I’m still processing the remarkable WandaVision and its re-boot of the role of television on our culture, the metamorphosis of its consumption and digestion–and thankful for some friends to help me get some perspective on this tragedy wrapped in familiar sit-com sets with a laughing audience.
The Fonz, Kunta Kinte and Darth Vader’s paternity claim. My first three thoughts while processing WandaVision. Marvel and Disney+ actually had the nerve/guts to stretch out its nine-episodes over NINE weeks, reminding me of my first television cliff-hanger, many years before JR was shot.
Three moments of delayed gratification jump to mind from my childhood–triggered by the weird time-warp that WandaVision so accurately displays–making one week cover 50 years of jokes, … Read More… →
Third row, center. Pretty good for the hottest show on Broadway–even better when it’s a free seat.
The challenge? To convert a once-in-a generation stage-play into a multi-million dollar budgeted film. So pay attention, right? No stress. For a photographer there’s perhaps no greater thrill–finding that one great angle, great color, great contrast.
Cinematographer Declan Quinn was asked to help bottle the magic of the Broadway juggernaut through an itty bitty lens–or twelve. He joined me in a podcast to discuss the 2016 shoot–and even passed along his camera schematics of the monumental project on a very tight schedule.
“We embraced the sweat, because you know you’re not going to take the … Read More… →
Look, just because this is being written from a parallel universe, you’d be wrong to think that everyone over here is so totally freaky that you couldn’t possibly carry on a conversation with any of us without a cheat sheet in your breast coat pocket.
“There’s more that unites us than divides us.” Isn’t that what the bumper sticker makers say? Well, I’ve always put my faith in their deep wisdom and I think you should do the same.
I’ll give you a ‘for instance’ because over here, just like over there, a quality ‘for instance’ makes everything so much easier to understand. For instance, don’t assume … Read More… →
“You’ve reached group-sales for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. How may I help you?”
“Hi there! Our third-graders are touring Manhattan and we thought we could bring them by tomorrow.”
“That’s great. This chaperoning is wearing us down so thought we’d drop them off in the morning, catch a show and a few beers and pick them up around 5 or so, if that’s okay”
“Umm….Well, we need to have the kids chaperoned…because, you know, there’s a lot of priceless items…”
“Thanks so much. We’ll be by at 10!”
There aren’t too many teachers or directors of any respected institution that would permit this scenario. After all, it’s hard to take a selfie of you and Van Gogh if there’s some kid drawing horns … Read More… →
“It takes a village to raise them. It takes a village to abuse them. That’s the truth of it.”
–Spotlight‘s Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci)
Michael Keaton’s character, Walter “Robbie” Robinson, in the newly-released Spotlight, is seeking Boston Globe confirmation of the Archdiocese cover-up for 70 priests involved in child molestation. He passes the list to his longtime friend and attorney, “We all knew something was going on.”
His friend kicks him out of his house and then follows Robbie into the street and asks him why he didn’t do anything–if he knew something was going on.
Robbie pauses and can only say, “I don’t know.”
Spotlight’s portrayal of the 2001 investigation by the Globe’s Spotlight unit (Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James) … Read More… →
A film’s producer was asked about his DP—or “director of photography”—or “cinematographer” in case he’s nominated for anything. “He should be great,” he laughed. “But this is his first non-television gig. He might be too efficient!”
Sunday’s Emmy Awards was a perfect example of the terrible crime of being too efficient. The Oscars are notoriously always late–– a tiresome joke that probably began with “Wings” in 1929. Last February I discussed kicking Oscar out of the bingo hall (link). Not sure if anyone at ABC read it, but perhaps they noticed the show from the Fox producers of the Emmy Awards–Oscar’s “little brother on the little screen”–that now produces more quality filmmaking then any 10 hour epic created by Peter Jackson.
The big winner was once again HBO. “Olive Kitteridge,” “Veep” and “Game of … Read More… →
I thought of Fr. Jack Trese at the Traverse City Film Festival this weekend. In its eleventh year, Michael Moore’s enormous contribution to the economy of northern Michigan has outgrown the city’s world-famous Cherry Festival. Even staunch conservatives in town are giving him his due for spearheading the 6-day screenings with thousands of friendly volunteers assisting at the film-camps, youth activities, shuttle buses, ticket booths, outdoor movies and panel discussions open to the public.
