Monday, August 4, 2008

True Artists at Work

"The Kid's much more than hair and a smile." -Kid.
"So come on, place ya bet. Is it gonna be me, or Eraserhead?" -Play


More Hard Work

These fellas put the millions of bandwagoning Michel Gondry wannabes to shame!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Cannes Just Can't Right Now, Okay? Next Year.

With the recent change in economic climate, investors and distributors are running away from this year's "risky" films. But risky is subjective. Only a few years ago, several of these films would have been picked up as the credits rolled. Most obviously, Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York which baffled most audience members at Cannes, myself included. I decided to go back that same evening to the red carpet premiere to figure out what I had missed at the 7:45am press screening that morning. Was I just not awake yet? Maybe, but no one can deny that this movie, with all its ambition, experimental tendencies, and rocketing timeline, is a little messy. Who has a few million to throw at a dark, somewhat avant garde film that almost requires repeat viewings? Apparently, Sony Pictures Classics does, but only after two (what must have been very stressful) months of heavy contemplation, and possibly an edit or two. Even so, this is only a U.S. deal.

That said, Kaufman's directorial debut has been picked up, unlike Steven Soderbergh's Spanish language Che which is still scrambling for a lofty distribution plan. One that includes three basic releases. The full 4 1/2 hour biopic in December, followed by a split release of its halves in January and February. The film cost an arguably insane 65 million and though Benicio Del Toro took home the best actor prize at the Cannes closing ceremony, all daily trade reviews were quite gloomy. I recall one review stating that the few redeeming moments were in fact not redeeming, that the subtitles and overweight runtime were too heavy a price. Speaking of prices, did I mention the rights to distribute alone cost 10 million? This is before even the first internet banner ad is created, let alone an entire marketing campaign.

Soooooo all you budding film students out there, it might be time to scrap that life story of Kim Jong-Il with the 50 million dollar budget you've been penning after class and make a movie about your high school girlfriend and her ugly little dog, instead.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ingmar Bergman

Wednesday marks the one year anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's death. He spent his last days living alone on the Swedish island of Fårö.

"It sounds like a lonely life on the island of Faro?"

"I'm never lonely...sometimes I go days without speaking to a soul."

Paul Schrader, director:
Ingmar Bergman, more than any other director, showed that it was possible for a film director to be an introspective and serious artist in the commercial cinema. Bergman paved the road; the rest of us just road down it.

David Mamet, playwright and director: When I was young the World Theatre, in Chicago, staged an all-day Ingmar Bergman Festival. I went at ten o'clock in the morning, and stayed all day. When I left the theater it was still light, but my soul was dark, and I did not sleep for years afterwards.


Friday, July 25, 2008

David Gordon Green and the old "One, two."

David Gordon Green directs Dermot Mulroney in 2004's Undertow.

After August 6th weekend, add David Gordon Green to the list of directors who have cracked the "machine-good-for-us, we-good-for-machine" Hollywood code. If (or should we say when?) the Apatow clan's Pineapple Express is a success, Green may well be joining the ranks of Spielberg, The Coens, and George Clooney in the tiniest niche of Hollywood: Those who make what they want, when they want, because they've been feeding the hungry beast what it wants..........truckloads of money.

This isn't to say Green has sacrificed his artistic integrity. The boy has worked hard. He's already written-and-directed four very low-budget, beautifully crafted films about the South. His disarming debut, (George Washington) was accomplished at 24 with a budget of 40,000 and has since received the coveted Criterion treatment. A
t a mere 33 years old, it's quite a resumé.

Green has a voice of his own, rare in these days of Iron Man and 45 Will Ferell movies a year. There's a hyper-realism to his films. People look the way people look, say the things people say. Upon watching these films, the first guess concerning his next project wouldn't necessarily be stoner-comedy. But watch a few interviews with the man himself and you'll see where David Gordon Green is coming from.

By his long supply of college t-shirts, dirty old baseball caps, and laid-back attitude, you infer that he's an average American college kid from the South. B
ut why, after so much critical acclaim and artistic success, jump on the Apatow Express now? Surely, he's "better than that?" A true modern-day Cinephile in the league of Quentin Tarantino, Green has no pretensions and his tastes don't stop at foreign philosophical cinema (though he's well-versed in that, too). When asked to show a series of films that inspired him alongside his own week-long retrospective at BAM's Cinematek, he featured 1989's Tango and Cash. Green jokes, "In terms of people who are going to retrospectives and are kind of digging back into movies of the past, I don't know if 'Tango & Cash' is one people are primed for. I mean, I know me and my buddies will be there."

