And so I Wrote Something to be Read

Not only do you get a 2D cartoon representation of me, you also get some quotable gems I've probably (wisely) moved away from.

Cartoon Amir.

Cartoon Amir.

In all honestly, this is a cool film series published by FOCAL PRESS with some interesting, and talented(this word is meaningless in many ways, but not always) filmmakers.

I however, did not reread this after it was sent 6 months ago to be published, because, what is the point of revising archived opinion?

With that said, can it possible be the best thing I've ever written? Not sure. 

Enjoy, share and let me know your thoughts.

BIG BRAINS - SMALL BUDGETS: DIY FILMMAKING ADVICE

On Thin Skins & Dreams of the 21st Century Cinema

Any time I write directly about film as a 20th century media living in a 21st century world, people get upset. My feeling is that the emotion is tied to a sort of existential anxiety about identity and career, coupled with nostalgia for something we hold dear. I get it.

I love cinema. It’s one of my most beloved passions. But, massive changes are upon us, both on the business end, and even more harrowing, the loss of cultural influence of a media that has absolutely dominated the 20th century. But, if we are to keep this thing moving forward, we all have a responsibility to create a clear vision of the road ahead. This is not a community effort, which would be impossible, but an individual one which demands honesty, projection and ACTION.

What this means is that a) the content has to change b) the delivery of said content (don’t be hurt by the use of that word) has to change c) the form of said content has to evolve d) all of the above. Does this mean VR, does this mean 4D, or the end of the movie star and lower budgets, or does this mean something else all together. 

I often hear people complaining about the lack of interesting movies being made. The classic, “they don’t make em like they used to” phrase. Bullshit. If they did “make em like they used too”, we would collectively be bored out of our fucking minds, because we would still be stuck getting sequel 300 of ON THE WATERFRONT (and I love that damn movie). Second, and more important, a ton of fantastic movies are made every damn year. This is without question. There is no lack in storytelling. That is the easiest and laziest fallback to a more complicated challenge. One that I hear time and time again. You cannot make this argument without context.

The real problem is an existential one. A question of supply and demand, and of a now, classical art that is too frightened of the future and too in love with its past to break through the noise. What does this mean? Without experimentation, and I mean real gritty experimentation we cannot know exactly, but, if we continue along the same path, this thing we all love so much will go the way of OPERA. And when it does, the good ol days is all we got.

People often point to studies done years ago about how the cinema is as strong as ever. This is misguided, because again, supply has increased, demand has decreased, while ticket prices have increased. It’s a shadow show. The decline of the American people going to the movies over the years has fallen drastically, while at the same time, the growth of media has increased tremendously. This is why Hollywood bets on the tentpole comic book franchises, those giant movies with endless sequels and stories cultivated years ago. That is where they have a true competitive advantage for now. Scale above all else.

But if you aren’t aware of Moore’s Law and exponential growth, its a good time to use wikipedia because those massive CGI movies are not far off to being replicated at home, with but a few talented people. We are already seeing that stuff being reproduced by small teams and sometimes individually on Youtube. We are not on stable grounds, and nothing, not even the most beloved, is safe. 

Build the future, and bet on your vision. Cherish LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, but please, don’t remake it.

______________

article originally posted on Medium

of things which seemed impossible at first....

While doing a surface redesign of the site, I got a bit nostalgic when I ran across this item.  SHANKS AND THE DREAMERS "Instrumentals for Illegal Aliens" was the first bit of music I recorded as a conceptual whole, to be shipped out into the market. I did some soundtrack work for my film STILL LOVER, but the soundtrack was never intended to stand alone. The images drove the music.

The backstory to this record is one I will always cherish because of the many physical and emotional hurdles it entailed. It took much longer than a year to complete and I had no clue of the recording process. All of it was new.

And on top of that, I was completely self taught and didn't start playing instruments till later than most. At one point in my development, I was playing guitar for about 12 hours a day. My roommate at UCLA wanted to kill me, but he had no choice but to stay out of the apartment. I also surely skipped some classes, driven by my desire to understand how this damn thing worked.  

But, the recording process taught me a few lessons. One was that if you want something, you can make it happen regardless of the challenges. The other lesson was that setbacks don't mean anything in the long run. A hurdle is just a small physical barrier, or a psychological abstraction that is solvable. There will be many others to take its place along the way, but taken in small pieces, they don't amount to much. And they can almost always be defeated by ACTION.

Now, I know this isn't all that much, but for a kid who never had any musical experience, and without any knowledge of the tools of recording, I went from 0 to 1 pretty fast all because of a desire to try, learn, execute and ultimately, not give a shit of critical opinions. Because you cannot ship anything if your afraid of peoples reactions.

I'd love to hear your story. Send me message, and play this forward.

Also if you happen to need some introverted tracks to go along with your coffee, your creative work or a long drive, please pick up a digital copy of this ancient work (2007) right below:

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of YOUTUBE episodes and other expletives for the month of JAN....

