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Updates on things

February 10, 2011

So here’s a quick update on the goings-on with the blog.  I have a couple posts I need to write (namely all my sundance reviews as well as discussions about the two shows I did the scenic design for over the fall semester), but I’m really working to get back on track with this because it is a good thing to have and I like my blog.

Anywhoo, some subtle changes have happened.  I started a new page called The Sundance Experience (See the little tab at the top of the blog?).  It is basically going to turn into one long story chronicling my trip to sundance.  it will have my film reviews, as well as hopefully entertaining and insightful anecdotes about my journy at the festival.

That’s the biggest change.  And I should be making some aesthetic changes to the blog soon as well.  The header is too over the top for my taste anymore.  So I’m going to work on a replacement and a fresh look for everything.  Expect that sometime in the *near* future.

That’s it for now!


Another Earth – Film 1 of 15

January 31, 2011

So I spent this past week at the Sundance Film Festival.  I thought that doing reviews of the 15 films I saw, as well as doing a few posts about Sundance in general would be a great way to get back into blogging.  I’ve gotten really into twitter lately, so if you want to follow me there, my username is franklyboring.  I update that at least five times a day, so that will keep you really up to date on my life.  Anyway, here’s my first review, the Sci-Fi drama, Another Earth

Another Earth

I figure the best way to start these reviews is with a synopsis of the film.  I’m just going to use the ones that they produce, because if I write my own it will have too many spoilers.

Synopsis: Rhoda Williams, a bright young woman recently accepted into MIT’s astrophysics program, aspires to explore the cosmos. John Burroughs, a brilliant composer, has just reached the pinnacle of his profession, and is about to have a second child with his loving wife. On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes, and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined. Estranged from the world and the selves they once knew, the two outsiders begin an unlikely love affair, which reawakens them to life. But when one of them is presented with the opportunity to travel to the other Earth and embrace an alternative reality, which new life will they choose?

The film itself was excellent.  A really well made indie sci-fi that is honestly more of a character drama than a science fiction film.  The discovery of Earth 2 is a catalyst, but the planet itself takes a backseat during a majority of the film.  It serves as a presence, as a reminder, but don’t go into this expecting some wild space adventure.  We never journey outside our own atmosphere.  The overarching theme of the film is about taking responsibility for your actions, and setting things right.  It is a piece about second chances, and whether or not we deserve them.

So as you can see from the still (which highlights how gorgeous the movie looks), Earth 2 serves as more of a presence in the film than anything.  But back to my opinion.

I was with this movie the whole way.  The pacing was really spot on, and the plot was focused and driven.  I really fell in love with the characters and how broken they were, and I was completely invested in the film from start to finish.  I felt that the piece deserved the payoff it was given in the end, and I left the movie feeling satisfied with the piece as a whole.

As far as the other elements go, the acting was stellar, with newcomer Brit Marling taking on the role of Rhoda and really nailing it.  I thought she was absolutely beautiful, and the transformation her character undergoes was really wonderful to witness.  WIlliam Mapother (Ethan from LOST) also did a fantastic job, and I really felt his struggle and hoped for his success.

I was really impressed by the direction, as the film is Mike Cahill’s first feature.  The style of the piece was consistent and everything felt natural as far as the flow of the piece and the characters without.  He also wrote the piece, and the writing is really stellar.  Some of the sci-fi might not be water-tight, but again, I didn’t see the film for the science fiction, so I didn’t mind all that much at all.  The interaction between Marling and Mapother was really what drove the film, and they worked off of each other fantastically.

Something else I really loved was that the special effects were really solid.  There is one shot involving a car crash that is absolutely fantastic, and the integration of Earth 2 in the background was extremely believable and really reminded me of the work done on films like District 9 (the ship as a presence in the background).

So yeah, that’s Another Earth.  Next up will be my review of Perfect Sense, and I’ll go over some of the fun involved in procuring tickets for screenings.

I have a blog??!

September 20, 2010

So I’m sure all of my regular readers (as in no one) have been wondering where I’ve been.

Well, the answer is pretty much nowhere.  Right now I’m just sort of existing, barely making it from point a to point b, and usually being quite late in my arrival.  Which brings me to this blog (point b).  Clearly I’m late, as I haven’t updated this in probably two or three months, which I think is a shame.  But now, I have a plan.

Yeah, that’s what I said in the last post too, and it didn’t work out so well.  But this time my plan is far more interesting and well thought out (as in I created it five minutes ago, instead of one).  I plan on updating my blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  What will I talk about?  Well, my life.  It’s gotten fairly insane, and I think people might actually enjoy hearing about my plummet into insanity.  Because that’s where I’m headed.  Right to the old nuthouse.

A little bit of insight:  I am overcommitted.  It will come to no one’s surprise, but this semester I have taken it to a whole new level.  I’ll list off my responsibilities for the semester: Assistant Scenic Designer of Children of Eden, Scenic Designer of Ravenscroft, Scenic Designer of Godspell, RA of Hook, and other such crazy things.  This is on top of Playscript Analysis, Lighting Design, Film History, and Drawing; each of which requires an insane amount of work.  Right now I am in the midst of asking hundreds of questions about every single line of dialogue in a one act play, filling out my sketchbook, designing a bunch of shadow puppets, cleaning my room, attempting to find time to eat and sleep, and dealing with the fact that I am THE MOST ADD PERSON ON THE PLANET.

So I figure I can muse about the ridiculous things in my life for everyone’s entertainment.  I’ll probably say some truths that will get me into a whole mess of trouble, and next year they’ll be making a movie about it.

So yeah, Dan Vs Wild is heading back to its roots and talking about some really bizarre struggles going on in my life.  Enjoy the crazed rantings of a college student at his edge, because it is going to get pretty nuts.  See you on Wednesday.

Updates on Life

June 8, 2010

Hey everybody, it’s been a while.  I think that by now everyone is aware of just how bad I am at updating this.  I mean, just going through my posts you can see how many times I’ve apologized for not updating regularly.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a plan.  This plan is to update my blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I think having a regular updating schedule will help keep me on track for actually posting to my blog.

So what I’ve been up to at this point is I am now in New York City for the summer, studying with Elon and interning at Attention USA.  I actually just started work today, and I’m really excited to be here.  The team is awesome and I know I’m going to learn a lot this summer.

The city is fantastic, I’ve been meeting new people and making friends.  The group of students from Elon is awesome.  We all click together and we’re all going to have a lot of fun!

That’s the short version of what’s going on with me right now.  I really want to get this blog back to its roots as sort of a place where I can tell some random, hopefully funny, stories and share my work.  I really liked that format and so that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Summer Time

May 18, 2010

Well, another school year has come to a close.  Fourteen down, three to go.  Weird.

So now I’m home, mulling over what I am going to do before I head off on my big New York City adventure.  I want to take a lot of pictures in Grand Rapids, so I should have some things to share very soon.

Right now I’m just sitting in my living room, listening to the acoustic version of Dashboard Confessional’s “Get Me Right”.  It fits the mood I’m in.  Plus it’s a great song.  Give it a listen:

It’s been an interesting year, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes me.  I’ll update the blog on Thursday, after I have a fun outing with my friend Liz tomorrow.  As for tonight, it’s my wonderful mother’s birthday, so I’m going to go bake her a cake and wrap one of the presents I got for her.

the art of love

May 14, 2010

Today I am happy to debut my final project for Digital Media Convergence, the art of love.

A telling story of two teenagers who dream of the kind of romance only found in the movies.  Of course, film romance is really just a representation of the kind of love that is so rare that film is one of the few ways people get to actually experience it.

The piece is my own little homage to movie romance as well as a way for me to experiment with some filming techniques.  I think the biggest inspiration for my work right now is Michel Gondry.  His use of projection as a way to personify emotion in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep is really beautiful.  I think my other inspiration would be Jason Reitman.  Up In The Air was one of my favorite films of last year, and so his work has been very present in my mind right now.

Anyway, I’m sure you just want to see it, so here it is:

I hope you like it!

Lumenize Me, Captain!

May 6, 2010

The Lumen Prize.  The most epic undregraduate research grant an Elon student can recieve.  $15,000 for whatever your heart desires.  Oh the possibilites.

Today we have to blog about what we think would make a great project for the Lumen Prize.  The focus is supposed to be communications (for Digital Media Convergence purposes), but I feel like I can’t ignore my second major, theatrical design and production.  So what I’ve come up with is a cross-platform research project that combines my love of stage and screen.

I want to follow in Christopher Staskel’s footsteps and then take it to the next level.  My idea is to write, direct, and produce an original musical for the stage and then adapt it to the screen.  The intention is to discover not only what it takes to create an original piece of theatre, but to then adapt it to other mediums.  I think it is important to understand what goes into adapting a work for the screen, as it seems like recent adaptations (Nine, for example) have fallen short of their potential.

This is a project that will be very much a collaboration between the two departments, utilizing a core group of individuals that will work on both productions.  I believe that the writing of the show should take place starting now and with a finalized version of both the stage and screen scripts ready by junior year.  I think that the stage version of the project would take place in the fall semester with the winter and spring focusing on producing the film.

I already have a basic idea for the story, and I’m going through with the project whether or not I win the Lumen Prize, but I am really excited to create something that Elon has never seen before.