Aug 27, 2008

A Summer of Shorts


Indeed it has been a beautiful summer, perfect short wearing weather, perfect making film shorts weather, but too short all the same. With the bad jokes out of the way, allow me to get down to the task at hand.

With as often as I'm discussing one of my random projects, I'm not sure if you've had a chance to see the variety of things that I've posted here on my blog, on youtube, or on my facebook group this summer so I thought a recap of the last few months was in order.

I find myself trying to stay in touch with so many people on so many different online accounts that it's tough to remember what I've shared and with who. What I've posted on this blog, what I've talked about, and so on and so forth is kind of a part-time job in itself, but the goal is to find an audience: people just like you! So, I apologize if you've seen some of these already, but even if you have why not check them out again, it's only a couple minutes. Hey, you might even like something (which would be nice to know)!


I've included a brief description of each project and a link to the video on my youtube account. For the best playback click the 'watch in high quality' link beneath the video on the youtube site. As always I appreciate any of your comments or ratings on youtube, any comments here on this blog, as well as any personal comments through facebook or email.

I want to thank all of you who pass by this blog and lend a little of your time just to see some of the shorts I've come up with, or share your thoughts on something I want to talk about. It's been a great experience thus far, and your continued interest only fuels my motivation and inspires me to create new things and push myself further. Thank you! I can only hope that what I'm putting out there in return meets your expectations.

Without further delay, the 2008 Summer of Shorts recap:

I'm Luke, I'm Fandrix
The one year blogiversary video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GJwpqjBDUY


Chico Bandito: The Series
Inspired by a marionette that I found in the laundry room, Chico Bandito is a series about the marionette's planned and hopeful escape.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNyysiq-PDM

Day Dream Day
My most recent edit about a thinking place and my personal outlook.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziigkAI1bsQ


Space Drama!
A found footage project I put together using footage from a 1950's sci-fi show.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZlP1sXLCcU


Siblings
A tale of sibling rivalry at a playground.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaEtZt-USjo

Car Kaleidoscope
My submission to the Toronto Urban Film Fest, showing urban life in an experimental short.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBfx0phSr3M


Rushmore & South Dakota Recap
A recap within the recap, this edit was made this summer to sum up the road trip to Mount Rushmore I went on in 2007.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpMBPlci9bU



Split Wash
A technical exercise I made using a split frame of the same image while washing my car.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI9F-T4WLIo


Educated Detours Trailer
A promo for the short film I made with my friend Paul several summers ago in 2006.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IDT6WFprzU


Give it Time (2008 Version)
My submission in the Youngcuts International festival in Montreal this year.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdUTty3yEPM


For more of my work/writing/edits/etc. you can visit my youtube channel, and facebook group:
www.youtube.com/fandrix
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9504646625


It's always enjoyable to share what I've got going on, and I look forward to a whole new series of projects to debut in the coming months. I can't believe the fall is just around the corner, but here's to what has been a great summer!

Aug 25, 2008

Day Dream Day


Everyone has a thinking place.


Day Dream Day (2008) Written & Directed by Luke Fandrich

Perched on the roof with the street at a glance,
An afternoon devoted to pondering chance.

The neighbourhood's silent, the possibility's there,
But you think to yourself, and you shift and you stare.

It's nice to be free, it's nice to be young,
Your potential, you reason, is so out strung.

You glance at the windows, the roofs, and ground,
It's a long way up, when the there's just pavement around.

The world is my oyster, the future my now,
So many questions, but most of them how.

I want to be seen, and I want to be heard,
But so high up, I think, there's only the birds.

So I'll get back to the ground, get my head from the clouds,
I'll shuffle and mingle, shake hands with the crowds.

I'll do what it takes, and I'll work the late hours,
I'll sacrifice some sleep, some meals, some showers.

I'm just another dreamer, another guy with some hope,
Just a man on a leash, tugged by someone else's rope.

But from here things look fine, with camera in hand,
I'll shoot what I'll see, I'll edit and I'll land.

All at once I won't do, cause I don't wanna fall,
I'll just ease myself back, while admiring it all.

But maybe not yet, not just for this minute,
I want to dream a bit more, and find myself lost in it.

