I don't utilize this blog enough, but I needed to share this. The MarzGurl production, "Farewell, FamiKamen Rider", will be having a livestream event on Wednesday, April 15th at 8 PM CST on http://twitch.tv/MarzGurl and will then go live on http://youtube.com/MarzGurl once the stream is over. Please watch and support this labor of love for a fallen friend.
I was editing my demo reel a bit and got to the Famikamen Rider bit of my reel. I had to stop and just... contemplate for a bit. Thinking about Justin... about the project. I have behind the scenes footage and raw fight footage from FKR, and I don't know what to do with it at this point. It's not like I have enough to really make much out of it. I don't want to just have it sitting there but I'm not sure how I feel about releasing it raw, either. Maybe at some point I can edit it to look like a TV show the protagonist of my own web series I'm working on used to watch and inspired him to become a hero, kinda like Zebraman. I don't know yet... still hard to think about it.
It has been quite some time since I last made a journal entry on my site. To anyone who follows me here, I apologize. But this entry was certainly important enough to return, and hopefully I'll take this as a chance to be more active overall.
A very close friend of mine, Justin Carmical, passed away last Thursday. Known to many in the internet community as JewWario from That Guy With The Glasses, Blistered Thumbs, and most recently Retroware, Justin hosted many web shows, the most popular being You Can Play This, where he discussed easy-to-import Japanese games. Justin was passionate about everything he did, he fully nurtured every single one of his endeavors. But, and you'll hear this from every person who ever met him, he mostly gave his all to others. He was gentle, kind, and loving to every person he ever met. When my fiance and I first met him years ago, he gave us both a big hug, and treated us like we had always been friends. He treated us like family. He was a very giving person, and he always gave others hope and cheer.
On the other side of things, as Justin was the creator, producer, director, and lead actor in FamiKamen Rider, this means that project will go unfinished. It was both his dream and mine to see it completed, but Justin fell on hard times over the past year, which delayed the project into a long term hiatus until things could turn around for him. That obviously never happened. I don't know where things will go from here. I only have the footage that I went and shot over one weekend in November, 2012, as well as the scripts for the series and the opening theme music. Honestly at this point, the ball is in the court of Justin's wife, Jennifer. Whatever her decision is, I will respect that. If nothing else, I hope to start a project of my own, a project Justin had already inspired me to do before this tragedy, and I would like to honor him with a tribute somewhere therein. The only thing I could think of would be to mirror some of my feelings in the development of the story, have his character be the inspiration that gets the ball rolling for mine.
It's just an idea right now, but I won't let this idea amount to nothing. I'm going to strive to be more like my friend, Justin Carmical: A man who went for his goals and dreams with everything he had, and who gave people hope.
Feels really bad when you can't finish a production because a key member of said production is dodging any attempt to contact them. Guess it's time to just move on from the project and focus on new projects. At least this time I'll be working with people I know and trust. It also helps in the trust department when you know where they live, ha!
So I had the delightful opportunity to see Oz this past weekend. The good: a nice origin story to Wizard and Witches of Oz, really fun characters and fantastic character interactions. The effects were great, as was the scenery. It was strange watching the Kansas side of the story in the beginning because of the way they chose to differentiate it visually from Oz, but not bad. The climax was stupendous, and the nods of continuity toward The Wizard of Oz are perfectly placed and don't at all feel shoehorned in. On a side note, two of the big three Sam Raimi tropes show up, though the third might be in there somewhere, I would have to go back and pay closer attention to things in the background most likely. I'll let the readers figure out which tropes when they go to watch the film. Now to the bad. I honestly feel James Franco is miscast here. Not in the sense that he can't play a would-be playboy and con-man, but he lacks a certain sense of panache that I feel is necessary for the Wizard, and honestly I just end up seeing Franco and not the character. The same for Mila Kunis, I feel more like I'm seeing Kunis in a costume and not the character, though that has less to do with her acting abilities and more to do with I hear her voice or see her all the time on television thanks to Family Guy and That 70s Show, which works against her a bit when I try to see the characters she's portraying on the big screen. But the acting was superb, especially from the supporting cast, which I feel might be an unintentional Raimi trope since the Spider-Man Trilogy, but I won't say it is for certain without seeing a few more films from him.
