Archive | November, 2008

Terry and Johnny Fight Scene

29 Nov

Terry and Johnny Fight Scene

Scene Summary:

After being passed over for work, Terry marches with a crowd following behind, down the ramp to the union office. He passionately challenges Friendly and his cohorts when they appear. Friendly beckons Terry with his hands, inviting him to fight. Terry accepts the challenge and the two duke it out in a mono-a-mono brawl. However, Terry is ultimately overwhelmed and outnumbered by Friendly’s gang, nearly beaten to death behind the office shack. Father Barry and Edie arrive after the commotion has settled down and are greeted by the now battered and bruised Friendly, “You want ‘im? You can have im!”

Frame by Frame Analysis:

Image 1 

Image 2

In these two frames from the opening of this scene, we see Terry distinguished from his fellow longshoremen through camera angle and also background. We see Terry from the eyes of the longshoremen, captured at an upward angle with the sky as his background, they do not see him as one of them. The angle foreshadows his heroism by portraying him as such a strong and dominate figure in comparison to the next shot of the longshoremen. Notice here in the second shot that the longshoremen are captured at an eye-level view, no one is really distinguishable with everyone blending into their working environment.

Image 3

These next two shots are captured from the point of view of the union office shack where Johnny Friendly and his gang are waiting. The wide angle shot gives a sense of space and distance between Terry and the longshoremen that are following him. The union shack’s roof frames the upper portion of the shot at an angle which helps to convey a sense of motion, building tension by its dark foreboding presence in contrast with the reflection on the water which is light. The next frame shows Terry walking down the gang plank towards the union office, from the point of view of someone within the office looking up. Terry is in the center of the shot and framed by the shack’s post while his fellow longshoremen crowd the docks behind him. Again, everyone here is framed by the union shack’s roof symbolizing the fact that they are still under Friendly’s control.

Image 4

These shots of the longshoremen looking on convey a sense of anonymity and restlessness. There is no motion in these shots rather they convey a stillness that can be related to “the calm before the storm”. The framing of the longshoremen in the second shot is quite amazing, note that everyone is contained within some sort of inner frame – the men above leaning on the rail, the men to the left framed within a ship’s rail and then the men to the right, framed within the dock’s architecture. These two frames contrast each other slightly in that the first frame shows a never ending line of longshoremen, whereas the second, the men seem blocked together in a somewhat contrived fashion – a mold about to burst from its confinements. However, both shots are taken at a somewhat upward angle which heighten the distance and perceived tension or restlessness.

In contrast to the longshoremen shots, here we see Terry confronting Johnny Friendly from the gang plank. This angle exaggerates the distance between Terry and Friendly, signifying Terry’s resolve to shed himself of Friendly’s corruption once and for all.

Image 7

Another shot of Terry from the gang plank, but this time from Johnny Friendly’s view point, at an upward angle. Notice the lighting on Terry! While he may be in the shadow of the union office, he still rises above it both literally and figuratively.

Image 8

 

Johnny Friendly taunts Terry, provoking a fight. The rapid succession of shots alternating from close-ups to a side-view, conveys a sense of rapid movement synonymous with the actual fight taking place.

These two frames are amazing. The fight scene is really elevated due to the fact that the audience experiences it as one of the longshoremen. Here in the first shot, the action is blocked by Friendy’s thugs, the viewer is put in the shoes of a longshoreman watching, vying for a piece of the action from the docks, but unable to see. The fact that we are not shown every detail of the fight heightens the suspense. The second shot is angled downward, distancing the audience from the action even more, showing the throng of longshoremen waiting and watching. Again the fight is blocked by the shack, we are left to wonder and wait much like the longshoremen.

Father Barry and Edie arrive after the fight subsides but are initially blocked by a thug. Note how the thug takes up the entire left hand portion of the screen, his body in shadow, while Father Barry and Edie are highlighted, literally, by the light. We also get a glimmer of the sky, this time without the union office’s roof to contain the longshoremen. In the second shot, we see the thug in an extreme downward angle, distancing him from the viewer.

And finally the last two frames where we see the battered Johnny Friendly. We know that even though he has won this battle, he has not won the war, so to speak because of the downward angle of both shots. These are not victory shots. The first frame is dominated by longshoremen with Friendly emerging from behind the shack, a dark and tattered figure. The composition of this shot is beautiful, with Friendly at the vanishing point. Lastly, Friendly is surely defeated as we get a semi-close up of his battered face at a downward angle. There’s no looking up to this crook anymore.

travel 101 week 5

28 Nov

“So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that youll wait for me
Hold me like youll never let me go.
Im leavin on a jet plane
I dont know when Ill be back again
Oh, babe, I hate to go.”

Oh-kay, this week is a short and sweet holiday edition of travel 101! Sure you’ve been walking up and down the boulevard like you own the place; and yeah, you’ve even ridden your bike across the state for the thrill of it – but there are times when you need to jet. Literally.

Take for instance, the holidays, when you’re compelled to sit down and spend quality time with family. And for some, family may be out of walking distance.

It’s best to get your tickets at least a month or two in advance for the best deals; however, if you’re lucky, you might be able to snag a last minute miracle flight. I’ve also found that tabbed browsing has really opened up the online cheap ticketing world. Searching for your flights on a number of travel sites at the same time is a great technique as you can compare prices in real time. You know the sites like: cheaptickets, travelocity, lowestfare, orbitz, studentuniverse (for students), ryanair (Europe), and airline sites as well, like jetblue.

Once you’ve chosen your flight, make sure that you check-in online by visiting the airline site the day before your scheduled departure. This way you can bypass those silly check-in lines at the airport. You’ll be required to print your boarding pass so make sure you have a printer handy, or email yourself the link and go to a kinkos office center where you can print out your information. Put your boarding pass in your carry-on, somewhere easily accessible.

Pack lightly and bring only what you really need. I can’t emphasize how crucial this is for a smooth travel experience. A small rolling suitcase/duffel bag and a laptop messenger bag are all you need. Easy. Dress like a cartoon character. Wear the same thing, switch shirts, whatever. You don’t need your entire wardrobe. It’s okay. Really. However, if you’re bringing back presents and all that jazz, definitely check a bag so that you don’t have to lug around a lot of weight.

Get to the airport early, say at least an hour and a half before your scheduled departure. Bring a book or have some work with you as you may have some spare time to burn.

Wear slip on shoes or something that isn’t to laborious to take off, as you’ll most likely be required to take them off at security check. Also, if you like to wear a lot of jewelry or have a belt, pack those accessories in your carry on so that you can put them on after security (and not have to deal with taking everything off in a hurry while everyone glares at you for holding up the line).

Once you are through security… you’re free to roam about the terminal!

Christian Scott “Live at Newport”

27 Nov

Christian Scott, the rising voice of jazz trumpet today, has released his first live album and DVD, “Live at Newport”. The 2-disc set showcases Scott and his band performing in their element, live at the JVC Jazz Festival in Newport, RI. While featuring 5 new compositions, “Live at Newport” revisits material from both “Anthem” and Scott’s Grammy nominated debut album “Rewind That”. The result is a stunning experience of slow burning jazz infused with an intense and earnest energy harkening back to Scott’s critically acclaimed sophomore release, “Anthem”.

If you’re familiar with Scott’s previous albums you know his music is an expression of personal experience. The set opens with “Died In Love”, harnessing all the heartfelt emotion of losing a close friend. Scott’s playing here echoes cries of sorrow that will send shivers up your spine. Jamire Williams’ staggered drums tumble with energy while Matthew Stevens and Aaron Parks’ brood over a heart wrenching chord progression on the guitar and piano. And this is only the beginning.

Building upon the intensity, “Litany Against Fear” is a composition from Scott’s previous release, “Anthem”. Stevens steals the spotlight with sharp riffs and runs that trickle about the fret board, while saxophonist, Walter Smith III, makes his presence known in this piece by laying out a fervid solo that will leave you breathless.

The energy settles down as Scott’s plays “Isadora” a sweet and smooth ballad that caresses your senses while providing some emotional resolve after the first two numbers. Stevens’ “Rumor” is driven by a funky rhythm with Smith’s solo igniting the composition midway through the piece, while Parks tears up the piano in “Anthem”.

“Live at Newport” is a performance that allows you to experience music in the moment: there are no dubs or retakes. The album affirms that Scott’s unique sound, coupled with his innovative and breath-taking style, is unmatched among his peers. Reinforced by a skillful and adept band, Scott’s “Live at Newport” is an album that will resonate for years to come.

