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TMD's Creatively Named Blog



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Oh yeah, so what's the movie about?

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 29 2016 · 184 views

So in response to the bunch of screegrabs I posted in my last entry, Inferna Firesword mentioned that she wondered what the plot was. Which made me realize that, outside of linking to the Facebook and Kickstarter, I haven't really talked about the story.

Here we go!

The Conduits is about Rachel Watkins (her) who reluctantly teams up with Morris Chen to find out what happened to her father when he disappeared. Standing in her way are Fafnir and her Cavaliers who will stop at nothing to put an end to Rachel and the other Conduits.

Basically, magic gems, laser guns, and an action-scifi set in New York being made on a student's budget.

And Tekulo, today one of my actors said she wanted to break out into song.


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Psst, check out some stills from my movie.

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 27 2016 · 206 views

Still wondering about the Kickstarter? This is the shots we've been getting. Now, keep in mind, this is all before color correction, vfx, or anything done in post. Heck, we've still three more days of shooting.

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Four Years

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , in Essays, Not Rants! Mar 27 2016 · 141 views

Essays, Not Rants! 210: Four Years

I’ve had this blog for about four years now.

Four years.

And I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve missed my self-imposed midnight EST deadline.

Why? I’ve been hard at work on my movie, The Conduits, and today marked us being half done with shooting. Which is good. In the meantime you should check out the Facebook page (linked back there) and the Kickstarter here. And tell your friends.

But anyway, keeping this blog has been a real experience. Bene help at developing a voice and it’s forced me to really look deeper at some things. Especially fiction, and why we tell those stories.

I want to write more today, I really do, but I’m exhausted and need to get some sleep.

Expect more next week, folks; and thanks for reading these rants essays.


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Day One. Wrapped.

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 23 2016 · 220 views

Went well. Crew kicked butt. This is gonna look awesome.


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T-8.5 Hours to First Call Time

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 22 2016 · 135 views

Holy snap buckets.

Here we go. It's movie time. Spent most of today driving around with fake concrete barricades in a van picking up last minute equipment and props.

Also: we're shooting with a skeleton crew tomorrow. When we weren't planning on. WOOHOO ADVENTURE.

This is happening.

Here we go.


Also, because I haven't advertised it enough; Facebook page here!
And Kickstarter here!

I should probably get some sleep in the meantime.


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C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 20 2016 · 214 views

I am the worst.


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Fear of The Unknown

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , in Essays, Not Rants! Mar 19 2016 · 150 views

Essays, Not Rants! 209: Fear of the Unknown

One of the wonderful agonies I found when I started watching Lost years and years ago was the show’s tendency to show a character’s reaction to a revelation/object/monster rather than the revelation/object/monster itself. It became characteristic of the show, and something emblematic of Abrams’ style.

Granted, J.J. Abrams had little involvement with Lost past the pilot, but he did work with Damon Lidelof to lay much of the show’s groundwork. Including, presumably, Abrams’ love of the Mystery Box. See, according to him, there’s a certain level of suspense and wonderment to be found in not knowing something. That there is a mysterious monster is more frightening — and in some ways more beautiful — than what it is. It’s less important what’s in the hatch than that there is one. The best horror writer is the one in your head, coming up with all sorts of half-formed possibilities for why something might be the way it is.

More than anything though, it makes us want to see what’s going on. Take Predator, due to the alien’s stealth, we spend much of the film not knowing what’s killing Dutch’s squad. Simply knowing something’s out there, something we can’t see and something deadly enough to take out an elite band of mercenaries, is terror enough. Alien does the same thing, withholding a good view of the Xenomorph as long as possible, leaving us to fill in the gaps on this monster. It’s effective, so much so that finally seeing the titular alien would be a letdown were it not for H.R. Geiger’s inspired design.

Point is: there’s something to be said for being restrained.

Cloverfield, that found-footage monster movie produced by Abrams, is in actuality a magnificent exercise in restraint. Rather than doing what Godzilla and virtually every other monster-invasion movie does, Cloverfield focused only on a small group of friends trying to survive on the ground. There’s no sweeping shots or frantic discussions in a war room. The found-footage nature of it forces the filmmakers to keep it small and, in turn, the audience in the dark. We see the monster’s limbs, we see smaller monsters, and all the time it’s scarier because we don’t see it in full. The possibility of it all is far more frightening.

Keeping in that sensibility is the not-a-but-kinda-sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane. Trapped in a bunker with a captor/savior while Armageddon might have happened outside, protagonist Michelle — and the audience — is left to fill in the clues as to what happened. We don’t know what happened outside, we don’t know if Howard is really doing this out of the kindness of his heart, heck, we don’t know what his angle is at all. That the movie is not particularly forthcoming on any of this makes every hint of malice or mystery terrifying. There’s nothing scarier than not knowing what’s going on.

