News

Will be a guest on FILMWAX radio later this month in support of the new projects

As part of the promotional run for the 4/21 double feature screening, I got invited to do the popular film podcast, FILMWAX Radio. The episode should air later this month. 

My producing partner Charles goes in to film an interview segment with CHICAGO FILM NEWS later this week.

All in all, things are moving along on getting these films out into the public space. We have gotten several distribution offers (for the only film we are showing to companies right now), and are weighing our options.

My real drive at the moment is showing these films together since they are all part of the same series along with CANYON. But, of course, I'm flexible on this since this is not all under my control.

In any case, if you're reading this, and program film slots, let's talk. It's a win, win.

Double Feature Screening....

Looks like both the new features will be screening together late April. While MAN is locked, still working on finishing THREE WORLDS. My big aim all along was to be able to screen these two works along with CANYON in a single show. Basically, the THREE MARKS, TOO MANY SIGNALS series as one piece.

A long road indeed. Stay tuned. If all works well, I should be able to announce the location and date. One really big thing to note, it's not an LA show. We don't do arthouse well in LA :) 

MAN_poster_final.jpg
ThreeWorlds_Officialposter.jpg
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"Unleash Your Inner Beast" Supercar Commercial

ANIMALS Media Labs (my startup development/commercial house) delivered ahead of schedule our first major broadcast spot for American Supercar Maker, Rezvani Motors.

We present, THE BEAST supercar.

Credits:

Produced by Nima Rezai, ANIMALS, Merge Productions
Directed by Amir Motlagh
DP: John Honore
First AC: Alex Lim
Key Grip: Marty Anthony
Steadycam Op: Tim Dolan
Art Direction: Ali Sabet
Written by Charles Borg & Amir Motlagh
Voice: Amen-Ra Palacio
Sound Design: Ojan Missaghi, Mike Moeding @ STEMSPOST 
Score: Randin Graves
Color: Kelly Reese @ DELUXE
Grooming: Mikal Sky

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

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.

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.

the shiny new, and the rugged old....

How many times do you hear the phrase, "they don't make em like they used too"? We like what we become accustomed too.

Back in prehistoric times (everything before 1999), our cultural cycles tended to move a bit slower and our economy was largely top down. Everything sat around a bit longer on the shelf. And the farther back you go, the longer these movements sat around.

A musical movement like GRUNGE had time to birth itself, and kill itself within a relatively stable time frame. People on the fringes sowed the seeds, and as it grew larger, the corps swooped in and made it readily available to all. And in those top down days, ALL really meant ALL.

These days, cycles don't work the same way. They have two distinct patterns. One is the giant explosion (VIRAL) and the other is the STATIC but constant feed. Things tend to move extremely quickly, or, they stay extremely stable as long as the feed is consistently updated.

Viral is like a big bang moment. Out of nothing, everything.  A huge burning moment of glory, but just as quickly, fading away, burdened by its inability to scale. Novelty is incredibly difficult to manufacture to a fickle audience always wanting something new. But some people learn to turn this situation into the second situation.

The STATIC feed is the other cultural movement. This one is based on confirmation bias and preferences built over time. Much of these where probably built many years ago. And sometimes, with consistency, you can turn viral into this.

The STATIC feed doesn't have to worry about capturing the entire market share. If you got a podcast, and people listen, you can keep a good portion of your audience for the long term, as long as you never neglect it. However, if you step off the throttle, the audience lost will probably never return. 

STATIC is all about comfort. STATIC is the same reason people get stuck into the "they don't make em like they used too" motif.  Most people just grown out of cultural items unfortunately, and are stuck with what they know. 

The interesting thing is that these days, STATIC can be beneficial for a creative. If your an aging rockstar, or a TV actor long behind your sticom glory, you can actually reconnect with that same group that loved you then.. People are looking back, just as much as they are enthralled with the shiny new toy.

 

The LEAP towards Youtube in 2007 or scared shitless of bad comments....

It's hard to believe that Youtube is not even a decade old. It seems to have been with us from the beginning.

What is more astonishing is that Youtube stars are more popular with teens than even the biggest top down celebrities as this Variety Survey documents. Poor ol Leo sitting in last place.

Now, these are the biggest of the big, but Youtube works in more lateral ways, and in smaller and smaller tribes, who remain vibrant and relevant. But this relevancy is different than what we were conditioned to understand. As Kevin Kelley described in his now famous (and in internet terms, dated) manifesto, "1,000 True Fans", relevancy is really only important to the people who care.

And you don't need too many people to care about what you bring to the table, as long as you're bringing something to that proverbial table in the first place. As Seth Godin would state, something REMARKABLE. Now, remember, remarkable is a shifting phrase. Pewdiepie is not remarkable to baby boomers, but he sure is too millions of teens. And that's the damn point.

