Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mortal Kombat: Special Moves [Jax VS. Smoke] Live Action

MADE BY FULL SAIL GRADS! (So what's your excuse for not creating something you're proud of right now?)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Creativity, Sweat Equity, Friendships, and the Simple Act of Collaboration: Check Out This New Music Video Shot At Full Sail by Steven Shea and The Bloody Jug Band!

Leaving Full Sail University on February 4, 2012 was a bitter sweet experience. Bitter because my tenure as educator had come to an end and sweet because moving to Los Angeles was a necessary evil; an attempt to accelerate my career. It's necessary because as much as others may have thought I "made it" in TV (whatever that means), I hadn't made it in my heart with what I really want to do: create and sell shows, write features, expand my photography and finish my novel. 

Anyway, I'm way off tangent here. What I rally want to say is, Orlando is a strong, creative community and since 2000, I've seen local film makers and musicians grow, improve, and transform that landscape. Two people who have consistently done that are Steven Shea ( and John Theisen ( 

I first met Steven at Nickelodeon when I was a production coordinator and he was an intern. Immediately, I knew he had something about him that was more driven and serious about being a genuine, feature film maker. The Night Own is the first feature I had seen by him about a decade ago and it was low budget, the visual effects were simple, but the story was unique. 

He's gone on to make even stronger and better features since then, but he proved something with The Night Own. He proved that money, time, resources, crew, and actors are all irrelevant when it comes to making a movie. I know that sounds weird. What I mean is this: most wanna-be filmmakers stop themselves from achieving because they feel they don't have enough money, time, resources, crew, actors and they become their own road block. Steven has never let that happen. He is a filmmaker because he makes films. Period. He is a director because he directs. End of statement.

Then there is John. I met John through Flicks on Fairbanks, a three year long, monthly, short indie movie showcase I did at Austin's Coffee and Film some 4 or 5 years ago. Call Doctor or Die is a short he submitted and I had to show it. Come on, it was all in reverse. One always has to show short movies when they're in reverse. It's a rule.

And I'm happy I did. Since then, John and I have remained friends and I've seen him shape Orlando through Film Slam, The United Arts, and now his kick ass gritty, grungy, soulful, funky, blues group The Bloody Jug Band. He plays the fucking wash board for god's sake. It's awesome.

So what the hell does this have to do with anything remotely related to Full Sail students? Well, this video was shot at Full Sail...but that's still not the point. The point is, these guys are not rich, they are not part of any Hollywood bloodline, they are not elitist, chip-on-their-shoulder freshman filmmakers that think independent movies began with Reservoir Dogs. They are people who do. They make it happen because they know the value of collaboration, friendship, kindness, creativity, and community. That's what young, new, first-time-in-college, never-had-a-job-before-in-my-life students need to remember. Just collaborate and create. That Gibraltar size rock on your shoulder isn't going to help you and you're not fooling anyone. When you act like that, you reek of insecurity and fellow students won't want to help you.

I'm not sure how or where I'll fit in Los Angeles. I'm not sure what I'll become, what I'll do, or if anything I make will end up in a theater, on a TV screen, on a computer screen, or nowhere at all. But I do know this: Orlando will continue to be one thing Hollywood will never be: a place in which cool projects get done without the bureaucratic bullshit of the "it's not who you know or who you blow," but "how well you blow who you know" mantra. It's a mantra people live by out here.  And they don't even realize it. Now watch this music video and then go make something.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Full Sail University Graduate Brad North Wins Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Award

Full Sail University is proud to recognize Full Sail graduate Brad North on his personal nomination and win of a Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Award. North won in the category of “Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)” for his work as a Re-Recording Mixer on the episode entitled “Bombshells” for the popular Fox series House. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the 2010-2011 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Awards for programs and individual achievements at the 63rd Emmy Awards presentation, which was held at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on September 10, 2011.

In addition to North’s win, Full Sail University graduate Jeremy Balko was nominated in the same category as an ADR Mixer for the acclaimed Showtime original series, Dexter, on the episode “Take It.” Also, Full Sail graduate Chad Hughes was nominated in the category of “Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series” for his work as a Sound Effects Editor on the season finale “Pandora” of the CW spy series, Nikita. North, Balko, and Hughes are all graduates of Full Sail’s Recording Arts Program.

“Full Sail University is honored to celebrate and recognize all of our Emmy nominated graduates this year, and we congratulate Brad on his Emmy Award win,” said Jay Noble, Director of Alumni. “We are extremely proud of our alumni and we wish them continued success.”

About Full Sail University:

Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in the entertainment and media industry. Founded in 1979, Full Sail has been recognized as one of the Top Five Game Degree Programs by Electronic Gaming Monthly, one of the Best Music Programs by Rolling Stone Magazine, and one of the Best Film Programs by UNleashed Magazine. In 2011, Full Sail received the “21st Century Best Practices in Distance Learning Award” from the United States Distance Learning Association, was named the “School/College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, and was recognized as one of the Top 100 Social Media Colleges by

Full Sail offers Master, Bachelor, and Associate campus and online degree programs in areas related to animation, art, business, education, graphic design, film, marketing, web development, music, recording arts, sports, and video games. Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, ADDY®, MTV Video Music Award, and Spike Video Game Award nominated and winning projects.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

43 Full Sail Grads on 'Captain America'

Seventy years after Captain America debuted in comic books, the iconic Marvel superhero has finally received his first big-budget screen adaptation with Captain America: The First Avenger. The film features Chris Evans in the title role, and tells the origin story of Steve Rogers, the man who would become Captain America, and his epic fight against longtime nemesis the Red Skull during World War II.

