Monday, November 30, 2009

How Twilight is Re-Vamping Romance

The popularity of this teen vampire series is simply astounding: "In 2008, the four books of the series claimed the top four spots on USA Today's year-end bestseller list, making Meyer the first author to ever achieve this feat.[27] The series then won the 2009 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Book, where it competed against the Harry Potter series.[2] - In an interview with USA Today, US president Barack Obama said that he and his ten-year-old daughter, Malia, often bond over the Twilight books,[50]" -Wiki

Recently I came across this article from a perspective that I found to be a breath of fresh air considering the apparent wholesale acceptance of these books and films. They also address the question that I've been asking, "How is this storyline capturing so many hearts, minds and box office dollars?"

"Twilight proved its mighty cultural force when the second film in the series, New Moon, broke all-time opening-day box office records, beating out Titanic and Dark Knight. [2] Since the release of the first Twilight book in 2005, 85 million subsequent books in the series have been sold. Twilight’s cultural conquest is phenomenal. But how did this averagely-written, clich├ęd storyline capture so many hearts, minds and imaginations (not to mention over one billion dollars in book, DVD and ticket sales)?

Though Stephanie Meyer is not a brilliant author, she knows how to make an illicit romance with a vampire look like a clean, pro-abstinence story of unconditional love and good vs. evil (and convince even Christians.)
[3]"

Read the full article here.

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"A Christmas Snow" Casting Call

In the feature length independent film A Christmas Snow, the storm of the century brings the gift of a lifetime.

Produced by Chad Gundersen (Like Dandelion Dust, The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry) and to be directed by Tracy Trost (Find Me), A Christmas Snow will be filmed in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the first three weeks of February 2010.

A Christmas Snow is a modified, low budget SAG film.

Online auditions are open now through December 4, 2009. Character descriptions and instructions on how to audition can be found here.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, it's a joke.
(click on it for a larger view)

This Thanksgiving let's not forget to give thanks for our TRUE heritage and the abundant blessings of God!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Who Is This Jesus?"

"The resurrection of Jesus Christ is intellectually credible and existentially satisfying. These are the two tests of any valid worldview, philosophy, or religion." ~Tim Keller

This is the best sermon I've heard outlining the claims of Christ and challenging people to know where they stand. Could you prove to someone that Christianity is true? I highly recommend listening to and studying this message. (Run Time: 40 min)

If the audio file doesn't show up for some reason you can listen to the sermon here.
You can listen to more sermons by Tim Keller on his website.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Obsession: Radical Islam

"“Obsession” is a truthful hard hitting film about the threat of Radical Islam to Western civilization. Using unique footage from Arab television, it reveals an ‘insider’s view’ of the hatred the Radicals are teaching, their incitement of global jihad, and their goal of world domination. The film also traces the parallels between the Nazi movement of World War II, the radicals of today, and the Western world’s response to both threats."

This documentary is very professionally done, is attention grabbing in content, and timely in it's message! I highly recommend taking the time to watch it. You can watch it FREE TODAY! Or view the trailer here. You can also visit the movie website.

"Obsession is without exaggeration one of the most important films of our time. "
–Glenn Beck, CNN Headline News


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Birdie & Bogie

This is a new release that I came across recently, I haven't seen it but if anyone has I'd appreciate getting your thoughts!

Birdie & Bogey from Pure Flix on Vimeo.

"
Norris Family Films proudly presents a story...about a little girl and her father...and the unbreakable bond they share as they pursue a daughter's wish for her father to have a second chance at a forgotten dream: To once again play on the PGA Tour.

When Danny takes Birdie along for the ride as his caddy, the golfing world takes notice. And when Danny starts to win with the help of his twelve-year-old daughter's coaching, everyone takes notice. Danny's shot at the PGA is within reach."


Click here to read the Dove review. Visit the movie website.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

NEW! Sherwood Pictures #4: "COURAGEOUS"

"Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives."

"You will see...action beyond what we have ever done before! You'll see tension, drama, a little bit of romance, and a good deal of humor as well!" ~Alex Kendrick

Watch the announcement video
here!
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Health Care "Reform"

"American citizens who refuse to purchase an Obama-approved health insurance plan will face fines of up to 250,000 dollars and up to five years in jail."
"The House passed its health care bill late Saturday night by a 220-215 vote, with 39 Democrats in opposition and one Republican supporting it. Senate approval is considered less certain due to opposition by all Republicans and some moderate Democrats."

I'm assuming you've all heard about the 2,000 page Health Care Reform bill that Democrats are trying to get passed in Washington. But how many of us really know what they are proposing? The main concern that I've heard is that it includes Government funding for abortion (which thankfully the House stopped with an amendment before voting on the bill.) But there are still approx. another 1,990 pages of "reform" mandates that would have a huge effect on every single person in America, including the illegal immigrants...so what does it say?

Here is a 20 minute summarization speech given by a Republican during the House debate. I call it the, "But It Doesn't Stop There" speech.


Obviously President Obama was very pleased that the bill passed the House, and is now encouraging the Senate to pass it as well. His "speech" on what the bill includes is a little different though.


From what I understand, they are trying to get this pushed through the Senate before the end of the year. I encourage everyone to contact your Senators and let them know where you stand on the issue of Health Care! Contact info for Senators can be found here.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NEW! Celtx 2.5

"Celtx is the world's first all-in-one media pre-production system. It replaces 'paper & binder' pre-production with a digital approach that's more complete, simpler to work with, and easier to share."

New Features include:
- Revision Mode:
can be used to lock scene numbers while editing a script. You can also track changes using color coded edits.
- Text Lock: will lock the script so that the text cannot be edited
- Sketch: lets you add your own drawings to a Project.
- Collaboration Chat (Studio Users)
- TypeSet - Spacing Options

You can read all about the new features here! If you don't have Celtx, then download it! It's a great FREE script writing program.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ukraine Project: Salt & Light

As many of you know I went to Ukraine this summer for three weeks, interviewing pastors and documenting their stories about growing up under the Soviet Union up through their current ministry. For more information about the trip you can read my earlier blog post here and here is a link to see pictures of the trip.

The past few months I've been busy editing and putting the stories together. This is the process I've been using:
1) Match the translation to the correct interview clips. Often I had the translator do two takes for each interview clip (and there are 5-7 clips that are 3-5min each) so I have to decide which parts are better and match it sound like all one clip.
2) Cut the translation down and down to around 13 minutes for each pastor, so that the story doesn't drag but still includes needed information.
3) Cut out all the "ums" and stammers and stutters from the translation and still make it sound natural and smooth
4) Make sure the actual visual part of the interview (handmotion, face expressions) matches what is being said by the translation
5) Start adding b-roll, and pictures that enhance and/or demonstrate what the pastor is talking about. I have footage I shot with each pastor of them at their church, Bible studies and just following them around for the day (approx. 30-45min), and then I also have over 3 hours of what I call "Ukraine B-roll" of misc. life, society and culture that I captured while traveling around.
6) Next I start adding music.
7) After a video is approved, I work on finalizing the audio and do the color correction.
Here's a screen shot I took the other day, you can click it to view a larger version.
The little sliver of a window in the very top left has the full list of video clips, music and other elements that I am using for the project. Next to it is the video window where I can add filters and customize the length of clips I want to use. (Each timeline is where I drag the clips I want to use and arrange them, fix audio, and actually do the editing.) The other three video windows are showing me clips from each of the three timelines down below. The beer bottle correlates with the top timeline of "Ukraine B-Roll," the church clip is from the middle timeline of "Pastor's B-Roll," and the clip of the interview is from the very bottom timeline where I am putting it all together!

I don't usually have that many windows open when I am editing, but for this project it helps save time from clicking back and forth when I'm trying to look through that much footage.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

MacHeist nanoBundle FREE

"We like to think of our job as helping introduce the great indie software out there to you guys, the Mac users."
Check out these FREE Apps for Mac! Ends Nov. 11th.

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Woopra Analytics

"Woopra is the world’s most comprehensive, information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application. We deliver the richest library of visitor statistics in the industry through our innovative desktop application. But Woopra is more than simply statistics."

I just started using this to track my blogs and website, and I must say it is very good! I find myself checking the Woopra results more than I do the Google Analytics that I have setup on the same site. If you are looking for a great FREE way to track traffic on your site, check out Woopra!
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Friday, November 6, 2009

The Good News

I post a lot of news here that is often disconcerting and wanted to give some good news that probably won't make it to "Normal News Networks!"

