Friday, December 30, 2011

Second Star to the Right

        Recently on the SyFy channel a new miniseries was released, like they do every year, called Neverland.  Its the origin story of Peter Pan and the rest of the character's we have come to love.  Of course like all SyFy shows that base their projects on classic tales, they seem to mix things up and try to reinvent something that really didn't need to be reinvented.  We know Peter Pan had many adventures previous to him loosing his shadow.  We also know that Neverland is a mysterious world that can be reached by flying to the second star on the right and straight on til morning.  In the miniseries Peter Pan has one adventure before loosing his shadow, also, the only way to Neverland is through an orb that transports the person to another world and there is no way of reaching that world without it.  Captain Hook is not a pirate at first but is a mentor to Peter in eighteenth century London.  It basically takes the J. M. Barrie tale and tries to make a background story but why couldn't they at least match their story to flow with the tale we know?

        After watching this miniseries I decided to watch a couple of the films I grew up with.  The first being the original animated movie, the story most people go by besides the original literature.  It is a great film and I loved going back and watching it as if it were for the first time, I forgot most of the movie being that its been so long, but the movie that I was more excited to watch over all of the rest was Hook.  The movie gets a lot of grief and I'm not exactly sure why.  If you were a kid when you watched this movie, I'm fairly certain you loved it as much as I did.  The score, the actors, the scenery, it all gave me a feel of adventure and fantasy.  It made me believe that I could go to this world and not age and live without worry.  Having an adventure everyday and acting as a kid is very appealing to me compared to how I live my life now.  I'm not complaining but at the moment I'm at a crossroads with stress.  I know I am off topic.

        Now Hook isn't primarily based on the same literature but if it is a sequel to the original story, its very good with keeping up with what was written over one hundred years ago.  The film  stays true to the original story and keeps in mind that its a lighthearted story and should be kept that way.  Any story with Peter Pan as a character should leave the viewer in a state of wonder.  Neverland didn't quite do it for me.  It was enjoyable to watch but it didn't really give me the same feeling as Hook or Peter Pan.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Demo Reel

         I just made a new and updated demo reel with all the work I have done up til now.  Enjoy and tell me what you guys think.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas is Here

           Alright boys and girls, Christmas is here, and we all know what that means.  Presents are under the tree waiting for us to rip them apart and see whats inside while the parents stand behind them to see the looks on their faces hoping it was the gift they wanted.  The stockings are stuffed with candy and goodies, Christmas music plays in the background as the parents are secretly happy they don't have to hear those songs for another year after this day.  The kids play with their toys as the parents clean up the mess they made while opening the gifts.  Before we know it the day is over, the kids are worn out from all of the excitement, and A Christmas Story  24 hour marathon on TBS is finally off until the next Christmas, why its always the same movie every year is beyond me.

        Its the day after Christmas I don't enjoy.  Packing the decorations, taking out the endless amounts of trash, and taking down the Christmas tree puts me in a mini depression every year.  It seems those days after Thanksgiving are the happiest of the year, up until after Christmas day that is.  Then before you know it the month is over and everyone goes on with their lives and back to reality.  Of course next year will be worse due to the "end of the world" and all, and no I don't believe it will happen for your information, but they made a movie about it and some people take it seriously.  For those people by the way get a life, honestly, what evidence do you have other than the Mayan calender running out of days.  You ever think they just got tired of making the calender and just decided to end it on December 21, 2012?

       Okay, I went off topic there.  This day is a great day and I plan on enjoying every minute of it, not because of the presents or the stockings filled with goodies.  I will enjoy this day because I will be surrounded by people I love.  There are a few more who I wish were here but sometimes we don't get what we want and that's okay because there is always next year, well according to some people anyways.

      So I hope everyone is surrounded by loved ones and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Teddy Bear

        Christmas Eve is once again upon us and in light of the holiday I like to remember a gift that some children don't find as appealing today as they did in the past.  The teddy bear, still popular as a collectable in some circles, was once Christmas's number one gift almost one hundred years ago: but does anyone know where the teddy bear came from and how it received it's name?