So, this gets to my original thought. Back in 2007, while I was going through the ringer of an MFA program at this place, me and my pals (pretty much the whole class of fairly bright kids), all kind of shrugged our collective shoulders about using this new platform to reach out.

In the world of the higher arts, it was prestige less, a self publishing platform for people who couldn't find support in the business. A bunch of self absorbed people talking about non-important things, or terribly produced home videos with nothing to offer.   

What a fucking absolutely rubbish thought that was! And that's the difference between leaping fearlessly forward, or sticking to the status quo. You rather jump, watch somebody else jump, or sit on the sidelines watching other people take initiative and change the world.

So, here is a lesson for anybody reading this. Nothing is sacred in the arts or business, and all empires fall sooner or later (much sooner now). So, when an opportunity(really an obligation) presents itself, jump of that cliff and maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. But it's much cooler to be an explorer than a hesitant wimp. And Youtube won't last forever either. In fact, on the internet clock, it's running out of time, while a host of new platforms are springing up left and right. Are you experimenting, or rolling your eyes again? It's a choice.

So, cheers to a great 2015!




The Amateurs vs learning about Picasso

"In my opinion, though, it's more important that someone learn to make music, draw, photograph, write, or create in any form, regardless of the quality, than it is for them to understand and appreciate Picasso, Warhol, or Bill Shakespeare..." 

David Byrne writes the above quote in the fantastic thought piece, HOW MUSIC WORKS. Here, he talks about the need of amateurs to keep the arts vibrant, and more importantly, to bond a self healing glue for societies, with an emphasis on the disadvantaged.

At a certain point in the American industrialized education system, we abandoned the active creative arts, for art history.

The powers that be thought it more wise (and certainly less expensive) to teach an understanding of mostly Western Classical Art, than to let children create. Funding for arts programs plummeted all through the country in the last decade. 

But the creative act itself is the most vital. Art history and criticism is more the perpetuation of an elitist system created to worship monuments, over intuition.

Now, don't get me wrong, I've worshipped some of those masters works myself, but I would advocate for less worship, and more encouragement to the youth, who are seeking ways to figure out problems.

One of the best vehicles human beings "created" for problem solving, is art. And the evidence is clear that problem solving skills is an extremely desirable trait in industry now. So, if you want to give a gift to a child and an advantage, a nice pat on the back and a Beat Machine can go a long way.

 

leaving projects behind or always finishing.....

I recently picked up footage from a shoot we did over a year ago. We had some hiccups immediately during post, mostly because the world we were going to build in the box was a bit too complicated and time consuming without a larger team. This was an in-house production, so we aimed high, but the cost analysis did not add up.  A little after that realization we actually continued forward with some progress, but life got busy and other important priorities took over.

Now, this happens now and again. Personally, I just move forward without the burden of the past. If the ship is moving, why hit the brakes?

However, deep down, I'm often bothered by projects left to burn in their own ashes. Mostly because other people put in the time.

This is different than long term projects that are continuous and take time because of aesthetics, strategies or just out of necessities. I'm specifically talking about projects abandoned. Nine times out of ten, these are just scripts, treatments or half baked ideas that get pushed aside for newer scripts; but every once in awhile, its actually raw footage being tossed. You took the time to write something, got people together, and you shot the damn thing, and without any hesitation, you just threw it away. 

But here is where everything gets tricky. We are in the throes of "content world" now. Everything counts. The golden goose, and the piles of trash. They all have utility, serving the purpose of fulfilling the highs and lows of our culture. The stream of life is not historical. The origin story is now. Do you have enough material to feed this voracious monster?

With that in mind, I just salvaged some visuals locked away in harddrive hell.  Conceptually, the idea has changed, I'll be honest. But, the adjustment actually makes more sense now, since it's more in line with a certain creative process I'm dealing with, NOW.

Here is a still from the upcoming MIRS TAKE AWAY visual. The record is two years old and the footage, recently rescued from the depths of a harddrive in Burbank California, is over a year old. Who the fuck would know if I didn't say anything anyways.

 Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY

Visuals from MIRS TAKE AWAY



Running an experiment.....

I'm on day 13 of my single channel video work, DROPS IN THE STREAM. My web-host Squarespace is helping to trouble shoot a minor glitch in the page that I'm hosting my project on. It seems that the videos sometimes skip ahead or move around at odd times. The easiest fix so far is to go back to the previous video that skipped ahead, and play it again. However, it should be resolved shortly.

But, aside from this little UI blip, and the fact that a Youtube Channel and Playlist exist for it without any glitches(along with Tumblr), I am excited about its strange development. We got a long way towards our Dec 31st completion, so please subscribe here, or bookmark here

The original post with the only hint of info can be found here: