Category Archives: solothink

Inspiration, move me brightly. (Robert Hunter)

Immersions in Hybrid Cinematic Spaces

The viewing of powerful cinematics offers wild subjective rewards. Was your life ever changed by a movie full immersion? They never entirely disappear, like splinter-layers of new coral.

When a film surrounds you, a series of emotional squeezes emerge. Why?

A) Films compress time, catalyze and accelerate the viewer’s process of lucid experience. so many reactions and choice over-run our predictable logical defenses.

B) We realize that something is happening and we have to crunch through it, moral positioning and all. Experience can be mediated or un-mediated, prepared or unprepared, outward-in and blind-sided. By surprising us with original content, films forces our human machinery to find ways in the moment to respond.

C) With all senses in and no way out, the big-screen immersion remixes our synapses. We react to color while we hunt for meaning and dodge narrative bullets. When we don’t know what’s about to happen, we feel vulnerable, exposed. Maybe that’s why audiences watch trails and read plots before-hand. Mystery films were popular for a moment.

We can emerge from the darkness transform by new increments in awareness. Specific abstract or narrative content served as a vehicle in adding previously unknown experience to the palette of our consciousness. Yes, there are many feelings we don’t know yet, like for a painter who uses Yellow there are 51 shades of yellow. Each cinematic experience evolves into a particle of active memory, a light pinch of sand onto the sand-castle of our personal architecture.

Come hear “String Cheese” play… storyjazz by the waterside.

The first time I heard String Cheese was in 1999 and the music never stopped. This is a full show, take a bite, start anywhere you want. (minute 46, for example?) If you don’t know this jam band, listen in. They depart wildly from basic melodic structures and verses, opening up spaces for unforgettable creative vibes in motion, jazzy ripples circling juicy refrain patterns.

What’s that got to do with film, you say?

Stop Motion Last Supper by Charlie (the Kaufmans, that is)

Charlie Kaufman (and his brother) is a writer everyone seems to love. When I ask “who’s your favorite screenwriter” usually it’s either Kaufman or Tarantino or “the guy who wrote Seven“.

One of the reasons i think we seem to remember Charlie Kaufman as the author (more than whoever directed) is because he downloads his imagination straight into our gut. His worlds crack open or double up, crumble inside out and upside down, like our very own.

The best way to tell a personal story of truth, according to Federico Fellini, is to invent a whole environment of fiction. Not a dream world necessarily, but a believable make-believe in which the forces of drama embody people. People who fight their own gut instincts, people paralysed by the impossible choices in love and life.

It’s always a pleasure to hear filmmakers like Charlie Kaufman talk with candor and humility.

And – if you haven’t yet – take a look at Charlie Kaufman’s crowdfunded stop-motion animation


+ metaphor, – rethoric. Cuaron on shooting his 3-week screenplay.

@Cinemahead we map scripts because it makes the process of writing less painful and more fun. A story map makes the making-of a script faster, visual, imaginative. Plus, it makes it easy to collaborate.

I ran into this YouTube interview with Alfonso Cuaron, director of “Y Tu Mama Tambien”. Listen to what he has to say about coming up with and directing “Gravity”. He says it was “a script that took three weeks to write”, a story rooted in personal adversities.


GoPro meet Docmob

This video is from a Himalaya Motocross tour. A father and son’s story with a warm tone and high stakes.

Our micro doc site
doesn’t yet contain any Go Pro films, but it has a free manifesto to download, that sets up the basic principles of making miniature documentaries 30 steps from mainstream.

Anybody out there making GoPro #DocMob films?

