Importance of Storyboarding

I recently came across this video detailing how Mad Max:Fury Road came to be. As it turns out most of the movie was done by following only story boards and a script was barely used and that has finally resonated with me to start doing and using story boards no matter how bad of an artist I happen to be. It can always be helpful this is also just a great short watch if you wish to learn a few things.

On Hunters from Amazon Prime Video

Hunters was created by David Weil, and among its executive producers is Jordan Peele. It stars Al Pacino, Logan Lerman, Carol Kane, Josh Radnor, and many other new and not-so-new names in acting. Each member of this team performed at peak levels, insofar as what is visible to the audience member.

I hate that this show came to us from Amazon, but I am going to (even though it is problematic) ignore that for this discussion of the merit of the show. Hunters is a beautifully crafted tale of fictional characters in mid-70s NYC who hunt Nazis who were relocated to the United States by our own government. This story is based on a mix of fiction and fact, the most overwhelming fact of this story being that our government really, really did relocate Nazis after the war. That is part of the reason we got to the moon when we did.

The show looks good from start to finish, and its performances are strong from start to finish. It is a visceral, emotional, entertainingly brutal (at specifically Nazi-killing times), and even funny experience all the way through. There are problematic aspects to the show, though. I have to bring it up, if only to discuss the labors of adapting whatever historical fact available into a fictional story (without turning the story into a revisionist piece). Much of the depiction of cruelty shown in the concentration camps throughout the flashbacks in the show is pushed far to the side of caricature, much to the viewer’s dismay. It seems as though this might have been meant to make us feel pure hatred, but…we already feel that for these figures in history. We do not need to be reminded of what they are and were. In fact, fictional depiction of Nazi cruelty during the war might actually have hurt the show’s chances of actually paying respect to real-life victims and their real-life experiences.

What makes this show a very important watch, regardless of its problematic nature, is just how topical it is. We have lived among Nazis ever since such a culture was born, and it is important to have a cathartic experience of watching scenarios play out in which they are not the most dangerous people for once. Of course, the bigger message of the show is that Nazis remain the most dangerous snakes in our grass to this day. They really, really do.

It is not a light viewing experience by any means, and it does have quite a few flaws as a show. It takes very kitschy twists and turns that made me gag they were so trite. However, it remains a show in which the good guys and bad guys are plainly visible. It makes it easy to understand what is right and what is wrong, and I like (sometimes) not having to figure that out for myself. I suggest giving this show a chance because it tells the story from a perspective we rarely get to see in such light. The survivor.

I suggest giving this show a chance because it is clearly influenced by Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino and so many others without lending its time to borrowing more than only a few elements from these filmmakers. I suggest giving this show a chance because it is raw, and not once does it deviate from the primary emotion of anger toward deniers and sympathizers and, basically, everyone who is on the wrong side of history right now.

For your consideration, a list of articles not already linked:

How Hunters told the truth

WWII: Operation Paperclip

A historical review

I didn’t think this would happen

Hello,

I don’t like to really speak about my work. I like my work to speak for itself. Saying that I will contradict myself for the rest of this post.

Projects for me don’t start when I write down my ideas. They usually begin months before that as daydreams or crazy aspirations even hallucinations from time to time. This lets me contemplate and reflect on my ideas. Which in turn morphs them and lets them take a mythological form in my mind. This process is extremely frustrating, depressing and lonely but I don’t think I could work any other way. You see I have to put myself through that to know it’s real. That it has merit in my mind and actually holds a deepness and isn’t just a superficial feeling or emotion. Then as I sit and begin I let my mind go blank and start. That is by pulling out my camera or just doodling or writing. I try to think about the process the same way a jazz musician would. I study my music(my ideas) then I just improvise with total confidence that I will come out on the other side a new person. This is how Capitol Kitsch came to be. My friend Jessica and I went to a screening on campus put together by Michael Sicinski (https://www.criterion.com/current/author/497-michael-sicinski). Michael invited Ephraim Asili (https://vimeo.com/user13843093) to show some of his current work for students. The event wasn’t highly advertised so I doubt if most people would have heard of it. That night Ephraim showed five different films. All completely different from each other all explorations of different ideas. Film after film I was taken back it was something like I had never seen before. The world of Cine-poetry had opened itself to me. I won’t go into direct detail about what I saw that night but for a small glimpse I recommend taking a look at Ephraim’s vimeo. This event occurred last year around November or maybe even October.

