A great time was had by me at the Mitten Movie Project last night (and probably at least some others). The monthly festival of short films featured the director’s cut of “The Message,” our December 48-hour challenge short, and please don’t laugh — unlike most director’s cuts, this one really was better than the original. (Yes, of course it grew. By two minutes.)
The Mitten is curated by one of our producers, Connie Mangilin, who keeps a relentlessly upbeat attitude about film in Michigan, large and small. She frequently works on the large productions, in part to finance her participation in the small ones. Knowing how much work goes into even a very small one, it’s always amazing to see how many people even bother to do it, and gratifying that so many do it well.
(Of course, many do it not-well, too, but now that I’ve done this a time or three, I can almost always see what the problem was, and forgive them for it. When you can’t pay people, you get people willing to work for nothing. When they are actors, it’s a coin flip. Amateur actors are more likely to have grating upper-Midwest eeaccents that can reduce even well-written dialogue to cole slaw. And nearly all of them are young and most are arty hipster types, which becomes a problem when you’ve written a role for, say, a gangster. A word to directors: Putting sunglasses on a guy with a soul patch and a visible piercing doesn’t make him look particularly threatening. He just looks like an arty hipster douchebag. By the way, many professional actors have voice problems, too. Brad Pitt is from
Nebraska southern Missouri, but has a persistent contemporary burr in his voice that works in the “Oceans” movies but sounds ludicrous in many roles, particularly as Achilles.)
Among the highlights last night: “The Farmer and the Philosopher,” a short about Toby Barlow, author and Detroit ad man, and Mark Covington, the inspiring soul behind the Georgia Street Community Collective, a reclamation of a battered neighborhood on the east side. A long-overdue note: Sweet Juniper has featured the GSCC a time or three, and when I mentioned it here some months back, one of you fabulous NN.C readers hit their Paypal button and donated $50. I learned of this sometime later, and while I know whoever did it wasn’t looking for credit (at least, I assume so — I don’t know who it was), here, have some: CREDIT.
Another fave was “Dr. Reddy,” a goofy story about a bad doctor but an awesome karaoke singer — in Telugu! Dr. Reddy was played by an actor — sorry, I didn’t get his name — who has actually worked in various Telugu-language films; it’s the one spoken in southern India, and the videos playing during his karaoke performance featured himself in a big Bollywood-style song-and-dance number. And the karaoke takes place in a biker bar, so what you end up with is a sort of Peewee Herman-goes-to-Hyderabad-via-Sturgis thing. That’s entertainment.
And then there was our film, with extra footage that wouldn’t fit into our 48-hour time limit. One of these days we’ll get it up on Vimeo and you folks can watch it. One of these days.
Until then, there’s a poster:
The existence of this poster just cracks me up. Both my co-writer Ron and I plan to hang it in our houses to impress our easily impressed friends. And if it isn’t a finalist in the competition (we find out any day now) I will stain it with bitter tears.
So, then, bloggage? There must be some:
I was struck by this picture of she-who, presumably taken on the set of some Fox News show. She may not have the Fox Lips yet, but she definitely has the Fox Parentheses, the styling of the hair into punctuation marks framing the face. For some reason this is the preferred hairstyle of TV news, mostly on blondes, but now on the world’s most famous right-wing brunette. I think we’ve seen the last of the messy updo, boys; if that’s your favorite look, hang on to your pictures and be careful how often you kiss them. I predict we’ll start seeing a lot more caramel-colored highlights in the future, too. Just be advised.
Hmm, Hoosiers: Dan Coats to take on Evan Bayh? We’ll see. Non-Hoosiers: The former Sen. Coats was one of the birdbrains behind the Communications Decency Act, an early attempt at regulating smut on the internet, a staggeringly dimwitted piece of legislation that was overturned by the Supreme Court unanimously. When you can get Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Antonin Scalia to agree on something, you know you’ve got a hit on your hands.
And that’s it for today, folks. Let’s hope for a better tomorrow.