So…What’s Your Film About?

Michelle:  Whether at a high-profile meeting or at a laid back cocktail party, the creators of most art forms are perpetually prompted to describe their idea by likening it to existing, well-known pieces in order to gain legitimacy and respect from their peers. The results usually end up in very absurd territory. Example?

Boy at a Party: You should check out my band sometime. Our sound is a Flaming Lips/Guns and Roses love child that was raised by Ani DiFranco.

Potentially Interested Girl: (giggle) Wow, that sounds…pretty neat actually. Tell me more!

Humans like categorizing. It helps us make sense of the world around us, especially the parts of the world containing different and unfamiliar ideas. While some artists shun this practice for fear of labeling their omg totally original art, it’s a necessary evil in generating any interest or curiosity about a project. The film industry is rife with this sort of quick referencing.

Random Human: So…what’s your film about?

James Cameron: Well, Avatar is kinda like Dances with Wolves in space.

Random Human: Oh, okay. I guess that makes sense…Wait, what?


We are not making this shit up. Read all about it here and here.

It’s also been said that Titanic = Romeo and Juliet on a boat. Which goes to show that even after you’ve made two of the highest grossing films in history an artist must still quip cheesy-ass pigeonholing references to make potential audiences, investors, and critics feel just enough familiarity but with its own creative spin.

A couple of other delightful examples:

St. Elmo’s Fire group dynamic meets a Hackers universe = The Social Network.

Monty Python tomfoolery + witty Sherlock Holmes whodunit = Clue.

There are obvious pros and cons to this sort of labeling. Comparisons to glory may give off an inflated sense of ego, but mass recognition referencing undeniably garners a nodding, “Oh, I think I get it” type of reaction. A reaction that hopefully contains the magical mixture of comfortable recognition and show-worthy appeal.

Random Human: So…what’s your film about?

The YI: The Young Invincibles is an independent fictional story (not a documentary!) in Traffic-style storytelling with Reality Bites characters.

Get it? Good. Sound appealing? We sure hope so!

Time For Some Techno Babble

Aaron: I am not sure if everyone knows this but apparently you need a camera (or two) to make a movie.  So, I have begun the process of figuring out the best one for The Young Invincibles. In the grand old days, film was shot on well … film. Then, the revolution came along that it was televised in digital! Digital film gave to the masses the ability to make an indie film cost effectively (i.e. cheaply). So, for us, digital is the way to go.  Psstt….don’t tell old school Hollywood but many big budget films are going digital. VIVA LE REVOLUTION!!!

So, the digital camera that has my crank turning right now are these new DLSR cameras. Specifically, the Cannon  EOS-1D Mark IV which just came out in Oct of ’09. It look like this.  Yes, it looks like a traditional photo camera.  And that’s because it is.  However, it also just happens to have video capacity which looks like this (seriously look at that link).  The picture quality is just insane.  It blows away everything else I have seen in digital.  Hell, Robert Rodriguez (the guy behind “Desperado” & “Spy Kids”)  just shot a music video with a DLSR camera.  So they are pretty sick.

So, here is the techno number side of these cameras.  It shoots in 1080 HD.  Also, it shoots in 24p (technically 23.976), unlike earlier models, which mean it can mirror the 24 frames per second of film. VERY SEXY INDEED.  Then, there is the other cool thing. It sees in low light spaces better than the naked human eye (I told you to watch that video link. It was all shot at night with available light!). That will do! That will do indeed. So, technically, shooting with this camera is more like shooting with old film cameras.  It has  a large single sensor (traditional digital cameras have 3 smaller censors, film camera have one big one), you have to record your sound separately (welcome back clap boards), and you get to shoot with a shallow depth of field (trust me this is a very good thing).   The shape is kind of weird for making a movie but you can add stuff like this to make it more movie making friendly.  Kinda cool.

Alright, that’s enough geeking out for now but trust me there will be more.  However, if you got questions, comments, or ideas about cameras please leave a comment or send me an email and I will get back to you.  And, don’t forget to subscribe so you can follow The Young Invincibles journey from this website to a theater near you.