Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

It's been so long since I've update my blog that I figured why not do so with some lovely human misery... my own.

If you follow me on Twitter than you know that yesterday morning I awoke to a very maddening sight. My car a 2002 Monte Carlo SS Pictured here, was broken into the night before.Now unfortunately I'm not stranger to having my car broken into. Let me run the short gambit of my car's history.

I bought my car from AutoGallery in 2006, October 17th to be exact. It was a joyous day, and I was as happy as I could be. But that feeling would not last for very long. In the summer of 2007 while I was attending College Sturgeon Height Collegiate my car was vandalized and I had a litre of water poured into my gas tank by some punk kid. (kid was never named) And even more unfortunate for myself was the fact I drove all the way the Unicity Shopping Centre to buy a video game and when I got back to my car the water had worked its way into the intake. The result was a $80 tow to the mechanics (which was a ripoff seeing as the tow truck driver didn't have to drive any more than 10 blocks) and then a $400 labour charge to the mechanic because it took so long to separate the water from he gasoline. Fun time. In the winter of 2008 I went out to my car to go to school. I opened my door and hoped in, and looked around realizing that I most certainly did not leave all of my Cd's lying all over the place. Hoping out of the car I noticed a nice pinhole underneath the door handle confirming my theory of being broken into. That repair cost $500 but I only had to pay my $200 deductible.

Just this past winter as my school chums and I were going out to Lockport to do our Manitoba travel assignment I was pulled over for speeding and was issued a ticked (which I still have to pay) and was also ordered to take the tint off of my windows for being too dark. After slicing my hand open three time I decided I wasn't the right person to be doing in so I took it back to the dealership where I bought the car almost 5 years prior. Not only did they take the tint off for me, but they didn't even charge. Great customer service!
Here in lies the problem, because one of the reason I though I was broken into the last time was because my tint was so dark that you can't see inside and criminals wonder whats in there. As I found out being able to see inside is also bad if you leave you iPod in plain sight. FOOLISH! Because my car was broken into and then they tried to steal it, thanks to the immobilizer they couldn't but they did rip apart my dashboard pretty good.
Now my car may be written off but the blue-book value is still high and I don't think that repair will equal the cost of writing my car off.

Here's where it gets really sticky though. I recently just signed a 14 week contract with EPIC Information Solutions (thanks to Kenton Larsen for posting the job on his blog) to film and produce a series of promotional and training videos for their company. Unfortunately my video camera was in my trunk and that was stolen too, along with some other items. This really sucks because EPIC stated in the contract that I must use my own equipment. Now they are good people at EPIC, and I hope we work something out, but I feel like my job may be in jeopardy.

I suppose things could always be worse, and I'm not to broken up about it, but I do hate how poorly this city and MPI treats victims of car theft and break ins.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Funny or Die

Hey everyone this is the montage that Jeremy Jack and I created. It's on Funny or Die right now and it's getting viewed a lot. Please rate it funny!.... Well if you think it's funny that is.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Clash of the Titans 3-D

Just a quick review.

I went to see Clash on Friday night, opening night. We got there an hour early and there was already 3/4 a theatre full of people waiting in line. Not a good sign, but we ended up getting our favourite seats anyway.

I remember watching the original Clash of the Titans when I was a kid, it was an alright movie, but I hated it as a child. There wasn't enough interesting things going on to keep me entertained. Watching it now I still don't like it, however the stop motion animation by the masterful Ray Harryhausen are fantastic here. This film was his last picture doing these effects and the only one in which he worked with assistants.
Quick note about the 3-D. It's worthless. See it in 2-D and have more fun.

The movie was a great reboot and had all the right people in it. Sam Worthington as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades(Voldemort) and the gorgeous Gemma Arterton as Lo.
All the actors do a fine job of making their roles seem important. Sam Worthington, who's been in everything these days, proves he is adept at playing different roles competently.

The action scenes are wicked, with some very cool fight scenes involving giant scorpions, being the most exciting. The Medusa fight was awesome, if not a little short lived, but the suspense leading up to the actual fight was palpable.

Now to the Kraken. Yes, it was awesome to look at, it sounded wicked, although to me it's roar was significantly quieter than in the trailer. Why that is, I'm not sure. The scenes where the Kraken is destroying Argos is cool, but when you finally see the Kraken in full, it doesn't last long. Kind of disappointing, but cool nonetheless.

I'd say go see it while it's in theatres but go 2-D and save your money.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stay Calm, Cool and Collect

Sorry, no vlog this week. Being busy with the magazine project has pushed filming to the backseat, actually more like the trunk. Now this brings me to the point of this blog.

Staying Calm, Cool and Collect.

My philosophy when it comes to CreComm.

We all know, or at least us CreComms do, that CreComm is tough. It's most likely the most stressful and time consuming thing we've done with our lives. And make no bones about it we're all going through our own personal hell right now. Trying to juggle every assignment we have, video montage, IPP proposal and panel, magazine project, script writing, magazine fair, magazine printing. Of course then add on working part or full time, having a home life, and trying to find time to eat, sleep and have a social life. It's tough, but we're all managing well enough.

There are a lot of freak-outs in CreComm, things go wrong, time gets eaten up by other things, procrastination or you just forget. But freaking out just adds to a bad situation and only makes it worse.

My philosophy is to just stay calm. Above all else, no matter what happens just stay calm. It's a tough thing to do, but trust me, it makes getting back on the horse a much less painful and quicker experience.

