I know, I know! It’s been talked about, ad nauseam, by everybody. The prequels were shit. Or, to put it another way: when The Phantom Menace first dropped it was like a million nerds suddenly cried out, and there was suddenly silence… something terrible had happened.And then it happened again, two more times. Nobody involved learned their fucking lesson, did they? George kept on makin’ ’em, we kept on seein’ ’em.We’re pathetic.But — and this may come as a shock to you dear reader, certainly it was a shock to me — not everyone had a dog in that race. Not everyone wept at What George Did, because not everyone treated Star Wars like some sort of holy text.I know, right?Just recently, a friend of mine expressed puzzlement as to what the big deal was with the new trilogy. Being as how she’s all young and groovy and has a life and whatnot, Star Wars wasn’t a big thing for her when she was a kid, so she didn’t quite understand why nerds of my vintage have such a problem with the prequels.Here is my response to her, and to all young and groovy people who have real lives to lead and don’t understand why the prequels hurt……wait, one thing before you go on. There’s a bit of ad hominem in here… it’s there for a reason, but I’d like to say something very quickly: making films is hard. I mean, really, really hard. So hard in fact that Lucas, at the very top of his game, hired other people to direct Empire and Jedi. Anyone who actually bothers to put in the eighteen hour days — long days being only the most trivial stress endured on set — has my deep respect. Including, paradoxically enough, George Lucas.However, I still have a problem with What George Did. Here’s why:***The original trilogy was famous at the time for its special effects, inventive production design, and giddy sense of originality… but the reason it actually worked is that it had a great story, with humour and tragedy and heroism; and a set of loveable characters to care about. And, most of all, it had a heart.*The new trilogy has special effects and inventive producton design… but the sense of invention isn’t giddy, it’s nauseating. Where the original trilogy seemed to be a tour through the prodigious and fascinating imagination of a genius, the new seems more like an art show put on by billionaire parents to showcase the scribblings of their unusually slow child. The story is boring and illogical, the characters are impossible to care about, and the acting is universally bad… it is just impossible to give a shit. And it’s not the actors’ fault, not even Haydenson Hayden Christiansen’s — the script is execrable.I mean, how bad does dialogue have to be to sap the cool out of Samuel L. Jackson and the fatherly gravitas out of Liam Neeson? And the charm out of Ewan fucking McGregor!?On top of it all, it’s obvious at every turn that these poor actors are labouring in a giant empty greenscreen room, trying desperately to imagine where they are and who they’re talking to even though Lucas probably hasn’t decided yet and is just planning to get it in post.The original trilogy got away with its conceits because it was fundamentally an engaging story with well-realised characters we cared about. The new films are the opposite — without characters and story to distract us, all we see is Lucas’ conceit and, as it turns out, he either has total contempt for his audience or he’s a clown of the highest order.To add insult to insult — we loved Star Wars when we were kids. I mean, I watched it on video every Saturday to the point where I could practically quote the whole film in one long go — this is when I was in primary school. It was magical, and full of wonder, and exciting, and Leia was pretty and Han was cool and it was so much fun it was better than the real world… when Lucas made this new stuff, it actually seemed to make the films we loved look like shit. It was like he murdered our favourite uncle and then came to the funeral just to piss in the punchbowl.In short — he betrayed us.We award him no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.*I saw Empire at the drive-in, I was in the back seat. My mum turned around to check if I was okay when Darth said he was Luke’s dad. I was crying.***Sorry George… you really, really fucked it mate. You can laugh like Salacious Crumb while rubbing benjamins all over your body on a double bed made of cocaine if you want, and I’m just a podgy broke-down geek writing on a blog… you have no obligation to me or anyone else. But there’s just no getting around it big fella. Han rocked ’cause he shot first, and you went back and defaced your own Sistine fucking Chapel… then you made three new ones where Han, were he present, would be a saint instead of a scoundrel. You really, really fucked this up.For the rest of us.This is Justin Gibson, last surviving nerd of the USS New Hope, signing off.
Mastering the Craft of Screenwriting:Syd Field Lecture Series8 – 11 November 2010Screen Australia is proud to offer Australian filmmakers the opportunity to attend a series of presentations by Syd Field – the man who literally wrote the book on screenplays – as he presents his workshop: Mastering the Craft of Screenwriting. To be held over four nights in Sydney, at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington and the Entertainment Quarter at Fox studios, the series will cover the evolution of the screenplay, setting up characters and storylines, writing effective dialogue and preparing and writing great scenes.
Sally Menke, Quentin Tarantino’s editor, passed away yesterday. Here’s an interview with Sally Menke discussing her work with Tarantino.Viddler.com – Super Movie Friends 8 – Uploaded by mcnvideos.
Got a tonne of Facebook friends and a short film idea?
MOVIE EXTRA is set to launch an exciting new competition for passionate and aspiring filmmakers on 30th July, 2010 – MOVIE EXTRA WEBFEST.MOVIE EXTRA WEBFEST is an opportunity for filmmakers to win a $50,000production budget to produce a seven part web series for MOVIE EXTRA.The winning series will premiere online at www.mnc.tv and broadcast onMOVIE EXTRA itself in 2011.One of the first competitions of its kind to be hosted entirely withinFacebook, MOVIE EXTRA WEBFEST leverages the power of social media bycreating an interactive forum where entrants are encouraged to get theirsocial networks working for them and entry is simple. Filmmakers pitchtheir original web series via a treatment and a 60sec trailer uploadedto the MOVIE EXTRA WEBFEST competition site and the amount of friendswho ‘like’ and comment on their work, will play a role in the judgingprocess. Entrants are encouraged to engage with as many forms of socialmedia in as many different ways to promote their entry online andincrease their chances of winning.”Movie Network Channels is committed to fostering new storytellingtalent, wherever it may reside, and we believe this competition willprovide the catalyst for a new breed of emerging filmmakers to breakinto the exciting transmedia landscape.” says Emma Moroney, SupervisingProducer at MOVIE NETWORK CHANNELS.Official competition registration opens TODAY atwww.facebook.com/movieextrawebfestand entries can be submitted from 30th July 2010.
The specs of the Red Camera were officially released today. So whats the big deal about Red? Well, you know that super sexy HD 1080p TV or camera you have? On the above diagram your telly is the little red rectangle, the grey around it is the glorious 28k pixels of Red.Film Is Dead.Diagram Blatantly stolen from Stu Maschwitz’ excellent Pro-Lost Blog.
Interesting article about ‘new world distribution’, where the film maker (or any producer really) can use the new fangled thing we call the internet to directly capture an audience.. (i know it sounds so very 2001, but its a good read…)
Many filmmakers are emigrating from the Old World, where they have little chance of succeeding. They are attracted by unprecedented opportunities and the freedom to shape their own destiny. Life in the New World requires them to work harder, be more tenacious, and take more risks. There are daunting challenges and no guarantees of success. But this hasn’t stopped more and more intrepid filmmakers from exploring uncharted territory and staking claims.