Late apology for George Lucas and an early one for J.J.

As I have my early coffee, a few hours before I go and see the Force Awakens, I am still fearing that this will be a disappointing movie. Yeah I am a pretty big Star Wars Fan, not to the Cos play level but I do enjoy the movies and have raised my kids to enjoy the movies. I have even used some Jedi sayings to parent them and teach them the life lessons that are needed to make Jedi choices and not a Sith ones. So, I was thinking about the movie that I am about to see anxious, nervous and excited. After reading some Facebook post most positive, there were a couple of negative ones. Then it hit me, EPISODE 7.

(* I haven't watched this video, since I have avoided anything with footage of Star Wars Force awakens since the 2nd Trailer. Watch at your own risk of seeing clips)

Star Wars The Force Awakens is almost upon us but what do the critics think so far? Don't worry you can continue your spoiler fast since Jessica Chobot has their reviews SPOILER FREE on today's Nerdist News! PLEASE NOTE: Comments have been disabled to avoid people posting spoilers.

Okay, let me say this again, drop everything else, no Force awakens, no Star wars... Episode 7. The seventh sequel! You see what I am getting to here. What other movie do we hold to this standard. I started to think through my film geek mind at what franchise got to the 7th part and it was a good movie, not great but just good. Friday the 13th, Rocky, Aliens, Planet of the Apes? Not many movies series make it past "episode 2". 

I play fantasy football and this is a mistake most players make, they look at the name of the player and not the play. Peyton Manning for example has had a horrible season but people always act like his their only hope. So, it took me some time to realize it George Lucas, but when you made the 4th, 5th and 6th episode (which wasn't actually that bad as it did tie-in to Episode IV in a pleasant way... Stop Star Wars Geek brain!), I was being a little overly critical and I am sorry. I still meant everything about the quality of the filmmaking and truly believe that the movie making choices were poor but just because you made 2 solid sequels to a very strong first movie fans shouldn't expect that each time you step up to the plate it is a "home run"

So, as I gear up to see the EPISODE 7 of a series of movies, I will try not put this perspective in mind and I will really lower my expectations and may be I will be surprised at a sequel that will be a solid piece of filmmaking.

Just incase my knee jerk Star Wars geek comes out. I am truly sorry J.J. Abraham for all I am about to say. 

May the Force be with all of Us

Anybody can Edit and make a movie

Anybody can edit. Yes, anybody can do it. It's not particularly hard to get your hands on the tools to stitch two images together these days (thanks Steve Jobs) and we have all grown up with TV, movies and now streaming media. So, we all know the rules, the basics of how to tell a story with images. We can't all verbalize it instantaneously but we all have that funny feeling that "this should go here and that should go there", as a famous scroundrel once screamed. Even better the rules of editing have become looser than ever. The 180 rule, jump cuts and music videos have accustomed us accept all forms of montage genres, even the ones that are clasically labelled as bad edits. The laundry list of what you need to do is pretty short, so that you can make some media ingestable these days (see YouTube). I realized this fact recently on 2 occassions.

The first one, my wife was shooting a small instructional videos to be integrated in a PowerPoint presentation. She isn't in film production at all. She works for an agency that aids kids with autism and helps them through workshops to teach parents how to care for the challenges of their child. So, she told me that she was going to shoot the footage with a co-worker themselves. My alarm went off and looked at her, then asked her, "who is editng it?". Pause, lookded at me and answered "you want to do it?" I gently explained that I rather not. Then she shrugged it off, "I figured as much" then she explained that it was okay, her manager liked to edit stuff together and she would do it. I'm curious now, I ask "what has she edited?", "oh, just her own home movies" she replies. I pause in a film snob way and then say, "Hmmm, okay". I think to myself cool they "got" this one and I give my wife a few tips aobut shooting and coverage, "(good luck)" the elitist in me thinks! 

