Hi! I just went to see Beauty and the Beast again and I am so grateful for all your insights into film :) You only mentioned recently the relevance of clothing/change which was fantastic. Would you mind sharing if you have any recommendations for where to find the basics in terms of film insights, how to understand the subtext in these visual aspects etc? I’d love to be able to apply them more widely… but have no idea where to start looking!
Ooooh, I also just went to see Beauty and the Beast! Overall it was fun and the sets were beautiful, but it had some cinematic and directorial issues from what I could see (this could go on forever if you let it)
There are actually a lot of really awesome youtubers that talk about both terms and techniques that I’ve found over the years. They all do a great job of explaining things and I wish some of them existed when I was in school, haha.
Most were around when I taught though. I used a couple of them a good number of times in my classes.
The Film Guy- Talks about different directors, their strengths, faults and styles. He also does video essays on film trends.
Channel Criswell- Focuses on smaller details and aspects as well as directors and their techniques. Has a very insightful video about color design(it flashes at the beginning, but the rest is good).
Chez Lindsay- One of the structural people. She used to be the Nostalgia Chick and I’d say she’s followed it up extremely well. She even breaks down movies structurally, and it’s awesome. She also does character breakdowns over the years and focuses on some market trends. She uses the general sequence structure(I forget who coined it. It’s everywhere) rather than Blake Snyder’s. Different words, same thing really. Welcome to film.
Lessons from the Screenplay: Another structural person. He talks about screenplays as ways of talking about the movie and what makes them special. I really recommend his videos on American Beauty. He talks about some really interesting aspects of the movie that I think are relevant to some of the stuff we talk about. His most recent episode gives some broad info on tv pilot and screenplay structure. Most tv uses 6 acts now, but the ideas are similar. Michael also mentions books that he uses as reference. All of the ones I’ve seen him bring up so far are good.
Folding Ideas- He doesn’t only talk about film. But his film videos are awesome and generally focus on different technical aspects like structure or editing. He has a visual style in his older videos that may seem odd at first, but pay it no mind, the content is great.
Now You See It- Video essays on style, visual storytelling, audio, editing, etc. I even found a video in there on Hollywood’s thing with milk. lol. He’s also got one on that Left and Right thing, but with movement instead of camera (which is usually how it’s used now-a-days)
RocketJump Film School- Want all the technical? These guys are for you. They talk about shots, edits, sound design, setups, cuts, transitions, equipment, all that stuff. I really wish these guys were around when I was in college. it would have made remembering some of the equipment and things a lot easier. I used these guys a lot when I taught.
Nerdwriter1- I almost forgot about him. He talks about a lot of things in an insightful manner but when he talks about film, he usually talks about the storytelling aspect using specific movies as examples. He even uses Sherlock once to show visual storytelling with cinematography. It’s a neat video.
Hopefully these are helpful :) There are more, but I can’t remember which ones do what in my subscriptions.
Over the past two months, I’ve been working hard to finish up these 9 illustrations for @doublefine. They’re releasing a physical bundle with many of their games included, as a PAX East exclusive. These art cards will all be included in the bundle.
I feel really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to do them. It was a ton of work, but it’s nice to finally see them all together.
I can’t decide Whether you should live or die Oh, you’ll probably go to heaven Please don’t hang your head and cry No wonder why My heart feels dead inside It’s cold and hard and petrified Lock the doors and close the blinds We’re going for a ride
Dining at the Ritz we’ll meet at nine precisely (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine o'clock) I will pay the bill, you taste the wine Driving back in style, in my saloon will do quite nicely Just take me back to yours that will be fine (come on and get it)
Nothing–nothing–fills me with rage quicker than someone who makes the assumption that YA book are just dumbed down simple stories. I just saw this again on the internet, so here is a very short list of YA books with amazing prose that you should read. Feel free to add more titles:
Tolkien's Most Beautiful Relationships (Third Age Edition)
(Here’s the original First Age edition, for those who haven’t seen it.) The Second Age is difficult for this, since Tolkien didn’t write much about it (which makes me so sad because there are some great stories from that era that I would love to see fleshed out more.) Just assume that my favorite relationships from the Second Age are Gil-galad and Elendil with everyone around them (and especially with each other.) But anyway, here’s my favorite five from the Third Age, in no particular order:
Cirion and Eorl
Why: I have a huge, giant soft spot for selflessly loyal cross-cultural friendships. Thankfully, Tolkien seems to have had a similar soft spot, as he writes quite a few relationships like this. Even so, Cirion and Eorl stand out - not only do they form a friendship through heroic deeds, but they follow through with a political alliance that shapes the region for the rest of the Third Age.
