Film School 101

About that whole interested-in-filmmaking talk I’ve been rambling on for the past half a decade…Well, it’s finally being realized. Matthew Perdie moved to Alabama, and has temporarily taken up residence in the Fair Hills Farm Guest House as a live-in tutor in filmmaking for the Read family. Having our minds crammed with months and years worth of film school in a few weeks hasn’t been the smoothest and most peaceful process. But we’re learning a lot, and the prospects of future productions are exciting!

The lessons have involved film analysis…

More "Notorious".

Analyzing Hitchcock’s “Notorious” has been thrilling and amusing.

Rachel filmed a clip of the scene in which Devlin "finds out Alicia is assigned a spy job which requires her getting lovey dove with another man."

DEVLIN’S “CONSTERNATION”: Rachel filmed a clip of the scene in which Devlin “finds out Alicia is assigned a spy job which requires her getting lovey dove with another man.”

More Hitchcock...this time, "Rear Window".

More Hitchcock…this time, “Rear Window”.

Now for some good ol' historical drama...John Adams (2008).

Now for some good ol’ historical drama…John Adams (2008).

…as well as producing our own short films.

Amanda's Epic Fail

My first attempt at actress/director. You can see the result in my face: This just bombed.

Oh, the complexities of editing a movie!

Oh, the complexities of editing a movie!

THE LIST Screen Test (Lesson 5, 360p)

Amanda Read and Matthew Perdie experiment with a scene from one of their project scripts. The bonus blooper reel demonstrates improvised ways of staging the same scene, which is actually written to take place at a café bar. “Fred and Ginger’s” was a café name invented by Rachel Read while playing around on the chalk board during staging.

Playing Chess (Lesson 2, 360p)

How is Ben to keep his big sister Beth from beating him in chess? Little sister Becca comes in handy…This short film was made on day three of our film school with Matthew Perdie. Our roles were assigned to us at random upon drawing our names out of a basket. We added an amusing blooper at the end, which gives a glimpse of the challenge behind directing small children (and having a young boy hold the boom mic for so long).

Closet Doors (Lesson 1, 360p)

A little boy attempts to sneak past his brother to get a board game out of the closet on a stormy day when he gets more than he bargained for. (This is the result of our first film lesson with Matthew Perdie. He gave us the assignment of shooting a short film in five hours with no advice or help with equipment we had never learned how to use before. Amanda had a more elaborate, lighthearted plot idea, but when we started running out of time, the plot took a dark turn – no pun intended, but we misjudged the lighting too on that stormy day.)

Look at that! The green screen at Longleaf Studios!

Look at that! The green screen at Longleaf Studios!

We’ve also done a little location scouting for the web series. Until next time…

Get ready for the adventure!

Get ready for the adventure!


Strain Out a Gnat and Swallow a Camel: How Reverse Statism Endangers the Republic

If you want to send a message to Washington, you must speak in its language. Washington only comprehends the electorate’s desires based upon the margin of victory between the winning candidate and the losing candidate from the opposing major party.

If Obama wins, third party votes will go unnoticed and unheeded, and liberals will take the victory to be an electoral mandate to buckle down on the policies we don’t want.

Third party votes do not say, “I don’t like either candidate, so I’m voting for a better choice,” but rather, “I’m comfortable enough with the way things are to spend my vote on a losing cause.”

If Romney wins, the message will be that Americans want Obama out of office NOW, and prefer the general direction that Romney is willing to take. The Romney administration will receive this as an electoral mandate to move as far away from Obama’s worldview as possible.

THE PHARISAICAL PATRIOT: "Ugh, that gnat! I'd rather be dragged through the desert than use that filthy blade." (Click to enlarge)

You might think that your one vote in a liberal district is meaningless anyway – although of course if everyone subscribed to that idea and resulting course of action, it would make a huge impact. Even popular vote-wise, every vote for Romney is a slap in the face of Obama. Every vote for a third party candidate is mere graffiti on the wall.

Many third-party voters are humble and well-meaning, and many are just angry and feeling insubordinate. Either way, I ask you to respectfully reconsider the situation. America made one of the worst decisions in her relatively young life four years ago, and to prolong it would be painful for generations to come.

I now present to you a pamphlet on the 2012 election and Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Hopefully it will answer all of your questions.

Romney praying before making a commencement speech. (Jae C. Hong AP)

But Mitt Romney’s a Mormon! (Fear not)

Our White House has been residence to Unitarians, at least one likely Deist, and multiple Freemasons. Is Romney’s Mormonism really any weirder?

Romney walks down the central staircase inside the Statehouse during a ceremony marking the end of his term as governor on Jan. 3, 2007. (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Romnesia: Misconceptions about Romney’s record

Romney is often mocked for being inconsistent. In reality, he has been consistent in a way that would be difficult for most of us.

THREE-WAY WRECK: George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot, and Bill Clinton at the second presidential debate of the 1992 election season. Due to America's mostly winner-take-all system, third parties virtually never win, but can still influence the outcome of elections. Scholars speculate that Perot's candidacy might have given Clinton victory, since Perot garnered 19% of the vote that most likely would have otherwise gone to Bush. (AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander)

Reverse statism: A reality check for voters considering third party

If you think an election that can’t be won with your ideal candidate is an election not worth winning at all, think again.

Also of interest: My research paper “Odd Ones Out: Why Third Parties Don’t Fit in the American Political System“.

Just remember: The Federal Reserve. The United Nations. Osama Bin Laden on the loose. The 2008 Financial Crisis. Obamacare. What do these things have in common? Third party voters along with conservatives and libertarians who refused to vote were complicit in their existence.

UPDATE (11/06/12): Why The Founder Of Has Already Voted For Mitt Romney; Former Libertarian candidate: Mitt Romney is the only sane choice for libertarians.

Femininity in the Public Sphere

“Women are the last line of defense.”

- Fire From the Heartland film trailer

The following is a letter to Christian conservative women on the subject of the Bible and women in state government.

Dear Sisters in Christ,

As I write on this chilly October morning, the media is swarming with news concerning the midterm election candidates. Citizens must be pondering how they will directly affect our nation’s leadership. The crispness in the air conjures up memories of election season two years ago – and the chaos that ensued. I submit to you not a dissertation, but an open letter imploring women to search their hearts and the Scriptures during our nation’s era of humiliating decline.

Woman is arguably the most controversial figure ever created. Pages upon lectures upon books upon pop culture magazines are obsessed with the way the woman must behave and dress and look. An entire term was coined to commemorate this ancient controversy – Querelle des Femmes, “that woman problem.” In Plato’s Republic, we can read Greek philosophers puzzling over the place of women. They noticed that although women are naturally of a more delicate and nurturing build, women are equal to men in intelligence and possess some strength and skills that the male gender lacks. Should the ladies then be allowed to have a hand in public policy? They mused.

This year marked the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed American women the right to vote nationwide. I wonder what First Lady Abigail Adams would have thought about it. I can imagine that she would have appreciated women being allowed to vote alongside their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. Having an equal voice in the public sphere was something a smart woman like herself would love. She would also be angered at the subsequent exploitations of women that were made in the name of equality. But she wouldn’t be surprised.

Mrs. Adams once asked her husband to “remember the ladies” and their keen perception of and contribution to building the government. She also admonished him that women would one day rebel if they weren’t given a voice in the electorate. Like a practical, present-thinking man, John Adams laughed it off. Though we can only speculate, I’m particularly curious as to what would have happened if Adams had taken his wife’s advice…

Continue reading at Latitude 821 or Luke Historians.