The second similar event that got me thinking about editing skill and ability was from an old film set friend of mine. He explained to me that his son was getting some internet jobs as an editor. His son bought himself a system and has been doing little jobs on those bidding freelancer websites. My first knee jerk reaction is the snobby filmmaking student in me from the 90's. I learned the rules! I went through some Full Metal Jacket style bootcamp to learn the ropes of crafting a story. I put hours of film study, practing my soon to be craft on short films, slugging away many years of learning processes, hardware and now software to eventually build a carreer as an editor. Inside my head I am screaming,"You want ME, on that wall!" 

Then I take a moment to look down from the pedostole that I am on, to all the newcommers, expecting to be so high that they all just look like ants. But wait, they are actually just one step down from a olympic style podium. I am not as high up as I use to be (or my mind likes to think I was, anyway). I let the brew for a while and you know what, this is a good thing. The entry level to edtiting is very low, the roadblocks that I exprienced 15-20 years ago are gone. When I started, you couldn't even get your hands on an edit system even if you were lucky enough to get a production assistant job at a posthost. Their were many layers to surmount but now you can't use money even as an excuse. If you want to edit you can do it on your laptop and if your really cleaver on your smartphone. Everybody can edit and make a movie now.

The debate is still out on home many people get to the level of a craftsmen, some repeat the 10,000 hour rule and say to 20 hrs to get up and running with basic knowledge. But basically time is a factor and how much time you put into montage is based on your level of lazyness. Which brings me to another topic that I been noticing and that people aroud me always hear. Everybody is lazy.

Real Cameras in a Three.js World

Gorilla Productions has always worked on projects that are ahead of the curve when it comes to all facets of media creation. From its humble beginnings, almost 20 years now, when we people didn't believe it was possible to edit film on a PC with DV tapes, working remotely with clients via the internet, to working in a new narritive formats like webseries and many other outlier projects. It is definetly part of the DNA of the company and we have been lucky to always attracted these type of exciting projects. 

Recently, we have been collaborating to create many tools for the next generation of what filmmaking will become, in our opinion. One of these technologies is the ThreeJs  platform which opens a world of posibilities to everyones via your browser. So, we had the possiblility to develop something to push this open source platform forward; it was a no brainer, we were all in. 

The REALCAMERA PROJECT is the result of many talented and passionate people and organizations (Seneca CDOT , Filmtyme , Barbara de Graaf). Basically, the objective was to build real traditional camera focus controls to the platform. It is always important ground technology in the real world, having the ability to control the camera in a 3D space and that it acts like a real film camera, is a great advantage to the people that have been working with cameras for all their careers. This was one of the primary reasons that we chose to use Arri set of film lenses as our baseline for the camera in the test scene.

The concept was to build tools with ease of use for people that use cameras or even teach camera operation on a daily basis, this will hopefully bridge the technological gap between filmmakers and the digital tools. Thus, bringing together real world knowledge to a new world of digital filmmaking. When you use the tool, you really can see the possibilities as a cinematographer, a teaching tool and even as a 3d world building tool that brings the very familiar film language to this platform. When we got all the pieces working, I found myself just imagining the different applications for this tool; as I re-framed and adjusted the focus. it's impressive the responsiveness and that it is functional via your browser. (no wacky plug-in installs either! It just works)

The Project is now ready for use and if you do play around with it, please send us some feedback via the short survey. It took some time to get all the work done but without feedback from proffessionals that use cameras on a daily basis it is difficult to get all the UI down. Your feedback is essential to perfect this tool. 

If you have any further questions feel free to email me and I will answer it as best I can or direct you to someone that can. 

2 types of People: "No-Why...?" and "Yes-And..."

In a team, they are the no-people and the yes-people, the later should outnumber the former on any project and I learned this lesson again the hard way. When surrounded by No-people it can be mind bogglingly frustrating. I am older now but I am always learning. What I recently learned is that No-people can not only be road blocks to success but can be dangerous to a project and even sink them if you let them.

