At a time when newspapers are struggling and online media is proliferating, the question about what sources of news enable people to be effective citizens is more important than ever. There have been major concerns over the efficacy of citizen journalism and news bias is generally accepted even among professional journalists. Some web sites offer efforts to cut through, or at least acknowledge and help navigate that bias. What sources of news do you trust or avoid?
To join the conversation, you can visit the Engage Web site until May 8 and tell PBS how you consume information and what needs to happen to ensure continued citizen democracy.
This weekend, I went to see “I Love You, Man” with a bunch of grad students. Grad students are really great to take to a movie. They don’t have time to watch trailers online over and over, they don’t see commercials on TV, they read the news in newspapers, not the movie reviews. . . so they are actually pretty good at kicking back and enjoying what’s up on screen, minus the heavy expectations.
I, however, was not so lucky. I really enjoyed the trailer for “I Love You, Man,” only to find that the movie was, in effect, a much longer version of that trailer. That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable movie – without a doubt, it was fun. . . but the trailer simply managed to suck out all the most enjoyable parts and deliver them to me before the movie could surprise me with them. A pivotal scene, in fact, THE pivotal scene, in which Paul Rudd tells his fiancee why he wants to marry her, is also the prominent scene in the film’s trailer.
Now, before you tell me that all of the Segel-Rudd-Whoever-Is-Hot-This-Week movies are too formulaic to have any real surprises, I give you this precious clip from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
This scene would not have worked nearly as well had it appeared in trailers or commercials. The surprise that Segel’s character has a soft spot for puppets and vampires gives his character depth. Paul Rudd’s supposedly stuffy character in “I Love You, Man” has a soft spot for Rush – something we already guessed from the air bass scene we saw over and over again. The grad students, however, seemed to really enjoy watching Rudd’s character slowly unravel – they giggled at every line from the trailer and the tv spot. I’m sure whoever makes trailers out there giggled, too, which is why all the best lines ended up so worn out.
Were I not horribly addicted to trailers, I’d give them up entirely at this point. It’s a rare joke that can make me laugh after I’ve seen it the first time (most of those are in “Young Frankenstein” – a work of comedic genius if there ever was one). But for those lesser works of comedy, it would be lovely if we could just have a nice glossed-over summary in our trailers, and save the real laughs for the theater.
In honor of Earth Day, we’d like to point you to a couple of our previous articles about green film. If you know of other resources for decreasing your environmental impact as a filmmaker, let us know in the comments.
Image from Cayusa
Slow Food, Slow Film?
Media-making requires a lot of resources. What can you can do to reduce your impact?
The film’s creator, Seth Kramer, upon facing resistance from foundations and grants, self-funded a $10,000 expedition to Siberia with scientists David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, to film the first 20% of the film. With a reel to show, they were able to attract an additional $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to finish the film.
The Linguists recently aired on PBS after showing at Sundance last year. A DVD is available directly from Ironbound Films, and the film has been well reviewed by Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, the LA Times and even Noam Chomsky.
Early bird registration for the 48 Hour Film Project has closed in DC, but regular registration is still open.
Team Gefilte Fish Eye shoots 'Damned Love' in Tel Aviv in 2008.
This year, 48 Hour Film DC, takes place on the weekend on May 1st. Yet again, I have a conflict that weekend, but I know of several people with teams in the mix this year and I might still find some way to get involved. (Of note, 48 Hour Film Boston, is the same weekend and has already filled up, but you can get on the waiting list.)
For the uninitiated, 48 Hour Film Project is competition where you a write, shoot, edit and score a short film in 48 hours.
On the Friday evening at the beginning of the 48 hours you are given a genre for your film as well as a character, a prop, and a line to include in your movie.
On Sunday, the film is due, in completed form, to be screened in a local theater in the following week.
According to the 48 Hour Film Project site, last year there were 30,000 participants in 70 cities. The Project has been around since 2001, and looks to be going strong.
This all makes for a crazy weekend of filmmaking fun and I highly recommend it to anyone with a weekend to spare. Oh, right, and there are prizes for those of you who go for that.
If you’re not in the DC or Boston areas, other upcoming cities in May are all open for early bird registration now: