This is it, huh? I've got a busy week ahead of me. I printed out my DVD covers yesterday, they look freaking awesome. I got the final music yesterday and have already added it to the finished film. I'm spending most of this weekend finishing the DVDs and shipping the movie off to some festivals. And then next week I do my normal routine before I go hitting the pavement looking for work again. It's weird, having a normal job doesn't seem as much of a drag now that I have made a feature film. It's as if it's only a matter of time before I move onto greener pastures.
I've watched the film numerous times and I think it's okay, again. I dislike the cinematography, I think there's only like three shots in the entire film that I absolutely adore. Though, I would never go as far to call it a bad film. Like I keep saying, there's always going to be something about the film that I don't like but for now I'm glad that it's gone as well as it has. I'm looking forward to the premiere more than anything. I can sit on my ass all week and watch the film until I'm madly in love with it but if the people who helped me make it say "Fuck you, RJ! I never want to work with you again!" well that may be devastating. Well, if two particular actors say it to me, I could care less.
The place I'm at now is weird. I kept looking forward to making a short film, then a feature film, now I really feel like where do I go from here? I want to get a logo made and start planning my next feature film. That's all I really know for right now. Okay, well there's my updates.
Updates! Okay, so the poster was done by Amber Winkelmann. Her website is listed below so you can see more of her work. Her stuff is also for sale, *wink* *wink*
Where is it? Oh, it'll be on the imdb page once I've paid for it (at which time I will also receive the 27" x 40" copy). Okay, what else is new?
I also got the music samples this past weekend and took the time to apply them to my film so I could know where I want each finished copy and everything else. Then my cast and crew premiere is on the 6th and I've been putting their DVDs together. My producer (Marco Scioscia) saw the film at this point in time and said "That was certainly very amusing. Not bad for your first full length go. I'll put it this way: it's better than Oliver Stone's first feature. You'll be winning Oscars in no time!"
I guess I'm happy about that because Marco was really critical of Invisible Diary, so was I but I'm probably going to be critical of all of my films. No film will ever be good enough. However, I'm very happy that I set out to make a feature film and I managed to do it. Not only did I manage to do it, I managed to do it all by myself (for the most part, I did have actors and a few crew monkeys but I set out to do it and I followed through on every step). I'm already planning another feature film. Maybe another short. I do have other plans in the meantime (get a trade so I can make money easier to make another film and get my own place) but at this point in time, I'm happy with everything that I've accomplished. I won't be 25 until next month but I managed to churn out two films while I was 24.
I thank a lot of people in my credits, most of them are people who let us use their house for the movie, one of them helped me with the script, one of them was a good friend, one of them was not only a good friend but also supportive during my ape shit times, and one of them is someone I forgot to thank in my last film. I thank YHWH because without Him, none of this would have ever been possible. He took my car away last year and at first I thought it was a curse. However, twenty-three days later, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He did a lot for me last year, too much for me to turn around and say He doesn't exist. I've been there before, but not anymore. I often doubt He loves me but I do know He's there and...well, that's at least something.
I may have lost everything and two people close to me doing this film. I can't say if it was worth it yet or not because one of them can always come back. I'm usually very true to my word, when I say I'll do something I do it (I can think of only two exceptions in my life). I held up my end of the bargain. Did I often regret diving directly into another film? Yes, quite often. Did I ever listen to other people when I shouldn't have? All the time! Did I learn anything from this experience? So much. One thing I definitely want to do on my next film is get a cinematographer.
Well, that's all for today but it's more than I've given you guys in a while. Also, Amber's website is listed below. I highly suggest going over there.
Okay, I'm still waiting on a few elements before I can finish my film. So instead of just sitting here going, "um, uh um ah um." I figure I'll stop bitching about movies for a little bit and talk about a movie I absolutely adore!
ARRRR THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
I have a list of 10 movies that I absolutely love. Granted, my 10 tends to vacillate a bit and I'll discuss that when the time comes. However, I'm going to talk about my number 4 favorite film of all time: Once Upon a Time in the West. Man, where do I begin with such an excellent film? Okay, I'll talk a little about the film history first.
Okay, so it's the fifth film directed by the wonderful Sergio Leone (The first four being: Colossus of Rhodes, A Fistful of Dollars [which is a remake and I love both the original and the remake], For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). Leone wanted to move on from the Western genre after he finished his notorious Man with No Name Trilogy but Paramount managed to get him to do one more with Henry Fonda. Leone wanted Eastwood to return but Eastwood was too busy so he got Charlie "The Man" Bronson instead, and we're all so very glad he did.
The film is about a woman named Jill (played by the lovely Claudia Cardinale) who has arrived in the town of Flagstone to find her husband and his children have been brutally murdered by a man named Cheyenne (Jason Robards). Problem is, Cheyenne didn't do it but was framed to make it seem like he killed them. In the meantime there is a stranger going around playing a harmonica (Bronson) searching for a man named Frank (Fonda). These four paths collide and we get one epic Italian Western.
First and foremost, I love Leone, he was a fantastic director and has slowly become my favorite after Kurosawa (and oh boy do I love me some Kurosawa). I've seen all of his films except for The Colossus of Rhodes and I've enjoyed them all to some degree or another. However, I wouldn't go so far to call The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly his best film. The main problem with The Man with No Name Trilogy is that they're all rather interchangeable and forgettable. I'm not complaining, I love these films but that is their biggest flaw. I can remember which ones have Lee Van Cleef (For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly), I remember which one has that bullet proof chest plate that was used in Back to the Future Part 3 (A Fistful of Dollars), I remember which one has Eli Wallach wise cracking (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly), and which one has the awesome watch (For a Few Dollars More).