The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “Yet beyond wisdom and policy both Cirion and Eorl were moved at that time by the great friendship that bound their people together, and by the love that was between them as true men. On the part of Cirion the love was that of a wise father, old in the cares of the world, for a son in the strength and hope of his youth; while in Cirion Eorl saw the highest and noblest man of the world that he knew, and the wisest, on
whom sat the majesty of the Kings of Men of long ago.” - The Unfinished Tales (“Cirion and Eorl”)
If You Like Them, Check Out: Finrod and Beren (found in The Silmarillion)
Gandalf and Bilbo
Why: Gandalf’s obsession with hobbits has always been adorable to me, and his friendship with Bilbo is sort of the embodiment of the whole trend. These two have been through a lot together, and yet have maintained a sort of “alright, see you same time next week” pattern to their relationship that only emphasizes their level of trust and comfort with each other.
The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “I do not give my love or trust lightly, Thorin;
but I am fond of this Hobbit, and wish him well. Treat him well, and you shall have my friendship to the end
of your days.” - The Unfinished Tales (“The Quest for Erebor”)
If You Like Them, Check Out: Gandalf and Frodo? (honestly, most of the hobbit/big folk friendships go this route)
Amroth and Nimrodel
Why: Tolkien could write a tragic romance like it was nobody’s business, and the story of Amroth and Nimrodel was some of his best work. The key, I think, is that he convinces you to care about the couple beyond their tragedy, so that even when you know it’s going to end badly, you’re still rooting for them. I like to think that somewhere these two have found each other again.
The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “For long
years he had loved her, and taken no wife, since she would not wed with him. She loved him indeed,
for he was beautiful even for one of the Eldar, and valiant and wise; but she was of the Silvan Elves,
and regretted the incoming of the Elves from the West, who (as she said) brought wars and destroyed
the peace of old.” - The Unfinished Tales (“The History of Galadriel and Celeborn”)
If You Like Them, Check Out: Aegnor and Andreth (found in The Silmarillion and “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth”)
Legolas and Gimli
The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “We have heard tell that Legolas took Gimli Glóin’s son with him because of their great friendship, greater than any that has been between Elf and Dwarf. If this is
true, then it is strange indeed: that a Dwarf should be willing to leave Middle-earth for
any love, or that the Eldar should receive him, or that the Lords of the West should
permit it.” - LotR, Appendix A
If You Like Them, Check Out: Turin and Beleg (found in The Silmarillion)
Theoden, Eomer, and Eowyn
Why: Eomer and Eowyn were quite young when their parents died and they went to live with Theoden and Theodred. We don’t really get to see Theoden interact with his son at all, but if his relationship with his niece and nephew is anything to go by, he was a loving father. Unfortunately fate didn’t seem to want them to stick together.
The Quote That Gets Me Every Time: “Where is Éomer? For my eyes darken, and I would see him ere I go. He must be king after
me. And I would send word to Éowyn. She, she would not have me leave her, and
now I shall not see her again, dearer than daughter.” - Return of the King
If You Like Them, Check Out: Turgon and Tuor (found in The Silmarillion)
personally explain the points about their newest album!
Spring, B.A.P will be releasing their first Japanese album! Starting with the
lead track “KINGDOM”, this will be an extravagant work that includes 3 new
original Japanese tracks.
