Learning through time

I think that my biggest problem when working in group settings is blaming issues with projects on myself rather than dishing jobs or issues to others. This is something that I have learned is both good and bad. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” This quote comes from the bible, I am not religious but take it from a time when I was. It is something that I have tried to live by for a majority of my life. What can I fix in a broken situation? How can I be better? I still embrace this mindset but though working with 4381 productions I have found that focusing on your own faults can also be harmful. You can begin to put too much pressure on yourself and give yourself too many jobs causing your own job to lack. It’s ok to observe others faults and learn how to constructively criticize them for the sake of the project. Mistakes have been made during my time with 4381 but I’m proud that I’m able to embrace and learn from them. I’m eager for more obstacles to come my way in the future, to overtake them, and to create something beautiful from them. With good energy, great effort, and lots of time, I believe beautiful things can come.

Why I Love Inherent Vice and The Nice Guys

The answer may not shock you. They’re hilarious subversions of the typical noir set-up. Yes, you will be consistently surprised by each new revelation, and made more curious about what will happen next, but you will also be allowed to see colors from the ’70s.

Inherent Vice, originally an incredible novel by Thomas Pynchon (recognizable for works such as Gravity’s Rainbow and Mason & Dixon), does not step too far off the page. The adventure of Doc Sportello, a pot-head PI, through the twisting and turning mystery (which was introduced to him by his ex-girlfriend) is one I will never forget. It has inspired much of my creative writing pieces of late. Perhaps, in the very distant future, a novel with my name on the cover will hold my own take on the noir-subversion ’70s adventure. This movie (and novel), in its very dry and raw telling of its events, may sneak information right past you as you watch. This is possibly my favorite method of storytelling, as it means you need to be present for the story. You need to actively watch, and you will be rewarded with excellent comedy. Comedy of the more tragic kind. It is real, with those lovely hints of magical realism peppered throughout the story. Also, the most redeeming aspects would include Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello and Josh Brolin as BigFoot (Doc’s unlikely partner, a straight, meathead cop). A favorite scene of mine involves Bigfoot kicking down Doc’s door and literally eating all of his weed (Joaquin decided to start crying at this point, one of the few parts not in the novel. I would say he made the right choice on that one).

The Nice Guys, a more obvious kind of humor is present throughout. The colors are vastly more vibrant, and the twists and turns are easier to follow than in Inherent Vice. The unlikely pairing of a PI, named March, and a “tough enforcer”, named Healy, is probably the best aspect of the film. March, played by Ryan Gosling, is something of a hapless twit who-in a lot of ways-relies heavily on the help of the “hired muscle”, Healy, played by Russell Crowe. Their investigation begins and ends with the same older woman looking for her granddaughter, whom the audience and all other cast members know is dead. She believes she saw her, though, and the strange mystery becomes stranger as revelations are made about the people involved, the qualities of their involvement, and the intentions of the powers that be in the society of ’70s California. My favorite scene from The Nice Guys is, hands all the way down, the short part involving March attempting to break into a building after hours in order to access information they would not allow him to legitimately ascertain. He wraps a towel around his arm, punches through the window, and has to be rushed to the ER before he bleeds out.

I love these films because I love the concept of giving an audience a very intriguing and satisfying noir while also making them laugh. There is already so much real-life mystery and tragedy, that it just doesn’t seem fair not to evolve the noir genre at least a little. The people want the brutality and the fierceness of the mission to be prominent, but they also want there to be aspects of humanity and relatably laughable characters. I am also just a sucker for the look and feel of the ’70s.


Juggling Two Passions

I’ve been in school now for almost seven years, and, while it has not always been about the grades or my performance as a student, it has been an educational journey with every single step. Now, on my last year of undergraduate schooling, I am faced with possibly the biggest challenge I have ever had to overcome: my love for writing, and my love for working behind the camera.

Nobody ever said these two paths of creation cannot fill something of the same spot in my life, both at the same time. The challenge is simply that choices need to be made. Will I be able to view panels from published writers who have advice and content to share, or will I need to devote that time to set-building and shooting projects of my own? At least, at this point anyway, I have recognized the solution as being a matter of choosing my level of involvement in either of my two biggest (only) passions in life. It is a matter of juggling.

Of course, at some point in the future, it might become less difficult to choose. I might have always called myself a writer, but I have always wanted to work on bringing visions-whether my own or not-to life from behind the camera. Recently, I have been feeling a tugging pull toward production. Toward making the 2-dimensional truly tangible, 3-dimensional. I have been so caught up in the fast-paced nature of the studio, the constant noise and motion of crew members around me, that I have been able to almost completely lose myself to the hustle and grind that is the entire process of bringing visions to life. Do my fellow undergraduates and I-in either the writing or production world-still have much to learn? Of course, we do! This is the point. I just hope we all can give ourselves the fighting chance to learn, improve, and do the things we love to do. Our passions are everything in this world.

I just wish, sometimes, that it didn’t feel like I am choosing between passions. I wish I had more time in my days, more energy. In the meantime, though, I will keep reminding myself that I can only do my best while trying also to improve “my best”. I cannot wait for what the future of my undergraduate career holds, and I can only imagine what doors I might be able to enter once I walk across that stage in May.

Finding The Music


Many productions are wrapping this week and editors will have to start thinking about how the story will be told. Yes the cuts and transitions are a factor, but the music and sound are what bring it all together. In my editing process for Rain Dogs I found it easier to get the music after the edit is done. I think it’s better after the fact because my personal view of the feel of the story changes constantly as i’m editing. Once the final cut is done then you’ll know the tone you want to go for. Finding Music and sound effects takes a lot of time and should not be taken lightly. Licensing, copyright issues, and just find the perfect sound can become barriers that many don’t think about. So to help the editors I’ve found some sites that you can use to find the perfect tones for your films without the hassle  of licensing that may cost an arm and a leg. These sites also offer convenient ways to find what you’re looking for with an array of different categories.

The Youtube Audio library ( Requires login)


Firstcom (4381 Productions has exclusive licensing)



Soundcloud (Check with creator for licensing and credit)

Lastly if you find any songs or sounds on youtube or another platform that you are not sure requires credit, don’t be afraid to contact the artist to make sure. Good luck y’all!

A guest in the office

We were very fortunate to have actor Brett Cullen drop by the offices of 4381 the other day. He hung out for a couple of hours before he had to head off to the airport port new an interesting projects. he has been very busy as of late as you can tell by his imdb.com page. He is an incredibly talented actor and passionate about the art form.

What advice did he offer to the directors and actors in our midst? Well, for that, you really should have been there.