10 Cloverfield Lane earns this, however, by making sure we know Michelle on at least some level. We aren’t totally in the dark, we have a handle on our protagonist and thus we can react with her to all the crazy stuff going on. We have a touchstone, a constant, a frame known to counter the unknown. Without that, 10 Cloverfield would be more frustrating than gripping.

Y’know, I’m not a fan of horror movies. Too much reliance on squick and pain and how downright creepifying something can be. But what 10 Cloverfield Lane, Alien, and Lost did are much more my jam. The simple fear of the unknown taken up to eleven, an implacable fear that you can’t quite put a finger on. Now that is terrifying.

Also, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a dang fine movie you should check out and I wanna rant about, but won’t because the less you know the better. Like I said, it’s scarier when you know less.


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Dealing With The Parks Department

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 17 2016 · 165 views

Y'know how in Parks and Rec it was always fun when Ron and Leslie would leave the office to go do work in a park or in the field or whatnot?

I'll have you know it's REALLY frustrating when the manager of a park is out in the field every day you try and get ahold of them about filming in their park.


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Of Zootopia

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , in Essays, Not Rants! Mar 12 2016 · 227 views

Essays, Not Rants! 208: Of Zootopia

Stories are often a reflection of reality. Star Wars was a reflection of the existential threat posed by the Cold War. The Hurt Locker was, quite obviously, a discussion of the human cost of war. The Revenant reflected Leonardo DiCaprio’s all-consuming want for an Oscar.

And then there’s Zootopia. Which holds an unrelenting, condemning-yet-hopeful mirror to modern America. Which you wouldn’t exactly expect, because it’s a major Disney movie. Nonetheless, couched in this story of bunny cops is an incredible exploration of prejudice that your ‘deep’ friend on Facebook wishes they could have written as a status.

In Zootopia, anthropomorphic animals live in a city. But unlike any other story about anthropomorphic animals, the fact that they are animals is actually a big deal. A rabbit (like the protagonist) is tiny and water buffalos are massive. Foxes are predators, and sheep are prey. With these differences comes the logical divides and ostracizing; prey think predators are dangerous, and big animals discount the efforts of smaller ones.

The movie seems to have some very simple analogues. Judy is a rabbit and the first rabbit on Zootopia’s police force which leads to some dismissing her joining the team as just the diversity initiative paying off. So right off the bat the movie seems posed to position Judy as the Other. She, because she's a rabbit, is bullied and downtrodden on by other animals. The arc for the story seems clear enough: Judy will have to overcome the prejudice against her species and prove that she's as good a cop as anyone else. So like that Jackie Robinson movie no one saw, but with a bunny cop instead of a black baseball player.

The movie could have built the whole thing around that premise and we'd have gotten another movie about overcoming adversity and all that. Done deal. Nothing wrong there.

But Zootopia goes further.

When preparing to move to the titular city, Judy is warned by her parents to be careful of 'those people,' in particular foxes. She pushes back, but it's made clear that prey too hold prejudices against predators. Especially foxes who are in general seen as being sly and dishonest. The general consensus on foxes is that they’re, for the most part, a bunch of good-for-nothing louts. Something Judy’s pretty sure she disagrees with.

Now hold on, you (like me), may be thinking. The simple analogy of Zootopia is starting to break down. If the rabbits are the people-group who are oppressed, why then do they hold their own biases against foxes? And shouldn’t Idris Elba’s water buffalo get along with Judy since they’re both prey?

Zootopia is so much more complex than it lets on. Within the movie, everyone has prejudices. Judy’s own relationship with Nick the fox sees her trying to prove that he’s decent, then having her fears come true, and then getting to know him for who he is and not just as a fox. And that all happens within the first half-hour. See, the movie crafts a world where it can overtly discuss, well, racism, without necessarily pointing fingers at anyone.

I can’t overstate how amazing it is to see Zootopia tackle this topic head on with such nuance. This is a movie where the hero’s loss of faith isn’t losing a friend, being fired, or what have you, but when Judy is forced to realize her own innate prejudices. What comes next is the realization that someone can be a good person and still be prejudiced, but also that people can change.

Thats the beauty of stories. They’re trojan horses that sneak profundity in where you least expect it. Zootopia’s got incredible world building and is beautifully animated, but it uses it all to tell a beautiful narrative about overcoming your own prejudices. It’s magnificently done; we need more stories like this.

And holy cyprinidae, this is a kid’s movie!


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Dotting I's, Crossing T's, And Definitely Not Panicking No Not At All

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Mar 08 2016 · 219 views

I got a bar!

As in, a bar to shoot in. An affordable one. Also, Mr. Robot was just shooting there recently. Go figure.

Also got a diner. And it's the diner I go to almost weekly. Woo!

And a stunt coordinator has signed on. He's worked on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Zombieland, and a buttload of other stuff.

Paperwork is almost done. Woo!

Also totally cast. And I have a Facebook page. Which you should like.







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josh

twenty-five


grew up on a ship


studied Narrative (Re)Construction

at New York University


frequently found writing in a coffee shop, behind a camera, or mixing alcohol and video games

December 2016

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