Thursday, January 22, 2009

Seth Godin's 5 Pillars of Success

The five pillars of success, by Seth Godin

  1. See (really see) what's possible
  2. Know specifically what you want to achieve
  3. Make good decisions
  4. Understand the tactics to get things done and to change minds
  5. Earn the trust and respect of the people around you

It sure seems like we spend all our time on #4.

Cinematography nominees

The 81st Oscar nominees for cinematography in alphabetical order:


Claudio Miranda used a Thompson Grass Valley Viper/S.two with uncompressed data recording.


THE READER THE READER, Chris Menges and Roger Deakins.

Jan 22 - Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography is beyond perfect, it is inspired. He is able to evoke exactly the right emotional tone in every scene. I would hate to be a filmmaker in competition this year, in any category--Slumdog Millionaire is simply one of the best films I've ever seen. I was completely involved during the film, and emotionally exhausted at the end of the film. ADM shot the film in digital, using a Silicon Imaging S1-2K camera. Digital output was recorded direct to disk in cineform RAW.

Documentary Feature nominees

The 81st Oscar nominees for best documentary feature, in alphabetical order:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ASC Cinematography nominees

ASC Nominees for Feature Film Cinematography:
Benjamin Button – Claudio Miranda (digital)
Dark Knight – Wally Pfister, ASC on 35mm and 65mm film.
The Reader – Roger Deakins, ASC and Chris Menges, BSC
Revolutionary Road – Roger Deakins, ASC
Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC (digital)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Documentary shortlist for Oscars

I'm trying to see all 15 documentaries on the Oscars shortlist before participating in the annual Oscars prediction radio show at MovieGeeksUnited on Jan 25.

Final 5 nominees for Oscar were:

Man on Wire (DVD from Netflix) Wonderful. Joyous. Great filmmaking. Clearly a candidate for best doc. Director

Encounters at the End of the World (DVD from Netflix) Werner Herzog. A beautiful meditation on mankind's future on this planet. Profound interviews with interesting people. Gorgeous footage of Antarctica. Great filmmaking.

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) Glorious cinematography. A story about the nature and consequences of betrayal--personal, institutional, societal and national--as experienced by a Laotian family.

The Garden Hispanic community in South Central LA fights to keep the largest urban garden in the United States from being bulldozed by a developer. Compelling story, compelling characters. Shows the 'levers of power' clearly, and how they are manipulated--for better and worse.

Trouble the Water (Aftermath of KATRINA not able to get screener)

At the Death House Door (Download at Amazon) Extraordinary story of moral crisis and personal transformation. The pastor is one of nonfiction film's great characters.

I.O.U.S.A. (CNN broadcast) CNN chopped the film into dozens of pieces, then sandwiched garish commercials and lengthy panel discussions into the breaks. Awful viewing experience.

Standard Operating Procedure. Errol Morris does a superb job of examining the infamous pictures from Abu Ghirab, and talks to many of the Americans involved. Outstanding filmmaking. Clearly a candidate for best documentary.

Fuel Inspiring must-see film. Sustainable fuels are available, now. This film could change the world. Clearly a candidate for best documentary.

In a Dream. Candid, painfully honest portrait of an artist by his son.

Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh. Superb filmmaking. Clearly a candidate for best documentary.

Watching next:
Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts
Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Not able to get DVD screeners for:
Made in America
They Killed Sister Dorothy
Trouble the Water

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Investigative Reporting Tools At-Largely

Chuck Close -- painter and photographer

Photographer and painter Chuck Close creates amazing portraits. One of his mediums is daugerrotype!

Monday, January 5, 2009

CeltX script writing software

Celtx media development software is a winner. It does everything from scripts to storyboards to plain old prose. Free, open-source software. Download. Reviews.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

How to plan an unscripted documentary

The Writers Store just published my article - How to Plan an Unscripted Documentary.

The article adds extra material to a similar chapter in Producing With Passion, a book that I co-authored with filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman.


Werner Herzog talking about planning his film "Encounters At The End Of The World" said, "I looked for people who fascinated me."

When planning an unscripted documentary, first look for what fascinates you. Then learn about it, experience it, and film it.