GOP Senators Move to Stop Obama Net Neutrality Rules

Hutchison, a Texas gubernatorial candidate and the top Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology committee, was joined by five fellow Republicans: John Ensign (Nevada), Sam Brownback (Kansas), David Vitter (Louisiana), Jim DeMint (South Carolina) and John Thune (South Dakota). While the amendment is unlikely to stop Obama’s drive to deliver on his campaign promise to back new limits on ISPs, it does show that the adoption of the rules will not be a bloodless fight.

“We must tread lightly when it comes to new regulations,” Hutchison said. “Where there have been a handful of questionable actions in the past on the part of a few companies, the Commission and the marketplace have responded swiftly. The case has simply not been made for what amounts to a significant regulatory intervention into a vibrant marketplace.” - Read the full article on Wired. The comments that were given in response to this article on the Wired website were curious indeed...reader discretion would be advised!


READY TO REVOLT: Oath Keepers pledges to prevent dictatorship in United States
The group's members, which number in the thousands, pledge to disobey orders they deem unlawful, including directives to disarm the American people and to blockade American cities. By refusing the latter order, the Oath Keepers hope to prevent cities from becoming "giant concentration camps," a scenario the 44-year-old Rhodes says he can envision happening in the coming years.

Oath Keepers is not preaching violence or government overthrow, Rhodes said. On the contrary, it is asking police and the military to lay down their arms in response to unlawful orders.

The group's Web site, www.oathkeepers.org, features videos and testimonials in which supporters compare President Barack Obama's America to Adolf Hitler's Germany. They also liken Obama to England's King George III during the American Revolution. - Read the full article here.

Election Results Good For Conservatives
Despite last-minute campaigning by President Barack Obama, Republican candidates won clear victories in New Jersey and Virginia. Politico called the wins "an unmistakable rebuke of Democrats," and Charlie Cook, of the Cook Political Report, said the results of the vote Tuesday were a confirmation for Republicans.

Pro-family groups gained a victory in Maine, where voters repealed a same-sex marriage law. More than half of voters said marriage in the state should be defined as the union of one man and one woman. - Read the full article on CitizenLink.

Planned Parenthood Director Quits!
The director of a Texas-based Planned Parenthood has resigned her position saying that she has had a change of heart on abortion. The development highlights the powerful results ultrasounds have in convincing people of the humanity of the unborn child and the need to oppose abortions. - Watch the news report here. Full article here.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Up and Monsters, Inc. Coming to Blu-Ray

Two of Pixar's greatest family films are coming to Blu-ray on Nov. 10th! Amazon is currently running a special where you can get both films for $34! Each Blu-ray set contains the Blu-ray version, a normal DVD version, and a digital media file, plus tons of behind the scenes extras exclusive to Blu-ray.
"78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. Their journey to a lost world, where they encounter some strange, exotic and surprising characters, is filled with hilarity, emotion and wildly imaginative adventure." Movie Trailer - Read the Dove review here. More clips and trailers in HD.
Click here to for more info about Up Blu-Ray. Also, there is the single disc regular DVD version as well as a 2-Disc DVD version.
"Monsters, Inc. is a factory which sends monsters around the world to scare kids who are trying to sleep. It's nothing personal, in fact the screams are used to power Monstropolis where the monsters live. This job isn't easy for the monsters, who believe children are toxic. James P. Sullivan (John Goodman), a large woolly blue monster, is one of the company's top scarers. Teamed up with a troublesome green one-eyed monster named Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal), the two roommates and best friends are finding that today's kids are not as easily scared as they used to be. One night Sulley accidentally lets a young girl named Boo into the monster world. Now Sulley and Mike must risk their own safety as they race to get Boo back into the human world without letting anyone know of her existence." Movie Trailer - Read the Dove review here.Click here to for more info about Monsters, Inc. Blu-Ray. Also, there is a 2-Disc DVD version.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

ReelCast Color Correction


ReelCast is now offering Color Correction services using Apple Color 1.5!
You can watch a larger version here.

When is color correction useful?
- Bad color balance
- Mismatched cameras
- Matching scenes
- Enhancing a story arc and character development.
- Day for night
- Punching up the image to make it "pop" like sky or water or grass
- Current levels are too low and/or levels are too high
- Mimic chemical processes
- Adding vignette, soft focus, selective focus, glow and diffusion effects
- Isolated and/or replacement color effects
List used from the ColorList group on Yahoo.
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Caring about Characters

One of the blogs I keep up with is The Movie People. Recently I came across some good counsel about creating characters the crowds can care about. Just for the record, I don't condone, nor have I seen the horror films discussed in this article.