        In November of 1902 our 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was invited on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi.  The trip was a success for everyone on the hunting expedition except for President Roosevelt.  So a man by the name of Holt Collier cornered, clubbed, and tied up a black bear and offered him up to the president.  The president declined killing the animal saying that its unsportsmanlike to take an animals life in that fashion.  Clifford Berryman, a cartoonist for the Washington Post, caught word of what the President did and drew a political cartoon.  The cartoonist drew the bear looking sweet and innocent as the president waved off the animal as if not wanting anything to do with the killing.

        Morris Michtom, a candy salesman and stuffed animal maker, saw this drawing and decided to create a stuffed animal based on the sketch. The bear was made and placed in his store window with a sign reading 'Teddy's Bear;' this was done soon after he sent the bear to the president himself and received permission to use his name.  The stuffed animal was a success and so Michtom founded The Ideal Novelty and Toy Co.

        In 1906 other manufacturers got in on the craze, people began seeing the stuffed animal everywhere.  Children had their picture's taken with them and even Theodore Roosevelt used the bear as his mascot in his re-election campaign.

       When the bear was first made they were created to resemble a bear with small eyes and a long snout.  Today the teddy bear has a shorter snout and larger eyes which makes them more attractive to the buyer, giving them a baby like quality.

       It's not a forgotten toy but the bears popularity isn't as strong as it once was.  So maybe along with giving your kid that ipod or game system he or she has always wanted, why not give them a teddy bear as well?  I am willing to bet fifteen to twenty years from now the bear will still be something they hold onto.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ever Wonder Where Christmas Traditions Come From?

           I'm sure one time or another in your life you asked yourself why do we do the things we do on Christmas, such as putting a tree in the house or hanging lights outside.  It almost seems as if it should be the other way around and in some cultures might be looked at as ludicrous.  But I am here to tell you that it didn't come from some crazy drunk who decided to randomly do these things or just pop out of thin air.  We do them for a reason and though we may have forgotten the stories behind our traditions it's nice to know where they came from.

         A Christmas tree, known as the evergreen tree throughout history, was not referred to as a Christmas tree until the 16th century in Germany, but it wasn't until the mid nineteenth century when it started to become a common feature in Britain and America when the middle class followed the example of Queen Victoria and her German husband Prince Albert who placed a tree in the palace.  The evergreen is a symbol of eternal life at the time of year when all plant life has died.  The evergreen was also used in pagan winter celebrations a thousand years before Christ was born.

        Christmas decorations and lights have been a tradition in the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century.  Many shops and businesses would place lights in their display windows but it wasn't until after World War 2 when decorations became more affordable for households.  The tradition started not by lights on display but as fire started by the pagan's during the winter solstice to celebrate the coming of the sun and the longer days that will bless them in the coming year. 

        The Christmas bell is something that has been affiliated with the holiday's for many years, the bells were used in ancient traditions to keep bad spirits away during the darkest winter days.  Those traditions made the bells a sound of happiness and was made stronger with the association of Santa.  Scandinavians would also fit their reindeer's with these bells so that they could be found in heavy fog and winter storms.

        The reason's we kiss under the mistletoe come from medieval times when women used to wrap the plant around their wrists and waist to boost their chances of conceiving.  This came from the belief that the mistletoe, which grows on top of apple trees, had a magical force because it lived through the harshest winters and still gave apple trees their fruit.  The fact that it could reproduce and grow without roots gave it more of a mystical quality.

        Lastly the origin of Santa Claus.  Some know the origin of Santa Claus came from Dutch settlers who told stories of Sinter Klass, we know him as Saint Nicholas who was depicted in engravings in the eighteenth century as a man dressed in robes that gave gifts to the needy.  Many believe that this man was Nicholas of Myra, an ancient bishop who was honored because of his giving nature.  St Nicholas is only the foundation of what we know of Santa Claus, the rest actually comes from the poem all of us know which was written in 1822 by Clement Clark Moore.  The poem was under the original title "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas," but we also know this poem as "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

        Many of the traditions we follow are unknown to us at times but its always nice to know why we place trees in our living rooms and hang lights on our gutters.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When WIll Reality End?

          I can't understand what the fascination is with reality television.  Only about a decade or so ago we hit a new beginning in television and it doesn't seem as though it will end any time soon.  If anything television is getting worse with every passing year.  I know some of you will say reality television started over twenty years ago with the premiere of Real World on MTV, and some will even say the beginning started in 1973 with the debut of An American Family on PBS; but those were just reality shows and they were unique in their time.  In 2000 there was a change, the change being not one or two, but several reality shows were now on a network and the numbers have grown since then.