We left our campsite early Saturday morning, riding our bikes to the Opera House to get in line for the Comedy Panel. We got great seats and waited smugly for the show to begin. I thumbed through the program and read Mike’s intro explaining that the theme of the 2015 festival … Read More… →
One of the longer hours you can put a teacher through isn’t monitoring lunch or that final 60 minutes before spring conferences are over–it’s at an in-service, the mandatory training that the state, city, superintendent or your principal inflicts upon educators. Topics can range from the terrors of airborne pathogens to the correct way to open your laptop. Michigan teachers are required to attend 30 such hours by law and most fall under the same sad irony found in the half-day seminar on the twenty-minute attention span.
But somehow, in 1991, I found myself at a training that stays with me to this day. Its metaphor was the playpen. Al Dicken, who would later become my administrator when I changed school districts, was the trainer at … Read More… →
In February 2014 I received a text from Jason Potash, producer of Storyboard Entertainment’s Dial a Prayer. “How old is your house?” I wrote back “1929.” He was back home in Detroit with writer/director Maggie Kiley and they were scouting locations for their upcoming film to be shot in the area. They stopped by 90 minutes later and while our old house didn’t make the cut, we ended up dropping in on nine other friends in Royal Oak that same night—two of their houses ended up in the film, one by pure chance.
We were stepping out of my friend Micah’s brick home on Hawthorne when I pointed … Read More… →
Following a contest on MyMediaDiary.com, the top three winners guessing the 24 categories from the 2015 Academy Awards, Collin Ward, Melissa Balan and Steve Palizzi, were invited by hosts Kevin Walsh and Kale Davidoff to discuss the following:
Best and Worst of the Show
Bad Clips Shown for Good Actors
New Categories such as:Neil Patrick Harris and the Hosting Curse–Too Naughty/Too Nice
I knew last night seemed familiar as the Academy Awards dripped by. I was once again trapped in the living room of my grandmother’s 1974 Florida mobile home. The room was stuffy; there was nowhere to go, even shuffleboard or laps on the awesome giant tricycles were forbidden to all under 65–and the pond had gators, reportedly.
Last night I watched my 40th consecutive Oscars. It began when I was in fifth grade with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sweeping the major awards. With the advent of cable TV’s 400 more channels, Twitter-feeds and on-demand viewing a lot has changed. Except for the Oscars.
Stuck in Lawrence Welk-Land
It still starts at 8:30 pm, still runs past midnight due to the the Death Valley of songs, oddball tributes and eternal commercials somewhere half-past “It’s-gotta-be-over-soon” o’clock. There is still the same generally awkward monologue/opening … Read More… →
Predict how tonight’s ceremonies will go! Will it be a laugh-riot or a slow-motion train wreck? At least this year, there’s less certainty of the 1-2 front-runners. But with John Travolta’s famous mispronunciation last year along with Kim Novak’s awkward moment, there’s always more to watch than the happy and pretending-to-be-happy faces of the nominees.
The winner (or winners) will be invited to join us on our post-op podcast this week! Loading…
Sometimes, feeling useless can feel quite nice–particularly on a movie set. Hurry-up-and-wait sums it up, of course. But if you’re just lurking like I tend to do, watching former students do their thing, you can be quite invisible and love every minute of it.
As an extra in Gran Torino, on the other hand, I felt useless even though I did have a job to do.I was told to walk down the street toward the Grosse Pointe hardware store and act like that wasn’t Clint Eastwood in front of me. It took me five times, but I did it. And when the camera stopped rolling, I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t a person, really–I was a prop, a prop that could be replaced much easier than the rake in the window … Read More… →
Listen to Kevin’s podcast with Ric Viers…[powerpress url= “http://traffic.libsyn.com/mymediadiary/MMD_SoundFX_Expert_RicViers_Dec22_2014.mp3″ length=”14313591″ type=”audio/mpeg”]
Perhaps it’s osmosis, but Ric Viers has noticed that his son seems to have his dad’s ear. In the middle of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, there is a Foley mistake–a sword that didn’t clash to the ground. “And I saw it and I just kind of smiled, but before I could even say anything, my kid leans over and says, ‘Dad, they forgot one of the sound effects.’”