Green has mentioned his interest in several projects with a much bigger scope (a meditative, 3-hour sci-fi epic in the vein of Tarkovsky). In an interview with Filmmaker magazine in 2004, Green was already plotting the moves to find these budgets,
"It’s the financial pressure we don’t want, and it’s the creative freedom we insist upon. It’s hard. I’m at a point in my career where I’m trying to be somewhat strategic in the next move or two so that I can open doors and create opportunities like that, yet at the same time trying to work within the aspect of the industry that I love."

One has to wonder what Green would do with a massive budget, a major studio behind him, and his own script in hand. He admits,
"(I know) how difficult it is to bring my approach to a production where people are looking over your shoulder. It makes it really hard for me to work in a way that I want to work, where my crew is inspired to work....I don't like being told I can't move a light...There’s a lot more of a structured, systematic, mechanical discipline in larger-budget projects."

A big budget,
and artistic freedom? In that case, riding with the Apatow clan might be the wisest way into the machine, as one would imagine nobody is breathing down their necks. With millions in opening weekends and DVD sales, nobody's sweating Seth Rogen for going a few thousand over budget.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see if Green gets a rhythm going in the "One for you, one for me" style of Clooney or Spielberg, or if he'll retreat back to the bible belt with a few thousand dollars and a few friends. Either way, I know I'll be watching.


Back in the Saddle Again...

Remember that Aerosmith song? No? Well, it was bad. Here's what's good. We haven't updated in a good long while. We're busy men and we aren't just all about film. Here's some music the Short List folks are checking out these days:

Crystal Castles: So hip it hurts. Hurts so good.
Black Kids: So hip it hurts, not always so good, but it's fun nonetheless.
Fleet Foxes: Some nice, truly inspired melodies and lyrics, the gaps between which are filled with mood-spinning, backwoods America, it's sunny out but we're in a dark barn type stuff. The whole "we're down-homey and of the Earth" got tired in the sixties and then again a few months ago but Robin Pecknold's ear is just unique enough that the harmonies will grab you and hang on for an album's worth.
The New
Beck album: It's good. Huh...weird.
Dwight Yoakam: ...shutup. I know I'm alone on this one. Mix the guilty pleasure of Alan Jackson's crap-pop with the reality and depth of Willie Nelson. Anyway, it sounds good live.
Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac: ...pre-Lindsey and Stevie, it was a hardcore white boy blues band. Green, a schizophrenic, made Eric Clapton sound like the dork he was/is.
Public Enemy: The whole catalog, really. I mean, those guys had a lot to say.
Forest Fire: Maybe not the whole album, but "Fortune Teller" reminds us of the good ol' Violent Femmes days.

"He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats." -B.B. King on Peter Green


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

While Clam and David feverishly try to get Kaufman tickets, wear French-cut bathing suits, chew and spit out French hors d'oeuvres, and collect memorabilia in the name of environmentalism, I have finally gotten my hands on a diploma.

Besides giving me an opportunity to do an old-school cut/paste photoshop job, this diploma ensures that I am qualified to at least work as a manager of fast food restaurants without the generally required 2 years of floor experience. Thanks to the exported members of shortlist for the texts and Joe for the no-doubt stunning graduation photography. Mother Patricia will appreciate them.

PS. Scarlett, you're new album isn't that mediocre; the production values are quite high.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Linha de Passe

Last night I met the former director of the Venice and Berlin film festivals who just so happened to have two unnecessary tickets to the competition screening of Walter Salles' "Linha de Passe."  Our walk up the red carpet was a wet but fun one (I swear there'll be pictures soon)  and had we been only a minute later, we would have shared it with Alfonso Cuaron, darn.  The film was one we've seen many times before, a combination of all Hispanic indie films of the last 15 years: Shaky camera, struggling adolescents, poverty, God, drug combos, soccer, wild sex, motorcycles, thievery, sounds more exciting than it was.  With no directorial innovations or profound insights to speak of, one has to wonder if the invite to competition was more about the director's presence than the film itself.  It appears to stand no chance of receiving the Palme D'Or, though it did receive a standing ovation(?), a gesture which seems to have lost its meaning, as it has become the only alternative to a harsh French booing.

Still working on "Synecdoche, New York" tickets.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Cannes Gets Spiked

It's now Friday and the ball is rolling.  David got into the opening night premiere of "Blindness" and suavely moseyed up the red carpet.  Last night we snuck into a European production company party (Mk2, we thought it was in the Kimmel office, the company that's producing Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York").  The party was slightly lame, but on a rooftop overlooking the Riviera (pictures coming soon) and an open bar.  After much Jameson whiskey and creepy dancing we turned in for the night with dreams of seeing the first images of Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Anna" at a private market screening which we did this morning.  The Star  theatre accepted our glowing holographic invites with big French smiles and we bore witness to an intense fifteen minute trailer of gunfire, explosions and talk of miracles.  To put it in David's words, "Spike's not in Brooklyn anymore."

