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Hey Everybody! My Thesis Film is playing this weekend Sunday evening during the http://www.teaneckfilmfestival.org/ It's Part of the NJ/NY Short Film Series at 6:15 pm on this coming Sunday, November 17th! If any of you are in the area, I'd love it if you came out to catch the film, alongside some other pieces that should be good fun as well!









Been a long time since I posted here on the ole' blogs. Longer still than when I posted my film projects. Most of that is because well my fellow crew and I wanted to get into festivals and just posting the short all over the net wouldn't help that cause so much.



I was embroiled over the past year working on the thesis film. We had an insane planning stage where we worked out a lot of the finer points of not only the script, but locking down the aesthetic for our film because we wanted to be somewhat ambitious and mix in rotoscoped animation with live action footage, to bring drawings our lead character was drawing to life on screen. We had an actress drop out less than a month before shooting began which really hurt us as we were struggling at the time to get clearance to use equipment over winter break from classes because that was the best time for us to lock down our location in New York City and give us maximum time to work out editing kinks brought on by mixing different frame rates from the animation, rotoscoping, green screening, and our horrible sound. (I am not envious of people who shoot in cities on location anymore)

But it all came together for us in the end, and a film was born. We managed to get into the Blue & White Film Festival put on by the Student Film Organization at Penn State. (I was an officer but none of the officers had influence on the voting process, not every officer who was coincidentally working on different films got theirs in unfortunately.)

Anyway after all that now here I am, with degrees in Film/Video and History and looking for a job in the post college wasteland. Thankfully though Proper Steps got into a festival which brightened up my day immensely. Specifically the 8th Annual Teaneck International Film Festival! I'm super excited the film is finding life beyond college and people will be able to get to see the film! We were all really proud of the final cut and are going to keep sending it to places to hopefully get more plays

Here's a trailer for it and hope to maybe catch some of you people in New Jersey in November!


http://vimeo.com/64510320

(I'd use an embed but it never seems to work for vimeo vids for me. If anyone knows how to make them work let me know, and i'd be grateful!)
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[If you don't know me, I'm Anthony Wastella and I'm a Film Maker attending Penn State for a film/video degree.I've been around the ModernMethod Network for quite a while and hope to continue my stay]

So I am taking an experimental film class right now in college and we had to do some form of an animation. Everyone was basically doing stuff all over the board ranging from stop motion, to rotoscope, to light painting, and such. I chose to draw mine with the aid of photoshop and a wacom tablet.



Here's the story of a fish.

http://vimeo.com/37210803

BREAKDOWN AHEAD!

So It's a short piece that I felt I rushed through and in many ways I did. This is the 3rd idea I was working off of, and actually was able to progress with, giving me less than a week to piece it together. Crash coursing myself with Photoshop's interactions with my tablet, along with the animation process all together was the most time consuming part of the project, totaling in somewhere along the lines of 25ish hours all together I'd say more or less.


I likely went overboard with the first scene in terms of pacing it, really tough to gauge how fast it should be moving, (Framerate for the whole project was 12fps). The 2nd scene inside the coral I think was much better paced personally, and I had a lot more fun drawing it, also likely because it was moving on from the meticulous tweening I put myself through for the first to make the wagging tail movement.