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life w/sans: hunting w/bracket

26 Nov

bracket goes turkey hunting

bracket goes turkey hunting

turkey: gobble. gobble?

turkey: gobble! gobble!

bracket: gobble. gobble

 

(absolutely riveting dialog this week)

travel 101 week 4

21 Nov

“get a bicycle. you will not regret it. if you live.”

it’s week 4 of our travel course. You’ve walked your shoes sole-less and now you’re that guy (or gal) roving about the city barefoot with a walking stick… or not. it’s okay… no one will judge you… much. don’t worry though, a sure way to remedy such a sorry state is to get yourself off your feet and onto a bicycle. you can leave the stick at home. please. 

this week we’ll cover the basics. if you have a bike you are one step ahead of the game. however, if you don’t have your own, i suggest looking up used bikes using an online vendor – i purchased my current road bike through craigslist for a mere $80. granted it’s hot pink (not my first choice in colors by a long shot) but other than that it’s perfect. this week’s session won’t go into the fine points and details of purchasing your own bicycle (that class is saved for a later date).

biking uses a lot of the techniques we learned from walking, however the speed at which you are traveling is much faster and you now have more space to take into consideration when performing crazy, traffic-defying maneuvers. there are also state laws that you should keep in mind before heading out on a biking adventure. the helmet law is one of the easiest to adhere to (and one of the easiest to break). this site has an up-to-date list of the helmet laws just in case you’re curious.

as odd as it might seem, this is the equation governing the movement of bicyclists:

bike = car

this means that you should adhere to the rules of the road as if you were a car. because according to this fancy equation you are a car. it’s going to be a little nerve-racking at first, heart-stopping at times, maybe even suicidal… but the thing is you are a part of the traffic so just ride as if you belong on the road. you have the same rights as other “drivers”.

so first *rule of biking  is to go with the flow of traffic. riding against traffic is a bad idea as it puts you in the path of vehicles entering the street from a stop sign or merging road. also, since you are a “car” you aren’t supposed to ride on the sidewalk (side walk, not side bike).

now you are riding on the “right” side of the street mind the traffic flow. when merging into traffic, yield to traffic on the main street. do not run red lights… because it is dangerous… and rude… although if there isn’t a soul in sight, please don’t stand there and look helpless. for you own sake run the light.

now you’re easing into riding around and the whole “i am a car” concept doesn’t seem so strange anymore. but then you see some crazy trying to parallel park his suv in a spot where not even one of those smart cars could fit. don’t panic. check the traffic behind you by looking over your shoulder. if no one is close, make a nice maneuver to your left that will ensure you are far enough to avoid whatever may be in your way. however, if there is a constant flow of traffic, you’ll want to change lanes by pointing in the direction you wish to move. do not try and merge into traffic that does not acknowledge your presence. if drivers are whizzing past you, it’s alright to walk your bike past the obstacle at hand.

alright, we’ve got you moving in a straight line and even changing lanes. that’s brilliant. but it’s pointless if you can’t manage an *intersection. remember that you are a car… so the lane you choose should be dependent upon the direction you need to go. also, don’t hog up the entire lane if there isn’t a marked area for bikes. be extra cautious when passing cars at intersections. turning cars are dangerous to your health. lastly, if you must cross lanes of traffic, do so one at a time and always look and yield to cars.

if your biking adventures unfold into the night hours, know that you must be visible to both traffic approaching from behind and in front of you. you’ll need to purchase a light and reflector for your bike. 

 

other points to consider:

do not ride within a door’s width of a parked car… riding into an opening door is not fun

be extra cautious riding over steel plates and any areas of construction

cross railroad tracks at a 90 degree angle to avoid falling

 

*all rules are made to be broken

*most car-bike collisions happen at intersections or driveways

 

WEEK 3

WEEK 2

WEEK 1

SYLLABUS

life w/sans: mind your language

19 Nov

 

ms. p demands that bracket clean up his language to no avail

ms. p demands that bracket clean up his language to no avail

bracket: [*!%#@$]

ms. p: clean your language up .[+_6].

bracket: [*@%$!#]

ms. p: …

bracket: i am not a [&*@#$!] role model

 

OMG: IM

17 Nov

(oh my god: instant message)

what a wonderful, liberating, and democratic medium of conversation in all it’s constrictions and nuances. srsly

consider the medium of an instant message: it is sent and received on a screen of various sizes depending upon the device used. most often, the device will be a computer or a mobile phone/pda. these two different device types (large/immobile vs small/mobile) are both liberating in their own fashion. g8

the computer (desktop)

messages are received/sent using a keyboard/mouse and shown on the main screen. these messages are contained within their own message box separating them from the rest of the desktop or screen display. these boxes themselves can often be customized to suite personal preferences in color and size, but usually they only take up a small portion of the display, leaving ample room for multitasking. this is a key difference in this form of communication when compared to say, f2f or otp (i’m assuming anyone reading this has had a face to face conversation and spoken on the phone with someone, so i won’t trouble anyone in the fine details of those two methods of communication). one can do a number of simultaneous tasks limited to while instant messaging on the computer both in the virtual realm on the screen and in the physical world. afk

the computer (laptop/notebook)

