Thursday, December 10, 2015

America In Primetime

So over the past week, I watched this documentary mini series called America in Primetime. Each episode dissects and analyzes an aspect of popular American television. Mainly they are common characters like the father figure or the crusader/hero.
This doc series is awesome! It is a really cool analysis on over 50 years of television in America. The series uses clips of television from The Honeymooners to Breaking Bad.

The even cooler part about this doc series, is that the interviews are of historians, prominent actors, directors, and writers. What is so cool about that is that you get all of these different perspectives from people who are involved and experienced in all different aspects of television; from watching it, to being in it, to creating it.

If you like television, or like me, absolutely love it, this is definitely something you should check out!

The Hateful Eight

So it's that time of year again. Time for family, holidays, good food and presents. However, it's also time for some interesting movies. Now everyone's been clamoring about the new Star Wars, but personally, I have my eyes set on a different movie. The Hateful Eight is the, coincidently or not, eighth movie from famous director Quentin Tarantino. He's made some of the most commercially and critically successful movies ever, such as Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, and most recently, Django Unchained. He has been known for his sharp writing, over the top violence and meticulous attention to detail that's garnered him such a loving following over the years.

The movie, set to star actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Walter Goggins, Tim Roth among others. Many faces in the cast will look familiar to people who have seen a Tarantino film before. Anyway, the movie is about eight different people who, against their will, get trapped in a building and have to spend a few nights with each other, and this isn't any happy sleepover. No one trusts anyone and tensions are bound to be high.

One choice Tarantino made for the film which is really interesting is he made the decision to shoot using 70mm film, which isn't seen too often these days, and is certainly worth checking out one of the 70mm versions, because it will contain 6 addition minutes of film as well as usage of different takes. The total run time for the 70mm version is 3 hours and 2 minutes, and it's likely jam packed with everything that makes his movies so enjoyable. The movie releases on Christmas day, and I recommend making plans to go see, not necessarily on Christmas. And don't forget to go with someone you trust.

Sanjay's Super Team

I have a confession to make. Last weekend I movie hopped. I was with my boyfriend and we went to see The Night Before starring Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Now don't get me wrong, that movie was phenomenal. Classic raunchy Christmas comedy, as anything would be with Seth Rogan in it. When the movie ended, it was only 7pm and right next door was The Good Dinosaur (Disney Pixar's newest movie) playing at 7:20. We decided to pop in, sit in the back and enjoy the easygoing film. The Good Dinosaur was also a great movie. I didn't last through the whole thing though, as sitting for 5 hours straight isn't really a hobby of mine. The best part of this whole movie-going experience however, was the Disney short at the beginning of our second feature. It's been all talked up and when it came on the screen, I couldn't have been more excited.

This Disney short is titled Sanjay's Super Team. Sanjay's Super Team leads Disney movies in a new direction. This is what I believe to be, the first time that Disney has covered religious topics in one of its films, intentionally and obviously that is at least. This story documents the bond between an Indian boy and his father. They are Hindu, and therefore Sanjay's father follows the ritual of meditation. He tries to teach Sanjay the importance of meditation, but Sanjay is preoccupied with his toys, coloring and television. However, once Sanjay sits down to meditate with his father, he accidentally extinguishes the oil lamp. As a consequence, he is a taken on a spiritual journey and meets the Hindu gods. Once he comes back into reality, his father is upset because he feels like he wasn't able to get through to his son. However, once Sanjay goes back to coloring, he draws a picture of the gods and presents it to his father. His father is ecstatic and we witness a major bond between the two. This is based off of a true story. Once again, Disney Pixar fails to disappoint!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

De Last Post


     I probably should have gone the route of writing this blog post in the beginning of the week before my sanity packed up a suitcase and left in the middle of the night, but it just sent me  a postcard from the happy recess of my mind so here it goes before I forget.  

     Just like everyone else probably I must reflect on the past year in Fiction Field 2, it had and has its ups and had and has its down, but one thing is for sure...I learned a lot. I learned a lot about production, myself, and other people. Highlights include the workshop with David Scalafile and the Sound Workshop in the Field with Jeff Pullman, and of course the Beautiful Stopover City!

