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The Wonderful World of Celebrity Fashion With Emily Shur

David Geffin interviews celebrity photographer Emily Shur on her career and style.

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Fstoppers: do you think it’s a good idea for someone to go to school to receive a formal education in photography or to just get out there and start shooting?

Emily: I think every photographer could benefit from learning about the fundamentals of photography – how a camera works, how to make your images look the way you want them to look, what changes in camera do for one’s picture, and so on. It doesn’t have to be a formal education per se, but I do think it’s important for photographers to understand their choices and how they impact their images.

Fstoppers: How do you think you cultivated your particular vision or point of view that you bring to your work, and can you describe what this vision or aesthetic is and how it spans across different genres?

Emily: I would describe my aesthetic as classic. I’m most interested in what I consider to be the fundamentals of photography – composition, light, and feeling or emotion. My vision hasn’t changed drastically over time…I’ve just learned how to articulate it better.

The point of view is consistent throughout all of my work. I compose a landscape the same way I compose a portrait. I look at the whole frame and try to figure out what conveys what I want to say the best.

FStoppers | Read the Full Article

David Fincher Reveals His ‘Life in Pictures,’ from Fighting Studios to Multiple Takes

David Fincher took to the stage at BAFTA’s Piccadilly HQ to discuss his 30-year career in film, commercials and music videos.

David Fincher

On when he knew he wanted to be a director

I was fairly convinced at the age of eight that’s that what I wanted to do with my life. And when I was living in Marin [County] my next door neighbor was George Lucas and I was that close to movies that were being made. Then my parents decided to tear us out of there and take us to this place [in Oregon] where there was no cinema except for this little cinema. I worked after school directing plays and doing lighting for plays and at night, from six to midnight, one in the morning, I was a projectionist. At the weekends I would shot E&G footage for a local television station. If a barn was burning down I was the guy out there trying to get a shot of it. So I worked in a movie theatre because I wanted to see movies and I wanted to really watch them over and over again, and I worked at the TV station to learn how to use a camera. I remember I saw “Being There” 160 times, I saw “All That Jazz” 200 times, I saw “1941″ 200 times, whatever was there that was interesting I would just watch it. [Watching those movies] I was, “Why are they doing it this way?” Because from the time I was eight I made Super 8 movies and the dominos were starting to fall for me about coverage and over the shoulders shots and how you knit a scene together.

On why he knows everyone’s job better than they do

[In the early days] being on sets and watching how shit went down, I watched a lot of directors get rope-a-doped. I could see that they wanted to be able to execute something and the “experts” who were hired to help and support them would go, “We don’t really have the time for that.” So I watched talented people I liked and I admired get spun and worked, and I vowed never to let that happen. I was like, “I want to know what every muthafucker in the room does. I never wanted to be the guy who was victimized by other people’s laziness. So I haunted the hallways at ILM and would hang out in the optical department and I would go into editorial and I would go into the animation department.

IndieWire | Read the Full Article

Walter Murch: Hollywood Sound Design

As a film editor and sound designer, Walter Murch has worked on classic films of our time, including Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, and The English Patient, among many more. The winner of multiple Academy Awards, Murch, with his technological know-how, has helped to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level. His latest projects, which include editing Phil Kaufman’s Hemingway & Gellhorn and directing an episode of Lucasfilm’s animated Clone Wars, are quintessential Murch: eclectic, distinctive, and visionary. In conversation with Lawrence Weschler, CHF artistic director emeritus, Murch discusses the evolution of film technology from the creation of the 5.1 sound format to today’s Final Cut Pro.

Walter-Murch

Case Study: Lighting for Commercials

Tim Civan runs down the lighting setups of four of his recent shoots.

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Shot on Alexa Studio with Zeiss Super Speed MK I lenses. This is the Alexa with the optical viewfinder and Spinning mirror shutter. It’s wonderful having an optical viewfinder, feels so much better than an EVF.

This shoot really is a great culmination of many elements. We shot in the Presidential suite of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, with Victoria’s Secret model Sarah Stephens. How could we go wrong? Beautiful talent, beautiful location, beautiful camera and lenses. Jennifer, our director, is one of the fastest and best prepared directors I have had the pleasure of working with. She got access to the location weeks before the shoot, and shot an iPhone previs with Artemis shot by shot, then animated it so it had a sense of pacing. This meant that I had the advantage of being able to know exactly how long each shot needed to be. Thus, we could focus on making each of those moments as perfect as possible. The catch on this shoot was the fact that we only had 6 hours to shoot the whole thing, load in to tail lights. Having concise shots, and frames already established just let us focus so intensely on exactly what we needed and nothing else. I used the latitude of the Alexa to its fullest using the natural sunlight, and shaping the contrast in the room with black floppies and a 1.8K ARRI M18 with a Chimera as selective fill.

NoFilmSchool | Read the Full Article

The Psychology of Cryptomnesia: How We Unconsciously Plagiarize Existing Ideas

Maria Papova covers cognitive psychologist Ronald T. Kellogg’s theory on writing and originality.