note the connotations associated with the name of the portable computer. laptop: on your lap, informal. notebook: even less defined physically, but conveys a sense of mobility and professionalism. the notebook computer uses the same interface as the desktop. while the notebook is portable, battery life and bulk inhibit true mobile instant messaging. g2g

the mobile phone/pda

screen size and virtual world multitasking plummets. real world multitasking and mobility skyrockets. here the interface is a bit different due to device limitations. the keyboard is smaller or integrated into the phone’s number pad and the message box now takes up the entire screen display. these slight modifications inhibit conversation flow. bbc

the message

in its most simple form, instant messaging caters to quick and short bursts of primarily visual information conveyed through text. emotion and emphasis must be implied visually or not at all, which can lead to misunderstanding a snippet of conversation between two people might look something like this:

shivermekimbers [12:37:42]: hellooooo?

jstdsntmakesnse [12:37:42]: (Auto Response) i am playing a game that takes up the entire screen

shivermekimbers [12:37:50]: srsly? wtf! ima get some fooooods and wanted to know if you were hungry

shivermekimbers [12:37:52]: lame 😦

shivermekimbers [12:37:55]: ima hunt u down and keel u

jstdsntmakesnse [12:38:21]: noes!!!

jstdsntmakesnse [12:38:24]: im at home. wah

shivermekimbers [12:38:27]: lol you dont work. lies

jstdsntmakesnse [12:38:30]: kewl games B-)

 

this conversation provides some insight into this form of communication. most notably conventional rules concerning grammar, spelling, and punctuation are moot, while acronyms and textual imagery abound which help to convey emotions and meaning quickly.

while not lending itself to lengthy, comprehensive dialogues, the instant message is best suited for witty, fast paced “implied conversations”. what i mean by implied conversation is that more often than not a message will have embedded meaning. in the simplest sense, one must be familiar with the acronyms thrown about in conversation to understand and get the meaning. on another level, there are the text faces 🙂 which convey emotion. special characters used in succession for emphasis !!! ??? or combination !?!?

unlike phone or spoken conversations, the instant message is a visual dialogue. however unlike email or text message or letter, the instant message unfolds in real time. all one needs is a keyboard to partake in the conversation, and it’s not really about what you say, but how you say it. for instance, one can type out the sentence, “He was a newbie, completely useless.” or “n00b”. the later is quicker but requires the audience to know what the abbreviation means. here are a few i’ve used in this post:

srsly – seriously

g8 – great

afk – away from the keyboard

g2g – got to go

bbc – big bad challenge

wtf – what the freak

lol – laugh out loud

 

anyway… there is a whole culture surrounding instant messaging, from its “lingo” to the very way one thinks about conversation (and during it as well) that affects other aspects of life. it’s rapid fire visual communication where dialogue is dominated not by the one who has the most/best thing to say, but by the one who can say the most/best in the least amount of space and time.

design work: road signs

16 Nov

whenever i think of signs or hear the word, i immediately beginning singing ace of base’s “the sign” in my head. what can i say? i’m a sucker for 90s swedish pop.

anyway… here’s another design exercise based on the concept of immediacy in communication. i was given 9 labeled, but blank, road signs with which i was to come up with a graphic reprsentation of the written subject. the designs were to be done in black, but we were permitted to use color if the design or idea called for it. the last image, the bottom right sign, was a blank unlabeled sign where i was given the opportunity to decide upon my subject and label… 

 

9 road signs

9 road signs

travel 101 week 3

15 Nov

“Walkin’ in L.A., nobody walks in L.A.”

During week 2, you should have gone outside and taken a walk. Good for you. Bravo.

This week we’ll be looking at a few different scenarios that might occur during your walks. We’ll discuss various methods of tackling the situation and it will be up to you to decide what way suites your travelling style.

1. Sore Feet

Ouch. Worry not for this condition can be easily remedied

a. Stop walking. Take a breather. Sit down.

b. Assess the nature of your sore feet: Is it your shoes that cause the pain? Is it your muscles? If it’s the later, refer to method (a). However if your stilettos are what makes your feet sore, let me suggest investing in some more comfortable walking shoes. Remember that some shoes require a bit of “breaking in”. Sometimes it helps to wear two pairs of socks to provide an extra bit of padding.

c. Consider buying shoe insoles. These are inserted into your shoes and can provide support and comfort beyond what your normal insoles provide. The reasoning behind these products is that most shoes have flat insoles, however, unless you are Daffy Duck, you most likely don’t have flat feet. Everyone is different, so shoe companies can’t appease everyone’s personal physique – therefore they favor no one with flat insoles. Quite democratic really, but you’ll have to deal with it or buy insoles that are more tailored to your feet.

d. Call a cab. Hail a taxi. Go on. Pamper yourself.