Since then I have been extremely confused. Nothing has made sense. It seems like all direction has been lost. My purpose flew out the window and soared away. I began to question the purpose of my work and efforts. It seemed that as days went by my position in the system and institution was corrupted. I walk and feel like I am contradicting my beliefs and ideals. I preach artistic exploration to the edges of the world and mind but there I am sitting in a desk still a pawn to the system. Maybe I am wrong but I believe that if I want to be the artist I aspire to be I must detach myself from the system I criticize so much.

So I tried just that. Without permits or permission I went out and started filming the one thing I know best. That is the city of Houston. I usually drive pass downtown everyday like many Houstonians do. Our city is a commuter city and I love it. That transition from the suburbs to the metropolitan is beautiful. I’m extremely fascinated by the buildings downtown. As I drive by I look up and it almost feels like each building is floating in the air. So I filmed it that way. Most of the shots are from parking garages I found around the city. Out of the three I went to I only got kicked out of one so I call that a success. Then the poem was a construction of smaller poems and ideas that Jessica and I worked on. I must give her the credit for the writing of most of it. She really can write like no one else I have ever met. The whole project took us 12 hours to put together. From recording to editing. It was a lot of fun to be able to work with someone I respect and admire. We submitted it to Cadence: Video Poetry Festival in Seattle and on Saturday we were notified that our short had been selected to be screened at the festival. You may be asking yourself right now “Isn’t Seattle on lock down for the foreseeable future?”. Well yes it is. The festival was supposed to be taking place from April 15-19 and with the current situation it has been moved online. The festival will be giving all the selected films a time slot to appear in their vimeo live stream. They said more information like a definitive schedule will be sent to all the selected participants and a viewing code for the live stream. I will be sharing both to who ever might be interested in watching.

Thank you for reading this post that is way too long. I don’t know how to keep things short.

The Universe Smiles Upon You.

Sincerely,

Stalin Santiago

P.S. Also I will be posting my director spotlight pieces in the next couple of days. The first will be Chantal Akerman the women who completely changed my outlook on cinema.

 

Keep Focus

This pandemic took us by surprise and is something that we haven’t experienced before in our entire lives before. There were a lot of unknowns at the beginning as to what the University of Houston was going to do about it. As our Spring Break was prolonged it was a moment for most of to just take a step back and continue relaxing and not have to worry about anything about school or work for most of us and just enjoy the extra week we were offered, but as we later found out that school was going online and we couldn’t go back to our normal schedule working from home can be rather distracting especially for me because I have all of my comforts here and it is really hard to stay focus. With that being say, for our own health and sanity it would be best or recommended to pretended during the week to do what you would normally do during the day if you were at school, so you can keep your mind occupied and busy and not go crazy.

Remove Yourself Further from Reality

Here’s a few SciFi movies that remove me further from reality during times (now) I can really use it. They’re all watchable on Netflix which I think is the most universal streaming service for everyone right now and they’re all from 2016 forward so update your libraries!

(Info from IMDb)

 

What Happened to Monday (2017)

In a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets must avoid being put to a long sleep by the government and dangerous infighting while investigating the disappearance of one of their own.

 

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Writers: Max Botkin, Kerry Williamson

 

In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)

A Philadelphia police officer struggles with a lifelong obsession to track down a mysterious serial killer whose crimes defy explanation.

 

Director: Jim Mickle

Writers: Gregory Weidman, Geoffrey Tock

 

Mirage (2018)

Two storms separated by 25 years. A woman murdered. A daughter missed. Only 72 hours to discover the truth.