     This was the first semester where I was actually given a taste and an idea of the what the actual industry is like outside of work in the way of making film and television, and i'm happy to say I was excited and optimistic by what I saw. I definitely have a batter of understanding of what i want to do outside of college and what I need to be doing now to get there. 

     Going off that tangent, there is a lot that I know nothing about and there is a lot that I need to learn and fast. I am always over my head but slowly I feel like I am swimming up to the surface and hopefully my next film will go a lot smoother and more stress free than this one. I am so thankful for everyone who helped out on this project and their experience and dedication, I only wish that our in class group was bigger so we didn't have to rely on so many outside sources, as most of them had to take time out of their extremely busy schedules to help us, thank you to all you lovely people!

     To this semester and to this class I say Adios! And in some ways just good riddance, I can't wait to leave the inexperience of this semester behind on my part and now tackle bigger issues that I need to work on to be the best filmmaker I can be.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Next Stop LA

I'm pleased to announce that I have been offered a video production internship with SoulPancake for my last semester in LA. Which is a professional way of saying, I'M SO FREAKIN EXCITED TO WORK WITH SOULPANCAKE. 

Honestly, since I knew I was going to be spending a semester in LA my number one choice has been SoulPancake. When I think about what I want to be doing after I graduate, working for their company is on the top of my list. Since it's such a small group of people, the interns are actually a key part of their team. They explained that while helping with all of their projects, they also have the interns collaborate on their own project as well. I don't know about you but that sounds a lot better to me than writing script coverage and fetching coffee all semester. 

Some people may find it cheesy, but we all have that one tv show we watch that makes us smile no matter what else is going on in life. That show for me will always be The Office. That's how I actually discovered SoulPancake. And that's what I want to do for others; create something that inspires and creates happiness. 

In the summer I found myself reaching for their book "Chew on Life's Big Questions" constantly. It's all about exploring the human experience and what it even means to be human. I'd highly suggest it. 

Their slogan is "We make stuff that matters." All their content is positive and just makes you feel good. I feel like it sparks creativity and inspires others. That's what I want to do with my degree. Not make commercials or other mindless consumer content. 

I'm going to work extremely hard next semester to show them I could be a great member of their team. *wink wink* To hire me after my internship. Everything they stand for is what I want to create.

Even though things this semester did not go exactly as planned, I'm just going to look forward to this next exciting chapter. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Hello post-audio, hello score, goodbye sanity

Writing this post early in the week because Josh & I will have our hands full with editing audio all Thursday and then I'll be placing the score in the film.

When I think about this class I feel a lot of things: frustration, pride, anxiety, excitement. The time constraint is very unnerving and I just want to make the film the best it can be because we've put in so much work into it. There just isn't enough time in the day at this point to make everything perfect.

There are so many things out of my control. We wont get the edited ADR until Thursday, and I'm not getting music until Tuesday night. Then there's waiting for graphics editing/placing foley in. So I can't do anything on my end until at least tomorrow when we get all of that. (which is why I'm blogging now)

I know I'm the type of person who takes charge of things but I didn't expect to have to do so much of the actual work in post. I volunteered to do it because I know how to and it was easier to do in the time constraint than teach someone else how to log footage, etc. There are things I would change about the production, including my own work on it. I'm not perfect at all but I certainly tried. The film could not have been completed by the help of many of my group members and friends who are angels for stepping aside from their own productions to help in pre-production. This semester has given me so much stress and I am ready to be done.

Brb, crying over a bowl of cereal/pouring over all my other undone work/praying that I make it through this week in one piece. That was hella melodramatic and I know that everything will get done somehow. I'm trying to stay positive because I know the film will be great.

A small reflection...

