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Caught up in an information culture.

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“Initially George was adamant that we edit the action sequences silently – no sound effects, no music. The rhythm of the visuals has to work as best it can before being enhanced by sound and music. No hiding allowed. This also allows you to focus very intensely purely on the visuals and not be distracted by temp sound.  Once we have milked the picture edit, then great attention is paid to sound and how it can enhance the storytelling. It​’s not only in the high impact scenes but in the more subtle scenes for which sound adds another vital dimension. In the scene where Max meets the girls and the subsequent fight sequence, sound designer David White put a huge amount of work into the chain effects, the water effects and other Max ‘headspace’ sounds. The soundtrack knits the shots together and amplifies the whole immersive experience.”

Margaret Sixel on editing Mad Max: Fury Road (via a fantastic interview by The Screen Blog)


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“Editing this film was tough because there’s very little dialogue, which is how scenes are structured, so the options are endless. It was a relief to find a scene with dialogue. You cut them in a day. It’s ridiculously easy.”

Margaret Sixel on editing Mad Max: Fury Road

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George Miller’s POV Shots

A truck driver's POV on a barren desert mountain.

Screenshot from Rishi Kaneria’s supercut of Mad Max POV shots.

Filmmaker Rishi Kaneria put together this supercut of POV shots from the original Mad Max trilogy.  It’s a pretty red-hot editing job in its own right – I’ve probably watched it a dozen times for that combination of catchy mashup and ultraviolence – but it also shows how visceral and effective George Miller’s POV shots are for making the viewer part of the action.

What I haven’t seen anyone mention is how clear this supercut makes the genre differences between all the Mad Max films.  That’s a great trick George Miller pulled – there’s pretty clearly one eye and one aesthetic behind all these films, but they’re just as clearly not the same genre of action film.  Especially that first one: it’s got more  in common visually with Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout than it does, say, Beyond Thunderdome.

Click through and take a look. Continue reading

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Behind the Scenes on Mad Max: Fury Road

Filming a car chase in the desert for Mad Max: Fury Road.

One of the glorious things about Mad Max: Fury Road was that it showed old-school movie-making can still kick ass and take names – not just keeping up with the CGI Joneses, but a shot over the bow before it surged forward and made the rest of the blockbuster field eat its wake.

This eighteen-minute compilation of raw footage from Mad Max: Fury Road shows just how much of the effects were done live.  It’s pretty exciting stuff, even without any cleanup or CGI.  Don’t get me wrong, CGI’s an art form, and can be a really beautiful one.  But there’s still a real freshness and immediacy to practical effects, and an incredible amount of skill goes into building and executing these effects.

See below for the full video. Continue reading

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“Learn to Say F*ck You”: Sol LeWitt’s Advice to Artists, Put to Music (Video, 2013)

Animated still from MOCAtv's "Learn to Say F*ck You", with words by Sol LeWitt and music by Rancid. (2013)

From MOCAtv’s “Learn to Say F*ck You”, with words by Sol LeWitt and music by Rancid. (2013)

Sometimes there’s a mashup so sublime, you just can’t resist. Modern art, punk rock, and good creative advice?  I’m on board.  I’m so behind that. Swirl some bright colors in my face, and the deal’s done.

MOCAtv, the digital channel of the Museum of Contemporary Art, writes this about their video:

In 1965, Sol LeWitt wrote fellow sculptor Eva Hesse a four-page letter of encouragement, urging her to stop doubting herself and to simply continue making her work. Despite the fact that some would consider their friendship unlikely, the two sculptors were close friends and wrote to each other frequently about their ideas, work, and personal lives from 1960 until Hesse’s death ten years later. Often quoted, LeWitt’s letter has become a source of inspiration and a vote of confidence for many artists the world over.
Producer Aaron Rose (Beautiful Losers, Become a Microscope) worked with punk rock band Rancid to remake LeWitt’s words into a bold and boisterous song. With wild and wavy LeWitt-inspired animation, this video energetically embodies the message of its writer.

Watch the video below, and if you’re up for a little hand-writing archaeology, you can also read LeWitt’s full letter.

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Ira Glass’s Advice for Beginners (2013)

AKA, “Make Bad Work”.

Neil Gaiman’s advice to young artists to “make good art” is useful and supportive, but equally useful and supportive is Ira Glass’s advice that young artists should be prepared to make bad work, and a lot of it.

Creative work is often discussed, even among people who know better, in a romantic language that implicitly contains our cultural myths about genius and inspiration, because that’s the language we have for creativity.  When we talk about a successful artist’s early career, it’s usually in terms of innate talent and voice that’s visible even in their early work.  It’s easy to forget, especially for young artists trying to figure out what’s worth showing and what’s worth finishing, that that’s an interpretation made in hindsight, and often contains more than a little wishful thinking.  There will be a lot of bad work.