I know I’ve said this before, but:
Me + FCP + Red Wine = Edting
18 Mar 2013 / 3 notes
So my old college newspaper decided to do an “Alumni Spotlight” on me and I was quite please with myself in the end. Since I’m rather sure they’ll alter what I really said in the end, I decided that the best course of action was to publicize (via the immortal internet) my actually responses to the questions they asked me.
Q: What made you decide to attend Bentley?
Financial Aid, mostly. Also I was really good at math in high school. My Alma Mater (people refer to high school’s as “alma maters,” right? is that weird?) prior to Bentley lead me to believe that purpose of tertiary education was to exploit one’s talents in the five basic subjects and expand those toward the maximum monetary or academic result. Actually, Bentley kinda reinforced the former part of that, though obviously with much less regard for the A&S subjects. Essentially business seemed like the best way to monetize my math skills.
Q: How would you describe your college experience?
It was like buying a Bentley (the car.) It was probably over-priced but I made it colorful and it ultimately got me where I needed to be, though I’ll be paying it off for years to come.
Q: Did you participate in any clubs, sports teams or other organizations?
I was on BUS (Bentley Ulitmate Society) for a year and ran WBTY a different year, but other than that my time was largely spent on my movies.
Q: Who positively influenced you while you were at Bentley (a professor, a staff person, a friend)?
Above all else: HEIDE SOLBRIG. Heide got me into the MC program, challenged me intellectually (and I mean “challenged” literally, she has no problem telling me when she thinks I’m wrong,) convinced me to move to LA to pursue my career, and introduced to Miguel Arteta, whom I’m currently assistant to. I still refer to her as “my mentor.”
The rest of the MC staff (“EMS,” now, I think?)were great, too. Jeff Stern and Liz Ledoux shaped me as a filmmaker the y way that Pygmalion shaped the girl out of clay that Aphrodite brought to life. Mike Frank taught me how to digest film they way I do now. Gerald Speca made me realize I could screen write (and damn well, at that.)
Oh, Davi and Dempsey, they were great, too!
Q: Who was your favorite professor at Bentley? Why?
Again, Heide Solbrig. See Above.
Q: Do you have a favorite campus memory?
Senior year, my best friend at the time and I were called “the cutest gay couple on campus” by a member of PRIDE. We were both, in fact, straight, but it’s a superlative I still cling to very tightly.
Q: What do you miss most about your college days?
Not having to pay back loans that allowed to have said college days and living within a ten-minute walk of 75% of people I would wanna see at any given time.
Q: Did you have a favorite spot to study on campus?
Q: Do you have a favorite “fun” spot in Waltham?
Not really. Sadly, like most Bentley kids, I spent far too much time on Campus and far too little gusto explore Waltham.
Q: How did your Bentley experience influence your career path?
Again, this is largely discussed above. An addendum to the above is that it was through Bentley that I met AliKane! (a.k.a. Ali Kane) who is largely to blame for my current success. Ali got the actual business license for or company,”Hollow Skull Films,” and essentially made the company the hot shit it is now (with a website and everything!)
Q: How did Bentley prepare you for success?
Many of the people that I met at Bentley (AliKane! the MC department staff, Donna Kendall, and the like) helped me to achieve the little bit of success I’ve had thus far in my two-year career path, but I would consider it a disservice to these individuals to give “Bentley” as an institution primary credit for this.
Q: How has your career developed since graduation day?
I was in France at the Cannes Film Festival on graduation day (thanks, mainly to Liz Ledoux and Donna Kendal, for setting me up with the internship and helping me finance the experience respectively) and it was on that trip that I realized I needed to move to L.A. to get where I wanted to be (in the metaphoric sense, at the time) in the movie industry, so moving to L.A. was the big thing.
I spent about a year out of school trying to survive on the Boston film market, which I often imagined was similar to the settlers in the mid-1800s trying to survive off do-do meat. I moved to L.A. last November courtesy of very generous show of faith from my fiance’s aunt and late uncle, Jacqui and Sullivan. In my first seven weeks here, I made a cumulate $200 working a shit gig out the desert doing 15-hour days. Eventually I wound up as an office PA (production assistant) at the Prettybird headquarters, spent some time doing assistant-coordinator work on commercial productions, and eventually landed with Miguel.
