A clanker, an essential, underappreciated, film production role

Monday, 8 May, 2017

Terry Lothian works as a clanker. Yes, that’s right, a clanker. This is someone who adds all sorts of small props, and generates miscellaneous background sounds, for productions such as films and TV shows. All to render scenes a little more realistic.

It’s not as easy as it looks, now is it? Produced by British film production company FumeFilms.

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Igor Vitkovskiy, Kiev based artist and design alchemist

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017

Artwork by Igor Vitkovskiy

Igor Vitkovskiy is a Kiev, Ukraine, based artist and design alchemist, who has also worked for film production studios. Possibly this work, which bears the caption “Openhearted”, is from a science fiction film he may have been part of? Either way, it’s an intriguing image.

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The Other Side of the Wind, by Orson Welles, coming to cinemas soon?

Thursday, 16 March, 2017

Only the other week, I was wondering how many unfinished film projects by well known directors might be lying forgotten somewhere, when word that a new Orson Welles movie might be on the way.

The Other Side of the Wind, a film that Welles, who died in 1985, started work on during the 1970s, isn’t exactly new, nor forgotten, though. Frank Marshall, who was the film’s line producer, has been working ever since to bring the title to completion. Now Netflix has come to the party, meaning the film may yet grace cinema screens.

After decades-long efforts to complete “The Other Side of the Wind” went nowhere – rights holders favored different approaches, to put it mildly – there was a breakthrough in 2014. A producing team that included Mr. Marshall, Filip Jan Rymsza and Peter Bogdanovich, who acted in “The Other Side of the Wind,” secured the rights to 1,083 reels of footage stored in a warehouse outside Paris.

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The films of Wes Anderson, as discussed by Wes Anderson

Thursday, 9 March, 2017

A collection of eight videos featuring US director Wes Anderson, as he discusses a number of his films, including Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, and Moonrise Kingdom, above.

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Nan Lawson, Los Angeles based artist and illustrator

Wednesday, 8 March, 2017

Illustration by Nan Lawson

Nan Lawson is a Los Angeles based artist and illustrator whose work you may have seen on the big screen, as she’s worked for production companies such as Lucasfilm and Disney, in the past.

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Destino, a Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí film, 60 years in the making

Tuesday, 7 March, 2017

Destino, an animated collaboration between US film producer Walt Disney, and Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, was nominated for the Best Animated Short Film award in 2003. Yet the film almost never saw the light of day, after spending over fifty years sitting in a vault.

Although work on the production had started in earnest in 1945, eight months in, the Walt Disney Company ran into financial problems. It wasn’t until 1999, when Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, was working on Fantasia 2000, that the project was rediscovered.

I know films can take a long time to make, but a lead time of nearly sixty years must be a record. A story about a young girl in search of true love, you can watch Destino here. It makes me wonder how many other part completed film projects there are, started by well known filmmakers, that sit, forgotten, in cupboards somewhere.

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Symmetry, new music by Max Cooper, with a most symmetrical video

Friday, 3 March, 2017

Symmetry is new music by London based musician Max Cooper, and is one of the tracks from his latest album, Emergence. But Emergence is no collection of pop tunes, it is more akin to a narrative of the cosmos:

The story is told using a universe timeline, from pre-big bang to future, with each chapter a collaboration with a different visual artist, including some collaborations with mathematicians or scientists for those chapters using real data visualisation. As such, there is a huge range in visual styles, and for each different idea and piece of music I had in mind, it was a matter of finding the right visual artist and approach to try and tell that part of the story. My aim with this approach was to have plenty of variation to make what is an often abstract narrative, interesting, and also a hope that the over-arching story links the different visual styles together.

Kevin McGloughlin, an Irish filmmaker, made use of symmetrical forms to produce the mesmerising video clip that accompanies the track. If the production of the video interests you, McGloughlin recently discussed the creative process involved with Lost At E Minor.

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Will film streaming mean the end of commentary tracks?

Friday, 24 February, 2017

Film streaming has a number of advantages over DVDs. Not having to worry about the disc being damaged, to the point playback is hampered, or doesn’t happen at all, is one of them.

But to everything there is a cost. Streaming may spell the end of commentary tracks, that often feature a movie’s director, and prominent cast members, says Andrew Egan, writing for Tedium.

This would be unfortunate if commentary tracks were no more. Often a lot can be learned about a film from the sometimes candid thoughts of those involved in its production.

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Learn about film production and storytelling from Pixar, online, free

Tuesday, 21 February, 2017

Pixar in a Box is an online series of tutorials in the making of animated films, compiled by US computer animation film producers, Pixar, in partnership with Khan Academy. The course looks quite extensive, and would make for a good grounding for anyone interested in film production.

Here is the introductory video to The Art of Storytelling segment. An art not to be under-appreciated. As Pete Docter, director of Up, and Monsters, Inc., says, it takes years to make a movie, but it all starts with a story.

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How do you edit an animated film? Why would you even need to?

Monday, 23 January, 2017

Editing an animated film. An interesting process, in that the film editor starts their job before any scenes have been created, and is often involved in its writing.

Unlike with the making of live action features, wouldn’t you get the shots and scenes required for animation, right the first time? No, not necessarily.

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