How Black Panther Changed The Way I View Directing

How Black Panther Changed The Way I View Directing

Last weekend I saw the movie Black Panther. It was awesome.

Not only was it the most unique and stylized superhero movie I have ever seen, but there were some deeper things going on beneath the surface that I originally didn’t even notice. The director of Black Panther is named Ryan Coogler, and I have major respect for him after watching this video:

[DO NOT WATCH IF YOU DON’T WANT A SCENE FROM BLACK PANTHER SPOILED]

I was blown away by the level of detail Coogler paid attention to in directing this scene. Even before any shot was filmed, he had a 3D-printed scale model of the set on his desk and would plan out the sequence with tiny action figures. In the video he points out the incorporated symbolism of the Pan-African flag in the wardrobes of the main characters, and the idea of illustrating the use of “femininity as a weapon”. I am also a fan of the way he mentions how they subtly incorporated the larger themes of the film into this fight scene, such as “Tradition vs. Innovation”. These details, themes, and symbols may pass by unnoticed to the general audience (including myself), but after seeing them in a new light I believe they heavily strengthen the film as an art piece and Coogler’s status as a great director.

Even though these ideas may not have been solely the creations of the director, this movie has shown me that there is a lot more to directing than simply bringing the script to life. It has inspired me to begin infusing my stories and visuals with meaning. Every prop used and costume worn can have a thematic purpose. Characters’ beliefs and the way they act according to them can echo and enhance the main themes of a piece. This isn’t something I need to do in every shot of every film, but I will definitely remember these techniques for enhancing the story while I continue forward as a filmmaker.

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     That’s all I wanted to share for now, but if you’ve recently checked the website you will have noticed that the first episode of our podcast is up! I will make a separate blog post about the podcast once I get up at least one more episode, but if you are still reading this, please go check out the first one!

-Jordan (:

HOW TO TURN A BOOK INTO A TV SHOW

HOW TO TURN A BOOK INTO A TV SHOW

What’s up everyone, happy 2018!

It’s definitely been a while since I last uploaded a blog post, and that’s because I had to recover from putting 110% of my soul into our latest short film, EVERYONE iS AN ARTiST. Check my other posts for links to that if you missed it!

In between the last time I posted and now, I certainly  have still been working on WLDWLF-related things. For one, I’ve been trying to be more active on our twitter (@WLDWLFFLMS), which should totally be followed for updates, sneak-peaks, questions, and other fun posts.

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I also recorded this writing tutorial on one of my last days of writing for our Charles Dickens TV adaptation. I wanted to practice making tutorials (for the future) as well as share my entire process of adapting a scene from a book. Why did it take me 40 minutes to write a 6 page scene? Watch the video below to find out!

I hope you’re able to learn something from this if writing interests you. I’m also aware that I sound pretty unsure about everything I talk about in this video, so keep in mind I’m learning as I write this, just like you! If you have any other ideas for tutorials within the filmmaking process that you want me to cover, please let me know (:

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Finally, I have some pretty big news; We are officially starting a WLDWLF FILMS Podcast! I have a lot of ideas about which direction to take this in, and as a storyteller I could not be more excited to start releasing episodes full of conversations with interesting people.

The first one is almost ready to be released, but for now you can check out the sweet cover art I designed for it.

More details will come in a future blog post as soon as I’m ready to send out the first episode. Until then, watch some of our old projects, or do other things! I’ll be back soon (;

-Jordan

I’M TIRED, BUT THERE’S A NEW VIDEO UP

I’M TIRED, BUT THERE’S A NEW VIDEO UP

What’s up everybody, it’s been a couple weeks since I last posted here.

Long story short, I’ve been working on hitting the deadlines for the three film schools I applied to, and completing all of the supplementary work that comes with them. I am pretty much done with all of the big things I needed to accomplish, but now- I am exhausted.

Hopefully I will have an actual blog post to share next week, but for now I’ll just give a quick update.

1.) If you haven’t seen the video we made for my application to Chapman University, you should check it out:

I have another blog post about the process of making that short film (from start to finish) in less than 24 hours, but hopefully I will be able to make some sort of behind the scenes documentary with the footage I have.

2.) The BIG news for this week is that we made a NEW SHORT FILM called “EVERYONE iS AN ARTiST” for my application to U.S.C.’s School of Cinematic Arts. I’ll put it here:

I am too tired to write a whole blog post on the creative process for making this film right now, but I probably will talk about it soon. We’ve been hearing great things about this short, (which makes me happy), and it would be awesome if people shared it around for us!

