Archive for October, 2014

One Optical Occupation’s Obviously Obviated

This is a commentary on a situation similar to the one that happened to slide rule manufacturers or buggy whip makers of the past, we are now experiencing the demise of yet another career field. The film world is going through the devaluation of the once prized title “Director Of Photography”, also known as a Cinematographer, a DP, or DOP in Canada, this is a direct result of the video revolution. I’ve been working on all sorts of film and video projects for over 30 years and noticed that during the past few years there have been no real DP’s showing up to work on projects, only people that more correctly should be described as video camera owner / operators, people who will show up to work with their own camera, a camera that the producer will not have to pay to have someone pick up and return, or pay for the rental or insurance for. Please read on…..

Camera Monkey

Yesterday I couldn’t spell DP, today I are one!

Today, any graduating film student, or even a drop out, who has access to a few thousand USD can buy or be gifted with a new or used digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, and immediately declare him or herself to be a “Cinematographer” and then go about creating a demo reel to demonstrate what they can create.

cheap video camera

Exhibit “A” your honor

There is a double edged sword in this that can be described like this:

“The good news is that now anyone can make a film, the bad news is that now anyone can make a film“.

Please note that the  description does not say an “Enjoyable“, “Watchable” or “Marketable” film!

You may wonder, what is the engine that is driving this race to the bottom? The plain and simple answer can be found in the flood of film schools  popping up nationwide, driven by the economy. These are part of the destruction of the U.S. education process, where similar private “Schools or Universities” in engineering, electronics, music, computers, business, law and other fields will make outrageous / phony claims that they will give students a jump start into a new career field, promises that they never plan on delivering. Their trick is to get students first to enroll, and then quickly lead them by the nose directly to their own sweetheart lenders who will lock those wannabees into a non-refundable student loan, one that the school immediately cashes. Once the school receives its funds, they don’t care if the student ever shows up or soon drops out, they’ve already been paid in full for the complete course. Tuition costs can often can run as high as $40 to $50 thousand dollars, and these loans, like most conventional student loans, can’t be forgiven. This means that the students will find themselves trapped in payments that will go on for decades, decades spent trying to get into a business that usually regards such degrees as worthless unless they happen to be from a school that the producer went to. In the film world I dwell in, USC is the most common of these and inbreeding is rife. My usual advice to friends who will ask what advice I can offer to their children who have started to make noises about going to film school. My response is that the kids should do is (because I live in the Los Angeles area) go to the campus of UCLA, USC, AFI (American Film Institute), or any other schools with a film department and find the bulletin boards that they all have, and then go through those 3×5 cards they will find posted from students that are looking for other students to help each other on film projects. Yes, these projects are most likely unpaid, but the free on set experience and connections that can be made with others they will meet and be able to network with in the future will result in them getting a running start in working in the film industry. This jump in is one that will certainly pay off far more quickly than for those who spent a fortune and a year or two attending one of those diploma mills whose names I can’t mention here due to the litigious world we live in. This is, by the way, a world over run with lawyers who often went to similarly structured law school diploma mills.

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N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but as always, success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan.

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..  

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.  

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October 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm 1 comment

Easy As A – B – C

A few days ago I had an idea for an exiting new action t.v. show, one with an ensemble cast that would star O.J. Simpson, G.W. Bailey, J.K. Simmons and J.T. Walsh as the stars, with CCH Pounder, LL Cool J, Ice T and of course Maggie Q. in supporting roles.

My idea was that this show ought to be directed by J.J. Abrams from a script written by J.K. Rowling, and a rocking theme song that would be performed by  k.d. Lang and B.B. King. 

All of the networks to which I submitted this idea to said that they liked the idea, initially.

Now, the search for a title begins….

Any suggestions?

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N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and / or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but as we’ve found, success will have a million parents and failure will be an orphan.
Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..
P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….
FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.

October 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm Leave a comment

Professor Proton’s Passing Precedent?

It was sad for me to see that Professor Proton, a character portrayed by one of the most warm and friendly actors I’ve ever worked with, Bob Newhart, on the t.v. show “Big Bang Theory” has passed away. Based on many of their episodes content on The Big Bang Theory, I believe that the shows’ creator and producer, Chuck Lorre may share my fears about science becoming a lost art because of easy access on the internet to information that draws people away from doing due diligence and performing actual research work.

Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart (on the left) as Professor Proton

That episode brought back memories of the loss of “The Bell Science Hour” host Dr. Frank Baxter

Dr. Frank Baxter on the Bell Science Hour

Dr. Frank Baxter, the Walter Cronkite of science

Below, Mr. Don Herbert, an on camera host of another TV show called “Watch Mr. Wizard”.

Mr. Wizzard

Mr. Wizzard at work

Dr. Frank Baxter and Mr. Herbert were contributing reasons to my life long interest in science, years later when I was in the Air Force many of principles I learned in physics from their shows came to have meaning for me, for example Bernoulli’s principles of convergent and divergent ducts made the operation of the basic jet engine understandable.

By the way, that was also where Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle made it clear that I’d never be able to get a decent meal at the base commissary, very clear.

Here’s a link to my previous tribute to Dr. Baxter: 

<http://wp.me/p2IAg-1O&gt;

Enjoy!

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N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but as everyone knows, success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan.

Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..  

P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

FAIR USE NOTICE: THIS SITE CONTAINS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THE USE OF WHICH HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COPYRIGHT OWNER. I AM MAKING SUCH MATERIAL AVAILABLE IN MY EFFORT TO ADVANCE UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL, POLITICAL, HUMAN RIGHTS, ECONOMIC, DEMOCRACY, SCIENTIFIC, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES, ETC. I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A ‘FAIR USE’ OF ANY SUCH COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AS PROVIDED FOR IN SECTION 107 OF THE US COPYRIGHT LAW. IN ACCORDANCE WITH TITLE 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107, THE MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PROFIT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EXPRESSED A PRIOR INTEREST IN RECEIVING THE INCLUDED INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: HTTP://WWW.LAW.CORNELL.EDU/USCODE/17/107.SHTML.  IF YOU WISH TO USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL FROM THIS SITE FOR PURPOSES OF YOUR OWN THAT GO BEYOND ‘FAIR USE’, YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT OWNER.  

October 14, 2014 at 5:44 am Leave a comment


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