Alexander Film Works

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Back from the Abyss…

In activity, film on January 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Well, this is a rising from the dead, more or less… although I think of it more as an awakening from suspended animation, on this site.

Where we are is in transition. I am attempting to finish my last term at Wayne State University, despite the roadblocks the bureaucracy tries to fling in my path.

Such is the way of things, I suppose.

I have a few more things to say from time to time, and I’ll try to refer then here when I can.

For now, so long until next time…

(Whenever that may be.)

And Four To Go…

In Just Because... on January 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Well, tomorrow is the first of February.  One month down, and four to go until the end of term.

I don’t know for sure if I’m pissed, happy, confused, or just tired.  (More than likely just tired, it seems.)

My script for the capstone class was NOT selected; this is mostly a good thing, I think, since I don’t have to worry about sharing any rights with WSU.  I just have to arrange everything to make it; that’ll come when I’m a bit less busy.

My research project for Intermediate Comp has been assigned, and I have to collect my sources and formulate a proposal and interview questions.  (The project is to interview someone in my “professional discourse community”, a/k/a film production, and to observe this person at work in the community, then to relate it to the readings we’ve had so far.)  Happy happy joy joy, right?  Still and all, it’s better than writing about something I have no real interest in, such as “The Ratiocinative Elements in The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe”, which I had to do back in high school.  (Yes, that was far too many years ago, but I still remember.)

The first part of my math class is statistics; the second, probability, permutations, combinations, and voting strategies.  Much of it I’m familiar with; some I need to study up on.

And tomorrow, I give a speech in my COM 1010 class.

Yippee.

More again…

Producing the Pre

In Film and Related, It Bugs Me on January 25, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Well, life goes on at WSU…

We’re almost finished choosing three scripts to film this term for Techniques of Production… I think they liked my script, but probably not well enough to select it.

And this doesn’t irritate me much at all.

According to the syllabus, the film made from a script selected is partly owned by Wayne State… that doesn’t bide well with me, since if I write it and make it, I think I should own it.

Which means, if they don’t select it, I can make it and control all rights.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Politics as a Gas…

In It Bugs Me on January 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

This past weekend, the Republicans had the third winner in as many primaries, with Newt Gingrich winning the South Carolina primary.

I would find the whole Republican free-for-all a hideous joke, were the consequences not so dire for the country at large.  Most of the candidates, even the ones who’ve had to bail up till now, have been trying to play “I’m-more-conservative-than-you”, to appeal to what is seen as the most influential group of Republican voters, the conservative, right-wing evangelicals.

Personally, I have nothing against these people; I just find their belief systems rooted somewhere in the Seventeenth Century, with anyone who is not white, affluent, Christian, and male being scorned as insignificant.  (Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are exceptions to this, being women who tout the same values, while being exceptions to them at the same time.  They are also, to me, slightly less intelligent than cultures of bacteria.)

This isn’t to say I trust the Democrats; I trust them slightly more than I trust the Republicans, but that still leaves lots of room.

Oh, well… we’ll see what we shall see.

Weekend R & R

In Just Because... on January 23, 2012 at 12:41 pm

For the two of us, in most years, January means ConFusion.  This science fiction convention, a joint venture between the Ann Arbor Science Fiction Association (AASFA) and the Stilyagi Air Corps, has been held for over thirty years now, most recently in the Troy Marriott hotel, on Big Beaver Road (also known as 16 Mile Road) just east of Interstate 75.

We hadn’t been for a couple of years, because of the issues we’d been going through with Megan’s mom dying, the brothers and stepbrothers causing different problems, and others in our lives becoming leading contenders for the Richard Cranium Awards.

With these issues (somewhat) resolved, we went to this year’s convention, named “Epic Confusion”, hoping just to have a reasonably good time.

We did.

We saw people we hadn’t seen in a couple of years, saw the widow of our dear friend Mike Glicksohn (if you know Mike, you’re the poorer for his death; if you didn’t know him, you’re the poorer for not having met him), and discussed the way things are going, have gone, and may go in future.

We also saw new and different stuff that we thought was cool, and would be good for costuming uses.  (Trust me, this is never far away from the top of our consciousness.)

It’s good to hang with people who understand you, and whom you understand, every so often.  Unfortunately, the other large convention here in the Detroit area, ConClave, is having hotel problems, and will be taking a one-year hiatus, according to the convention committee.  The thing is, science fiction fandom has a notoriously short memory, and a con that skips a year may not be able to regain their past momentum.

The absence of ConClave would leave only Penguicon (a science-fiction convention/Linux user group gathering), Youmacon (a dedicated anime and manga convention – Japanese comics and animated cartoon movies), the World Steam Expo (a convention for those who try to make Victorian and Edwardian science fiction), and Motor City Comic Con (dedicated to the entire spectrum of comic art, from mainstream comic books, to “graphic novels”, to webcomics) as companions to ConFusion as a gathering point for people whose interests run outside the everyday.

Personally, I think this would be a shame, but things do change, and it would be foolish not to recognize that.

What We See, What We Hear

In Roughly About Films on January 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

This being the start of a new category for this blog, “Roughly About Film”, I’ll be discussing several things that have at least a peripheral connection with film and filmmaking.

