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Who am I?

This is a piece I submitted for an assignment. I had to choose an image and then explain how the image related to my character from the perspective of my character.

I am just like everyone else, with dreams, hopes and drive to get somewhere to make something of my life. But here I am at cubicle fifteen describing to you why I think this picture describes me.

Every day I’m forced to put on this crappy hundred-dollar suit, choking myself with this tie (that I still haven’t quite figured out how to tie). Then I walk to the subway and cram myself into a smelly, sticky car with like a million other people all wearing the same damn hundred-dollar suit. When I finally get off I walk about twenty steps before I’m crammed right back into an elevator with another bunch of suit monkeys. We all pile out on the sixteenth floor and scurry to our desks, hoping we can avoid our supervisor and get through our day without doing any more than we have to. I spend the next 8 hours shifting papers, putting them into manila folders and sticking them into filing cabinets where I’m sure no one will ever read them again.

4:30 arrives and I reverse the process and find myself in my apartment eating macaroni and cheese that has been rewarmed for the third time and watching what is probably the seventh airing of American Idol for the week. I don’t know who is winning and I don’t particularly care. It’s just noise in the background while I check Facebook to see if anyone is talking to me. Eventually I fall asleep only to be woken up too soon by my alarm clock to do it all over again.

The picture is a promise to myself that I will not be held back by this situation. The suit will not define me but I will define the suit.  I am the cool, mysterious guy, charming, smart and debonair.  There’s also the “take no prisoners” me, with words just as quick as my trigger finger. Anyone who gets in my way is dropped with a snarky one-liner that gets a chuckle from the bevy of ladies that surrounds me. Finally there is the superhero, just waiting to burst out in my brightly colored costume and save the day. He spends the days disguised as this mild mannered office worker but at the first sign of danger he appears to save the beautiful lady as she is put in danger time and again by his nemesis.

I want to keep that promise but it is hard. This suit and this cubicle have trapped me so long that it is killing those parts of me. There is nothing mysterious about me. In fact, I just summed up my entire life in a couple paragraphs. The witty comebacks are only said in my head hours afterward and most of them begin with “yo mamma”. My nemesis is the cranky landlord who lives across the hall and the only superpower I seem to have around ladies is invisibility.

It’s not as bad as it seems though; this isn’t going to be forever. One day I will be all those “Mes”. For now I have to keep them hidden inside but don’t worry because when the time comes they will be unleashed and the world will not know what hit it.


A New “Battleground” in Media: A Review of Hulu’s First Original Series

The world of media is changing, and the debut of the original series “Battleground” is evidence of that change. The series is not a midseason debut from one of the major networks, or even one of cable networks like Starz or FX. Instead “Battleground” makes its home on the Internet streaming service Hulu.  Original programming is not particularly new but no series has come with the hype or has debuted exclusively on a service with the status of Hulu. Amidst all the hype, the question remains does “Battleground” succeed as a show? Will its characters and stories connect with an audience in a way to make them tune in week after week?
The mockumentary format of the series is one made familiar to us by the long running “The Office” and critically acclaimed “Modern Family”. Here the story follows the campaign of Senator, who literally takes a backseat in the pilot episode to her young campaign team focusing on Chris “Tak” Davis, Campaign Strategist, Kara “KJ” Jamison, head of media operations, speech writer Cole Graner and new volunteer Ben Werner. The cast on works well together with Jay Hayden’s charming “Tak” and Ben Samuels’ turn as the nervous bumbling volunteer “Ben” the standouts of the episode.

The pilot does well in setting us up in the world of the campaign, the team  is portrayed as the scrappy underdogs with a laid back work ethic and broken air conditioner thermostat. The story of the pilot is smart, Tak and the team must find a way to outwit their opponent in an effort to secure funding to keep their campaign going. If there is one criticism it is that the script plays it a bit too straightforward with the details of the plan, removing some of the element of surprise as it plays out. This is surprising in a show where many elements of exposition are played with great subtlety. An interesting twist is the almost cyclical story as we are given glimpses into the future of the campaign and the staff, which almost begs the audience to stay tuned to find out how they get there and how the result of the election. The show provides us with some very understated but funny moments of humor and there is a general air of self awareness, complete with sideway glances at the camera and a reference to its being “some internet thing or something”.

Overall “Battlefield” is a solid start to mainstream original programming over the Internet. It is a charming, witty world inhabited by a group of very likable characters. There is a lot of potential in this show and due to the fact that the executives at Hulu are taking a significantly different approach to the development of this series than the usual television or studio executives, the opportunity is there for this show to go places that others of its kind are not able to. With the debut of “Battlefield” and Netflix’s “Lilyhammer” Internet exclusive programming may be finally ready for the mainstream.


Updates and the Olympus iSpeed

So a bit of an update. I’ve been neglecting this blog for a little while, life and all of that. I’ve been trying for a while to get into school to pursue production. I had mixed success but ended up registering for a certificate in Design for Arts and Entertainment at Ryerson University. Everything seemed fine and things seemed to be going well, until I tried to travel. It was a long drawn out ordeal that ended in a rejection letter from the Canadian High Commission and a scramble to find a new path to take.

