Just a quick announcement that I will be leading a conversation with award-winning VFX artist Greg Butler in Suffield, Connecticut on April 26, 2014. Greg will be sharing clips and talking about his groundbreaking career, from earlier days of apprenticeship on such films as Forrest Gump, Jurassic Park, and Starship Troopers, to his lead role in the creation of Gollum for Lord of the Rings and on to work as a supervisor of visual effects, including his nomination for the Academy Award on the final installment of Harry Potter. If you are in the area, I would recommend checking out this evening hosted by the Suffield Public Library Foundation for a fun discussion of moviemaking (see also a classroom visit and my Close-Up interview with him).
Archive for March, 2014
Posted in Chapter 3, Visual Effects, tagged Forrest Gump, Greg Butler, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows VFX, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings Gollum, Starship Troopers on March 31, 2014| 1 Comment »
Posted in Chapter 5, Chapter 7, Directors, tagged Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Charlie Kaufman, Dave Eggers, Her, I'm Here, Merchants of Cool, Spike Jonze, Where the Wild Things Are on March 29, 2014| Leave a Comment »
After directing scripts by Charlie Kaufman for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and then collaborating with Dave Eggers to write Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze went solo to pen the script for his most recent feature Her and promptly won numerous awards for his effort, including the Oscar for original screenplay. Aside from studying the script for Her, I also recommend checking out this far less known short that Jonze made in 2010, I’m Here, which is a bit of a thematic and stylistic warmup for issues explored in Her. Also, you can check out the links with each movie above for screenwriting perspectives and discussions with Kaufman, Eggers, and Jonze.
Besides the clear applications to Chapter 7 of Moving Images (From Page to Screen), I’m Here also prompts topics explored in Chapter 5 — Personal Expression and Studio Production — by provoking questions of “Who made this? / Why did they make it?” and related inquiries. In this case, Jonze, who has worked on music videos and commercials throughout his career, creates here a “commercial” that is 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds. And that is not truly a commercial. Well, it’s really a (long-ish) short funded by Absolut for production studio credit and some cachet, it appears. “Merchants of Cool,” indeed.
The Oscars are just over an hour away, so here’s a quick post featuring some articles that appeared today. First, cinematographer and director Ellen Kuras, who is a featured voice in Chapters 4 and 6 of Moving Images, wrote a piece about the art of cinematography in a discussion of the tricky art of collaboration and the difficulty of determining awards for everything that happens in the creation of movies. Her work for many directors, including Michel Gondry (with brilliant photography for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind, among others), Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Jonathan Demme, marks her as one of the foremost pioneers in the relatively recent arrival of women into camera crews in Hollywood. She also directed the acclaimed documentary The Betrayal (featured in Recording and Presenting Reality in Moving Images).
Another piece in this series about people or crafts that can fall through the cracks in moviemaking awards is about the role of the casting director, written by Vickie Thomas. In particular, it points out a story about the production process that can be quite enlightening: The unawarded, but highly respected and quite astonishing career of Marion Dougherty, whose work is featured in the documentary Casting By.
And pretty soon we’ll see who tonight’s big winners will be…