2. Nature Calls

You will find that there are times during your walk when you really need to go to the bathroom – whether it was the liter of water you just chugged, or the nacho and burrito combo – it really doesn’t matter what. All that matters is that you need to go. Now.

a. Locate your nearest chain fast food restaurant/bookstore/coffee shop/gas station. You’ll also find bathrooms in malls and movie theater complexes. If you are in a big city, you shouldn’t be too hard pressed to find a place with a free bathroom. Be careful though, as some locations will require you to be a paying customer before you are allowed to use the facilities. Cleanliness and sanitation will be dependent upon the establishment you choose; hit or miss. 

b. Find a public restroom. These can be found at pubic squares and parks. Some cities even have lavoratories on the sidewalk, but they often require money to enter. Cleanliness and sanitation will be better at the lavoratories where you pay (at least that’s what they say).

c. Give back to nature. You just happen to be in the middle of nowhere when your body decides it’s time to go. Well you’re in luck. Duck behind some greenery (shrubs and bushes work better for cover than trees). Make sure you are well enough away from any foot traffic. Try to be out of earshot as well as that can draw some unwanted attention. Do carry a napkin or tissue for cleanliness and sanitation sake. A anti-bacteria wipe would be nice to have on hand as well.

3. Shadows

There may come a time when you think someone is following you. Before you do anything you should confirm the fact that someone is indeed shadowing you. If you are walking in a lit area, pay attention to shadows and reflections – try not to stop and turn around. Keep a level head. Distance is your friend. If you can’t see who is following you via their shadow or reflection, then listen to their footsteps. How is this person walking? Does the sound have a bit of an echo to it (hard soles) or it softer (rubber soles)?

a. Speed your walk up a bit. I repeat: distance is your friend.

b. Cross the street. I repeat: distance is your friend.

c. If you can determine that the person is wearing hard soled shoes, take a stab at running (assuming you are wearing comfortable shoes and are in decent shape – your adrenaline will help)

d. Call the authorities. You have a cell phone. Use it. You don’t have a cell phone? Hopefully a public phone booth is in sight or nearby.

4. Confrontation

Let’s say someone has been following you and you are unable to get rid of him or her. If this confrontation is positive or neutral (ie a friend, someone asking for directions) by all means be a good person and accommodate. However, If this confrontation is negative (ie they want your money) here are a few options for you to consider.

a. Remember that mace under course recommendations? Use it – but don’t spray yourself. Please read the directions and know how to use it before trying it in a real life situation where your life could be at risk.

b. You should have money in your pockets. Reach into your front pocket and throw your money in one direction and run in the other. Hopefully if you’ve followed my advice so far, you should have mostly small bills and loose change in your front pockets.

c. Scream. Cause a commotion. Let it loose. 
Up next: getting there-Biking

If you missed it:

SYLLABUS

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

Bozz Scaggs “Speak Low”

14 Nov

In 2003, Boz Scaggs released his last studio album “But Beautiful”, a first volume of jazz standards. Sure it may seem cliché, as all the greats and not so greats seem to have turned to the Great American Songbook, but there’s a reason why “Speak Low” was five years in the making. Scaggs’ follow up album is a thoughtful approach to 12 carefully selected classics performed with delicate sophistication. You’ll hear the works of Mercer, Ellington, and Hart & Rodgers among other notable composers.

There’s a sense of deference in the arrangements and Scaggs’ silky smooth performance, refreshing rather than reinventing the classics which will surely delight jazz aficionados. Pianist and arranger, Gil Goldstein, has done a brilliant job bringing out the essence of each song through simple, yet not exactly conventional instrumentation. For instance, “Invitation” begins with a syncopated tabla beat providing a foundation for the song’s ethereal sonic atmosphere, while the title track features an up-tempo marimba solo. For the most part however, “Speak Low” meanders through subdued tempos in the realm of smooth jazz, begging for mood-lighting and fine wine.

The minimalistic arrangements provide a sense of space that let each song unfold in their own time and cater to Scaggs’ laid back delivery full of artistic subtleties and nuances that make this album a pleasure with every repeat listen. The interplay between instruments and Scaggs, while anything but electric, is still a musical delight with its conversational tone that develops in such songs as “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” and “Save Your Love For Me”. Scaggs flirts with bossa in “Dindi”, his voice lending itself perfectly to the style while the accordion adds a little extra flavor.

All in all “Speak Low” let’s the music speak for itself. Scaggs performs with decided reverence, never overpowering, never a hint of strain. While the performance could have been pushed a little further, the immediacy and intimacy of this album is a something to be treasured.

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