Monday, September 01, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting closes Friday noonish...

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post " Here's What Sin City Looks Like Before They Add A...":

I'm always torn when it comes to movies that are shot mostly in green screen and are essentially made from bits and pieces in post production. On one hand, I think that it does take away from all the traditional film jobs that aren’t needed in this process. Most of the art department, stunts, “real” special effects, etc… see their roles get seriously diminished or even completely disappear. I imagine that it’s less rewarding for the actors to portray their character in the nebulous world of green screen.

On the other hand, it allows for a whole other set of artists and technicians to make the movie in another way. While some film professions are on their way to being considered antiquated and quirky, many other jobs are being created and there is a whole VFX industry that is now able to flourish and grow. I guess it really depends on how one feels about that, and which aesthetic they prefer onscreen. I think that both have merits and that we’re at a really great place in film right now where many movies are using entirely new techniques, while others are making a conscious effort to uphold traditions and do it the old-school way. The green screen approach is definitely appropriate for “Sin City” because the whole concept is that it looks like a comic book, something that is harder to achieve without extensive work in post.

In the end I think there is one thing to keep in mind. This is how movies are made. Piece by piece, shot by shot, in no particular order other than the one that is the most convenient. Often, what happens during filming looks very different from the final product. I spent a month as a PA on a film set this summer, and I honestly had no idea what the movie was actually about until I read the script a couple weeks in. Making movies is weird, disconnected, and post production is a very important part of the process. As such, it’s not that strange to see that phase becoming more and more dominant in certain movies. While I personally really appreciate seeing movies where the original footage is basically the final product, CGI has its merits and uses.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Aurora Theater Should Have Predicted Mass Shooting...":
It's hard to imagine the grief that survivors of the victims of a tragedy like Aurora must feel. It is likewise difficult to imagine the audacity of the lawyers who would work to convince those survivors that a specious lawsuit and a bunch of money will make any of it better. This is clearly a case of the litigious streak in our society going after the entity on this grim scene with the most money. The worst thing this judge's ruling does is give the families involved hope that relief from their pain may be forthcoming, because it isn't, even if they were to win.

The argument that we should all conduct our lives and businesses as though the worst case scenario is inevitable, and be held accountable when the most unlikely events occur, is, as MS. Skenazy correctly points out, "not rational." It's the same reactionary argument that the 2nd Amendment lobby tries to make in support of everyone carrying guns all the time. The thing is, the more you think you need a gun, or armed guards at movie theaters, the more likely an event will occur when it seems like you need them. When armed guards are strutting down the aisle to shush unruly teenagers instead of zit-faced, butter-bespattered ushers, we are creating a power imbalance that will eventually lead to a tragedy. We know this, or at least we should by now. Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown. And these are just the shootings that have caught the media's attention. Gun violence in this country is rampant, on both sides of the law. More guns, especially wielded by mall cops, is not the answer.

As for the movie theatre and its responsibility to plan for every disaster, that's what we do to an exhaustive measure every time we build a public space in this day and age. Effective planning for a mass shooting, as awful as it may sound, should be no different than planning for a fire. Get people out as quickly and in as many different directions as we can to minimize exposure. Hey, and while we're at it, why not try to make guns at least as difficult to obtain as a driver's license.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre offers up eclectic ...":
How encouraging to read about a theater actively supporting the needs of its community. Especially in a city like Pittsburgh that experiences artistic "brain drain," as young people pour into the city to study the arts and then leave for bigger cities, PPT's commitment to cultivating local playwrights could help make Pittsburgh a more attractive place to establish a theater career. Furthermore, PPT's support of Pittsburgh playwrights becomes particularly vital in a national theater climate that favors New York- or LA-based artists. These productions can help Pittsburgh playwrights earn credits and experience that they might have trouble finding in other regional theaters and cities.
I'm so curious about the eventual demographic makeup of the One-Act Festival's playwrights. If the festival were only open to minority playwrights, the playing field would be relatively equal in terms of which playwrights deserve an opportunity to be produced. By allowing white playwrights to submit work to the festival as well, PPT may face some resentment if they ultimately produce (a) white playwright(s). White writers already are more widely-produced in American theater than minority playwrights, often for various socio-economic reasons within the structure of our industry, rather than outright racism (which would take much more than a short Internet comment to articulate). At the same time, the inclusion of white writers is vital to their philosophy of bridging divides between all ethnic groups through the festival. Will audiences and fellow artists accept a diverse festival of writers when "diverse" includes white writers, who could be seen as taking opportunities away from minority writers?
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Fab10 – What If The Future We Want Is Built by Us,...":
I have to say that my favorite part of this article is the part about kids. Looking at the world like a kid opens up many different possibilities. I miss that ignorant phase where all the wonders of the world were mysteries and we could go on for hours describing these crazy contraptions. I remember going on about all the features of a "Fire Car" (kind of like a spaceship and the bat-mobile in one). It was totally made up but I went into so much detail that I started to believe it existed! Where I'm going with this is that as we get older and we learn about how things work and what things really are and our imaginations begins to shrink. I don't know about others, but I worry a lot that I'm forcing my imagination to DO SOMETHING and it's because I know things. There is a famous composer in South Korea (I don't remember his name) and he's known to be one of the best composers in South Korea. He was asked what makes him such an amazing composer and he answered "I don't listen to music". Alexander McQueen said that he never looked up to other designers to inspire him. They looked at their passion with a child's mind and they created art. So yes, I think if we use our child-like imaginations, the future would be made up of our true desires rather than the ones that we learn are socially acceptable for everyone.

I hope I didn't go off on too much of a tangent... I can go on forever about this because it's something that my friend and I love discussing!

I also like that their getting kids involved! (GET THEM WHILE THEIR YOUNG! Just kidding... but seriously, fascinate them when their young and the future is forever in their hands!)
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "I understood gender discrimination once I added “M...":
I wish I could say this was eye-opening, but sadly I am not even surprised by this article. Discrimination in the work place is very real, be it against women or minorities. While I myself haven’t applied to enough jobs to have noticed any discrimination against me because of my gender, it has come up in circumstances other than job searches and never fails to anger and bewilder me. Whenever I think about the future, the ways in which our society and the entire world are going to keep evolving, I can’t fathom us going toward a positive course when so many people are still made out to be inferior because of their gender, ethnicity, origin, beliefs, etc…

I believe that it is so important for the performing arts industry, be it film, theater or other art forms, to use their extraordinary potential to reach out to people in a conscious, positive way. It is important to create plays, make movies, write books that not only include people from all walks of life but also tell stories where we see those people in roles or situations that are unusual, unconventional, unexpected. And having a token stay-at-home dad or successful business woman just isn’t enough. Little girls who want to be engineers can’t be a TV show’s claim to diversity anymore; they need to be characters of their own rather than quota requirements. I realize that we have come a long way in means of acceptance of diversity, but current events and continuing issus prove that there is an even longer way to go.

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