DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Who Was Ray Bradbury? And Why He Matters…

The world of science fiction lost an icon of the genre this week with the passing of writer Ray Bradbury. Bradbury was a key founder of science fiction, and one of its strongest and most influential voices.


A lifelong fan of other writers, Bradbury posed sitting in the movie prop from H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” (Decades later the same prop turned up in an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”)

Not all sci-fi books make the grade as quality literature, but Bradbury’s work was often exceptional and he personally elevated the entire genre. And at least one of his masterpieces is still regularly taught in American schools.

Three Reasons Why He Matters
Writers come and go and most are lucky to have a single work become a classic. Bradbury wrote several and in the process helped turn science fiction into a major literary form. His legacy is based on the following:

1. He Saw the Future. Bradbury is best known for his 1953 triumph “Fahrenheit 451,” which paints a stunning portrait of a dysfunctional future in which intelligence is viewed negatively and books are actually outlawed and burned in piles whenever discovered. (The title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites.)

In its depiction of a world in which television entertainment rules popular culture, he predicted our modern world, warts and all. (The book, written during nine days in a study room in UCLA’s Powell Library, also envisioned the use of ATMs and BlueTooth headsets.) Surprisingly for a master of science fiction—a term he didn’t like—Bradbury was suspicious of technology and man’s increasing dependence on it.

A lifelong believer in public education and libraries (where he educated himself because he couldn’t afford to go to college), he was no fan of e-books. In fact, when renegotiating his publishing rights to his most famous work in 2011, Bradbury gave publisher Simon & Schuster the permission to offer it via digital download only if the book could be downloaded by any library patron free of charge. Among Simon & Schuster’s huge catalog, “Fahrenheit 451” is the only book with this distinction.

2. His Work is Everywhere. Bradbury had a powerhouse work ethic that makes even the always-busy Stephen King look like a slacker. Bradbury literally wrote every dayfor approximately 70 years. (Imagine working 25,000 straight days without a single day off. His last story (for “The New Yorker” magazine) was published just a week before his death at age 91.

Insanely prolific, he authored at least 27 novels and more than 600 short stories, many of which found their way onto movie and TV screens. His huge body of work was plenty successful, too: Bradbury’s writing has been translated into more than 36 languages, with more than eight million copies of his works in circulation.

3. He’s Incredibly Influential. While Bradbury’s body of work is here to stay, so is his lasting influence on many other titans of film and literature. Stephen King offered this tribute: “Ray Bradbury wrote three great novels and three hundred great stories.

One of the latter was called ‘A Sound of Thunder.’ The sound I hear today is the thunder of a giant’s footsteps fading away. But the novels and stories remain, in all their resonance and strange beauty.” Another dedicated fan, Steven Spielberg, called Bradbury “his muse for the better part of his sci-fi career.

In the world of science fiction and fantasy and imagination he is immortal.” And it’s the rare sci-fi writer indeed whose death prompts comment from a U.S. president. President Barack Obama issued the following statement: “For many Americans, the news of Ray Bradbury’s death immediately brought to mind images from his work, imprinted in our minds, often from a young age. His gift for storytelling reshaped our culture and expanded our world.”


“Fahrenheit 451″ predicted a world where intelligence was considered dangerous and books were illegal.

Bradbury’s other major novels include “The Martian Chronicles,” “The Illustrated Man” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” each of which was eventually adapted for film. His influence is so far-reaching that NASA named a lunar crater after him. His legacy as a writer, thinker and social critic will endure permanently. “I don’t need an alarm clock,” he once said. “My ideas wake me.”

Visionaries like Ray Bradbury don’t come along every day, but the exciting world of science that he treasured is open to everyone with an interest and an imagination. He was a firm believer in the power of the human intellect and its ability to positively reshape our world. And wherever he is now, you can bet that the sound of typing can be heard clearly.

SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT -or- SHARE THE ARTICLE WITH OTHERS:

[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [LinkedIn] [Mixx] [MySpace] [Newsvine] [Propeller] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]
posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

Is George Lucas Retiring?

It’s the question that’s on the lips of sci-fi fans across the world: Will “Star Wars” creator George Lucas retire? The iconic director of such films as “American Graffiti” turned 68 on May 14th of this year.


George Lucas on the set of “Star Wars” in 1976. 

The answer is…yes, it appears Lucas will “force” himself into retirement.

Lucasfilm, the studio founded by George Lucas, announced on Friday that the “Star Wars” creator will “move forward with his retirement plans.” Officials with the studio say Mr. Lucas will continue to serve as CEO as as he transitions out; replacing Lucas will be longtime friend and veteran producer Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy already serves as a co-chair on the Lucasfilm board.

