Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Need to know about modern shooting

So many times I get questions about how to use DSLR cameras such as the 5D, 7D, or T2i. I don't mind them but people think I have taken courses on them or something. To be honest I got my 7D in the beginning of the whole Hdslr awakening. I'd taken cinematography one, which was of absolutely no help to me in regards to camera, but other than that I was still in camera virgin land other than using cameras with dv tape. I just got into the whole letus adapter thing right before it became obsolete.

So how do you go about learning how to use a dslr? Basically, you have to learn about cinematography. That's going to be your main asset when using any camera. I had my 7D for a couple of months and everything was extremely overwhelming. I didn't find a book that spelled everything out for me but basically you need to know these things like the back of your hand:

Focal lengths
Shutter speed
Frames per second
White Balance

and the most important thing...
Post Production workflow. You can shoot the next Inglorious Basterds but have nothing to show for it if you don't get this down.

Also DSLRs have MANY hidden costs.
Harddrive for storing footage. $100+
Lenses $300-$2000
Want to shoot hand held? HH rig $250-$800
Follow Focus? $150-$450
Outside during the day? ND Filters $100

And thats just off the top of my head. These are all estimates by the way. So the nitty gritty. Where to obtain the knowledge of how to actually use your investment. I say investment because thats what it is. If you are just buying one to take cool pictures or cool video then save your money. But the source of all dslr information is...

the internet.

The one thing that is free with a dslr is knowledge. That's if you know where to look. I know that Philip Bloom gets a lot of flack because he's not the best filmmaker but man has this guy championed the age of DSLRs. He's made it mainstream and he has even put together a thing called Vimeo Video School. I wish these videos were out when I was starting out. Would have helped me lots.

The other guy I follow really closely is Robin Schmidt, AKA, El Skid

This guy is really in the same boat as all of us right now. He has done numerous music videos and things but still finds himself without a job. He wants to do narrative dramas and he understands how hard it is to break into that. He is currently embarking on a youtube angle to gain a crowd following. He also regularly posts problems and solutions he runs into along with reviews of products and of course some guides to dslrs.

And lastly everyone should sign up for the weekly email from
They have saved me when I was in a bind and didn't have time to set up a steadicam for a pushin type shot. Luckily I learned a magic trick from these guys that let me pull it off and ultimately turned out to be the best shot of the movie.

Ultimately, to get better at what you want to do, go out there and do it. You can get into intellectual arguments about frame rates and exposures and what not but to be honest nobody gives a damn. They care if it looks good, not if your frame rate was 30 or 24. (NEVER do 30). But in all seriousness go and test it and you will see what problems come up.

And don't ask me for help when I've given you everything you need to get started here. Lol. Thanks for reading.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Film in Relation to Theater and Vice Versa

As soon I started to make films I was always warned about theater actors and actresses. Not in the way you might think. I remember being told that theater actors don't want to have anything to do with film...


...was my first thought. There are very few jobs for theater actors that pay anything substantial. 85% of all acting jobs are through film. It just didn't make sense to me.

Going through the years in the film program I've discovered a few different perspectives.

I can validate why some theater professors don't want their students in short films. Its simple. Directors do not know how to direct actors. This, however is only true at the beginning of their careers. By their third year you can start to see who really takes their directing seriously. I would make the argument with the theater also. You can start to see who is going places. So my solution to this would be to: GROW TOGETHER.

If you don't want to be involved the first two years I would suggest to immerse yourself in the opposite department in the last two years.

Now here I am saying these things about how the departments never come together. This is not true. It happens. But it should happen a lot more. I've worked with production designers and actors from the theater world. It's great. However, I have to point out that these team ups were voluntary and were the product of those people putting themselves out there.

The theater is a place to grow and a place to be around other actors which helps greatly. However, I know actors in the theater that have never been in a play that are now in their last year. And these actors are TRYING to work. They audition and make an effort. This is where I have to point out the opportunity of film. WE WOULD LOVE TO CAST YOU. Really. We would. If you can find a decent script and learn to director-proof yourself well enough then jump onto the project. And then keep your eye out for the good directors.

I have worked with many actors film and theater. I love them both. When I look to cast I look at the work that I have seen, I look to both.

Now for the fun part.

My complaints:
NEVER say that one is better than the other. They are not the same and should not be treated as such. A great theater actor could be horrible on camera or vice versa. Richard Dreyfuss had a horrible time in the first act of a play he did and do you know why? He couldn't project his voice. He was ineffective. He learned to do it...on the spot I might add...and killed in the rest of the play. He GREW. And I think that is what people are mistaking. They have conquered one medium so the transition to the other should be painless. Don't be fooled.

