How to Not Make a Film

Just a couple weeks ago I saw a sign that read, “Can you make a five-minute film in a week?” It was an advertisement for a nationwide competition called Campus Movie Fest that gives college students full creative control to make their movie dreams come true, with free equipment! And, oh, did I make a film. Whether it was a good one or not is totally subjective. But, if you don’t like it you’re wrong.

For almost as long as I have known her, like (two-ish years) my friend and I have been brainstorming the greatest movie our little college educated minds could conceive. Not to give anything away, because it is still in the works, but noodles, Harry Styles, Angelina Jolie and the zombie apocalypse are all involved. This obviously could not all happen in a week, so we had to start somewhere else.

There were, however, a few hitches along the way.

The main problem was probably with the way we think about stories and ended up shooting our movie. What I mean is, there is no real story line. It’s just filled with all jokes, things we think are funny, and no planning. We centered our movie around one single joke. A whole three-minute video with hundreds of dollar’s worth of equipment for a single line. And, while we obviously thought it was hilarious, it just did not make sense to others not in on the joke.

Another problem we encountered was one we had anticipated: finding people to star in our film. Originally, there were five characters. Unfortunately, we had to cut that down to four, and half of those characters were played by my friend and I; both of us are directors, writers and masterminds, but we are most certainly not actors. With these setbacks, we ended up short on time, and were forced to film until 3 a.m.

Then came the editing. Now I’m not sure about you, but I have never used a video editing program in my entire life. Everything we learned about the software came from a single twelve-minute video. In the end, our film ended up super choppy and without any background music. The music thing was more of an artistic choice, but ultimately, a bad editing decision on our part.

If you ever get the chance to shoot your own film, I think you should take it. Our film may not have been an award winner, but that is not going to stop me from being proud, and embarrassed, and forcing all my friends to watch every second of it. Check out this beautiful train wreck here!

Featured Image: Retrieved from here.

Unwarranted Stereotypes in TV and Film

In the wake of Halloween, a day in which every year without fail, there are people who dress up in offensive and insensitive costumes, it seems necessary for me to address offensive cultural stereotypes that are ever-present in popular media today. In previous decades and in the present day, films and television shows have portrayed racial minorities in stereotypical manners that have in turn, had consequences both politically and socially for minority populations in the U.S.

The portrayal of minorities in film was a lot worse decades ago, with minorities being portrayed in ridiculous manners by actors who were not even part of the culture they were dressing up as, through things like blackface, yellowface and other cultural appropriations. However, while today such tactics are deeply frowned upon in Hollywood, the film industry has still yet to truly progress in their portrayal of minority characters in film and T.V.

Latinos are still portrayed in stereotypical manners. It is not uncommon for Latinos to be made a mockery of, be played as having heavy accents for a “comedic” effect, be portrayed as simple-minded gardeners, or be depicted as “dumb,” such as in the popular movie “Nacho Libre.” A common stereotype that Latina actresses tend to be locked into are roles as obedient and one-dimensional house maids, or the role of a sex vixen. Other common stereotypes include being depicted as “Latin lovers,” a “cholo” who is involved in drugs and gang violence, an undocumented immigrant, or be wearing a sombrero and a poncho as Mariachi music plays in the background.

All of these stereotypes have been a disservice to the Latino community, as the popularization of such TV shows and films that portray Latinos in a one-dimensional manner serves to fuel the biases and misconceptions that non-Latinos have of the Latino culture. These stereotypes are deeply rooted in the psyche of many people, and serve to form prejudices in the minds of many. But the Latino community are not the only ones to be depicted in such a stereotypical manner, as many other races and ethnicities have had to deal with the same thing.

The portrayal of Native Americans have also been deeply damaging to the Native American community. Being depicted as “savages” or alcoholics, among many other things, has served to construct a deeply misguided perception that a lot of people have of the community. The Muslim population also has dealt with stereotypical portrayals of their community in popular Hollywood films, which has added to the deep prejudice that is unfortunately ever-present in the U.S. today. Asian Americans and African Americans have also dealt with being portrayed in stereotypical manners.

Thus, it is important that when we watch films and TV shows, we understand that the way certain minority communities are portrayed is more often than not, an inaccurate representation that draws on deeply-damaging and incorrect stereotypes crafted from many years of historical prejudice, racism and political scapegoating.

Featured Image retrieved from here.

Not Another Show Recommendation: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

A show that is funny without being problematic. A show that is pure comedy while also talking about real-life situations. A show with characters of all different backgrounds and a cast that is diverse. Sounds like a show that doesn’t exist right? Well, think again. It’s the show “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a comedy show about the 99th precinct in New York. Starring a familiar face, Andy Samberg, playing the main character Detective Jake Peralta. The cast of this show is truly amazing. Everyone is lovable and funny in their own way. One may look at this show and think “Oh it’s another ‘The Office’ or ‘Parks and Rec’” but that is not the case. Yes, it does have the workplace camaraderie feel that we love about “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” but there are a few differences: it’s a sitcom, it’s not filmed documentary style and there is no character left out of the audience’s main focus. In “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” every character gets a great amount of background and screen time.

The show even has reoccurring episode themes and characters that are fan favorites. The Halloween Heist episodes that first started in season one are my favorite episodes. They continue to elevate and give the audience the same fun and thrill for the past five seasons. The reoccurring character, Doug Judy, is also a fan favorite. Doug Judy, played by Craig Robinson, is Jake Peralta’s “nemesis” but is also his friend. Every time Doug Judy is featured on the show episode, it’s always a fantastic episode. The comedic chemistry between Doug and Jake is unmatched and undeniable.

All in all, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is a show I think everyone should watch. Like “Silicon Valley,” it’s one of the few comedies that hasn’t fallen in quality after its third season. And I hope it will continue to be great and funny for a very long time. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” airs on Fox on Tuesdays at 9pm.

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“Stranger Things” Returns for a Second Season

Netflix original series “Stranger Things” has launched its second season with nine episodes at midnight on Friday, Oct. 27.  The new season brings back the same cast as Season 1, in addition to several new characters who are played by Dacre Montgomery, Sadie Sink and Sean Astin. It has also been well-received. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 93% of the audience liked Season 2 and 94% of all critics liked it.

“Stranger Things” has broken the Twitter record of becoming the most tweeted-about streaming show during its Season 2 premiere over the weekend.  In the first three days of the recent season’s launch, Twitter users have created more than 3.7 million tweets about the show, as reported to “Variety” by Twitter.  The most tweeted-about hour was at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday.  The most tweeted-about characters from the show are Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), followed by Will (Noah Schnapp), Hopper (David Harbour) and lastly Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo).

However, “Stranger Things” is not the only original Netflix series to perform well on Twitter.  High school drama series “13 Reasons Why” became the most-tweeted show of 2017 after only one month from its release date on March 31. The numbers have not been updated since earlier this year.

Even though Netflix does not release the ratings of its shows, “Stranger Things” is one of the most popular and best-reviewed series on the site. According to rating information formerly reported by Symphony Advanced Media, the show’s first season ranked as one of Netflix’s most-watched shows of 2016, averaging over 14 million viewers adults from ages 18-49 in its first month. It only took 15 months for creators Ross and Matt Duffer to write, film and add all of the special effects to the second season. The release date for Season 3 is estimated to be at the end of 2018 or early 2019.

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Stranger Things 2: Release Date, Cast, Trailers & Plot

‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 Breaks Twitter Record