Tag Archives: music

Filmmaker Quote of the Day: John Williams

“So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it’s gratifying to have something you have done linger in people’s memories.”
– John Williams, Composer (the most nominated composer in Oscar history with 42 Best Original Score noms)

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Make A Short Film About Underground Music For Nokia Music And Sundance London


Nokia Music Short Film Competition

“To grasp this exciting opportunity, filmmakers need to simply upload a short video trailer (15 to 30 secs) visualizing the underground music scene in their chosen city. If you’d like to get involved, think of this trailer as an audition, which showcases your concept. Nokia, in association with Sundance London (2013), is looking for creative ideas that really push the boundaries of the camera and the possibilities of mobile filmmaking. We are open to all styles and approaches, just make sure you clearly describe what you intend to create.

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Filmmaker Quote of the Day: Cameron Crowe

“Great music is its own movie, already. And the challenge, as a music fan, it to keep the song as powerful as it wants to be, to not tamper with it and somehow give it a home.”

– Cameron Crowe, Director (ALMOST FAMOUS, WE BOUGHT A ZOO)


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Artistic Ownership and You!

He’s Not Going to Take It

It’s hard for anything to not somehow relate back to the ongoing 2012 election at the moment. So when I recently read on entertainment news sites about how Dee Snider took offense at Paul Ryan playing the Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” I wasn’t surprised. It had to do with music, so of course entertainment news would report it. And it’s not like this is the first time this has happened, either. See Heart’s issue with Sarah Palin using “Barracuda,” “Born in the U.S.A.” being used by Reagan, Survivor insisting Newt Gingrich stop using “Eye of the Tiger,” and Sam Moore asking Obama not to play “Hold On, I’m Coming” in 2008.

As a writer, an artist, someone who wants to create things for others to view and enjoy, this got me thinking. Would there ever be a point that I would turn from blind joy that ANYONE shows interest in what I’ve made to anger over who expresses their fondness for my creation?

At what point does an artist stop having ownership of what they’ve made? Are they getting paid for the song getting played, and does that give them the ability to pick and choose where it is used?  And not merely financial ownership, but ownership of the spirit of the movie, song, book, art, etc.? If a musician can take umbrage at a political candidate using their song as background music, could an author insist that a politician not quote their writing because they disagree with their policies?

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Unchained at Tribeca Online: “The Russian Winter”

I was ecstatic when I saw THE RUSSIAN WINTER featuring musician John Forte (The Fugees) would be included in Tribeca Film Festival online streaming collection. A big thank you to producer Dream Hampton for sharing the heads up via Twitter. My final thoughts from the film: God, this is really what second chances can mean! I saw the whole documentary as an invitation to Forte’s rebirth as a singer/songwriter and a free man. Yes, you get a clear idea that he hit the big times working with The Fugees and the artist/fans in Russia were very familiar with his work. The most intimate moment to me was when Forte described finding music again while imprisoned. One guitar allowed him to hear his voice for the first time and suddenly he transitioned from arranger to frontman. Side note: Did you know that Carly Simon was one of Forte’s biggest supporters for getting him out of prison? Me neither.
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Unchained at SXSW: “Marley”

The definitive life story of Bob Marley – musician, revolutionary, legend – from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. Directed by Academy Award Winner Kevin Macdonald.

Personally, I know 3 or 4 Bob Marley songs and usually I think of him as a an image on a poster or T-shirt worn by the white kids at my college. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to the screening of MARLEY. I am a big fan of music documentaries because well they have great soundtracks and if done right, they go beyond your typical “MTV Behind the Music”. MARLEY actually went above and beyond my expectations. The film uses both personal/news/concert footage of the musician, interviews with former band-mates/loved ones and B-roll footage of his village in Jamaica (including the most beautiful aerial views of the island I’ve ever seen) to paint a picture of such an iconic man. What did I learn? I learned about the obstacles a filmmaker must overcome if they are going to tell a story about a figure that is revered by the world. You hear “Someone made a doc about Bob Marley” and automatically think well what else is there to know? I now realize that a great filmmaker has to dig deeper than their predecessors to find that one story no one has ever heard. This particular filmmaker, Kevin Macdonald, started with Marley’s family, including his son Ziggy who granted him access to pretty much Bob’s entire life. Learning that his father was a White man or that he may have died from cancer that could have been prevented by an improperly treated soccer injury, or even that his wife was sort of okay with his womanizer persona added depth to an individual who in my mind had essentially been reduced to a radical Rasta-man with dreadlocks smoking a joint. I walked away from the screening enlightened at how Bob Marley was so much grander than that.

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The Other Awards Show

In my household, the big award show nights were the Grammys, Premios Juventud (Latin music awards), Latin Grammy’s, the Emmy’s, the Golden Globes, and of course the Academy Awards. More recently than I care to admit, I’ve learned about other award shows like the BAFTA’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. There’s no surprise, then, that there are countless other awards that honor specific elements of film and television.

Held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites in Los Angeles yesterday, the Golden Reel Awards honored the best in sound editing. Presented by the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), this award show celebrated achievements in dialogue and ADR (additional dialogue recording), effects and foley (sounds created for use in film), and music.

If you look at a movie’s IMDB page and notice the various positions on a film set, you’ll see that for films like “Chicago” or any musical, really, the sound department list is pretty extensive. To put it plainly, there are those that record sound on set, those that record sound in a studio, and those that mix the sounds in an editing bay. I’ll spare you the details of how sound design works for film, but if you’re interested, you can always Google film sound design. Dominick Tavella visited my college last year to talk about the art of sound. He showed us clips from Chicago, for which he won an Academy Award for best sound design in 2003, and Black Swan.

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