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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Magic Hour – Big and Small

Crimson and gold clouds stretching to the far horizon… a pink blush of colour tints the buildings left behind… sunset is a vibrant, spectacular time of the day – especially when the weather conditions are just right. No wonder at all why it’s called “magic hour.”

We can’t help but look to the skies for the extravagant light show, can we? Well, know that there are many other – smaller – magics happening at sun rise and set too.

Look down. Look closely.

Find the flowers that close up in the evening and open again at dawn. Everyday. Every single one. It’s a quiet kind of magic, but magical all the same.

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Look closely. What small magical events and stories are happening around you?

Cheers and magic to you,
Deb

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prplwindwCan you picture it? That perfect writing place?

A window overlooking nature (forest or beach), an ergonomically comfortable desk chair, a keyboard at just the right height, reference books and inspiring objects all within arm’s reach, but breathing space on the desk so as not to clutter the mind, and wall space that’s either a white board for you to work out story problems like a fresco painter, or cork board with ample space to tack up movable notes and inspiring pictures… happy sigh. While we’re dreaming, how about a servant to bring you a cuppa tea or coffee when you need it?

Dreams indeed.

Ever seen the haphazardness of Nature? Perfection of writing space is not necessary. Grab a notebook or tablet and go sit in a new place: a living room chair, the back seat of a car, the deck of a sailboat, wherever. Now write. Journal stuff. Anything. Go!

See? It’s possible!

What’s the perfect writing space you have to let go of?

Cheers… with a little INK,
Deb

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dncWe each take many paths in life and learn from all that’s around us. Learn something on one area of life and cross over to another. Here are three nuggets that crossover for me between Highland Dance competitions and filmmaking:

1. “Dance Beautifully” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Dance Standard”

The closer you dance in a competition to “dance standard” (in the eyes of judges) the more awards you win. The higher the level of competition, the more challenging it is to win awards, because eventually there are only slight differences between those who win awards and those who don’t. Yet… anyone in the audience will tell you passionately and honestly that so many of the dancers dance beautifully, awards or not. This declaration is not friends and relatives being kind the dancers, it’s the truth. Parallel this situation to movies. You can enjoy a beautiful movie whether it wins awards (achieving “movie standard” in the eyes of judges) or not.

2. Dance YOUR Dance

When competing on stage at pre-premier level, different dancers know different steps to pretty much all the dances. To the audience it’s like watching several different dances on stage at the same time, dancing to the same music. Sometimes it looks like one of the dancers is going to bump into another because of the varied choreography, but somehow they manage to steer clear of each other. On stage, if you forget a step, a glance left or right to a competitor can just confuse you more because chances are they will be dancing totally different steps. You have to know your dance and dance it with confidence no matter what’s happening around you on the stage. Good advice for filmmaking too. Choose your path with confidence and take it, no matter what the competition is doing around you. Be aware of what’s happening around you (so you don’t “bump into other dancers”), but be true to yourself.

3. Despite Any Errors, “Dance On”

Highland dancers forget steps. They knock the crossed swords out of alignment. A shoe can fall off. The piper can make a mistake in the music. One step can be wrong. So many errors can happen “on the day.” Dancers can stop and wait for the dance to end, stop and leave the stage, or they can dance on. “Dance on” doesn’t erase the error, but can provide a sense of accomplishment at overcoming obstacle, and for the bigger errors that the audience notices, it also triggers deep-felt admiration in the whole room. Take that determination into filmmaking. Mistakes will happen, but work with them and finish the film. Film is not as much a live performance as Highland Dancing, but sometimes you can’t go back to fix a shot; you have to “dance on” to the end.

What crossovers happen in your life?

Cheers… with a little FILM and INK,
Deb

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cineqllIt’s time to come back from hiatus! Time to get back to blogging. Since starting my MFA in Creative Writing last year, work-life re-balancing with my full time job has been a challenge. It was time to pull back for a while, and it’s been good. But I’ve missed the blog and my connection with you, so it’s time to find a way to make the blog happen again.

Rather than return as it was (why more of the same, eh?), the F-I-L-M blog is undergoing a bit of an expansion. With so much inter-connectivity in life, I’m adding some I-N-K! What that means is basically, yes, more film/tv industry topics, but also now more writing topics… for both I-ndustry N’ K-ids… which includes kids-at-heart.

So, let’s get started with a little glance back at “The Best Of” before we venture into the territory of the future. Gives you the change to re-familiarize yourself with the blog’s flavour and to introduce other friends you think would enjoy it. So, from your feedback, here are some favourites:

F-un:
Fun posts.. need I say more?