         Years ago I could tune into the Discovery channel and watch an actual documentary about our planet.  I could watch E! and see actual news about movies, music, and theater.  Today I turn to those same channels and see American Chopper, The Kardashian's (which I still can't understand why they are popular), or just a typical reality show that has nothing to do with the actual channel they air on.  You can't even classify them as reality since a good deal of what you watch is set up to be more dramatic or comical, depending on the situation.

         Even the game show has evolved into a reality show, with all the drama and story lines that come with a written show.  The Amazing Race, Survivor, and Fear Factor are the new game shows that rule television; but why do we have to put all of the drama that usually goes with written stories  into these shows?  Shows like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire are but appetizers now for the game shows everyone waits for in primetime.

        Why do studios place these shows on the air you ask?  Because they are a bit cheaper to place on television compared to shows like Terra Nova or Fringe.  Reality television is a cheap way to make a buck for the producers.  I'm not saying all reality is terrible but it does seem to be a little out of hand.  We make people, who have no talent, into stars like the Kardashian's, Paris Hilton, and Spencer Pratt.  What is it about these people that we find so intriguing?  Is it because they're rich?  Is it because we wish we could have their lives?  Those are valid reasons but I don't plan on wasting my time watching someone else live their life.

        Talent shows, still considered a reality show according to Wikipedia, are what rule the airwaves today.  American, Idol, America's Got Talent, and The X Factor are what people flock to now.  They are entertaining and I applaud them for this one reason, because they are looking for talent that has been overlooked and are giving people a chance that wouldn't get one if it wasn't for the shows help.  Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Terry Fator, and Melanie Amaro (the first winner of the american version of The X Factor) wouldn't exist in the spotlight if it weren't for these shows.

        I do wish that one day some of these reality shows would disappear and maybe more sitcoms and hour long shows would return to the primetime line-up.  I probably won't get my wish but it's a nice thought.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tintin: Is it Worth the Money?

          Tintin starts out with a score from John Williams playing with an almost Catch Me If You Can feel; the credits that role are also reminiscent of the same film with Tintin running from danger with his trusty dog Snowy.  As the story begins we meet Tintin in a city street getting his portrait sketched; in this scene there is a nod to the original character drawing that can be seen in his first outing in the 1929 comic.  I was very surprised on how much the animation has advanced since the last time I watched a movie with the goal of making the character's look real, and I do just mean these kinds of films excluding Avatar.  I exclude Avatar because it wasn't primarily an animated film.
          The story was fresh and was something I haven't seen on the silver screen before.  The 3-D wasn't as great as advertised, so save the extra few dollars and watch it in regular 2-D.  In the beginning it did take a while for the story to get its pace but it did pick up about thirty minutes into the film and I enjoyed the adventure from that point on.  I'm not into reviews that give away spoilers.  Never been a fan to find out what will happen in the movie before seeing it.  I'll say though they do leave the movie open for another adventure but in what way is something you will have to find out for yourself.
         The character's are what made the whole story worth the ticket. The two bumbling detective's, the drunken sea captain, and a clever villain made the experience that much more enjoyable.  The character of Tintin was also wonderful to watch but it was Snowy that stole a lot of the scenes, of course no real dog could do what Snowy did but its fun to think its possible.
          I was a fan of Tintin when I was a child.  I never read the comics but I watched the cartoon series in the early nineties and it was something I always looked forward to every week.  I loved how it almost captured the same feel of the cartoon and my expectations were primarily based on what I watched on television and not the actual comics.
          The question is though was it worth the money to buy a ticket for this film?  Yes it is worth the ticket and yes its worth your time, but if you do go to see this film I wouldn't pay the extra money to see it in 3-D.  I can't promise everyone will like it because everyone likes different things.  Its great for kids over the age of five and is also enjoyable for the parents who take them.
          By the way, The Hobbit trailer plays before the film.  It definitely is worth at least a walk in to see the previews if your going to see another movie around the same time Tintin starts.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Do You Ever Wonder Why?