If you read this far, I’ll reward you with the original concept art I made for this character:

The bowtie and cool red suit just happened to be a part of the picture I used, but I’d say we otherwise nailed it.

That’s all I have for now, I want to go listen to some podcasts and play some video games with my newly restored “free time”.  I hope you enjoyed these videos we made, and hopefully I’ll be back here next week!

-Jordan

WE MADE A P.S.A.

WE MADE A P.S.A.

My friends and I were trying to find a funny P.S.A. for reasons that may or may not involve making fun of another school’s athletic team, and we couldn’t find one that matched the tone we were looking for.

So, I suggested: “Let’s just make one”.

We wanted our P.S.A. to look like it came out of an 80’s health video, and for that we were going to have to dress, act, and shoot a certain way. We wanted a stereotypical nerdy/innocent character, and then a jock who tries to peer pressure him. The costumes were pretty easy, and we knew the set had to be a school to get the tone right. I had the actors both just act super over-the-top to attain that “cheesy” vibe from other P.S.A.’s.

I shot with a lot of panning to keep the camera in motion and so we could see the reactions and movements of both characters. I don’t think we could have gotten the feel right if the camera had been static on a tripod.

The final, and most crucial, piece to the puzzle was mimicking the V.H.S. look. There are multiple ways to do this from scratch, but I took the easy route since we were on a time crunch of one day. All I did was edit the video normally, and then throw it into a “V.H.S. After Effects Template” to get the look right.

Music choice was also an important part, but since we knew what we were looking for, a few YouTube searches helped us find what we wanted quickly.

And- after all that, here is the final product!

This technically isn’t the first P.S.A. I’ve made.  We were actually forced to make one about “hazing” because we depicted it poorly in a video I made for my Youth Group (which is a good story for another time)! All they told us was that it had to be against hazing, and we had to incorporate the phrase “Stronger Together”. I’d say we followed those instructions almost annoyingly literally.

That one makes me laugh every time I see it. Maybe WLDWLF will be making more P.S.A.’s down the road!

Anyway, I still have a lot to talk about in upcoming blog posts but I’ve had to keep these short because I am really busy finishing all of my film-school applications. I am excited to talk about that process on here, but for now, I’ll see you next week with another quick update on something interesting!

-Jordan

NEW SHORT FILM: “EGGBERT”

NEW SHORT FILM: “EGGBERT”

What’s up everybody? This week I have something really spontaneous to share with you: a new WLDWLF Short Film! I was not planning on making this video (the idea didn’t even exist before the day we shot it), but I found out I needed to make a 2-minute short film for one of my college applications 24 hours before it was due.

Here is the prompt I was given:

“Without the use of dialogue or voiceover, make a film that is less than two minutes long about a character making a difficult and dramatic decision.  Show that the character is pulled in two different directions at an emotional level, visualize their process of consideration, and show that they make a decision.”

I ended up documenting our entire creative process from starting with nothing to uploading the finished video, because I thought the whole “24-hours to start and finish” challenge was really interesting. It was my fault for not reading the application carefully enough, of course, but it still made for a good filmmaking exercise.

The result of a late night of writing and another school-day of brainstorming was the video we have now, entitled- “EGGBERT”.

I will share more behind-the-scenes of the process of making EGGBERT soon, but I still need to put together the clips I took.

Things have been pretty hectic here for me and WLDWLF Films, so the blog posts should be pretty interesting for the next couple weeks!  I have to release and show you guys the next short film we are making for my USC application, talk about my encounter with somebody very interesting, and talk about the making of a funny PSA we made. Hopefully that gives people reason to keep checking the website!

Until next time, see you later (:

 

MY FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEO

MY FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEO

Music videos are a great way to add creative visuals to already-creative songs. I like music videos because they enhance the experience of listening to music (if they’re done right) and contribute to the atmosphere around certain songs by providing imagery from the artist. Music videos can be funny, serious, sad, trippy, abstract, or fit really any other category. There is so much artistic freedom associated with brainstorming a music video, that I love to see what people can come up with.

I’ll share with you my favorite music video of all time, but I also want to watch ones that other people like! Leave your favorites in the comments please (;

MY FAVORITE MUSIC VIDEO:

This video is just a joyful experience all the way through because it adds an interesting story to a catchy song. When I listen to the song by itself, I don’t think of this particular story between a villain and some kind of hero, but when it plays out in front of me, I am really into it. I admire that someone was able to visualize this concept just by listening to the song, and then they were able to bring it to life for others to view as well.  I know that the video is kinda silly, but in the end it left me with a smile on my face, which I feel like is a success for art forms such as this.

