Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Big Little Movie Experience Starring Me

Wow! I have just had the best and most exhausting experience ever. I just finished my third movie here in Paris. You might not think so, but this is a very demanding job both mentally and physically.  Even  for me who swims daily in my school's special sports program.  Talking about schools, I am sure you are wondering  how I managed to make a movie, with everything I have to do; school, swimming, homework...

To coordinate this intricate multi-location shooting schedule with my school schedule was very complicated.
Sometimes, one of the members of the crew  would pick me up from my house, take me to the location  where we were filming in the morning,  I would attend school for a half day,  and then I would be picked up again from school and escorted  back to the location, where we worked late into the night. Well it was not easy, that's for damn sure, and my grades suffered. Even though the director tried extremely hard to make sure I did not miss too many hours of class.

Working and preforming in front of  a crew of twenty two people
might appear stressful but it isn't, you get used to it.

Shown here are the dolly tracts, and  the camera mount for a slow zoom.

It's thrilling to go on a location in a place that's not home, and sleep somewhere else other then your familiar bed, well, that's what I did when I went to Normandy with the crew.  Of course I was a bit homesick.

Film making is a collaborative process. Every single person's job must be executed well, and in a coordinated fashion otherwise there is no movie.  For example, the people that lay down the dolly, which is the thing that looks like train tracks that the camera man uses to roll the camera on, could do this faster then their own shadows. If there was a problem with the lights the technician,  who we called the light god, would  come and fix  any lamp before we could blink an eye. This, crew, was, amazing! All the things they had to think about and coordinate, wow! All I had to do was rehearse, remember my lines, and act. It was very rewarding to be part of the bigger picture, each of us doing our part.

 I learned a lot. I got to observe first hand what it actually takes to make a movie. Now when I watch films I am seeing them with a deeper understanding and appreciation of what is really involved.
I was very lucky to work with such a good crew.  This is an experience I shall never forget.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hidden Faces in Paris

Are our faces who we really are, or who we are trying to be?
The expressions on our faces us are sometimes different to what we say, but who is telling the truth the word or the face?

There are faces everywhere in Paris.

They are hidden, hidden from unseeing, eyes that are
too befuddled to see what's in front of them.

Even if they are laughing in front of us trying to steer your attention towards them.

Still many of us don't see them, we only see a face, just a face.

Look again , this time let's take in what we see, let's see the beauty residing in the human face and representations of it.

Some people feel they need to change their face with make up and other such things, not knowing how beautiful they really are.

You should see the ooh la la look they give me when I tell them that!

Don't hide, look.
(Ne vous cachez pas regarder.)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

French School

Back to school annee scolaire 2009/2010

My school is actually a castle. I am in my second to last year of French middle school which is four years long rather then three like American Junior high school. This year is a decisive year the cumulative grade counts as one third of the Brevet des Colleges. This is our first professional diploma which we need to get into a Lycee ( high school).

The street view of our school. It is massive , it fills an entire city block.
We count down until graduation staring with Sixieme.

Age Grade Abbreviation
11 -> 12 Sixième 6e
12 -> 13 Cinquième 5e
13 -> 14 Quatrième 4e
14 -> 15 Troisième 3e
Lycée (High school)
Age Grade Abbreviation
15 -> 16 Seconde 2de
16 -> 17 Première 1e
17 -> 18 Terminale Term or Tle

This is how it goes If you are lucky enough to pass all the tests and follow the academic route.
Otherwise one goes to the vocational schools. All this is determined next year when we sit the Brevet exam. This is a big deal. There are no second chances in France.

By the way my school has a beautiful courtyard inside the castle

We call all this going back to school la rentree.

I made another small film this past summer it is a pilot for an animated series. I did the English voice acting it was a lot of fun in the studio with headphones, and a screen! This film is going to an international animation festival in Denmark. They hope to pick up international distribution.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Fun In Paris and Brittany

I had this Bande Dessinee (comic Book art) class at the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs. On Tuesday class started at the same time and in the same place as what some believe to be Christian Lacroix's last couture show( My mom told me this). Fortunately a representative of the museum was there to let the kids in past the burly body guards and beautiful girls with clip boards. you know invitation only, so the photographers where out in full force because of fashion week.

Traffic jam at the door.

The garden behind the louvre

After class we went to the gardens of the Louvre for a picnic before my evening acting class on the left bank. I was feeding the birds when suddenly out of the sky shot a small falcon to swoop up a bird for it's dinner. It was both beautiful and startling. I did not know there were falcons in Paris!

image by Terry Sohl
The falcon we saw small so it is probably a merlin.

My Bande Dessinee class was great. I learned to develop a story, and how to layout the pages.
I learned how to do the black and white Manga style illustrations. My teacher Piero Macola was cool. The class was only three days, but I learned a lot.

My first layout.

The 6 day acting work shop at BAW, with Marylin Fried, was amazing
. It was such an intense learning experience Marylin taught us Meisner techniques and so much more. How to be fully present in your part, how to breath, and how to speak. We did improvisations, and monologues. She coached us. She is the best!