 

Director: Oriol Paulo

Writers: Oriol Paulo, Lara Sendim

 

Horse Girl (2020)

Sarah, a socially isolated woman with a fondness for arts and crafts, horses, and supernatural crime shows finds her increasingly lucid dreams trickling into her waking life.

 

Director: Jeff Baena

Writers: Jeff Baena, Alison Brie

 

I Am Mother (2019)

In the wake of humanity’s extinction, a teenage girl is raised by a robot designed to repopulate the earth. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.

 

Director: Grant Sputore

Writers: Michael Lloyd Green (screenplay by), Grant Sputore (story by) 

 

The Endless (2017)

As kids, they escaped a UFO death cult. Now, two adult brothers seek answers after an old videotape surfaces and brings them back to where they began.

 

Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson

Film and TV suggestions!

I’ve recently watched a lot of things on streaming services ever since 4381 productions has moved to remote offices.

I would like to mention that there an app called JustWatch – The Streaming Guide. Using JustWatch you can search up any title you want to see and it shows you where it’s available across all the streaming platforms for instant viewing, digital rentals, and digital purchases. It’s a great tool that makes it easy to find whatever film or television show you are looking for.

 

I’ll make a few suggestions for viewing.

 

Netflix has released some great content such as:

The Docu-Series: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

Just a heads-up, his series does have some graphic content. But it has to be mentioned since it has blown up overnight across social media. Words truly can’t describe this series. Just check out the trailer.

 

The Docu-Series: Dirty Money.

Which is a series from Executive Producer: Alex Gibney. It is about fraud across the world and the effects that it has had on society. It’s a simple premise, but it interviews people that were personally affected by the fraud that occurred so you can see their side of the story.

 

I recently have dived deeper into comedies.

The Naked Gun. A classic from Leslie Nielsen, I had never seen it and my uncle recommended it to me. It’s a absolute blast.

A personal favorite of mine that I always watch when I feel down is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s a wacky comedy that always lifts my spirit.

If only we had known how disease spreads…

Oh, wait. We did. Checkout these two movies from archive.org. One is a 1955 hygiene film we should probably still be showing in schools. The other is from England’s Ministry of Health.

Sniffles

 

and

Germs

 

An Update and StoryTime or What David is Currently Doing and Why He Likes Anime

  • Update or What David is Currently Doing

4381 Productions is at a stand still and it’s driving me crazy. I went from coming home late working on Kelvin’s, Sofia’s, and my own video to sitting at home doing nothing. I’m trying to discipline myself to sit down and focus on work but family and my phone distracts me too much. It drives me crazy. “David, lets go, we have to mulch this garden.” “David, we have to clean the driveway.” ” David, we have to go to Tiki Island  at 9AM to shovel these rocks onto the back of the truck to take them home and throw them in the backyard.” We shouldn’t even be outside but arguing with my dad is pointless.Crazy, I tell you!(This got way too personal and specific but whatever)

Anyway, I finished the budget for The Wolf, a film written by Kelvin Kataria. It’s pretty great but kinda long. Probably a six day shoot. Also finished the budget for Spes, a film written by David Obar. Also pretty great but shorter at an estimated three day. Gonna work on a shot list for Spes now, hopefully I’ll start this weekend.

  • StoryTime or Why David Likes Anime

As I look at my anime posters, anime figures and (sigh) anime plushies, I can’t help but reminisce and wonder how I got here. My real first encounter with anime came during 5th grade.

In the summer, my mother would take my brother and I to Mexico to stay with my grandparents and take care of them for a month. The only thing we would do in the small town of Jose Maria Morelos is watch TV and go to the park in the afternoon. On channel 5, though, DragonBall Z and Sailor Moon would come on. One anime aimed for boys and another aimed for girls. Obviously, you know which one won my heart. That’s right, Sailor Moon. Irony aside, I actually loved watching Sailor Moon. The characters were cute and the visuals were bright and colorful. Don’t get me wrong, DragonBall fights were cool as hell but I loved the animation and colors in the transformation sequences in Sailor Moon. I wish I could have watched it more in my childhood, my cousin would make me change it as it was “a show for girls.” I used to avoid shows like that because of his comments but he can go kick rocks, I’m going to watch “a show for girls” if I want to. I refuse to let overs dictate what I can or can’t watch. However, I didn’t really fall in love with anime until I fell in love with a girl.