Q: What is your current job title and who is your employer?
I’m currently a director for Hollow Skull Films, and director’s assistant to Miguel Arteta, who is probably to sweetest person of clout that I’ve met in Los Angeles in the year I’ve been out here.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love storytelling, I love working with storytellers, and I love working with artists, especially those (like Miguel) who are really freakin good at what they do.
Q: Can you describe the transition from college student to young professional?
Not well, probably. It just kinda happens when you get out of college and need to eat.
Q: Can you describe the transition from student to alumnus/a?
I’m fairly certain this is virtually the same as the last question, except that it wouldn’t apply to students who dropped out. Though, I suppose this is an excellent place to note that I feel a strange sort of pride as a Bentley alumnus as I’ve wound in up in such a vastly different place (again, metaphorically) from most of peers except Stephen Vitale.
Q: What are your career goals?
Simply: I just wanna tell stories that people enjoy through moving pictures, and be able to survive comfortably doing it. More specifically: I would like to make enough of a name for myself that Iron Chef invites me to be guest judge someday.
Q: As an alumnus/a, what makes you most proud of Bentley today?
I’m gonna pass on this one. In many ways„ it seems like the university is going all Uroboros on itself, and the tail is the majority of the things I’d taken pride in as a student.
Q: How do you stay connected to the university?
I’m still in touch with almost every professor that I’ve mentioned so far in this interview-questionnaire. The university also occasionally sends me interview-questionnaires.
Q: If you could experience college again, what would you do differently?
I would likely attend a school with a much deeper and more technical education in filmmaking.
Q: Do you have any advice for Bentley’s current students?
Q: Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.
My god-father is a Curandero (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curandero) in Juarez, Mexico.
Peter de Vries, perhaps, or maybe Hemmingway
but sometimes it’s a wuss and and a prude! (It keeps closing on me unexpectedly.
Bronson > Drive > Valhalla Rising
Even Bryan Cranston in Drive can’t beat Tom Hardy’s performance in Bronson. It’s probably my favorite I’ve seen of him. All worth a watch, though.
For more things from my brian, check out http://www.hollowskull.com/hello-storyteller.html.
for more things from my brain, check out http://www.hollowskull.com/hello-storyteller.html
Can’t help but post this. I use this line all the fucking time.
This is a pretty wonderful and fun take on more-or-less what I wrote about earlier,
After going to the midnight premier of “The Dark Knight Rises” last week, I felt like the only person walking out of the theater more disappointed than pleased with the film. I will certainly see the film again and give some of these things a second shot to work for me, but after some reflection on the first viewing, I’ve realized some particular issues that I felt made the film fall flat.
Let me also note that the academic in me is a little embarrassed to be writing with such fervor after only one viewing of the film. I welcome anyone to dispute the claims I’m about to make, and will revisit this argument once I see the film another time or two.
If you haven’t seen the film and plan to DO NOT READ ON. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
You have been warned.
Issue #1: Suspension of Disbelief.
Generally speaking, I’m all for suspension of disbelief and hate when people nit-pick the believability of a fictional reality. I mean, if you’re gonna go watch a superhero flick, don’t expect perfect realism; however, I do not uphold this ideal when it applies to character motivations, or what I think is laziness or arrogance on the part of the script-writer. that is, when things happen in the script essentially because the script ne,ds them to for it’s own purposes, and these happenings are forced or difficult to find believable within the narrativediegesis of the story. Honestly, I feel that DKR violated both of these points.
A few of the moments where “suspension of disbelief” becomes insistant:
- Bruce escapes from the Pit because of his will power and knowledge of “fear.” Clearly all of the other prisoners just “don’t really want it.”
- Bruce escapes from the Pit days after breaking his back, ‘cause I guess Bane just popped a vertebra out of place that needed to be punched back in AND, Bruce has such incomparable willpower that even with a recovering broken back, he is able to hurl himself farther than anyone ever has, wis the exception of a frightened nine-year-old girl.
- Bane claims that it is “impossible” that Bruce could have escaped the Pit knowing DAMN WELL by example of Talia that it is entirely possible. In fact, it’s more of a wonder that it doesn’t happen every couple of days.