How close I come is up to you to judge.

This term, hopefully my last at Wayne State University, is focused on my “capstone” class, Techniques of Film and Video Production.  We get to work on three fifteen-minute (or so) videos shot by the class on the Communications Department’s spanking new Canon 5D DSLR cameras.  These units are supposed to be the “cutting edge” units used in the “real world” today.

I’ve got my quibbles about this, but that’s not relevant to the class itself.

We are supposed to be using Redrock Micro 35mm lens adapters, which give a more “cinematic” shallow depth of field, allowing rack focusing, image highlighting by focus (or lack thereof), and a more cinematic “feel” to the finished footage.

I think that if you want your finished footage to look “cinematic”, you should shoot with a film camera.  Because of the expense, the difficulty of getting quick processing of film nowadays, and, well, the expense, this is not being done.

Go figure…

If it were up to me (and you can bet your tochis it’s not), someone who owned their own equipment could use it to shoot whatever they were going to shoot for the class.  I mean, if you’re comfortable with the equipment, you’re going to use it well, right?  You can get more out of it than you can with something you don’t know much about.

Well, that’s enough about that… on to something a little more pleasant.

***

The silent film The Artist won three awards at the Golden Globes… which was a surprise, and a pleasure.  Jean Dujardin, the lead, won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy,  the musical score by Ludovic Bource won in that category, and the  picture itself won Best Picture, Musical or Comedy.

A black and white silent picture winning awards in the early years of the Twenty-First Century is a remarkable achievement, especially since these pictures haven’t been made since the early days of the Twentieth Century.

Something to think about, n’est-ce pas?

***

There’s been a great deal of talk that I’ve read of in the trade press that I can get; the word is flying about that “FILM IS DEAD”.  The three biggest manufacturers of motion picture cameras are producing no more new models; Panavision, Aaton, and Arri have confirmed they stopped producing new film cameras.

I’m morally certain, however, that the Russian factories that produced the inexpensive 16mm and 35mm cameras one might still find on eBay are still in operation.  It wouldn’t be like those budding capitalists to abandon a niche market like that.

I’d have to put more research into it, though.

Sometime again, friends!

Her World (and We Just Live There)

In It Bugs Me on January 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My wife’s older brother died last Thursday, the 12th.  She posted about it on her blog, and got a response from the husband of her niece slamming her for what he perceived as a diss to his father-in-law.

She has responded on her blog, so I will not do so here.  You can go read her reply on her blog.  I just have a few things to say about the rapid negative reply in general:

The only thing I can agree with in the reply that was made is this:  “YOUR perception is YOUR reality.”  When you think about it, that seems to be about the only logical way to look at it… I mean, the entire field of “consensus reality” is formed when we each share our perceptions, and what we all (or mostly all) agree about is acclaimed as “reality”.

The nephew by marriage is reacting to what his father in law was saying, which was HIS perception, and probably that of his mother in law as well, and he accepted that uncritically.  It seems, and (NOTE WELL:  THIS IS MY PERCEPTION SPEAKING ) he can’t accept the fact that his father in law might have been wrong about something.

I, on the other hand, don’t care much at all what they can or can not accept; I’m wrong all the time, and when I find out about it, I suck it up, fess up, and keep on truckin’.  It’s about the only thing I can do, in point of fact.

So the enmity they seem to bear means less than nothing; the veiled threat about revealing e-mails is empty, since we have copies of them too, and didn’t say anything we wouldn’t have said to their faces.  The situation with my wife’s mother’s decline was turbulent, to say the least… the author of a great many of those e-mails wasn’t even here when the fertilizer hit the ventilator.  The author of the post wasn’t even here when the abusive behavior was hurled at my wife, and none of her brothers spoke in her defense, even after the almost two years of constant care and attention she and I put in on her mother’s behalf.

That’s as may be.  I have no quibble about the lack of credit or the torrent of abuse slung at me; I’m a big boy, I can take it.

I do object to allegations flung at my wife; but that’s not up to me to handle.  Just a word of advice, however; be very careful what you say in future.

One may assume, barring any other brain-damaged behavior on anyone else’s part, the next post will be about something more pleasant.

In the Interim…

In Think About It on January 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm

What we have here is a fairly large time gap on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

My first class gets out at about 1:20 PM, and the next one doesn’t start until 4:30.

Since I don’t like to move my car if I don’t have to, I’m finding ways to spend some time in this slack period.

For example, this blog post is being written in Wayne State’s David Adamany Undergraduate Library, commonly known as the UGL.

Not a bad way to spend an ooky day.

I can also find an out-of-the-way place to sit, and think, and write the old fashioned way (pencil/pen on paper).  This can be rewarding.

And so, this evening will be the end of the first week of classes (at least for me).

 

And We’re Off And Running…

In It Bugs Me on January 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

The new term has started.  I had three of my four classes yesterday, with the remaining one today.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are shaping up to be very busy… along with most of the weekends between now and the end of the term, when I’ll have to be working on films for my “capstone” class.

All this… just so I can get the piece of paper that says I have aBachelor of Arts.

Let’s see if I can justify the time, effort, and headaches this has cost me against the putative result.

More later… if I have the time and the want-to (after the ridiculous hours I’ll be doing).

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