Dammit. The History of Kids Swearing in Cinema

Who doesn’t love kids (and old people) swearing in films. Over at the LA Times they have a great article about how we went from being surprised at a Dammit to not batting an eyelid at a whoooole lot worse.

I hope you f*cking like it.

From E.T. to Stranger Things, an Oral History of Kids Cursing On Screen

As the morning rush hour comes to an end on Riverside Drive in Burbank, I sit down with André Gower, an actor who, 30 years ago, played the leader of a pack of pre-teens battling malevolent forces – Dracula, the Wolf Man and other iconic movie monsters – in The…



The BRexit and the UK film industry

Well, whatever your position, it’s done now – the UK have voted to leave the EU. Over at The Verge is an interesting article on potential fallout for the Film (and TV) industries of the UK.

The big questions, of course, are tax credits and EU funding. While the latter is surely gone, the former is what might really cause a dent. Without tax credits, and being able to partner with continential producers and financers, things might get pretty hairy. And I mean Hagrid hairy.

Read on.


Brexit is ‘likely to be devastating’ for UK film and TV industry

The chairman of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), the trade association representing the companies behind independent film and TV the world over, has described the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union as an event that is “likely to be devastating” for the creative sector.

Why this AI-written film is amazing

Over on Ars Technica they have an article about this very interesting short film that was written by an AI. Of course, that in and of itself is pretty amazing, but, for me, the impact of the film is different.

1. It’s all about the performance

The film shows that good actors can make anything interesting. Here they have assembled 3 highly watchable, emotive people. They are literally reading nonsense but you somehow get drawn in and involved.

2. Music moves people

The score of this short film seems to be overlooked. With different music the feel would have (could have) been ruined.

3. We make our own assumptions

I don’t think the text of this film is any more unusual than a Coldplay song. We, as living, breathing people, strive to make connections. We want to see patterns in the noise. You think you know what this film is about – even though we know it is about nothing.

As a filmmaker this short hits home certain points – like, my idea for the story is not as important as the three points above. It is a brave filmmaker that can turn over the core of his film to a machine, but the proof is here – with skills you can make an amazing film. So don’t get so hung up on the script.

Movie written by algorithm turns out to be hilarious and intense

Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that’s not entirely what it seems. It’s about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle.


The Perk Problem: How not to run your Crowdfunding Campaign

If you want an example of how NOT to do your perks, you can look at the potentially enthralling documentary about the legendary Bob Moog – basically the inventor of the synthesizer.

See the campaign here: link

You’d think a documentary like this would be backed in a few days (as per the Frank Zappa archives documentary). But it’s not. With only a few days to go they are only at 40%. I blame this on the perks. (And yes, of course it’s possible they will reach their goal).

The Perk Problem:
1) Poorly written perks. The perks have way way way too much info in them. Each perk gives you a short history lesson about some facet of Moog’s history. Just tell me price and perk!
2) They have given ‘clever’ names to the perk levels, which is not unusual, but the way they have done it is to name them after a real world thing. It appears at first glance that you will GET the thing they have named it after as the perk. (eg: for $10 you have THE REALISTIC MG-1
(Moog-made, Realistic-branded 2-VCO monosynth with simple poly section, c.1981-1984)). You don’t.
3) They make #1 even worse by saying things like (on the $25 perk): PLUS receive THE REALISTIC MG-1. They mean the perk called the MG-1, not the real world thing called the MG-1.
4) Horrible delivery times. For $25 you get a digital copy of the film. This is an awesome perk price point and normally I back every film I am interested in if they offer this perk. BUT, here they tell me:
“* Please note: digital release date may be up to 1 year later than the theatrical screening premiere.”
Are you kidding me? I have to wait 1 year after the cinema release to get something I helped you make?????
Are you saying that you won’t give it to me because of piracy concerns? So, you’re happy to have me fund you, but don’t trust me with the result.

I feel for these people. They want to make a documentary. They have the access. But for some reason they just don’t get what people are looking for in a Crowdfunding campaign nor understand how to create a sense of trust and community.

See the campaign here: link

Asian filmmakers perspective

It’s not a great article, but at least it’s an article looking at the world of film sales and development.

Right now the Busan (South Korea) International Film Festival is going on. BIFF is one of the biggest festival’s in Asia, with a bustling film market that often focuses on selling to the Chinese market (which will soon become the biggest market in the world).

Asian filmmakers hail globalisation of cinema

Japan News and Discussion

The actresses new clothes – digital nudity

Over on The Verge is an interesting article about the peculiar case of the non-nude naked actress. With an ever increasing number of tools available – even at lower budgets – creating ‘digital skin’ is now commonplace.

The Verge talks about the reasons – one, of course being that a lot of actors don’t want to appear nude, but hey, presto! we can strip you anyway.

Give it a read.

Why CGI nudity is here to stay

The motion picture camera was invented in 1889 – and less than a decade later, it was being used to create After the Ball, the first ever instance of nudity on film. It’s hard to say when the first…

A peek inside Amazon Studios and they’re non-data driven development

A good, if broad, article over on The Guardian about Amazon Studios – the content development arm of the already ubiquitous online retailer – and it’s chief Roy Price.

Of particular note is Price’s view on NOT over-using user data or metrics to drive it’s key decisions.

Amazon Studios chief: data isn’t everything as retailer looks at big picture

When it comes to the rapidly expanding TV and movies division of Seattle-based retailer Amazon, you might expect the company that religiously studies customer order histories, when and how people buy, what they’re buying and a slew of other metrics, to bring that same zeal for data to its slate of original content.

A look into new Indian cinema’s success

Over at ‘The Conversation’ website University lecturer Suman Ghosh takes a quick look at how new Indian cinema is managing to grow and thrive outside of the Bollywood system. India is an exciting market with an even more exciting industry. If you want to keep an eye on how you can succeed as an indie in a crowded market, you could do worse than learn from new Indian cinema.

Beyond Bollywood: new Indian cinema finds critical and financial success

She cooks for him; he removes the washing from the clothesline. Together they have a home, even though opposing work schedules means they hardly see each other. Asha Jaoar Majhey (Labour of Love, Bengali) is a story of marital love in a time of economic recession.

Why things aren’t getting better for musicians. Filmmakers, watch and learn

I believe that changes in the music industry usually are faster and earlier than in the film industry. We saw piracy of music take down large record labels while people in the film biz blithely believed themselves safe.

Over in the New York Times Sunday Review they have an in-depth article about one of the biggest issues: lack of transparency. We’ve already seen many complaints about Netflix and transparency. So, beware. And what can we do about it?


From the front lines of a diverse Hollywood…

I love Jon Ronson, and his articles for GQ are something I always wait for. This one covers a sad reality about the film and tv industry. After the scandal about the lack of women in top positions in the industry this article on the sad state of Muslim-American roles really is no surprise. In the UK I think actors fare better, but, America seems almost incapable of understanding that people of different backgrounds can play non-stereotypical roles.

It’s an important subject and I hope it gets more coverage.