Make money with your wild movie? (no, seriously) Then give it away…

The Digital Recession and the future of video

reposted from

twitter: @jimmycthatsme

In 2011, a speaker at a reputable film festival said to an audience of filmmakers, “the best part about making movies today is that anyone can make movies, and the worst part is also that anyone can make movies”. I turned to inspect the audience because I wondered, as I do still, to whom he was speaking? How could it ever be good for artisans that everyone can make art? What realtor or travel agent is thrilled by new advancements in global connectivity and the democratization of their work? We are all the victims of an imploding digital revolution and although many seem confused about what this means for our future and the pursuit of film as a career, I’d like to be honest about my experiences in the economics of art, where we seem to be heading, and how we might survive the fallout.

Our first short film was seen by over a million people in 140 counties. We recently completed our first feature, screened it at notable film festivals, were approached by distributors, made the front pages of highly trafficked news and video sharing sites, and we are considered successful by many of our peers. In any other industry similar signs might indicate success, but we still have yet to make a dollar from our artwork. Our degrees have cost us 90 thousands dollars a piece, and we have spent the last 4 years in debt for our decision to pursue this craft. Can you imagine if I told you that this was our experience in becoming carpenters? And yet, we are surrounded by a culture that relentlessly encourages a pursuit of the Arts.

The truth is that every year millions of students are graduating off of a cliff, looking for jobs that do not exist, and relying upon paychecks that are becoming increasingly rare. Members of the EU met last week to discuss Europe’s youth unemployment epidemic, what to do with this “lost generation”, and how to fix it.

But there is no fixing it, and here is why:


The invention of the typewriter revolutionized the written word. Schools were founded to teach typing, jobs became plentiful, and an industry was created. People’s livelihoods were founded upon operating these machines and then the American Typewriter was released and it became cheap and easy to type and the entire industry, many years after it’s creation, imploded. Although typing has never been more popular, can you imagine paying someone to type for you? Having devoted their lives to this job, what should the typists do now? You can be certain that people are asking themselves these very questions with respect to the digital revolution, their future livelihoods were based upon technologies that are now or are soon to be outdated, and they worry that they are as well. The modern typewriters are among us, they are digital photo and video cameras, digital music, video, and photo editing software, as well as all other modern technology that makes something we used to pay people for, easier and more accessible, or in other words, ‘less work’. Video production, like typing, has the same future.

This happens naturally. Moore’s law is the mathematic observation that our technological capabilities double roughly every 18 months, which means that we can always expect exponential advancements in industries until nearly all jobs are replaced by technology. In the film industry, with cameras becoming cheaper and easier to use, we can expect that video will only become more democratized until every person in every country is able to participate, adding to the already staggering 24 hours of footage that is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Although this is very promising for the diversity of art on this planet, and is no doubt a global good, it is not promising for anyone that expects to feed their children through a career in film. Jobs are disappearing because the gap between the professional and the average consumer is getting smaller, faster, every day.

Many believe that our governments are in charge of creating jobs, as if that’s their job, or as if they have influence over technological advancements that naturally delete them. As of 2013, the Golden Gate Bridge has no tollbooth operators, they were replaced by a digital camera and online payment system. There is less traffic, shorter commutes, and less tollbooth operators to breathe our exhaust all day. Should our government rehire these people? Should they also hire workers to fan the exhaust out of the tollbooths? It would certainly create more jobs, but the truth is that that job is now unnecessary, and so are the workers, and so will we be.

Why would anyone pay for something that will be online tomorrow for free?”


The amount of digital piracy in a country is correlated to the average internet speed. It would be very time consuming to download Avatar on a dial-up modem, so many in El Salvador will have to buy a hard copy, but Americans often watch movies online for free simply by googling the movie’s title followed by the word “streaming”. As if this isn’t already easy enough, advancements in internet speeds will only make watching movies for free easier, or in my opinion, ubiquitous.

