The Making of Metropolis in the Silent Era

Take a good, hard look at the above image, because we are going to return to it in a little bit.

Every modern entertainment news outlet provides insane amounts of behind the scenes or making-of footage for every movie or television show released. Whether it’s on Entertainment Weekly or Ain’t It Cool News, studios and television networks are making a point to have behind the scenes footage or images of their films or television shows serve as an extra form of marketing. A lot of hype can be created by inviting a blogger to a film’s set to take a look around, conduct interviews with cast members, and sometimes even serve as extras in the film! Then, after the film’s release, the blogger is more likely to give the film a better review after receiving such a nice treatment on set. It’s in his or her best interest at that point; why give a poor review and risk not getting invited back to the set on the studio’s next project?

StarlogThis is a fairly recent development in the long legacy of movie and television marketing. Through the 70’s and 80’s, smaller fan magazines such as Fangoria and Starlog provided awesome behind the scenes images and making-of articles for classic horror and science fiction films. Starlog was one of the first publications to provide details on the hit blockbuster of 1977, “Star Wars.” Even before the 70’s, fan magazines existed for this exact purpose, dating all the way back to the silent era. The most popular was Photoplay, which was seen almost exclusively as a promotional tool since its first publication in 1911.

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Truth in Art (Yeah, I’m Going There)

Towards the end of this semester, I had made up my mind that advertising wasn’t for me. Sure, it’s a viable career path, it’s something I personally feel that I’m good at, and it definitely interests me in a lot of ways. However, when I look at current trends in advertising, I see that a lot of the creativity I love about advertising is beginning to fall away. The basis of advertising, to sell, has always reigned supreme and it is increasingly destroying advertising as an art form and platform for discussion. When I think about my favorite advertisements, there is an element to them aesthetically or story wise that sets them apart as being REAL and HONEST.

I love the scene in Mad Men where they discuss Volkswagen’s Lemon ad because it speaks to this subject so well. The men discuss the flaws of the ad, its humor value, and whether or not it actually “sells” the car, all of which lead Don to conclude that the ad works. Why? Because it leads to discussion. In my mind, that is what good art does. It prompts the viewer to ask questions and participate in debate.

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Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

The following is a speech I gave introducing the category of “Documentary” at LKT’s Halfway There Festival at Towson University:

In 1980, at the premiere of documentarian Errol Morris’s first film Gates of Heaven, director Werner Herzog boiled and ate his shoe in front of a live audience. What would prompt a man to eat his own shoe, you ask? Herzog himself explains the logic behind the decision, “It should be an encouragement to all of you who want to make films and are just too scared to start… and who haven’t got the guts.”

Allow me to take a step back and explain. Herzog had noticed Morris’s incredible ability to find story material and to interpret it. The man was a genius who had yet to realize his full potential. We’re talking about the guy who went on to make The Thin Blue Line and Fog of War. In order to encourage him to get ANY film made, Herzog offered to Morris that if he could ever complete a single film, he would eat his shoes.

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How to Make A Thanksgiving Dinner on a College Budget

1. Buy Yourself a Pound of Turkey
2. Make Stove Top Stuffing Mix
3. Wrap The Stuffing In Turkey
4. Pour Some Canned Turkey Gravy Over It
5. Bake It at 350 Degrees for Like… 10 Minutes
6. Make Some Frozen Peas and Flaked Mashed Potatoes
7. Crack Open a Can of Cranberry Jelly
8. Cry Yourself to Sleep Alone in Your Apartment While the Other Half of that Canned Cranberry Jelly Slowly Goes to Waste in Your Fridge

Bean Pot

Quit your job, buy furniture, pack the car, say your goodbyes, and go. Ultimate freedom at the cost of utmost responsibility. Dear God.

I have my own apartment.

Working at the same hardware store for so many years has its benefits. Employees are allowed to borrow rental equipment for free (within certain limits, of course). On my final day before temporary hiatus, I reserved myself a trailer to assist in the move to my new apartment off campus. The majority of the furniture I would be moving was obtained over the summer at a variety of yard sales, thrifts stores, and in one case, a mouse filled garage.

Besides loading my furniture, I had to worry about packing kitchen utensils, bath towels, school supplies, wall art, extension cords, a plethora of clothes for all seasons, alcohol (medical grade and grain based), game consoles, food, shoes, chargers, cameras, batteries, chapstick, chewing gum, cleaning supplies, scissors, movie props, sports memorabilia, that secret box of secret stuff I don’t show people, textbooks, ice trays, pictures of dogs, coasters, mood-inducing lamps, a vacuum and vitamins. It was during this process of trying to think of what else I could possibly need to survive on my own when my mom struck me with the bean pot.

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I Did a Thing

This August I will be moving into my first apartment, so I’ve been working diligently this summer to raise the necessary funds to furnish said apartment. This has led to some personal concern over budgets for feeding myself and paying rent… but those are problems for future Mark to deal with. I have a more pressing matter, for which I’ve been scouring the ends of the internet (the depths of Craiglist) to find an answer too.

It was through the blessings of Clarksville’s annual picnic and yard sale that I was bestowed with multiple furniture pieces. I got an awesome desk and cubby combo, as well as a banging coffee table that is just begging for me to put my copy of “The Alphabet of Manliness” upon it. However, my proudest purchase was an $18 dresser that looked suicidal.

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A Polemic

This post is dedicated to all janitorial workers who are fed up cleaning the same shit every day. For the last 3 years, I have cleaned the bathrooms at my place of employment. This occurs 3 to 4 times a week. Every single time I clean, I am disturbed by the lack of natural human decency I would expect all people to have. The floor of this bathroom has a urine puddle, roughly 6 inches in diameter, that is wet, day after day, 24/7. How is this possible, you may ask?

Here’s my theory. An individual enters the bathroom and sees the puddle. Rather than widen their stance to avoid the puddle and get closer to the urinal, the individual steps back a foot and proceeds to dribble, splash, and void themselves all over my floor. Some people choose to ignore using the urinal and instead choose the toilet. Once again, day after day, I discover massive amounts of dried urine caked to the toilet seat. In a bathroom that has a urinal a foot away.

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is a freelance filmmaker and a lifelong student.