This semester has been a tough one for me, mainly because of my health but also because I took on a lot of projects that I necessarily was not completely dedicated too. Don't get me wrong working on Stopover City was fun and the cast was amazing but creatively i didn't have the opportunity to invest as much as I wanted to. It always seemed like no matter how much help I may have offered a lot of things got done without me knowing. I respect my peers for their hard work and dedication to our film because that honestly can not go unnoticed and applause to them for doing so. I just think I would have had more fun if I wasn't just producing or marketing. 

Besides filming and countless editing for my other production course, I have a hard time with my health this semester. It's pretty tough trying to maintain a high GPA and being healthy (at the end of the day GPA doesn't matter- I know)! For some reason it seems as if I spent more time getting X-rays than I did taking test. But I'm happy to say that I'm getting better and everything seems to be perfectly on track again. I probably have a lot of thank you's to send out to my friends and professors whom have been so patient with me this semester. Ah it means a lot!

I don't want this post to sound all bad, because I came into this class wanting new experience and knowledge and for the most part I got that! Plus I made some cool memories along the way. For now I'm excited for London next semester, and hopefully LA! I've had the pleasure to design for my fellow student filmmakers future projects next semester. And overall the present is nice and the future is looking bright. 

For now I wish everyone patience for finals week and the best of luck,  


P.S: It's crazy to think that already next school year I'll be a senior! Honestly where the hell did the time go? 

Pushing the Boundaries of Horror

One of my first blog posts of the semester was about the horror genre, so it seems only fitting that I close out the semester on the same topic. By now everyone has heard about the horror-comedy Krampus that opened just last week. I previously blogged about  just how ridiculously easy it is to make a TERRIBLE  horror flick,   citing M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit in just how far fetched these horror films have become. I haven't seen Krampus, but I still can't believe that there was actually a horror movie made ABOUT CHRISTMAS!!!!! There is no way this movie can take itself seriously. 

The film is about an anti-Santa Clause those goes around punishing kids who have misbehaved on Christmas Eve. Of course in true horror fashion the creature has to be some goat-devil entity. This film was relatively low budget (surprise) at $15million, but after its opening weekend it has already pulled in over $16million and came in SECOND at the Box office. That is ridiculous. That means that Krampus beat out both Creed and good Dinosaur (sorry Sam). Lets keep in mind that this is a horror movie about Christmas, a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Not exactly horror movie material. This just goes to show you how far Hollywood is willing to stretch their limits. Or could they really just be that low on ideas?

This film is based off of folklore, which in my eyes at least gives it some credibility, but I'm not sure making a feature film out of it was the right move. Sure, a dark and funny Christmas movie has been done before, just look at Gremlins, but making the switch to full blown horror with a touch of comic hilarity just doesn't seem right for a Christmas movie. 

While it might not be as downright creepy or gory, I can't help but think of the cult-classic Evil Dead movies when I think of Krampus. I just can't see this movie taking itself seriously; if it does, I'm not sure its worth the watch. If Krampus realizes itself for what it is and accepts its limitations as a film, then it might be a completely different story. 

Sigur Rós - Valtari

Because it is officially finals week I figure it can't hurt to post about something a little lighter. Sigur Rós - Valtari is a beautiful work of art, the music and the music video. The dancers in the video are outstanding and the video itself is just extremely well done. From the editing to the coloring it was just outstanding. While it may be unpleasant to some people I think most can appreciate this piece for what it really is. There is so much that is told visually in this piece; with no dialogue to drive it forward it has to tell the story through the actions and the editing.

The piece is a little lengthy for what is supposed to be a music video however I would consider it a short film and not a music video. Anyway it can be a little unsettling so here are some still photos if you dont feel like looking at the whole video. There is a little bit of nudity but not much.

