The many meanings of Michelangelo’s Statue of David – James Earle

We typically experience classic works of art in a museum, stripped of their original contexts, but that serene setting can belie a tumultuous history. Take Michelangelo’s statue of David: devised as a religious symbol, adopted as a political emblem, and later iconized for its aesthetic beauty. James Earle walks us through the statue’s journey, to show how art gains layers of meaning over time.

Michelangelo David

Here’s How Piracy Hurts Indie Film

Film piracy continues to be a significant and controversial issue in the industry. Below, Ruth Vitale, Executive Director of CreativeFuture, an anti-piracy organization backed by the motion picture and television businesses and Hollywood’s labor unions, and Tim League, founder and CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas, which is a CreativeFuture Coalition Partner, write about how piracy is doing serious damage to the film and television industry.


There’s no question that it’s an exciting time for the film and television industry. The almighty internet has been a powerful, democratizing force in entertainment, leading to exponential increases in choices for audiences and greater potential for exposure for filmmakers.

New online distribution services have provided audiences with unprecedented access to content where, when, and how we want it. In the U.S. alone, on more than 100 legal online distribution platforms, more content is available today than any one person could possibly consume in a lifetime.

The explosion of high-quality, scripted programming that television audiences currently enjoy—from “Mad Men” to “Breaking Bad” to the return of “24″—would probably not have occurred without the binge viewing trend that is a direct outgrowth of emerging digital distribution methods. On the film side, release windows (the time from first theatrical release to first digital release) have steadily dropped from an average of five months in 2003 to less than four months in 2013. Many films are even going straight to VOD, releasing day-and-date on VOD and in theaters, or premiering exclusively on stand-alone sites like Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, and Xbox Video.

IndieWire | Read the Full Article

Colour Grading Your Film – Top Nineteen Tips For Working With The Professionals

Chris Jones gives out 19 tips for working with professional colorists to grade your film.

Color Grade

Go to the best people
The number one mistake so many filmmakers make is they try to grade their films themselves. There is no doubt, the tools available now are cheap and powerful, and with a great deal of trial and error, amazing results can be achieved. But what a professional colour grader with cutting edge kit can bring to your film will blow your mind. Using the right kit and working with a highly talented and experienced grader will give you results in minutes, hours and days that you at home can only achieve in days, weeks and months (even years)… if at all.

Blag a deal
Most post facilities have some ‘down time’ AND really want to help new talent. So why not ask for help? If you can offer money, even if it’s not much, put it on the table at the start. Promise to be organised. Promise to be flexible. Promise you will bring them work if you are lucky enough to get a career. Ideally your editor will already work with them regularly and so there is an existing relationship to leverage. Be confident but don’t be arrogant. Charm, have humility and passion and get the deal.

Sit in on a grade
Once you have a green light, ask if you can spend a few hours observing a grade in action. If you have never done a grade like this before, it will be revelation. The speed these guys work, the tools they have available, the environment (basically a small cinema)… It’s a far cry from After Effects on your mates laptop. Use your social skills to gauge when it’s OK to ask questions and NEVER EVER be a distraction or nuisance. DO NOT OFFER SUGGESTIONS on another persons grade. If you can, sit behind the desk so you can see how everything works and listen to how the grader speaks with the team who are present.

Chris Jones Blog | Read the Full Article

The Black List with Founder & CEO Franklin Leonard

The Black List, how it was founded, and how it continues to develop are discussed with founder and CEO Franklin Leonard who explains the difference between studios and production companies along with the idea of mixing creativity with business. Leonard also talks about working with Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, and at Universal and making his way up the ladder to build an infrastructure that will allow for great projects to get made, in this episode of The Insiders hosted by Sebastian Twardosz.

Franklin Leonard is the founder of the Black List, the yearly publication highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays and the startup birthed to continue its mission. Over 225 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films earning more than 175 Academy Award nominations including three of the last six Best Pictures and seven of the last fourteen screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Goldwyn. Since 2010, he has been named one of Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” AOL Black Voices “30 Black Hollywood Game Changers,” the Wrap’s “12 Innovators Who Are Changing Hollywood,” and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.”


Ape Acting

Mike Seymour digs into the process of turning mocap actors into living breathing digital apes for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Planet of the Apes Acting


Rise of the Planet of the Apes focused on a scientist who adopted an ape in the science-run-amok break-out hit film of 2011. Dawn of Planet of Apes focuses on an ape who deals with Shakespearean issues of betrayal, family and conflict. While Rise was lead by a human cast with amazing ape effects, Dawn is an ‘ape film’, with the principal actors – the lead actors – as digital primates.

Ironically, Dawn is a more ‘human’ story than Rise and delivers as much nuanced acting from the leads as it does action or drama effects work. In short, Weta Digital delivers Gollum-like character impact, but in the lead ape roles. Away from fully animated features, we have not seen digital characters so successfully carry the emotional heavy lifting of lead ‘actors’ in a major feature film. From Star Wars to The Hobbit, digital characters have had key but supporting roles. If you look at the film’s marketing, the one face on the poster is the lead actor and he is not real, but watching the film you almost immediately forget this. Furthermore, Caesar’s performance could be argued to not even be the most gripping in the film. In a movie with a digital lead actor, he ends up almost being outshone by the incredible performance of his supporting digital actor Koba.

Set 10 years after the virus outbreak that ended Rise, this follow-up film finds the enhanced Caesar in a new ape society in the Redwood forest north of San Francisco. Isolated, the apes have built a strong family-oriented community with order and structure. With the re-appearance of man and their guns, Caesar must explore if it is possible to trust and co-exist with humans again or face the prospect of ending years of peaceful remoteness with bloody conflict. Koba features strongly in the film, from the opening hunting scene with a heroic saving of Caesar’s life when a bear threatens his son, to the film’s gripping climax. In Rise, Koba had a much smaller part, but his former cruel treatment at the hands of the viscious laboratory staff sets up his much expanded role in Dawn perfectly. Koba has both the back story and acting opportunities to be perhaps the most complex and interesting of the Dawn apes.

FX Guide | Read the Full Article

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