So I finally got to sit down and watch Wes Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. I definitely enjoyed the film, but I couldn't help but notice that at times it was VERY Wes Anderson, but at other times it wasn't. I don't see this as an issue, though, as it was nice seeing a variety to Anderson's work. The film, a story about two troubled youths in 1965 New England running away together, is a charming piece, that very easily could have gotten creepy in one section where the two young characters are in their underwear dancing on a beach, but was able to retain that charm and innocence. The ending is predictable, but still entertaining. The acting is superb, though at teams it seems the actors are fitting into the same character traits that they tend to play, it's really nice seeing a sense of fragility in Ed Norton and Bruce Willis. Definitely a film I plan on watching again, for all the right reasons.
So, I actually don't spend much time watching the Oscars, mostly because I know the decisions are based more on a lot of behind-the-scenes politics than on the actual talents of the people involved in film production. Case in point, Les Mis winning best hair and makeup over The Hobbit. The hair and makeup, including prosthetic makeup, for 13 dwarves takes a heck of a lot more time, effort, and talent than making a few characters look dirty and dying. Brave was beautiful visually, but Wreck-It Ralph told a much better story overall.
But then we come to the real political mess that was highlighted during the Oscars. Life of Pi and the silencing of the voice representing Visual Effects firm Rhythm & Hues, which despite the Oscar win, had to declare for bankruptcy, leaving a lot of people out of work. Honestly, it boggles my mind that something that requires such effort and artistry gets snubbed by the people of influence in the film industry. If you haven't heard about this, I suggest checking out the article linked below.
So I've been taking the opportunity to test drive Adobe Premiere CS6, and since my last post about CS5, I definitely have to say the improvements are fantastic, and I'm definitely kicking myself for not waiting until CS6 got onto the market. They've solved a lot of the issues I had with CS5, including the ability to change sequence settings to accommodate any video files you drag into it. In addition, the different workspace formats are also improved from the prior iteration, and I feel they're a lot more intuitive and organized. So now, I suppose it's time for me to save up and purchase yet another version of the Adobe Creative Suite.
I just re-watched Wes Anderson's film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I must say, it makes me incredibly happy to see that there are still directors who like to use this medium. I know Tim Burton still loves it, but constantly seeing macabre films in stop motion, it's gotten a bit predictable. I really hope there are still more directors out there willing to take the challenge that is producing a stop motion animated film. In a world where CG has become king of animated film, the crispness of stop motion is sorely missed by this independent filmmaker. Maybe one day, when I'm feeling especially patient, perhaps I'll come up with a script meant for such a medium.
For those of you who have yet to see Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I know there are many just from my asking people I know, I highly recommend it. It's based on a Roald Dahl book, the same author as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I've included the trailer below, at the very least it's worth checking out once. If you're a Wes Anderson fan and you have not seen this film, despite the medium, it definitely falls within his niche. It's quirky, it's fun, it really is right up his alley.
So I've come to a pretty major conclusion. Too many big budget films are using way too much computer generated effects. I can understand it for things you absolutely cannot do practically. But CG blood has been all over the place, and it just looks absolutely fake. And independent production using it because they can't afford to do retakes with practical effects makes sense to me, but a big Hollywood production should not be relying on CG to do everything. The same for pyrotechnics and muzzle flares. If it can be done practically and won't destroy your budget, just do it. If you can use puppets reasonably instead of CG characters that actors have to pretend are there, use the puppets. If you can use stage make-up techniques instead of motion tracking an effect on someone's face, there's no reason not to.
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