I wanted to maybe have sound effects, or more like an actual bit of exposition originally, but instead went for repetition of a single line. I wanted to try and evoke the sense of something impending with the snowballing nature of the pacing. (Did I pull it off?) I kinda like how it came out in that regard. It's experimental in that you can interpret what the story is for yourself, but the basic logline for the short would be a fish goes on a journey to the stars in it's mind due to hallucinating from being boiled in a pot. I tried to make a funny punchline, and i would be lieing if I said i drew some inspiration for the idea's black comedy and animation style from Don Hertzfeldt, one of my favorite filmmakers.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the short and my breakdown of it, I hope to keep doing these for my other shorts for a while if people want me to.
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Don Hertzfeldt's a name you might not know off the top of your head, but in all honesty you should know it. He's one of the hardest working experimental film-makers currently constantly producing material. You've actually probably seen some of his work without realizing it. (He's the Rejected Cartoons guy. No? Well I'm calling dibs on a full blog about Don if that is the case...) That's neither here nor there for the time being. Right now for 1 Week (starting today Thursday, December 16th at time of writing) You can catch his 2005 film,  The Meaning of Life completely free of charge over on Mubi.com through this link. Mubi is a unique site that cropped up a while ago and I forgot about it till today, mostly because it was alpha at the time. It's trying to bill itself as a digital cinema, or an on demand movie theater over the internet, they cater to more out there/independent films, but the pricing is solid for the ones that aren't free. So bookmark it for later! Back to The Meaning Of Life. This is a 12 minute epic that deserves Don Hertzfeldt's a name you might not know off the top of your head, but in all honesty you should know it. He's one of the hardest working experimental film-makers currently constantly producing material. You've actually probably seen some of his work without realizing it. (He's the Rejected Cartoons guy. No? Well I'm calling dibs on a full blog about Don if that is the case...) That's neither here nor there for the time being. Right now for 1 Week (starting today Thursday, December 16th at time of writing) You can catch his 2005 film,  The Meaning of Life completely free of charge over on Mubi.com through this link. Mubi is a unique site that cropped up a while ago and I forgot about it till today, mostly because it was alpha at the time. It's trying to bill itself as a digital cinema, or an on demand movie theater over the internet, they cater to more out there/independent films, but the pricing is solid for the ones that aren't free. So bookmark it for later! Back to The Meaning Of Life. This is a 12 minute epic that deserves to be watched full screen, with the sound up all the way. If anything he deserves to be seen because not only is this one even more a trip than usual, but also because he's pulled out some really stunning effects that are unmatchable digitally. Yes, Don hand-animates ALL his films and then FILMS  them with 35mm Film. (I drooled just typing that.) If that lingo is lost on you let me rephrase. He draws everything out on paper, and films it with a old school camera. This is the equivalent of taking those flip books and then deciding to scale that up to a full blown, multi-year production. Check out the site for more a breakdown on the production here http://bitterfilms.com/meaningoflife.html Keep an eye out for a Paying Respects on the Don in the future since he deserves some love. And Remember, you only have a week to catch The Meaning for life for free, just by joining Mobi.  







