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Posts Tagged ‘film’

Harry Bliss

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One of my heroes, Ray Harryhausen, died yesterday.

Here’s a link to my tribute on Cinema Arete.

God bless you, Ray…

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My son Sam and his creative partner in crime Sean Newton have finally posted their short film “Torched”.

The folks who’ve seen it are universal in their praise.

Find out why…and discover two young film-makers with a very bright future.

Michael Bay, your days are numbered.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/62587166″>Torched</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/overactiveimagination”>Overactive Imagination Studios</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Be sure to pop over to my film blog and check out coverage of this year’s edition of Silence is Golden.

The format is a cineaste’s dream:  a classic silent film is chosen for screening, with live accompanying music from the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. This time around, it was Douglas Fairbanks in the 1920 adventure “Mark of Zorro”.

An evening to remember…

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I’m a lifelong fan of science fiction. A space geek and proud of it.

Here’s my latest short film, “First Contact”, and, as the title suggests, this piece is about a close encounter with a distant, alien world, evidence of advanced, intelligent life. Abstract, indisputably odd…with accompanying ambient music.

A tip of the hat to Stan Kubrick…

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As previously mentioned, I’ve been asked quite a few times why I decided to write a western.  Even old pals were left scratching their heads. Not only a western, a traditional western, featuring a gunslinger who might have been played by Gary Cooper or Randolph Scott.

Well…

As some of you know, I also keep a film blog. I spent most of the last couple of days composing a lengthy personal essay on my love of western movies. I think the piece perfectly sums up my attraction for the genre and I hope you’ll click on this link, pop over and give it a read. I don’t often write non-fiction of this length but I’m really pleased by how this piece came out.

Don’t be shy about contributing your thoughts, opinions and reminiscences, perhaps offer your own roster of all time faves.

Always looking for tips on great films…

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One more short flick, this time a personal reflection on the power and impact of the printed word on my life.

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Here’s a short film collaboration I’d like to share with you.  I created the music, the great Stan Brakhage provided the quote and Sherron captured the images and edited it all together.  Hope you enjoy this abstract meditation on perception.

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timeIt’s time.

Time to take that next step and address some of the stagnation that I believe has crept into my writing, seek out new modes of expression.  

First of all, that means upgrading the technology I’ve been working with.  My old Mac no longer made the nut; it was slow and lacked sufficient memory.  Obsolete.  It had to go.  It was an emotional parting.  For months Sherron has been pestering me to look into purchasing another computer but the price tag always made me balk.  I’m a Mac guy but, let’s face it, there are PCs out there that could perform adequately for, literally, half the price of a new Mac.  But…they weren’t Macs and I had a very bad experience with an IBM computer when I first made the leap to the digital age 20 years ago and I’ve never forgotten it.  

We pondered on “settling” for a Mac mini but after consulting folks like our pal Rob (who knows more about computers than I ever will), we went for the pricier iMac.  More room to grow and expand, better suited for some of the projects and tasks I had in mind.

A couple of Sundays ago, I bowed to the inevitable and we made the purchase on-line.  

Then came the hard part:  saving the files from my old computer and starting the shutdown process.  

That ancient Mac served me well and I don’t know how many millions of words I tapped into it.  Never any big glitches and nothing mechanically went wrong in the twelve years I used it to foist my weird visions on the world.  Replaced a couple of keyboards that I battered to death, that’s about it.  

My mourning period ended abruptly, however, when my new iMac arrived.  

iMacWow.

Within fifteen minutes of accepting the box from the delivery dude I was up and runnng.  That’s hookup, internet, everything.  And I am, as previously mentioned, a complete mechanical moron.  That’s why I love Macs.  Steve Jobs, I could kiss you!

I’ve spent the last couple of days getting acquainted.  This machine has everything I could ask for, including the capability to make and edit movies, compose music, record readings and podcasts, desktop publish…cripes, I could put a man on Mars with it if I had the know-how and a trillion bucks.  

I’ve promised myself I will be patient, recognizing that there’s a learning curve for a technophobe like me when dealing with a machine of this complexity. Fortunately, Sherron and both my sons are very adept using iMovie and Garageband and many of the other features this Mac offers so I’m hardly on my own, learning by trial and terror.  Although that will be part of it too:  doing something stupid and learning from my mistakes.  So be it.  

I.  Am.  In.  Love.   Utterly smitten with the promise this machine represents.  A fresh start and an opportunity to explore other disciplines that have long held a fascination to me.  And you’re invited along for the ride.  My first efforts will be crude, unsophisticated, amateurish but I’ll get better, I promise.  And I will share the results of my experiments with you, show you my successes and not shy away from relating my disasters.  Bear with me, tell me about your own experiences, offer advice…I’m a slow learner but a stubborn one too.  I won’t give up until I discover for myself the limits of this machine (if there are any), fusing it with my fertile, perverse imagination to create some original and daring work.  That’s my second promise.

And as long as we’re on the subject of new beginnings, here’s my third vow:  to interact more directly with people who find and comment on this site.  Previously, I’ve maintained the policy of letting my essays speak for themselves and not responding publicly to those who have left comments, positive or negative, on Beautiful Desolation.  I felt I’d said my piece in my essays and commentaries and to rebut a reply from a reader would be, to some extent, unfair.  If I thought a certain question had to be addressed or a troll warned off, I did so through private communications with those individuals.  Not any more.  You wanna talk to me, offer praise or brickbats, I’m here. 

reznorI hereby declare from this post (#87) onward, I’ll do my best to answer your questions and debate and engage with readers directly and honestly.  These discussions will be as well-mannered, fruitful and polite as I can make them…but I will continue to leave the “moderation” function on to weed out the nutbars and those who believe they can hide behind the anonymity of the internet to say scurrilous, despicable things with absolute impunity.  The kind of slime Trent Reznor refers to in a recent post on some of the bizarro on-line communities that exist out there.  My thanks to Mike Cane for sending me a link.  Have a look, it’ll make your skin crawl.

The vast majority of people who pop by here are nothing like the douchebags Reznor describes–they’re curious, seeking alternative sources of fiction, perhaps drawn by my reputation for being, ah, outspoken, something of a maverick, an outsider who seems perfectly content with that status.  My work, my life has nothing to do with perpetuating the status quo or offering warm, fuzzy words of reassurance.  I’m here to upset your equilibrium, destroy carefully held preconceptions, rip you out of that comfort zone you’re happily immersed in. 

I won’t dummy down my writing, compromise my talent or thrust my fists into soft, velvet gloves.  That wouldn’t be doing me, you or anybody else any favours.  I’ll present what I know, what I’ve experienced, what I’m thinking “with the bark on”, as FDR liked to say.  The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

So help me God.

Today, a new page has been turned.  Welcome to Beautiful Desolation, Phase II. 

Let me hear from you and tell me what you think.

talk

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