Random film talk

Filmaster: A new kid on the social networking block

Everyone is building social networks these days but one area that has been quite badly served up to now has been networks for film lovers. Flixster is probably the largest and most well-known of these networks but it has always struck me as being a nice idea poorly implemented.

I also signed up to Spout some time ago, which has some nice features but nothing to really hold my attention and I have now pretty much abandoened the site. Then there is Withoutabox, a network for independent filmmakers, festivals and audiences which, again, is great for discovering new films but lacks any real social features. And its slow.

Now theres a new kid on the block. Or, to be more accurate, Filmaster is just about to move in since the site is currently at beta. But its promising a lot.

The aim of the site is to niche Internet society of movie freaks who are interested less in the latest and greatest and more in simply good movies regardless of the release date and originating country. Already this is starting to sound good to me but what really I find really fascinating is their promise of personalised film recommendations. If they manage to get this to work then they should - and will deserve to - go a very ling way indeed.

Being an incorrigible network tart, I have already signed and subscribed to their blog. You can also follow the progress of the site on both Twitter and Identi.ca

Harlan Ellison - Pay the Writer

Dreams with Sharp Teeth is a documentary about the brilliantly bombastic SF writer, Harlan Ellison.

The film was released last year but I have only now stumbled across this superb rant, taken from the film, in which Ellison discusses in his own inimitable style the issue of writers renumeration.

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Dustin Hoffman: More science, better fiction

According to Planet Origo, Dustin Hoffman is so concerned about improving the science in science-fiction films that he has joined the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), an initiative of the National Academy of Sciences in USA. The group aims to provide the entertainment industry with access to scientists and engineers to help bring the reality of cutting-edge science to creative and engaging storylines.

A source said Dustin thinks you can make entertaining movies which also get a message across without slowing down the action. He enjoys comic book blockbusters but if they go over the top and dont care about getting it right, why should the audience care?. The SEE will be a dating service which links film directors with scientific advisers who can ensure that their scripts are grounded in reality. Jennifer Ouellette, SEEs director, said she did not expect to turn popcorn movies into school lessons, but that the group would be able to help directors make movies better. Truth is more extraordinary than fiction and we can spring surprises on directors that would make their heads spin and yet its science fact, she said.

While I doubt that the group will have much of an impact on most of the blockbuster output, it may well lead to some films being better grounded in real science. And that would be a huge bonus for all of us.

Happy Lepus Night

Its that time of year when I shut down while I stuff myself with chocolate eggs. Enjoy the rest of the weekend but remember

Beware the Easter Bunny!

And on a slightly related note, this spoof book cover is comedy gold.

Pixar vs Dreamworks

This cartoon (which I found at Zombie Room) nicely sums up the difference between Pixar and Dreamworks.

Click on the picture for the full size version.

Three days until the start of Script Frenzy

Back in February I mentioned the Script Frenzy writing event. The challenge is to write a 100 page script in 30 days, starting on 1st April.

The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy

1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.

2) You may write individually or with a partner. Writing teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.

3) Script writing may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.

4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.

5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.

At the time it struck me as an interesting idea, and one which might be worth having a go at and, over the past month or so, Ive been giving it some thought. And now, with only three days to go, I have finally come up with an outline and, although Im woefully unprepared, I am going to give this a go.

Condition: Human – SF web series due to début in April looks stunning

Condition: Human is a zero-budget web series comprised of six 15 minute episodes due to début on April 1st. The trailer looks utterly stunning and really does demonstrate the extent to which a talented director can find ways of achieving his vision with the most basic of equipment.

In the near future, man has begun to address the economic and environmental issues plaguing the early 21st century. Rapid technological advancements have changed life dramatically, especially the creation of advanced humanoid robots who have begun to play an integral part in everyday life. Takumi Kenji, the reclusive CEO of Kenji electronics, and father of all things A.I. has announced the first ever companion bots, a model of humanoid whos interactive capabilities are remarkably natural. As robots continue to evolve their place amongst us must evolve as well, and as it does society carries the responsibility of answering the moral questions that come.

And if youre an aspiring filmmaker, or just interested, head over to Binary Crumbs where director Trenton Lepp is posting a series of tutorials discussing how the various effects were achieved.

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Was 2008 really such a bad year for genre cinema?

The 35th Saturn Awards have been announced and the big news is that The Dark Knight leads the board with 11 nominations. What really struck me, however, is that the nominations this year are such a weak bunch.

In the Science Fiction category, for example, we have The Day the Earth Stood Still. This is not the greatest film ever made but it is a piece of science fiction, unlike Eagle Eye which also has a nomination. Also in the running is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film to which the overwhelming reaction was one of disappointment. We also have two superhero films and Jumper.

The fantasy category is not much better. The inclusion of Twilight is no surprise and perfectly reasonable, but then you look at what its up against. Prince Caspian, Benjamin Button, another superhero film and a computer game adaptation. Was The Spiderwick Chronicles really the only other half-way decent fantasy film released in 2008?

And then we get to the horror category where we have the sequel to a superhero film, yet another entry in The Mummy franchise, a remake and The Happening. The only award that The Happening deserves is a Razzie.

So was 2008 really such a bad year, or has the Saturn Awards nomination committee been dazzled by big-budget shininess? And if they are going to do nothing more than celebrate the summer marketing juggernauts, is there any point to the Saturn Awards any more?

Twitter Updates for 2009-03-10

  • Even the differently animate are on Twitter now. Hello @zombiejane #

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Twitter Updates for 2009-03-09

  • Food eaten, dog walked and three out of five bottles before me. Im as readu as Ill ever be for tonights #twhisky #
  • Dear followers with six digits in your name. I dont need a new laptop. kthxbai #

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