the auto-chronicled narrative conceit

The following is excerpted from my Paranormal Activity review… it’s a portion of the post that I find myself referring to and wanted the passage in its own post for reference.

video camera guyTHE LIMITATIONS OF AUTO-CHRONICLING

The “auto-chronicled narrative conceit” has its innate issues. It creates a single camera situation shooting in real time (Blair Witch circumvented this by having two cameras available, but didn’t really leverage it), with one character nearly always off screen, that does away with (or severely hampers) all the established film vocabulary tools… the wides, the two-shots, the over-the-shoulders, the singles, the cutaways, the inserts. All the film tricks that directors and editors use to subconsciously establish relationships between characters, to control tension and mood in dialogue exchanges, to communicate unspoken subtext, to control and structure our experience of the story into a narrative that works, are suddenly wildly restricted if not impossible to leverage. […]

Paranormal Activity: the review

paranormal-activity-movie-poster1Paranormal Activity horror film review

“Once every five years, a guy makes a movie for a nickel that can cross over to a broad audience,” says “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum, who, as a senior executive at Miramax Films, had a producing credit on “The Reader” and acquired the supernatural thriller “The Others.” “And there are about 3,000 of these movies made every year, so this film is about one in 15,000.”

THE BUZZ

You’ve heard the buzz. Paranormal Activity, “the little indie horror film that could” about a couple who videotapes a demon haunting them in their home, made in a week for $11,000 by a guy with no filmmaking experience (Oren Peli, a video game programmer) gets seen at a horror fest (Screamfest), scares Spielberg so bad he won’t keep the DVD in his house (marketing hype, anyone?), and gets picked up by DreamWorks for the full court press. (LATimes story here) […]

Shriekfest Film Festival announces 2009 Schedule

Shriekfest Film Festival announces 2009 Schedule: 40 FILMS *  4 NIGHTS * 3 THEATRES! OCTOBER 1-4, 2009 (Los Angeles, CA) SHRIEKFEST INTERNATIONAL HORROR FILM FESTIVAL is thrilled to announce the full, expanded schedule for the ninth annual horror film festival, returning to Raleigh Studios Chaplin/Pickford/Fairbanks theatres, October 1-4, 2009. Festival goers will once again enjoy the finest in[…]

Grave Dawn: WWII indie movie

Charlie Hofheimer (Father’s Day, Black Hawk Down, The Village, Blur) co-producing WWII indie film based on a true story. A few years ago I worked on a film project titled “BLUR“. It was a challenging experience, but through it I met a lot of people, many of whom I still work with when I can,[…]

Disney made one movie and then just traced, and traced, and traced…

Unreal. This is really amazing… I know that much of the early Disney work was in fact rotoscoped (they shot real actors then animated over them to get the movements right) so maybe it’s true? They had a library of stock footage that they could pull out for any given scene? I’m just a little[…]

paying to pitch

There are lots of sites and services that charge writers or filmmakers for the opportunity to “pitch” their projects. And there are just as many filmmakers and writers who decry the practice as an outright scam focused on simply taking the money of starry-eyed newbies with no intention of ever really making their movie (see[…]

Sling Blade producer Larry Meistrich sued for fraud

In 1991 Producer Larry Meistrich launched The Shooting Gallery on the momentum of Laws Of Gravity, stumbled along for the next few years with a slate of art house films, caught lightning in a bottle with Sling Blade… and then the train ground to a painful stop in 2001. From 2001 The Village Voice: On[…]

the rise of the unsuperhero.

greatest american heroSure, superheroes are all over the silver screen. And that’s great for the comics publishers (who get to license the rights to their IP) and great for producers and studios (cuz it’s easier to sell a movie that’s based on an existing brand). But it sucks for the spec screenwriter who doesn’t have said rights (and thus would be wasting his/her time writing an adaptation of, say, The Tick) and still wants to write a superhero movie.

So what’s a spec screenwriter who wants to put their stamp on the superhero genre to do?

Is there room for a nonbranded, unknown superhero at the box office? Well sure. There’s a legacy of unknown heroes, from Cannell’s Greatest American Hero TV series to Wayans’ Blankman, from the borderline brilliant Unbreakable through the very cute Sky High, from the wonderful The Incredibles to the watchable but forgettable My Super Ex-Girlfriend and lastly the simply unwatchable Zoom (somebody needs to apologize for this movie). And need we even mention TV’s Heroes? […]

Faeries is a finalist at Shriekfest

Well, I told you just days ago that our horror screenplay Faeries had made it to the semi-finals of the 2009 Shriekfest screenplay competition. The news just got better. Faeries has now advanced to the finals, baby! Looks like we’ll be heading down to Hollywood again next month, to attend the fest. We will, of[…]

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