Monthly Archives: June 2009

the talented tenth

I know I’ve raved before about Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, but now that the Lady Wife and I have succumbed to the warm, gentle content tsunami of basic cable, I’m also really enjoying Ramsay’s more recent show, Gordon Ramsay’s F … Continue reading

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a free market in commercials

So one of the things the Lady Wife brought to our marriage was one of these “Tivo” boxes for watching television. To be honest, I’m a little behind the times on this — largely because I haven’t had a TV … Continue reading

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finiculi, finicula features a nicely organized roster of classical hits that show up frequently in movies, along with snarky commentary and samples. If you’re writing a cartoon script or need a public domain cliche for your independent short, this site is … Continue reading

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the sweet smell of success

You can borrow your friends’ houses or build a fake restaurant in somebody’s basement once. You can convince actors, even good actors, to work for free once. You can steal time in an edit bay once. You can quit your job and let your spouse support you… once. The myth of the clever, resourceful no-budget filmmaker remains charming only because most people outside of L.A. aren’t actually friends with a no-budget filmmaker. Or, to be more honest in the nomenclature, a leech. All the things that make no-budget filmmaking possible are essentially favors. And everybody’s willing to help a friend out once, especially if it’s to set that friend on a career path — even one as improbable as becoming a Hollywood filmmaker.

But imagine if you had a piano-playing friend who came to you every couple of months and asked you for a couple hundred dollars to help him rent a piano. You might justifiably wonder aloud why your friend didn’t get a job playing piano at a hotel bar down by the airport — at which point your friend would sigh and shake his head and turn away from you irritably. And you would probably begin to see piano music as less of “an extravagant gift from the heart” and more of a goddamned nuisance and egotistical waste of time. Which is what most independent filmmaking, let’s be honest, probably is.

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how to lose a gun in 10 days

I love Southland because, although it at first seems to be a fairly straightforward police procedural, it knocks down our genre expectations at every turn, providing less of the “Justice! Fuck yeah!” feeling Law & Order strives so hard for and instead showing both crime and law enforcement to be pursuits heavily influenced by chance and random opportunity. Every episode makes perfect sense, and the resolution to each is complete and correct, but frequently it feels that story has meandered far, far away from its inciting incident — which is what makes the show so fascinating.

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