It’s a story ripe for a modern reimagining, and the filmmakers took great lengths to bring the series’ fiction up to date using the latest 3D visual effects. Helping blend this mix of pulp storytelling and current technology was a group of 43 Full Sail graduates who worked on the film. (See below for the entire list of Full Sail grads who contributed to Captain America.)

A number of these artists worked at Stereo D, a popular postproduction house in Burbank, California that handled the 2D to 3D conversion for the film. To learn more about what goes into the process, we recently spoke with alumni Clarke Godwin (Computer Animation) and Eric Timm (Film) about their respective roles as stereoscopic compositor and stereoscopic artist on Captain America.

“We’re pretty much last stage of production,” Clarke says. “We get the movie right before they do the color grading, then it’s final – so a lot of responsibility comes down on us. Working on Captain America was great because there were a lot of cool challenges, and since it’s based during a real time period there’s a unique look that sets it apart from the other superhero movies out there.”

The difficulty in doing a 3D conversion for a film originally shot in 2D isn’t easy to define, as each presents its own unique problems; it’s definitely not as simple as just doubling the image and pasting them together. Each object and effect in a scene is individually rotoscoped to make them appear at different depths of field – offering the audience a tactile sense of separation between the foreground, midground, and background.

“You definitely need a good eye for detail when working in 3D,” Clarke says. You have to be able to pay attention to every little thing going on during the movie, and then be able to swap between the images for the left and the right eye to pick up any problems in each version. It can be overwhelming.”

“People don’t realize how much work goes into it,” Eric adds. “The big issue with converting to 3D is that it can take a lot of time to perfect the space between the different planes manually. On Captain America I had a two-second shot, only 48 frames, but it took two weeks to finish because there was so much detail in there that needed to be tweaked.”

Applying that technology to the mythos of 1940s comics was never going to be an easy assignment, but the results are a movie that feels authentic to both the character and time period, as well as being great summer entertainment. Hearing Clarke and Eric talk about their role in producing *Captain America: The First Avenger*, you can understand their sense of satisfaction in getting to see the final film with an audience after knowing the amount of effort that went into it.

“Based on what I’ve heard from people I know who are into the comic book, I think everyone did a great job with it,” Clarke says. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s really great to be a part of a movie like this, and I love to hear people’s reactions in the theater. You see your shots up there on screen, and it’s so exciting when you’re reminded that’s what you get paid to do.”

“*Captain America* looks fantastic, and I’m really proud of it – we were able to give it the depth and detail of 3D, while maintaining the overall image quality,” Eric says. “To be able to enjoy doing that with people you work well with, while getting credited on these movies, is just awesome. It’s what I’ve been dreaming of since I was back in Full Sail.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't Be Original! (But don't also create a blatant copy either).

I tell my students all the time, "You're not going to come up with an idea that someone else hasn't already thought of, produced, created, shared, told, or expressed. Ancient Greeks gave us every theme that can possibly be told."

Good, now forget that. Because there is a difference in desperately attempting to be completely "original" and "refreshingly unique" in the current state of Film and TV. There are two conflicting sides to the argument that stories are either allusions and/or remakes or "unique." One states no two snowflakes are alike. Really? So someone has examined, measured, and compared every single snowflake that has ever fallen to earth since the beginning of time? Karl Popper would state that "no two snowflakes are alike" as unfalsifiable (IE: can't be proven).

NOTE: The above picture is supposedly of 2 identical snowflakes.

However, we all like to think that we are all individuals and therefore our stories are all new and individual too. Not true. However, the way you express your stories can still surprise even the most seasoned TV or Film viewer. There is a huge difference between Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th but FT13th is essentially Psycho at Crystal Lake.

Victor Miller, who wrote FT13th, took the premise of Psycho and flipped it, changed the setting, and bam! - "new idea." In Psycho, the audience is lead to believe that Norman's mom is behind the Bates Motel murders when it's Norm all along, while in FT13th, we're lead to believe it's Jason creating the carnage when it's really his mother. Same theme, just the opposite of the original. That's surprising.

Being completely original should never be a producer's goal. Instead, being personal should be. If you write and create about personal experiences (and I don't care if they are expressed in horror, sci-fi, drama, documentary, reality TV, etc) then your work will find an audience because it will feel unique. If you find new twists on older successful ideas, you'll find an audience. If you think you're going to become successful by straight up mimicry, audiences are going to scoff because they've "seen it before". (Unless your J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci and you bring the X Files back to life in a show called Fringe.)

What I'm saying is this: stop worrying about being the first at anything, keep it personal, exercise your imagination, and when you know you've written cliches in your writing, delete them and build on what's left.

Now check out this article: