Information architecture question continued from

Information architecture question continued from the last post: Using the content of the weblog itself as a starting point, I created the directory of films and directors I’ve referenced and turned it into a navigation tool. When I’ve only mentioned a director (e.g., Paul Thomas Anderson) without specifying a film, I’ve left it off for now. We’ll see how it works. I feel comfortable with this method of mining the archives, though. Still working on the best way to highlight non-production, non-film entries. They may eventually sort themselves into “art” and “about me” categories.


There’s no clean category for rants about some of my domain names expiring unexpectedly, throwing my sites into chaos for 3-5 days (I’m told), so I’ll leave that story for another web log.

Went to an IFP24 Market

Went to an IFP24 Market orientation meeting tonight. This doesn’t mean Souvenir‘s been selected for the market yet; it was a Q&A session for filmmakers hoping to participate in the Market. Here are the bullet points, primarily as they relate to Souvenir:

  • In the section Souvenir‘s entered, they’ll select 15 shorts from probably 2-300 submitted.
  • The major prospects for a short film are pretty clear, and the Market is useful for at least the first two (in order of priority to me): first phase of a feature/series; calling card; and acquisition/distribution target.
  • To wit, focus more attention on film festival programmers and production companies than on distributors and buyers.
  • Be prepared to discuss the next project, whether it’s expanding the short into a feature or directing another script (both)
  • Also, focus efforts not only on the short term (hook me up!), but on the long-term as well. (It’s a relationship business, after all.)
  • Spend wisely (i.e., not that much) on glossy press kits, promo gear, etc. for industry people. They don’t really care; they’re looking for and at product, the talent; not the peripheral crap. (But what about all those muffin baskets I’ve been sending out?) Save the glossy promo material for the fundraising.

    LOLOL. Jon Stewart just said, “We’re Oldie McOldington,” on The Daily Show. And now Rupert Everett’s tearing France a new one. Heh. He’s funny.

    Of course, as soon as I started this entry, I turned on IFC and Ridicule was on, so I had to watch it. It’s by Patrice Leconte, and it is a rippingly funny, smart movie about the court of Louis XIV, where wit was the coin of the realm, so to speak. Here’s Roger Ebert’s review.

  • All that Adwords talk got

    All that Adwords talk got me thinking, so I climbed in bed with Google myself (or went into the alley behind a dumpster with it, anyway). I launched a small campaign, titled “Damn you!” to promote the movie. In it, I faux-curse some of the directors whose work/example inspired/encouraged me to get off my butt and make a movie.

    Each ad starts out, “Damn you, < insert director's name here >!” which is not a reference to Happy Gilmore, or even to Homer Simpson, although you’re getting close. It fell from the lips of God’s (and the NRA’s) anointed, Charlton Heston, in the last scene of Planet of the Apes.

    Testing my campaign, I found this article on Apple’s site about the production of Steven Soderbergh’s new film, Full Frontal.

    Full Frontal, as you can read, was made with nearly the same level of equipment (DV and Final Cut Pro) as Souvenir November 2001. And in just four months. 18 days of shooting. $2 million budget. With Julia Roberts, David Duchovny, David Hyde Pierce and Catherine Keener. There’s a website that documents the production of the film, week by week.

    Now, if you have trouble telling the difference between Souvenir and Full Frontal, just remember: Full Frontal‘s shot in PAL with DAT sound. Souvenir was shot in NTSC with MD sound.

    Poetry using Google Adwords: One

    Poetry using Google Adwords: One more non-traditional (at least by contemporary standards) medium for creative expression (besides ebay and amazon reviews, which I mentioned last week.) The difference with adwords, of course, is that it costs you money ($15/thousand views these days). This guy did it in April. I did it in February. 2001.

    There are two creative elements of an ad on google, of course: the ad itself, and the keywords it appears on. To drive a little traffic to my site (and to amuse myself, really) I set an ad to appear on searches for “haiku.” It wasn’t that the site that has anything to do with haiku, it was Google’s adword format–which had launched at the end of 2000–which clearly resembled haiku:

    Invite visitors
    to my cluster of sites
    through keyword purchase

    While editing this post, I found an interesting article from the Online Journalism Review on the emergence of text ads.

