Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cry Me A River, That Leads To Your Ocean

I spent four days in hard labor preparing my home for next week's Open House for my graduating high school senior. I stepped on some broken glass, got poison ivy, tumbled into a thornbush, got sunburned, and something else that is escaping my mind right now. Maybe I got knocked out again. It seems like all home repair jobs end on the brink of divorce. I saw mine coming when I painted the front pillars on an overcast afternoon, just ahead of a torrential cloudburst. A few hours later I looked out the window and saw a river of watery white paint spilling over my porch and into the grass. So there's still a little work to do, though the bulk is done.

I also got the second draft of my new secret project fired off, meeting my deadline.

So to celebrate I watched Fox's movie reality show ON THE LOT last night, where the 18 surviving filmmakers got to show off a one-minute comedy. Like any video production class I've ever taught, there were two or three great ones, two or three disasters, and everybody else in the middle. This would be the point in my class where I would give the speech about talent. I know I'm not the first one to say this, but I think it's true: talent is an empty bucket. So you have to fill it with things, like discipline, and will, and responsibility, and deadlines, and projects. There are tons of talented people delivering pizzas. They have all of these great ideas and a lot of native talent, but instead of doing anything about it they decide to smoke a bowl and play some Xbox. Probably one of the most talented guys I ever worked with flamed out on alcohol and bad choices.

Conversely, I think a less talented person with a lot of will and determination can have a nice if not spectacular career. There is a lot of art in the industry, but I believe even more is craft. And craft can be learned.

I just finished watching the follow-up episode where three filmmakers were booted off, and the three "box office winners" were announced. Of the three top vote-getting movies, one guy is definitely a star, one guy's short was decent but his personal backstory (dad with kids, trying to live his dream) probably helped, and the third should have been kicked off the show instead. I agreed with the judges, sending a retarded guy to Hell isn't funny. But America voted, and those are the people who liked "Jackass" and Will Ferrell movies, so there you go.

Not to drag this post on too long for those who didn't watch the show, I thought none of the three who got the boot deserved it, especially the woman with the cell phone comedy. I think some of that may have been personality-driven. We'll see how the 15 survivors fare next week.

In the meantime, somebody found this blog by googling man video tapes his wife in back seat of the car with his daughters underaged boy friend and 'men of war' low budget porn by trident productions and powered sex machine diy how to. I mean, seriously, how does this happen?

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Tim Shrum said...

It only seemed like yesterday when weirdos were looking up "Sex Farm" on your blog. Why do you get all the nifty keyword searches?

GaryL said...

I'm with you John - while I thought the Italian chick was beyond annoying, hers wasn't nearly as bad as the guy who did the weird taxi short. I felt really bad for the Brit - yeah, his was just a riff on an old Simpsons joke, but the ONLY reason the other girl beat him out is because she's hot. And you could see that look in her face as they announced she was staying - it was like "Oh my god - I'm only here because I'm pretty" - which must have been devastating. Also, the one guy who made a trailer instead of a short film should have been disqualified and sent home. Just me and my two cents.

Oh PS - what's the big deal about the special effects wiz? Yeah he can do effects, but his work with actors is amateurish at best (including casting teenagers in what should have been adult roles) and the story was filled with "huh?" moments (the guy wearing goggles spills liquid on his goggles, yet screams in pain? the guy who's set on fire is the only one wearing a fire retardant suit yet he runs screaming in pain? huh?). It's funny to see guys like Michael Bay get trashed for making big loud dumb movies ruled by special effects, yet everybody is drooling over this kid who's doing the same stuff at the entry level.

John Oak Dalton said...


Spot on observations.