Heath Ledger Dead

Well, the news came thru today that Heath Ledger, great Australian actor, has been found dead in his home in Manhattan. Heath, what were you thinking? Drugs? Mate.

What frustrates and saddens me about this whole sorry saga, is the fact that we’ll never get to see what he might have done with his career.

An update to this post will be done this evening.

Directors & Producers Guilds Sign new Deal: Writers strike over soon?

Sorry for the second post in one day, but after reading the following article on IMDb, I had to reflect on what has been a very trying time in Hollywood recently. Here’s the original post from IMDB:

All eyes turned to the Writers Guild of America Thursday after the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers concluded a three-year agreement that significantly raised the directors’ residuals payments for shows sold on the Internet. In a statement, DGA President Michael Apted said, “This was a very difficult negotiation that required real give-and-take on both sides.” In a separate statement, alliance President Nick Counter said, “Both parties were determined to focus on the core issues that are most important to all of us.” Counter’s remarks appeared to be a jab at the writers, who had insisted on putting demands for jurisdiction over reality shows and animation on the negotiating table, matters the AMPTP had refused to consider. Under the agreement with the directors, the studios and production companies will pay a residual of about $600 whenever ads are sold on a one-hour program that is streamed over the Internet for more than 17 days. Additional payments are spelled out for programs that are streamed for more than 26 weeks. The deal also essentially doubles the residual rate for paid downloads of TV shows and movies, based on distributors’ grosses, after the first 100,000 downloads (50,000 in the case of feature films). The New York Times reported today (Friday) that a $2-million study commissioned by the DGA determined that producers will continue to earn a negligible amount of revenue from digital media until at least 2010. Thursday’s agreement also calls for doubling the residual rate on DVDs. Nevertheless, the WGA has made it clear that it will act independently in negotiating a deal with the studios and will not be bound by the terms of a DGA deal. Asked about the deal, Writers Guild of America West President Patric Verrone said cryptically, “I don’t want to prejudge it.” Doug Allen, executive director of the Screen Actors Guild, which is also due to begin talks with the producers, said that he had only seen a press release and wanted to see “more specifics.” Nevertheless, many analysts commented that it was unlikely that the writers would be able to negotiate a separate deal that would be more lucrative than the one with the directors.

Boiled down, it essentially says that the Directors and Producers Guilds have all come to an agreement, so anybody screaming and stomping on more dirt than they deserve might get kicked off the plantation. The Writers Guild might have to hurry up and get back to the negotiating table! Watch this space for more updates as I get them!

Schoolyard Justice – Update #4

Another short update this morning. Working on SYJ, I suddenly realised that I hadn’t updated any images from the last time…. not in the last post, anyway. So, for your edification, here are a couple of images from Schoolyard Justice. Check out the rest of the website for more details, and also www.syjmovie.com for other details.

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Jamie Williamson in action in Schoolyard Justice. (C)2008 Fernby Films.

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Instrument of doom….. well, not really… What signifigance does this lighter have??? You’ll find out…. (C)2008 Fernby Films.

American Writers Strike takes effect – Starting to suck

The Amrican Writers Strike began in Novermber, by the Writers Guild who were wanting some decent payback for DVD and Internet sales of movies, TV and Music that they had a hand in creating. For too long, they asserted, studios had scooped the money for this new boon to the industry and pocketed it all. Writers were paid a salary, a once off sum, and that was it.

So, in order to get a fair deal, they went on strike. Fair enough. If you are getting ripped off, then you have a right to stand up and say something about it.

Problem for the world is, with the writers strike, most Hollywood productions have shut down. Most TV shows are off the air, as new shows are not currently being filmed. Most of 2007/2008 product should currently be in production, but its not. Which means that all your favourite shows, like CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and all those shows, have about half the usual number of episodes shot and completed. Which means, for the next year or so we’ll be playing catchup on stories in those shows. There is a fair bulk of Australian TV that is taken up with screening US shows, although now thats not going to be such an option. And repeats will only get you so far. I guess this means more reality shows (which are unscripted) on our tubes.

It also has the unfortunate power to halt any and all film production currently taking place in the world wherever US guild members are involved. Already completed scripts are allowed to be used, although if you want to tinker with it… too bad.

As an example, the George “Happy Feet, Mad Max” Miller directed Justice League project has been put on haitus for the immediate future, while the negotiations in the US take place.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,23067524-7485,00.html

Its a real pleasure to finally see Megan Gale in a major film role (she appeared briefly in Stealth, a few years back) in a role I can see her slipping comfortably into. For those unaware, Gale will be taking on this role:

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But if Millers film gets pushed back too far, other issues might arise…. such as actors and crew having to pull out to fulfill other commitments.

