May 24th, 2010

Testing out Wordpress for my KidReviewer blog

la la la, my brother is a donkey. Testing 1, 2, 3…

There’s alot of different in how I set up my theme in old Blogger vs. the WordPress method, so I’m working on that now. Still lots of little things to fix, but I’m very excited about getting started in WordPress. Blogger was okay, but they changed their rules about ftp, and so it was the perfect time to try out WP. Doubt I will be looking back.

Filed under: Other Things | Posted on May 24th, 2010 by Nick | 1 Comment »

April 23rd, 2010

Australian Music, TV, and Movies

Movie Review

Kids Down Under

(A guest post by Paige Green)

Greetings from the great land of Oz – that’s Australia of course. When most people think about Australia they think of kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles – maybe the Wiggles and Bindi Irwin. Some people might think we’re a country of crocodile hunters who go around and say “G’day mate!” But actually, Australia’s really not that different – we listen to the same music, watch the same movies and buy video games too.

Australian Music
There are lots of Australian musicians in all different genres and many artists tour from the US or Britain. Sometimes, stuff gets really popular here but doesn’t seem to catch on overseas – like the Underbelly DVD series to rewatch my favourite episodes.
Another great Australian TV show that came out a couple of years back was Summer Heights High. It has one guy who plays 3 different characters in a high school – a teacher, a student and a teenage girl. He’s hilarious and really it’s one of the best series I’ve ever seen.

Australian Movies
Australia has its own film industry, but many of the movies don’t really make their overseas. Everyone knows Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, and the animated movies Happy Feet were made in Sydney. Another very popular movie here is called The Castle – it was made in 1997 and is about an Australian family who tries to defend their home. It’s classic “Australian humour” and really good.

These are just some of the examples of Australian entertainment. If have a multi region DVD player, you can order a lot of these titles online and check them out. Or you can visit Australia and find out what it’s all about!

Paige Green is from Sydney Australia

Filed under: Other Things | Posted on April 23rd, 2010 by Nick | No Comments »

April 19th, 2010

Sunscreen Film Festival 2010 – Day 5 Highlights

Filmmaking

Sunscreen Film Festival logo

Summary: Sunday was the final day of Sunscreen, but one I was looking forward to all week. My film, The Perfect Guy, was screened Sunday morning, as well as two films I worked on for screen credits. It was also the day that the Actor’s class had their on-screen sample work shown, and I had several friends in that class. And it was my last chance to grab a Sunscreen t-shirt.

Highlights:

1) Storyboarding Workshop: This was cool. I’ve always loved the way good comics frame up a shot, and this workshop didn’t disappoint. It was led by the amazing Leo Partible, and he talked about films that relied heavily on storyboarding. He shared examples from Sin City, with a beautifully composed scene every few frames. He suggested filmmakers watch silent film, such as The Passion of Joan of Arc, to see how they use images to tell a story, rather than alot of dialogue.

Ralph Winter and Nick Rua

2) Sunscreen Student Short Film block: Woohoo! This was fun. There were alot more people in the theater than I expected for the screening. Even though they were the most busy people at the festival, both of the founders of Sunscreen, Tony Armer and Derek Minor, showed up to watch. Also, our film instructor, Professor Dave DeBorde from Southeastern was on hand, and plenty of friends. The Perfect Guy was the first film shown. Our team of Devon and Evan, and screenwriter Cassidy, were all on hand. We got a good applause. Next was Tripped, a funny setting with plenty of improv dialogue from Dave DeBorde. I liked The Heist, that my friend Evan worked on, and the second film from the fall course was The Chip. Actor Christoff Marse starred in it, and in the last two as well. Rolls was a short romantic comedy that I helped by working the slate and the camera dolly. And finally was a film my dad directed called Dark Night in Sunshine City. Although they had some crazy challenges I’ll talk about another time, his film had the most complex storyline and many rich, colorful shots. (if anyone has links for the other films, email me)
After the films were screened all of the teams were called up for Q&A.; I shared with the audience the lessons I learned on the film, and how we had to pull some ‘movie magic’ to get driving shots without a DL, and bedroom shots without a bedroom or even a bed. It was really exciting, and I look forward to submitting several films next year.

In the first photo below, I’m thinking about what I will say when the mic gets down to me, and my dad, in the Hawaiian shirt, is flanked by his producer, Dennis Barron, and cinematographer, Sam Der. In the second photo I’m grabbing a moment with director Dave DeBorde, who I worked with on the comedy pilot Spinners.

Sunscreen Directors Q&A Dave DeBorde with Nick

Finally, here’s a cut of The Perfect Guy:

4) A Career in Film workshop: One of the last workshops of the event was by Phil Cooke, a ball of energy, experience, and wisdom. Phil led the audience through a plan to focus their careers for success in film. He talked about keeping your eye on your long term goal, branding yourself, building relationships with others, and much more. Some of his personal stories included 6 months filming a documentary up the Amazon, with no cell phones or email, falling out of a helicopter while shooting a concert aerial shot, and getting shot at and his crew arrested in Asia. Phil has written several books, screenplays, directed films, and does many speaking engagements across the country. He is a ‘connector’ of people, and a good guy to know.

Phil Cooke with Nick

5) Wrapping up: By Sunday evening I was full. I had seen and heard so much, and was ready for a night when I could get to sleep before midnight. Unfortunately, there were plenty of speakers, workshops, and films that I didn’t get a chance to see because of conflicts. Here’s a few I missed, but heard good things about: workshop and concert by Michael Tolcher, composer for One Tree Hill and Scrubs; a staged screenplay reading and musical performance for Lullaby, by writer/director/producer Kimberly Wetherell; screening of the winning “Best Feature Film” at Sunscreen, Prime of your Life, which looks terrific from the YouTube trailer. On the way out, I did get a chance to check out FilmRally’s new production software tools, and snap a pic with one of my favorite local peeps, Paul Wilson. I worked with Paul on the set of Spinners, and you could not meet a nicer guy anywhere in town. Well, that’s all from Sunscreen; till next year, “Roll film!”.

Paul Wilson with Nick

All of the daily blog posts and photos from Sunscreen Film Festival 2010.

Filed under: Filmmaking | Posted on April 19th, 2010 by Nick | 1 Comment »

April 18th, 2010

Sunscreen Film Festival 2010 – Day 4 Highlights

Filmmaking
Sunscreen Film Festival logo

Summary: Saturday was an exciting day of events, including a feature movie premiere starring Patrick Wilson, and the Sunscreen Film awards ceremony. It was my first chance to meet the amazing Leo Partible, and be suprised by the Wilson brothers performing Van Halen tunes on stage.

Highlights:

1) Producers Panel: Film and Comics:

Leo Partible, Dean Batali, and Ralph Winters discussed how comics and graphic novels have become a big source of Hollywood films. If it’s a film has comic book roots, Leo knows about it. He’s an encyclopedia on the subject, and a screenwriter and director himself. (His brother Van created the Johnny Bravo show as well) Ralph had some interesting stories to tell about the challenges of turning X-men and Fantastic Four into film. Dean shared how blessed he feels pulling into the studio lot, and remembered how it felt like a dream when he started his career and was standing on Gilligan’s Island after seeing the show growing up.

Leo Partible, Dean Batali and Ralph Winter Dean_Batali

2) Actors Panel Q & A: The actors panel was awesome. The actors are in the photo below, left to right: Solomon Trimble, Patrick Wilson, Ayanna Berkshire, Alexa Vega, and Ethan Suplee. Alexa talked about how difficult it can be working on complete green screen, as she had to do for Spy Kids movies. Patrick stressed that actors shouldn’t try to play the part ‘big or small’ depending on whether it is a stage or film, but should try to connect with the others in the scene and focus on what the situation is. Ayanna told an incredible story of how crazy the auditioning process can be, and how flexible an actor must be to do well in them.