Things are funny in a way, when I began looking at schools I came across this “Full Sail University” courtesy of Film Riot . I was impressed by their pretty site but ran the other way when I came across the tuition. This lead to Ryerson and the debacle of Canadian Immigration. Then my sister went on a mission to find me a school, this was within 24 hours of my latest rejection from the Canadian High Commission. She didn’t know what schools I had looked at and she ended up calling “Full Sail University”. Within a day or two she had the whole plan mapped out, when I would start, what I needed to do and so on. Now, about a month later I’m sitting here in Winter Park having completed my orientation at Full Sail and I’m excited, happy and thankful at this amazing, curious turn of events.

Anyway the orientation week has been great  and I got to attend my first non-orientation event on campus, the demo of the Olympus iSpeed PL High Speed Camera.
I shot kind of on the spur of the moment on my iPhone so there isn’t much in the way of narrative or anything, just a quick peek at the camera’s capabilities and a really bright ARRISUN. I really just wanted to test out the rendering on this Macbook pro they gave me.
I hope to do some kind of regular video blog thing, interspersed with writing and maybe audio, depending on what I’m feeling.

Enjoy


Review: Green Lantern (2011)


***

 

Something ecaped my sight. Tonight I went to see Martin Campbell’s “Green Lantern” and it can only be described as underwhelming. The movie follows the story of Hal Jordan played by Ryan Reynolds, a reckless test pilot who is chosen to be one of the members of the elite Green Lantern Corps by the ring of a dying alien. He is then tasked with not only learning the ring but facing the greatest enemy the Corps has ever known.

Really though? The greatest threat ever?

Green Lantern is a good movie, it is not quite Avatar but the 3D works far better in the fantastic world of Oa than it did in Asgard, the mythical realm presented in Marvel’s Thor. While Thor lacked in visuals and scope, it fares much better than Green Lantern in terms of story. Green Lantern disconcertingly jumps from character to character without much flow and a lot of unnecessary filler. I have heard people criticize the acting in the movie and I have to say that the actors in the movie are what makes it bearable. Events happen out of sequences, climaxes occur without any buildup and characters make decisions that boggle the mind.

Ryan Reynolds did it for me as Hal Jordan, my feeling is that with a stronger script he would own the character. While he gave us enough cocky cowboy, the script left out important elements of his character. From a comic book standpoint it gave us the stripped down Geoff John’s Hal Jordan when we should have gotten the Emerald Dawn version. They glossed over his relationship with his brother and even his recklessness in favour of a super thin romantic subplot with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) and a few fleeting moments of melodrama about his father. Even how he got his powers left me scratching my head. In still fairly bright daylight not only does an Alien ship crash but he is transported in a big green bubble from a pretty heavily populated suburb (just outside a birthday party) to the crash site. The plot manages to give him enough time to bury Abin Sur and have his friend Tom drive out to pick him up before the Government’s Men in Black show up. There is not even any mention later by the same powers that be of the fact that someone else found the alien first.

The movie momentarily transports Hal to Oa where he undergoes about 5 and a half minutes of “training” by Kilowog and Sinestro, which was one of the best sequences in the film. My wish was that they remove almost all the scenes with Carol Ferris and replaced them with more Oa scenes. The charaters there are far more interesting and carry much more bearing on this plot and the plots of the, now only distantly, possible sequels.

Mark Strong has Sinestro nailed however he was criminally underutilized. I wanted to see the building distrust between him and the Guardians, I wanted to see more of the authoritarian Sinestro. The twist of having the guardians being the ones who create the ring was nice but because Sinestro was not developed it lacked the context to have an impact on anyone not familiar with the comic’s mythos. Even the 2 villains of the piece were badly used. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) was awesome, but his character was oddly enough developed backwards. He kind of just shows up at one point and then we learn about his relationship with his father and his own problems far too late for us to hate or pity him. Two of the big action sequences involving him simply just happen. There is no development of an antagonist relationship between himself and the hero. The script tries to gloss over that by repeatedly having the characters talk about being faliures in life and such.

As for Parallax, the embodiment of fear is wasted here. If this were to be a trilogy it should have come in the final chapter, in our hero’s darkest hour (or “Blackest Night in this case). It is instead reduced to a squid-crab thing with a big head that is defeated far too easily by the hero. Luckily there is room for A LOT of alterations and retconning for the sequel and I hope that one of those is making the “Parallax” of this movie merely an incarnation of the deity and that it continues to reside in the yellow battery. As a fan of the comic this brings up one detail that the movie absolutely missed, the yellow impurity in the rings. Really? The characters chatter over and over again about overcoming great fear but the single detail that makes that important and relevant is missed.

I will admit I went into this expecting Blake Lively to ruin every shot she was in and my fears were justified. However, it is not her fault at all, the character she was given to play was bad. It was not the Carol Ferris from the comics and she served no purpose except to look at Hal’s green body suit all googly eyed. In the final confrontation between Hal and Hector, the villain mumbles something about her not loving him like she loves Hal, which made no sense. Just like how Hal merely shows up to confront Hector because his ring recieves a Broadcast message that trouble might show up somewhere near.

The movie is visually entertaining. The ring constructs are wonderfully realized and executed along with the alien world of Oa. The 3D was not as horrifically dark as the Frost Giant world in Thor and Oa was also much more alive than the tomb that was Asgard. These strong points are overwhelmed by the narritive weakness and disjointed nature of the movie. I can only hope that the sequel gets the Green Light and perhaps gets “Dark Knighted” so that the corps gets the movie it deserves.


Why Wonder Woman Failed

So in the most unsurprising piece of news I’ve heard this week, Wonder Woman did not make the cut for NBC’s fall lineup. I am not sorry to see it go. It was a project that became more and more doomed every step it took.

The first was being a Superhero show on NBC. I’m still not over the disappointment that Heroes went from one of the most refreshing shows on TV to one of the most campy, annoying things I’ve seen. Next up was “The Cape”, I gave this one a little leeway at the start since it was in a more traditional vein of superhero stories but my expectations were dashed from the outset and it never got better (though it did embrace some of its camp). NBC needs to change their approach to superheroes, there is no reason why The Cape needed to feel like 90% of the superhero shows from the 90s. Also they need to stop with the tie-in online comics and stuff, it was a novel idea but you have to let a mythology build before you try to confuse us.

Next up is the casting of Wonder Woman, while I was willing to let this one go, I just don’t think Adrianna Palicki can play Wonder Woman. At the end of the day she is a woman who can trade blows with Superman (and can probably take him if she wanted). Ms Palicki is way too slender for the role. I’m sure that we could find a better person.  After seeing the stills of her doing an action scene I was thinking “Wow she needs to eat a lil bit more”.[Also look at Tom Welling in “Smallville, not the greatest actor but I rarely doubted that he was superman]

Finally, is the costume, wow. The original design was way to plastic-y and people rightly complained about the size of the heels on the boots. The “redesign” was much better but went a little too plain. Also both of them just looked awkward on her (Problem #2 didn’t help problem #3 at all). To be honest, they should have just gone outright with the current outfit in the comics, it’s practical and still has enough superheroey stuff in there to make it work. Stop looking in the Women’s lingerie section and start looking in the body armour section.

I bid the Wonder Woman series adieu, I hope it dies so that the character can get the respect she deserves, it’s not going to be easy though.


Faces Of Carnival

Went on the road to shoot some bright day pics and enjoy Carnival. Still updating the album but enjoy. 🙂


Fixing Windows Problems

A little bit off what I usually talk about but being the “Computer Guy” to my friends and family I figured I might share this in the hopes that it might help anyone else stuck as “Computer Guy”.

http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2011//041811-windows-7-crashes.html


Green Lantern Niceness

Okay I was initially skeptical of the suit. Now I’m not. This movie looks freaking fantastic. GL is my favourite hero and I think Ryan Reynolds is pretty awesome too.


It’s My Birthday: And an old video

So it’s my birthday. I’m sending out invoices and came across this gem.

Enjoy


Learning Stuff

90% of my attraction to film/theatre production is that everyday I’m learning stuff. First thing I’ve learned these last couple weeks is “Don’t volunteer to finish other people’s work”. A bitter lesson that I’m suffering from because I’m sitting here with a 90% completed magazine that is waiting on other people to finish.

Second thing I’ve learned this month is that the process behind creation does not differ. Superficially it may seem that film is different from print, which is different from staging a show, different from writing a script… and so on. However that is not the actual process that I see.

The first thing to producing everything is to have a clear destination. This is not to be confused with a goal. Goals are very vague shifty things, a destination is more definite, obvious, clear-cut. “I want to go to Jamaica” is a goal, “I want to go to Jamaica on the 11th of May, 2011” is a destination. Once you have this destination in mind the next step is working out precisely how to get there, this is plotting out one’s workflow, another precise art that is overlooked. I want to shoot my film but how exactly do I do it? Do I have the right tools? And with the tools that I do have, How do I get from point A to point B. Sitting down and working out exactly what my production workflow is has saved me this last month. While doing the magazine I saw the tools I had and I examined what the people who asked me to save it wanted, then I asked questions of the software that I had.

This establishment of destination and plotting of the course is followed by simply executing the plan. Things happen but that is part of the experience.

I find that these 3 basic steps are the same throughout the process of creation and if any of them are taken for granted the whole process falls apart.

The last thing I learned is color correction (and colouring) or “How cool are the tools that we use!” I’ve never really fancied venturing into it but having played around with it with my stills I’ve decided it is worth a shot. One can never stop expanding the tools that you have at your disposal.

next stop…oscars 🙂