Recent Inspirations & Recommendations

I'd like to have a thread where people can post something they've seen, read, heard, anything they've come across recently that inspired & made them excited to start or get back to work on their project. Sometimes you just need something good to remind you why you're putting in so much time & effort on something.
Please tell me if there's a thread like this already.

I'll start this off with a set of books about Orson Welles by Simon Callow.
Orson Welles Vol. 1: The Road to Xanadu
Vol. 2: Hello Americans
Vol. 3: One-Man Band
Vol. 4: (Not published yet)
I've read Vol. 2, which details the films & projects Welles did after Citizen Kane & before he left America to live in Europe. I wanted to find out how such a great filmmaker always seemed to get in trouble with the studios he worked with, & how almost every film he made after Kane was taken out of his hands & re-edited into more average fare. To sum it up, Welles was a genius in how he constantly experimented, not only in movies, but in all forms of media. That was his main goal. Unfortunately most of the time he was careless about money, his own & the studio's, so they became increasingly afraid to bankroll his projects, & he had to finance them himself, with some films taking years to finish.

Though his movies usually lack the emotional connection that makes me care about the characters, his technical innovations influenced many films that came after & to this day. And his films which were reissued in Director's Cuts are always better than the studio's versions. Welles is fascinating because he really lived for his work, & would usually be working on 3 or 4 projects simultaneously. His family life suffered because of that, but it was a gift to the world from one of the first great & truly independent filmmakers.

The (finished) books are available in the L.A. Public Library,
And this video of Simon Callow giving a lecture on Welles got me interested in reading them.
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Nice commercial about the Syrian War for the Save the Children Fund
Save the Children is an international non-governmental organization that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.
I welcome your comments on any of these posts as well as your own inspirations & recommendations.
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Baadasssss! ('03) & Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song ('71)

Made by Mario Van Peebles, Baadasssss! is a film about filmmaking. It's the story of his father Melvin Van Peebles making the 1st black power movie, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. Melvin had made a successful comedy for Columbia Pictures & was offered a 3 picture contract. But he wasn't interested in making another safe mainstream film. He was driven to make something important.

Melvin was bothered by how minorities were mostly portrayed either as weak characters like slaves, or like Sidney Poitier in In The Heat Of The Night, which seemed to say blacks had to be super intelligent & exceptional just to be considered equal to whites.

Whenever he worked at the studio lot, Melvin saw minorities were only given jobs like cleaning or getting people coffee. So for his own indie movie, he made half his crew minorities. At that time, there were very few minorities who did film work because the unions wouldn't let them in. So the experienced people on Melvin's crew trained them on the job.

Aside from the usual money & production problems, the inspiring thing here was Melvin's passion, obsession, & willingness to do anything to finish the film. He endangered his health & treated some people badly because he strongly believed in its importance. He's no saint, but maybe that's what it takes when you have so many things going against you.

Watched today, Sweetback's low budget is very evident. But it showed something never seen before, an empowered black man on screen who defied crooked racist cops. Before that, any black man who went against white authority always died at the end of the film. It became the highest grossing indie film of its time. Studios saw the money they could make, & started the wave of blaxploitation films. Minorities started to get hired to write those stories, design costumes, etc, & they began to enter the unions. The long road to equality never ends, but pioneers like Melvin keep pushing forward.

Baadasssss! itself didn't make a profit. But it's pretty cool, especially for indie filmmakers.
Rakka - Neill Blomkamp

Rakka is a new 22 min. sci-fi short from the director of District 9. Neill made it on his own because he wanted to do something more creative in a film industry full of sequels & franchises. Presumably he wanted to do something more original, so it's a bit strange that Rakka looks like a mix of some vaguely familiar storytelling techniques, elements, & concept designs from many other previous films. Take a look & tell me if you notice any of these.