       Today I went to get my eyes examined, which is always a fun time.  Now I don't know if anyone ever noticed but when your sitting in the chair waiting for the optometrist there is a projector pointing at a mirror in front of you.  That image is then reflected off of that mirror and bounces onto another mirror behind where you sit.  Am I finished you ask?  Not quite! That image is then reflected onto, yet another mirror right next to the mirror in front of you.  This image that I have been patiently getting to are those wonderful letters that you read to the optometrist.  My question is why do they need three mirrors to bounce the image that many times in order for you to read it?  Possibly there is a scientific reasoning behind all of this trouble, but with all of our modern technology don't you think they could possibly figure out a way to put the projector behind the patient's chair in order to use less or even no mirrors at all?  I would think so.

       Now after the wonderful trip to the eye doctor I went over to Best Buy for a couple items, one being a plastic protector for the front of my phone.  My question is why don't they make their phone screens scratch proof just like they do for glasses?  Okay, I already know the answer to this.  It's because those plastic protector's are twenty dollars a piece and on an average a person has to buy one about once a year in order to keep their screens nice and clear like the day it was bought.  The phones companies could at least give the option to have a scratch proof screen for a certain dollar amount which might save me a few dollars in the long run.  Of course greed out weighs need and so we are stuck with what is available.

       Lastly, and this is unrelated to what I have written above, but on the way home I went by a sign on the side of a truck with a Coca Cola Santa Clause.  When I got home I came across an image on the internet of Santa in Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.  There are two differences between these two Santa's, and I don't mean one is a stop motion Santa and the other is a painting of Santa.  The Santa on Rudolf is bald while the Coca Cola Santa has hair.  Now let me ask, which Santa is more accurate?  Does Santa have hair or is he bald?  Now I know it's just how some people perceive him and his image has evolved throughout the years but honestly it seems nobody can come to a finalized version that everyone can say yes Santa has hair or no he is bald.  What do you think?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wine Glasses

          This is off topic compared to the last few blogs that I have written but I did say in my introductory that I would write about more than just films in general.  Has anyone ever looked up at your cabinet or bar and wonder why they have different kinds of glasses for different kinds of wine?  Many probably overlook why there are different kinds of glasses for wine because they think its a different style and nothing more but there actually is a reason for the different shapes.  There are three different kinds of wine glasses, white wine, red wine, and champagne flutes. 

          A red wine glass has a much broader and wider bowl compared to other wine glasses because it increases the rate of oxidation.  Oxygen chemically interacts with the wine and alters the flavor which generally smooths out the flavor and is typical for red wine.  There are actually two different styles of red wine glasses; a Bordeaux glass, which is designed for full bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Burgundy glass, which is much bigger to gather up the aromas of more delicate red wines like Pinot Noir.

         White wine glasses are typically not as wide as a red wine glass because oxidation is not needed, this alters the flavor which is usually not needed, its typically served slightly oxidized.  To preserve the flavor the glass has a much smaller mouth which reduces the surface area and minimizes the oxidation process, this gives it a crisper and cleaner flavor.  

         The last  of the wine glasses is the champagne flute, a beverage that most will be toasting in the coming new year.  Champagne flutes are typically tall and narrow and are made to be held by the stem so that the heat from our hand doesn't warm the champagne.  The bowl is designed small and narrow in order to keep it carbonated and is usually much taller compared to the other glasses, this gives us a soothing visual of the bubbles rising to the surface because they have farther to travel.

         Now a lot of what you just read is controversial in the wine community.  Some say that the shape of the glass has no effect on the taste of the wine and others say the complete opposite.  There is no scientific reasoning to back up that the glasses shape helps in the taste, but that doesn't stop the controversy and of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  My next question is why are martini glasses shaped the way they are?  Good question you say?  Well maybe I'll research that and get back to this topic sometime.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Hardtimes on Humanity

        Recently I just watched The Help starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis.  The film is set in the early 1960's and is about the hardships that African American maids had to endure while they discuss their point of view to a young aspiring writer.  The movie is based on a novel of the same name that was published in 2008.  Its a great movie and if anyone hasn't watched it yet, it's a definite must see.  Every so often a movie comes out that discusses a terrible time in our history, a time that reminds us that at one time our civilization wasn't so civilized.  It makes a person think why people treat others the way they used to all because they had a different skin color or acted differently.

