Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Media Revolution: The Epilogue

First and foremost, I want to thank you for clicking the link that led you to this page. If you didn't click the link that's okay, but I do suggest that you read The Media Revolution Part 5: The Filter to get a better understanding of what I'm about to explain.

If you already know, I have a filter. We all have a filter. Our filters are what we create to our personal liking whether you do this consciously or subconsciously. As I said before, I decided to take my filter a step further. Sometime earlier this year, I was ranting and raving about the state of Hollywood and it's lackluster movie releases. Remakes and rebooting movie franchises. Lazy imaginations that are running the film world who are just out to make a quick buck. Then I saw something cross my timeline that read, paraphrasing: "If you don't like what you're seeing, do something about it." What a simple and profound statement.

If you didn't know and this is the first time you've ever came across my blogs, I'm an aspiring screenwriter, so me being passionate about this is justifiable. But what I realized after reading that is even though I am striving to be a writer, I'm not doing this to my full potential. Not even close. I wasn't even really trying to be completely honest. Sure, I had written a few short scripts but I never took the initiative to get them filmed. They were just sitting in my laptop wasting away, not realizing their full potential in the motion picture format. That's when I decided enough is enough, let's really put in some work.

I started writing my first original screenplay. The idea was inspired by The Prince by Niccoli Machiavelli. And that's all I'm going to tell you about that one so don't ask. As I'm writing and outlining for a couple months I hit a snag. Not a writer's block, but a snag. I realized this isn't what I wanted to do. The script that is. There was something else I was more passionate about writing. Something that I just couldn't shake from my head. It's actually playing in my ears right now. Frank Ocean's "Nostalgia/Ultra". It just ended on the last track of the mixtape, Nature Feels. Now as I sit here in silence, I'm going to key you in on what I'm getting at here with "Filtering".

Little did I know, upon listening to this mixtape that Frank Ocean was telling us a story. These weren't just random songs slapped together, this was a cohesive non-linear story. I say non-linear because the track listing doesn't go in order to the story. For example, "Novacane" has a lyric that goes:

"I'm feelin' like
Stanley Kubrick, this is some visionary shit/
Been tryna film pleasure with my Eyes Wide Shut but it keeps on movin'

Now take that lyric, and combine it with a song that shows up later on called "Lovecrimes". I'm sure most of you know by now, but if you didn't, the dialogue at the end of Lovecrimes is actually Nicole Kidman's character in EYES WIDE SHUT. Frank knew what he was doing. It took me countless plays but in this crazy head of mine, I was able to "script" in my head the songs that Frank was singing and play the images out as I saw fit. Each song was a piece of a puzzle that was a past relationship Frank had in the past. What I did was literally take his mixtape, and write a script about it. At this point, I don't know what's going to happen. But what I do know is with my filter, I am going to take the responsibility and do my best to make something what I want to see. If I'm not happy with the general state of film, then I'm going to try and make something happen with a film idea of my own. And this is where The Media Revolution comes in.

This is a time where everything is instantaneous in the social networking media. If something happens in the sports world, I can get that information on Twitter before I get the ESPN Alert text or it comes on Sportscenter. That's how powerful and quickly news can spread with social networking. I'm just going to do the same thing. And that's where you come in. If you feel as passionate as I do or are at least as curious as I am, do me a favor and hit up @Frank_Ocean with this blog and let him know you want to see a Nostalgia/Ultra movie. Create a buzz. I'm not telling you do to anything, I'm just giving you the option to sift your filter to something that you may want to happen. In the meantime, I'm going to keep using my filter and shape my media consumption how I see fit and do something about it. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, I know it was a lot to say but I had to say it and make it as clear as possible. Now it's time to work.

-Chauncey Balsom

The Media Revolution Part 5: The Filter

Filter. [fil-ter] -verb 9. to act as a filter for; to slow or partially obstruct the passage of

Other parts to The Media Revolution are here:

Part 1 || Part 2 || Part 3 || Part 4

I started The Media Revolution series almost a year ago, last August to be exact. It took a long time, just as I said but I feel the series has now come to a fitting end. I say this, because I feel I have finally found a way to "beat the system" or at least cheat it to work in my advantage. The funny thing is, this has been at my disposal the whole entire time. It just took a lot of soul-searching, research and trial and error to finally come to it's conclusion. All it took was a heated discussion back in April, which prompted the 4th part of The Media Revolution.