Maybe I've just seen too many movies so it gets harder to find something that feels new. I suppose you could call them homages. They could also be part of his marketing strategy; take things from successful movies so people will like them in his story. He really needs a lot of audience approval because even though it's free to watch on YouTube, it's available to download for $5, which includes concept art & 3D Models. If the audience pays up, they'll make the next episode. It could be a great model to follow for lower budget projects.

A few years ago, Neill wanted to do an Alien film that continued the story after Alien 2, bringing back Ripley, Hicks, & the little girl Newt, possibly wiping out the events of 3 & 4. Fans responded well to the concept art he released, & Fox came on board. But then Ridley Scott, fresh off The Martian's success, decided he wanted to do another Alien film (which became Prometheus) & he wanted it to come out before Neill's. Somewhere along the line, Neill's Alien was scrapped, disappointing some fans. But they have some consolation by having Sigourney Weaver in Rakka.
I welcome your comments on any of these posts as well as your own inspirations & recommendations.

P.S. Rakka's more common spelling is Raqqa, a city in Syria. It was occupied by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2013 during the Syrian Civil War. France bombed multiple ISIL targets in Raqqa after the Paris attacks in 2015. In June 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) & the U.S.-led coalition are fighting ISIL to take control of the city.
Social commentary from Neill?
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The Real Reason behind Hollywood Sequels, Remakes, and Reboots - Comic Book Girl 19

In this video from Jun 2016, CBG explains how governments of emerging markets like China & Russia have only recently allowed Hollywood movies to be shown in their countries. Their audiences are quite new to Hollywood's level of visual effects, & they don't mind how a lot of these movies focus on spectacle instead of character arcs & story. The language difference also dictates that the subject matter, humor, etc. be broad so it's easier to understand. They haven't seen a lot of old movies that we already know, so it's cheaper for Hollywood to simply remake & serialize ideas that already worked in the past.

It's going to be a long while before they get tired of the spectacle & start demanding better, if it even happens at all. So you see why established filmmakers are going to TV & the web. One door closes, another one opens.
I welcome your comments on any of these posts as well as your own inspirations & recommendations.

From the video description:
The Film Industry is in Crisis as Hollywood ticket sales are down to their lowest levels in decades. This is the story of how China controls the movies we see from now on.
GoodNeighborStuff - Comedy Sketch Videos Got Them Onto SNL

Good Neighbor was a Los Angeles based sketch comedy group with Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Nick Rutherford, & filmmaker Dave McCary. They started their YouTube channel in 2007 & soon got tons of views. Will Ferrell, Steven Spielberg, & Louis C.K. became fans of their videos. They got hired by Saturday Night Live in 2013 & 2014. Great performances & writing always get attention.
More info & videos from Good Neighbor:

Here are two of their classic videos.
toast - Three friends say a few words before a night out.

is my roommate gay? - He starts to wonder.
"Hope in the Dark", by Rebecca Solnit. It's not for filmmakers specifically, but I challenge anyone who is facing trying times to read it and not come out inspired as fuck.

We can do this.
"Hope in the Dark", by Rebecca Solnit. It's not for filmmakers specifically, but I challenge anyone who is facing trying times to read it and not come out inspired as fuck.
We can do this.

Nice, I suppose in both good times & bad it helps to think of activism as a constant responsibility & privilege to do right :)
I'm guessing this is the subject of your current film, is it a documentary?
Around 5,000 short films, mainly by students and those who have YouTube accounts, as well as their... ahem... "advice" vdeos. I was just about to write a post about this as it happens, because I'm in the middle of a satirical screenplay about just this.
"Hope in the Dark", by Rebecca Solnit. It's not for filmmakers specifically, but I challenge anyone who is facing trying times to read it and not come out inspired as fuck.

We can do this.

yeah, that's a really good one. it's very inspiring. and people also recommend reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. just to make clearer your life goals and what it's all about
Nice stuff :)
Man's Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome.
I've been watching a lot of Rooster Teeth's stuff lately, and it's pretty inspiring that these guys managed to create a job for themselves and their friends with such a passionate audience.