         One of the most gruesome acts on humanity was seventy years ago during World War 2 and even a museum in Washington D.C. was erected because of its impact on the world.  The Holocaust is something that still impacts us today. This horrible act can be viewed with very graphic detail on the ninth episode of the award winning mini-series Band of Brothers, but the one movie to go to that really captures this black mark in history is Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List.  This film shows the horrors that many had to face in that time and what few did to prevent more from dying in such a horrible fashion.

          Why do we make movies that reminds us of the worst times in our past?  We make them because it not only shows us the worst of mankind but it also shows us the best of who we are.  In such dark times a hero rises to stop or at least fight against the evil that stands in our way.  Characters like Skeeter Phelan in The Help and Oskar Schindler are the light that many look for in their time of need.  A woman who shows kindness by giving her time to write a story of what maids go through on a daily bases and a man who takes all that he has in order to save people from destruction is the greatest gift anyone can give.

          Slavery, war, plagues, and times of depression are all examples of things that have been told in one way or another through film.  I gave only two examples of what is out there to rent or buy for your viewing pleasure and every so often we should be reminded of how bad things used to be.  Even though the economy is bad now and things aren't as great as you would like them to be; just remember that at one time things were even worse than they are today and hopefully things will keep getting better.  Only the future can tell where we will end up.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in Film

         Everyone has their favorite holiday film that they look forward to once a year.  I couldn't really say that I have a favorite film for the holiday season but there are those few that stick out over the rest.  I will give you my top five favorite holiday films that I enjoy every December and maybe you will see a few of your favorite holiday classics.

5.  The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

This almost forgotten holiday treasure always puts me in the Christmas spirit no matter what mood I am in.  The original story has been told countless times since it was first made into a film in 1910.  There are many different versions of this story and not all of them can be on this list, but I choose this story above the others because of the one single thing the others don't have.  The Muppet's!  They have always brought me back to a simpler time in my life.  The Muppet's have a pure innocence about them that makes anyone my age become a kid again.

This film was bitter sweet in its time due to Jim Henson's death two years prior, and this was the first film that was produced after his passing.  The movie is very true to the original classic and tells the story with the Muppet's charm sprinkled throughout.  Michael Caine takes the role of Scrooge and makes it his own, showing that a serious role can still be taken that way when the Muppet's are involved.  It isn't the typical Muppet's movie, and is very straight forward with little humor but still is very much a Muppet film.  With as much emotion as any Christmas Carol film, this has more heartwarming moments and times of laughter than all of the rest.

4.  Christmas Vacation (1989)

This holiday classic shows up every year, and seems to be on many people's list for good reason.  It's a simple story of a family opening up their home to relatives for the holiday season.  Like most families, we wish for a Christmas with a well decorated house, a tall beautiful tree in our living room's, and presents to put smiles on our faces.  The difference with this families Christmas is the decorations are over the top, a squirrel is nesting in their tree, and the presents burn up in a blaze of glory.

Christmas Vacation serves up a laugh every second we watch Clark Griswold try to keep it together during the holidays.  His one wish is to have a perfect Christmas for his family, but things seem to go wrong with every turn.  In the end though we find out that it doesn't take a well decorated house, a tree, or presents to make a Christmas great.  We find out that it's the people who love us enough to put up with all of our shenanigans that makes that one day a year great.  Plus you have to love a cousin who kidnaps your boss to get you that bonus you deserve, don't ya?

3.  Batman Returns (1992)

I know what your thinking.  Batman Returns isn't the typical holiday movie, and yes I do know this.  The reason I choose batman as a holiday classic is because I am a big fan of batman.  The story does take place on Christmas and there is a nice holiday celebration at the beginning of the film, of course that celebration is ruined by a gang of thugs who used to entertain at the circus and are led by the penguin.  If you look past it though...what am I kidding, its a superhero movie that only takes place during the holiday season.  I am a guy though and an action movie during Christmas does make sense to me.  Die Hard almost made it on the list by the way.

This film though only comes on during this time of the year and I do catch it every time I get the chance.  There is a small message though in this film and that's basically said at the end of this film.  "Good will towards men...and women."  Okay, not much of a message because it wasn't really the theme of the movie but I am trying here.  Basically there is a Christmas tree in the film and a couple presents pop up.  All in all it's just a fun movie to watch.

