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Boarding is Process

From Richardson’s book on Emerson teaching writing;”First We Read, Then We Write.” It says art but say boarding instead.

“Art is the path of the creator to his work. “One cannot repeat it enough; art is not the finished work, art is the getting there. This is why good schools believe in art education, in doing art as well as art history. This is why we give children finger paints; it is the process of expressing that we value, along with-or even more than-the finished work, which as Emerson believes observes, passes at once into the mortuary state once completed and detached from its creator, unless, like a seed, it be good for starting the process all over again. “The painter, the sculptor, the composer the epic rhapsodist, the orator, all partake one desire to express themselves symmetrically and abundantly, not and fragmentarily.”


Pixar Story Rules, Good Models and an Emersonian Admonition

There is a lots of buzz about “22 Pixar Points of Storytelling” these days. If one looks deeper, the main points are also articulated by Alexander Mackendrick from CalArts in his collected lecture notes On Film-making. And he credits them back further.
I’ve also being reading Marilynne Robinson’s When I was a Child, I Read Books. In it, she discusses ideas of imitation and quotes Emerson in an address to the Harvard Divinity School on his concern on the state of preaching. (I read storytelling.)

“Let me admonish you first of all: to go alone: to refuse the good models, even those that are scared in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you shall find who still hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, Saints and Prophets. Thank God for these good models, but say, ‘I also am a man.’ Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity.”

So, we can follow the Pixar rules as they followed Mackendrick’s rules, and on and on, -good models all-but to truly advance, we need to find our own rules and way of preaching.

Board Notes From Years Ago

Boarding notes found in the files. From Warners around Batman’s first iteration. I didn’t work on it. Just appreciate the clarity. Even though these are obviously typewritten and probably mimeographed, the ideas here are still gold. (Who remembers a bi-pak?)

Storyboard Notes


The idea of techne –the Greek word for skill-was first introduced to me by Peter Drucker. He describes it as skill that managers need to be aware of and focus on. In What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly elaborates on the concept. He refines the term to “art, skill, craft or even craftiness.” He calls techne “the ability to outwit circumstances.” This is an essential quality of the freelance boarder. I’ve always said there are boarders that are smarter, faster and better, but I’m craftier. And I care about the craft and the process.

I feel I have to know what technology can accomplish and how it solves the client’s problem. Sometimes one uses Storyboard Pro, sometimes a pencil. It is also important to know how the client is misusing the technology and when to walk away.

In a separate but related internet rambling I saw a video of Neville Brody discussing the need for designers to know the processes in which they work. He said Cassandre and Lautrec had to know what nascent lithographic processes could do to produce their work. Brody embraced web design early on and says it is incumbent on the designer to know what the technology can do to exceed and succeed with it for his client.

The new Kelly book has a number of quotable chapter titles. “The Unabomber was Right” and “Lesson From Amish Hackers.” My favourite Kelly quote from New Rules: “No one can escape the transforming fire of machines.”

As I read, I’ll post more, but I read slowly and I post slower.

See Kelly’s The Technium to the right.

Walter Murch Yesterday

Walter Murch at the Lightbox 10/10/10

Walter Murch at the Lightbox 10/10/10 by M Mayerson

Walter Murch was in town this last night for a screening of Apocalyse Now Redux ( Blu-ray soon) and in a second night, his talk on the future of cinema. It was a very respectful crowd and he had some great things to say about 3D (it goes against evolution-of how we see) the balance between preparation and chance (editing with your eyes closed) and perseverance (on the bad response to Return to Oz, “you have to suck it up and move on.”)

As anyone who has read The Conversations, you will know that Murch is an erudite philosopher on the historical antecedence and art of cinema in general. Urban and witty, he used the discussion to field questions for two and a half hours.

The lecture explained his theory of the fathers on cinema. Beethoven, Flaubert and Edison. Each had an effects Beethoven (the change from formalism to dynamics in music) Flaubert (descriptive to novelistic realism) and Edison, with Dickson, for first combining sound and image.)

The best moment came when an audience member asked about video games and Murch stepped to his already opened Mac to display a series of slides that concisely explained his thoughts. A grid that displays Repeatable and Unique experience against Communal and Individual. Cinema is Communal and repeatable, Theatre is communal and unique, Video, individual and repeatable and Dreams are individual and unique. Games became a graphic covering all of these quadrants. A true editor, I think he prepped for that chance question.

I particular liked his references as a freelancer. He is aware of where his next paycheque was/will come from. He confirms the freelance ethos of the difficulty in being too selective, as he needed to make a living. He’s currently directing an episode of “The Clone Wars.”

There’s a good career overview here. Other than The Conversations -which gets a little esoteric-the essential Murch book is In the Blink of the Eye. Behind the Seen is a great observation of both his working methods applied to Final Cut Pro and how a large budget feature is edited.

Illustration Has to Move

Flash Catalyst.

With the rise of the new platforms, the static image will not suffice.


From the ICON conference here.

Milton Glaser and the Responsibilty of the Artist

Milton Glaser explains how it is important for an artist to engage in society. He references the difference between Van Gogh and Rubens. Van Gogh is the current popular version of the artist- a lone genius pursing his vision, unsullied by the need to sell it.

Rubens on the other hand, was involved in society, acting as a diplomat, and propagandist for the Catholic faith at the start of the Reformation.

Glaser talks of the necessity or responsibilty of the artist to engage as a citizen in society, not act as a critic sitting back and only focusing on his work.

Eleanor Wachtel’s interview with graphic designer and artist Milton Glaser here.