I am off to Brittany today to a town called Dinard with my Grandparents. I love the ocean and the surf.

Dinard has rocky cliffs, sandy coves and big old Victorian mansions.

This walk way goes all around the coast, cove to cove.

This is the main town beach with a view of the casino. I don't gamble, we play billiards.
I'll be back.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer Vacation in France

I Finally finished the school year July 2!
I am taking an intensive acting class at BAW for the next 6 days. Today the class is 10:00am-7:00 pm whew!

It is great, Yesterday was the fist day. I am really enjoying the summer already.

Happy July 4th
Happy Birthday America!!!!

Next week I am signed up to take a comic book drawing and design class
at the mueum of decorative arts
With Piero Macola
The French call it Bande Dessinee.

This is the cover of one of his books

here is the character I am developing, it is based on my late cat GUS
who died a few weeks ago. He liked to sit on the radiator, so we called it the "catiator"

I like drawing sequential art
I will tell you all about the class
Next time

Friday, May 1, 2009

Smokers abound in Paris

When I went out today, I was astonished by how many people were smoking (fumer). You can not walk down the street without literally being choked. Since they banned smoking in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and hospitals in Paris this has driven the smokers out on to the side walks. I decided to investigate why all these people (gens) were smoking so much. What were the facts?

15,000,000 people smoke in France [1] and on January 1
st, 2008, cigarettes were banned in enclosed areas : cafés, restaurants, and in hospitals. The government is spending lots of money on advertisements asking people to stop smoking. Still the French continue to smoke.

The smokers say cigarettes represent
libérte, or freedom, but health ministers claim that both active and passive smoking costs many lives and costs French tax payers millions in additional funding to its universal health care system
, which is already over-burdened with debt.

In France, 60, 000 people die every year due to smoking. In a debate on France 24 (a TV news network), 3 January 2008, Lauren A. Colby [2], an American lawyer (paid by the tobacco lobby) argued that there is no evidence whatsoever that smoking causes lung cancer or death. He also says that the countries where people smoke the most are where there are the longest life spans.

Dr Hirayama [3], of the National Cancer Center Research Institute in Tokyo,
proved in 1981 that wives of smokers in Japan had about 2o to 25 % increased rates of lung cancer. It was through these studies that Dr Hirayama demonstrated the first real proof of the effects of 2nd hand smoking.

I support banning smoking and trying to get people to reduce the quantity of tobacco they consume. I think it is time now to rely on children - who are, if we are not careful the smokers of the future. This is what I would do to prevent kids from smoking:

When I was in CM1, which is 4
th grade in America, I went to a road safety lesson with my entire class . They showed us pictures and videos of car accidents and people dying because of them; after that, my class and I thought twice before crossing a road without looking carefully. My point is that it has stuck with me all of these years. However, I went to a stop smoking conference with my class 2 months ago and I have already forgotten most of the presentation. This goes to show that it was not shocking enough for me or my class. So, I would start educating children by showing them the shocking reality, using videos of surgery on patients with lung cancer, with commentaries explaining the medical situation and even interviewing a smoker with acute lung cancer. I would start this training in 6th grade, when children start getting the idea from older kids.

Many parents smoke, and thus influence their kids. After a while children whose parents smoke start getting ideas like, "My parents smoke, smoking is cool," or "smoking is being grown up". I disagree with both of these ideas . I think smoking is damaging and dangerous both to the smokers and anyone near them.

1. Debate on France 24, 3 of January 2008
2. Lauren A. Colby on the same France 24 debate
3. Dr. Hirayama New York Times

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Cry for Freedom in Paris

This afternoon I heard from my apartment window a loud noise.
What was it ?I had to investigate!

It was in fact the Tamils from Sri Lanka protesting about the murders in their country. They are crying for help and freedom.

An estimated 70,000 Tamils live in France. Yesterday, 20,000 of them turned out to demonstate in Paris in an attempt to bring the worlds attention to there plight.

Personaly, I think they are absolutely right demonstrating, and if I could, I would seriously advise President Sarkozy to help them .

This lady said that they were simply there to ask for help to
obtain freedom.

Friday, April 24, 2009

April in Paris

A spring promenade in the Champs de Mars.

This is me of course. Like the new hat?

Eiffel Tower

Bloomin flowers

More bloomin flowers.

A new friend

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rue Cler - French Food in Paris

Without doubt - rue Cler is one of the most famous food streets in Paris, and its a 5 minute walk from my apartment.
In 1659 Louis XIV granted David Chaillou the first and an exclusive right to sell chocolate in Paris, where he continued to do so for the next three decades.

In France, a place where you buy wine (vin) is called a cave. This man was kind enough to teach me a few things about the quality of wine. Although people have been drinking wine for thousands of years the French still believe they invented it!

As you may know, the best bread (pain) can be found in Paris. One of the major brands is Poilane which is famous for their wood-fired ovens and can be purchased in a bakery (boulangerie).

France is like the moon. It has 340 unique varieties of cheese (fromage). My favorite cheese is aged Compte which is excellent with cherry jam.

I hope you enjoyed my first post and will be back soon with more about my life in Paris!

A bientot!