2/6/16

MADOFF KICKS HARD...I THINK


You'd never know it from the puzzlingly different reports from different news orgs, but it turns out that our "Madoff" miniseries kicked some serious ass on its last night.

As this is my first venture into TV, I'm learning a few things; namely that the news gets reported based on the news organ's opinion of the show. Variety, for instance, thinks we came in last--and, surprise, gave us a medium poor review.

All things said, I'm delighted with the reception and glad ABC--who put an enormous amount of trust into me and my work--seems to be happy as well.

Anyone got a job for an unemployed filmmaker?

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2/1/16

MADOFF: THE PRODUCTION DESIGN


Click here to read a wonderful article by Carlos Menendez, my production designer on the four hour mini-series "Madoff", which will air this Wednesday and Thursday night on ABC. Carlos wrote this for a terrific mag that for some reason I'd never been hipped to called 'Perspective'--it's the official publication of the Art Directors Guild. In the article you'll see some great pics of the sets that Carlos designed and built with his superb staff and will learn, from his pleasantly professorial manner, what went into making the look of the movie and the physical reality of Madoff's world happen. I just re-read that last sentence and it is by far one of the worst I've ever composed, but you get my drift. I have to get on a plane in a minute so leave me alone.

Watch 'Madoff' for Chrissakes!!!

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1/19/16

LUMET FOR DUMMIES


Above is a very good "Omnibus" program from 1991 on Sidney Lumet, complete with some of the footage I posted the other day of the "Q&A" read through, more rehearsal stuff with Armand Assante, and some nice on-location behind the scenes stuff. The doc is basically a forty-five minute review of Lumet's career up to 1991, with interviews, clips etc. Essentially it's a primer for those who don't know much about Lumet.

And if you really want to read something embarrassing, click here for my "I Stalked Sidney" confessional, written just after the great short guy director's death.

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1/15/16

SIDNEY LUMET IN ACTION


Here are two invaluable views of Sidney Lumet in process. The first, posted above, is documentary footage of one of Lumet's famous 'table read-throughs' of the script, in this case "Q&A". Lumet spent two weeks before shooting his films reading the script with actors and blocking out scenes on the sets so that, come shooting time, everything was incredibly well figured out. It happens to be the complete opposite of how I work, but everyone directs in their own way and I've long admired Lumet's determination to "pre-rig" his movies.

The second doc (you have to click the previous link as the poster annoying disabled embedding) is a terrific look at the location shooting of "Dog Day Afternoon", fifteen years earlier than the Q&A read through. Here we see Lumet in action and Jesus is he in action. He runs, jumps, shouts into a bullhorn, gets angry with the extras, hugs Al Pacino etc. I don't know for what purpose either of these docs were made but there terrific finds and have, thus far, attracted a paltry amount of views on Youtube. Enjoy.

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1/11/16

NYC GAY 90s FILMS



I'm happily surprised at how much 'experimental' footage was shot at (and before) the turn of the century and how much seems to have survived. Above are a series of street views of New York City in the 1890s. How much more interesting these impassive, undramatized, cinema verite segments are than, say, surviving melodrama's of the period. I myself get mesmerized watching the flow of life that for some reason was captured by a forgotten cameraman experimenting with his dandy newish device, the motion picture camera. Whoever he was, he was clearly interested in cutting edge tech stuff and possibly worked for a company--Edison?--who sent him out to shoot test footage of things. Or maybe, just maybe, he was somebody who had the foresight to realize that capturing these images on film could one day be a time capsule for future generations who wondered what the world he lived in had looked like. In which case he was correct. I can't identify any of the blocks/corners he shot on but I love the flow of horse carts, trams, people and streetcars--what a sad form of transportation to have lost. I'd gladly take a streetcar over a bus or subway. Or for that matter an Uber.

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