Archive for February, 2007

Hi. Sorry I haven’t been around for a while.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The first draft of the spec script was finished a couple of weeks ago (agents: that’s how fast/funny I am). Thanks for the suggestions.

Here is a picture of me and my smokin’ hot girlfriend, Kaveri:

mitchandkaveri.jpg

I am taking suggestions.

Monday, February 12th, 2007

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to write a 30 Rock spec script. Everyone I know—as if directed by some mystical force—has recently decided to write a spec script and rather than feeling left is the dust, I’ve decided to try my hand at it too.

It turns out that writing a spec script is kind of hard. I’m a little lost. I feel as though I can “write funny”— I can access funny specifics, I can write funny banter, I can make cute references.

But what I can’t seem to do is come up with a plot to hang the funny on.

What’s the story going to be about? What actually happens in the show? What’s the plot? Seriously, someone give me some ideas. Does anyone watch 30 Rock?

I am taking suggestions.

My Life in Film

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Before making my recently-canceled show on channel102.net, I had taken one “Intro to Filmmaking” course in graduate school. So I don’t know much of anything about filmmaking.

But I’ve started to think about it a good deal—how you put a movie together. The rinky-dink operation of “Sexual Intercourse: American Style” was nothing like how real movies are made, but the basic language of filmmaking—lighting, shot selection, editing patterns—were things I thought about and it was fun to think about them. I hope to make more stuff like that, more video stuff. Maybe a short movie. Maybe.

So entertain my pretensions for a bit—I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned after making SIAS.

I’ve learned that I have to pay attention to movies. When I started with the show, I described it to Jamey Shafer as “’The Ice Storm ‘ meets ‘Three’s Company’” but really I was thinking of Wes Anderson—movies like “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tennenbaums”—their mix of drama and comedy, the way they don’t seem located in a specific period of time. But also about how they are put together—the shots, the editing. But I didn’t really go back and look at his movies—I just had them in my mind. It’s better to actually watch a scene and try to pick it apart.

A scene like this:
[ev type="youtube" data="1HwrsTR42A0"][/ev]

It’s interesting to look at where an edit comes and why. Most directors try to make the edits as smooth as possible—editing on a movement or when an actor looks in a particular direction or at an appropriate shift in focus, overlapping the sound of the second shot to smooth the transition. But Wes Anderson movies often have these terrific awkward edits, like at 2:31, when Richie moves over to Margot—a normal director would start Richie’s movement in the first shot and then have that movement continue on the edit as he sits down next to Margot. Instead, we have Richie sitting still for the first shot and then moving to sit down in the second shot. The edit comes at a pivotal point in the drama—when Richie confesses his love for Margot—so the edit acts as a “restaging” device, forcing us to acknowledge a shift in the narrative, from the small-talk to love-talk. Great.

Also. Wes Anderson is known for these very “framed-up” shots—shots where the plane of the camera is parallel to the plane of the back wall and actors are dead center (Dyna sent me an article about the history of this shot). It’s a very deliberate, presentational way of staging a shot and I’m a big fan. In the scene above, this type of set-up is used when we first see Margot in the tent and when we see the close up of the record player, on Richie’s second close up, on Richie and Margot sitting together and then lying in bed together. And then when Margot kisses Richie’s hand and with Richie’s final medium shot. Aside from its Brechtian quality these shots also help to frame the key moments in the narrative (deliberately framing the narrative might be Brechtian too, but don’t really know anything about Brecht).

So this is what I learned from paying attention to the filmmaker I was trying to rip off.

And this is what I came up with:
gemberling.jpg