Friday, July 30, 2010

Platypus Undercover #2

This is one mother of an intense learning experience. The art and craft of storytelling with motion pictures is broken-down into digestible bits, and then shoved into your brain at an alarming rate. It's the difference between learning how to read a book and learning how to write a book. PF Bentley has perfected a teaching style that throws you out of your comfy chair and forces you to reassess everything you thought you knew about motion. Both he and Dirck are Masters of Motivation. These guys are good. I think they have done this before.

We are sent out on daily assignments that require successful execution of that day's component. Every component builds on the previous ones. The daily review of our work is a special torture. You are called to the front of the room and your naked footage is screened, dissected, and critiqued with surgical candor. It is humbling but it is also powerfully enlightening. The message is simple - If you want to play in the Big Leagues, then you had better bring your A game to every single frame. As always, Simple does not equal Easy.

We are using the Canon 7D DSLR and a new universe of add-ons to make our films. The resulting footage's quality is astonishing. Extraordinary color, detail, and shallow depth-of-field combine to deliver simply beautiful images. This also means our screw-ups are all-the-more dazzling too. And we are just starting to play with sound and editing, so now the mountain gets steeper.

My cover is almost blown! PF declares he smells a rat and threatens to withhold our rations of grog. Fortunately for me, the real Tiger Woods is suspected, charged with treason, marched out behind the classroom, and summarily shot with an old Betacam. The last we hear of Tiger, he is moaning. Curiously, he does not sound like he is in much pain.

The class is a disparate, motley lot. Bikers, ex cons, a defrocked Jesuit, several loyal-yet-clumsy Cubans, and an entire family of circus midgets. Several fist fights break out the first day when rations are distributed. The Cubans cause a scene today when they are caught hiding secret electronic listening devices in our shotgun microphones - apparently not very clear on the concept.

We are shown superb examples of editing from Hollywood classics. Who knew that Porky's III was such a landmark of innovation? Who knew Tarantino was so tender? Who knew Disney could be so erotic? (I'll never see Dumbo the same way again.)

Tomorrow we are going to delve into the proper way to stage a Hollywood scandal and make a fortune on the celeb circuit.

Tiger Woods

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