Lucas said he selected Kennedy as his successor for a very simply reason, “she’s someone with great creative passion and proven leadership abilities, but also someone who loves movies.” Kennedy is also extremely talented and has spent years learning how to make movies.


Kathleen Kennedy served as an executive producer on “Back to the Future.”

Who is Kathleen Kennedy?
Kathleen Kennedy is a legendary film producer; she first broke into filmmaking as a production assistant to John Milius who was working with Steven Spielberg on the film “1941.” Later, Spielberg hired her as a secretary but wasn’t a very good typist. Spielberg kept her on because he liked her production ideas.

Kennedy went on to serve as co-producer for “Poltergeist,” then as a producer on “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and a little film called “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The rest, as they say, is history. Kennedy’s film credits as a producer or executive producer reads like a Greatest Films of All Time list: “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “The Color Purple,” “Schindler’s List,” “Jurassic Park,” “Seabiscuit,” and the recent “War Horse,” just to name a few.

Currently part of the executive team at The Kennedy/Marshall Co., where she still continues to work with Spielberg to make blockbuster movies, Kennedy will step down to assume her new role at Lucasfilm.

The Future of the Force
It’s unknown if Lucas will serve in any capacity on future “Star Wars” projects. A live-action “Star Wars” television series is currently in development and the “Star Wars” franchise is a bazillion-dollar business. Which Lucas is notoriously picky about: “My movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.”

SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT -or- SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHERS:

[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [LinkedIn] [Mixx] [MySpace] [Newsvine] [Propeller] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]
posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Best Memorial Day Movies

Memorial Day is not just a three-day holiday weekend. It’s also the time when we pause as a nation to remember the brave men and women who defend the United States, and risk life and limb to protect this country and its core freedoms. So, if the weather puts a damper on those outdoor plans this weekend, consider screening one of the following war movies, each of which puts a distinctive spin on a particular American war.

Glory (1989)

The Civil War rages once more in “Glory.”

Last spring marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War – the nation’s deadliest war. “Glory” is about human dignity as much as it about conflict, but that’s no slam against the film’s battle scenes, which chronicle the rifle-and-cannonball action seen by the Union’s first division of black troops. Hugely entertaining film with memorable performances from a dignified Morgan Freeman, a somber Matthew Broderick and (especially) Denzel Washington, as a runaway slave turned angry soldier…with a major score to settle.

The Dawn Patrol (1938)

Errol Flynn keeps the “lads” flying as a WWI commander in “The Dawn Patrol.”

Civil War Gen. Sherman famously said, “War is hell,” and many films have echoed that theme. Here’s one with a British accent. “The Dawn Patrol” tells the WWI story of an English aerial combat squad waging a seemingly endless air war against German fighter aces. British pilot Errol Flynn mocks his C.O., until he has to replace him. Suddenly, Flynn learns what it’s like to send young and inexperienced aviators to their deaths. Lots of aerial dogfights and camaraderie…plus the most rickety flying contraptions ever seen.

Patton (1970)

WWII from two different perspectives. “Patton” celebrates individual genius…

Maybe it’s unfair to pick two movies to represent WWII – but then again, it was a pretty big war. “Patton” celebrates individual genius, and how it contributed to the war effort, while “Saving Private Ryan” is about the collective sacrifice of battle and how soldiers unite to achieve the impossible. “Patton’s” opening scene will inspire you to battle, while the blood-and-thunder opening of “Saving Private Ryan” (i.e., the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day) will make you glad you weren’t there – but grateful that others were.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

…while war is a team effort in “Saving Private Ryan.”

Tom Hanks and Matt Damon starred in Steven Spielberg’s epic. The Omaha Beach scene cost $11 million and required more than 1,000 extras to shoot. The movie’s riveting early sequences capture what it was like to face the combat of D-Day from an almost video-game-like first-person perspective. The movie went on to influence other war filmmakers and even spawned the HBO television series, “Band of Brothers.”

M*A*S*H (1970)

The original Hawkeye (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper (Elliott Gould) play the Army for laughs in 1970′s “M*A*S*H.”

If you only know the TV show, it’s time you see why critics (and everyone else) got knocked for a loop by Robert Altman’s absurd take on American surgeons operating in an Army hospital during the Korean War. Whereas the show went first for broad laughs, then for a mix of comedy and social activism, the film has its own subversive vibe and crazy rhythm. No wonder it made stars of Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould and many others. Bloody battlefield surgery collides with umpteen types of humor, and the war comedy is never the same again.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Here come the Americans.

