New Bond Book Covers


Books in 2008, Another

In the Blink of an Eye
In Harm's Way

Ahead of the curve from last year.



Books in 2008, Editing is First

In the Blink of An Eye

This is the first of many film books. I have a stack of them from the holidays. This is the book on film editing, a subject I knew little about. And, I want to know about all aspects of production. Also reading In Harm's Way about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and The Art of the Moving Picture.


Roger Deakins Interview from EW

Must reading:

On The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford:

What about Andrew Dominik's methods on The Assassination of Jesse James?
Some scenes we did were storyboarded in great detail. But other sequences, not at all. We were working with the actors and figuring out how to shoot it on the day, depending on the light and everything else. Just like most films do.

There's a visual motif in Jesse James where you keep fringing out the edges of the frame at the start of a lot of scenes. Is that something you found in old period photographs from the mid-19th Century?

No, there weren't lenses like that in the day. It was much more an expressionistic thing rather than any attempt to copy something specific from the past. My one regret is that we actually didn't do more of that. But at one point, we actually got advice from the studio [Warner Bros.] that they found it distracting.

There's an early sequence with a train robbery that takes place entirely at night and seems to be lit only by lanterns. How did you go about designing that?
Well, the lanterns are dummies. The flames have little electric bulbs behind them, which dim down. When somebody's holding it near their face, it's actually the bulb that's lighting them, but you just see the flame. We had a kitchen scene with just candle light as well. But you've got to make sure you get double or triple wick candles. A little candle you'd put on a Christmas cake isn't going to do much.

On No Country for Old Men:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How much room is there for improvisation in what you do?
ROGER DEAKINS: With the Coens, they write the script and everything's worked out. Everything's storyboarded before we start shooting. In No Country, there's maybe only a dozen shots [that were storyboarded and photographed] that are not in the final film. It's that order of planning. And we only shot 250,000 feet, whereas most productions of that size might shoot 700,000 or a million feet of film. It's quite precise, the way they approach everything.

You've got a memorably lit scene in No Country that's set at night, too, where the sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones goes back to a motel-room crime scene.
I wanted the motel room to be totally black, because [Javier Bardem's character] Chigurh is hiding in the corner. Or is he? So you wanted this kind of mystery. And I thought, well the only thing I can do is play it so the car's headlight is coming in, shining into the empty room. On the night we shot it, I had one headlight at first, and it formed a single silhouette of Tommy Lee as he enters the room. And I thought, That's too much. I wanted something more fractured, I suppose. So I put two headlights there, and moved them around a bit to get two silhouettes, in this sort of odd configuration. I was quite pleased with that one. Sometimes you get lucky.

The scene where Chigurh makes a gas-station clerk toss a coin to decide if he lives or dies is incredibly tense. It took me several viewings to notice that the camera is actually moving forward just a little bit, all through the scene. That's a big part of the scary feeling you get.
It's often more tense when the camera is moving so slowly that the audience isn't even aware of the move. It's kind of unnerving. You don't really notice the move itself while it's happening, but you notice it when you cut back and forth between the two shots.

And it's the camera moving physically forward, not just a zoom lens?
Yeah. We never use a zoom. I don't even carry a zoom lens with me, unless it's for something very specific.

Why? What is it that's different between a dolly move forward and a zoom inward?
When the camera itself moves forward, the audience is moving, too. You're actually getting closer to somebody or something. It has, to me, a much more powerful effect, because it's a three-dimensional move. A zoom is more like a focusing of attention. You're just standing in the same place and concentrating on one smaller element in the frame. Emotionally, that's a very different effect.



Booz in the newsroom

I love this piece:

It wasn't that long ago that alcoholics were celebrated or at least regaled in newsrooms for their heroic immoderation. Today, praise goes to the "courageous" newsroom alcoholic or druggie who enters a company-financed rehab program. Today's newspaper will fire you for taking mood-altering drugs in the workplace unless, of course, they're prescription antidepressants paid for by the company health plan. And in the old days, great status was bestowed upon the foulest mouth in the newsroom. Today, that sort of talk will earn you a write-up from HR for creating a climate of sexual harassment. Paradoxically, the language and subjects now banned as inappropriate inside the newsroom are routinely found inside the pages of the newspaper.



Now Indy Can Teach Kids About Soviets



The New Atlantis - The Conquest of Space

Essays to read later:

A Half Century in Space

The space age began fifty years ago with the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957. It was a great technical and political triumph for the Soviet Union. In the United States, the immediate reaction was a swift and harsh self-assessment marked by very public fretting about a “technology gap.” But a dozen years later, at the climax of the space race, the first men on the Moon were Americans. In the decades since, the civilian space program has largely receded from public attention—even as space has become indispensable to the military and the high-tech industry, and as a promising new private space sector is just taking shape.

To mark the Sputnik anniversary—and with it, the beginning of the space age—we here reprint Hannah Arendt’s classic 1963 essay about modern science and the human meaning of our celestial aspirations. We have also invited five commentators to respond to her argument and to discuss its relevance today: Patrick J. Deneen, Rita Koganzon, Charles T. Rubin, Stephen Bertman, and Peter Augustine Lawler.


Vanity Fair on the New Indy


Discovery Channel Finds Its Balls

What the hell, the Discovery Channel has remembered what it is about.

Their new line up of shows:

Fight Quest
Bone Detectives
Smash Lab

These shows bring together some of the best of what this channel should be. Now if we can only get National Geographic Channel to once again remember what it should be like as well.


Things I want to do in 2008

1. Have three scripts completed and submitted to agents

2. Get an agent

3. Write On Water

4. Paddle all the rivers and creeks possible in Mississippi

5. Lose 30 lbs

6. Direct my first movie


The 4am:8

More goodness from Mr. Warren Ellis. Maybe it will help you get through this night.

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Happy New Year

Welcome to 2008.

Let's be careful out there.

Let's reach for the stars.

Do what you want.

Trust in God,
Believe in Yourself,
And dare to dream.

I want my bloody rocket pack.