“There’s a B.A.P-ness to it and freshness to it; it’s become a special album [to us]”
―What are your thoughts about the
fanmeetings that you held at the start and end of the year in Japan? YG: It really
has been a very long while, and yet more people came than I imagined, so I was
filled with thankfulness. Being able to perform our songs was the best thing of
all. DH: Through
the fanmeeting, I was able to be even closer to each and every fan and was
reminded about how precious their existence was to me. JU: I was
very happy that there were many Japanese fans who sent us messages on SNS
platforms even during our hiatus, but I felt apologetic at the same time. I wanted
to convey my thanks for them waiting for us and I want to see them again soon! YJ: We’ll be
going to Japan as well during our world tour in June and July. I want to create
many good memories with everyone, so please look forward to it!
Max Recommends: Last Minute Book Gifts for Writers! 🎄🎁✨
Hello, dear followers! 😊
Not so long ago I made a video talking about what I considered to be the best books for writers, and recently a few of you messaged me asking for a formal post. Well, since the shopping season is here— I thought I would compile my list of book presents for writers!
PS: While I’ve provided online links to all books below, I can assure you that if you go to your local book store you will have NO TROUBLE finding the first three books on this list. If you can, make sure to support your local business!
I go on great lengths explaining each book, so I will leave the recommendations under the cut! 😉✨
Favorite animated film from each of these major animation studios: Walt Disney, Studio Ghibli, Pixar, Dreamworks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Laika, Illumination, AND Don Bluth. (Also any extra favorites from different things for bonuses.)
Walt Disney: The Lion King
If you know like, anything about me, you know that this is my favorite movie and has been basically for my entire life. I’d be hard-pressed to say that nostalgia isn’t a huge factor in my love for this movie, but it’s such a fantastic tale of a young lion who was largely ignorant to the world and felt invincible, only to have the weight of the world come crashing down on him. The pacing of the movie after Mufasa died was so powerful; everything slowed down and became so barren and bleak in an otherwise energetic and colorful movie up to that point. The ability the movie has to exactly capture the tone it tries to set is impeccable. The viewer grows up with Simba. We feel connected and invested in this character and we understand his confusion, his anger, his distrust. We understand his desire to put the world behind him and start anew.
I’ve always kind of hated movies that have the generic love interest just so the main character can have his trophy girl at the end of the movie. But Nala totally isn’t that. She holds all of the qualities necessary to keep Simba strong, young or grown. She is the other half that he needs to refrain from slipping into a vortex of self-hatred and regret. He needs her to take hold of reality – to not be trapped between a state of “no worries” and subconscious agony. Because escaping from your problems doesn’t make your problems go away. It feels like so few movies lately have characters that truly matter and that are so tightly interwoven with the personalities, strengths, and flaws of other characters. I could gush on and on about this movie for probably a good twenty more paragraphs, but yes. This movie is important to me.
Studio Ghibli: Princess Mononoke
Yeah, it’s probably not super uncommon for this to be a favorite Ghibli movie. But it’s just so… dang… GOOD. The thing I love about this movie on top of its beautifully done animation is the sense that you get that there’s no clear evil side in this story. Everyone is doing what they feel is right and is morally correct. Villains are cool sometimes, but this story just felt so much more believable because of this fact. In the same way as The Lion King, the romance that developed didn’t feel forced and was in fact fairly hostile initially. Add the movie’s good atmosphere on top of some fun-to-watch action and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome movie.
I’m actually just now changing this. If you asked me a few days ago, I probably would have said The Incredibles. The beginning of this movie was disturbingly powerful and reminded you that the world is a beast and it can rip happiness from you almost instantly. Riding on the lowered morale of the viewer, it delivers an uplifting story that feels that much more uplifting since you are so down in spirits. I don’t know how they did it, but Russell is probably one of the most believable kid characters I’ve seen in a movie. No deep analysis of his character… nah, none of that. He’s just SUCH A KID. It’s great! That’s totally what they were going for and they nailed it. Kids have this insane ability to be obnoxious 99% of the time. But then every once in a blue moon, they say the realest shit that makes you question your morals and your life. Up capitalizes on this and uses Russell as a vehicle to expand Carl, a very old man, as a character. Everyone can learn from anyone if they sit down and listen to what they have to say.