Ok, so, here we are nearing the end of the first month of 2015, a wild month politically, and certainly, personally.

One thing that I promised myself, and I've made that socially clear as well is that I am going to commit to consistent communication. And Youtube is one of those streams I want to cultivate.

The only challenge now, is that while we at ANIMALS have been developing super material for the web, we have not figured out how to engage on a more simplistic, communicative level on channels like YOUTUBE

So, here and now, I keep to my word, while at the same time searching for ways to build the puzzle. Bear with me for awhile, since its not going to be pretty, but, soon enough we'll get into a flow .

For now, if you haven't, please subscribe. Do it. SUBSCRIBE NOW, not later. See, I'm not putting it off, and neither should you.

Enjoy this train wreck of a first attempt while it lasts.

the rebirth of audio storytelling.....

Who would have guest that in 2015, audio storytelling would be one of the hottest things in media. Of course, the popularity of PODCAST'ING has been growing for awhile now.

But, there was a substantial lull as well for a few years. It seems like an archaic medium if you compare it to terrestrial radio, but of course, it bares very little resemblance to traditional radio.

Podcast is about technology, and the viral effects of distribution. The platform was created by these advancements, and talented "entrepreneurs" took the leap to venture where others would not. And of course, the leaders take the cake.

That doesn't mean there isn't any room left. So, maybe its time for you to take that leap as well?

It's exciting to be alive at a time where some forms of distribution are essentially free. The gift of communicating is an option and not just reserved for a tiny select few. That's something remarkable and not to be taken for granted.

Been revisiting architecture (googie edition)....

I recently read an article in CURBED about the possible demolishing of a NORMS restaurant on LA CINEGA and Rosewood. First, i've probably been to NORMS under 5 times in my life, and every single time it was after a night of drinking, when other options did not exist. Needless to say, I don't really have an opinion on the food they serve, and in all honesty, I don't remember too much. It probably wasn't that great, but that's just assuming shit.

But, the article was not about NORMS itself, but the building that housed it. The architecture of the GOOGIE STYLE, (50's-60's) and one of the real identity markers of Southern California. The style is so fantastic and timeless, by the shear dated quality of it. Yes, it's a contradiction, but the wholly unique attributes make it a style that stands apart. It also was a staple of some of our favorite cartoon designs.

And it's being erased from the landscape as more and more of these cafe's, bowling alleys and motels get demolished. So, maybe it's a good thing to save this little NORMS, but maybe not for the coffee.

Take a second of your day and enjoy our creative human endeavors with a little click of the mouse.

look at how remarkable this is.

look at how remarkable this is.

a lesson from Peter Thiel....

In Peter Thiels wonderful book, ZERO TO ONE, he describes a counterintuitive point about entrepreneurship and economics, one that vastly differentiates itself from the mainstream point of view.

In it, he makes the case for monopolies. Although, a caveat is in place to describe a certain type of monopoly different than the industrial age style of say, STANDARD OIL. The good types of monopolies he describes are ones like GOOGLE, or PAYPAL. Companies that created a whole new category, and are the best at what they do.

His point is that competition is bad, or more apply, misunderstood. Google hasn't had any competition in what it's best at, "search" for many years. 

This point can be applied to other endeavors aside from business. On a personal level, competition often works against our goals. It places us in a situation where we cannot think creatively because we are striving for incremental advantages of doing things that are already visible.

But when you stop looking at your work as competition, new ideas can appear because those borders are loosened. You create new categories, when you go from 0 to 1.

It's an interesting idea to contemplate.

In Peter Thiel world, technology and innovation is our savior, with an emphasis on financial rewards. A possible counterpoint to some of his idea's is Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, who describes the tech monopolies as the possible end of the middle class in his book, WHO OWNS THE FUTURE

Both have interesting books to look into.

the curious case of the James Francos.....

Whether you like it or not, JAMES FRANCO is the character of the future. He is constant, consistent & working in PRESENT TENSE. Franco is the stream. And that stream is not going away because the stream demands stuff now.

Gone are the days where you could sit and toil on a concept for years, or turn a MALICK and show up 15 years later. Gone are the days where you could do or be ONE THING (however, if you  love that one thing, more power too you).  Because the world is turning so fast, if you don't pivot when you are required too, the media you are on top of will turn into OPERA, and then you'll be bitter. And pivoting becomes increasingly difficult as time goes by. It's as skill you must learn to survive. 

Franco and his cohorts are also the few characters around who are almost completely immune to criticism. This is not unprecedented. Woody Allan has already mastered that art, by the only effective method. By not giving a shit and immediately moving to something else. The new school just does it faster.

In a world where media is completely ubiquitous and a million paths of communication exist, dealing with a bad review is akin to wiping your mouth after eating a bowl of spaghetti. Who gives a shit. And if you do, well, you're fucked.