Monday, October 18, 2010

Espresso, not Expresso

I was always wondering what the different types of espresso beverages were and could never get a definitive answer out of anyone.  Well, I finally found this nifty little chart courtesy of that explains it nicely.  Enjoy!

Coffee Chart

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Story by Robert McKee

robert_mckeeI just finished reading the book Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee.  He came to town about 3 years ago to teach, but little did I know who the world renowned teacher really was.  Well, I was in for a surprise during the course of his seminar.  It was probably one of the most mind bending, yet informative weekends I have been to, just ask anyone who has taken the course already.  Being sick during the whole weekend didn’t help my situation.

Since I have started writing, I have read several books on screenwriting.  They have all helped me to learn the basics of screenwriting, the history of Hollywood and how writers got their start as well as how the industry has changed over the last century.  Robert McKee’s book concentrates on more of the science behind story.  Although it is tailored towards the screenwriter, his techniques can be used for all types of writing.  My eyes were opened after finishing the book and it allowed me to see the difference between good writing and great writing.

I encourage anyone who is looking into making their storytelling and communication better by picking up this book or audio book.  It’s not a difficult read, but I think it will open your eyes to ‘story’ like no other book has.

An excerpt from Robert McKee’s Story Seminar

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Movie Posters: Drew Struzan

Growing up watching films, I have always been fascinated by movie posters and the art behind them.  The ones that really caught my eye were the realistic, illustrated ones that were best suited for the film of spic proportions.  I figured that nowadays they might have taken a photo and used some sort of impressionist effect to get that painted look, but to my surprise and delight, these posters are still hand drawn or painted and on top of that, they are all done by the same person!  That man is Drew Struzan.

Titan Books has now released a compilation of his work in a new book called The Art of Drew Struzan.  Press Release:

I just thought I would share the info.  Please take a look at some of his work.  Here are a few of my favourites.






Just how does he make these masterpieces? Take a look here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Drought is Over!

Inception 07 For the first time in a long time, going to the movies is fun again!  That’s right folks, I can’t remember the last time I have been this excited to go see a film and walk away from it feeling just as good.  The film I am talking about is Inception by the creative genius of Christopher Nolan, and it did not disappoint.  Since this was a Chris Nolan film, I knew it was going to be released at a certain level of quality.  If there is one thing that you rely on about Mr. Nolan, is that he will not release anything that isn’t written well.  It all starts with a good story.

Chris Nolan also knows that spectacle can’t carry a story.  This film was flooded with traditional and CGI special effects.  Things that we have all seen before in one way or another, but they were done in a complexly new and different way and that did not deter the writer from having a great story to tell.

Everything about this film came together, from the music, to the original story and how it was all put together.  It has so many elements, but did not leave the audience in the dust wondering what just happened.  Every single member of the cast was exceptional and fit perfectly with their characters.  I love all these actors from previous films and it was a delight to see them all work together on one film.

Prestige goes to Mr. Nolan for keeping it clean.  On top of all these wonderful story elements, he managed to have no more than a couple of swears, little to no gratuitous violence and nothing crude in the film.  Inception proves everything I have said and thought about filmmaking.  Start with a good script and only add what is necessary to carry the story forward.  Other filmmakers today have it backwards.

To my pleasant surprise, audiences have taken to this film and are raving about it all over.  I’m really glad to hear this, as I probably have not given the viewing public enough credit.  They want good films, but the general filmmaking population is starving them of it.  Thanks Chris for making films that you believe in.  I hope I can do the same.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Film Competition

csHey everyone.

"Coffee Shop" has been entered into the Openfilm "Get It Made" film competition. Voting is only available for members of the site, so please consider signing up for a FREE account and voting for the film today!

Sign up here:

Watch and vote here:

The winners will be announced in September!

Please spread the word! Thanks a lot, your support is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Death of Art

Are we running out of ideas, or are we just lazy?  It seems that every film in the theatre or song on the radio seems to be a rehash of something nostalgic or it is original with no substance to it at all.  You have to wonder if this is because no one has any good, original ideas or because the people who produce such pieces of art are playing it safe and producing what will be a guaranteed money maker.  I know in film this is extremely evident and becoming almost comical, with the production companies playing it safe and remaking everything in the past 30 years or so, but it seems that this is panning over into the music industry and other industries as well.

This phenomenon reminds me of the art deco style of architecture of the 1920s and 30s.  Buildings were pieces of art that were pleasing to the eye and people could be proud of.  Now, with a few exceptions, people are hard pressed to find a building that is not economically made as possible; big square buildings with little thought put into it.  I understand because of the depression throughout the 30s that things had to change, but they never did bounce back.  The houses we live in seem to be made the same way these days.  It’s all about economy and now we are even seeing that the craftsmanship in the very washer/dryers and refrigerators put into these houses.  Nothing lasts for than 5 years, whereas if you had an appliance from 30 years ago, it would outlast something bought last week.

Although I will give the music industry credit, the instrumental artists out today are fabulous and have been creating great music that are some of the greatest there is, but the lyrics are repetitious and don’t say anything.  Music used to be about telling the world something, now it is just a way to sell records.

There is a line drawn between art/expression and a business, but I think it’s time to turn that balance in the other direction.  Life can be a tough place and boring at times, so when people go to escape, to an otherworldly experience in a theatre or in their rooms listening to the radio, it would be great for them to experience something better that what we are giving them as a society.  Let’s put some effort into our craft and hope and pray that he public demands better as well.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I felt a tremor the other day.  The ground moved.  The ground…moved!  I’m sure this is a more common occurrence to the residence of California, but to me, from the Great White North, it was a surreal experience.  Now, I didn’t come close to feeling an actual earthquake, but I was about 3 or 4 hrs. away from the epicenter and could feel the tremors of an aftershock.  It was an interesting experience and having the ground ‘wobble’ back and forth beneath your feet is unsettling to say the least.  I could only imagine how it could go from something so small to a real 7.2 earthquake like was felt by the people in Baja on Sunday, where this specific one took place.

I’m not going to pretend to begin to understand what it’s like to go through an actual earthquake, but it does put things in perspective when you hear about disasters such as this happening around the world.