For example, a lot of you know that last week as Lennie and I were working on our magazine project and finishing up for the day we lost 10 pages of our magazine when our file got corrupted while we were backing up some of my pictures. Yeah it sucked, and it put us back almost an entire day. It was the second worst thing that could have happened, but I just stayed calm, in fact I laughed. It wasn't a funny situation, but laughing is way better than loosing your mind.

Believe me it's so much more beneficial for the sanity of the group to just stay calm. There is no point in sitting there being angry because you have to do something over again. Just get over it and move on.

Stay Calm, Cool and Collect everyone.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Barbara Bell, director of Graphic Sexual Horror

Last week I took on a story for the Projector where I had to write about a new documentary called Graphic Sexual Horror. The film was put together by Anna Lorentzon and Barbara Bell. I had an interview with Bell and decided I'd post that here, because I couldn't use all of the great quotes she gave.

1. What possessed you to make this movie?

After Insex closed, Anna and I wanted to do a project together. But when we were throwing around some ideas, all we could talk about were the funny, strange, and poignant things that happened at Insex. We wanted to make a feature film, but didn't have the money for it, so we decided to to do the documentary first to draw attention to our work.

2. Was it difficult to contact the people from insex? How did you go about contacting people who were either anonymous or went by aliases?

Anna had scheduled the models at Insex, and so had some contact information. But it was still very hard. Even after we were able to find a particular model or staff person, many didn't respond, or said no, or just didn't show up. The people that were most interested were those that are still working as bondage models or are working in the industry in some capacity.

3. The subject matter and visuals are something that many people would find very disturbing. How have your audiences received the film?

We've had some walk-outs, but only a few. I thought there would be lots. In general, I have been pleasantly surprised that most people have been able to process the material and the direction of our film and talk about it in a fair-minded, mature manner. Of course, you always get those few that already have their minds made up and just want to lambast all porn, or PD in particular. But I would say that the response has been very positive.

4. Do you warn anyone viewing the movie before hand that the content may disturb them?

Yes. Depending on the venue. Sometimes we aren't given a chance to say anything before the film. But the advertising should give them a clue.

5. Most documentaries present a bias, but GSH does not. Was there a specific reason for doing that? And what side are you on personally?

I don't like documentaries, movies, talk-show hosts - whatever - that tell me what to think. I dislike material that is clearly biased. We're showered with it in America. Even so-called socially conscientious documentaries are generally put together to make you angry about something. I'm rather fed up with it.

As far as PD and Insex, I am not actually on a side. I think it is a complex subject with real human beings who have their own strengths and weaknesses. I simply wanted to paint a picture of the situation as I experienced it at Insex. I think that adults should be allowed to make their own decisions as to whether or not they want to engage in this type of activity, both on a personal level and a professional level. Some people find it exhilarating and healing. Others have bad experiences - like in ALL of life. One reason why I wanted to make the film was to show that these individuals aren't that much different from anyone else. And that they are doing a job. And that the work environment isn't that different than other work environments. It is very easy to scapegoat a business or make assumptions about the "exploitation" of women when you don't know anything about the situation. I see this type of activity being isolated out and treated as criminal much like gays and lesbians, in the past, were treated as criminals. Even psychiatrists used to consider homosexuality a mental illness. Which is exactly why we didn't have so-called "professionals outside the industry" talk about it in the film. The bias about this kind of work is so over-riding, I don't know if an unbiased outside source even exists. I recently spoke with one of the models that was in the film and she was told by mental health professionals that her preference for this kind of sexuality is an illness that must be treated.

6. Was the subject matter difficult for you to stomach?

My first experience when seeing PD's work was - whoa, this is too much. But then, I can't stomach horror films either. And I'm not into porn. Yet at the same time, I could see something in his work that was more than porn. And that completely intrigued me. PD's material pretty much trashes the illusion that there can be a line drawn between pornography and art - in the same way (but more intense) as Maplethorpe. Because there are clearly artistic elements.

Once you become accustomed to the medium in which he is working, you can then gain an appreciation for the energies he elicits both from within himself and some of the models.

Clearly, if you have a fetish that falls in the category of PD's work, then you will have a completely different reaction to the material. Again, a bias against it exists in part because most sexual expression is taboo in our society. And because a small number of people possess this particular sexual orientation, most people won't have an initial positive reaction to it. Even those that enjoy BDSM can find PD's material difficult. We used a quote from a female Insex member near the beginning of the film talking about this very issue.

7. Barbara, you're a novelist, a musician and a filmmaker. Is there one above all that is your favourite?

I began as a musician and writer and still see myself that way. To me, making this film was about the storyline, the writing aspect. But I learned so much about how to use image. An amazing documentary I saw recently is called "Touch the Sound." It is about Evelyn Glennie. But the director, Thomas Riedelsheimer, used remarkable sequences of image and sound to create a marvelous shift of consciousness in me much like poetry or listening to Arvo Part. So I find myself thinking about image as a medium more often.

8. What is the main message behind GSH?

To me it is about the people. That they are real people that deserve our respect as we would respect anyone. But the reason I found myself spending time at the studio was that the extremity of the situation was like a spotlight. The climate at Insex illuminated the complexities found in all of life. It made certain profound problems of being human very clear. That is the message behind Graphic Sexual Horror. It's about marvel and obsession. It's about greed and how it drives us. It's about how two people negotiate an outcome while in a very tricky terrain of money and emotion.

9. How long did it take you to make the film?

We made the film in a little over two years.

10. Whats next for you?

I am presently re-working my website,, in order to post one of my novels online for free. The first chapter is now online. I am also working on the screenplay for a movie based on my experiences at Insex.