The entire thing is beginning to bite hard, and it’s not just affecting the US, but everywhere else as well.

And it’s starting to suck.

Schoolyard Justice – Update #3

Just a short post today, to let you all know that sound mixing on SYJ is progressing well, and the music is coming along as well. Ryan kris, our composer, has been working on several themes for the project, and I am looking forward to mixing them into the final film. Foley and ADR is going well, but I will admit that its a lot more difficult and more time consuming than I was expecting when I began to do it.

Anyway, things are progressing well, and hopefully by the end of this month we’ll move towards the final phase of pickup shooting and final mixing.

See Cloverfield this weekend! It will be good for you.

The official list is up…. check it out!!!

I have finally done what somebody suggested ages ago, and put a list of my Top Ten films up on the site. Check out the sidebar for the link to the Top Ten list page! Go, enjoy. Oh, and if anybody wants to poke fun at my list, let them list their own Top Ten so that all is fair!!! GO! Read and enjoy!!!!

Project Designation: Cloverfield

The most anticipated film this summer is upon us: the imminent release next week of Cloverfield. While receiving virtually no publicity here in Australia, the film was produced by JJ Abrahms (the man behind Lost, Mission Impossible III) and is expected to rake in a fortune overseas.

For those who know nothing about that which I speak, click this link to find yourself at the trailer…. in high quality.

http://villagecinemas.com.au/Movies/Cloverfield.htm

Looks entertaining yes? A remake of Godzilla? Not quite, but sort of. Some kind of ferocious monster lands in New York City and starts to tear it apart. Finally, the kind of movie 1998’s Godzilla only wished it could be.

Anyway, colour me excited and waiting in line to see this film!

And I promise to post a review of it once I have seen it.

The Apartment Trailer – What is it?

Eagle eyed viewers might have noticed a small addition to the archive page on YouTube over the last week, a little trailer entitled The Apartment. What is this, you ask. Fernby Films have not had this on their agenda to my knowledge, you say, shaking your head.

The Apartment Trailer is my attempt to make a creepy, scary trailer for a film that does not exist. The Apartment is a non-existent short film about nothing. The trailer is simply an excuse to try out different things with sound and lighting, along with different effects and trying to tell a small story within the context of a trailer.

Having managed to get almost every creepy camera shot into it that I was capable of filming on my own (filmed and edited inside of six hours) I think it’s quite successful.

Let me know what you think!

Movie Review – Spider-Man 3

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– Summary –

Director :   Sam Raimi
Year Of Release :   2007
Principal Cast :  Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Hayden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rosemary Harris, JK Simmons, Dylan Baker, Willem Dafoe, Cliff Robertson, James Cromwell.
Approx Running Time :   139 Minutes
Synopsis:   Spider-Man must battle a villain known as Sandman, but also a dark version of himself known as Venom.
What we think :   Tiresome, overburdened Spider-Man franchise entry has plenty to offer but very little substance or nuance. It’s all bloat, all overkill, and all awful. Way to ruin the franchise, Sony.

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It’s really hard to know where to start with this one. I have always had a fondness for Spider-Man, as a character and as a comic book. The popularity of the character has endured since its creation by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics in 1962; this success has been attributed mainly to the fact that Peter Parker was a teenager in the early comics, and readers identified with his trials and tribulations of balancing being a superhero with being normal. Unlike the God-like power of Superman, or the darker, more angsty Batman, Spider-Man was a kind of Everyman character, and this was, and remains, his appeal.

Continue reading…

Movie Review – Transformers

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– Summary –

Director : Michael Bay
Cast :
Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Jon Voight, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachel Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Michael O’Neill, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Bernie Mac, Glenn Morshower, Voices of Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, Mark Ryan, Darius McCrary, Robert Foxworth, Jess Harnell, Charlie Adler, Jim Wood.
Year of Release: 
2007
Length : 143 minutes
Synopsis:
Alien robots arrive on Earth seeking the mysterious Allspark, and the war between the evil Decepticons and the good Autoots takes place on our planet.

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Michael Bay was born to direct this film. If there is a more perfect match between director and source material, I am unaware of it. Through Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon, Bay has become one of my favourite directors. I will say that unashamedly, as most find his films to be shallow, derivative, hard to follow and somewhat offensive. At least, Bad Boys II was offensive. The rest of his output over the years has been slam-bang action oriented popcorn fare, most of which has succeeded spectacularly, no matter what critics have said.

Continue reading…