Visual Movie Opening


Its early morning in the countryside on a farm and the sun is arriving as always scheduled, like clockwork. There is a little boy, Johnny, 8 years of age, lying in his bed next to the window. The roosters are calling and the birds are fluttering all about, as if in a hurry, busily tending to their needs. The cool breezy air is kissing Johnny on the cheeks as the wind rushes through his window disturbing the curtains as they blow about with the wind. The smell of grass and livestock is in the air.

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Realism vs. Formalism in Film


Realistic: Such films are less obvious because realists try to preserve the illusion that their film world is unmanipulated, an objective mirror of the actual world.

Formalistic: A certain form of movie that is stylistically flamboyant. The directors are concerned with expressing their unabashedly subjective experience of reality, not how others might see it.

I will attempt to contrast two of my favorite movies here. Continue reading

Quintessential Marlon Brando”


“Stellaaaaaaa!” “Stellaaaaa!” “Stellaaaaaa!” I think Marlon Brando for his time was the epitome of what youthful masculinity represented. He was a figure of strength that portrayed sex appeal over women. He had a dominating presence on screen. He exhibited a sort of rebellious attitude, one that did things his own way. Marlon Brando’s performance is raw and gritty and to the best of my knowledge, he pushed the envelope that future method actors would try to attain to. Continue reading

“The Others 2001” Plants & Payoff’s in screenwriting


The first film that comes to mind when thinking about plants and payoff is “The Others (2001)” with Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman plays Grace, the mother of two children, Anne & Nicolas, who raises two children alone in a huge mansion in the countryside. This is a suspenseful ghost story about a family who is left at home alone while the father is away at war. Continue reading

Obstacle Brainstorming for Story Elements


Terry Curtis has awakened to discover that he has become Tom Cruise.

Obstacle #1
Tom Cruise is a major player in Hollywood who’s known for his box office draw. Terry Curtis is high school dropout who’s never been able to hold a job. During his second visit to the Oprah show, Tom Cruise is asked what he loves most about Katie. Terry Curtis remembers how the real Tom Cruise acted the last time he was on the show and begins to jump on and off the couch then his pants falls to his ankles on live TV because Terry Curtis does not wear a belt. He later blames the event on a wardrobe malfunction. Continue reading

Sound in Cinema


The absence of fast paced rock music added more depth to the shootout scene in Heat 1995. The sound engineers did a fantastic job with the Foley and hard effects. Those 12 minutes were realistically represented. Let us not forget about the other great scene in this movie where they knocked over an armored car with a semi truck. In that scene, one of the armored car guards had blood running out of his ears and the scene would cut back and forth to his perspective of being nearly deaf from the gunfire that erupted next to his ears. Beautifully done! Every perspective from the view of the camera brings us, the audience, that much closer to the forefront of the action. Continue reading

Production Design in Cinema & Theatre


In the “Matrix”, the production designer relied on Japanese comic books to help visualize the sets for the movie. The influence of the Japanese comic books can easily be seen in the action sequences of this film particularly in the fighting scenes. I thought the Wachowski Brothers went to great lengths in their set designs. I was in Oakland, Ca when they built the freeway set for the car chase scene in the second installment of the series. Continue reading

BULLITT” (1968), Edited by Frank P. Keller A.C.E.


Awards: Oscar for best Editing, 1968 by Frank P. Keller A.C.E. The Movie: “Bullitt” won an Oscar for it’s editing that year mostly due to the car chase sequences. That sequence took over three weeks to shoot and incorporated some of the most beautiful San Francisco scenery, although the Golden Gate Bridge was slated to be a part of that scene but wasn’t allowed at the time. Continue reading

Haile Gerima born Gondar, Ethiopia, March 4, 1946



I think it’s interesting how people of different nations face more challenging environments than we do here in America and still have the will to find the way to stay focused on their dreams. Perhaps a great director could be defined by his lifestyle, political beliefs or religion, but the pursuit of a dream is what no one can deny. Talent is something that cannot be taught, but can be found within oneself. Continue reading