In 2010, a filmmaker friend of mine raised 125,000 dollars from family and friends for a feature film. He submitted it to festivals, received glowing reviews from hundreds of media outlets including Indiewire and Variety, and premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival. A reliable distributor bought the film, promising a small theatrical release and contractually guaranteed revenue from future sales. Again, this sounds a great deal like success and many filmmakers dream of being in this position; a Hollywood deal, signs of interest, and the potential for financial return and future projects. Months later however, the distributor released the film for sale on iTunes and within days the movie was popping up on free streaming websites like Within 1 month the film had countless views and it still lives illegally online for free. Many filmmakers suffer this fate, unable to recoup their investment because of the nature of the internet. This is not solely a failure in business, this is a failure to understand the value of art in the digital age. If all that it takes to separate a filmmaker from revenue is one person uploading a copy of their movie to the internet then the future of film is only growing more unpromising.

Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Steven Soderbergh have recently spoken at engagements about the terrible state of the film industry, (we can only wonder who guards their piles of money when they climb down from them to speak) and yet none of these successful businessmen enlightened the world to the obvious fact: that it is not the film industry that is collapsing, but the value of video, that overwhelming supply has devalued it as a whole, that cameras in every phone will only further push it off the cliff, that people are becoming less likely to pay for moving images in a rectangle, and that there is no stopping it.

How should we cope with this future?


Many of our peers seem to have rifts in their thinking about the digital revolution, that our future is uncertain, but that considering the negatives might distract from the steadfast pursuit of our work and thus lessen our chances of success. Does considering the reality of our own deaths prevent us from pursuing our lives or living them to the fullest? Of course not, so let’s stop deceiving ourselves that the death of the industry is not a real problem that deserves real answers.

Here is one:

There are many new ways to make money as an independent artist, but it is unlikely that we will make it from our future audiences. In the last year, new ways to approach releasing videos online have made it easier for artists to screen their work for free and still receive adequate funding. The show South Park has been pirated and streamed illegally online for years. South Park did not ignore this, they recognized the problem, created their own streaming site, and partnered with companies like Jack In The Box to stream in HD for free, provided that commercials played throughout the episodes. They weakened the blow of the pirates, made sure that their fans had incentive to visit their site, and all it took was speaking with outside parties for financing. Why can’t we do this?


Should schools still charge so much for things that you can learn on youtube for free? Will anyone be able to in 20 years? When the time comes for my generation to send their children to college, what will they think about the value of an arts education? How can we construct the landscape of the internet to better guarantee opportunities for artists? The current atmosphere is bound to negatively effect future generations, and we owe it to them to fix these problems now.

It would seem that the answers are simple, unique media encryption needs to be implemented on iTunes and Youtube so artists can hold their thieves accountable, Netflix needs to allow users to submit films instead of just distributors, movie theaters need to allow the moviegoers to choose what is playing (not the corporations), and the Academy Awards need to allow for the consideration of films that premiere online. These changes seem obvious, but they can only be made from the top.

If we do nothing and continue to gamble our time and money while dreaming of a viable future, we will only lessen our likelihoods of success and become even larger victims of these pyramid schemes. We cannot allow the industrialization of art to make so much from us when they contribute so little. It is time to rebel, to release films for free and to seek our own monetization. We have arrived at the Gold Rush to find the mines emptied, now is the time to circle the wagons and to fight for it.

twitter: @jimmycthatsme

NOW make it a hybrid movie.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 5.01.51 PM

Hybrid has become an almost cliche’ word, nothing is pure, all is remixed. Hybri d in principle refers to work that cuts across genre definitions, styles, cultures or traditions. Hybrids have been a core part avant-garde cultures, in the west the idea of hybrid work makes me think of the impulses to re:think and re:do that Dada and later video-art gave to the image-making landscape.

Transmedia projets are big now, as producers weave game and narrative ideas to explore new forms of interactive storytelling that will tickle crowd-sources and give heroes longer life.

Have you seen any hybrid films you like? Are you making any story that is hybrid? In the Cinemahead forum there is room to talk about, like, “where is story told best?”

When talking about Energy, hybrids are machines that use more than one form of propulsion or fuel, like electric cars that can be switched to gasoline if needed. I personally prefer Tesla, powerful imagineering.