As a straight woman I find the lack of LGBT characters in comics, films and TV shows annoying. It’s sad that we’re in 2016 and we still can’t have a main or supporting character who’s Gay/bi/trans that doesn’t get killed off!
Come on writers, let’s give Tony Stark a best friend who’s a lesbian and have him insist on helping her find dates so he can play the ultimate wing man!
Let’s have a trans character leading their own team in the X-Men!
Let’s give Gotham a Bi superhero that joins the Bat family!
Let’s have a Gay longterm relationship in a top TV show and here’s an idea don’t kill one of them off!
I understand I may lose followers over this post, but after seeing the state of a good friend of mine after getting the crap kicked out of him for holding his boyfriends hand in the park. After the terrible tragedy in Orlando….isn’t it time things changed? Isn’t it time we all learn to accept each other for who we are?
Isn’t it time to stop the hate?
It’s time to spread the love, in the real world and the fictional one.
i don't know anything about the history & production of the blair witch project, what's interesting about it?
First you must know that I have a very soft spot for Found Footage films.
I was the only film student in my class (that particular class at least) that was actually captivated by what you could do with the Found Footage genre. If you don’t know, Found Footage is overwhelmingly horror films, but there has been a growing amount of action films since “blockbuster” action films like The Bourne Universe adopted some of the same “POV” techniques as Found Footage. The cheaper, smaller, and more available to general public cameras like Go Pros and cell phone cameras become, the more interesting the filmmaking is going to become.
You’ve got films like “Hardcore Henry,” while I wouldn’t watch it again, was 100% from the POV of the action hero, literally letting the audience go through the action with Henry - AS Henry. Parachuting, jumping off motorcycles, gun fights, parkour, the works. Comedy even uses some of the same rules, as several TV shows use the “mocumentary” style storytelling. I really don’t know if we’d have shows like The Office or Parks and Rec without handheld and found footage films teaching audiences how to read a different kind of filmmaking.
There’s a reason why those types shows tend to be more popular with Gen X and Millennials than with our parents. A lot of it has to do with the types of filmmaking we’ve been “trained” to watch. Filmmaking has invisible rules and Found Footage has created a whole new chapter to the rule book. It started out as a horror genre (as LOTS of films do. Look up Georges Méliès sometime. A turn of the century “Father of Film” who had an impressive number of horror films.) Horror tends to be a “young person’s” genre - and marketed TO young people ever since the 50s. Younger audiences who “learned to read” the rules of Found Footage, are more likely to understand and enjoy comedy that follows (and breaks) the same rules.
Now, back in the 1980/90s, Found Footage films were not all that common. They existed, sure, but they were hard to make - as actors tend to have to carry cameras themselves and cameras were significantly larger and heavier and more expensive - and they were hard to produce because no one quite understood what was trying to be done and even harder to market and promote as audiences were not yet trained on how to watch this sort of filmmaking.
That was until “The Blair Witch Project” came around.
This film popularized the genre, and everyone and their 16 year old son decided to try their hands at it. Mind you, some are better than others, and some really get creative with utilizing what you can do with it, but since the 90s, it’s been an experimental type of camera work. People are playing with the rules and writing new ones and establishing and building on others and it’s a process we’re getting to see now as it happens.
A film that got pretty famous was “Cloverfield” - about the Godzilla-like monster attacking NYC using one single camera. The Paranormal Activity series gets creative with it as the one with the girl from Supernatural actually uses laptop cameras and Skyping. There’s “Unfriended” which is a video capture of a laptop screen with several skype-ing conversations and youtube videos etc. There was a recent “Project Almanac” about a bunch of teens time traveling. Modern Family did an episode entirely using Facetime. REC, Quarantine, Devil’s Due, V/H/S, As Above So Below, the list goes on and on and on and on and some really are better than others but none would be here without “The Blair Witch Project.”
Honestly. The genre and the style of filmmaking has only come out of it’s childhood in the last several years.
“The Blair Witch Project” in 1999 was it’s first steps.
The thing is, without the production and promotion of this film, it would have faded into cult-film status IF EVEN THAT. No one would have cared. Found Footage would still be a hard to digest type of film. No POV “shakey cam” in the Bourne Movies. Probably no Micheal Scott and - even worse - no Leslie Knope.