    I was on a panel

    I was on a panel today at -scope, an art fair held here in NYC this weekend. Hoping to follow in the tradition of the Gramercy International Art Fair, which began in the mid 90’s by filling the rooms of the seedy-but-cool Gramercy Hotel with young galleries from here and there, -scope put galleries into three floors of the Gershwin Hotel and scheduled a bunch of ancillary events: a benefit, a concert or something, and “Collector’s Day,” (aka Mothers’ Day). Here are some of my views on collecting art, from a wall text of an exhibition I curated 18 months ago.

    It was fine. A panel discussion is one of those tricky events where something a self-absorbed person deludes himself into believing (that, of course people want to hear him hold forth on whatever enters his head) veers dangerously close to reality (people do come to hear him say something; it’s not a panel of mimes or monks, after all.). But too much self-deprecation aside, it went pretty well, I think. people only began to flee after an 1.3 hours or so, a respectable amount of attention to pay. So kudos to Bill, who organized and moderated, who probably collects more than I do, and who was easily dissuaded from holding an “art collector’s game show” (his first idea). [Click here to become a contestant on Jeopardy!]

    Just got back from the

    Just got back from the Tribeca Film Festival screening of The Director’s Cut of Cinema Paradiso. What’s the difference? Well, Giuseppe Tornatore originally released a 155-minute version of the film, which went unnoticed, then it got cut down to 123 minutes or so. That’s when it won Cannes, Cesars, Igors, and the Oscar. So obviously, the thing to do is put back not only the missing 20 minutes, but an additional 15 minutes on top of that.

    So what’s the difference in the story? In the movie experience? Since I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t know the story (It’s been 13 years, after all. How long are we supposed to keep a secret?), I’ll spoil it for you. When Toto/Salvatore goes back to his hometown for Alfredo’s funeral, he finds, meets, comisserates, and hooks up with the grown-up Elena, his long-lost teenage love. The whole reason they were separated turns out to be the saintly Alfredo, who told Elena to forget Toto and not look back. That’s the big difference.

    But as Vincent Vega wisely noted, It’s the little differences. Toto’s first sexual encounter is with the ‘ho who turns tricks in the movies (and who gives him a nod years later outside Alfredo’s funeral); the sister’s married, with kids; Elena’s parents were very involved and opposed to the kids’ relationship; Toto’s stint in the army was due to a bureaucratic error; he changed his name to make movies. It all adds up to more information and character exposition, but far a less coherent narrative arc and a much muddier emotional mandate. Toto’s less likable, Alfredo’s more meddling and less sympathetic, and Elena’s, well, she can’t live up to the idealized, true love that lived in Toto’s mind (and that drove Toto to make his films). It was interesting to see the movie as a complex but ultimately negative example of a director’s unfettered vision. That the shortest version could be “pulled” from the longer version, that it could be so completely different in its emotional nuances was very instructive.

    One last point: The setting of the film–in the aftermath of WWII–and the family’s irrational waiting for the father to come back/their denial that he’d been killed resonated more than I remembered. Of course, on both the way in and the way out, festivalgoers crowded the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floor windows of the Battery Park mulitplex, which offered full frontal views of the World Trade Center site across the street.

    Today: Picked up my bulk

    Today:

  • Picked up my bulk order of 20-minute VHS tapes
  • Started duping screening copies of the movie (eight and counting, so far)
  • Prepped entry packets for the Int’l Short Film Festival Berlin, the AFI Fest in LA, and the Mill Valley Film Festival in the Bay Area. All these festivals are in Oct./Nov., after the NY Film Festival, the ideal/dream festival for Souvenir (November 2001).

    Also, because I’ve been remiss in my Steven Soderbergh references lately, I finally found out what Itchy and Scratchy said on their DVD commentary in a recent episode (“The Bart wants what the Bart wants”) of The Simpsons. A fan on a message board posted the comment as “There’s no pleasing Steven Soderbergh.”

  • For those who think weblogging

    For those who think weblogging is now too mainstream, there are alternative outlets for creative expression. Some, like Amazon reviews (of Ping, for instance, or the been-around-the-web-and-back Family Circus) are persistent. Others, like ebay auctions, are perishable. Follow the money, of course. Since I’m more interested in clearing out space in our apartment, recouping the cost of the film, or just making a quick buck, I’ve mostly opted for the perishable.

    Here is a sampling of my ebay auctions. Read them for their scintillating entertainment value; of course, bid only if you’re really interested. Believe me, some of the old ones were HI-larious:

  • The Visionaire Bible, a limited edition art/design/fashion magazine/objet. Very big in the 90’s
  • A rare Kozmo.com messenger bag prototype/sewing sample. Don’t worry, I bought the only two known to exist. I’m keeping the other one.
  • A limited edition album from Matthew Barney’s last movie, Cremaster 2. I have a couple of these, too. I’m much less into hoarding than I was in 2000-2001.
  • A USB PCMCIA adapter, purchased because I didn’t notice my laptop already had a USB port.
  • It’s hardly ever a pleasure

    It’s hardly ever a pleasure to read Orwell, or Christopher Hitchens, for that matter, but after you do, you’re annoyed at how worthwhile you find it. (Unless, of course, you’re a huge Henry Kissinger fan. Or Henry Kissinger.) To wit, Hitchens’ writing on Orwell in the LA Weekly. Having just barely finished cleaning up the piles and bills and invites and life that accumulated during the editing of Souvenir, this excerpt from Orwell’s “Confessions of a Book Reviewer,” pulled me right in (just find and replace “cigarettes::red vines” and “tea::diet coke”):

    In a cold but stuffy bed-sitting room littered with cigarette ends and half-empty cups of tea, a man in a moth-eaten dressing gown sits at a rickety table, trying to find room for his typewriter among the piles of dusty papers that surround it. He cannot throw the papers away because the wastepaper basket is already overflowing, and besides, somewhere among the unanswered letters and unpaid bills it is possible that there is a cheque for two guineas which he is nearly certain he forgot to pay into the bank. There are also letters with addresses which ought to be entered into his address book. He has lost his address book, and the thought of looking for it, or indeed of looking for anything, afflicts him with acute suicidal impulses.

    (Oh, and find and replace “acute suicidal impulses::self-doubt and recurrent calculations of the income I’m forgoing by not working for The Man.)

    Brought home a couple of

    Brought home a couple of video works to screen/consider by the artist Gabriel Orozco, and they’re amazing. It’s been about five minutes, and already I’m taken. The artist made five videos as part of Recordings and Drawings, a 1997 show at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. They are 40-60 minute streams of things Orozco sees through his video camera on the streets of New York and Amsterdam. The title for each video is comprised of the first and last images on the video. [I’m watching From Flat Tyre To Airplane right now. From Dog Shit to Irma Vep is next.] Here is an excellent discussion of Orozco’s use of video and the genesis of this project. The museum finally got around to publishing a book based on the work.

    They’re quite rough, raw, really, edited solely in the camera. As such, though, they get pretty close to the “eye of the artist,” especially in the case of Orozco, who makes a specialty of working with the most mundane, unprecious materials possible (his last show at Marian Goodman Gallery included works made of dryer lint, plastic bags, and rubber balls with dried palm fronds). I’m not sure which way it works: 1) either Orozco points out the art/beauty we overlook everyday in objects and situations around us, in which case he’s extremely self-effacing and magnanimous, or 2) through his art made out of these commonplace objects and concepts (reflections, circles/spheres, leaves, etc.) he takes over the world, or at least our vision/viewing of it (now everything looks like an Orozco!), in which case he’s a megalomaniac. Do those options have to be mutually exclusive? I mean, I plan on stil being nice to people when I take over the world…