I'd definitely love to get a company of my own started and achieve at least half of what they've achieved
Pretty cool. Looks like you have the same kind of sense of humor.
Have you thought about trying to get a job with them? Maybe writing from remote?
How did you discover them?
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I just got done watching the Three Creature of the Black Lagoon Movies.

They're all pretty good. It's been pretty inspirational. Something that was big(sort of) budget Hollywood could easily be done now on the cheap. There are a lot of lessons learned.
Nice, I think Universal was planning to reboot that & all their monsters starting with Tom Cruise's Mummy. Although if you did it cheaply today, would audiences buy it?
Robert Rodriguez Film School

Robert Rodriguez has one of the most interesting success stories of a self-taught outsider breaking into Hollywood. He was one of the first people who showed me that you could make a film with very little money.
Here's a summary of his story from|0/El-Mariachi.html

His book, "Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player," has great information. It gives a detailed account of how he made El Mariachi, his first feature in 1992. The equipment he used is outdated, but his smart, positive attitude & cost cutting methods will always be relevant. He tells people to be technical as well as creative, which means you should have the practical knowledge of how to use all the tools of filmmaking. If you can be technical as well as artistic, you'll be unstoppable.

He's also notable in his eagerness to share his techniques by making special Film School segments in his films' Special Features. I think he has them for all his films. He's very encouraging to everyone that wants to become filmmakers.

Thanks to Zenamerican for reminding me about this many weeks ago.
He posted the 10 Minute Film School from El Mariachi. So here are a couple more.
As always, I welcome your comments on any of these posts as well as your own inspirations & recommendations.
Desperado - 10 Minute Film School
Sin City - 15 Minute Flic School
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In The Mood For Love (2000)

This didn't impress me much when I saw it in the 2000s, it's very slow. I don't know what made me rewatch it a few months ago but now I keep thinking about it. It's a deceptively simple movie, but so well made. The shots, the music, the characters' subtle gestures which can speak volumes, all combine to make it hypnotic. I guess this time I fell in love with Maggie Cheung in those dresses, so that's probably a big reason why I like it.

Director Wong Kar Wai has other well known artistic films, I recently checked out Happy Together (1997), The Grandmaster (2013), both pretty good, & I want to rewatch Chung King Express (1994). But for now this remains his best.

Wong had a rough outline of In The Mood's story, but no real script, so he asked Tony Leung & Maggie Cheung to improvise the scenes & their dialog. Wong likes to work this way, he says he gets too bored just sitting down alone & writing a full script.

Maggie was frustrated by not having a script, & was always asking Wong what she's supposed to do & he didn't have an answer. She would always ask Tony & he said, he doesn't know what to do for his part either. Tony would tell her to relax, just go with it, try to improvise & see what happens. He was more used to this because he had already worked with Wong a few times before. Adding to her frustration, whenever Wong got new ideas, he kept going back to reshoot scenes they had already done, & there was no plan on when they would finish.

My favorite part in the extras is an interview with Maggie Cheung. During the shoot which eventually turned out to be 15 mos, she was worried about not being able to take other jobs to make enough money for her expenses. But when the film came out, she realized she had been given a great chance to be such a big part of the film's creation. Wong got ideas & inspiration from what they improvised, so they were actually creating & rewriting the story together as they went. She sees this film as the high point of her career, & within a few years had almost retired completely. She realized money is just money, but a film like this can last forever, long after you're gone.

One of its best scenes, no spoilers.
The Criterion edition has great special features.
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Something Inspiration for #MondayMotivation

Hi Everyone, :)

I'm pretty new to this so please tell me If I'm posting incorrectly.

I'm a filmmaker and movie enthusiast based in Yorkshire, UK. I've recently started a new job for Film Daily where my main task for today has been researching female directors. As you can imagine I came across a lot of inspirational videos and blogs along my journey but the one that put a smile on my face has to be this Rumba video by filmmaker duo Fiona Gordon & Dominique Abel.

It just goes to show all you need is a friend, a camera, and a bit of music to make something brilliant.

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