Many years ago, right after the film Swingers came out–starring and written by Jon Favreau–I went to an event for budding indie film producers that featured a panel with Favreau.
The final Q&A question for him was “What advice do you give to aspiring filmmakers?”
His answer: “Read The Fountainhead.”
Now, of course, Favreau is not just an actor and writer but also the very successful director of big-budget epics the first two Iron Man films and Cowboys and Aliens.
Since Ayn Rand’s novel about fiercely independent architect Howard Roark is my favorite of her novels and one of my favorite books, I’d like to implore Mr. Favreau to use his skills to remake The Fountainhead.
The advances in the visual effects technology make it possible now to do Roark’s buildings properly and I think that Roark’s fictional architecture is a key element in making a movie based on The Fountainhead work. If we’re going to root for Roark, we need to be in awe and in love with his work.
I found this effects showcase from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and–forget every other aspect of the film for a moment–it’s brilliant use of CGI architecture. If you’re a regular civilian and not a filmmaker, you can see what’s possible. (I’ve been involved in visual effects for about twenty-five years. Today, anything is possible.)
The Great Gatsby VFX from Chris Godfrey on Vimeo.
I periodically put this call out. It’s the digital equivalent of tossing a bottle with a note inside it into the ocean but no harm in trying. A few years ago, Oliver Stone’s company owned the rights but they gave them up.
P.S. – Jon, I have some ideas about the script. Love your stuff, let’s do lunch. Ciao.
These video are from the time of the shooting, before the case blew up and became the politicized mess it’s become. They are both significant to the facts of what happened that led to the tragedy.
The first video shows a news report from the day after the shooting where an eyewitness says Zimmerman, on the ground as Martin was on top beating him, called help to him. Note : not just called out, but he says to the witness.
The second video shoots George Zimmerman reenacting what he says happened for the police. Zimmerman still has bandages on his head. His story appears to match what the witness told the news.
And here’s a transcript of the call Zimmerman made to the police.
h/t to Kregg Janke for the heads up on the reenactment video
Allow me to burst your bubble.
We’ve all heard stories on the news and in speeches from every politician in every party about the struggles faced by the middle classe. Politicians follow up with how thier proposals will create jobs and rebuild the middle class. They want to bring back the past.
This isn’t going to happen and for your sake and the sake of your kids you need to stop pretending that it will. The future isn’t the past.
The past few years have seen millions of jobs eliminated by technology and they aren’t coming back, ever. You simply don’t need as many people to run a company now as you once did and the people that run companies have figured that out. This is going to happen more and more as positions are crowdsourced, outsourced or cut.
Entire companies and whole industries are gone and they aren’t coming back, either. Record stories, video rental stores, electronics merchants, some department stores; all gone away and never, ever coming back. They have left big giant commercial real estate spaces available for lease everywhere. In small towns, its smaller spaces for lease for all eternity because who is going to open a book store or a vacuum clear store in them? Online ordering of everything via increasingly ubiquitous mobile devices is going to accellerate this, too.
So, that stuff is all over and done with.
Now, about you. There’s reality. What are you going to do about it?
My bummer of an opening isn’t the whole picture. I didn’t mention all the awesome stuff that technology has made possible. I skipped all the incredible things you can now do because of cheap tech available everywhere. I didn’t paint the accurate picture of the freedom available to people who want to learn, create, build cool stuff, make art, communicate with the world and so on.
I left those out because they aren’t guarantees. They are not results you can count on. Those are the opprotunites. They available to everyone, right now, including you. Especially you.
Some people will do amazing stuff with the technolgy available to them. Some people will squander and abuse it. Tech is a tool. Some people use it create and others use it to commit crimes or text dumb thing to their equally dumb friends.
The middle is going away. Do you want to go up or do you want to go down? Up involves forgetting the past, keeping up with the skills and moving forward as soon as possible. It involves risk but at this point, the real risk is waiting for the bottom to drop out.
And up is better than down.
One of the reasons the Paula Deen freakout bothers me so much is that I think it’s important that America gets real about race. I believe that we can’t really move forward as a country until we move forward talking about black / white race relations especially.
What Paula Deen said thirty years ago isn’t the flippin’ problem. It’s a complete distraction from the problem, actually.
The problem with race issues in America is that it’s complex. Issues about being black and white aren’t as simple as black or white and the issue of how politics and race interweave don’t especially make either the Republicans or Democrats look especially awesome. If you read any of the best writers on the subject from Thomas Sowell to Randall Kennedy, you’ll see a level of nuance discussed that you never, ever see in the mainstream media.
So with that in mind, let me highlight two stories that I think are clearly several orders of magnitude worse than anything discussed in about Paula Deen but are getting much more press attention. These stories are both unbelievably disturbing and they are both contemporary, not about past wrongs. One is example of anti-black racism, the other an example of anti-white racism.
1) Racist Humiliation Vomit Porn
WARNING: This is potentially triggering. Be aware of that before click the link below; it goes to a description, not the actual thing but it’s still awful.
I’m about the furthest thing from a prude you might imagine. I’m sex-positive and anti-censorship. I have a background shooting erotic photography, including BDSM photos that many would find extreme.
All that being said, (here’s the link warning again) this is the worst thing in the world and in my opinion the makers of it should be prosecuted for obscenity. It’s exploitative, blatantly racist, genuninley misogynistic, and completely without any redeeming value whatsoever. The money changing hands actually makes it worse, too.
I can’t imagine a single person defending it and yet it exists and there’s no major media coverage of it that I can find. This is real racism, it exists right now, and it’s not being talked about.
2) Black Racist Mob Violence
In the past few year, there’s been an epidemic of mobs of black youths attacking white people or looting stores. It’s referred to as flash mobs in some cases and the violent, criminal flash mobs seem from my research to be exclusively black.
If a gang of white teens went on a violent rampage against black people at a public event, it would make national news immediately — and nobody would possibly defend it. But incident after incident after incident has happened with black-on-white violence and the national press has ignored it.
Here’s just a few examples. There are many, many, many more. Again, ignored by the media.
The whipped up Paula Deen racism controversy is a bad thing because real racism does exist and it’s awful. To set Paula Deen was the standard for racism lowers the bar so much that actual celebrity racists with recent history of such racism like, let’s say, Mel Gibson and his misogynist, racist crazy abuse of his girlfriend must be laughing manically in Malibu somewhere. Of course, Mel was probably doing that anyway. By the way, I believe Mel Gibson absolutely should have been condemned for what he said.
The controversy over what Paula Deen said in 1986 reminded me of the shock I had watching the 1980 film The Blues Brothers recently. I hadn’t seen it in twenty years, at least.
The Blues Brothers script was written by Dan Aykroyd, who is not only white but also Canadian, which I believe makes him extra white, technically. At one scene early in the film, the character played by music legend Cab Calloway–who is black–says to them:
“What’s one more old nigger to the board of education?”
I was take aback for a second when I heard that line. Whoa. Times have changed.
I don’t believe for a second that Aykroyd would have written that in a script today. He would have said the same thing in some other way. It took me out of the film for a moment; it was that jarring.
But in 1980, I don’t think it caused a stir. I don’t know why. It was a different time. I don’t think Aykroyd is a racist for writing it. I don’t think the audience in 1980 was racist for not freaking out about it. I think the shock today is progress.
I don’t believe Paula Deen is a racist but more to the point, I certainly don’t think she’s more racist today than she was 30 years ago. Her public beating has helped nobody.