I believe it was 6th grade when I meet her. Let’s call her Julia, to protect the innocent or whatever. Julia was friends with a friend of mine, so we meet through that person. We would talk about random things like our different religions, music and cartoons. I slowly started to fall for her, talking to her as much as I could and listen to whatever she had to say. I just wanted to be around her. Anyway, one day Julia asks, “Do you watch anime?” To which I replied, “What’s that?” “Japanese animation!” Julia exclaimed. “Oh like Pokemon?”said clueless David. “No!” she said with force”that’s not anime!” (It is but Julia could have told me the moon was made of cheese and I would have absolutely believed her.) Julia would then recommend three (actual) animes: XXXholic, Ouran High School Host Club, and Clannad. I didn’t get into XXXholic but Ouran and Clannad were amazing. I would talk to her about the animes and she would recommend more to me. The genuine happiness on Julia’s face when I told her I loved Ouran is something I’ll never forget.

Sadly, we would part ways, I was moved to a different high school than Julia’s. We would lose contact and that was that. I would fall out of love with anime in high school. I didn’t watch anime until 2017 with me discovering Cowboy Bebop, my current favorite anime. From there, I found my love for anime again. Julia was and is an important part of my life. Hell, I used to have a recurring dream about her for an extended period of my life. As a friend once pointed out, anime maybe the thing that keeps me connected to her. Anime means a lot more to me than just animations on TV. It’s the joy I get from a good anime. It’s the nostalgia from a past life. It’s the feeling of being in love. It’s the memories I made, not only with the characters in these stories but with the person who opened this world to me. It’s the joy I get when I get a new poster, figure or even a plushie.

It’s all thanks to anime and Julia.

 

Hope Springs Eternal

Well, we all have a lot of time on our hands these days. The offices of 4381 are locked and we are all communicating virtually. I’ve been impressed by the dedication of everyone in this trying time. What have I been up to? Well, I’ve made some training videos to help out some of the folks from the floor below in office 3321. We were going to talk film editing after company vacations and that went all to hell. I’ve got Final Cut and Premiere in the bag. Now, come the morning I’m moving on to DaVinci Resolve.

Tonight, I’m looking for something that has been lost a long time. I’m looking for footage from documentary I had been trying to put together called Finding the Perfect Song. This whole uncertain life is just par for the course for us in Houston. Harvey is in the not too distant past and we all remember having nothing in the stores and being cut off from everything. Of course, that was because there were millions of gallons of water between us. Now it’s just air that may or may not kill us all. Well, back when those millions of gallons of water swamped us, I had a leak in a roof that dropped water into a plastic bin and in that bin was a hard drive containing all of the footage for the documentary.

Wait, you ask, why didn’t I have it on two hard drives like I tell everyone to do? The answer to that is quite simple – SHUT UP!

That’s my answer. I thought it was on another drive as well, but I was dealing with the fallout from a traumatic brain injury and even though my brain said it was in two places my brain was not to be trusted and where was I? Oh, yeah, SHUT UP! That’s where I was.

Well, tonight, I found a hard drive that I know used to have some files on it that were erased long ago. I’m running an app called Disk Drill trying to find what might still be on the drive.

Screen Shot 2020 03 26 at 11 08 51 PM

Only 11 hours to go to find out if I have wasted 13 hours in the process. Fingers crossed and SHUT UP! Everyone be safe and stay safe.

#Throwback Thursday

“All we did was take everything we do Inside and brought it Outside!”

Rust dusted and the wheels were starting to turn…

Now, we’re cooking with Fire!

Thank you Michael Grossman!

The time we spent in the studio was nothing short of Amazing!
A pandemic was the last thing anyone needed! But, now, it’s time to find a way to evolve, to bring forth ideas and continue to create!

More to come… Stay tuned!