2.  Scrooged (1988)

Another film based on the Charles Dickens classic you say?  Yes I did choose another film with the same plot, the only difference is that this is set in 1988 and Bill Murray is playing Scrooge.  The character of Scrooge though is named Frank Cross and he is a greedy president of a television company who of course is visited by three ghosts.  The story isn't fresh but the way the story is told is very different from the usual classic telling.

Bill Murray is in his prime as a comedic actor and Scrooged is told with great enthusiasm and imagination.  Greed is the evil in this story just like all the rest, but the difference here is that Scrooge is a young man with the possibility of getting his love back in the end.  The past stories that were told had an elderly Scrooge with no chance of getting back the woman he loved.

This story is very much a comedic version of the tale we know so well and is a bit of a relief to watch when the classic story gets told to many times to count.

1.  The Santa Clause (1994)

Not really most people's choice as their number one film of the season.  Most would choose It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, they are great movies and deserve to be in the top 5 of the greatest Christmas Movies ever told, again though this is the list of movies that I enjoy seeing.

This was Tim Allens' first outing as a leading man in a feature film.  At the time it was a gamble to put a television actor in a leading role.  Most would look at the cover of the film and say it was a typical comedy of the holiday's but realistically this has more heart and is very relatable compared to past Christmas films.

It's a story of a father wanting to be closer to his son.  In the beginning Tim Allen's character Scott Calvin is a hard working, career driven man who is very distant from a son he loves.  His bond grows with his son as he becomes the big man himself.  It's a very heartfelt story and one that I cherish every time I watch it.

I hope you like my top five and would love to hear any comments you have on this.  Happy reading and Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remakes and Sequels

         Everyone knows by now that Hollywood seems to have run out of ideas for films.  They're going back to classics and even movies that weren't that great the first time around.  Every so often there is a film that seems to be original in some way, making me think that maybe Hollywood has dug their way out of the hole they have been in for awhile.  I can't knock all remakes though.  Last years True Grit was a very well made film, some would even say better than the original and actually was more faithful to the book than the original film.  Sometimes a remake can be a great thing, retelling a story that most people forgot about or telling it from a different prospective can still be considered original.  An example of this would be last years Alice in Wonderland.  The movie wasn't a retelling but was more or less a sequel of the original story and also gave us a different view of characters we know all to well.  As I said before though, not all remakes are great.  Take this years Conan the Barbarian, the film was a terrible remake.  The acting was sub par and the actors were miscast.  The only good thing I can say about the film was the visual effects. 

        Lately the only movies that seem to be original are the superhero films.  Everything from Iron Man to the upcoming Avengers movie seem to be the only original stories that are coming out on the market.  Captain America is an exception, being that there was an original film made a couple decades ago, no one would argue though that the film did need another chance to be told with a bigger budget behind the story.  Another superhero character has been remade a few times and have had several sequels but most would say the most recent outing for batman is the best.  Before Batman Begins was released in the summer of 2005 everyone seemed to be down about another Batman film coming out, most though were pleasantly surprised of how original and inspiring the film was.  When The Dark Knight was released in 2008 it not only surprised but blew away the audience by the powerful performance by Heath Ledger and gave us new hope to sequels and remakes alike.

        We look at sequels as a great way to see the characters we fell in love with in the first film.  Some sequels though are just for the hefty paychecks producers will get, and are usually made until the franchise is bled dry.  The latest film that came out this year with this in mind, The Hangover 2, seemed to be made purely with the intention of just making money.  The film was essentially the same film as the original, this time with a different location and a few different circumstances but in the long run it was the same film.