After years of on-the-job training, sound effects expert Viers has learned valuable lessons for not just audio but life, not the least includes keeping ones car keys in the refrigerator.
Owner of the world’s largest collection of sound-effects, The Detroit Chop Shop, Ric Viers was a guest speaker in November … Read More… →
Veteran film and TV sound expert Ric Viers, author of The Sound Effects Bible and The Location Sound Bible, joins Kevin Walsh following a workshop Ric gave to Michigan high school students on his 10 Location Sound Commandments, which offer important life-skills as well.
Soft Skills and Reputation-how the most skilled person on the set may not be the one who stays on the set.
How Does One Begin as a Sound Guy?
Fatherhood and the osmosis of sound-awareness
Gathering sound-effects (and where to leave your keys)
I’ll start this review how I start every review, which is: go see Whiplash before you read this post. But this time I say this not only because there be spoilers below, but because it’s one of the best damn movies I’ve seen in long, long time. A long time.
As I begin my thoughts on Whiplash, I am reminded of the Honest Trailers trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you’re unfamiliar, Honest Trailers is a fantastic YouTube channel that takes films we love and makes trailers for them that rip them to shreds; pointing out every plot hole and confusing character motivation they can find. Here was the trailer they made to rip Cap 2 to shreds:
Take a minute and flip through your phone’s pictures taken this Thanksgiving weekend–now zoom-in to something in the background. Do you notice anything interesting–or something that <em>might </em>be interesting in a few decades?
The new Stephen Hawking bio-pic, The Theory of Everything, can drive you a little crazy if you are one of those people who needs to straighten a picture frame in a friend’s house. Hawking’s glasses are always crooked and always needing cleaning.
The color-correction folks in film know what they’re doing when they choose their palettes. It’s hard not to get nostalgic with a shot like above–and if you add in string instruments and piano you’re already … Read More… →
It’s often not so much what happens in our lives—as what we figure ought to happen. If no one likes this post, did it fail?
I started noticing camera-angles and how they manipulated the audience far too early in my life–especially for the poor bystanders who were stuck in a living room, basement or movie theater with me.
The Cosby Show, for all of its garish sweaters and too-good-to-be-true charm of a doctor/lawyer upper-middle class family, was a breakthrough on many levels—it revitalized the sit-com and finally placed a TV African-American family out of the ghetto—if you bypass George Jefferson moving on up.
But what I noticed immediately, from my hero of a dozen scratched LP comedy albums, was the cutaway to Clair—Cliff Huxtable’s long-suffering wife who managed … Read More… →
Few third graders have been heard to proudly announce to their classmates…
“I hope to be fourth cellist in the New York Philharmonic.”
“I’d like to be a situational middle-inning relief pitcher for the Yankees.”
“I want to be an Indy pit crew member.”
“My dream is to be an editor.”
Not many editors get a standing ovation. Even at the Oscars, its award is sandwiched between Best Costume Design and the latest Revlon commercial. And you are more likely to be mistaken as that fourth cellist before someone says, “Aren’t you an editor–of documentaries?”
Twenty Feet from Stardom honors the teammate, the supporting role–in effect, the glue behind some of the greatest songs of the last fifty years. And … Read More… →
We live in an absolutely ridiculous time for geeks. If you were to create an historic timeline of superhero films, you could try and pinpoint the turning point with X-Men or Spider-Man. Around the turn of the century, when those films were released, the blockbuster world slowly began to turn on its head. In the 90s, the basis for most action movies was one of the following: (1) CIA agent, (2) rogue cop, (3) two unlikely cop partners teaming up for an action-comedy. After Sam Raimi’s success with Spider-Man, everyone and their uncle had to get their hands on some hot superhero action. But it wasn’t always pretty. For whatever reason, the studios knew that there was a market out there for all and everything superheroes, but they just … Read More… →