Your filmmaking lesson for the day comes courtesy of the fine folks at The Royal Ocean Film Society. (And they have to be massive Wes Anderson marks with a name like that, right?) Anyway... we can never have too many reminders of the importance of sound in film. In fact every legendary filmmaker I've ever seen weigh in on the subject agrees that, if they have to choose, audio is more important than visuals; that an audience can acclimate to weird or sub-standard cinematography, but never bad audio.
UPDATE: The Ragnarok trailer broke Disney's record for most views by raking in 136 million in 24 hours. That's across all brands including Marvel, LucasFilm, and Pixar. The previous record holder was Beauty and the Beast. Marvel's previous high was 94 million for Captain America: Civil War.
On Talk Hard 31 we discussed James Gunn's reaction to the Thor: Ragnarok trailer and wondered if he was just spouting hyperbole as he is prone to do. If you missed it, he said Ragnarok had the best Marvel trailer ever. Now, granted, its only competition are the two trailers for his own Guardians movies but, nonetheless, I think he's right. I love this thing and I think it's at least equal with the first Guardians trailer. So let me give you a quick list of my biggest takeaways...
- I love that it opens with Thor narrating direct to camera and I hope that stays in the actual movie.
- This trailer is metal. So metal.
- I'm no Led Zeppelin fan (see: screaming Robert Plant), but the use of Immigrant Song in this trailer is just another example of the magic combination of music and the moving image to create something completely new, different, and greater than the sum of their parts. I'm not sure there has ever been a better song choice for a trailer because it makes everything in it look cooler. It's about Vikings for cripes' sake.
- The title treatments are another perfect piece of this metal puzzle.
- Cate Blanchett looks amazing and if there is one thing Marvel continually nails, it's casting. I'm ecstatic that they pulled Jack Kirby's design straight out of the comics and used her traditional headpiece because it looks incredible.
- JEFF FLIPPING GOLDBLUM!
- The biggest crime Marvel Studios has committed is the failure to produce solo films for Loki and the Black Widow. Those two characters/actors are gold in hand; massive equity that hasn't been cashed in and soon they will be gone. Loki is probably the MCU's most complex character and Tom Hiddleston is endlessly watchable in the role. A story of Loki as reluctant or inadvertent hero, or even a misadventure as he plots and schemes, could be a crown jewel in this universe and something wholly different for the superhero audience base.
- It's nice to see a "winged" helmet on Thor for the first time since the opening scene of the original Thor.
- Man... They've really nailed the CG on the Hulk haven't they? It's kind of amazing the progress that's been made since Ang Lee's version and even since Marvel Studios' first long-haired go-round with Ed Norton. In my opinion he's now the best looking CG character ever. Just look at the life in those eyes!
- I'm hoping there is still some polishing to do on that arena scene. As is, it feels awfully green screeny.
- Trailer prediction time: when it's all said and done, this will be the best of the three Thor films and may contend for a spot in the MCU's top five.
Todd alerted us to a new trailer today (for a movie that must have the longest title ever) and, in turn, I'm alerting you. I'm warning you right up front though, the language is EXTREME. Apart from that, Three Billboards looks potentially fantastic. But, to judge how high you should set your hopes, let's talk about the Writer/Director for a moment...
Martin McDonagh is an indie film prince. He's written three feature films and directed two of those. I've seen the the other two: In Bruges and Seven Psycopaths. Each is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but personally I came away underwhelmed by both. Like Three Billboards, Seven Psycopaths had a fantastic ensemble cast. In fact, I liked the cast so much, the film's failure to maximize their talents made my disappointment more pronounced. If you have Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken in the same film, your script better drop them in some deep comedic waters and also give them a little room to thrash around. Thus far, McDonagh's humor hasn't connected with me despite the fact that I wanted it to. So, now I wonder: will this movie (which seems like such a great vehicle for Frances McDormand), see McDonagh finally and completely live up to the status he's garnered as a critical darling? Is there a chance that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could be his Magnum Opus? Judge for yourself and try to keep your expectations in check.
If you haven't heard the 28th episode of the Talk Hard movie podcast, do your ears a favor. Now, the rest of you know we really covered the gamut; from raising the roof, to fishy snacks, to laser tag, the NBA, and the NFL. So, allow me to add some color to a few of the topics that were discussed.
Todd revealed he has never eaten a kipper snack, which begged the question: What is a kipper snack?? As always, Wikipedia is there to illuminate us:
A kipper is a whole herring, a small, oily fish, that has been split into a butterfly fashion from tail to head along the dorsal ridge, gutted, salted or pickled, and cold-smoked over smouldering woodchips (typically oak).
In the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Japan, and a minority of North American regions, they are often eaten for breakfast. In Great Britain, kippers, along with other preserved smoked or salted fish such as the bloater and buckling, were also once commonly enjoyed as a high tea or supper treat, most popularly with inland and urban working-class populations before World War II.