I have been working on a few development projects in the past few months. All these projects are linked but involve small teams working on sections of a very large project. The project involves software and hardware but it is all still related to filmmaking. In the following months, I will reveal more about it, even if the 10 year old me wants to tell everyone what I am working on, because I love these types of projects that make my mind imagine the future of cinema... "these are very exciting times".


One of the elements of our project involves VR elements and we had an opportunity to enter a completion, VR Oculus Jam 2015. Me and my partner assembled a team of young talented prospects to execute a small part of the project. It was a long time that I hadn't encountered the Nay sayers. The Nay sayers have evolved, they didn't just say "NO" blindly, they added a new twist... "No, why...". At first I was confused and really disoriented. The No was follow with an unmotivated WHY? As in, why do this? Why is this important? Why, why, why!... with little motivation to bring solutions to the many obstacles that every project brings. In the end we were able to achieve the goal but I can only imagine what we could have accomplished if our energies were focused.


Over the years, I guess, I have been lucky in picking my collaborators. Usually when I participate in a project we get to a road block, and the people involved have to be beaten off with a bat with their suggestions from the "Yes" state of mind. Don't get confused they are not blindly saying "Yes" like a crooked Capone Gangster.

The truly talented folks, craftsmen and craftswomen, have also evolved, they look at the problem or speed-bump and say "YES and..." The " and..." is a brilliant suggestion that pushes your project to another level. The real superstar Yes-people are already one step ahead of you. They are saying "Yes (I already fixed that)-And I did this that makes it even better, what else can I do?

Unfortunately, you can't find a metric for this personality, in my opinion. You need to use your gut and the experiences to see how people react when the pressure is put on a project. I am glad that I was reminded that I have made good choices in the past and I also have been lucky enough to work with people that more often than not say "Yes and... " to a problem and passionately try to produce the best out of a project. 

More to come soon, very exciting times...


Well it's that time of the year again the Christmas season is filled with those Rankin Bass classics and sitcoms paying homage to the Christmas Carol in full Scrooge glory. And I would like to propose to Holly jolliest of people to mix it up a bit and throw in one of the lesser known Christmas classics. In the past, I offered up Die Hard and Lethal Weapon as healthy festive changes of pace. This year let me suggest the "timeless" thin storyline of a Bruckheimer version of a Christmas parable: The Enemy of the State.

Okay, first knee jerk reaction is that Tony Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer don't do Christmas. They do and they blow it up nice with all the fixing you expect from a Blockbuster. On top of that, I would argue this is the perfect holiday classic. No need to watch every second of this flick as you wrap presents, cook a turkey or deal with Santa anticipating kids. If you miss a bit of "story", no worries, every 20 minutes the plot will be reiterated to you by one of the players. If you don't get the less than subtle message of the movie, let me sum it up real quick: you better watch out, you better not cry, someone is looking if your naughty or nice.

So, It's pretty fun, in the sense it's basically a straight up chase movie centered around Christmas gifts gone bad. As usual, I am not going to give away the less than basic plot but it's all about the holiday giving and sometimes the giving invokes exploding buildings. Merry Christmas with a bang.

Some notable other reasons to watch this new holiday classic is the cast old and new. Will smith in one of his early staring roles that would eventually lead to his super stardom. Jack black, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, all up and comers showing glimpse of their comedic future in the confined of the Tony Scott stylistic extravaganza. Jon Voight as the villain, Lisa Bonet and Gabriel Byrns all add to the roster of the cast.

Most importantly , Gene Hackman reprising his role of Harry Caull, the sound expert from the 70's classic,  the Conversation. This movie is arguably Francis Ford Coppolas best movie. If you haven't enjoyed this masterfully crafted movie made/directed by Francis Ford Coppola (edited and sound design by Walter Murch!) and the cast and crew of film icons, you haven't seen or experienced true cinema.


Yes it's one of my favourite movies, I studied it and watched repeatedly throughout film school. Moreover, it is set in ... Christmas time. This does't really make the cut of a Christmas classic but definitely a Boxing Day screener. 

Please sprinkle these classics during you holiday break and have a safe and Happy holidays!