Many films admirably portrayed the Vietnam War, but none captured the sheer confusion quite like Francis Ford Coppola’s war opus. “Apocalypse Now” is not just about the madness of a renegade colonel gone native, but also the insanity of trying to graft an American design for war on a country like Vietnam. A fool’s paradise of cinematic riches,  “Apocalypse Now” is a massive spectacle of a film, which nearly killed and bankrupted its makers. And its centerpiece – a dizzying helicopter assault on a coastal village (scored with opera, no less) – is still arguably the greatest battle scene in all of film.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Although set in 1993 in Somalia, “Black Hawk Down” speaks to our current conflicts.

Modern warfare has gotten even more complicated than it was in ‘Nam. Ridley Scott’s re-enactment of all the various things that went wrong in 1993, when an American helicopter crew crash-landed in Somalia city streets, is terrifying even before the chopper is down and the crew is savagely overrun by violent locals. What happens next is a sobering look at the dangers faced by our military personnel everywhere the U.S. is not wanted. “Black Hawk Down” is the link to recent movies that deal with America’s ongoing wars.

This Memorial Day, the staff and instructors of Digital Media Academy applaud the service of America’s military personnel, no matter where they find themselves stationed during this holiday weekend. We also thank military families for the lifetime of sacrifices that they make on behalf of our nation.

Digital Media Academy was ranked the World’s Best Tech Camp in 2011.

SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT -or- SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHERS:

[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [LinkedIn] [Mixx] [MySpace] [Newsvine] [Propeller] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]
posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Daniel Day-Lewis: First Look as Spielberg’s “Lincoln”

The sixteenth president of the United States guided the country through one of the most difficult times in American history and now Steven Spielberg is recreating the historical icon in 2012′s Lincoln.


Abraham Lincoln, who with the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slavesprepares the Gettysburg address. 

Thanks to an insider, we’ve got a first look at the films star, Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln (see below). The cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, rumors have also swirled that Harrison Ford may make an uncredited cameo as Lincoln’s V.P., Andrew Johnson.

Team of Rivals
Based on the book Team of Rivals by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lincoln will focus on the one-term congressman and poor country lawyer’s rise as an unknown to the seat of the presidency.

The film is also expected to spend time with Lincoln as he struggles to bring the country together as the Civil War and the issue of slavery continue to tear it apart.

The book does an incredible job of providing insight into Lincoln as a person and how he was able to win the office of president even though his rivals were more experienced and better known. Team of Rivals continues to follow the man as he enters the office and must deal with hostile congressmen, incompetent generals and his difficult cabinet – men that he ran against in his bid for presidency.

Spielberg is expected to capture the very essence of the man on film, and if this photograph of Daniel Day-Lewis (who won a Best Actor Oscar for There Will Be Blood) is any indication, it looks like Spielberg is well on his way to making an authentic drama. Day-Lewis is the spitting image of Lincoln:


Character actor Daniel Day-Lewis enjoys lunch between takes on Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

Method Actor
As a filmmaker Steven Spielberg has featured Lincoln in previous films, Lincoln’s “Bixby Letter” was used an indirect plot device in Saving Private Ryan, and the Gettysburg Address is recited in the opening scene of Minority Report. Spielberg’s a Lincoln fan – and so is his star.

Daniel Day-Lewis is a serious actor, he prefers to stay in character while filming. In fact our Lincoln insider tells us Day-Lewis has been talking with Lincoln’s trademark mid-western accent since March of this year. On set, he’s called Mr. President or Mr. Lincoln depending on the scenes he’s shooting, and the actors name doesn’t even appear on a call sheet! Young actors can take a cue from Daniel Day-Lewis, if they want to be committed to the craft.

Spielberg definitely won’t have to go to film camp next summer, but you may if you want to be the next Daniel Day-Lewis or Steven Spielberg.

SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT – or – SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHERS:

[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [LinkedIn] [Mixx] [MySpace] [Newsvine] [Propeller] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]
posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Scorsese & Coppola: Old-school Directors Embrace Digital Filmmaking

They are two of the greatest directors in film history, each the maker of acknowledged movie masterpieces. Both Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese came to prominence during the 1970s, one of cinema’s greatest and most productive decades.


Hugo is director Martin Scorsese’s first film to use 3D.

But both directors are closely identified with the films they made thirty to forty years ago and that presents a small problem. Now each director has to compete with his own legend, and each must prove that he can make new films that are accessible to younger audiences. To that end, each director has a new project that takes advantages of new techniques in digital filmmaking.

Coppola: The Godfather of Cinema                       
Before he was known as a master filmmaker, Francis Ford Coppola was a respected stage director and had directed a couple of films. But that was before 1972 and the release of the movie that would secure his reputation as a giant in cinema. The Godfather created a sensation and became one of the best-loved films of all time, and Coppola hasn’t been out of the public eye since. Along the way he’s made other masterpieces, including the Vietnam war drama,  Apocalypse Now.