When a PRODUCER emails you about AUDITIONING do one thing even if you can't make it. REPLY. Do it swiftly. It makes our lives easier and if we have to wait to the last minute to cancel your audition it can really irk us. And if we have to hear back from a third party that has nothing to do with the film that you can't make it...then I'm sorry, you are probably not going to get the chance again.

And never say that you don't have enough to work with in an audition. It's not our fault. We know. We hate it too. It's how auditions go. And I would definitely not say that when the last five people were amazing.

All in all I would love for a closer world between theater and film. Comment. Let me know what you think. I'll follow up.

Till next time


Thursday, July 15, 2010

The future of English football

After yet another dismal World Cup, England are in tatters. Big Sam is calling for a change in the FA. Beckham is blaming the players. The players are blaming themselves. The pundits are blaming the amount of games played. All the while Fabio Capello doesn't know what went wrong. So what the hell is going on and when will it change???

Failure #1. The Oldboys.

Manager after manager after manager have done the same thing. They play the same players over and over without ever thinking that the problem may lie with the players themselves. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Ashley Cole, EMILE HESKEY. Lamps has done a fair job but cant drive a team. He is good at filling in the gaps and is a fairly one dimensional player with an eye for a long shot...Gerrard is virtually the same player except with horrible disicpline and puts down his head after the first thing goes wrong. Rooney Rooney Rooney how overrated you are. You are good but you are not great. Pegged as the next big thing after having a good showing in the Euros a while back he has grown strong. Only problem was that all his goals in the Euros that year were lucky if you examine them. Goalies jumping out of the way basically. John Terry is scum and sleeps with his teammates wives. Ashley Cole is an angry little man and also seems to be a whiner on field. And Emile Heskey can't score goals. I can honestly say that I am better than Heskey when I'm fit. 

2nd mistake - The press
If you have ever bragged and lied about something long enough, then you should know that you eventually start believing your own bullshit. That is exactly what happened with the Nike commercials. All the promos of the so called best players built them up as something they are not. They are not gods. They are the best because they work their asses off at what they do. They forgot that and became frustrated at even the simplest of hurdles. It is quite disturbing how quickly English players are to hang up their boots and retire. If you look at countries like Italy they have players playing close to their forties...and they also won the previous World Cup...with all domestic platers which leads me to...

3rd mistake. - The English Premier League.
The Best of the Best. No league can match it. Only problem...not so English. Liverpool look more like a Spanish team. Arsenal look like a French team.  Chelsea look like an African team. Man Utd are the closest thing to an English team consistently in the top 4. There are a handful of players in these teams that are English which makes selections a headache. Say there are 20 English nationals between all these teams. That means there is a selection pool of 20 to try and be versatile with. That means there are 9 options to switch things around. It just really isnt enough to choose from.

The way of the future...
Tottenham Hotspur. The success of this club lies with Harry Rednapp who favors English players. They broke the top four this year. They have a relatively young team. Time will tell. 

The death of the English Premier League...or the rebirth.
In today's society footballers are celebrities on par, or above in some cases, A list celebrities in Hollywood. A list celebrities like good weather. England does not have that. As celebrity increases in soccer there will be less players migrating to England and more to Spain and Italy. This can be good for England as that will give opportunity to younger english players to come through the ranks. However, that is assuming that Africa Asia and South America arent pillaged of their young talents. Ever heard of Cesc Fabregas? pillaged. Cristiano Ronaldo? pillaged. Robin Van Persie. Gael Clichy. Aaron Ramsey. Carlos Vela. Macheda. All pillaged. Name the best English players that were pillaged...Rooney...and uh...joe cole...wait joe cole is 28. 

One for the future. Adam Johnson. Thank God. Too bad he will probably become the next Michael Owen and have his career be injury plagued. Thus is the Premier League. The toughest league not only to break into but the toughest league to stay in. 

And the scary thing is that nobody has seemed to notice that the USA did better than England at the world cup...uh oh for the future.



Sunday, June 6, 2010

The World Cup

It's only a few days away from the start of the World Cup and here are my thoughts on who to look out for and who I think will win.

Algeria- Look out for them on the news as the dirtiest team to ever step foot on the field. They won't do well

France- Prepare for a huge flop from the French. Their players are old and coming off injuries. Only player to look out for in Franck Ribery. If he plays well, France will do well. However, expect an arrogant attitude from him which I think will get him in trouble if they make it to the knockout stage.

Argentina - Another old and aging team. Watch out for Leo Messi though. He is coming off a good season but I have never seen him play well for his national team consistently.

England - England are at the end of an era. Every player has something to prove. This year should be at least a semi final finish at worst. Things that could be a disaster for England: Penalty shoot outs, Bad tempers and red cards, injuries. If nobody else gets injured then they should be fine. However, expect the likes of Steven Gerrard to screw up when things get tough and get himself sent off. A frustrating season for him will translate on to the national team. Couldn't have picked a worse captain Capello.

USA - If USA can take England in the first game they will have already had a great tournament. Not likely to happen though. Bst bet would be a draw. Expect a second place finish in their group and a quarter final spot at best.

Germany - Germany is always tough. They are in a bit of an injury crisis though. Also they are suffering from an aging squad. If Podolski and Klose are in form expect a counterattacking German team that will get a goal and set up shop.

Netherlands - If Arjen Robben is fit to play expect at least a quarter finals showing. If he isn't don't expect much. If Robben stays fit then this is my dark horse team.

Italy - Expect the "world champs" to be pummeled in at least one game. I'm going to bet paraguay beat them. Old team. Drama. Known cheaters. Expect them to do well if they cheat by diving.

Brazil - Always strong. Every area. But they are spoiled. Complacency might be a problem that could hold them back. Kaka needs to be in form.

Portugal - Can't see them winning anything. In fact they might not make it out of their group. They need Nani fit and Cristiano Ronaldo to hit some kind of form. Unfortunately there isnt a lot of support for him. Tough times for Portugal ahead.

Spain - The European Champions are looking strong. Now that a trophy has been won there should be some confidence when they take the field. If they go down a goal don't put your money on a comeback if it is a decent team. Spain get desperate. However, they should be good money to get far in the tournament especially if Torres is looking to impress.

My picks for winners.


Biggest disappointments

I'm watching the first France game with some pro French soccer players and Chamakh. Should be interesting to see their reactions...even though Ireland deserve their spot.

And the best part of the world cup you ask?
The Fans.

T dog


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And so it is written...

I, Tony Clifford, will be moved out by the end of August, or at the very least have a definitive plan made with people for September.

This decision comes as my room is no longer a sanctuary but a gathering place. I have a very nice TV. 50 inches. And a PS3. Great for Blu Rays. I go to sit down and watch said Blu Ray. Upon opening door I discover one Shane Clifford, aka little brother, listening to music and playing MAG on my bueno. Will not budge. And I'm a little tired of kicking his butt out the door. Not stress I need.

There are about 20 other reasons I can tell you that I want to move out but I'm not here to bore you with complaints. The reason why I haven't moved out as of yet is as follows:

1. Money - I quit my job in November. Not poor but rent would eat up any money I have within a year. I quit because the schedule didn't suit me with my filming being so sporadic.

2. Friends - Every single one of my best friends have proposed moving out. However, they never EVER have enough money due to the lack of employment. And when they are employed they like to spoil their girlfriends. SIGH

3. I'm moving to Cali in the near future- So why waste money now?


1. Bought all the books I need to become a personal trainer. Perfect part time job for me.

2. I think I have enough friends, who are employed, to convince/harass one or two of them to move in with me.

3. If I'm moving to Cali...and I've never moved out that really a good idea?

So the only thing I have to do is bust my butt for this Certification Exam and find roommates. Who wants to get a place!!!! Guys and girls either works.

...only requirement is that you are clean.


Tony the Tiger


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Red Cliff, Iron Man, Lost + FotW

Part 1 and 2 International version

Just finished watching the  4 hour+ movie Red Cliff...or Chi Bi. I personally loved most things about the movie. I've been a Dynasty Warriors fan since DW3 and it was pretty cool seeing some of my favorite characters come to life...even though i was sad at some of the detail put in (like Sun Quan being too old and Xiahou Dun not having an eye patch maybe that happened after but would have been cool.) The other thing that irritated me was that it wasn't historically accurate with the roles of the people in the film. The chick Sun Shang Xiang was never a spy but ugh o well. 

Okay now that's my nerdy peeves dealt with. What I did love was the portrayal of Zhuge Liang by Takeshi Kaneshiro who is growing on me every time I see him on screen. Guy has talent. 
There were a few moments in the film that stuck out to me. When Pit dies is the part that I found most well done. Battle scenes were epic of course. I mean it is John Woo. The line that stuck out to me was one of the last ones where Zhou Yu looks around and says "There are no winners here" after the most kickass standoff I've seen in a while. 

The actor that blew me away in this movie was Shido Nakamura portraying Gan Xing. His last scene in the movie is epic. He played the best badass out of everyone. Didn't even say much but pulled it off perfectly. Anyway I did want to see more in this film. Some Yuan Shao, Lu Bu, and Diao Chan would have made my day. But theres only so much you can fit in one film.

I also watched all the behind the scenes footage. The Second unit directors were troopers. They had to deal with a baby and get it to smile for ONE SHOT. Took 2 or 3 days to get. Anyway I loved one of the second unit directors who kept talking about how John Woo is insane and how he has nightmares from babies. I'm glad that the movie grossed so much money (More than the Dark Knight) after all the setbacks that occurred on set. (Heard rumors of animal abuse and a horse dying. Hope that isnt true :/)

Was there any dialogue in the script? Just seemed like Downey Jr was let off the leash...which is good. However, there were points where he needed to be reeled back in. Action was good. Particularly enjoyed the Captain America and Avengers jokes. Overall thought the movie was a bunch of fun but felt like an excuse to just upgrade his armor to the new suit for avengers. And that whole making a new element in my living room thing? Didn't buy it. Bored me. 

Season Finale
I have not watched Lost since Season 3..or 4? who knows. But missing all the seasons in between didn't really seem to matter to me as I made sense of the finale easily. I persoanlly loved how it ended. Bold. The twist it needed. And it felt satisfying to me. The whole end was about closure...which a lot of people were craving. And I think they got it. The best part for me was when Jack was stumbling in the jungle and lays down to die...and that damn dog appears. Damn dogs. And then it laid down next to him. Too well done. Freakin animals playing with my emotions. (Maybe it was symbolic...Jack dies and ends Tv career. Dog born and starts movie career...more than most actors on the show can say. Kate any1? yuck) 

...but was I the only one wondering how they got the gigantic tree off of him? 

Sushi. Can't get enough. 

Only rave this week is that I need to figure out a way to stop injuring myself.
And if your going to buy burgers for a barbecuse bring cheeze!!!!! grr Vanessa. 

Friend of the week.

Devon Byers

He is everyone's best friend pretty much. Or is he? ACTION

El tigre


Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Devotion will make you feel more complete"

Fortune cookie said that^. Sign I need to get on my stuff.

So it's been an interesting week this last week. I've had a lot of fun with different groups of people some of which I haven't seen for a longggg time. I've had so much fun this last week I've forgot to really sleep at all.  Which made me a little short on patience in the last day but thankfully I found my way back to bed...

WARNING. If you text me and I respond with a text that makes little to no sense then I am most likely asleep. Sleep texting has become my new bad habit. Apparently I was texting three people in my sleep last night/morning and have no recollection of it. And before you cynics say anything NO I had not been drinking. 

Even though I had a good week I want to start this for fun
Weekly rant:
Torn groin...and the pain hiking 9 hours later.
Thumb still hurts two weeks after punching stupid machine wrong
Chlorine dried out my skin. Hate that.
Soccer players boasting before the world cup.
People who can tan >_<
Chris Russell monopolizing monopoly.

Weekly likes:
Drea for having a pool party.
Chamakh for officially signing for Arsenal.
Devon for having movie night and game night.
Going to the half shell with friends and douchebags!
Simon and me tricking Kristina!
Seeing old friends and making new ones.
The Descent!
Cristiano Ronaldo for saying he isn't a one man team.
Nike's World Cup video.
The chick in the Samba School Nike Video

Anyway I'm fully implementing my routine for results starting Sunday.
And can't wait to finally watch Red Cliff which Rob recommended to me the first time I met him. 

Tone Dog Millionaire 


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's all part of the plan

So since school has ended I've been taking a mini vacation and doing nothing really productive...first job of the summer today though as a PA. But I'm going to map out the "plan". I've already helped on one shoot this summer...even though i fell asleep on set like 6 times. Sorry conz lol.

Non-productive things to do this summer:
-Play MAG, Fat Princess, Dynasty Warriors, and Final Fantasy 13.
-Watch the world cup at bars.
-Gamble on the World Cup.
-Go to the gym at least 4 times a week (nonproductive? meh)
-And of

Productive things to do this summer:
-Watch movies
-Buy a full rig for my 7d (follow focus, rails, shoulder mount, matte box maybe) and zoom h4n w/sound stuff
-Find a job that is super flexible or consistent side jobs.
-Finish writing Avatard, The Celt, Vacation Darfur, Your Life, and...(Bad Romance working title)
-Shoot Avatard
-Shoot Vacation Darfur
-Start writing something that I can shoot in Ireland by myself with only myself. (TOUGH)
-Go to Ireland.
-Go on road trips.
-Perhaps PA in LA

Things that can be productive or non productive but most likely non productive:

haha. just kidding on the last one there. Just realized it sounds like a pregnancy joke too. O_O

Time to get ready to make some money. Then off to Devon Byers Lord of the Rings monopoly night!...only Devon. haha.



Monday, May 17, 2010

The Beginning of an Epic Journey

So since it is summer time and I have more than enough distractions already, I've decided to make a blog blending personal and professional. I'll be posting updates about cameras, work I'm doing, plans for the future, opinions on films, and the most exciting part of this More to come soon!

Tony signing off.

...always wanted to say that.