by Coop Cooper
Most of us realize by now how useful our ‘smart’ cellular phones and tablets can be but most of us might not be aware of their full capabilities. Of course you can watch a TV show or movie on such a device if you download it beforehand or stream it via a wifi connection, but did you know you could beam that show to a nearby wifi-enabled TV? Even if your phone or TV doesn’t have that feature, you could easily find the proper phone-to-TV wire connector to achieve the same result. Imagine that… You basically have a portable HD Blu Ray player in your pocket and you didn’t even realize it. While that sounds impressive, it is merely scratching the surface of how your current (and next) cell phone will deliver entertainment…Read more...
Modern movie theaters have done a lot in order to attract viewers. Many now advertise full meals, gourmet coffee, frozen treats, state of the art digital projection, stadium seating, Dolby 7.1 sound, 3-D films and many other amenities to make spending a couple of hours at the theater more attractive. Not all of them work.
Even now, big Hollywood theater chains are considering a move that might send many traditional movie patrons running from the aisles. In a terribly misguided effort to keep the younger generation in movie seats, AMC Regal theaters and other chains are considering allowing viewers to freely text on their cellphones during movies…Read more...
I went to one of the best films schools in the world and I learned a heck of a lot about screenwriting. I taught it to high schoolers in Los Angeles and adults at seminars. I got to work with some seasoned pros and I learned a little about the other aspects of filmmaking. Unfortunately, back in 1997, it wasn’t very easy to make a short film. It was expensive and cheap ones ($1000 and up) often looked terrible due to the technical hurdles crews would have to overcome. Watching my colleagues slave over their thesis projects with (mostly) mediocre results was discouraging. Because of this, I focused on becoming a writer and academic, ignoring the technical aspects I had little access to.
Fast forward to summer 2010… I had a weird dream and quickly churned out a screenplay based on it. I met some filmmakers at festivals, asked some questions, went back home, did research and took stock of my resources. I suddenly realized it could be done competently for much cheaper than it did thirteen years ago. I raised a crew, secured equipment, auditioned actors and in December of 2010 I shot my first short film “The Best Day.” The premiere was last night and here are a few important lessons I learned from the entire process:Read more...
By Coop Cooper
Last week I was interviewed by “The Washington Times” and Tuesday by “SuperTalk” Mississippi radio host Paul Gallo about how Hollywood portrays Mississippi in motion pictures. While I have talked about this subject before in my articles, these interviews got me thinking about the topic again especially now that “The Help” has thrust Mississippi back into the cultural spotlight.
But it wasn’t “The Help” these two media outlets wanted to interview me about. They were curious about the negatively-slanted movies Hollywood continues to produce about the state, particularly the remake of the violent 1971 masterpiece “Straw Dogs” which opened last weekend…Read more...
Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter
Article by: Coop Cooper
Energized by the power and fantastic performances of “The Help,” this weekend I ventured online to see what my fellow American movie critics thought. The website Rottentomatoes.com averages the positive and negative reviews from critics of major print publications and assigns a percentage value. Anything under 60% is considered “rotten” and anything over that number is deemed “fresh.” While “The Help” gained a respectable 73% average, compared to the averages of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” (76%), Captain America: The First Avenger” (79%) and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (82%), its average seemed rather low. Considering the film’s box office and awards potential, I wondered where most of the negativity was coming from…Read more...
After attending numerous film festivals over the years, I quickly learned the benefits of such an event, but was frustrated I was not exposed to them sooner. I feel it is necessary to highlight the advantages so people in my community, and others, can understand what the big deal is. These positives do not apply exclusively to film festivals, but to music, art and all other creative festivals as well…Read more...
By Coop Cooper
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed new legislation this month increasing the previous tax rebate another 5 percent for films made in the state. This means out-of-state productions filming in Mississippi will now receive a 25 percent rebate for their local expenses and out-of-state cast/crew. Additionally, they will receive a 30 percent rebate for any local cast/crew they employ.
These new rules have also been clarified and updated to qualify the use of new production and distribution technologies for these rebates. The new rules qualified internet/streaming media as acceptable forms of distribution and other aspects of film such as animation and cinema sequences for video game development. Expanding the definition of “media” itself has ensured… READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITERead more...
This Saturday, April 2nd, I will teach a “Screenwriting Workshop” at the Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson Mississippi.
Theater: Malco Grandview in Madison, MS (Screen “C”)
Duration: 2 hours
Price: $8 (or $6 for members/students/65+ seniors)
Here’s the official site’s info on the workshop, but unfortunately the personal information they posted about me there is a bit out of date. Looks like it was culled from a bunch of info on my website that I have since updated. For a more up-to-date bio, go HERE.
CONTENT: To be more specific, I will talk about the differences between writing a “Spec. Script” for Hollywood and an “Indie Script” for independent productions. I will include a lot of helpful information and resources for seasoned veterans as well as those new to the process.
- Honest opinions on the latest screenwriting/support software
- Where to find examples of good scripts
- Ironclad resources to help you perfect proper screenplay format
- Effective exercises for beginners and veterans
- The difference between “Hollywood” and “Indie” screenplay structure
- Strategic screenplay outlining
- Pitfalls of writing your first script (spec. or indie)
- Crafting a rich story mythology
- Creating memorable characters
- Solid plot construction
- Insider secrets of the spec. script
- Critical tips for indie screenwriters
- Why “writer’s groups” will help you succeed
- Why rewriting IS writing
- What to do when you THINK you’ve completed a final draft
- Things pro screenwriters NEVER do
- Why making your own film makes you a better screenwriter
- Why living in a “small town” gives you an advantage in writing and making films
Plus, you get…
- Additional resources reviewed and approved by me (many of them are FREE)
- Online access to my supplemental materials just for attending
Hope to see you there!
– CRead more...
There once was a time when the next level of home video entertainment rested upon the invention of the next generation of physical media (Betamax, VHS, Laserdiscs, DVDs, etc…). If we were to follow that model, the next logical format should have been Sony/Pioneer Blu-ray disks which won the market after a very short and bloody battle with the now extinct Toshiba HD DVD. Given the overwhelming success of the DVD format, it would make sense to adopt this format but most people underestimated a little invention called “the internet” which has broken the venerable cycle…. for now.
For those of you who… CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTER WEBSITERead more...
Checking out my new release choices on Netflix, I came across a promising title. “S.W.A.T.: Firefight” was not only a sequel to a fun action film, but it also carries the franchise torch of a hit TV show. I put it at the top of my queue without thinking much about it and watched it the same day it arrived.
What a lousy film… and I should have known better. Hollywood perfected this trick decades ago but it gained momentum when the video rental market emerged in the 1980’s. Using a brand name to market a substandard film for DVD release not only earns the studios a fast and easy cash-out, but it also serves other functions… CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE AT THE CLARKSDALE PRESS REGISTERRead more...
One of the most culturally iconic films of the 80’s, Pat Morita scored an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the gentle and reluctant karate sensei, Mr. Miagi. The film is so quotable, you can spout off nearly any line from it and everyone would know exactly which film you’re referring to. “Wax on, wax off”…Read more...
Click HERE to download “The Small Town Critic’s Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan.” It might surprise some of you that I was once a High School English teacher… 3… 2… 1… Okay, now that you’re done laughing, I know how hard it can be to develop a lesson plan that will engage students, access their prior […]Read more...