That’s all for now, I’m still working on new designs for the Rick and Morty t-shirt design contest! Until those are done, please comment some other good music videos for me to watch below!

-Jordan

RICK AND MORTY T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST

RICK AND MORTY T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST

What’s up everybody? Today I just wanted to share that I have started working on some ideas of designs for the just-announced Rick and Morty t-shirt design contest. The winner gets $2,000 and THEIR SHIRT SOLD AT HOT TOPIC. That would be a pretty cool experience, ya know?

So far I’ve only made one design, but I really think I could come up with something good and unique to submit. Here is the process behind creating my first idea:

I began with this image from the show, and edited out the sky and the characters on the rainbow. Then I made a circular design out of the same colors from the rainbow, and distorted it.

 

Next, I used the Liquify tool in After Effects to apply a slight twist to the distorted design. In the show, there are a lot of portals, and that swirly-portal look is the effect I was trying to mimic.Finally, I connected the two together to make it look like Morty’s puke-rainbow was the origin of the portal!

This is just a concept for my first design, but feedback would be much appreciated! If anyone has any other ORIGINAL ideas for me to make, leave them in the comments please!

That’s all for this week, maybe I’ll update next week with more designs!

-Jordan

 

IS WATCHING TV A WASTE OF TIME?

IS WATCHING TV A WASTE OF TIME?

When I was a kid I loved to watch TV shows. Then came a time where I felt like they interfered with my productivity.

Throughout my middle school years, I almost never watched TV. I didn’t see the point of getting addicted to sitting in front of a screen when you could be exploring nature, creating stuff with friends, or doing anything else. For a while, I was happy not watching any shows.

But then, something took off that is known as “Golden Age of Television”.  Even though it had technically started in the 90’s before I was even born, I began to appreciate the quality of the shows that were airing around me. They were new, exciting, captivating, and created on a larger-than-life scale. The stories of TV shows gave me places to exercise my imagination, and opportunities for my mind to learn from their themes. Here are 5 of my favorite TV shows (and 5 more honorable mentions because I couldn’t narrow down a top 5), and why they convinced me that watching TV is NOT a waste of time. (No spoilers ahead.)

-Game of Thrones

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Game of Thrones is by far the show with the highest production value I’ve ever seen. To me it was inspiring to see how the writers, directors, cinematographers, actors, and visual effects teams all worked together to create something that came out looking so artistic. This is the show that made me realize producing shows and movies takes a HUGE amount of team effort to get it right.

-Rick and Morty

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Rick and Morty is another show that made me appreciate the group work between the writers, actors, and animators, but it also is one of the first shows that made me think about the meaning behind my own life. Without giving too much away, Rick and Morty is a comedic show that also focuses on the darker curiosities of existential philosophy. If you like exaggerated characters, wacky adventures, and a sprinkle of deep/relatable undertones, this show will satisfy you.

-Westworld

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Westworld is one of the first shows that was capable of actually blowing my mind. The whole concept of the show introduces multiple mysteries throughout it, and the depth of the story made me value the quality of the writers. Also, this is a prime example of what captivates me about Directing: the fact that the story and visuals making up this whole show originated inside someone’s head, and now I am experiencing them.

-The Leftovers

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This is a show I can’t really talk about without spoiling, so I’ll just say what inspired me about it. This show made me appreciate humanity. It made me feel grateful to be who I was. It made me feel like I cared about what happened to the main character, which is hard to accomplish. It also taught me to look deeper into perspective. When I finished it, I was left feeling like I had just consumed a masterpiece. The story offers the audience a chance to interpret things for themselves, which makes watching the show a more immersive experience. The 3-seasons together truly create a work of art. It is a perfect example of a show that I would one day be proud to work on myself.

-Breaking Bad

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     This is literally the first show I had ever watched from the Pilot the Finale. Breaking Bad was my introduction into the “Golden Age of Television”. It is a show that focuses on character development, and explores humanity’s values and morality. This is the show that made me consider TV as a viable career option. It was the first time I had been left speechless and breathless by the conclusion of a story. I wanted to create that feeling in audience members when showing my own content. Hopefully one day I can.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (AND WHY I ENJOYED THEM):

-Arrested Development

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This show is probably one of the funniest, most clever shows ever made. The characters are incredibly written. The jokes are so well-thought-out. I would recommend this show to anyone who just wants to relax and laugh for 20 minutes every now and then.

-Silicon Valley

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Silicon Valley combines clever situations, nerdy humor, current references, and a great cast. The plot is well developed, the comedy is hilarious, and overall it is just super addicting to watch.