From young lion to grand old man of the cinema: Francis Ford Coppola talks about his passion for film at the Toronto Film Festival.

For his latest project, Twixt, Coppola returned to one of his favorite film genres — horror. In the movie, a horror writer (played by Val Kilmer) visits a bizarre town which may or may not be inhabited by vampires. In one amazing scene, director Coppola has star Kilmer engage in a one-on-one conversation with the father of all modern horror, Edgar Allan Poe.

Coppola not only experimented with story elements but the director was also using an iPad for film editing. For example, when Coppola appeared at Comic-Con 2011 to showcase Twixt, he talked about his desire to take the film on the road and present it along with an orchestra — basically directing the film’s performance as a fresh audience experience each time out, even shuffling the order of shots as the mood of the performance struck him.

He told the Comic-Con faithful, “What I’d love to do is go on tour, like a month before the film opened…and go to all the cities myself, with my collaborators, with live music and actually perform the film for each audience uniquely for them — a different version for each audience.” The maestro also put his own unique stamp on using 3D. In Coppola’s case, that meant utilizing the effect selectively and only in certain scenes.

Coppola had seen a recent blockbuster and liked its use of 3D, but didn’t care for keeping on the special glasses throughout. “I enjoyed very much Avatar,” he said, “But I confess that I took the glasses off during much of the movie. And whenever I saw the images start to show that it was going to be 3D, I put them on and saw a wonderful sequence, and then I took them off again.”


Coppola not only paid tribute to early horror writer Edgar Allan Poe in Twixt; the 3D lenses Coppola handed out at Comic-Con 2011 were inset into Poe face masks. 

And although Coppola enjoys 3D, he doesn’t want to use it as a one-trick pony. “How dare anyone think that all movies have up their sleeve is more 3D. Cinema has many more surprises that you and your children will invent, because it’s at the beginning of this expression of image and sound.” While other art forms are thousands of years old, Coppola noted that film is still in its infancy as an art form. “Music and theater are thousands of years old. Cinema’s a baby.”

Scorsese: Genius Moves to the Third Dimension
Among major directors, few are as passionate about the craft of filmmaking as Martin Scorsese. Through landmark films like 1976’s Taxi Driver and 1980’s Raging Bull, Scorsese tackled tough subjects and did it all with a virtuoso’s artistry. His uncompromising vision has led him to a Best Director Oscar (for 2006’s The Departed), as well as other prestigious awards, such as the Cannes Film Festival’s highly prized Palme D’Or for Taxi Driver.

In 2006, Scorsese was presented the Oscar for Best Director for The Departed by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola…the other major American directors who came to prominence during the 1970s. Scorsese’s natural sense of humor was on full display when he asked the presenters to “Check the envelope, please.” (Scorsese had been nominated five previous times before winning.)


Few directors have made more great films than Martin Scorsese, and even fewer have studied film in depth as Scorsese has done.

Now Scorsese is back and with a different type of movie than he’s ever made. Hugo (which opens November 23rd) is an adventure/puzzle of a movie, and it follows the title character, a resourceful boy trying to unlock a secret left to him by his deceased father. A dazzling visual experience, Hugo is Scorsese’s first foray into making a 3D movie, and he recently talked about embracing the popular technology.

“Most people have stereoscopic vision so why belittle that element of our existence? Why not use it? We’re basically headed for holograms. You have to think that way.” He’s convinced of the screen power of 3D, although combining the technique with Scorsese’s patented perfectionism didn’t lead to quick results. “It really was an enjoyable headache,” the famous director said. “It demands respect. We just kept pushing it to see how far we could go. We would look at a shot and say, ‘What could we do to use the depth?’”

A Fresh Approach to Filmmaking
When Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese were learning film production, the only real source of training (besides on-the-job experience) was offered by film schools. Today, anyone interested in filmmaking can pull out their smartphone and post a video up to their YouTube channel. Still, the professional world of filmmaking demands that you master new technologies; after all, it’s a digital filmmaking world.

Aspiring filmmakers can now study film production and learn how to make a movie at film camp without waiting to be accepted to a full-time film school. Digital Media Academy is a state-of-the-art, critically acclaimed digital media education company that offers personalized instruction from seasoned industry professionals. You’ll also get exposure to the latest film-production techniques and hands-on training in film production and how to use editing software (like Final Cut Pro). Interested in becoming the next Coppola or Scorsese? Learn how from DMA.

SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT – or – SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHERS:  

[Bloglines] [del.icio.us] [Digg] [Facebook] [Furl] [Google] [LinkedIn] [Mixx] [MySpace] [Newsvine] [Propeller] [Reddit] [Squidoo] [StumbleUpon] [Twitter] [Email]
posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments