Monday, June 9, 2014

Student Film Projects

Please watch and rate the following student films. Hand in your voting sheet at the end of class today.

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming famous filmmakers!

Ethan & Nathan's Film
Imani G's Film
Carly & Grace's Film
Ben, Frances, Thiery's Film
Nikki & Gena's Film

Branden's Silent Film

While making a film is hard work, there is a lot of value in creating your own films. Each time you create a film, you will get more comfortable in doing it. Working collaboratively can be frustrating, but also rewarding. Much of your life's work will be done collaboratively. The skills you've learned in this class can take you many new and exciting places! Congratulations again!

If you have made films this year and would like to submit them to the Rochester Teen Film Festival, please open this link and submit TODAY! (Tuesday, June 10) is the deadline! Here's the application link.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Blockbuster

Sony unveiled their VTR (video tape recorder) in 1967, but it wasn't until the 1970's that it took the world by storm. The early versions cost a prohibitive $1,000 to $4,000! That's about 10 I-phones and at least as many 1-4 laptops. Watching movies in your home again threatened the movie industry, but under the Betamax VCR (1975) viewers could watch pornography without feeling guilty about it (the internet had not yet established itself). As fall-out, the porn and "X" film production grew and later would help release a whole host of B-films which would not receive a wide release in cinemas.

Steven Spielberg (American New Wave director/Auteur) filmed his blockbuster Jaws in 1975. The success of the book and the film began to show the possibility of mass-produced entertainment and give film a legitimacy through popular culture. There were very few film programs in colleges and schools at this time. You may recall Spielberg's other work (mostly blockbusters, like Jaws). After the Blockbuster phenomenon, film gained much attention (and money). Writers like Michael Crichton and Stephen King became quite wealthy as popular authors since so many people went to see the movies based on their books. Now, bestsellers almost always get made into films as a way to capitalize on profits (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, for example). Stan Lee is also doing nicely. The bottom line is that a film is produced for mass consumption, that includes the marketing of toys, clothing, and a book deal.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
E.T. (1982)

George Lucas on the other hand created the single most influential film in the 1970's with his space opera (part IV) of the seminal Star Wars (1978). Both Jaws and Star Wars became the first two films to make more than $100 million, rocketing both directors into fame!

Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

In 1982 the film Tron (1982) effectively used CGI for its special effects. Since then CGI has been married to the Hollywood Blockbuster.

Westworld (1973) (same author as Jurassic Park)
The Black Hole (1979)
Star Trek (1979) (VO by Orson Welles)

As you might note, CGI greatly improved the sci-fi genre.

Now, the goal of Hollywood remains to produce a blockbuster film. These are traditionally action-packed epics chock-ful of CGI and special effects. Many films also are mass produced so that even if the film fails at the box office, the production company can make back a loss by selling the music tracks, toys, or DVD's.

Recent blockbusters include:
Avatar (2009) $2,782,275,172 Billion
Titanic (1997) $2,185,246,990 Billion
The Avengers (2012) over $552.7 Million
The Dark Knight (2008) $533 Million
Spider Man (2002) $403.7 Million
E.T. (1982) $359.2 Million (see clip above)
Jurassic Park (1993) $357.1 Million
Forrest Gump (1994) $329.7 Million

Top 100 Box Office Blockbusters of All Time It pays to be a producer!

And for perspective, the top three films that flopped:

Cutthroat Island (1995) loss of $147 Million
The Alamo (2004)  loss of $146 Million (we lost the battle as well)
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) loss of $145 Million

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Film Project Due!

Please turn in your homework on the chapters MPAA & the American New Wave: (see previous post for details!)

1. Your film project should be completed today. You've had over 700 minutes of class time for a 3-10 minute film project.
2. Films should be completed, uploaded to youtube, and the URL of your film posted in the comment section below by end of day Monday, June 2. Late projects will lose a grade per day, holding at C- grades.
3. Along with your completed film, you should also turn in your film script. The film script should be relatively similar to your film (i.e., it should be a script for the film you made--with understandable differences due to editing, acting, cinematography or directing choices, etc.)
4. Both the script and the film project will be given a grade for this marking period.
5. Your film should include title credits and end credits.
6. There is a short reflective response that also should be turned in with your film. We will cover this portion of the project Monday.
7. When you are done with your film projects, please upload them to youtube (make sure you allow me to see your film--do not select private only or I will not be able to watch your film or show it to the class!) Once the films are graded, you are welcome to remove the film from youtube.
8. Student films of 10 minutes or less in length can be submitted to Nazareth's Rochester Teen Film Festival. Entering your film(s) will gain you extra credit. Winning the contest will grant you even more extra credit!

If you are done with your project, please continue to work on your director research and Prezi projects. These are your last grades (apart from your Contemporary Writers portfolio). Work on these projects this week to complete the course. All film projects must be turned in by June 12. If you turn in projects after this date, you will receive no credit. Please note this absolute ending deadline.

Those of you needing a video converter for files on you iphones, try

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