         I can't understand why Hollywood can't come up with original stories.  There are so many novels and short stories in this world that can be adapted into a film rather than going back to something that has already been made before; there are exceptions to this but they are few and far between.  A remake of The Wizard of Oz, Total Recall, RoboCop, The Crow, Highlander, Judge Dredd, The Great Gatsby, and Godzilla are on the horizon and I am now wondering, why do we need a rehash of what we have already seen before.  Come up with something original for the last time.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Change is Never Easy

             Tomorrow I move out of a place that I have called home for over ten years and head towards an uncertain future.  I am a bit scared of what will happen or if I will make it in the career I have chosen for myself.  Recently I graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor's Degree in Film.  Just after my graduation I got an internship at a company called Odyssey Creative.  Several months pass in a flash and before I knew it my internship was over and now in less than a day I'm heading to Atlanta where I have a better chance at getting a job.  Of course it won't be easy due to the economy but I will keep pushing forward in order to reach the goals I have set for myself.  I guess I have more excitement than fear in my heart, but never the less its' a feeling I haven't had in a long time.

            I just sat down after going through my room, everything boxed up and ready to go. My soon to be old room is now as barren  as the day I moved in.  Memories seem to flood back into my thoughts with every item I place into a box and I wonder where did the time go.  I haven't moved to much in my life and I suppose that isn't a bad thing.  I made friends, memories that are unforgettable, and hopefully I left a lasting impression on the people I met along the way.   The hardest thing though is moving away from a family that has always been there for me whenever I needed them, and though that won't change it still hurts to know that I won't live as close as I would like to be.

          We get older and we move on, it is a part of life and it happens more often than you want it to.  It has been a long road but it wouldn't of been possible without a great father to support my every move and a stepmother who has been there for me whenever I needed someone.  I have a mother who always has an open ear whenever I need to talk to someone, a sister who seems to know to call me when she has something on her mind, and a stepfather who has more patience than the average person and I thank them all for being there for me. I can't complain about the life I have had in Florida.   I suppose the move won't be so bad, but moving away from something I have known my whole life is not as easy as I would like it to be.

           We will see where this road will take me and I will stay positive no matter the outcome.  Things seem to work out in the end, but until then I will just enjoy the ride.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Emotion in Film

           Most people don't realize how much their emotions' are brought to the surface, not by whats on the screen, but what we hear in the cinema.  Would Luke Skywalker looking at two suns setting be as memorable with the music or with out it?  Would Jaws be just as scary without those two low notes in the background?  More than likely the movie would have been a dud without the music.  If anyone noticed the shark didn't really appear on screen until almost thirty minutes into the film and that was just the fin, not the whole shark.  Without a great score behind a movie, the emotion would more then likely be nonexistent.

          In a horror movie we aren't really scared until we hear the score in the background hinting that there is someone behind the door or warning us of an upcoming kill.  We perceive that our fears come from our site alone but if you close your eyes, that chill still crawls up your spine, sometimes even worse than when your eyes were open.  Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street would of lost their scare factor if the music was never a part of the experience.  I just mean the earlier films, not the most recent sequel or remake.

          Music even makes a grand entrance even better rather than without the melody behind the moment.  Would Pinhead's entrance in Hellraiser be as grand if it wasn't for the over the top score by Christopher Young?  Even the Terminator's entrance would be less than what it was if it wasn't for the metal beating with his every footstep in the background as he walked down a hallway in slow motion.

         A hero isn't a hero without his theme.  John Williams made that perfectly clear when he created the theme for one of the greatest heroes in cinema history.  A man with a fedora and a whip, who always seemed to get away when the odds were against him, became an icon.  You can't deny though that the score for the Indiana Jones films helped in its' success.  The theme practically pulled you into the adventure as you watched in amazement.  A heroes score makes him more heroic and epic in our minds than if he didn't have a score at all.  Jack Sparrow standing on on a mast as the ship sunk, Batman standing on a buildings edge as he stares up at his signal in the sky, or when Roy Hobbs knocks the baseball into the stadium lights for a home run in The Natural.  All of those moments are grand but it was the score that gave us that extra emotion and joy we felt.

         I could go on about how music brings out a persons emotions while watching your favorite movies.  We typically don't give to much credit to what we hear at the theater, we instead give all the credit to what we see.  Film is a collaboration of site and sound and we should take all of it in.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Cartoons Have Changed

                I recently came across all of my Disney movies and animated cartoon series from my childhood and thought I would watch a few.  Even after almost twenty years I still get that feeling in the pit of my stomach after watching Aladdin(1992).  For a brief moment the worries in my mind subsided and I was a kid again, who watched with wide eyes at a world where dreams come true.  The deeper I dug into my cardboard box the more I found the treasures that I had forgotten.  I picked up the Batman(1992) and Gargoyles(1994) animated series and wondered where all of the great storytelling had gone.  I look at the cartoons that kids watch today and wonder if the creators have just gotten lazy with their ideas for these shows, or if children have become less intrigued with storytelling and more into whats flashy and popular.  The cartoons I watched as a kid I still love today, probably even more so now than then.

