Thursday, November 12, 2009

Film Joke

An AC and a grip are out fishing, catching lots of fish.  The AC pulls out some tape and marks an X on the bottom of the boat. 

Grip: "What did you do that for?"
AC: "So we know where our spot is so we can come back to it."
Grip: "That's dumb, how can you be sure we'll get the same boat?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Bring What I Love

If you're in L.A., I highly recommend getting to the FREE screening of Youssou N'Dour: I Bring What I Love on November 17.  There will be a discussion afterwards with the Director, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.  I recommend also staying for that; she is an extremely bright and engaging person.  This film explores someone who knows exactly who they are are (in a profound sense), what they believe and their journey to give voice to that experience.  It's no understatement to say that during that journey, he risks all that really matters to him to spread the message.

I have been a fan of Youssou N'Dour's for 25 years or so, but after watching this film I realized how little I really knew about him and his music.  Structurally, the film is not perfect, the filmmaker clearly had to include enough back-story to engage the uninitiated.  But the upside is, even if this is the first time you've ever heard of Youssou, you will enjoy this film.  His personal charisma is quite engaging, as is his amazing music.  It's definitely worth seeing on a big screen because a lot of it is shot in Africa and it's great to be able to absorb it all at the theatrical scale.

It's been a very good year for music documentaries.  Two others that I can recommend are: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (now out on dvd) and It Might Get Loud.  Anvil is kind of a real-life Spinal Tap story, except by the end of the film you love them, instead of just laughing at them.  Anvil is a Canadian heavy metal band that inspired the likes of Metallica, Lemmy Loud (Motorhead), Slash (Guns n' Roses) but somehow never seemed to find a payday.  The film documents their ongoing struggle to make it back to the top of the music world.

It Might Get Loud struck me personally as sort of an odd duck.  First, it is directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth). The premise is that Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge are brought together in a room and talk about guitars, music and play together.  The film weaves together that footage with archival and contemporary footage of the three. It's an interesting film and is definitely worth watching, if nothing else, for the insights about each of them individually as artists.  And you do realize by the end that they are each a serious artist.  The Edge comes off as surprisingly insecure.  Watching Jimmy Page's fingers play the guitar is the definition of fluency.  And Jack White is surprisingly upfront about being a white kid who just wants to play the blues.

Happy Place

November has been kind of a rough month, so, today, I did what any sane person would do: I went to Panavision and took cameras apart and put them back together. Then I loaded them with film and unloaded them.  I am officially back in my happy place.

People, please be kind.  All the pushiness and junior high-level meanness makes me nervous.  We are living in a world that is changing really quickly, let's concentrate on being an integral part of it, rather than fighting for scraps of the old world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

That Barton Fink Feeling


Every day, to earn my daily bread
I go to the market where lies are bought
I take my place among the sellers.

Bertolt Brecht
American Poems 1941-1947

Shipping and Receiving

OK, not the most scintillating stuff, but it's good to know which companies actually stand behind their products.  I got my bus powered OTG hard drive back from Other World Computing after a week or so.  It had a defective bridge card, which they replaced, and then sent it back to me.  In the end, getting the drive made whole cost me nothing more than a trip to the UPS store. It also made me happy that they repaired the drive rather than tossing the whole thing and shipping a new package to me, less e-waste.  Very pleased how that played out, however, if I had needed the drive during this time period for work I would have been out of luck.  That is always something to think about when considering whether to buy locally or over the Internet.

What my living is starting to look like......

My Streamlight Scorpion flashlight also went haywire after a recent job.  Happily, I had purchased it from an authorized reseller (meaning it was covered by the lifetime warranty and also meaning it was more expensive).  I shipped it back to them, at my expense, they replaced pretty much most of the flashlight except for the shell and shipped it back to me with new lithium batteries.  Again, they replaced what needed to be fixed/upgraded rather than throwing the whole thing away and sending a whole new package.  In the end, it cost me about $5.00 to ship it to them, which was offset by the cost the new batteries.

The whole idea of buying junk that you throw away after a short time drives me crazy.  I guess this post really isn't about warranties, rather it's about thinking of how much waste you generate in your professional life and trying to minimize it.  I upgrade my computers rather than buying new and generally wait to buy something until I absolutely need it.  It makes good business and environmental sense.