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I Need Some Nice Shorts

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on May 10, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

My ongoing search for quality short film and music videos is sated briefly by some Rob Dougan.

I remember clearly when MTV was new. I was in a trendy band comprised of artists who dabbled in visual art, fashion and film, and we were incredibly excited about the possibilities. We of course were quickly disappointed as the medium turned into an endless string of “hair bands with hot chick videos”. To me, the marriage of music and moving images still remains a vastly under-explored territory; although there are many full length films brilliantly married to their music (Betty Blue and Paris, Texas remain a couple of faves), I’ve always been more intrigued with the idea of a shorter format (I’ve mentioned shorts before) that might allow a more abstract exploration of the possibilities. The other day a friend turned me on to the video at left, which is by Rob Dougan. It’s a stunning short film set to his theme Clubbed To Death, which will be familiar to many from the soundtrack of The Matrix. If you like it, check out the full CD, Furious Angels. It’s a great CD, but his Tom Waits-like vocal stylings seem to divide opinions. My friends who like Waits found it off-putting, and my friends who don’t like Waits enjoyed it. Go figure. In any case, I wish this were a more clearly defined medium; although there are collections like Pitchfork Media’s 100 Awesome Music Videos, it’s hard to find work like this in one place, and even that collection focuses on the standard pop song promotion format. I’d also be happy if the medium were more popular because I personally have a huge backlog of ambient and instrumental material I would love to market myself! I love this Sick of Dance Music interview with Dougan in The Guardian; it sums up a lot of how I feel about my own work. Especially the “dance music that you could never dance to” reference. I also identify with his indifference to his creation; although my music’s been used in a lot of commercial/industrial video and licensed for one film, I sometimes actually forget it exists (just check the last log in on that ambient link if you think I’m kidding). If you know of any nice clips like the one featured here, please share!

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World Builder: A Charming & Visually Stunning Short Film

[ Comments Off ]Posted on March 6, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Friday, March 6th, 2009

A charming nine-minute short film created by Branit|VFX

I’ve mentioned before that due to my puppy-like attention span, I’ve long been a fan of short media. That’s one of the reasons I like the award-winning short film World Builder, featured at left. I also like it because it takes something usually used to blow things up or create monsters – visual effects – and creates a few moments of sentimentality and simple beauty. If you’re especially hip and cynical, don’t waste your time; there’s no jaded punchline. Although visually rather stunning and clever, it’s really just kind of sweet. Apparently the nine-minute film was shot in a day, but took TWO YEARS to complete in post-production. It was created by Branit|VFX of Kansas City, which has also provided effects for shows like Pushing Daisies and Lost, as well as producing the amusing 2004 short 405:The Movie, “The story of the wrong guy – in the wrong place – at the wrong time.” This kind of material is one of the things I love about the current world of media production: some of Hollywood’s best post-production work takes place in places Like Kansas City, MO! I could watch Branit|VFX’s 2009 Demo Reel repeatedly simply because it uses Kaki King’s music as a backdrop…. Read the rest of this entry »

KOMS.ru – Inspired Russian Flash Animation

[ 3 Comments ]Posted on February 20, 2009 by admin in Popular Media

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I’ve always been intrigued with the amazing possibilities for new media that Flash offers, and a little disappointed that most things you see created with Flash are annoying ads or clever games. We’ve mentioned the eerie creations of Han Hoogerbrugge before, but yesterday I ran across a fantastic collection of Flash work, some interactive, some [...]

ChevengurI’ve always been intrigued with the amazing possibilities for new media that Flash offers, and a little disappointed that most things you see created with Flash are annoying ads or clever games. We’ve mentioned the eerie creations of Han Hoogerbrugge before, but yesterday I ran across a fantastic collection of Flash work, some interactive, some not, at KOMS.ru. The screen grab at left (I couldn’t find an embeddable clip) is from the dark and macabre CHEVENGUR, an animated video based on the work of dystopian Russian writer Andrei Platonov , and featuring the music of one of my favorite composers, Arvo Pärt. There are many more clips at KOMS.ru, who describe themselves as a “non-commercial community of artists, which presents the new wave of russian flash-animation” adding ” This is not a sequel of flash junk-collections located all over the world, which don’t have any system or ideology. We want to introduce you intellectual flash-animations made of different styles: gothic, urban, vanguard, neo-psycho, etc.“. I love this kind of hip bad-assness in Russian pop culture. I haven’t seen anything this cool since the controversial Russian pop act n.A.T.o.

Short Sites Worth A Long Look

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on October 26, 2008 by admin in Popular Media, Technology

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Another reason to cancel your cable service

I’ve mentioned before why my goldfish-like attention span is a perfect fit for the YouTube era of short media. That’s why I was especially excited recently to discover two new HD-quality sites that focus specifically on short films and music videos. The clip at left is the first episode of Emily Time, a weekly show delivered only via the web at historyandtheuniverse.com, along with another show called Big Book of Lies. Both programs were created by David Lampson, a 29-year-old television writer from Boston who produces the shows in Buenos Aires. Both shows are quirky, cinematically slick, and intelligent. Big Book of Lies, for instance, features a dryly absurd, on-going subplot about Noam Chomsky’s sons Buck (a struggling beatbox artist) and John (a cop). On a grander scale, Australia-based PortableFilmFestival.com has a broad selection of seriously high-quality shorts that are “curated” by independent film professionals, guaranteeing a certain level of quality of content. After a painless (takes about 10 seconds and they don’t make you jump through any hoops) account signup, you’re able to view AND download some of the best indy film out there.

Nice Shorts

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on August 29, 2008 by admin in Popular Media

Friday, August 29th, 2008

And your birthday suit’s looking good too

Back in 2003, I became convinced (probably because of my own goldfish-like attention span) that the real future of film and video entertainment would be in any content that lasts less than twenty minutes. Around that time, Fox Searchlabs was launched, offering amazingly well-conceived and produced shorts created by up-and-comers at Fox Searchlight, usually shorts less than 10-15 minutes long. Even that recently, streaming video was a bit of a joke, but especially with the advent of streaming HD, this is becoming a really viable media (especially with services like Joost). Some favorites of mine from that pre-YouTube era include Hang Time, the video at left; Farm Sluts, about a guy who loses his job because of a porn-infected e-mail he receives at work; and The Birthday Suit, about a 50-year-old mom and businesswoman who has a little misunderstanding about her birthday gift. Fox Searchlab is still on line, but for newer high-quality shorts you can check out sites like NiceShorts.com or TheSmalls.com

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