My friend Cabel had curious gaps in his movie knowledge. Gaping, er…gaps. He’d somehow missed Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby…you name it, he’d missed it. We decided to rectify the problem—partially—by kidnapping him, renting out a local theater, and forcing him to watch two movies he’d never seen, but needed to see. (The movies we picked? For reasons too numerous to mention: Goodfellas and Aliens.)
We had the movies; we needed some trailers, too, so we picked a very humorous trailer for Rocky (another flick he hadn’t seen), one for The Godfather, and another for The Terminator. (Hadn’t seen that either.) But that wasn’t all: I wanted authentic vintage bumpers to announce “Coming Attractions”, “Feature Presentation”…plus a special message for Cabel.
One of my clearest moviegoing memories as a child in the ’70s was the distinctive General Cinema opening bumper. There was only one half-way decent sample of it online, but its quality leaves something to be desired. Fortunately that clip has a pretty reasonable audio track—and wow, what an audio track!—so I used the audio and took this as the opportunity to fulfill a dream I’ve had for years, to re-create the video of the General Cinemas bumper. (I’m experienced with After Effects, but wanted learn Apple’s Motion. Verdict? It took a while to get the hang of it, but I won’t be going back to After Effects.)
Here’s the result. It’s not exactly like the original…but it is pretty close. Feel free to use it yourself. (There’s a Coming Attractions version, too. And here’s the all-blue version from the early 70s. Finally, here’s the humorous version we showed to Cabel during intermission.)
How was it done? I made the background from a photo of a ruby I found on the web, run through Motion’s Kaleidoscope filter. I drew the projector, scrolling circles, and text in Illustrator. After that, Motion’s incredible “Bad Film” filter added scratches, jitter, and the like. (A secret: did you notice that the blue film projector graphic is comprised of the letters G-C-C, for General Cinema Corporation? Whoever designed that was brilliant.)
Oh, and by the way: if you like these bumpers and you live in the Portland area, you should come to our Match Cut Movie Club. The whole renting-the-theater-and-showing-surprise-movies thing bit us hard, and we’re going to be doing it once a quarter. I’m also taking it as my opportunity to go crazy with all my mid-century bumper motion graphics fantasies, so you’ll see lots more stuff in this style. Please come check it out! It’s lots of fun.
A great Disneyland postcard that I found on Flickr:
Lots of folks—non-fans, but even some die-hards—resent the corporate logos found at Disneyland. For me, as a kid, they totally legitimized the place.
Tomorrowland especially: as much as I admired the Walt Disney Company, who were they to say what was going to happen in the future? But Disney + Monsanto + GE + RCA + McDonnell Douglas, etc…there’s a vision I could trust.
Two years ago, after enough prospective viewers had inquired about it, Netflix decided to start carrying my documentary, TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball on DVD. They purchased two hundred (!) copies, and I was thrilled: not only was the film going to be available to a lot more people; it also meant that TILT was now a real movie, in some sense on par with all the other real movies you see on Netflix. Like Lawrence of Arabia. Gone With The Wind. I’m going a little overboard here, but you get my drift.
Weeks later, TILT appeared on Netflix. I proudly put it in my queue, and moved it to the bottom. (Because let’s be real here, the last thing I need is another copy of TILT to watch.) Emails trickled in from people who watched it for the first time via Netflix, and loved it. Between this and the film’s availability on iTunes, things were great.
Things looked even better a month or two later when I noticed that TILT—still in my queue—was listed as “Availability: Unknown.” They had two hundred TILT DVDs, and they couldn’t keep them in stock?! Unbelievable! I wrote back to my Netflix contact: “Need more?”
“Nope,” he said. “Not enough demand, so we won’t send them out.”
Which patently makes no sense.
I followed up with him and, for some reason, couldn’t get a straight answer to the seemingly obvious question of why they wouldn’t mail out DVDs they already had. All his responses were in the vein of, “don’t you get it, your movie isn’t popular enough?” Which, of course, I get. The only information I did glean is that if enough people put TILT in their queue, they’ll start sending them out again.
So I’m asking a favor: put TILT in your Netflix queue. (It won’t actually go into your queue, it’ll go into that “Saved” no-man’s land at the bottom, with all the films as-yet-unreleased on DVD.) If enough people do this, hopefully those two hundred TILT DVDs sitting in Netflix’s warehouses will see the light of day again.
And thanks for your support.
P.S.: If you haven’t seen TILT and would like to: well, it should be obvious, don’t wait for Netflix. You can buy it on DVD, or buy or rent it on iTunes. (One quick plug for purchasing the DVD: you’ll get the brimming-over-with-content Extras DVD, which a lot of people like better than the film itself. You’ll also get my brilliant and insightful director’s commentary. And the deep pride of ownership that comes with possession of a finely-crafted piece of art. Okay, going overboard again, but anyway, feel free to watch it any way you’d like, just watch it!)
UPDATE: I’m told that if you only have the Netflix streaming plan, you can’t add a DVD to your queue. So in that case, we’re out of luck. But I appreciate the thought anyway.
There is, of course, endless speculation about what the iPad should have had, and why it will be an abject failure because of [your favorite feature]‘s absence. “Video camera” seems to be the #1 cited omission. No doubt videoconferencing via iPad would be nice, but hey, I don’t even know that many people that video chat, so I’m not sure how something used by so few people could be considered essential.
There’s one feature omission that everyone seems to have forgotten about: multi-user.
Without multi-user capability, whose bookmarks are going to be in Safari, mine, or my wife’s? Whose usernames and passwords will get saved? Whose schedule will be in the calendar app? Contacts in the Address Book? You get the idea. Without multi-user, most of the built-in apps will be, by necessity, useless, filled with data that’s not yours.
The good news is that multi-user requires just a software upgrade; maybe we’ll see it when iPhone 4.0 comes along. Until then, my iPad will be used about 50% less than it should be.