Antwhan
3:44 PM on 11.09.2010

Recently, I had the chance to check off a major movie on my watch list. (You know how gratifying that is) And I've been trying to figure out how to write about it to be honest. This is not a straightforward review, actually it is more along the lines of a PSA. If you consider yourself a fan of Science Fiction, History, Films, and/or want to see a good movie. then you need to go watch Metropolis already.     Metropolis is a piece of film history and if you want to sound really smart when talking about Sci-FI, Silent Film, or even epics (of sorts) this is not something to be left out of your repertoire. It’s one of the first pieces of Science Fiction Film ever made, and it set in place a surprising number of tropes that are still prevalent today. The effects are still mind-blowing considering when it was made, and I can only imagine how they were received back then in 1927. It’s also the most expensive Silent film ever made, costing about 5 million Reichsmark. (German currency of the time) However for the film to be distributed overseas in America, the distributor demanded that the movie be cut down from it's 153 runtime in Recently, I had the chance to check off a major movie on my watch list. (You know how gratifying that is) And I've been trying to figure out how to write about it to be honest. This is not a straightforward review, actually it is more along the lines of a PSA. If you consider yourself a fan of Science Fiction, History, Films, and/or want to see a good movie. then you need to go watch Metropolis already.     Metropolis is a piece of film history and if you want to sound really smart when talking about Sci-FI, Silent Film, or even epics (of sorts) this is not something to be left out of your repertoire. It’s one of the first pieces of Science Fiction Film ever made, and it set in place a surprising number of tropes that are still prevalent today. The effects are still mind-blowing considering when it was made, and I can only imagine how they were received back then in 1927. It’s also the most expensive Silent film ever made, costing about 5 million Reichsmark. (German currency of the time) However for the film to be distributed overseas in America, the distributor demanded that the movie be cut down from it's 153 runtime into a more typical one. Somehow the cut footage was lost and time forgot about it. Over the years film historians have been scourging for the missing footage and new cuts premiered each time a significant portion was found. Recently in 2008, another reel was found with a huge chunk (25 minutes worth) of lost footage on it, and thus we were given the newest restoration. It also helped them cut it to match the original print of the film for the first time. So catch this new cut if you can, ( I did! )  This movie set the standard for giant future cities. With a sprawling cityscape decked out in Art-Deco (the then bleeding edge styling of the time) planes, trains and roads filled with cars high up in the sky, flashing lights everywhere, it was “the future” of the 20’s. Metropolis’s City is as much a character as it is a setting. And like any good character it’s deeper than it seems at first. What keeps this fantastical skyline running smoothly? Why it’s none other than the hard work of the lower class, pulling levers, and such to keep the city planners free to plan and be bourgeois. These people need the machines as much as the city needs them to keep them running well they go on to find out anyway. Aside from the character of it, you can clearly see it’s inspired some video games in a way. Bioshock comes to mind, with the City Planners and the Art Deco Styling really hitting the similarities. So Metropolis helped shape Rapture in a way, for what it’s worth. ( I asked Ken Levine over twitter about this and he said  "...I'm guessing Metropolis inspired lots of things that more directly inspired our game." [ https://twitter.com/#!/IGLevine/status/28658578191 ] )     So aside from the fantastic backdrop to the story which is a tale mixing star-crossed lovers, Frankenstein Monsters, Technology gone Awry, And Social Struggles. It’s a lot on it’s plate but the film really pulls it off in this near complete form. From what I’ve understood the other cuts have been missing a lot of scenes so they had to fill in the action with stills and title cards explaining what was happening. This newly restored cut however flows really well given only 1 scene stood out as being missing (a minor chase scene for what it’s worth) Conveying quite smoothly all the twisting plotlines that flow throughout the celluloid.     This theme of symbiotic relationships and depending on one another really is hammered home in the story which I guess now it comes off as tired and cliche in a way, but to it’s credit, the suspense and drama are first rate in this film and really are the reason it’s so good at pushing it’s message. As a first time watcher, (not counting the animated Metropolis movie which I’ll mention later) I was on the edge of my seat by the 3rd act not sure what was going to happen in the end.     Now story and backdrop what of the characters? Well our main hero, Freder Fredersen, Son of Jon Fredersen, the founder and main in charge of Metropolis is the heart of the movie, we watch as he transforms from a shallow playboy enjoying the finest of life in the city to a hero of the people. He’s our eyes in the film, our door to relating closely with the characters and world within. His father is the business man whose eyes have been blinded by power, so much so that he nearly destroys his own city and his life because of it. Maria is a voice of reason who all the workers listen to, as a way to keep their spirits up. She preaches for cooperation and finding a Mediator (a heart if you will) to bridge the gap between the mind (the planners, the guys in charge if I lost you) and the hands (the workers). We also have the voices of discord and chaos, the villains of the film if you will, Rotwang the scientist, who with his evil gloved hand (a trope that was born here, Looking at you Darth Vader and co.) builds the Machine-Man (C-3PO called he says thanks for the design) who is the epitomous robot you see whenever you look up Metropolis. This robot eventually is transformed to look like Maria, thus shenanigans of the movie unfold from Machine-Man causing discourse and trouble.     Now Let’s stop talking about the movie directly for the time being and mention some other influences, Osamu Tezuka’s manga Metropolis was inspired by the Poster for the film. The Manga was somewhat recently adapted in 2001 into a film version. But it wasn’t a direct adaptation, instead it fused together the original movie and the art style of Tezuka to create a stunning film in it’s own right. The story is very close to the original Metropolis but you could say it was “Anime’d up” with robots replacing the worker class and other changes here and there. It’s not the same as seeing the original film but I really loved this movie too, as a thing of it’s own kind. (the soundtrack is big band jazzy goodness, Yum) There’s probably more to say that’s been drawn from the film but that list is too expansive for someone who arguably doesn’t have the proper background yet to discuss.     So That’s a really big overview of Metropolis. I won’t ruin any more of the story than I already have, and really encourage you to seek out and catch this film if you can on the big screen. This didn’t change how I looked at movies, but you could say it pulled the focus a bit wider on the unfocused past of them. The score which I didn’t touch much is really good and follows the action well as a lot of Silent Movie Scores did at the time. Seriously though, if you want to call yourself a movie buff, give credit where credit is due and pay the OG Sci-Fi Epic some credit. As a bonus for reading, here's the new trailer for the new Restoration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSExdX0tds4 The DVD came out on November 16th, but you really should spring on the Blu-Ray which comes out November 23. You can find it through Amazon or through the Restoration's site







Antwhan
8:49 PM on 10.28.2010

So as some of you know, I'm (going to be) a film major here at Penn State, and as such I make films. So Here's touch. It's an experimental film where i tried to make you physically feel the objects. Feedback and such would rock! So as some of you know, I'm (going to be) a film major here at Penn State, and as such I make films. So Here's touch. It's an experimental film where i tried to make you physically feel the objects. Feedback and such would rock! http://vimeo.com/16295319