And for all the cool people here is the link: Valtari

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My favorite Golden Doorknob

The golden doorknobs are one of the Park schools most closely held traditions. It's an opportunity for students, no matter their level of experience, to express themselves creatively, and possibly even take home the gold. Now being a victim of a doorknob killing myself, these films hold a special place in my heart, but there is one film that rises above the rest. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you that I believe that "Gerbert the Pervert" may be one of the best Golden doorknob films ever made.
Now maybe it's just because this film is as close to a cartoon as you can get, but I absolutely love the energy of this film. You can tell that they really pulled out all of the stops. Every joke or gag they pull is masterfully executed, and always keeps the audience on their toes. Cinematography and lighting wise things are a little shaky, but I kind of feel as though that adds to the films charm. I don't mind if things aren't up to hollywood standard as long as they work well within their limitations. 

Anyhow, I just really wanted to share this film with you all. There are very few student films that come out of park that I think are at this level of creativity and comedy, so please take a look. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Academy Award Winning Movie Stereotypes

So when I was in high school I watched this video like once a week because I loved the YouTube channel and also I thought the video was genius. Funnily enough I completely forgot about it once I started college. Recently though the video popped into my mind and I re watched it. I still think that it is a pretty great video, and I have a much better appreciation of it since being in school for film/tv production. The video is a mock of common tropes that many academy award winning movies have.

The fake trailer shows a parody of things that a lot of really highly acclaimed films exploit like a privileged adult helping out under privileged kids in a school, and a happily single and wealthy man suddenly having a kid or a relative with a disability placed in his custody. I would definitely recommend this video if you are in the mood for a laugh. I also recommend watching the YouTube channel this video is from, the videos are all pretty good and definitely entertaining.

Things on my Mind

Tonight is the final premiere of the last few episodes of Campus Retreat. Actually it's happening right now... and I unfortunately, am home. I'm heading to NYC early tomorrow morning and had to drive home today after my last class to bring my dog to the kennel. It's kind of really upsetting that I can't make it to the premiere or the wrap party.

It's always a really nice closure to be able to watch the final product of all your semesters long work with the people who worked by you. I've worked on 8 different ICTV shows during my 4 years here and it's sad that for me it's coming to a very uneventful end. I wish I could be there to laugh with everyone tonight and to celebrate our success.

I'm trying hard not to think too negatively about my experiences this semester. I think I am mostly just very ready to get out of Ithaca. I worked on Fake Out for several semesters and my last one really wasn't what I expected. I only got to be on for 2 episodes, no halloween or last episode for me either. As much as I loved all of the cast and crew of Campus Retreat (I can't stress that enough) sometimes it honestly made me upset to be on set. As assistant director you don't have the most fun on set because you're the one making sure we're actually getting work done. The last time I was on set one of the actors (granted he did get eliminated earlier) asked me what my job actually was and joked if I was just a "professional yeller." He should realize the only reason I had to literally yell was because after the third time calling 'quiet on set' it gets really frustrating when people just blantaly do not listen. I know he was joking but it's a matter of respect.

This sounds like a really sad and depressing post, but I really have loved every show I've had the honor of working on. ICTV is where I gained the majority of my field and studio experience. Also, I'm going to nyc for a concert so I'm really pumped to jam out and see all the cute Christmas lights.

I'm just glad it's time for me to move on. I'm excited to work on professional sets. I'm excited for LA. I'm excited to graduate. I'm excited for a fresh start.

Anyway don't forget to watch ALL episodes (WOO!) of Campus Retreat on I'm really proud of all the cast and crew.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Almost Famous

Over Thanksgiving break I was driving to Long Island to see my family while my Spotify played on shuffle. All of a sudden, the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John came on and I was overcome with memories of one of my favorite movies that I haven't even seen in the longest time. Isn't it crazy how music can do that to you? You hear it and are instantly reminded of a moment - whether its happy or sad, there is always an association. The movie I immediately connected this song to is Almost Famous, starring Kate Hudson. She is my favorite character in this film as she plays the quirky happy-go-lucky Penny Lane. The movie is based on a young writer who gets hired by The Rolling Stone and travels with one of America's most popular rock band of that time. What I love about this movie is how it incorporates real rock musicians from the 70s such as Simon and Garfunkel and Black Sabbath, but the band being documented is completely made up.The movie does a great job of incorporating Stillwater into the time period and connecting their music style to other ones that actually exist. This movie is an excellent period piece. It documents the 1970s very well along with the lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. William, the teenage journalist starts out very naive but after befriending one of the rockstars, Russell and Penny Lane, his life quickly turns around. It is a great story for character development as we witness Kate Hudson's character nearly hitting rock bottom. There are sad moments, but the emotions that will come over you from watching this film are worth it. Directed by Cameron Crowe, it very much reflects his own experiences. He himself was a teenage writer for the Rolling Stone and toured with multiple bands including The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin and The Eagles.  You can definitely tell that this story is written from some kind of personal experience because it touches close to the heart.

