Shapeshifiting Films

Excellent post.


I am an aspect ratio enthusiast.  Actually, I’m probably the only aspect ratio enthusiast. Some of you reading this post have been subjected to my two-hour+ aspect ratio lecture, or maybe the slim one-hour abridged version. In that presentation are a few slides that show examples of films that change aspect ratio during their presentation. The recent release of the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful sent me back to Keynote to update my slides.

As with all my lectures, my Aspect Ratio deck includes dozens of slides that I don’t show, and rather than just adding more clips that I’d omit for the sake of my live audiences, I thought I’d share all of them here.

First some quick background.

One Ratio to Rule Them All…

Between the turn of the century and the mid-1950s, all movies released in the United States were the same aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (sometimes known as Academy Ratio or Full…

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World Domination by Netflix

This article is from Forbes Magazine. What are your thoughts on this?

Netflix Will Rip the Heart Out of Pre-Sale Film Financing

Netflix is working mightily to expand its reach worldwide, so far including Latin America, Canada, and the U.K., with Europe next up at bat. When Netflix is done, people in every part of the world will be its customers, and those customers will be able to toggle what language they want to watch a film in. This trend corresponds to the shrinking of the piracy window (the time between the theatrical window and the home video window), so by the time Netflix has a worldwide reach, it will also probably be available day and date with the theatrical release.

This trend will have a huge effect on how independent films are financed. Right now, independent filmmakers raise funds by selling their films through “pre-sales” on a country-by-country basis to local distributors, but a worldwide VOD reach will rip the heart out of these sales, because it will destroy the value of DVD and pay TV rights to the local distributors. The net result will be that independent films will be financed by pre-sales to Netflix, not the local distributors. Instead of going to the Cannes Film Festival, filmmakers could be going to Las Vegas for a digital convention in order to pre-sell VOD rights to Netflix. Indeed, Netflix will likely expand from creating original series to creating its own large budget films, with the initial premiere on-line. Netflix may be a vibrant, important source of new financing that disrupts the studio system and bypasses standard distribution channels.

This trend will also change how films are watched and how theaters compete. In order to compete against collapsing windows and high-def, surround-sound, home entertainment centers, theaters are going to have to offer a better experience, and a big part of this is going to be 4D seats, which move to match the film (where you feel like you are flying when a jet is onscreen), and 3D sound, which seems to come from different angles at different times around you, like raindrops falling near you. I have experienced both of these, and the results are astounding. Theaters are going to have to get on this bandwagon or be relegated to bowling alley locations.

326 Emails

Today I decided to spend time going through the 326 emails sitting in my inbox staring at me. I won’t mention the four open windows in Firefox and one in Chrome.

After a long day and being no where near an empty in-box, here are links to a few interesting sites.


Simple Machine is an online platform that connects filmmakers directly with venues to screen their films.

VOD or not?

Distribute it yourself.


You may know (or not) that I’m developing a series that profiles non profits. Check these out.

First, there was Tom’s shows, then Tom’s glasses. Now there’s Tom’s coffee and they’re giving away water.


Hacking the Homeless


If you haven’t seen The Hunt, I urge you to see it. It’s on Amazon Prime.

One last link:

Off to garden.


A few good things.

Here’s a couple of links that I think someone might find interesting. I did.

Spritz is the 21st Century version of Evelyn Wood speed reading. The simple explanation is that you read each word individually as it comes up on the little reader. That way, your eyes don’t have to move while reading, thus making it possible for you to read faster. I tried it at 300wpm and did fine except i read every word in my mind. It’s kind of like typing all day, and then when you’re asleep, all of conversations are typed as you speak.

A while back there was a video of a little boy who called himself the Kid President that went viral. He was a cute kid and the series of videos were great. They came out of a company called SoulPanCake created by Rainn Wilson. Here’s where I found out about it. Follow the links on the site to find out more. It’s a great concept. Thanks Rainn.

Here’s another link worth checking out.

The past week or so has been all about making the dreadful calls to pitch our projects. The calls aren’t dreadful–it’s picking up the phone and dialing and waiting and hoping I don’t fumble and stumble as soon as I say hello, praying they can’t hear the blood pounding in my ears, trying not to hyperventilate. I powered through it and spoke to a few good people like the really nice guy at Sundance Channel. You should take a look at their news series The Red Road.

I rewarded myself with a glass of wine.

A few good things…


What is happiness for you?

Today, a few links to share.

If you’re not subscribing to this newsletter, you should. In my humble opinion. Maria Popova does an incredible job curating a vast array of interesting and provocative literature.

If you’re a Breaking Bad fan, the Writers Guild Foundation released Inside the Writers Room with Breaking Bad. A great YouTube video and scripts.

Are you a writer? Flavorwire provides a list of 20 writers and they’re thoughts on the art of revision.

And finally, what is happiness for you?