Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Total Picture Seminar

Actor Martin Landau and me

Last November 14 and 15, I had the priviledge of attending "The Total Picture Seminar"-- A seminar I still regard as one of the best seminars in filmmaking I have ever attended.  Hosted by multi-awarded Hollywood veterans: Martin Landau, Mark Rydell and Lyle Kessler, the seminar delivered exactly what it advertises, "a total picture" or rather an in-depth look into the process of filmmaking.

I waited for a while to blog about it, because I was hoping to coincide my entry with a new seminar date.  But for one reason or another, this has not happened.  I am hoping that they will still be able produce this seminar once more, because I strongly believe that a lot of new filmmakers, actors and writers out there (specially the Independents) would greatly benefit from the extensive work and experience these three esteemed industry veterans are willing to share.

Up to this date, this seminar has truly been a "once in a life-time special event" for all the filmmakers, directors, actors and writers who were lucky enough to attend.  Martin, Mark and Lyle not only shared their techniques in acting, directing and writing respectively, but also rare insights into the collaborative process between these disciplines as well as entertaining stories and anecdotes about their major works.  The attendees were also given a chance to participate in several hands-on workshops doing actual "scene work" supervised by the three.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Congratulations President Aquino

Expectations are high as Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III took the oath of office as the 15th President of the Philippines at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park this noon.  Promising a new era of good governance and a corruption free government, he has set a high bar for his term.  Winning the elections literally on the coattails of his famous parents, patriot and martyr Ninoy Aquino and former President Cory Aquino, Noynoy vows to continue the legacy and vision set by his father and mother.

On his way to the inauguration this morning, he commanded his entourage and security detail to stop at each stop light -- an unpresidented gesture, since most Philippine national and local officials (to the lowest rank) consider their motorcade above any rules of street traffic and would badger motorist to give way no matter how congested and narrow the streets are.  A small step, but a huge gesture to people like me who believes in fair play in all segments of society.

Congratulations Mr. President!  May you succeed where all others have miserably failed.

--Photo from the Associated Press.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Amazing Sand Artist from Ukraine

Kseniya Simonova, the 2009 winner of the TV show "Ukraine's Got Talent," is an amazing sand painter. She started drawing with sand after her business collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis.  With less than a year's experience with the medium, she entered the competition and emerged in first place, taking home 1,000,000 Hryvnia (approx. USD125,000).  Her talent is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.  Failures and defeats are just temporary, if we just keep on shooting for the stars!

The 25 year-old artist uses a gigantic light-box and employs dramatic music, sound effects and a large projection screen behind her to create live performances that are poetic and politically charged at the same time. I was amazed and riveted the first time I saw her video... I immediately knew that I was seeing a genuinely gifted artist/storyteller and I had to spread the word.  

Her videos on YouTube are very popular and have received millions of hits.  I can watch her for hours.  Here is an example of her work from on video on YouTube:

--Videos from

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mamiya RZ33 kit

Christmas in June ???? For Mamiya RZ photographers, it certainly is! Mamiya just announced a dedicated digital back for Mamiya RZs in a kit called "RZ33" (bundled with a RZ ProIID body).

The RZ33 kit includes a Mamiya RZ ProIID camera body with 33mp focusing screen, Mamiya cable-free Digital Integration Plate, Mamiya DM33 digital back & battery, battery charger, FW800 cable (for tethered shooting) and software.  The RZ ProIID body (which has been around for several years) of course features Mamiya's advance microprocessor technology through it's cableless MSC (Mamiya Serial Communication) system.  The Mamiya DM33 digital back (which I featured last October in this blog) manufactured by Leaf/Phase One/Mamiya features a 33 megapixel 48 x 36mm CCD 16 bits/channel sensor with a burst rate of 1.1 sec/frame and a 12 f-stop dynamic range.  It has a user selectable ISO range of 50-800 and a 6 x 7 cm touch screen LCD.  The ProIID body communicates with the digital back wirelessly through the special Mamiya RZ cable-free Digital Integration Plate which features RZ's unique revolving back, which provides horizontal or vertical composition without moving the camera body sideways.