Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Imitation Game

Well, it's been almost two years since I updated this blog - which is crazy, but time flies when you aren't looking. Anyway, last night we went with some friends to the Ambler Theater to see the movie 'The Imitation Game', starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly. I thought it was a great film about an amazing man, as well as the amazing ability of the human race to be really terrible to the people that it should celebrate the most.

 The Imitation Game is about Alan Turing, a British mathematician who, with the aid of several others, successfully cracked the codes being used by the German Enigma machines in World War II, effectively helping to turn the tide and win the war for the Allies. Turing's genius wasn't just that he was a great mathematician, (many of the other codebreakers on the team were as well) but that he thought about problems and situations differently than everyone else did. Turing realized that to beat a machine, one must create a machine. His papers on math and the ability to create machines that would compute complex problems, as well as his work on concepts such as artificial intelligence, allow us to live in the technological age that we currently enjoy.

I'm not going to write a detailed synopsis of the film itself. I don't want to give too much away - besides, you could pretty much just Google Alan Turing, and get a pretty good idea of what you are in for. I will say however, that I enjoyed everything about this movie. Benedict Cumberbatch does an amazing job of bringing Turing's struggles and triumphs to life - the performance is reminiscent of his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the way that Sherlock has no sense of how to interact with other humans, yet I didn't find myself thinking about that show or character at all while watching the film. Keira Knightly was great as well, portraying Joan Clarke, a female codebreaker (making her also somewhat of an outsider) that Turing discovered, and one of the few people to accept him for who he was - idiosyncrasies and all. Alex Lawther, played the young Alan Turing and I was amazed by his performance. He not only handled some pretty heavy scenes very well, but he really seemed to have the same mannerisms and physicality of Cumberbatch's older Turing.

The story was completely engaging, and I was surprised to find out that this was the first feature film for screenwriter Graham Moore. The film juggled drama and humor and history superbly and had a moral that developed quietly throughout without ever feeling preachy. I left the theater wanting to write and make movies like this one.

 I had wanted to see this film for a number of reasons - I enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch, I love WW2 movies, and I love movies that are based on true stories. I didn't really know what to expect other than those three things, and I didn't know much about the real Alan Turing either. I walked away from the theater with my brain buzzing away, thinking about everything I do on a daily basis from a different perspective. Thinking about the impact that this man had on my life, and the lives of everyone else in the world. Thinking about how he was treated for being gay in a time where being a homosexual in England was a crime. Thinking about what kinds of things we could achieve in this world if we just accepted people for who they are, instead of trying to make them into who we think they should be.

The Imitation Game is definitely worth checking out if you can!

"Sometimes it’s the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine."

ALSO - After seeing this movie, Robin and I wanted to find out more about the real Alan Turing, and we found a pretty good documentary about him that is on Netflix.  It's called 'Codebreaker'.  Also worth a look!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Resurrect Dead

So, this afternoon I was feeling a little down and Robin suggested that we go to the movies tonight. We decided that we'd go see something at the Ambler Theater since I have some gift cards there that Robin's parents got me for Christmas. Anyway, we looked up what was playing and were toying with going to see either The Artist, or The Iron Lady. Then I looked a little further down the list and realized that there was a documentary playing there - today only - that I'd really wanted to see since I came across the trailer a few months back. The film is called "Resurrect Dead" and it was in Sundance where it did pretty well. The bonus of this trip was that the director of the film, Jon Foy, was going to be there and was going to do a Q&A after the screening. So we decided to go.

The film was interesting - in short, it's about the appearance of these mysterious tiles in the streets of cities all over the U.S. and South America. They've been showing up for over two decades, and nobody knew who put them there. The tiles refer to a man named Toynbee and the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the notion of resurrecting the dead on Jupiter. In any case, the film follows a group of guys who are somewhat obsessed with solving the mystery of these tiles and who made them. I liked the film overall. I felt that in a few places there were some pacing problems and some choices that I might not have made, but overall I was sucked into the story and found it really engaging.

Afterwards there was a Q&A, and it was pretty standard stuff, except for the one guy who raised his hand and told the director that he actually knew one of the guys considered by the film to be a main suspect. He also said that he had originally planned to see a different movie, but saw this was playing when he got to the theater and changed his mind. So that was pretty crazy. Afterwards, Robin made me swear that I would introduce myself to Mr. Foy, and tell him that I, too, am a local filmmaker and give him a card. She's good at pushing me to do that kind of stuff. I'm terrible at networking. In any case, we hung around and I did just that. We talked for a few minutes about filmmaking and his film, and he was a very pleasant guy. He took my card and put it in his wallet, so mission accomplished. Whether I will ever hear from him again I have no idea, but I did something that was difficult for me to do, and I'm proud of that.