-Wilfred

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Wilfred is a show that is funny, but also makes you think. It is an example of a show that makes you keep watching because you want answers. You can take it at face value, or you can look at the deeper themes and understand it on a different level. It is definitely one of the more “absurd” shows I’ve seen, but that works very well to advance its humor and storylines.

-Sherlock

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This show uses some of the most creative editing I’ve seen, and has a very consistent and interesting style. It is a show that proves that mysteries and action can still be clever and funny. It really has elements of all the best genres.

-Fargo

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Fargo is a show that knows how to hook you with the first episode. It is super easy to get sucked into, because all of the story elements they give you feel so disconnected, and as the viewer you want to continually watch to see how it all gets resolved. This is another one of my “you just have to watch it to see why it’s so good” shows.

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     Overall, watching TV has inspired me to become a better writer, a better thinker, and a better creator. It has solidified what I want to be when I grow up, and it has even taught me how to live the best life I can. Storytelling is what I am passionate about, and that might be because TV has helped me become the person I am today.

-Jordan

WE’RE WRITING A TV SHOW

WE’RE WRITING A TV SHOW

Hello everyone! This week I am super busy and I don’t have a lot of time, so I just thought I’d quickly share something interesting that we were up to.

My friends Eric, Daniel, and I are writing a teleplay for a 3-episode miniseries. It’s an adaptation of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. Each episode will be around an hour long, which translates to a little over 60 pages of script.

“A Tale of Two Cities” takes place before and during the French Revolution.

 

In order to do this professionally we had to learn what the industry standard is for formatting a screenplay. The whole process has been extremely interesting. We have also been running our writer’s room like an actual one would be ran, using post-it notes and whiteboards to plan out our major story arcs.

The beginning of the writing process for Episode 2.

For now I don’t want to share that much, but the script is coming together nicely. If we decide to pursue selling it to someone I would LOVE to document that process here on my website.

A scene from Episode 1.

Expect more Tale updates down the road, but until then, I’ll see you next week.

-Jordan

What is my Favorite Movie?

What is my Favorite Movie?

I’m sure there are a lot of amazing movies that I’ve never seen, because for someone who wants to make movies when he grows up, I haven’t watched a lot of movies. Today, though, I want to talk about one movie that I have seen, one that has stuck with me since it came out in 2011. I would like to share with you why I think “Hugo” is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen.

1.) The Incredible Story

     Hugo tells a story that is realistic, mysterious, and exciting.  It mostly takes place in a train station in 1930’s Paris. Watching the story unravel feels like participating in an adventure in itself.  One thing I notice each time I watch it is that the way the exposition and backstory are revealed is very natural, it doesn’t feel cheesy.  Everything you want to know is shown to you if you just sit back and watch.

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The story is well-crafted in a way that every element is important; there is nothing extra, but also everything comes full circle. By the end of the movie, you are satisfied. The characters are believable, and their situation is unique and captivating.

2.) The Incredible Sets

     I have probably never been more impressed with the sets in a movie than I was with Hugo’s. Remember how I said it is set in 1930’s Paris? Through a stylized use of CGI and large-scale practical sets this is actually done believably. In some shots you can tell CGI expansions are used, but at least for me it doesn’t take away from anything. In other shots, I can’t even tell where the line is between a practical set and CGI.

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The 1930’s French aesthetic is absolutely accomplished, and in watching this movie, you feel removed from the current year for a couple hours.

3.) The Incredible Color

     The color in this movie is extremely stylized, but not in a bad way. The oranges and blues are pushed up, and this look is consistent throughout the movie. You can tell attention was paid to the lighting in each scene and the color-grading details, because overall every scene just look beautiful.

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The Invention Of Hugo Cabret

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4.) The Incredible Visual Effects

     Hugo uses VFX to enhance a lot of the most intense scenes, and, in my opinion, they help the movie a lot. They help create situational suspense and fear for the characters by making them appear to be in impossibly dangerous scenarios. They create a beautiful world for the characters to exist in. It’s hard to put into words why I respect this category so much, so just watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean.

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5.) The Incredible Writing, Acting, Directing, and Cinematography

     Each character in this story is unique, yet they all make sense in their own paths. Their motives are believable and their arcs are engrossing. There are interesting mini-stories about various characters in the train station that keep getting updates throughout the movie.

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I also rarely notice that a director actually is the reason a movie feels good, but in this case, Martin Scorsese totally deserves the credit for shaping this masterpiece. You can tell that the movie was directed well. That is the final working gear to make this whole movie an amazing experience. If you find the time, you should watch it. I spent WAY too long writing this post, so if you’re still reading- thank you.

See you next week,

Jordan (;