BEFORE the film was released in theaters, the filmmakers put together a fake documentary - now known as a “mockumentary” - on “The Legend of The Blair Witch.” This mockumentary - and back then there really wasn’t a fake documentary style type genre or a wide understanding by the audience that this fictional kind of documentary could even be done (The Discovery Channel’s Mermaid documentary in 2013 is a recent example of this and even TODAY people fall for it) - actually aired on what is now the Syfy network. This mockumentary was called “The Curse of The Blair Witch” and detailed a fake legend about a fictional town with fictional people put together with real-looking (photoshopped) photos and real-looking (photoshopped) newspaper articles about missing people and the “Legend” the locals blamed everything on etc.
Point is, it looked real. Kinda spooky. I’m pretty sure you can still find it online, and while I was in school in 2007-2009, the website for this “documentary” was still live and online, helping to sell the fiction as fact.
The film itself was shot in 1997 over like… two weeks? The actors - the main cast - interview people in the film. Some of these people were not actors and did not know what was going on. Others WERE planted actors, and the main cast did NOT know they were interviewing other actors. This in itself is an interesting choice for the filmmakers, and adds to the main cast’s actions, doubts to the validity of the fiction, acting, etc. Going up to someone you think is a civilian, asking them questions about this script you’ve been given, and they giving you back actual relevant information… adds to it. It’s creepy as hell.
The movie’s website then goes live and on to create false police reports of missing persons. Filmmakers purposely led audiences, including actual officials, reviewers, and festival folks that the events of the film were real. It is said that it was one of the first films that was born out of internet exposure, talk, and… well. Internet culture. You know how it goes: Internet freaks out about a story -> someone says it’s fact -> “no way” -> “but here’s a website!!” -> “There was a documentary a couple months about ABOUT THIS THING IT’S REAL!!!!11!!” -> free hype, exposure, and promotion.
(You know. Like the Cohen Brothers and Fargo and “this is based on a true story” at the beginning even though that’s complete bullroar but it’s a film and they have complete control over everything including audience perception of tropes and reality and This Is Not A Pipe. People forget sometimes that Film and Movies - at their base and birth - are artworks.)
This didn’t cost them anything. There’s an unwritten rule that half of your budget should be production and the other half should be promotion. They had practically free promotion.
Like. At… Sundance?? I think? It was “a camera officials found in the woods” and “wanted to tell Heather’s story in a fitting way to fit a budding director’s dreams” etc. People handed out missing persons flyers as promotion and urged people to come forward if they knew anything about the missing filmmakers (who would later star in this film they would be watching. Like. Imagine going to a movie, and holding a missing person’s flyer in your hands as you’re watching it, and being taken for a ride that messes up your reception of reality. That’s what happened.)
Of course, you’d run to the internet to check it out… right?? Except… the movie’s website was nothing but police reports and newspaper articles about this legend. IMDB listed all these people as “missing, presumed dead” for a year or two after the film officially came out to the public.
The journalists watching and reviewing this film were not trained in the rules of this type of film yet. They didn’t know how to write about it. They had all these false-leads and false-facts and this real-looking documentary that was actually on a Network Channel by the same people that say they found the camera and a whole 1999 era internet screaming in chaos about it.
The internet made this film go viral before “viral” was a household term to explain famous internet phenomenon.
People STILL argue the legitimacy of “The Blair Witch Legend” because of all the misleading and still existing “facts” that back it up.
My absolute favorite thing about this movie though?
This film cost around $50,000 to make. A STEAL in Hollywood. This is UNHEARD OF. There is absolutely no way what how why??? what?????????
It grossed - and I just looked it up - $248,639,099 worldwide.
The creation, the production, the promotion, and the impact of “The Blair Witch Project” is 100% more interesting than the actual film is. And that’s why I love it.
Aaaaaaaaaand kinda why I’m in love with the whole Found Footage genre. Because that kind of gross and that kind of money means Big Money Hollywood Types are going to sit up and listen.
That means that money is going to be thrown at an experimental and tricky kind of filmmaking that has had several, several stumbles over the years - but has also made some pretty great strides. An emergence of a new kind of filmmaking means new stories, or a nice new twist on a story we all know and enjoy.
And we get to watch it happen. Right now. Within our lifetimes.