Then we stopped at McDonald's on the way home (bleh - but it was cheap and fast) and now here I am writing this up. All in all it was a very enjoyable evening. If you get the chance go see "Resurrect Dead", or get it on dvd. It's worth a look.


Check out the trailer for "Resurrect Dead":

Resurrect Dead Trailer from Resurrect Dead on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sound Effects, etc.

Now that the dialogue has been edited together, I need to move on to sound effects and foley work. Basically all the sounds other than dialogue and music that need to be in the film. Yesterday I went through the film scene by scene and mapped out what sounds I need and where they are supposed to go. The total list is somewhere around 322 sounds or so.

Anyway, before I can cut the sounds into the film, I actually have to go and record them (obviously). Now, a couple of years ago (2008, I think) Rufus, Nick and I actually did do some recording of sounds for the movie. I think we got about 60, but having just listened to them again I realize that a few need to be re-recorded. And I think there are more sounds on my new list than were on the original list from 2008 but the edit has changed here and there so I'm not really surprised.

So, the task at the moment is to go through the list of sounds and see which ones I can get from sound effects/foley libraries, which ones I may already have from another past production or two, and which ones I will have to record myself. Once I have done that I will collect all the sounds together on my computer and begin the process of cutting them into the film.

Then, onward to sound mixing!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

One Step Closer...

Just a quick update -

Finally finished the 1st sound pass on Preservation! It was tedious and took a while, but all the dialogue is edited in, and the bumps have been smoothed out.

I'm really happy that's finished. Of course, now I have to basically go do the same thing again - but this time edit all the sound effects and stuff in. It will also be tedious and take forever, but it'll get done. And then we'll be closer than ever.....

....closer to what, I don't really know....stay tuned!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Update

Just trying to remember to update this thing with my progress - easier said than done, but here I am.

Not much to write about other than sound editing on 'Preservation' still. Slowly coming along. I am by no means a sound person, so this part of the film is the hardest for me to work on. Also the most tedious. But it has to get done, so here I sit. As I mentioned before, I'm working in passes. The first pass (editing in all the ADR and making sure that all the dialogue is clean) is getting close to being finished. The total running time of the film at the moment is 1 hour and 35 minutes. I am 1 hour and 10 minutes into my first sound pass! Just finished a pretty long, intricate scene today with lots of screaming and crying. I was about to call it a day after that, but I decided to push myself to do one more scene. I really didn't want to, but it's done now and I feel pretty good about that.

That's about it for now. I'll be plugging away at this again tomorrow....and the day after....and the day after....and the day af--- well, you get it.

The funny part is - after all this work - who the hell is even going to care? I'm pretty sure everyone who worked on it has written it off as one of those projects that they'll never see, and even after I'm finished, they'll probably look at it and say "we waited five years for THAT?"

Oh well. At least the monkey will be off my back and I can move forward.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quick Update

Just a quick update. Still cutting dialogue for 'Preservation'. Finally over halfway through the film with that. Still a lot of ADR to cut in, but I'm plugging away at it.

That's about it for now. Had some good meetings lately regarding a couple of other projects that could hopefully be on the horizon - but more on that at another time.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Preservation - WTF?

Quick update on Preservation for anyone who 1) may still care, and 2) stumbles upon this blog...

The visuals are all done and locked. Been done for a few months, but I'm terrible at progress updates. Anyway, the VFX are finished and I've moved on to sound editing - which I hate....but it needs to get done, so I'm plugging away at it.

So far I've been working on it for about two days. The first pass is editing the dialogue - making sure that everything flows correctly - no clicks, pops, etc....adding in all the re-recorded dialogue, yadda yadda. I'm 30 minutes into the movie.

After that I'll go back and start cutting in all the sound effects and foley sound. Then the music (some of which still needs to be written) will get cut in, and then I go back and do one final sound pass to mix all the levels. After that, I just need to go through and color correct everything and slap some credits on the end.

Well, better get back to it. If the Mayans are correct I only have until December to wrap this up. Work has been pretty slow the last two months which has proved to be conducive to the process, but a pain in the ass to my bank account.

More as I finish.