Friday, March 31, 2006

What about her?

(Based on actual events.)
Project: Create a promotional video for a university in Minnesota.
The producer and cameraman are standing near the entrance of the university library. A student enters.
"What about him?" asks the cameraman.
"We've already interviewed a white male." says the producer. Another student enters the library.
Producer: "He looks Latino."
Cameraman: "Are you sure? He could be Filipino."
Producer: "Well, we've already got a Korean."
Cameraman fidgets nervously. "Are you sure we should be doing it like this?"
An attractive girl opens the door.
Producer: "Let's interview her."
Cameraman: "But we've already interviewed three white students."
Producer: "But she's cute."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

How "soccer" doesn't explain the world

With the World Cup right around the corner, I've be itching to read How Soccer Explains the World. That is, until I read this review in an Aussie newspaper.

Here's an excerpt: "Any book about Association Football with soccer in the title is ultimately written from an outsider's perspective. Aficionados would never refer to the game as soccer, except in circumstances of coercion or necessity. And they would normally do so with measures of hesitancy and guilt."

Perhaps one day I will write a book entitled, How Corporate Video Explains the World. "In the backyards of middle-class pre-fab homes, in the city plazas of Mexico City, on the greens of St. Andrews are lawns that need to be manicured. Toro was there to meet the challenge..."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Something to say

I got my used copy of The Cinema of Nanni Moretti: Dreams and Diaries in the mail yesterday. Very exciting.

Moretti says that he only makes movies when he has something to say. If I ever made a film, I think it would be because I had a question I had to answer.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Box office – Italy
Strong start for The Caiman
Nanni Moretti’s new film had a strong opening weekend at the box office, earning over €2m euro, with the best per screen average of any current release (€5,458). Opening on 380 screens, The Caiman grossed €400,000 alone on its first day of release (March 24).

The decidedly anti-Berlusconi film received good reviews (we cite here just two of the top Italian dailies: "Morettian touch; apocalyptic pessimism of a great humourist"; "certainly Moretti’s most mature film") and naturally drew criticism, just two weeks from the presidential election. Even the president himself even said sarcastically, during a rally: "I am the caiman!" Nanni Moretti doused the controversy, however, during a Q&A with audiences in Milan: "A film shouldn’t change anyone’s mind about voting".


My Dad's retina got tired of hanging out on the back wall of his eye and decided to move last week. Doctor's concluded that it was more beneficial to my Dad's sight that the retina move back to it's old neighborhood; with a little luck, Dad should regain most of his sight in a few months.

My Dad. He makes me laugh. Mostly deaf, shaking with Parkinson's, healing from a broken ankle, diabetic, blind in one eye. After the operation, he turns to me, with a twinkle in his good eye, and says, "Life gets a little out of focus from time-to-time."

Friday, March 24, 2006


Nanni Moretti's first film in three years premieres in Rome today.

My perfect day would be to meet a few friends for dinner at a small restaurant in some quiet corner of Rome. We would start with an apéritif, followed by roasted chicken with potatoes, then a slice of Tiramisu and coffee.

We would walk a few blocks to the local theater and watch Il Caimano. After the film, we would find a crowded cafe and sit outside, discussing the film until two in the morning.

Here are a few advance reviews of the film: Screen Daily, AGI, AGI Online

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Slow days

I'm scared.

It's a slow week at work.

Here it comes.

"Tom, could you build a new shelf for that equipment? While you're at it, why don't we update all the software, repaint the dub room, organize the DVD Masters, clean the studio..."

Alan Greenspan, where art thou? Cut these interest rates so that we corporate producers may bask in the wonderous light of another Bull Market.

In the meantime, where's the circular saw...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


On days when my wife takes the car, I walk to a restaurant for lunch. Taco Bell. KFC. Subway. At least once a week, someone yells something at me as they drive by. I never really catch what they are yelling.

Bloomington isn't a good place to walk. Weir, Germany is a good place to walk. Athens is not. Seattle is, if you don't mind the hills. West Palm Beach isn't; no sidewalks and too hot. Chicago is probably the best city that I've lived in to take a walk. No one ever yelled at me there.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bloomington, MN

I make videos for many of the corporations in Bloomington, Minnesota. Training videos, promotional videos, interactive and educational videos. I shoot these videos, edit them on a very nice computer in a very dark suite, and then distribute these videos, usually as DVDs, although lately, clients have been asking for streaming media.

There are two Bloomingtons. One Bloomington is beautiful: expensive houses overlooking pristine lakes, a ski area, quiet neighborhoods, a college campus. The other Bloomington, where I work, is the industrial part of Bloomington. Railroad tracks, equipment rental facilities, massive corporate headquarters, the Mall of America, hotels, freeways, tourists from Iowa. John Deere. Caterpillar. Donaldson Company. Toro. Thermo King.

Bloomington suffers from schizophrenia. Beautiful and ugly. Delicate and coarse. Lexus and 18-wheeler, side-by-side.

This is where I spend most of my days. Welcome.

Nanni Moretti quote