Solomon Trimble and Patrick Wilson Actor_Panel Ayanna Alexa and Ethan

3) Barry Munday premiere and other great films: The theater was packed to view the premiere of Patrick Wilson’s new film. It was very funny, and there were many laugh out loud moments throughout it. After the film, Patrick answered questions about the making of the film. He said he likes stories with a big character arc, and in this one Barry goes from being a real doofus to handling his responsibilities as a man. The cast is good, including Billy Dee Williams, Cybil Shepard, Malcolm McDowell, and Chloe Sevigny. I don’t know how we managed it with the full day, but I was also able to check out 3 award winning films during the day, including the beautifully animated Sebastian’s Voodoo, touching Jesusito de me Vida, and quality gangster film Charlie Valentine. All of those have won multiple awards around the nation/world, and you can see their trailers by clicking on the links.

Patrick_Wilson_and_Nick_Rua

4) Sunscreen Awards Ceremony: Everyone was dressed up sharp for the awards ceremony, and gave a big applause when John Travolta came out to present the award for Best Florida Film. I mentioned three of the awards already, but was pleased to find out Saturday that the best documentary went to a gentleman I had talked to in the halls. He spent two years in India, living with a man who had lost his legs, his friends, his way of life, but found hope and strength through the love of his wife. The awards didn’t take too long, and then the party started. I was surprised when the stage was cleared and instruments brought in, and the theater started rocking to the sounds of Van Halen. All three Wilson brothers played in the band, including actors Patrick and Paul Wilson, and their brother Mark who is a top newscaster for the local Fox tv station. I’m amazed they can have such successful careers in different parts of the country, and still deliver a tight set of rock music together. It was a fun night.

John Travolta Wilsons jamming
Wilsons jamming2 John Wilson jamming

All of the daily blog posts and photos from Sunscreen Film Festival 2010.

Filed under: Filmmaking | Posted on April 18th, 2010 by Nick | 1 Comment »

April 16th, 2010

Sunscreen Film Festival 2010 – Day 3 Highlights

Filmmaking
Sunscreen Film Festival logo

Summary: Friday was the second full day of workshops, films, and parties at Sunscreen Film Festival. It was a packed agenda again, but I managed to slip in to “Kick Ass” with some of the Southeastern Film program students. Today’s stars, Sean Covel, ‘Doc’ Wyatt, and bay area local Richard Stefanik. Details below.

Highlights:

1) Talking with Ralph Winter, producer of all of the X-Men, Wolverine, and many many others. What he had to say about a practical joke pulled on him during the filming of Fantastic Four made me realize that it’s not always business. I also loved the extra stuntmen rehearsal footage from Wolverine. I’m glad I got to meet him.

Ralph Winter and Nick Rua

2) Indie Movie Production 201 workshop with Sean Covel and Chris “Doc” Wyatt, producers of Napoleon Dynamite. In this workshop they focused on pitching a movie deal, and how much each person gets paid, between the producer, writer, director, etc. They talked about the kinds of investors you want, and the kind you DON’T want, like an investor that insists he star in your movie. The best part about this workshop is that Sean and Doc stayed over an hour after the time they were supposed to leave, answering question after question about the film business. It really showed they cared about helping the other filmmakers in the audience.

Sean Covel and Chris Wyatt

3) Acting workshop: My buddies Topher and Tiffany do a cold reading of a scene and get critiqued by Bill Cobbs. It was cool to see how Bill would suggest actors replay the scene with some new change he would put in, and they almost always did it better after he got them focused on the right things, like ‘feeling’ the emotion and not trying to ’show’ us the emotion in fake ways.

topher and tiffany in acting workshop

4) Networking:
Me with local director Richard Stefanik at the film makers party at Cafe Alma. It was good to see so many people come together after such a full day. Richard took part in the Pitchfest portion of the festival, where filmmakers can pitch their movie ideas to movie producers, and he did well. Go Richard!

Richard Stefanik and Nick at party

All of the daily blog posts and photos from Sunscreen Film Festival 2010.

Filed under: Filmmaking | Posted on April 16th, 2010 by Nick | No Comments »

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