You can find the imdb here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


As Adair explained, the festival opens today with the launch of the market and opening of the pavilion. Most importantly, however, free phone calls and reliable american keyboarded internet access opens today too! The carpet unrolls for 'Blindness' tonight and I'll be hitting up the hotels trying to catch the guests at the bars. I'm going to try to score tickets for the new Woody Allen movie, Charlie Kaufman movie and maybe getting into the industry screening of 'select scenes' from Spike Lee's new movie.

Most importantly, I'll be hanging out by the artists entry to the Palais in hopes of running into a good celeb by the bathrooms. (They use the same bathrooms as us). 'They' as in those better than us. Special thanks to Joe for working so diligently on the website, it looks great. E-mail his amazing designer self at fellow Cannes-ians.

Until the next update.



It's opening day at Cannes and we're flashing hungry eyes behind our (somewhat) fashionable sunglasses. Why? Party invites of course. So you get a party invite, then what? Well, I'd like to grease my palms with Marty's pomade and though Cate has already bore her new child, David would still like to rub her belly. Blindness opens the festival (which should be adequately horrifying) and we have an opportunity to bid on which screening we want tickets to but more research needs to be done. Which screening will prove the most fun/exciting/fruitful? Who cares, I just wanna see Brangelina roll those freshly purchased babies up the red carpet.


This pic was taken the morning of opening night while all the Frenchies were still sleeping off the previous night's boozing and we had the place to ourselves to wander behind the scenes like the dorks we be.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Having your Cate and eating it too

Congrats to Cate Blanchett on the birth of her third child.

That is all.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

-- a peak at the first shortlist logo design.
the bottom image is the animation concept. a website layout is next on the drawing board.

- ligotti
[your resident designer]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

News for graduates! Yayy!

Industry braced for economic impact

By Steven Zeitchik
April 9, 2008

NEW YORK -- As the U.S. economy faces a swirl of negative forces, the film-financing world is set to endure its own perfect storm.

And like the economy, things could get a lot worse before they get better.

Much of the focus has in recent months been the fate of slate funds such as Dune and Gun Hill as Wall Street wrings its hands over its lack of selection and low batting averages.

But so-called single-picture financing -- which encompasses films ranging from the smallest indie to a $60 million star vehicle -- is going through its own turbulence. Projects that would have sailed through easily a year ago are stalled in development. Movies that are practically in preproduction are falling apart at the eleventh hour.

"We've always gotten calls from producers saying, 'Our financing has fallen through; can you help us?' " the Film Department's Mark Gill said. "Now we're getting a lot more."

Read the rest

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Union-Man Scott's the name

Recently, I sat down for lunch with Tim Suhrstedt, ASC member and DP of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Pumpkin and Office Space, as well as the new Ricky Gervais feature now shooting in Lowell, MA, This Side of the Truth.

Sandwiches: He had the turkey with cranberry chutney and apple slaw; I had the tuna, with a side of wisdom and advice drizzled in house vinaigrette (tangy but truthful). Besides sharing the last name of his wife (Oscar-winning costumer Deborah Lynn Scott) and half of the hyphenated last name of his daughter, I also aspire to DP features, possibly for the rest of my life and beyond.

His advice: Unionize! A career move strangely not emphasized by any of my professors... Though perhaps they consider it obvious, it seems that so many film graduates have no idea what they're doing once they're out, and simply jump ship to LA and gain a little weight.

The problem: He and I have been working on trying to figure out exactly how exactly for a young guy like me to get into the union (IATSE: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), and I have been secretly struggling to understand the difference between IATSE Local 600 and the International Cinematographers Guild, which could possibly be the same thing. Either way, it's key that I get into one or both or all three (IATSE Local 481, inc. Massachusetts area) of these as every major film produced in the US goes through them and, of course, they provide health insurance, disability pay, field trips to parks and training sessions.

Other advice: To keep shooting even if I get gigs as a film loader or AC - to always keep DP'ing because I won't really learn how to do it by watching someone else. And, most importantly, to accept that the film career path is not linear, and that experience does not always beget better, more rewarding experience, and to take it with some humor. And on that decidedly unfunny note, this blog ends (clearly, I've learned nothing).

Updates on the union progress, which I have now made my summer goal, to come.

-EA Scott

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Philip Seymour _____man. (Hoff, Mattress)

Known for being fairly laid back about himself and his art while still taking the latter very seriously, P.T. Anderson's work runs the gamut. The director of the long and dark There Will Be Blood also released this, a short and light public access channel recreation starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as "The Mattress Man." It's a bonus feature on the Punch-Drunk Love DVD.


