g The Film Panel Notetaker: December 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Film Panel Notetaker Turns One

It's hard to believe, but on December 16, it will officially be one year since The Film Panel Notetaker was created. It all started when I came back home from a film panel discussion about film blogging I attended at the Apple Store in Soho. I had this epiphany that I could do something constructive with not only that night's notes, but all the notes I could find that I ever took at film panel discussions. So I logged onto my Myspace profile, and started posting my notes there. For the next couple of months, I attended some more film panel discussions, and posted some more notes, up until about September when I attended several panels at IFP's Filmmaker Conference, when I decided to re-launch The Film Panel Notetaker at its own URL, www.thefilmpanelnotetaker.com.

Since then, The Film Panel Notetaker has received some wonderful press from my hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News, to other film news bloggers such as The Reeler (not only once, but twice) and GreenCine Daily.

Here's a look back at some of my favorite posts in the past year:

indieWIRE’s Film Blog Panel Discussion 12/16/05

Creating Timeless Women: Promoting Women 1/24/06

IFP Industry Connect: Publicity & Viral Marketing & Building Audiences 2/16/06

An inconvenient truth about a Brooklyn rooftop 6/5/06

"Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?" 6/29/06

Date Number One with a Cocaine Angel 9/5/06

Getting the Word Out: Social Networking 9/21/06

Inuit Empire - A Timeline of My Day at the New York Film Festival 10/8/06

Thanks for giving me Independent Film Distribution 11/21/06

Four Eyed Monsters on Life Logging 12/8/06

Here's hoping for more great film panel discussions to attend in 2007, and as always, if you attended any of the same discussions I did, and would like to contribute any notes I may have missed, please send them my way, or if you went to a film panel discussion, filmmaker Q&A, seminar, etc., that I did not go to at all, then I'd be happy to post your notes here, too.

Happy holidays and new year!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Killer Robots Invade The Pioneer

I was sent a screener of the new independent sci-fi film, "Automatons," directed by James Felix McKenney, that opens Wednesday night at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in New York. I've written up a few other films on this blog, because I've gone to see them in a theater where the director is usually there afterwords for a Q&A. Because I was told that the director and some of the actors will be at a couple of the screenings at the Pioneer this week, I will try to go and take notes during their Q&A. In the mean time, here's my little review:

"Automatons" takes place in the distant future where a girl is the last of her people on a contaminated planet who lives with and programs an army of robots against an evil enemy, who keeps sending threatening transmissions and somehow is able to program the girl's robots against her from time to time. The girl is kept company by the recordings of a scientist (played by Angus Scrimm of Phantasm fame) who cared for her as a baby. The girl mounts an attack against the enemy with her robots in a brutal final showdown.

"Automatons" was shot in black & white reversal super 8mm film , creating a low-budget, b-movie look and feel, with actors wearing stocky robot costumes, stop-motion figurine robots combatting one another, and an eerie industrial, techno-bleepy score to great schlocky effect. Unfortunately, I felt there was a great deal of under acting by the human actors in the film, who probably could of hammed it up a little more.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Four Eyed Monsters on Life Logging

Last night, after having dinner with a friend near Union Square, I went to Cinema Village, where there had been a screening of “Four Eyed Monsters,” part of their first week-long theatrical engagement. BTW, Four Eyed Monsters has been extended another week, so if you haven’t already see it, please do so. After the screening, co-directors Arin Crumley and Susan Buice initiated a panel discussion on the topic of Life Logging, with special guests: Journalist Mark Wallace and Futurist Jerry Paffendorf. I suppose my blog is a sort of life logging for the existence of film panel notes that I’m sharing, but only the ones I’ve taken myself so far, so please, submit your own notes if you attended this discussion, or any notes from any other film panel discussions and be a part of the revolution :)

Life Logging
A Panel Discussion Following a Screening of Four Eyed Monsters
December 7, 2006
Cinema Village

A.C. = Arin Crumley
S.B. = Susan Buice
M.W. = Mark Wallace
J.P. = Jerry Paffendorf

Opened the discussion with explaining what life logging means. Life logging is a recording of your life, more than just text. The ability to record everything. It’s a document of yourself. Could include photographs of yourself. Jerry was into digital video in college, and an absolute life logger for those four years. Took over 1,000 hours of footage of himself. Four Eyed Monsters is like life logging. Life generates interesting material. Running around with inexpensive video cameras.