This is the only movie literally ever that has made me cry. I’d been choked up before by movies, of course, but I’d never cried. It wasn’t at the beginning either like people would suspect. There is something too powerful about the scene where Carl kneels down to Russell at his Wilderness Explorer graduation to say “I would like to award you the highest honor I can bestow: the Ellie Badge,” I couldn’t hold back. I almost had to leave the freaking theater. Watching this kid who has had a not-so-steady parenting experience gain not only an older person who treasures his existence, but a friend as well… Damn.
What a good ass movie.
Dreamworks Animation: Kung Fu Panda 2
What a silly movie. Movies don’t have to be super serious to be good and that’s so clear to me with this movie. This dork became the dragon warrior – a position to be revered, and seemingly by fluke. Turns out he’s pretty good a kung fu though.
It has some cool action sequences and some tag team scenes that are enjoyable to watch, but there are two main reasons why I enjoy this movie, as well as the first one. 1) The characters, and 2) the moments where it does get serious. Tigress is a badass. She’s a bad ass. Her ass is bad. Crane’s a nerd, Monkey’s a clown, Mantis is bigger than his body allows him to be, and Viper is savage AF. It’s a wide range of personalities and it’s fun to watch them mesh with each other. Simple as that.
The 2nd point is also the reason why I love The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air so much as well. Comedy is great in my opinion because it makes the serious moments that much more hard hitting. It’s like “woah, where did the happiness go?” Fresh Prince was a master at that and Kung Fu Panda 2 did the same thing with the plot point about Po’s parents. The overall movie was fairly light-hearted, but with this looming dark past that Po repressed. I love Dreamworks because they dare to go darker with their plots than Disney.
Blue Sky Studios: Rio 2
The birds are cute. I like Jewel and Blu’s chemistry. I don’t like it when characters have kids in sequels, but the kids actually didn’t annoy me too much in this. Strange. I think I liked this movie overall more than the first one because it was more about the birds and less about the humans. Also, the colors are sooooooooooooooooooo good! That’s probably the thing this movie does better than any animated film I’ve seen. Not to mention the music is super enjoyable. If they make a Rio 3, I’ll probably be looking forward to the music the most. I think both movies probably deserve a 7/10, so they aren’t my favorite movies out there, but I would certainly have no problem watching this at any time. It’s just such a fun movie.
Sony Pictures Animation: Hotel Transylvania
I actually haven’t seen any of the other Sony Pictures Animation movies so I guess I have to default to this movie. I don’t have much to say about it to be honest other that I enjoyed it.
ParaNorman is a close second I would say, but I enjoyed Coraline more. Again, don’t have much to say here but it caught my attention pretty early on just because of the art style. The good story held my attention. Got really freaky at the end and that extra held my attention.
Illumination: I haven’t seen any of these actually.
Don Bluth: The Secret of NIMH
I love seeing a mother as the protagonist. That’s really rare but strangely appealing. I actually don’t remember much about this movie but I remember enjoying it and I like it more than the other movies Don Bluth has made.
Extra Movie 1: Wolf Children
God diddly dang, if you ever wanted to get hit by a feels train, here’s your movie. Like I stated above, Up was the only movie that made me cry. But this was probably the closest next to that. I was so choked up and it hurt so freaking much. It has the same kind of thing going on as The Lion King where you watch the characters grow up and you feel like you know them personally. And the mother… Oh the mother. She tries so hard and you really root for her, especially under her circumstances. Whenever anything goes south in this movie you feel horrible and you have this intense desire to just want everything to go right for these characters because you develop so much love for them over the course of the film. In terms of getting me attached to the characters, this movie is top notch. Probably my second favorite film behind The Lion King.
Extra Movie 2: Fantastic Mr. Fox
I. Love. This. Movie. I could watch this movie over and over. It is so dang witty and the characters are all charming. This is my third favorite movie and I feel bad because for a movie that I love so much, you’d think I’d have more to say about it. But I don’t. Just, I love this movie.