimate free form music”. His music soon got the attention of Amsterdam-based record label dD records, and this interest led to the release of his first CD in 2000.

Viktor has since then continued to release music, using several monikers – in groups and on his own. His self released CD-r’s have in the past years been receiving praise from Swedish press and from music fans around the globe. In addition to his records, he began performing live in various improvisation groups and has since then been doing solo and duo shows of various nature.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Fall Loves Pop

The sun is still shining and the noctos headquarters is thorougly enjoying the love from Animal Collective's killer track "Banshee Beat".

Tune in and enjoy your fall folks.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Psy Your Life

Have I told you already the best screenwriting blog on the internet is that of John 'Charlie's Angels' August? Tons and tons of good valuable information about screenwriting but there's also some good ephemera.

Like his most recent post where he mentioned this test: the Myers-Briggs personality type test. It seems to be quite known but I hadn't heard about it before. So had to take one online off course since these tests always tend to restore my belief in mankind.

Anyway this time I turned out to be:
Your Personality type is INTP

INTP: "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. They are good at logic and math and make good philosophers and theoretical scientists, but not writers or salespeople. 1% of the total population.

Now I actually took the test twice: here & here. And funny enough I came out both times as an INTP, so yeah I guess Socrates is cool and I'll never become a good writer haha.

Now more interestingly August made his own screenwriter test, based on the Myers-Bridges test, check it out. It's pretty funny and interesting. I think I'm somewhere between an IFRS (impressionist - fragmenter - readerist - shower) and LCRS (literalist - completer - readerist - shower). Haven't really decided yet, like to vary a bit between the first two.

So yeah the most logic question would be, if y'all have too much time too, what's your score?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Well diggity damn

I should check the internet before posting. There's already a tool out there which allows you to manage your imdb top 250:

Pretty neat, so here's the noctos list.

the IMDB top 250 test

Alright time to test the quantity of popular films you have seen.

I just revisited the imdb top 250 & noticed there are still a lot of movies out there I haven't seen; 60 to be exact.

So that's a score of 190 out of 250. Not really satisfying I must say. Check the list I have to play catchup with. The ones in italic are the "shame on you" titles, those are top priority (& sorry alfred but that doesn't include you).

How are y'all doing?
Full List 10-31-2005

14. Rear Window (1954)
30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
44. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
45. The Third Man (1949)
56. Crash (2004)
57. M (1931)
58. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
82. On the Waterfront (1954)
83. Metropolis (1927)
87. City Lights (1931)
88. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
92. Strangers on a Train (1951)
96. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
101. Rebecca (1940)
104. Annie Hall (1977)
106. Princess Mononoke (1997)
111. Notorious (1946)
113. The Princess Bride (1987)
116. The General (1927)
120. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
124. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
130. Patton (1970)
143. Glory (1989)
145. The Gold Rush (1925)
148. A Christmas Story (1983)
152. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
158. Gone with the Wind (1939)
160. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

163. The Hustler (1961)
167. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
168. Harvey (1950)
169. Young Frankenstein (1974)
171. Roman Holiday (1953)
172. Serenity (2005)
177. Festen (1998)
180. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
182. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
185. Les Quatre cents coups (1959)
188. Charade (1963)

193. Hotaru no haka aka Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
199. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
200. Battleship Potemkin (1925)
201. 8½ (1963)
202. Ikiru (1952)
207. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
212. La Grande illusion (1937)
217. Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

218. Brief Encounter (1945)
220. Laura (1944)
223. Salaire de la peur, Le (1953)
224. Throne of Blood (1957)
226. Network (1976)

233. The Station Agent (2003)
236. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
239. Being There (1979)

242. The Lion in Winter (1968)
243. King Kong (1933)
244. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
246. Un long dimanche de fiançailles (2004)
247. Diaboliques, Les (1955)

Benny sayz: classic material!

Already this is blatantly stealing other people's blog posts, so please go to and give credit. Just came accross his site through google but this is just too classic and needs to be reprinted. Behold the new ubersexual boys.

Last night while I was trying, in vain, to get my drink on at the Camden Pub, this old guy comes up to me and goes, “hey, Hurley!” I have no fucking clue what he’s talking about, so I do my little smile and laugh and gesture with my drink move. When I’m trying to get someone at a bar to leave me alone, giving them a slight acknowledgment usually does it.

This dude, however, would not be denied. Again, “how you doing, Hurley?” This time, I did my half-smile, half-laugh, what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about-you-complete-stranger gesture. This clued him in that we were not on the same page.

Him: “Don’t you know Lost?”
Me: “No, is that like a TV show or a movie or something?”
Him (aghast): “It’s like, the number one show on TV!”
Me: “I pretty much only watch old reruns of The West Wing” (which is true, but I was trying to throw him off).
Him (still aghast): “You gotta watch it! There’s a dude named Hurley that looks just like you!”

This is the kiss of death. I know this, because people tell me all the time that I look “just like” someone famous. Chris Farley. John Candy. Jared (pre-Subway). John Popper from Blues Traveler (pre-stomach stapling). The only thing these guys have in common—and the only thing they have in common with me—is that they’re fat dudes.

Which is fine. I know I’m fat, and I’m not sensitive about it. But I do not look anything like Chris Farley. Or John Goodman. Or Kenan Thompson. Just because we’ve all breached three hundred pounds doesn’t mean we even bear a passing resemblance to each other—not any more so than Emmanuel Lewis looks like Jason “Wee Man” Acuna.

But apparently, I look like Hurley. To the old dude at the Camden pub, anyway. Now in real life I’d like to think—and people who know me well would probably agree—that I don’t look like this guy at all. But for now, while Jorge Garcia rides his wave of fame from Lost, I’ll be the guy who sort of looks like him. You know, being fat and all.

But good for Hurley. Good for all the famous fat dudes. Good for Kirstie Alley, and Fat Actress, even though I can’t figure out how you can have a “hit show” based upon the premise of being overweight when you’re also on Jenny Craig commercials talking about how you’re losing it. But no matter, fat is in—unless you’re losing it, which is also in—so all the better for me.

What the world needs is a ridiculously handsome, ridiculously fat actor to rise to stardom, so I can start comparing myself to him.

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