Why you should be using everyday


     So now the secret is out that is free to all of us students here at Ithaca College, and it's kind of a big deal. Why? Because in case you didn't know has an insanely large library of tutorials and resources, often times each tutorial being 2-3 hours. Especially in the camera department. So instead of browsing mindless Facebook posts or youtube for hours I suggest utilizing your time to learn, and become better at what it is you want to do. 
     I've always been a believer that education outside the classroom is equal and often times more important than that inside, especially in the medium we are in. Experience is key is learning and taking what we learn from the classroom into real life is where we synthesize and acts much like the classroom, often times giving assignments or tips on how to succeed in the field, and being able to take it at your own pace, and pick and choose what you want to learn, has been extremely valuable to me.  
     Lately I've been on a quest for knowledge, ingesting as much information as I can successfully and the resources we have now in this age are broader and vaster than ever before. There really is no excuse why our generation shouldn't be able to put out the best content in the history of the medium. Learning to utilize these tools is going to determine what the future of film is going to be and I intend to utilize all my resources until I can be the best I can be, which is a looooonnnnggg way off from now. 
     In summation, you have a fantastic resource that is free at the click of a finger. Use it and I promise you you won't regret it. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Learning from this semester

My name is Michayla Rose Savitt and this semester, I reached my breaking point. What was I thinking? Simultaneously doing production design for TWO films, one of which I co-wrote & developed? I should have known that doing all the production design for my fiction field 2 film would be too much, since I have a tendency to throw my whole self into every project I do (not a bad quality in all cases, but not great when you also have a thousand and one other obligations).

I also took on a large role in post-production by transferring/logging all the footage, re-writing the script supervisor's notes for our editor, and marking half the sound cues to foley in. And because I was so invested in other parts of pre-production, I don't think the production design was as spectacular as I dreamed it would be. This was super disappointing for me when I thought back to my original goals for my independent study in production design.

Over the break 12 hours total driving time to and from home, I had a lot of time to reflect on the semester thus far. A big reason that I end up going to sleep super late all the time is because I have too much going on during the day with planning for extracurriculars/having one too many radio shifts. The clarity was nice, but slightly upsetting. I realized that I need to discontinue more extracurriculars than I originally thought. I've written about this before, but I think I need to say it again for my own sake so I actually follow it. 

While this is an easy thing to say in theory, it's not easy in practice. I already made the tough decision to discontinue my involvement with the online radio station after this semester, since I have become more involved with the FM station. And like i've mentioned before, I am no longer on the producing team of After Hours. So two things that have been a big part of my life for more than a year, but I think I've gotten all that I can out of them and need to move on.

I'd really like to focus more on the art department side of things now that I have more experience under my belt. I made the decision to only take on positions related to art (aka already said no to producing someone's senior cinema thesis) because I want to further enhance my skills in that department. So far I've been recruited to working art crew for a media thesis, and also for this year's David Ames winning script. So i'm excited for both of those.

After rambling for 5 paragraphs, I'll leave you with some tips about how to stay calm when it feels like everything is about to swallow you whole:

-listen to music that makes you happy
-talk to a friend who can sympathize
-make time to exercise. it helps you blow off steam.
-journal about frustrations
-take 10 minutes out of your day to meditate
-make a list of stressor and number them in order of what's most important to worry about/what is actually under your control.
-hug a friend!!!!!!

That is all. Good luck this week, friends.