Wednesday, October 9, 2013


A few weeks ago Netflix offered me a free month a viewing. With Fall schedule not yet on the horizon, I took them up on it. One of my first video choices was the remake of Footloose, a movie I had enjoyed long ago. As the month ended I decide to revisit the original 1984 version and see how the two compared.

There was a brief point in time when I lived and breathed film. I was in a movie group, small but with its own share a drama. I learned a lot there, not only technical things, but about choices. And indeed, movie making, be it film or machinima is all about deciding among alternatives. As I watched Kevin Bacon, and later to become Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, I found I preferred the original movie. It wasn't the cinematography; the fake mountains were fairly distracting. It wasn't the acting.

The difference was partly in the script, but mostly in the director's decisions.

Filming is about telling a story, be it a wistful poem or an epic  -- well in machinimatic terms -- adventure. Your viewers need to know the characters. They need to be able to put themselves in the red boots or scuffed sneakers, to understand the protagonist's motivations, to feel the joys and sorrows of the performer and believe for a moment that they are one with those that move upon the screen. Movie making covers plenty of ground; filming and editing rank high in importance. You need footage, farsightedness and discrimination for the work to blossom into your vision. Striking camera angles help of course.

But mainly you need sensitivity, understanding and the willingness to let the viewers see your characters as they honestly are.

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