One of my favorite parts of A Quiet Place was how the opening scene sets up the stakes for the world. In this essay I breakdown the opening 8 minute sequence and the techniques director John Krasinski uses to create suspense.
Headline mining is a trend in entertainment journalism (and somewhat it online journalism in general) that really bothers me. In this video I'm breaking down what exactly it is, why it's so pervasive, and ways we can try to avoid it.
First installment of my new series covering the first work of a director in the context of their entire filmography. In this one I look at Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket, and what it can teach us about his style.
More coming soon!
The "supercut" is a deceptively simple type of video, but I think it's one that, when done well, displays the power that editing has to reframe things and create meaning. I was interested in trying my hand at one and the use of distance-to-subject in Mad Max: Fury Road seemed like a good topic for the format.
The creation of this video involved cutting hundreds of selected shots out of the 2 hour film. Because I knew I wanted the subjects' distance to the camera to perceivably move throughout the edit, I mostly chose shots with a clear single subject. After that it was just a matter of sorting a couple hundred shots from widest to closest, cutting out the ones that didn't fit the flow or the progression of the edit, and setting it all to music.
My hope is that reordering shots by distance gives the viewers a glimpse into how distance was used throughout the film.
One of the things I like about a supercut, is that it let's the viewer "see" the technique I'm highlighting in the video, it doesn't just tell them about it. I try to do this with all my videos to some extent, but the complete absence of narration forces the viewer to analyze the technique for themselves.
I hope you enjoy this quick video! Keep your eyes peeled for two more full-length videos coming later this month.
I think the supercut stands on it's own and but I gained a few insights in the editing process that I thought I'd share in a bonus narrated version, available to those who give $3 or more to my Patreon.
What happens when being an outsider is in? This article in the Hedgehog Review explores that idea:
It is herds of people busily declaring that they are not part of the herd. Whether you’re a Satanist or an alt-right activist, you sign up for a total lifestyle package that includes a limited menu of approved ideas, clothing styles, and other badges you can choose from to express your individuality.
I've been thinking a lot about humanity's tendency towards forming tribes, and the good and bad ways this manifests itself:
1. How much of the (seemingly) increased fractionation in society is driven by "outsider status" being desirable. As soon as a group gets to entrenched, it's members will either insist that they are truly outsiders, or break off to find a smaller group that has better "outsider status."
2. Does the internet and social media make it harder for the lone outsiders to exist? In the past, a true outsider may have come into contact with few or no others who had similar ideas or beliefs. Thanks to the internet and social media, even pretty obscure, niche groups of people can find each other and form groups. What is the broader implications of this? Maybe the flat-earther, finding nobody who agrees with them in real life, would give up on the idea. If you're more likely to hold onto a belief if you can find other people who believe it, and if the internet makes find those people easier, are people holding beliefs they might otherwise not?
The entire article is worth your time: In with the Out Crowd: Contrarians, Alone and Together
This Guardian profile on David Lynch proved controversial. Most of the clamor focusing around his comments on Donald Trump:
He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history because he has disrupted the thing so much. No one is able to counter this guy in an intelligent way.” While Trump may not be doing a good job himself, Lynch thinks, he is opening up a space where other outsiders might.
Unfortunately the "greatest president in history" segment got passed around and placed out-of-context in headlines everywhere. Liberals and conservatives alike seemed to ignore the "could" and the fact that Lynch doesn't think Trump is doing a good job. This lead to both Conservatives wrongly touting Lynch's support of the president, and liberals shaming Lynch for the same.
This culminated in Trump tweeting about Lynch, and Lynch responding: "You are causing suffering and division."
Most of the profile covered information about Lynch I already knew, but the most interesting bit to me was the revelation that he's maybe only watched one film in the last year.
“Um,” he finally says. “I saw my son Austin’s movie [Gray House, a documentary] last year and I really liked it. I don’t think I’ve seen any other films.”
The entire profile is worth reading if you haven't yet.