- Bane is a cool, calculated terrorist-mercenary, exceot when he’s supposed to be a comic book super-villain, give a speech about his plan and his motives, and leave the hero alive rather than just pull the trigger to achieve the goals of his supposed through-line. (The scene between Bane and Bruce in the Pit seems like a very dark and albeit badass version of the scene between Dr. Evil and Austin Powers in the mutant bass tank.)
- Blake “just knows” that Bruce Wayne is Batman because of “the look in his eyes.”
- Daggett has the power to rebuild all but one of Gotham’s bridges and all the tunnels that the police get trapped in with explosive concrete, going almost entirely unnoticed, and Blake is the only person in Gotham clever enough to realize something was fishy there.
- ALL of Gotham’s Police other than Blake and Gordon go into the tunnel to get Bane.
- When the police take on Bane’s army, they decide that the best course of action is to charge them down a narrow road in a massive wave all Gettysburg style, presumably to pistol-whip them into behaving, or at least wait for point-blank range to fire. And all of this in spite of the baddies’ supertanks ready to fire on them.
There are a few more of these issues that I’m willing to digress on, except for the number of times that Batman saves people at EXACTLY THE LAST SECOND at the end of the film. This only becomes an issue because Nolan tries so desperately to make this a “real superhero movie,” but then wants to throw in the cheesiest and far-reaching elements of cheeky superhero movies and they don’t quite jive together.
Furthermore, there’s a theme in the movie that insists that we stop believing in coincidence. If we apply that here, we are left to believe that Batman intentionally waited til the last second all of these times, and is either an egomaniac who is willing to risk the lives of the people he so dearly cares for just to look cool, or he’s a sadistic fuck who wants people to taste the real fear death before he’ll save them.
Nevertheless since this IS still a superhero movie, I’ll let this bit go.
The big issue is that Nolan sets himself up for defeat by trying to create a diegetic reality in which all laws of our actual reality apply, the idea being that this makes the story more believable. I think that this actually works against the believability of most of the points listed above, partly by bringing about a heightened awareness of the issues with realism throughout the movie. And, unfortunately for the film, it seems that not enough research was done to justify some of the farther-reaching points that try to pass under the radar, yielding stuff like this: (The Atlantic: Bane’s Plan to Bankrupt Batman Make’s No Sense.)
Issue #2: Pandering
This will actually start to bleed into issue #1 a bit, as some of the pandering is done at the direct expense of believability. The “pandering” I’m referring to comes in moments, lines, and facts throughout the film that seem to serve very little purpose for the plot or character development, and at time’s even detract from such development, just to appease and excite the film’s target audience.
First-off, there were a few painstakingly-forced quips that lacked real character and plot justification, the most notable of which being the revelation of Blake’s name actually being “Robin.” This, I will admit, was a clever way of revealing a lot of information about the supposed future of the character by twisting some of the facts of the original Batman mythos; however, I feel that other than pandering for the shock value of the revelation, this tactic strikes me as largely uninventive and really unnecessary, and I wonder if Nolan’s concern with keeping much about his projects secret to the real world (i.e. giving Blake a different name, changing that to Robin, etc) may actually adversely affect the stories by the sacrifices that are made for this secrecy to be possible.
Regarding the established Batman Mythos prior to the Dark Knight films, it seems that Nolan had, up to this movie preferred to make creative adjustments, and it was not until this movies that he became willing to outright throw out parts of the established mythos to suit his purposes. This is most appalling to me, in the way he presents Bane’s back-story, essentially true to the comics, but then “twists” it to be Talia’s back story. This seems to remind me of a line from an episode of Bob’s Burgers that went something like “that’s not a twist; it’s a lie.”
Then there was the “Occupy” theme throughout the film, which was presented with slightly more tact than the anti-militarism themes in Avatar. The scene in which bane holds up the stock exchange is dripping with panic by the white-collar mascots and several poorly-diversified statements of “it ain’t my money.” One of the construction workers utters “my money’s at home in my mattress.” Fun, but another pandering line that seems to have little purpose other than to draw out cheers. Nolan further beats us over the head with this in Bane’s uprising, the looting of mansions, and the “trials” of Gotham’s elite by Jonathan Crane.
It’s also perhaps under the “pandering” category that my aforementioned qualms with Batman saving everyone at the very last second should fall. The “cartooniness” and absurdity that these rescues evolve into seems out of place with the raw, dark world that Nolan tries to create in trilogy. I’m not trying to argue against the use of spectacle in a high-budget blockbuster such as this (I very much understand the need for it) but I find that there is a tremendous gap between the genuineness of the later action scenes in the movie, and that of the plane heist, which was so raw, thrilling and character-centric, that it felt evidently akin to some of The Joker’s best scenes in “The Dark Knight.” The lack of real character in the later scenes is perhaps one of the biggest holes I felt watching the film. Even Bane, who was not a disappointing follow-up to Ledger’s Joker, loses much of his captivating presence in the later scenes (after fighting Batman in the sewer, a scene in which Bane really shines.)
This trend of random fluctuation in character motivation opens up the floor to my final issue with the the film:
Issue #3: Plot and Character Development
The biggest miss for me in DKR as compared with “The Dark Knight” was the lack in authenticity of character development and motivation in DKR. Perhaps this qualm stems from how fan-fucking-tastic the character development was in TDK, how character driven even the most suspenseful and over-the-top action scenes were in that film, and how gracefully Nolan used backstory and lack thereof, especially with regards to the Joker and Two-Face.
As mentioned perviously, the level to which Nolan allows Bane to control a scene seems to vary with no real rhyme or reason, other than what is convenient for the script or spectacle at the time. I would speculate that in the later scenes this comes from a largely-failed attempt on Nolan’s part to expand on his “we are the 99%” theme in them film, both making the 99% look like a bunch of stupid, savage assholes, and tossing out the wonder of Bane’s character, but then trying to recoup it at times without a lot of finess. By the time of the brawl at City Hall, both Bane and Batman have taken such a backseat to the action on screen, that they achieve a sort of tepidness and lack of any more realistic, human motivation than good guys do good things and bad guys do bad things.
The most atrocious part of all this is after the confusing, unnecessary, and somewhat cheap Talia Al Gul twist (Bane’s back story suddenly becoming hers) Bane loses all of his previous drive, motivation, and personality, and degrades into a downright thug, trying to blow Batman’s head off with a shotgun as soon as Talia takes the mantle of “head super villain” and runs off. Above all else in this movie, this degrading and unjustified cataclysm in Bane’s character outright offended me, and cheapened everything that his character had been up to that point.
The closing half-hour or so of the movie is absolutely laden with shallow character, comparable to (I know I’m gonna get hell for this) the shallowness of the kids in “The Breakfast Club,” who are moreso plot devices than characters, serving their purpose in a formulaic script and acting the way that their wardrobe tells them to. Gordon becomes the jaded old man. Blake becomes the self-righteous vigilante who can’t live within the confines of the system, run by cops so inept that Hitchcock must’ve wrote them. Selina has her redemption after appropriate self-reflection. Bruce martyrs himself to save the day and learns exactly the lesson Alfred had tried to teach him two hours (of film time) earlier.
I think Tom Charity puts it best, saying, “Nolan bites off more than even he can chew in the movie’s wildly over-ambitious and borderline nonsensical third act.” (full article)
So the movie sucked?
No. Ultimately, I enjoyed it. It just fell very short of what should and very well could have been done as the conclusion of a genre re-defining trilogy. I very-much respect Nolan’s ambition for the film, but I think he tried to take things a little too far, got focused on the grandeur of it, and lost sight of some very important details that the previous two films work so well. In short, I expected more from you, Chris.
Check Out more words from my brain at http://www.hollowskull.com/hello-storyteller.html
Hollow Skull Films is holding an art contest for the development of our new mascots and hope you would consider participating.
We are looking for the creation of two brand new mascots who will be named “Holly” and “Skully,” a set of girl and boy twin skeleton children.
The contest winner…
I often hear from young directors that they wanna write/film/edit/act/produce because they “don’t trust anyone” to “get it right” or “make their vision come to life.” This is first major thing to overcome if you really want to direct. Film is, perhaps, the most collaborative and manpower-heavy medium of storytelling and art there is. As a director you MUST trust people, be unafraid to let them do their job, and be willing to accept their artists spins on things, rather than struggling to create the mini-movie that plays in your head when you first read or write the script.