Talked about how he and Susan have been showing their film all week and having panel discussions after that are loosely based in some way to the film and on technology that inspires what’s going on in the film. Four Eyed Monsters was an opportunity to capture video and communications in more ways than just speaking. That is in deed how he and Susan got to know each other. Since making the film, social networking and video sharing sites such as Myspace and YouTube have come along. Certain amount of synchronicity there. Never considered their film had anything to do with life logging. Got him thinking, why would people document these things? It was just in the moment. In the survival mode. History has become a way to keep track of things. Storytelling is the same thing. Someone can walk away with some insight. Doing things that are grounded in reality.

Life logging is over a 1,000 years old, beginning in early civilization when primitive people made cave paintings. They were recording their lives, rather than expressing art. Life logging today is how we create our identities online. Autobiographies, for example, you can never paint a perfect picture of yourself. Myspace is a very static snapshot of who you are and conveys very little info. Second Life is a 3D virtual world where you can be whomever you want. A couple that Mark interviewed for a book met on an online game started falling in love in the game, then they met in person, and fell in love in reality and got married. These online virtual games are much less weird than basing a choice on the flat Myspace page. On the virtual game sites, you share more of a common goal, and can see who they are and how they behave better.

Audience Comment
Read a book recently about online virtual gaming is like going back to the Romantic/Victorian-structured world. Get to know people better.

Response to audience comment: like courting one another.

The way Arin & Susan court each other in Four Eyed Monsters is a very slow way to express things. The film shows a gradual unfolding of their personalities on screen.

Life logging is a personal desire of wanting to know who you really are. Jerry is jealous of the people in the following clips, wishing he had something life this about himself:


Trailer for Michael Apted’s documentary 49 Up – Part of series of documentaries examining the same people every seven years of their life, starting when they were seven.
Living My Life Faster – Short film where a guy takes a picture of himself everyday for eight years.

What’s the value of life logging? (posed to Susan)

A big question to answer. Having filmed a lot of stuff and through the editing process, was shocked that they had the exact same arguments. It was really frightening.

Video game The Sims, where you control people who live in a house. You can track everything in your life. There’s even a spreadsheet.

Is there a logging mechanism? Keeping a journal. Some way to get it automated. Lot of potential here for a psychologist.

Audience Question
How would you feel if other people re-mixed Four Eyed Monsters on YouTube for example?

Would be interesting. Ultimately a good idea.

The Four Eyed Monsters video podcasts were created with massive archives at their disposal. They have over 500, 1-hour tapes. Have this life they could scrub through.

Sometimes Googles out of fear. Goes to the Internet when she freaks out about something.

AOL accidentally released who searched for what one time on the Internet, enabling some people to figure out who was searching for what.

Life logging is the capturing of events and the ability to process those events that become a part of a timeline. If you ever wrote in a journal, you would never put it under your parents’ bed, you’d put it under your own. With sites like Netflix, Myspace, and FaceBook, you’re syndicating information that could be useful to friends to process. They have tools that cross-reference and discover things that people have in common.\

We live in a performance environment.

Performance is converging with existence.

Audience Comment
Life logging is great, but there’s something dark about it. We are descending into a decadent narcissm or superficial comfort.

Thinks that notion is asinine. People are becoming more literate in video.

Technology getting cheap.

Ideas: Stay open to stuff that doesn’t exist and figure out a way how the Internet can be a filmmaking tool. There’s a value in sharing certain things, but you may or may not want to share everything personal. Find what has value to share.

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