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“Any experience the writer has ever suffered,”William Faulkner told a university audience in 1958, “is going to influence what he does, and that is not only what he’s read, but the music he’s heard, the pictures he’s seen.” This notion — that “our” ideas are the combinatorial product of all kinds of existing ideas we’ve absorbed in the course of being alive and awake to the world — is something many creators have articulated, perhaps none more succinctly than Paula Scher. This fusion of existing bits into new combinations is a largelyunconscious process, and for all its miraculous machinery, one serious downside is that it often obliterates the traces of the original sources we unconsciously fold into our “new” ideas. Helen Keller experienced the repercussions of this phenomenon when she was accused of plagiarism, Henry Miller questioned it when he wrote “And your way, is it really your way?” and Coleridge often tripped over the fine line between unconscious borrowing and deliberate theft.

In 1989, decades before legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks explored why the mind is susceptible to this, psychologists Alan Brown and Dana Murphy coined a term for this phenomenon: cryptomnesia.

In the altogether illuminating 1994 volume The Psychology of Writing (public library) — which also gave us the conditions of the perfect daily routine and ideal creative environment — cognitive psychologist Ronald T. Kellogg defines cryptomnesia as “the belief that a thought is novel when in fact it is a memory” and examines how it arises.

Brain Pickings | Read the Full Article

Susan Gregg Koger: Being a Rookie Is an Asset

When she co-founded the online clothing retailer ModCloth, Susan Gregg Koger had never worked in retail and had no connections with the fashion industry. She had no experience that helped her write a business plan or how to source inventory for her site. But being a “rookie” turned out to be asset as she built her company without the constraints of tradition or routine. Since founding the company in college, Koger and her team have innovated in the online retail world with unconventional tactics like asking her customers to select what dresses to stock, and using user photos on product pages.

“Approaching a problem from a rookie point of view enables you to innovate just because you don’t how its usually done,” she says. The result? The company now is located in three cities and boasts over $100 million in sales. Not bad for a newbie.

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13 Frequently Used Phrases That Make You Sound Like A Hollywood Rookie

Stephanie Palmer covers 13 cliche phrases that make you sound inexperienced.

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If you have looked for information about how to handle yourself in a pitch meeting, you know that there isn’t that much available. Episodes of Entourage. The opening scene from The Player. Pitch meeting parody videos on YouTube such as this, this and this.

You see the pitchers acting slick and sales-y. Pumping up the people who are listening. Using insider lingo like “This is really high concept. We’ve had lots of interest. Tom Cruise was attached….”

Having participated in thousands of pitch meetings as a studio executive at MGM Pictures, many pitch meetings are like this—and they are not successful.

The issue is that what you’re seeing on TV and film is good for storytelling, and is a version of what often happens. However, it is not an accurate representation of what happens when a pitch is successful.

THE 13 PHRASES TO AVOID
1. “High concept.” If your idea is high concept, it’s obvious. If it’s not, saying it is won’t help.

2. “We’ve had a lot of interest.” To a decision-maker, this is code for, “Lots of people have read this but none of them have liked it enough to get involved.” This is related to how people try to amp up the decision-maker in advance of the pitch by saying positive things—the most common pitch meeting mistake.

Studio System News | Read the Full Article

How Bill Hader went from Production Assistant to “SNL” Hero to Leading Man

Joe Berkowitz chronicles Bill Hader, a A Saturday Night Live star for eight seasons before switching gears in The Skeleton Twins.

Bill Hader

Bill Hader is known for doing impressions, but right now he’s about to change your impression of him.

In his eight-year tenure on Saturday Night Live, during which he earned an Emmy nomination, Hader ably assumed the forms of a staggering array of personages, from Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, and Vincent Price, to the UPS guy and Julian Assange. (He also co-created Stefon, a Weekend Update correspondent whose musings on New York’s hottest and most preposterous night spots became a cultural phenomenon). Surprisingly, though, the man of 1000 faces never set out to do impressions. He only discovered an aptitude for them during the SNL audition process–which came early enough in his career to make some comedy lifers bristle with self-loathing. In fact, Hader originally set out to be a filmmaker. But judging from the outcome of his shift toward sketch comedy, it’s easy to imagine he’ll flourish in his next creative role.

The actor and writer, who left SNL in 2013, can currently be seen in two films, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and The Skeleton Twins. Neither is like any project he has appeared in before, but it’s the latter that will permanently alter public perception of him. Skeleton Twins, which won Best Screenplay at Sundance last January, is a heartbreaking film about family and suicide that also manages the neat trick of being deeply funny. In his first lead role, Hader plays a Hollywood outsider whose failed attempt to take his own life leads to a reunion with his estranged twin (former SNL-cohort, Kristen Wiig), who has problems of her own. It’s a revelatory performance that builds on the comedic timing and expressive nuance he cultivated at SNL, and hints at big things to come.

Fast Co Create | Read the Full Article

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