Alexander Film Works

Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Should We Give Thanks… And For What?

In It Bugs Me, Just Because..., no excuses on November 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

  Today, as well as being the last Thursday in the month of November, the beginning of Hanukkah, and the first day this year with snow that stayed on the ground (in the Detroit area), is Thanksgiving.
  In case you weren’t aware, the initial motivation for this day of “celebration” was to share the blessings the local Native Americans gave to the Pilgrims, like a way to provide enough food to survive the winters in Massachusetts Bay Colony that upcoming winter of 1621. The Pilgrims, in turn, gave many things to the indigenous people… an object lesson in the European concept of “property ownership”, a demonstration of what even primitive matchlock muskets could do to the human body, and diseases against which the tribes had less than no natural immunity.
  Being part Odawa, as well as part French Canadian by descent, I don’t have the greatest love and respect for those original colonists. (My wife, on the other hand, is descended from two members of the original company who came on the Mayflower. That’s how it works out, sometimes.) At this remove, there is precious little I can do about the situation, except deplore that it happened, and keep reminding people of the lengths we, as humans, can go to achieve whatever ends we desire, be they for weal or woe.
  Is there a statute of limitations on saying, “I told you so”? Is reminding others of unpleasant truths a duty one must accept, or a choice one can make to carry out or not?
  The older I get, the less certain I am of anything… and the certainties of my younger days are disappearing at a frightening rate. As I learn more and more, I know less and less.
  Given my outlook on things, and the fact that I don’t much care for football (American style), it should not be much of a surprise that we don’t celebrate the holidays much, if at all.
  I haven’t done so for quite a few yearsn. My Uncle George, who was instrumental in the task of raising me and instilling a respect for working people, was the product of a generation that survuved the Great Depression, the Second World War, Korea, and the postwar world that allotted us, the Baby Boomers, the greatest lot of unearned privilege that any generation I can think of ever had. He worked for the Post Office, back when it was still a part of the Department of the Interior, for thirty years, after coming back from the war. Thanksgiving Day was, and still is, the beginning of a period in the Postal Service that bans annual leave time and authorizes forced overtime until after Christmas Day. Basically, from the end of November until the end of December, I only saw him when he came home, ate something, and went to sleep. As soon as he woke up, he would get ready for work, and be gone again, repeating this for the better part of a month. Sundays he would sleep. Our Thanksgiving dinner had to be ready by noon, since he would be going in on the midnight tour the following day.
  This never did give me a celebratory feeling at this time of year… I still don’t have much of one. The other reasons outlined above I learned later; it was this that formed my primary impressions of these end-of-year festivities.
  And don’t get me started on New Year’s Eve, or, as I call it, Amateur Night

Breaking Down (In Case of Production)…

In Think About It on November 6, 2013 at 10:13 pm

http://twentythreeninetyseven.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/writing-a-script-is-not-as-easy-as-you-think/
The above link is to a blog post on my *other* blog about the process of “breaking down” a script during pre-production. I have a couple of short scripts I’ve managed to finish recently, and I want to prepare to cast, scout, and film them.
You will find out more about this as I get my act together.

Thoughts in Search of a Unifying Topic…

In arts, Just Because..., Think About It on November 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm

It seems to me a sign of the impending Apocalypse that, while one person goes through drastic, frantic, almost unthinkable procedures to fight a cancer that seems to be entrenching for the long haul, another person makes herself ill, gets admitted to hospital to get attention, get waited on, and to get opiates that she doesn’t want to admit she’s addicted to.

This second person is of the mindset that she should feel absolutely NO pain whatsoever. What I know from experience is this… the only time you feel no pain is when you’re dead.

The ironic part? Both these people are longtime friends of ours.

Go figure.

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There are times when I wonder if the creativity I have apparently been gifted with — I am not the best judge of this — should be classified as a blessing or a curse.

I have many interests… I do many things at a journeyman level of proficiency, at least. But is the creative bent of my mind a hindrance to sustained effort in any one discipline? As an example… I begin to write an essay, or a story, or a screenplay, or something. Something else catches my attention, and I lay down the initial piece I’m working on, and start work on the new thing… this happens again and again, leaving a stack of partially completed work in its wake.

I own tools and supplies to support many of my multiple disciplines, such as drawing, photography, film, building models, visual effects… The list goes on.

Is this grasshopper-like behavior, hopping about from one project to another, the unleashing of creativity? Is it a sign of a character flaw? Or, perhaps, is it an indication of a basic personality disturbance that goes deeper than has been thought?

I couldn’t say… I may be too close to the matter to see it clearly.

Then again, I may just be mistaken about the whole thing.

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I just watched a bargain bin DVD last night – Nine. It’s a musical adaptation of Federico Fellini’s from 1963.

The singing, the dancing, the bevy of beautiful women, the crisis of confidence of a successful Italian film director, played here by Daniel Day-Lewis (Shades of Abraham Lincoln!), modeled on the original portrayal by Marcello Mastroianni.

Whipping between reality, fantasy, and some never-never land in between the two, the director struggles to find his way, his inspiration, his muse, his bearings, his soul, and his next film.

Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, Fergie, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren… the above-the-line women are beautiful, and are photographed that way as well. The rapid, close cutting between black and white and color helps to both heighten and blur the distinctions between reality (Rome, its environs, and Cinecitta Studios, a city unto itself, surrounded by the ancient yet bustling urbs Romanae) and fantasy.

This sort of movie is not for everyone… But if a look into the tortured, wildly spinning mind of a Fellini-esque filmmaker is what you’re looking for, then find this movie and see it.

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I shouldn’t wonder why more people aren’t creative… it’s a wonder to me that there are any creative people left in the world at all.

The entire societal system we’ve built up, from the peer pressure to the educational system, seems to me to be designed to stifle, blunt, and eradicate creativity. The homogenization of society, stigmatizing intelligence and creativity by “ghettoizing” them, the same way it stigmatizes cognitive disabilities, among others.

This is not a viable option for the advancement, or even the stabilization, of society.

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I started writing this near the end of September, and here it is, the beginning of November already. Where the hell did October go?

Until sometime again, then…

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