New Technology Quiz
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/new-technology-quiz/

Wordsearch: In Honour of Coordinators!
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/wordsearch-in-honour-of-coordinators/

CU on Set
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/cu-on-set/

I-nspiration:
How movies and books inspire our lives…

Magic Movie Moment: North of Superior
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/magic-movie-moment-north-of-superior/

Inspiration at the Movies: The Count of Monte Cristo
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/inspiration-at-the-movies-the-count-of-monte-cristo/

Tail Credits for VE Day: Black Adder Goes Forth
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/tail-credits-for-ve-day-blackadder-goes-forth/

L-ife:
How aspects of our lives affect filmmaking or the craft of writing…

3 Things I Learned About Filmmaking from… Kids
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/3-things-i-learned-about-filmmaking-from-kids/

Home Office… Treat It Right!
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/the-home-office-treat-it-right/

The Serendipitous Cuppa Tea
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/the-serendipitous-cuppa-tea/

M-anagement:
The business of filmmaking and writing.

Cine-Surfer: About Delegation
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/cine-surfer-about-delegation/

Tattoos & Copyright
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/tattoos-copyright/

Free Film Budget (thanks to Deke Simon)
https://debpatz.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/free-film-budget/

Cheers & all the best,
Deb

Deb Patz, author – “Film Production Management 101” and writing for children

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mn

With Halloween approaching, there are more fear and thrill movies out there for viewing. But what can you do when the movie is just too frightening for you? You could try flooding the room with light – fear of the dark is a common fear, isn’t it? Yes, but you’ll find that even a room filled with flat, florescent light doesn’t help. So, here’s what you do… turn off the sound. It really helps. Really.

…and then you’ll realize that the true rulers of Halloween are the wizards on the sound team.

Happy Halloween and a good shoot to you,
Deb

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blksinblks1. It’s All About Me
As we grow up, we talk about the reader (or viewer) “identifying with the story” and “identifying with the hero”… basically we mean that the story has to be “all about me.” As reader (or viewer) I have to be the hero, and I take that journey. I don’t just hear the story, I am part of the story… the biggest, most important part. It’s my story. It’s me. As writer or filmmaker that’s a very powerful place to place your audience.

2. I Want To Hear It Again!
We love to hear the same story over and over and over again. Kids can hear the same book read but minutes after hearing it the first time. They will correct you if you get part of the story – or sometimes even a word – wrong. As we age, we do like to see some of these same stories played with… although we still expect certain story points and twists to be met. The trick is figuring out which ones are game for tweaking without alienating the audience.

3. It’s Magic!
Kids live in a world of magic. Nature is magic. Stories are magic. Science is magic. Illusion is magic. There is much science and illusion in filmmaking to craft the magic of stories. Don’t lose the connection to the world of magic so you can see the joy that you (as filmmakers) are crafting.

Anyone who teaches knows the student often teaches the teacher. What you have recently learned from the students and kids around you?

In the meantime…

Cheers & a good shoot to you,
Deb

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paintbrshI’ve explored numerous art museums around the world, but it’s the one in Chicago that recently revealed these truths to me:

1.One Subject, Numerous Possibilities of Expression
Each artist will see the subject in a unique way – or in many unique ways. A haystack, a bridge, the Eiffel Tower… see any of them through the style eyes of realism, impressionism or pop art and no doubt dramatically different images come to mind. The possibilities of art (and of film) are the “many” and there is not a single, correct “one”… unless of course we are the artist and looking for the right “one” expression for our own artist within.

2.The Many Drafts Before Brush Stroke #1
No artist starts a full scale finished work from brush stroke number one. There will be many sketches that precede it: pencil sketches, pencil crayon ones, miniature fully-painted versions of the finished work to come. In these experimental drafts, the artist can test form, subject placement and meaning, technique, overall creative vision. Some museums display testing pieces near the final work, and then you can see what’s the same and what’s changed during the artistic process – and a process it is indeed. Drafts and drafts of the script precede the shooting script. Just as shorter films precede longer works on the artistic path of discovery. No single jump to final work.

3. If it’s a Different Time, It’s Different Art
Take Big Ben at dawn, with the warm summer light setting it to glow. Take it again at sunset with the sun providing back light instead, making us perceive its bricks darker than they are. Take it again buried deep in London fog. Different times of day, times of the year, and it’s a very different painting evoking in us different emotions. How too our perspective on the same story changes at different times our lives. We don’t see the same story from the eyes our childhood as we do in adulthood and on to further maturity. Knowing our perspectives as artists changes over time, we can explore the various points of view we could use for a story to find the right one… for now, anyway.

Yes, I’ve done a posting about art and not shown you pictures of the actual pieces I saw that brought me to these thoughts. Well, that’s because it’s now up to you to go to an art museum near you and discover the artistic possibilities and inspiration yourself. What will you discover when looking at the actual paint strokes? Have you done so already? Share them!

In the meantime…

Cheers & an artistic shoot to you,
Deb

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