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Should ‘fan films’ be illegal?…

Posted on August 1st, 2017
Should ‘fan films’ be illegal?…

by Coop Cooper

Fan films – or films based on popular established film and TV franchise properties – have been around a lot longer than the internet. For example, in the early 80’s a group of teenage friends in Biloxi, Mississippi took a videocamera and painstakingly made a shot-for-shot remake of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in their backyards and basements. Years later, their film was rediscovered by film festival programmers and the boys (now men) have become a worldwide sensation, even garnering praise from “Raiders” director Steven Spielberg himself.

Now in the age of instantaneous internet video, fan films have become a hobby, a passion and a source of opportunity for many budding filmmakers around the world.

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Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

Posted on May 15th, 2017
Will escalating political correctness result in the censoring or banning of classic movies?

by Coop Cooper

Last week I happened to catch the 1939 film “Drums Along the Mohawk” starring Henry Fonda about colonial settlers running afoul of Indians and the British during the American Revolution. In an early scene, Fonda’s character, Gilbert, brings his pampered and delicate new bride, Lana (played by Claudette Colbert), to his modest homestead in the wilderness. The first night they arrive, while Gilbert is out gathering firewood, an old ‘Indian’ appears at the door, frightening Lana. She collapses in a fit of hysteria and when Gilbert rushes in and tries to explain to her that the Indian is his trusted friend ‘Blue Back’, she continues her hysterical fit until Gilbert slaps very hard her across the face, snapping her out of it. Blue Back walks outside and brings back a large stick. He tells Gilbert that Lana is a fine-looking wife but a stick would be more efficient in beating her next time she gets out of hand.

In 1939, this scene was meant to be humorous, but now in the modern era, the laughter would more likely come from how un-politically correct this moment is…






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13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

Posted on April 3rd, 2017
13 REASONS WHY is the most emotionally powerful Netflix series yet…

by Coop Cooper

Netflix continues its winning streak by releasing the adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling 2007 young adult novel “13 Reasons Why” into a thirteen episode series, all of which are now available online. Executive produced by pop star Selena Gomez, the heart-wrenching story about the consequences of bullying and teenage suicide is possibly the most well-crafted and thoughtful exploration of the subject. However, I’m afraid that its difficult, R-rated subject matter may cause it to miss the age group it was intended for…






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How mobile devices are changing the way we watch TV/movies…

Posted on November 21st, 2014
How mobile devices are changing the way we watch TV/movies…

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…






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Texting in movie theaters: It could get worse…

Posted on May 4th, 2012
Texting in movie theaters:  It could get worse…

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…






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Things I learned while making a movie

Posted on November 2nd, 2011
Things I learned while making a movie

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:






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Are all films about Mississippi good for the state?

Posted on September 21st, 2011
Are all films about Mississippi good for the state?

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…






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Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

Posted on August 19th, 2011
Why negative movie reviews really don’t matter

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…






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10 reasons why film festivals are important

Posted on May 9th, 2011
10 reasons why film festivals are important

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…






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Tax incentives for filmmakers means more business coming for Mississippi

Posted on April 18th, 2011
Tax incentives for filmmakers means more business coming for Mississippi

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 WEBSITE






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Coop is teaching a screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Fest…

Posted on March 29th, 2011
Coop is teaching a screenwriting workshop at the Crossroads Film Fest…

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”)

Time:  9:00am

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.

Topics covered:

  • 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!

– C






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How You Will Watch Movies at Home This Decade…

Posted on March 21st, 2011
How You Will Watch Movies at Home This Decade…

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 WEBSITE






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How Hollywood is tricking you into renting really bad movies

Posted on March 12th, 2011
How Hollywood is tricking you into renting really bad movies

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 REGISTER






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HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS #7: COOP commands you to sweep the leg! You have a problem with that?

Posted on August 1st, 2009
HAIR METAL MOVIE MADNESS #7: COOP commands you to sweep the leg! You have a problem with that?

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”…






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A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP

Posted on February 24th, 2009
A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP

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 […]

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Trailer for the award-winning short PRISMA…


A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

WINNER: SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, 2017 Oxford Film Festival

WINNER: BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

SEMI-FINALIST: 2017 NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST ANIMATION, 2017 End of Days Film Festival

NOMINEE: BEST GRAPHICS, 2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2017 Nightmares Film Festival
2017 A Night of Horror Film Festival
2017 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival
2017 Oxford Film Festival
2017 Crossroads Film Festival
2017 Clarksdale Film Festival
2017 Twisted Dreams Film Festival
2017 Tupelo Film Festival
2017 NanoCon International Sci-Fi Film Festival
2017 FantaSci Short Film Festival
2017 End of Days Film Festival
2017 Grenada Afterglow Film Festival
2017 Shiver International Film Festival

Trailer for the lost short GOD MAKER…


Northern Mississippi 1932:
In a cabin in the woods, a blind blues guitarist will discover his destiny from a lovesick goddess who seeks to corrupt his soul.

GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…


Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM at the 2013 Clarksdale Film Festival...
NOMINATED: BEST DIRECTING by the 2012 48hr. Guerrilla Film Challenge (international contest)...
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Crossroads Film Festival

Watch Coop’s award-winning short film THE BEST DAY…


WINNER: 2012 MAGNOLIA FILM FESTIVAL "Best Homegrown Film"
WINNER: 2012 SEATTLE TRUE INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL "Best Scream"

OFFICIAL SELECTION:
2012 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CLARKSDALE FILM FESTIVAL
2012 CROSSROADS FILM FESTIVAL
2012 NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI FILM FESTIVAL
2012 ATLANTA INDIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL
2012 OTHERFEST
2012 MISSISSIPPI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
2012 SUN AND SAND FILM FESTIVAL

Morgan Freeman asks Coop a question at THE BEST DAY premiere! Video below…


My short film THE BEST DAY premiered in October 2011 at the Delta Cinema in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Little did I know I had a special guest in the audience who was about to ask me a question during the Q&A. Yep, I got a little flustered when I saw who it was.

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