              A few weeks ago I was flipping though the channels on a Saturday morning when I came across The Disney Channel.  The show that was on was called "Fish Hooks," a cartoon about three fish best friends who attend high school in a large fish tank.  The animation isn't great and the writing is terrible.  I'm not saying that I'm a better writer but I know I can come up with better story lines than whats on that television series.  When I watched Gargoyles the other day, it had stories that you would find in old text books about European legends and Norse mythology; it actually taught you history while it entertained the viewer.  Batman the animated series had detective stories that both children and adults could appreciate.

              I'm not saying that all animated programs and movies are bad today.  They just seem to have less quality in some shows today compared to what was created in the past.  I even thought to myself that maybe when I was a kid that somebody had the same thoughts about the television shows I enjoyed, that they weren't as good as the cartoons from their past.  Turns out that isn't true.  I even asked a few people who were born in the fifties and sixties and they all tell me that cartoons from the eighties and early nineties were entertaining and actually enjoyed watching them with their kids.

            At the turn of the century, cartoons seemed to have lost there edge and lacked in storytelling.  Past shows were either going off the air or only existed through reruns.  Their is only two cartoon franchises that seem to be a universal favorite even today, Mickey Mouse and the Looney Tunes.  Every generation from the early twentieth century to now always go back to what works, a mouse with a high pitched voice and a rabbit who stirs up trouble, they seem to be the exception to what is written here.

            Animated movies seem to always have a decent story and the only ones that seem to be consistent are Pixar film's.  It seems though that cartoons in the eighties touched my heart more than what comes out today.  Movies like The Secret of NIMH(1982), The Land Before Time(1988), and An American Tail(1986) touched more people born in my decade than what comes out today.  Maybe it's because they were a part of my childhood that I hold them so dear to me, but animated stories seem to have lost a little of their magic and I hope one day that magic will return.

            Twenty years later I am willing to bet that someone just like me will write a paper or a blog stating that their cartoons seem to be more entertaining than what their children are watching, and maybe that will be true.  I am hoping though that someday things will turn around.  Everyone has something that reminds them of their childhood, no matter if it's a cartoon, a favorite toy, or your memories.  No matter how old we get though we always enjoy it when that kid inside us all comes out to remind us of a simpler time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Artist's Statement

The video that I have posted is an artist's statement.  Basically an explanation of some of my artwork and what I do.  I just have examples of some of the things that I have created, mostly some of my earlier work, but if your curious take a look and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Introduction to the Hog

Alright!  Since this is my first post I will basically just make this an introduction into my world, or should I say my blog.  I won't get into who I am or what I do, maybe my work will speak for itself but this blog will basically be a way for me to get the word out about the work that I am doing but you will also get to know me along the way.  I will also keep you up to date with each artistic endeavor that I am pursuing and post the finished product when it's available.

This blog won't just be about updates of my work and how its progressing but will also be a window into who I am, what I am about, and what's on my mind.  I guarantee we will have fun!  Curious about the title of my blog?  Well it was just yesterday that I was driving up I-95 towards Orlando for my internship at a small production company when the name Hollerin' Hog popped into my head.  Why was I thinking of names you ask?  Well my mom is possibly opening up a camping site for motorcycles in north Georgia and I thought it would be a good name for the campground.  Turns out she didn't like it, so what did I do?  I used the name as the title of my blog; I just thought it was catchy.  If you are curious about my work go to

Livingston Oden is my actual name by the way.  I know its a cool name, a viking god for the last name and an early 20th century explore for the first name, it really can't get any better than that, unless your named Indiana Jones or James Bond then you might have me beat.  I didn't really appreciate the name until I got into high school, seems as though young kids just don't like things that are different until you get older and what was once different becomes unique.   How about this, comment on this blog with your name or a name of someone that you know and see if there is a name as cool or even more so than mine.  Love to hear the readers responses.