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Will Gains - Tap Dancer

Here’s a link to a short film on Will Gains, an 80-something tap dancer who has danced with some of the best musicians ever.

Brain Pickings newsletter says: Will Gains was born in Detroit and spent half a century in England. In his eighties, he remains one of the best tap dancers in the world, having danced alongside some of history’s most iconic musicians — Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Sarah Vaughan. Will is part of a Channel 4 series of three-minute shorts titled My Home Is My Shoes, documenting how dance has shaped different people’s lives.

Cultural curator Maria Popova publishes the weekly Brain Pickings newsletter. This week’s issue features short films on seven dying occupations, including sword-making, glass embossing and letterpress.

Read more:
Will Gains - Tap Dancer Republished by Bob Gillen

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:58:06 am

MFA Program in Cartooning

Interested in creating the next great graphic novel? You have to check out the MFA program at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. The school offers a two-year MFA as well as several certificate programs in the art of cartooning.

The Center also features several blogs on the subject. One is dedicated to the Schulz Library, housing a collection of ezines, graphic novels, and cartoon collcetions. Charles M. Schulz is, of course, the creator of the Peanuts gang.

The current rage for adapting comics and graphic novels for Hollywood shows no signs of letting up. Scott Pilgrim vanguished his dream girl’s ex-boyfriends to win her over. The Dark Knight gave us legendary on-screen performances. 300 grossed millions.

If a course is too long-term for you, here’s a book on the subject: Writing and Illustrating the Graphic Novel: Everything You Need to Know to ..., by Mike Chinn.
MFA Program in Cartooning Republished by Bob Gillen

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Sep 27, 2010 at 10:49:26 am

Archived Film and Movie Footage

One of the Internet Archive’s resources, Ephemeral Films, offers an online library of industrial, promotional and educational movies, many from the 1950s and 1960s. Most films represent serious attempts at educating the public on hygiene, science, and academic subjects.

The American Dental Association produced a 13 minute movie called The Haunted Mouth, set in a haunted house and narrated by Cesar Romero. Floss and brush, says Romero, who plays B. Plaque, or I will get you.

Ephemeral has a series of old home movies, including Family Camping Through 48 States - Part I. This movie follows the Barstow family of Connecticut through a series of summer vacation trips in the late 1950s. In 2000 the original footage was transfered to video and features a narration by the then 81 year old dad as the family tours and camps through the Northeast.

The home movie is worth watching by anyone interested in editing together some old family footage. The edit results are basic but present not just a glimpse of one family but also some educational insights from their travels.

Another of Ephemeral’s offerings is a series on 1950s drive-in commercials. Lots of pitches to get movie attendees to buy junk food. Good for a few laughs and memories.
Archived Film and Movie Footage Republished by Bob Gillen

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:28:54 pm

Creative Storytelling

We write often about art as inspiration. At times art inspires the cinematographer to recreate in film a look or a memory or a feeling. A shaft of light falling on the subject. A moment remembered years later. How I felt when I first saw my child.

Art can also inspire story content and direction. Gabriele Rico’s Writing the Natural Way explores how we can trigger creative writing while viewing a sculpture or painting.

Lori Koop, a California-based ceramics artist, blogs an inspiring word each week. The word for July 25th was Wabi Sabi: the Japanese art of impermanance. Lori describes it this way:

Wabi is rustic, simple and quiet. It refers to understated, subtle beauty. The quiet beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It also refers to the natural quirks and irregularities that come from the process of construction, from being human.
Sabi is serenity that comes with age. The beauty of patina, visible wear and repairs. It is about the natural cycle of life – growth, decay and death. The cracks, the marks of time, weather and use.
How can wabi sabi inspire our storytelling, our screenplay? Are you making a short, simple film about a family member, say an elderly uncle? As basic as the movie may sound, you can add elements of wabi sabi to the story. Look for the quiet beauty in this man. What are a few of his quirks?
Find a way in film or video to create patina, the look of age, the worn and cracked skin, maybe. How has he weathered his life? Look deep enough and you’ll find it. Then get it on video.
Your screenplay may be centered on a woman one step away from being homeless. Within your story, regardless of its possibly debilitating situation, develop moments of quiet beauty. Look for the signs of wear and tear on this woman. How has her stiuation changed her appearance, her attitude? Catch that on film to add depth. (And on that topic, see Blanket of Stars: Homeless Women in Santa Monica, a recent book cited in the Huffington Post.)
To sign up for Lori Koop’s weekly blog, go here.
Creative Storytelling Republished by Bob Gillen

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Aug 2, 2010 at 11:44:37 am for fundraising is a web-based fundraising platform for creative projects. The site covers creative efforts in film and video, books, writing, journalism and theater, to name just some.

When your project is featured on the site, readers/viewers can donate money toward your stated goal. The interesting thing is - if you don’t raise at least 100% of your target, no donor is billed for their pledge. It’s all or nothing! is in Beta right now, so the projects it can feature are limited. They do encourage you, if you’re truly passionate about your project, to sign up and submit your idea.

Check out their blog for info on projects successfully funded, as well as tips on how to generate more interest (and money) for your project. You just may find money to get your screenplay produced and screened. for fundraising Republished by Bob Gillen

Posted by: Bob Gillen on Jul 26, 2010 at 10:59:58 pm

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