The Movie Title Stills Collection

The Designated Victim
The Movie Title Stills Collection, “a collection containing hundreds of main titles from feature films,” curated by designer Christian Annyas is an awesome compendium of what happens when font meets film. Dating from the 1920s to the present, The Movie Title Stills Collection is a masterfully deployed timesuck that shows that a film’s titles and tone are often (or perhaps should be) aligned.

As Annyas explains on his site, “I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years. To prove I’ve sat through at least the first ten minutes of them I started making screenshots of the titles. Then my computer crashed and I almost lost them all. To save them for future generations I created this little website.” As a designer with a keen eye for typography as evinced by his blog, I suspect that Annyas’ project has more to it than proving he simply pressed “play” on a few flicks.

Click through to kiss away your afternoon on a splendid tour of beginnings that never seems to end.

New Tune from Static People: The Late Projectionist

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The song is a better page-turner

Static People takes you to a mournful matinee with its latest track, “The Late Projectionist.” Give it a spin here or download it, compliments of the band.

You may also enjoy the novel of the same name by Static People’s bassist, now available digitally…
Get the Kindle version of The Late Projectionist. Here?s the complimentary Kindle app for iPhone (launches iTunes). As always, The Late Projectionist is available in paperback. Very cheap.

Sonoma Intl Film Fest Survival Guide

If you are a filmmaker and you’re attending the Sonoma International Film Festival, you are in mortal danger. The extent to which one might enjoy oneself can reach a level of lethality unparalleled on the festival circuit. Oh, and congratulations.

Filmmakers of a certain disposition are advised to write a last will and testament prior to attending the annual event. This is not some proviso ordained by the festival’s legal team (who, I believe is an 18-year-old intern) but rather some advice from a film fest veteran who has popped as many corks as he once had neurons. Twenty-four frames a second looks like slow-motion when compared to the speed with which one can transit from rising star to supernova in the course of a winery mixer. Needless to say, the unbridled boozing that annually occurs here is no more the fault of the festival than civil engineers are responsible for bridge-jumpers. Be that as it may, there would be far less bridge-jumpers if there weren’t any bridges. Just sayin’.

Here, prophylactic measures are best. A colleague suggests ingesting an entire bottle of Pedialite, “an oral electrolyte solution that is specifically designed to replace fluids and minerals that are lost when a child has diarrhea with or without vomiting.” Apparently, it’s just as effective if you’re a 30-something with a mountain of credit debt, a feature film without distribution and a growing grudge against sobriety. You will note the bottle of wine in your swag-bag. This, dear filmmaker, is a preparatory offering meant to ease your liver into its cirrhotic journey toward oblivion. Where you go from there is entirely your choice, however, you’ll likely pass a wine bar on the way. And then another one. And so on.

Irish poet Seamus Heaney famously belched, “I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” For the uninitiated, a film festival set in Sonoma might look like a wine festival with a film problem. This is not entirely true, though there have been recorded instances when it’s become evident the only reason people were sitting in a dark theater was to nurse their hangovers. Or, because they’d woken up there. Though this is a great way to build an audience if you’re film is scheduled early in the day, one shouldn’t take offense if someone yells “Turn off the lights” when your film flickers onto the screen.

This brings to mind another cliche that is often repeated come festival time: “Friends don’t let friends do the Q&A drunk.” That is, unless those friends have films competing in the same category in which case it’s not personal it’s just The Business.

Speaking of the business, permit me to disabuse out-of-town filmmakers of the notion that they’re going to leave Sonoma with a three-picture deal. You’re not. Consider yourself lucky if you leave with a hangover and perhaps a social disease. Deals don’t get made here, so please do not patronize the patrons.

They’ve put a lot of money into the film festival to celebrate your talents and enjoy your company for a weekend. Don’t spoil it by getting greedy. The fact is, they have less money than you think, especially the ones willing to talk with you.

Consider this: if you and your mark are at the same party, chances are neither of you have any dough. See you there.

Matinee Idyll: Indie Screening in Wine Country

Once upon a time, at some party or other in Hollywood, the host proudly showed off his expansive DVD collection, after claiming to have dumped his books to make space. ?DVDs are the new novels,? he crowed proudly, unaware that he had offended not only this particular writer, but nearly everyone within earshot who had ever curled up with a paperback ? let alone written one. After my blood ceased to boil, I decided to welcome him into my consciousness as one of my myriad mental charity cases: Perhaps he couldn?t read and empowered himself with an arsenal of media; perhaps the deceased love of his life was a librarian and now the mere thought of books taunt his broken heart; perhaps he knew something I didn?t about the evolution of language, which gave new meaning to the phrase ?disc read error.? Perhaps he was an idiot. I surveyed the titles on his shelf ? the usual ? all of which were culled from a film school syllabus or the AFI 100 and de rigeur for anyone in the biz. It was, however, a ?Great Gatsby?-esque moment amongst the DVDs that lead to my final, uncharitable, perception of my host. None of the discs had been opened, their shrink-wrap shrouds intact, tell-tale, like a translucent caul. Of course, in the motion picture version of this moment, the disc my character plucks from the shelf for closer examination would be the 1974 adaptation of ?The Great Gatsby,? penned by Coppola and starring Redford, because, you know, I?m postmodern like that.

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