People used to name their kids things like Frank, Gene, and Jules.

Not to be confused with the other New York, New York, a song of the hope and ambition to "be a part of it, New York, New York."  Rather, this little piece of MGM musical candy's only ambition is to see the entire city "right from Yonkers on down to the bay, in just one day."  One of a wave of films that set the tone for the 1950s movie musical, On the Town placed Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Jules Munchin in the everyday city streets of New York, as opposed to a soundstage, the background of which looks like a 40 foot, multi-million dollar wedding cake, (See: Till the Clouds Roll By, or don't, it's not that good.)  Other movies that exemplify this newfound rawness were West Side Story and Oklahoma, both of which are good.  Oh, and that line about Manhattan women all wearing silk and satin?  It just isn't true.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Loss of Anthony Minghella

Sadly, the phenomenally talented Anthony Minghella died today. It would be difficult to name another writer/director in recent memory who could adapt great literature into film the way he could. His work includes The English Patient (for which he won the Oscar for Best Director), The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Cold Mountain. He appears to have died from a brain hemorrhage as a result of an operation on his neck.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New projects

Seeing Spike Lee do a period (epic?) drama should be interesting. Inside Man really showed a new side of him far more commercial and glossy than anyone thought he was capable of. I really like the DP on this project too, Matthew Libatique. He did Requiem for a Dream, Phone Booth, The Fountain and Inside Man. Spike has had a full plate too - I can't wait to see his first stab at Broadway with Stalag 17. I heard a rumor he consulted "my man" (can I say that?........yes) George C. Wolfe.
Stalag is the new Sweeeetbackkkkk

Sunday, March 16, 2008

David's Tidbits: This week's winner

This week's winner is Tilda Swinton. This may seem a bit delayed, but upon review of her performance, I was pleased. It's near Dern quality. Dern-esque you (me) might even say. I even managed to hone in on a nice impersonation of her super American accent. Cheers to fine work from an actress so under-appreciated---like Dern.


tilda + dern = sissy spacek's broken plate

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Cotting." Cutting? "Cotting."

Long, (7 mins) but worth it, this is an old Hitchcock interview in which he discusses "cotting." Or as you and I call it, cutting. It's a nice little lesson in editing that ends with the most elementary application:
Subject 1. CUT. Subject 2. CUT. Subject 1's reaction.
As I watch all of his movies, I'm finding this was the foundation of everything he did. It's so simple it's almost comical: Tippi Hedren's face. CUT. 100 birds on a jungle jim. CUT. Tippi Hedren's face, concerned.
Also, I just like to listen to him say, imagery. "Immijjooorry."


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Rumors are flying that Indiana Jones 4 will open the Cannes Film Festival this May! This is good news seeing as I'll be able to pose with Cate Blanchett's pregnant belly AND hand deliver my treatment for ET 2: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to Steven Spielberg in one day. Readers, this is also a big deal because George Lucas will likely be there as well. And when he visits our humble/illustrious blog and uses the Lucas LTD patented search button on his laptop to find his name, it will be there (here!)!!


George Lucas

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh Almodovar

Oh Almodovar, a mystery you are. How is it you have the hippest and most entertaining credits sequences since Hitchcock but you maintain my mom's haircut circa 1992? (See previous post for photo.)


Come see my new movie

This is not fun.

From time to time I'm reminded that I am not Pedro Almodovar. These reminders usually coincide with my lack of being fondled by a plastic surgeon as a child. 'Almodovar' has decided to deprive us of Penelope Cruz' boobs in a Blu-ray format. Furthermore, Apple (House of Jobs and Bullock**) has deprived us of 3G web browsing technology. CONNECTION?

I cannot download the hand clapping scene from Volver then AppleTV it via bluetooth "thin as air, Macbook Air" to my television in optimal HD quality. The universe is against this guy, but NOT Almodovar. Again, why am I not him?


**Steve, Sandra

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Marty does Alfy

This is fun. Last year, Martin Scorcese decided to film the first 3 1/2 pages of a never begun Alfred Hitchcock film in the style of the deceased genius himself. The resulting short film is one part "Hitchcock 101," one part Freixenet wine advertisement. This is another in a decade-long string of "sell-out" decisions over which Scorcese has been criticized. In the humble opinion of this unabashed film-nerd/blogger, it was just a sensible way to pay the bill of what is, essentially, a seasoned director's field day. A friend of mine also complained of Marty casting himself as a celebrity in the documentary. To that I say, "Who cares? He's Marty!" Look me in the eye and tell me you don't want him over for dinner........I thought so.