However, I don't remember anything about the characters. I think Lee Van Cleef is an ex-preacher in For a Few Dollars More. The Man with No Name never goes through any deep changes. He remains the same guy throughout the trilogy. That's one of the beauties of Once Upon a Time in the West every character is so deep and so rich and have their own motivations and want to change for the better. There's the prostitute who wants to become a housewife, the gunslinger who wants to get out of killing people and become a business man, even Harmonica is a man of mystery throughout the movie until we get to the very end and discover he is a man pursuing vengeance.
Even the villains are deep with Mr. Morton wanting nothing more than to see the ocean again. Most of these things are not told through someone saying "Man, I would sure love to see that ocean again." No, it's told visually (how great directors do it) as Mr. Morton stares longingly at a painting of the ocean. Maybe he hasn't ever seen the ocean but would love to before his tuberculosis fully sets in (this is least likely the case since he knows what it sounds like). Frank obviously wants out of killing people but doesn't really know what to do. He despises Mr. Morton being locked away in his train all day but wouldn't mind making the money that he does. One can sort of pity Frank at some points.
That's enough about character development for the time being, let's talk about other things. Visually, the movie is so pleasing to the eye (it's a Leone flick, what does one expect?) and many of the shots make the movie feel so real, like the world within is so vast and full of potential. Also helping add to the feeling of the world is the gorgeous music composed by the great Ennio Morricone. Each character has a theme song and the main music just engulfs and sucks the viewer into the realm. However, the movie may look nice and sound nice but do these people really believe that they're in this world?
I honestly feel that most actresses are there to be eye candy and that's it. However, Claudia is a piece of eye candy who is also a great actress. The way she plays Jill is both sensual and heartfelt, which is good for a woman playing a hooker trying to go straight. Henry Fonda is freaking awesome. I stated earlier how you feel sorry for the guy at times but there are also the times you want to beat him in the face because he's such a snake-like bastard. Bronson is just a bad ass but at the end you feel bad for him when we find out the real reason why he's been after Frank. Jason Robards feels like he's playing a comic relief character who can suddenly become terrifying when he needs to be.
I could go into detail talking about the one liners but I won't bore you guys with that. I know many people feel like I hate every movie ever (if you look at my Netflix you'll see that this isn't true). However, I just wanted to take some time and talk deeply about a movie I absolutely love it's got romance, revenge, action, and comedy in one awesome package. Seriously, check out Once Upon a Time in the West.
Okay, so I decided to take a little break from my editing where I go through and find what needs to be tightened and fixed audio wise to come by and give an update. I'm not sure if I've told everyone but the cast and crew premiere is April 6th. That means it's less than a month away. My poster is coming along quite nicely and my music guy is getting the final mix of the music ready. I've been feeling exhausted but it's almost over. When I was 17 I planned on making at least one feature film before I was 25 and even though I was literally stuck in hell until I was 21, I'm happy that God has been good enough to me to allow me to fulfill that goal. I do plan on putting up the poster once it's done and give the artist's info because she has seriously been awesome and I'm more than willing to send work her way.
It's weird, I've been busy but also have been trying to spend more time by myself, since I keep telling everyone I better get used to it, ha ha. No, I've just been so swamped with stuff that I really want to just spend time alone so I've been doing that. Yeah, the film is going along awesome.
Now that I'm on a little break, I feel like it'd be a good time to rant about movies. YAY!
Okay, so everyone tells me that I hate every movie ever. One of my actors even suggested that I don't like any directors that aren't Asian. Seriously? Um, have you heard of:
Guillermo Del Toro
That's just a small list of directors I like that aren't Asian. Besides, my list of Asian directors I like is much smaller:
This isn't the point. My point is that I do dislike most modern films. Why? It's not because of the lack of creativity or laziness or everything using CG. No, I'm sick of modern films because the majority of them LOOK THE FREAKING SAME. Every horror film uses their aperture closed all the way and then lower the brightness and contrast while editing. Every action movie is orange people on blue backgrounds. Every indie movie has some actor willing to take a smaller paycheck and bright colors and quirkiness.
Take a bunch of modern films from the same genre super cut them together and I couldn't tell you which film is which. I do like some modern directors. Jonathan Levine is one I'm surprised I like because he's guilty of this aperture closed nonsense in All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. However, he's also smart enough to know that this doesn't work if you're shooting a night scene. For that stupid little act of brilliance he became one of my favorite modern directors. I'm just sick of every movie looking the same.
"Oh I'm set in the 80's but I'm a horror film, let's make it all dark so people know." "I'm set in the old west but I'm an action movie, blue backgrounds and orange people out of your ass!" I don't know if I caught the look and feel of the 80's with Through the Devil's Eyes but at least I tried. I tried to emulate film as much as possible since digital wasn't a thing. I didn't use any CG for the same reason. I may have some mistakes (cars from the future showing up) but at least I tried to make an 80's film with the pathetic budget I had. You may say, "Well RJ, I'm sure they tried too." Maybe they did but studios and other BS. No, I refuse to buy into studios making every film look the same. I think it's just lazy people not wanting to do their jobs.
Well that's my hopeful return to The Demise of Film. Again, I don't know how long I'll do it but it's good to put out my thoughts about cinema again, especially since I'm not putting up too. That was a nice break, I better get back to editing.