Saturday, 31 March 2012

Is Peace on Earth the Demise of Film?

(by Rishi Thaker)

And now the month of March comes to a close and we’re another step closer to completing Slaughter, releasing Slaughter, getting to Cannes, going Stickmen Pictures wild there, and ultimately getting – in the words of the genius Mr Reznor – ‘closer to God’.

Chris White (Piggyback Studios)
This week I have been to Baldy ‘Soundman’ Chris’s abode twice where he and Dan have been foleying the new Brothers scene (as well as completing some great additional work on a revisited Professor Black scene). It’s coming along beautifully and we’re still on course for an April close for this project. For those of you who do not know what foleying is, well it’s basically coming up with and layering sound effects that we didn’t capture during the shoot e.g. explosions, gun shots etc… Most multi-million budget productions tend to do pretty much all their sound in post production nowadays (including ADR where actors, especially in wide shots, are pretty much dubbed by themselves in a sound studio – if you don’t believe me pay more attention to wide shots in films and more often than not characters in the scenes will have their mouths hidden from view or the dialogue may be just off synch). However, we have to capture as much on location as possible due to our smaller capacity.

In terms of thoughts for this week, I have been thinking about ‘Peace on Earth’. I’m guessing most of us have heard this phrase and every time something violent or destructive occurs in this world which catches our attention we may possibly yearn a little bit for the fulfilment of that phrase? I tried projecting in my head an extreme scenario as to what that would look like and this is where I got to:
People would love and respect everyone. Everyone would be forgiven for whatever was felt they needed forgiving for. There would be no conflict and no one would hate each other. There would be no boarders, no barriers, no taxes, no need for economy, no finance, no law and no need to ‘feed the war cannibal animal’. Everyone would live in harmony. There would be no sport (everyone’s a winner), no killing (we must all eat vegetables), no drugs (too unpredictable and a threat to global security under the ‘Peace for All’ act) and no controversy.

I realise that I am pushing to some odd extremity here but there is something strange about yearning for peace when what makes us human seems to defy it. I was left thinking that if we got to ‘Peace on Earth’ would we need movies? Or even Art in general? Movies have captured and generated every type of emotion and explored the rights and wrongs of human existence. This has in turn caused enjoyment, reflection and change. If we plateau at Peace, will we need movies (or art)? I don’t know and I guess there is a can of a billion 200ft pythons we can open here but I ended up getting to the conclusion that I hope we do get peace on earth eventually which begins from the day I die.  

Saturday, 17 March 2012

What really matters?

(by Rishi Thaker)

How do we build things and make sure they stand the test of time? And why is that even important? I’m not really sure how philosophical an individual I am in comparison to you all but I’ll have a go at explaining myself. I have this yearning for the film making era of Stickmen Pictures to be a great period, even a ‘golden’ period if you all will humour me, in the history of cinema. This is a lofty ambition probably stated far too early in my journey but one I make no apologies for. When I stare into space and think about how I would direct the 28th, 29th and 30th Bond films or discuss the detail of the next Stickmen Pictures film with the legendary master Mr Quentin Tarantino (we all have our dreams)  I wonder how many of us actually believe something like that could happen? More over how many of us make the sacrifices to realise these dreams? There are probably a million reasons why we can’t get up and realise our dreams but I have decided for the time being to ignore those. I don’t know why I desire this greatness in movie making so much but I guess we all have that in some shape or form about something. I want to leave a legacy. Do you want to leave a legacy? May be that’s (in answer to the second question I asked at the beginning) why I want Stickmen Pictures to be so great so it can stand the test of time? I believe you only live once (unless you are Bond or Hindu) so a dedication to live that life and have something to show for it afterwards is a possible motivation. Ultimately I still after all these years don’t really know the answer but I will keep reflecting. However the first question I asked is a little easier. I think in order to build things you must have a clear idea of your aim and stay focused on that objective, rather like lego. And for it to stand the test of time, simply make sure that it comes from within and you’re not just doing it to please some greedy fat bastard. Bruce Springsteen will stand the test of time long after he’s finished. X-Factor (plus minions) will not. 

Finally, I want to finish on a note about some of the tragic images you may have seen over the last few weeks. From the bus crash in Switzerland which killed 28 individuals (most of them children) to the violence in the Middle East and Africa (you may have seen George Clooney trying to raise awareness for this when he was arrested for his protest at the Sudanese embassy) and pretty much everywhere people are losing or have lost their loved ones. However you deal with the impact of this sort of news I think it’s always important to keep discussing these issues and your perspective for resolutions with those you socialise with. I’m sure you all show empathy each time you hear of such tragedy and I would always encourage us all to keep on helping in whichever way we can.

I don’t think history should be forgotten and we should use the lessons we learn from this to help us build that path to our dreams.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A Dan of All Trades

(by Rishi Thaker)

Bruce Springsteen - 'Wrecking Ball'
Another week rolls on by and a million more things get done on our list whilst a million more things get added on. It has also been a particularly exciting week for me as Bruce Springsteen released his five trillionth studio album ‘Wrecking Ball’ which I have fallen in love with (which may not surprise those of you who know me). Sorry Asch, can you give that album the engagement ring please?

Dan & Rishi filming Slaughter
So I promised a quick update about our involvement at this years Cannes Film Festival (the 65th one) in May. Stickmen Pictures will 100% be attending this year in the mind frame of assessing the opportunities for ‘Slaughter’ and also finding backers for future projects. This will require a complete head strong approach with plenty of preparation as from what we’ve heard there will be plenty of distractions and getting star struck is not an uncommon practice over there. We have a lot of ideas on how to do this but primarily we need to ensure the final version of ‘Slaughter’ is ready to parade. There is a confidence about our camp at the moment, as from the dialogue we have already had with industry professionals, we know what we have created with no backing is an unusual blueprint and one that will generate interest. I know I have probably laboured this point in the past but if it were not for the dedication and talent of the cast and crew opportunities like this would not have presented themselves, and so we have a responsibility to do you all proud in Cannes, which we will. There are still a couple of months to go before Cannes so more on this will flow through to you in due course. 

Dan producing Slaughter
On other fronts, this week we have completed a real basic visual edit of the sequences we shot in Jan/Feb (Prologue and the Brothers intro). Now we need to put in the sound, visual effects, colour edit and music. We also shot the additional Conway incerpts this week. All of these activities have required (will require) on some level the input of one man. His name is Dan. Dan as you know is the co-founder of Stickmen Pictures. He is the epitome of a man making sacrifices to follow his dreams. I have known Dan for 8 years and I have seen him lose his 20-20 eye sight, become wheat intolerant, go hungry and sacrifice many other far more serious things (I won’t print in fairness to Dan, but you just need to take my word for it!) which most people would baulk at, all in the name of film. As time rolls forward these sacrifices become harder to make but Dan still finds a way. This is why I want to lay the highest of tributes to him and make sure (if the world doesn’t end in 2012) that this year is the year where Mr Daniel Tee reaps the rewards of what he has sown in the past 8 years. Those seeds are on the cusp of sprouting f@cking high so I hope we can do our best to see it through to a dramatic conclusion. This one’s for you Dan. Vomit.



Link: Slaughter is the Best Medicine

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