Aug 23, 2008

1007 DVDs


I meant to make note of this when hitting 1000 DVDs but time kind of kept rolling and I found myself 7 movies further along before putting this post together. So, 1007 titles. It all started in December 2001 when I had asked for a DVD player for Christmas and had already started buying DVDs to replace my then 100 VHS tapes. Not quite 7 years later I've crossed the thousand mark and have acquired quite an extensive and diverse collection of work that I like to refer to as my library.

I used to receive a lot of flack from my folks, especially in my early uni days because of the money I'd spend on movies. I understood their point, but really, all students have their vices. For some it's booze, some it's fast food, and mine just happened to be DVDs. I can't remember the number of times that I used the excuse that because I was in film production, DVDs were really like my textbooks. That's true, but it's also clear they weren't the most financially responsible choice (especially back in the beginning when they were $20 and up).


Now-a-days, I'm a previously viewed buyer and because I've acquired most of the movies that I had on my wish list, most of my purchases are either pre-1980 films or recent releases. Keeping track of all these flicks can be difficult, but thankfully I'm a pretty organized guy and have all my films databased, referenced, and alphabetically catalogued in binders. A bit obsessive? Maybe a bit, but it's tough not to care about the films that I've spent thousands of dollars on.

The nice thing about having my films in a database is that I can easily share some of the statistics about the films I love and the collection itself. So, here goes!

  • There are 1007 titles in my collection.
  • With a total of 1361 actual discs.
  • A total length of 146852 minutes.
  • It would take approx. 102 straight days to watch all the movies.
  • The average year of the collection is 1993.8
  • The years I have the most movies from are 2005 and 2006, both with 80 titles.
  • Top 5 directors in my collection: Steven Spielberg (18), Charlie Chaplin (11), Robert Zemeckis (11), Woody Allen (9), Martin Scorsese (9).
  • Time it took to reach 1007 DVDs: 6 years and 9 months.
  • That's 2.9 DVDs purchased per week since December 2001.
  • I was 17 when I purchased my first DVD which was Mel Brook's Spaceballs (1987).
  • Oldest movie in the collection: The Kid (1921) directed by Charlie Chaplin.
  • DVDs by decade: Pre-1970 (98), 1970s (38), 1980s (130), 1990s (225), 2000s (516).
  • 17 Genres in my collection: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Crime, Documentary, Drama, Fantasy, Holiday, Mockumentary, Music, Science Fiction, Sports, Television, Thriller, War, Western.
  • Most common genre: Comedy (253)
  • Least common genre: Mockumentary (13)
  • 48 Academy Award Best Picture Winners
  • Oldest Oscar Best Picture in collection: Grand Hotel (1933)
  • Most Recent Best Picture in collection: No Country for Old Men (2007)
  • And yes, I have watched every DVD I own. Some only once, some tens of times, and the majority somewhere in between.

So there's a handful of tidbits regarding my DVDs, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of things slowing down. Although over the years, whenever I told people how many DVDs I was at, they'd always assume the next time I saw them that I must have several hundred more movies. I bet from the date of this post if you add 3 DVDs per week to whatever date, that will be the current total.

I don't have a single favourite movie, but if you're interested the Desert Island Flick entries I've been writing on this blog are all about the movies I own and love. Happy flick watching!

Aug 22, 2008

Jungle Cruise at Disneyland


Sure it'd be nice to pretend that I took a weekend excursion to the jungles of Africa and Asia, but it's doubtful that story would hold up once you saw the animatronic elephants, tigers and hippos. Oh well, I guess that's why there's Disneyland.  Here is the brief edit of the jungle cruise from our 2004 trip.


Aug 19, 2008

Basic Film Portfolio Skills


So you're going into, already in, or just leaving film school and you're asking yourself, "What should I consider when making my film portfolio?". What should you include? What's the value of putting together a portfolio in the first place? As a film student just months ago and as an avid independent filmmaker I'd like to share a few things to consider when constructing your film portfolio that I found have helped me get work, and in general, have just made it easier to share my projects.

First things first, if you don't believe in what your creating it's easy to say that no one else will. I'll state the obvious and say, if you're attempting a portfolio you'll first need some decent projects (get some critical feedback from profs, film fests, use your best judgement, etc. to help figure this out). If you can't explain your work, if you don't have a defense or justification for it, than you're not really showing your creative control of it and what kind of sell is that? Consider this when your sitting down and reviewing all the projects you've done. You'll want to know your selections inside and out because there's always questions about why you did things the way you did.

Ultimately you want to compile a cross-section of your projects that you feel highlight your skills, concepts, and interests for the simple sake of presenting yourself as a motivated, unique, and focused filmmaker. True, at this film student stage you won't necessarily be proposing your skills to the most illustrious ends of the industry, but there is a lot to be said about passion. How you present yourself is half the battle. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) The Shorter the Better:
The more you can get across in less time, the less likely you'll be diluting your portfolio. You don't have to include full projects. Select clips that showcase what it is you feel is the real strength of your film. If cutting down some of your projects means you can include more work, you'll not only save the viewer time, you'll be providing a wider representation of your talent.

2) It's All About Variety:
You never know who might ask to see your portfolio so construct it with diversity in mind. I've always included one of my experimental, narrative, music video and/or promotional shorts not only for the difference in style, but to show that my interests are varied as well.

3) Keep It Current:
Since I'm always working on new things, and because I simply can tire of some of my old projects, I've re-worked my portfolio about once a year since my early film school days to keep it fresh. Having an even spread of old and new work is important because strong older work speaks to experience and new work speaks to your drive.

4) Organization and Promotion:
This is your portfolio so make sure who ever is watching it knows it. I've always included my name and contact information at the top of the DVD menu, on the disc, and the DVD sleeve. I keep the layout of the DVD clean and simple on a single menu, and have often highlighted the selections by listing the festival credits of each project just below. The presentation shows confidence in yourself and pride in the work you're presenting.

5) Always Have A Backup:
This is probably the easiest guideline. If you've gone through all the work of making a promotional film portfolio DVD, make sure you have hard copies prepared so it's simply a matter of getting it if someone asks. The hassle of rushing to reburn, organize and find files is saved by just having a few discs on your shelf for anyone who asks, or anyone you need to send it to. If you're a filmmaker you should know anyways: always have a backup!

So there's a few basics. It comes down to your personal talent and how hard you feel like working. The more excited you are about it, the more you'll naturally push yourself to standout. Just know there's a lot of competition, so shortcuts aren't necessarily the best option. Best of luck!

Aug 17, 2008

On the Local News


Back in 2006 my short film, A Chill in the Air garnered me some attention because it was associated with a National Film Board of Canada video competition. The full story about the experience can be read here, but I thought it would be worth while to share the news clip that aired about my project in my hometown of Medicine Hat, Alberta. The brief interview can be viewed below.


Aug 16, 2008

Youngcuts 2008 Program


I managed to get a hold of a program for the 2008 Youngcuts film fest in which my short Give it Time is playing in just a couple days (August 20). It just seemed worth sharing as I'm usually so far from the action that it's nice to get my hands on something with my name on it that someone else actually made, haha. As you can see from one of the preview sheets including the short descriptions (there are 10 more sheets that I didn't include), the festival has a wide range of films this year from documentaries, animations, dramas and musicals from as far away as Australia, Europe and all over North America . It feels good to not have to talk up my project for once, and just feel proud about the company I'm in. I can't wait to hear about how the festival turns out.

Aug 14, 2008

250,000km


Twenty years and several owners later, my trusty 1989 Buick Park Avenue hit 250,000km today.  I have to say that as much as I originally thought this car was kind of lame, I've come to love it. It's become a character, not just in some of my movies, but to anyone who knows me. Lovingly referred to as THE Buick, she's been around since I was a kid when she was my moms. 

When I think about the family vacations we went on, driving her when I was 16 and throughout high school, trips to university, and then finally owning the car when I turned 21, the Buick has been a significant fixture in a lot of the things I've done. Here's hoping she still has a few more adventures left in her.


Aug 12, 2008

Split Wash: Buick Park Avenue



I washed my car!

