“The Duchess” a Film Race Finalist!

“The Duchess” was a 2009 Vancouver Film Race finalist! The film was selected out of 34 in competition by judges in New York to run for the top prize. Last night was the awards announcement at the Anza Club (host of the Celluloid Social Club). In the end we didn’t win… but we had a good time with the other contestants watching everyone’s films and hearing Q&A’s from each team.

Thanks for everyone who supported Team Cinesketch for the race! Here’s a link to some of our sponsors:

If you haven’t watched the film yet, head over to the facebook page where you can become a fan and watch the video.

“The Duchess” Screening July 22nd

The Duchess

Victor (played by Matt Chandler) thinks he has things straight when he nabs the Duchess (Joy Pecknold) for theft. But the Duchess spins a tale faster than a Mach 1 Mustang’s wheels in a burnout… can you keep up?

“The Duchess”, a short film created for the 2009 Vancouver Film Race, is screening Wednesday July 22nd at Fifth Avenue Cinemas. Tickets are $9. Hit the link for more info (our film is at the 7pm screening).

We had an awesome time making the film. Car chases, burnouts, gunshots and subterfuge… all good fun. I had the pleasure of directing, with Jesse Rosten as DOP, Matt Chandler penning as well as starring with Joy Pecknold and Dan Stewart. Hope you can make it!

Wall•E – The Shot Tells the Story

It’s no secret that I’m a big Pixar fan. Their focus on “story first” has resulted in a long string of engaging hits and memorable characters.

© 2008 Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures.
© 2008 Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures.

I’m preparing for my next short film, and beginning the process of storyboarding. I ran across Karen J Lloyd, whose site is an excellent storyboarding resource. While the site’s focus is professional artists, she recently completed a series on Wall•E which I’m reading through now: The Shot Tells the Story. While Wall•E works on many levels, the shot selection is a big part of the storytelling in a movie with no dialogue (much like my next project).

Take a look if you’re interested to see how shots break down to tell the story of Wall•E.

Artisanal Labour

Filmmaking may be the last vestige of 19th-century artisanal labor: hours and hours to capture what on screen will last just a few minutes.

The rest of the day ticked by slowly, in a way that was a reminder that filmmaking may be the last vestige of 19th-century artisanal labor: hours and hours to capture what on screen would last just a few minutes.

Charles McGrath

Heart to the Storyteller

We guard our hearts with zeal, knowing their power to move us.

Our minds are relatively open, but we guard our hearts with zeal, knowing their power to move us. So although the mind may be part of [the] target, the heart is the bull’s-eye. To reach it, the [storyteller] must first display his own open heart.

— Peter Guber, The Four Truths of the Storyteller

But feelings are pesky critters, cropping up inconveniently, and then disappearing just when you want them. And the thing both terrible and wonderful about feelings is that they change… In fact the more you let yourself feel whatever you are actually feeling, the more available you are to a new feeling.

The director is in a position to do violence to [these] delicate emotional mechanisms.

— Judith Weston, Directing Actors

The Price of Information

The price of information has not only gone into free fall in the last few years, it is still in free fall now, it will continue to fall long before it hits bottom, and when it does whole categories of currently lucrative businesses will be either transfigured unrecognizably or completely wiped out, and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Clay Shirky (1995)

…substitute creative content for information in the above quote, and you see what’s happening now in film, photography, music, etc.