Articles Tagged Making Films

Filming Curtis

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When I was a teenager, I took a poetry workshop in Brookline, Massachusetts with Barbara Helfgott Hyett, a wonderful teacher and poet. One day as we leafed through a book of photographs of snowflakes by Wilson Bentley, I was struck by this simple, yet elegant definition of beauty: “A snowflake is beautiful because of its… Read more »

The Anatomy of a Short

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Ten years ago two witty gents from Colorado, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, made a riotous animated short called The Spirit of Christmas (aka Jesus vs. Santa). The film was originally commissioned by Fox executive Brian Graden as a personal holiday card but was ultimately turned down due to its explicit content. It did not… Read more »

Mix Master

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Marcelo Zarvos is scoring big in the independent film world these days. The thirty-five-year old Brazilian-born Zarvos, who has made New York his home for the past twelve years, has composed music for a handful of independent films, including Tully (2000), Kissing Jessica Stein (2001), and this year’s The Door in the Floor—all award-winning and… Read more »

Can I do without professional sound editing?

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Dear Doc Doctor: Many people suggested that I add more narration and music to my documentary, which I did, but now other people are saying there is too much of both. How do I achieve the right balance between image and sound in documentary film? Before you figure out where others want you to be,… Read more »

The Sound of Gowns

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I knew Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair was going to be an interesting and challenging project. It was filmed with lots of attention to the visual details, and the sound of the Foley effects—naturalistic sounds recorded to match the action in a scene tracks—would need to be as audibly clean and meticulous as the film is… Read more »

Honolulu, Hawai’i

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Although the cinematic possibilities of Hawai’i—those that lay beyond the tropical tropes of tourism and military patriotism— have always been clear to local residents of the island, only recently has there been notable validation of that truth. The sudden abundance of studio work, a new school for multimedia, and the proliferation of local film festivals,… Read more »

The Talented Tenth

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While so many of Hollywood’s high-paid actors spend their paychecks on the kind of luxury items the rest of the world only comes in contact with on trashy celebrity television shows, some are emptying their bank accounts and charging up their credit cards like the rest of us—making movies. A rising group of thespians are… Read more »

Filming Fahrenheit 9/11

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Whoever said you have to be based out of New York or Los Angeles to be associated with the Palm d’Or-winning film at the Cannes Film Festival? Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, I started a video production company fifteen years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the DP… Read more »

Shadowing a Sibling

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Sometimes you think you don’t need any help, that you can do it on your own. That’s exactly what I was thinking before I started shooting my new feature, Ur4Given. I should have known better. I had a Sony PD-150 given to me by my brother Spike (yes, Spike Lee) and some tape stock. I… Read more »

Behind the Music

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“Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” –Charlie Parker Make a movie about an albino orangutan terrorizing Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Easy. Just… Read more »