Reading Rainbow Hits Big

I am a child of the 80s and I grew up taking LeVar Burton’s word for it. Some of the books were terrible, some were delightful, I never saw a LOT of the books, but that’s mostly because I watched well past the age the featured books were geared for.

Doesn’t matter.

The show was great.  Beyond great.

Yes, it kindled a love of reading, but even more it kindled a thirst for knowledge.

Each program took me somewhere new, introduced new ideas, and explained a lot of things about how the world worked. And it made me want to know more. I took the knowledge garnered during the show and I looked for more to add to it, to build upon it a greater understanding of how to do things.

That’s a hard feat to accomplish. To keep a child’s attention engaged for 30 minutes, delight them, educate them, and leave them wanting more? Best showmanship ever.

And the plug was pulled in 2009.  It ran from the year I was born – 1983 – until 5 years ago. Impressive, but the format and delivery mechanisms were just too outdated.

Still, the world needs butterflies in the sky…now more than ever.

How do I know? Because the world spoke out.

LeVar Burton took Reading Rainbow to the people, creating a kickstarter asking for 1 million dollars to improve the minds of EVERY child EVERYwhere.

It was done in 11 hours. The project is fully funded, already up to 1.5 million at the time of this writing, and it still has 34 days to go.

That tells me people are desperate for quality educational entertainment options for their children.  I’ve seen some of the programming available now and shudder.

That tells me this man has not only earned my trust, but the trust of my entire generation, and in his work we find hope for the next generation. What more noble cause is there, what better use of our resources, than the betterment of our entire culture?

I’d much rather youths today take LeVar’s word for it much as I did.

Let them be inspired. Let them fly twice as high.

Take a look.

It’s in a book…or tablet…or website…

A Reading Rainbow.

Yes, Mr. Burton, with much respect, we’ll make sure there’s a next time.

Sad Watanabe is Sad, and Horrified, and Lonely…

…and oddly aroused.

…and has to pee.

#SadWatanabe is a rising trend drawn from the shots of Ken Watanabe in the new Godzilla movie looking – justifiably – horrified and stunned out into the distance.  As my friend Sean puts it “Ken’s gone bye-bye” and who wouldn’t when confronted with Gojira and the fact that this coccoon you’ve been studying for your entire life just drank all of the radiation and turned into a horny flying death monster?

I’m not sure why people focus on “sad” when they see Watanabe’s excellent performance.  Yes, he is staring blankly…but it’s just that…blank…perfectly blank.

Odessa Steps Sequence from Battleship Potempkin

Odessa Steps Sequence from Battleship Potempkin

It relies on the editing of horrifying scenes around it to give it context much as Sergei Eisenstein showed us with his editing experiments in Battleship Potempkin.  Boring as hell, but one of the foundations of cinema, it gave us the much homaged “Odessa Steps Sequence” (you’ll know it as the Baby Carriage scene)

In that spirit, my buddy Sean over at Westphall Media has conducted an experiment of his own using one of Watanabe’s blank stares from the trailer edited together with some other classic cinema moments.  Notice how the surrounding clips change the mood and emotion conveyed by the stare.

 

All that being said, the new Godzilla is a great movie. Beautiful cinematography and craft exhibited throughout the film. It lost me a little in the middle, but the end brawl goes beyond making up for that.

Cacophony of the Mind

Greetings all.  Welcome to Halfacre Pond, the centralized home of my creative endeavours.   Here you will encounter the short films I make, web serials I produce,  photography projects, podcasts, etc.  Along side these visuals, I shall present you with articles of thought sparked from my brain on topics various and sundry.

First up on the schedule is a short film I created for the Rode MyReel 2014 International Short Film contest entitled Cacophony of the Mind.

CotM was born when I asked myself one question: What is the simplest, easiest to shoot with no budget idea I can execute in 3 weeks?  The idea started as a lark – with the obvious answer to that question being one long shot in which nothing Quiet Peoplehappens.

Ideas started percolating from there and in fact the entire creative process behind the film is what became the subject matter of said film which eventually found some context in an unusual place – an internet meme.

I let the concept simmer for about a week, bouncing it off a few people, growing it as I did so. The reception was surprisingly positive for something I thought would be just a lark. It grew into more of a thought piece than I expected.

It isn’t the best short film in the world, the most insightful, the most awe inspiring, or any other superlatives, this I know, but I am still proud of it because it is the first film project I have actually completed (nearly) to my satisfaction.

Ever.

Yes, there are minor quibbling details about the final product I am not happy with, and of course no creative project is ever finished, but for once I got it done the way I wanted it to the absolute best of my ability, given the time and circumstances presented to me.

It is a cohesive piece with a message, meant to provoke thought and cause you to take notice of yourself and others around you, which delivers on the promise of all stories told.

I am proud of myself and feel a sense of accomplishment.  This, world, is what I can do.  Look out, there’s more on the way.

Until next time.