"Even anti-heros give you a reason to care about them and wanting them to live. Without that, the audience is just spinning its wheels waiting for the next big action scene. The writer has to know how to engage the audience with not just what the hero wants, but why they want it, why it’s so important and why there won’t be any other time to get it. Once the hero accepts this, he commits to this, there is no turning back. Now, with The Final Destination there is no reason for the hero to live and admittedly, he is going to die sometime, right? So without a reason for us to want him to live, there is no investment on our part to care if he survives. With SAW IV, I had an investment because the female cop, well, I liked her. I wanted her to live and knowing she was on the chopping block brought suspense to the film. Would she figure out the killer before being killed? That is suspense. So, if you want to engage people like myself that don’t normally enjoy horror films for the gore and torture, remember to have a solid back story that involves a hero that we can identify with and a goal that we can appreciate." -By Quito Washington

You can read the full blog post here.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who Pays for Cap and Trade?

I didn't know much about the Cap and Trade bill, so I decided to look it up...and here is what I found.
What Would a Successful Cap-and-Trade Program Look Like?
American Progress.org

The cap: To achieve this goal, the U.S. government should steadily tighten the cap until emissions are reduced to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Businesses would have to obtain permits entitling them to emit a certain quantity of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases. All permits would be auctioned off by the government. Emissions permits in the near term would likely fall in the range of $10 to $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent.

The trade: Companies unable to meet their emissions quotas could purchase allowances from other companies that have acquired more permits than they need to account for their emissions. The cost of buying and selling these credits would be determined by the marketplace, which over time would reduce the cost of trading the credits as trading becomes more widespread and efficient. - full article and down-loadable document here

LIBERTY MAVEN:
"The good news is that President Obama isn’t going to Copenhagen to sign a treaty, but he may sign a proposal that could lead to a treaty at a later date. The Copenhagen proposal is designed to create an international scheme to control carbon emissions (and the entire world economy in the bargain).

President Obama wants to have the “cap and trade” (cap and tax) bill passed before he goes to Copenhagen.

Our goal should be to send him to Denmark empty-handed."
Click here to find out more about sending a letter to Congress.

CITIZENLINK: "The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is considering a cap and trade bill that purportedly takes aim at global warming.

Under a cap-and-trade scheme, the government would set a limit or "cap" on emissions of carbon dioxide. If, for example, a company goes over the limit, the government would force it to buy "credits" from other companies deemed by government to be producing less carbon dioxide than the cap allows. In countries where it has been tried, fraud has been rampant.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairs the committee and is co-author of the bill. She claims the legislation would create jobs, but that contradicts a statement made to Congress earlier this month by the director of the Congressional Budget Office that said cap and trade would cause "significant" job losses." - full article

NEWSWEEK: "Cap-and-trade does very little at a very high cost. Americans would spend $100 billion to $200 billion a year for limited results: a 15 percent cut in U.S. emissions would reduce global emissions by less than 4 percent, which would have a negligible worldwide impact. Investment bankers need cap-and-trade to make their "green energy" deals successful. That's great (and profitable) for them, but their earnings would come at the expense of every other American." - full article

WALL STREET JOURNAL
: "The Congressional Budget Office -- Mr. Orszag's former roost -- estimates that the price hikes from a 15% cut in emissions would cost the average household in the bottom-income quintile about 3.3% of its after-tax income every year. That's about $680, not including the costs of reduced employment and output. The three middle quintiles would see their paychecks cut between $880 and $1,500, or 2.9% to 2.7% of income.

Cap and trade, in other words, is a scheme to redistribute income and wealth -- but in a very curious way. It takes from the working class and gives to the affluent; takes from Miami, Ohio, and gives to Miami, Florida; and takes from an industrial America that is already struggling and gives to rich Silicon Valley and Wall Street "green tech" investors who know how to leverage the political class." - full article

Click here to find out more about sending a letter to Congress.

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The Flood

"The Flood is an epic-sized movie with great potential for spiritual impact. The science process is a vital part of this film and we are committed to finding the strongest science on which to base The Flood. We invite you to play an important role in the process."

This is a new movie being worked on by a new production group, In Jesus' Name Productions, and they have a rather interesting approach to fund-raising. It looks like they are funding their films through membership donations. Click here to visit the company website to read all about it and sign up for free email updates.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

RED News

Read all about the new RED Epic and Scarlet info here!
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