HOT SPORTS TAKES
As a nod to the Super Bowl, each of us delivered our most controversial sports opinion (that we truly believe).
- Allen: Michael Jordan not only isn't the GOAT. He is also not in the Top 5 best NBA players of all time.
- Todd: The 1980's were the greatest era of the NBA and will never be surpassed.
- Scott: Would gladly dissolve the NFL forever to move future athletes into US Soccer.
So which one is the most controversial/dumb?
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2
And since we save the best for last, here is the incredible montage of Eric Freeman's eyebrow work that Todd mentioned. Again, this is just the smallest taste. In the history of cinema, you'll never experience its kind again.
Have you heard the new podcast? Out of everything we talked about, this is what we need to show you. A Kentucky boy burning 30 Rockefeller Center to the ground.
Dude. Sturgill just murdered Bro Country on live television. Let's hope it stays dead.
UPDATE: Guillermo Del Toro is a no-good furry-feet loving buttneck and I will never watch another of his movies.
HOLYMARTHAMOTHEROFMERCY!!! There is no single film project I want to see get done more than Hellboy 3. Make of that what you will, but Hellboy 2 was a thing of beauty and the story deserves to be completed.
I know. People have attempted to take you down this road before. For years, fans and even Ron Perlman himself have begged and pleaded for the final chapter of this trilogy. Meanwhile Guillermo Del Toro and Mike Mignola have expressed optimism or pessimism respectively. But, for the first time I have chosen to allow myself a genuine shred of hope. HELLBOY MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN. On Wednesday, Del Toro dropped a massive tease bomb directly on Nerd Town with this tweet...
Informal poll (let's see how many votes we get in 24 hours)— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) January 18, 2017
Naturally, the alpha geeks went ballistic and eventually filtered the news to beta geeks such as myself who then also went ballistic. But, Hispanic Spielberg-Santa wasn't done with us. Not by a long shot.
Say what now? Say what what??!?
I SAID SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
After all this, you have to make it happen, Guillermo. There is no longer an option. I don't care if you and Ron have to do it in your backyard with 500 bucks; if I don't get to see Hellboy 3, we have to end you. (Respectfully.) But, I'm sure you understand.
On a side note... It is now clear why some of Del Toro's movies get shelved. Dude is too busy tweeting. Holy crud! Without exaggeration, I had to sift through seventy-two tweets and retweets that he's made just in the past 24 hours to find these! Where does the dude find the time? ALSO, you can count on us discussing this on the next episode of Talk Hard.
Here is a fantastic resource for you writers out there: FREE links to the screenplays of every Oscar contender.
Screenwriting is a completely unique discipline. It feels as if you have to rewire your brain to think in script form with all its formatting peculiarities. If I were trying to explain or teach someone how to do it, simple instructions would be nearly impossible on the more subjective elements. How much detail should I give in my action blocks? Should I include any camera/framing directions? Personally I've found nothing is better for finding the sweet spot and getting your mind into the creative rhythm of a script than reading an abundance of screenplays by the writers I enjoy the most or from a specific film that I loved; to see how it translated from page to screen.
2017 is here and I'm guessing we all welcomed it in with open arms! Just like you, we have some hopes and aspirations for the new year.
As long as our listeners continue to grow, we'll keep producing episodes of Talk Hard. We've been happy with the response we've gotten from you fine people and we appreciate it you mightily. We have massive interviews in the works, lots of new ideas to make the show even better and some great episodes lined up, so keep listening for those. This week we'll record a big wrap-up/look-ahead for 2016/2017 and I think you're going to like it.
One of the best parts of the podcast is that we can keep you posted on any and all filmmaking endeavors as they happen. So, on the first Talk Hard of the year, we'll divulge developments and announcements on what we've got going; including a certain group of misfit lawmen from the future whose TV show was produced in the past.
Good luck out there everybody! Let's do this year right please.
My favorite cinematography tips are the simple kind because whether I'm on the job or making a short film, we are normally 1) short on time 2) short on manpower 3) short on equipment. So, anytime I can improve my shots and add style in fast and easy ways, I'm going to take notice.
Here are three highly stylized looks using only one light. Yes, they are often used in music videos as the title says, but you should flex that imagination and use them for any application that fits.
Anthony Davis has a 7'2" wingspan. Tim Curry has his face.
Some people are blessed with physical traits that predetermine their path in life. The height/bulk/athleticism of pro athlete, the pipes of a voiceover artist... They're blessed directly from the womb with undeniable gifts. Such is the case with Tim Curry's elastic face and baritone voice.
One of my primary enjoyments of Christmas movie season is knowing I'll get to catch this scene from Home Alone 2 multiple times. Can one or two facial expressions make an entire movie? In this case, yes. Curry amazes me and this is one of those tiny little moments in film that you know are perfect.