Okay, I know it's not that exciting but happening to have my little MiniDV cam with me I decided to record it. I think I'm getting more into the habit of looking at daily life as a potential short film or exercise. I don't mean this as an epiphany either, I mean I've always looked at things that way, but lately I've been thinking why not just make more video exercises for myself? Enough with assuming I have to plan all my ideas. Why not just film more, edit more, produce more, and then have a history of footage to play with? What's wrong with collecting video clips?

It's tough to be heard and seen, and it's a struggle when what you want to do relies so much on that, but I figure if I'm having fun and it's because I'm creating, there's no harm in documenting as much as possible. What I do with it is still up in the air.


So, I washed my car, filmed it, and put together a split screen short showing the same image cut together at slightly different moments. It's basic, a technical exercise with artistic flare, but it's short and now posted below.


Aug 10, 2008

August is Festival Month


August is an exciting month for me because my work will be playing at two significant film festivals in just a few weeks. The first fest is Aeon 2008 in the UK, where my film Keys to Existence will be screening in an open field amidst a giant music festival. The second fest, Youngcuts in Montreal, is an international affair for filmmakers 25 and under.  My short film Give it Time is screening and is in the running for best short film. 

It's a great feeling to actually get some direct feedback (and positive feedback at that) from folks that you expect to rip your work apart. The last few years have been quite a rush playing the young filmmaker festival circuit, and I'm feeling energized and anxious to produce some new work and force myself in some new creative directions. The slightest taste of success only makes me want it more, and it seems like I'm off to a good start.

More about the recent highlights here.






Aug 6, 2008

Movie Cliches


I found myself on Roger Ebert's website reading some of his reviews and stumbled onto his movie glossary. Fans have written about common movie cliches and their observations on common plot archs. I found them entertaining so I've shared a few below, but for more you can visit Roger Ebert's site.

The Encore Rule
In any film that culminates in a concert by the characters, the concert audience will go wild with appreciation, even though the "concert" is only one song long.

The Upper Bunk Rule
Any scene in which two adults are sleeping on a bunk bed will inevitably result in the top bunk collapsing onto the bottom bunk. See: "Black Sheep" and the upcoming "Step Brothers."

Who's Your Daddy?
Whenever a couple very much in love is separated by circumstance and happen to make love the night before they split, they will invariably conceive a child whose paternity will never be obvious to the father once they, inevitably, meet again. (See Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in "August Rush," Robert Redford and Glenn Close in "The Natural," Tom Hanks and Robin Wright in "Forrest Gump," Jim Caviezel and Dagmara Dominczyk in "The Count of Monte Cristo," Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn in "Terminator," etc.)

The Slap That Ends It All
Near the end of any drama about a troubled romance, the couple will have a heated argument, and the man (who has always considered himself civilized) will lose control and slap the woman's face in a rage. In that second, as the man marvels at the depths to which he's sunk, and the woman ponders what a monster she loved up until a moment ago, they both know it's over.

Name Recognition Rule
The trailer for any movie named after the main character must contain a montage of various characters saying that character's name. See "Alfie," "Charlie Bartlett," "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," "Charlie Wilson's War."

Explosion? What Explosion?
A major character will walk nonchalantly toward the camera and away from a big, napalm-like explosion. Even the Coens use this in "No Country for Old Men." I believe the granddaddy of all such scenes to be the opening stinger in "Goldfinger" in which James Bond is the only person in a nightclub not reacting to a huge explosion nearby, an explosion for which he is responsible.

Aug 3, 2008

Car Kaleidoscope


A couple months ago I found out about the 2008 Toronto Urban Film Festival and thought it sounded like an interesting new venue unlike anything I'd taken part in before. The basic premise of the festival is to look at urban life in fresh new ways and submit a film exactly 60 seconds long, with no audio, into one of the varied categories from nature in the city to urban growth. 

I decided to make a film for the Urban Travel category and make a short art film based on the patterns during rush hour using a single intersection. The fest has yet to announce their selections, but I've left out the most intriguing aspect of why I wanted to do this. The whole festival is screened in repetition over 8 days on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) which means it screens on the network of 250 platforms of the Toronto Subway. Regardless of whether I'm accepted, I still think it's a neat little project worth sharing. This version has been altered slightly as I've added an audio track and repeated the film several times. You can see the film below or for the full effect watch it in larger HD quality here!

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