A year prior to that, I would have snapped. Cursed. And just flat out went off. I was the complete opposite. Calm. Cool. Collected. Clear. Concise. I walked away satisfied with the results. I've grown. I realized quickly my growth came from me being able to do something that has always been a tool: filter. Such a simple word that can be turned into an action. A noun into a verb. Filter. Say it. Fil-ter. Do you know how easy life is once you realize that you can filter out whatever it is you want?

Let me explain. For instance, the social networking application called TweetDeck has this amazing feature called "Global Filter". You're able to type in keywords and usernames on Twitter and in your news feed it will filter out those words. BRILLIANT! I finally started using this amazing feature a few months ago and let me tell you, my social networking experience has improved drastically. Sure there are somethings that still make it on my timeline that I'm not too happy about, but for the most part I'm very satisfied. What I don't understand is, why don't more people use this option? Not only can you do this on Twitter, Facebook has an option where you can hide certain friends from seeing information and pictures about you so this isn't exclusive to Twitter. You can also filter out certain websites on your computer. Channels on your television. Songs or artists that play on your Grooveshark or Pandora radio stations. As invasive as the media can be in our everyday lives, our main source of media consumption can be filtered out to YOUR liking! I don't know about you, but I find that extremely helpful.

But yet, I still see people complain about what they see or that gets thrusted before their eyes. I know, I'm one of them. But did you know not only can you filter your media consumption, you can also filter your personal life? I mean, really think about it. If you don't like how something is working out for you, filter it to your liking. Take that dirt that is in your way and sift through it to find the gold laying right before your eyes. It's right there, all you have to do is make a conscious effort and make a personal vow that you will mold your influences to however you see fit. That's what I did. Which led to my metamorphosis into a better person. A person that doesn't let the media influence his thinking, his actions. I make my own decisions based off the filter that I placed on my media outlets as well as my personal life. No longer am I going to get upset about the things that make me upset when I see them, because I filtered them from my sight. Out of sight, out of mind. It may not be 100%, but it's enough to take control of what you want to see and hear about.

With my filter, I decided to take it a step further. So, if you would ever so kindly click this link here I can tell you what I did with my filter.

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies

*blows dust off blog, coughs* It's been awhile since I've used this thing. Mainly due to me currently writing a screenplay so I haven't had the time. Plus, there wasn't anything worth talking about. But my dude Dom, otherwise known as @vthrilla, on Twitter brought up the Will Smith blockbuster hit "Independence Day" is about to have it's 15th anniversary. Which brought on the question posed by him:

"What's the best alien invasion movie?? Does Independence Day rank in the top 3? #1 overall? Any thoughts?"

And then my movie geek mode kicked in and my fellow Twitter family started chiming in naming movies. Also posed a mini-debate on whether "Aliens" was indeed an 'alien invasion' movie. Some say it didn't, some said it did and I'm still on the fence about it to be honest. Due to that, sad to say I wasn't able to put "Aliens" on my list and it was replaced by another. Now time for My Top 10 Alien Invasion Movies.

#10 - Evolution (2001)

Evolution is one of those movies that if you go in with low expectations you just might end up liking it more than you should, and that's what happened with me. I was bored one day, channel surfing and I stopped on Evolution right as the opening credits were rolling so I decided to watch it. About an hour and a half later I was in tears from laughing at how ridiculously entertaining this movie was.

#9 - Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

I saw this movie maybe only a handful of times during my summers visiting my grandma. I honestly don't remember too much of it except being freaked the hell out at the idea of aliens invading Earth and stealing our bodies as you're sleeping. Oh, and Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock from Star Trek) quite possibly being the weirdest old white dude in Sci-Fi history.

#8 - Signs (2002)

M. Night Shyamalan's 3rd best movie followed by Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense. Everything else just falls under the "dead last place" spot. Signs was also another one that took me by surprise. Not due to the expectations of it, more so the mystery behind the aliens. Were the hostile or friendly? How did they get here and how long have they been there? One of the best scenes in the movie is when Joaquin Phoenix's character catches his first glimpse of the alien while watching the news. That's when you know shit just got real.

#7 - Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

This could quite possibly be a case of it being fresh in my mind and that's why it made my list, but I'll have to disagree. Aaron Eckhart, to me, is starting to become a leading male actor in Hollywood. He's not quite there yet, but he's showing some diversity in his films that could help him in the long run. There was good enough action, suspenseful moments, and even a pretty decent dramatic backstory on Eckhart's character and the connection he had with his fellow soldiers is why it jumped on my list.

#6 - The Day The Earth Stool Still (1951)

It may not have been the most ascetically appealing movie due to the time it was made, but the message behind it is very strong and still very relevant today. Due to the nature of the vast majority of the human race, recommending seeing this film might be met with a side eye due to it's subject matter. We don't even like when someone else calls us out, what we look like listening to an alien telling us about ourselves? But still I think it's worth taking a serious look at regardless. We all need a reality check every so often. And for the love of God PLEASE don't watch that horrible remake starring Keanu Reeves as the alien for a modern feel.

#5 - Men In Black (1997)

Man listen. I loved this movie so much as a kid, I got the DVD when it first came out AND the soundtrack. Danny Elfman composed films are the win. Oh yea, and that "Men In Black" song by Will Smith was pretty dope too. Don't front. You still know the dance. But back to the movie. It had comedy. Action. Suspense. Comedy. Comedy. And action. Even a bit of drama. And of course this memorable scene that cracks me up every time.

#4 - Predator (1987)

This alien is quite possibly THEE baddest villain in movie history when it comes down to it. If not the baddest, he's most certainly up there. A one-alien wrecking crew in this film with high-tech weapons and smarts going far beyond what you'd expect. A perfect soldier. I mean, he took out a squad of trained commandos in a Central American jungle. Mind you, this isn't even his habitat. Dude straight came in our backyard and could have possibly taken over by his damn self if it wasn't for AH-nuld saving the day.

#3 - War Of The Worlds (1953)

I love old school movies. There wasn't a sci-fi movie like War Of The Worlds back in the 50s that went as far as it did with content, dialogue and effects. I still don't know how they were able to pull some of that stuff off. Now that I think about it, I wonder if there is a behind the scenes version of this movie because I'd love to find out. Even though it was an adaptation of the H.G. Wells story for radio, the visual format was as original as can be and made the movie very real for me with the resources it had back then.

#2 - Avatar (2009)

Before this tries to get refuted: Yes, this is an alien invasion movie. The planet Pandora was "invaded" by humans to make an attempt to take it over for its resources. That's an invasion. To them, we are aliens. And it belongs on the list. Anywho. This movie was simply...beautiful. If I could, I'd live in an environment as gorgeous as Pandora anyday. Even though the story was pretty much Ferngully Part Deux, it doesn't take away from how captivating it was because the story is very real. It brought on a positive message that I hope someday us humans will take more serious before it's too late. No, I'm not a "tree hugger" but I would like my grandchildren to live in an environment without having to wear a gas mask outside.

#1 - Independence Day (1996)

On the low, this might be one of my favorite movies of all-time. This is around the time I started falling in love with the art of film. I remember going to the movies with my family and seeing this and leaving the theater excited. I was cheesing ear to ear and acting out the scenes and quoting lines with my brother on the way home and weeks after. It was such an awesome movie, the older I got the more I appreciate this film for what it was. It went from being a fun summer blockbuster to a lesson on humility, togetherness, and fighting when your back is against the wall. I mean shit, it's timeless. And between us, that last scene when Randy Quaid sacrificed himself to save everyone from that attack STILL gets me if I'm sitting alone in the dark and no one his home. But no tears, I just get a little choked up. Don't judge me.