Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Painting Pt. 1

When I was a child I loved painting using water colors. At the same time, however, I hated it because I could never get my pictures to look nearly as good as the afro-wearing instructor Bob Ross whom I watched regularly on PBS. Despite my frustration I still loved playing with paint and it helped that painting and art was an old hobby of my mother's (actually, something she did in college alongside her mathematics and computer science studies), which meant that there were always plenty of water colors and brushes around for me to experiment with.

I discovered that one thing I loved to paint, mostly because I discovered that it was relatively easy to me, were sunsets. Maybe it wasn't easy for me to do at first, but the bright and saturated colors, alongside the wonders of mixing colors to create another, was enough for me to thoroughly enjoy making them enough to pratice enough to get to the point where I felt as though I did a good job.

Fastforward 15 to 17 years. The old watercolor sets (which were, in fact, older than me) no longer reside under the sink, neither does the cup full of stained and poorly cleaned brushes. They've all been moved... or thrown out. Searching for them I stumble upon a box in the living room holding most of the old art supplies I used so many years ago. The oil and acrylic paints sit in their jars or tubes, dried and crusted after years of neglect. The brushes lay, some stained and mistreated others brand new, never removed from their original packaging. The tins of watercolors, what I was looking for, however, are not there, probably thrown away years earlier as they ran out of paint.

I however, still wanted to paint with watercolors in preparation of a short animation idea I've been playing with in my mind, so I went to Blick's and bought a set and a brush. The following are the results of my more recent ventures into the world of painting:

What I do at work

At work today we talked about prostitution and how it's legal in Nevada and Rhode Island. Apparently it's not a crime as long as you're 16 and not getting your customers on the street. There's also a union. Well, I guess if you can't completely abolish it you might as well regulate it, right?

I guess you do learn something new every day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


One thing that tends to be extremely difficult in the film industry, at least on the creative end, is finding motivation. I think that that search, or rather, that struggle is what seperates those who stay in the industry with those who quit; the ability to keep ourselves motivated.

I know, for myself, it is extremely difficult to keep myself motivated. I have 3 projects that have yet to be completely finished, although they're always 2 or 3 steps from completion, I have 2 scripts which are stuck at around page 30 and I have quite a few other ideas on the back burner just waiting for the other ideas to finish so I can start on them and yet I find it so hard to pull it together, to do what I am supposed to do.

Today we looked at the music videos of the high school kids, and while they weren't perfect, they were done. I think it's been a while since I have seen a project all the way through to the end, which is a feeling that I really miss. It's good that I saw all those music videos today, because I think they got me motivated to finish my own projects. I hope this motivation stays. Links and vids when I get them done.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Note on Developing Characters

It's always easy, when watching a movie or reading a book, to say "yea, so and so and their friend's relationship needed to be developed more,". Hell, I say that all the time. However, at least with myself, I would say it but not be able to pinpoint how exactly that needed to be done.

Developing relationships in between two separate characters can be tricky if you don't have a good grasp on each character's personality as well as the general relationship between the two characters, i.e. "how do they feel about each other?" That's generally a good question to start off with in discovering and building a relationship between your fictional works.

Going back to my previous post about Street Fighter, the relationship between Chung Li and her master is just that, a girl that goes to some guy to learn things, the relationship is, in that respect, too materialistic and way too one-sided for me to feel anything for him when we're lead to believe that he's dead.

Relationship development is tricky because you must know and have developed all your characters so that when they interact with each other, we see a bit of emotion from them, be it joy or sorrow or indifference (yes, indifference is an emotion, or, at least in this case it is because that character should be indifferent for a reason). Your main character should not be the only one that gets something out of a relationship, that's generally not how relationships work... unless they're just that kind of relationship, but even then there's a reason why it exists (and is usually a point of conflict.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kiss My Ass?

The Following post actually happened:


Matthew, 22, walks down the street with Natalie, 20. The two of them hold brown paper bags of Chinese food that they recently bought. As they walk down Thompson Street they come across a COMIC BOOK STORE. Matthew, former comic book addict, pauses for a moment.

Huh, a comic book store.

Natalie, who is decidedly not a comic book fan, goes over and looks at the shop window. The store is colorfully decorated, lots of reds and yellows color the entrance of the shop with streaks of dark green giving it an early 90's graffiti look.

(Seeing the T-Shirts)
Looks kind of cool

Matthew and Natalie walk into the store, its a single room with a few shelves on the walls to hold T-Shirts and comics. The selection lies somewhere in between sparse and sufficiently stocked. Natalie and Matthew proceed to look at the contents in the store, Natalie at T-Shirts, Matt gazing at the covers of comic books. He picks one up, flips through a few of the pages.

Blackest night?

Yea, that's pretty interesting.
the black lanterns are all the heroes
that have been resurrected.

(Putting the comic back down)
That's cool. I haven't been following for
a while. I left off where they started
introducing all the other colors.

Natalie finishes her browsing of the store and walks over to Matt.

Alrite, I think there's nothing here for me.

Ok, lets head out then.

They turn and begin to head out of the store.

What were you looking for? Because if
we don't have it I can order it for you.

Oh no, I don't really... I was just looking
at the shirts.

(pointing to the shirts near the entrance)
There are shirts over there.

Yea, I saw them. Thanks though.

Natalie makes her way out of the store and looks lovingly at a small kitten near the entrance way. Matt is a little slow to leave, still responding to the store owner's questions.

If you think there's anything wrong with
my store I'm going to ask questions. So what
are you looking for?

Oh, no thanks, we were just browsing today.

Well that was just rude.

(now in the entrance of the store)
OK... Kiss my ass?

Matthew turns and rejoins Natalie, who was waiting outside.

What did he say?

He said "that was rude"

Really? He really said that?

Yea! And all I said was "No thanks,
we're just browsing today."

What a dick!


Imma go back and write a bad review of him.


Anyway, here's the bad review:
The Store's Profile
Natalie's Profile

Thompson Street Comics
215 Thompson Street New York NY 10012
Phone: (212)388-1466

Go call them and tell them how much they suck.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Death of a Legend

The world has lost another legend. Even more so than the king of pop, Walter Cronkite has defined for us Americans a large part of our culture.

I remember when I was in high school I was somewhat interested in Journalism. I'm not going to go into a long story about how Walter Cronkite was an inspiration for me and my interest in that specific area, because that would be a lie, but as I saw the article about his death, I was rather saddened by the news, yes, even more so than the death of Michael Jackson.

I remember the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year at NYU. The first summer session I was taking Sight and Sound Documentary with Barbara Malmet. This was her first teaching the class and I was working on the previously mentioned "Boheimobot" while taking this class. However, that's irrelevant. This class is significant because for my final project I decided to do a documentary on Ham Radio, a project that I still need to do titles for so I can submit to festivals.

At any rate, one interview I had was with a friend of a friend Steve Mendelson. Steve, in attition to being very articulate, is a Ham Radio entusiast, works for ABC and in his free time is the frequency coordinator for the NY Jets. I recall during my interview of him he pointed out to me many names of famous people who were also Ham Radio enthusiasts, Walter Cronkite being one of them.

I think about all this because I've come to realize that through Ham Radio I've become part of a society hidden from most of the general public's view, a society shared by Walter Cronkite himself, and I feel sad because I've never even gotten to broadcast a single sound because I don't have the equipment. I wish I had the chance to talk to him over the radio waves, but I guess I'll never be able to.

So here's to you KB2GSD, you will be missed.

Best 73's

KC2SCG out.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I feel like I must apologize for my harsh criticisms of Street Fighter and Dragonball, that's not the purpose that I started watching these films. Actually, I think the real reason I wanted to watch these films was for laughs, but in respect to my "Bad Movie Series," that I've been doing, the movies are precisely that, bad movies, the logic behind that being I might learn what not to do.

So I feel I must apologize because I spent the previous posts ranting about how bad the movies were and not discussing the educational experience that I've had from both, so here's what I learned.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

1.) Develop Relationships -- There were scenes where a character died and I just didn't care because, even though the character was significant to the main character, I didn't know them and I didn't care about them.

2.) Montages show us progress but not struggle -- The montage that I have particularly in mind is when Chun Li is learning and finally mastering this technique, but since I didn't see a huge struggle in the first place or, for that matter, a lack of dedication/determination to get this technique done in the first place, I only see a series of images telling me she's got it and that it seemed easy. Nothing should be gained easily by the main character.

3.) Establish why the main character is uniquely important -- There is a specific scene when Chun Li is told by her master that "only you can save your father" but nothing else is elaborated in terms if that. Does she posses something that no one else does? An ability, a connection with a charm, etc... that would allow her to do what no one else can?

4.) Similarly to #3, don't make a character seem special and then negate it -- As mentioned before, her master tells her "only you can save your father," and then, ==Spoiler Alert== her father dies, so guess what? Not even she could save her father, which takes away any sort of unique labeling that she may have been given by that one line.

5.) Spend more time on the character's situation and how they got there -- When Chun Li moves to Thailand she lives on the streets and begs for food. How did she get to that situation? Did she choose to live like that? I would think so since just moments ago she lived a rather wealthy life in Hong Kong.

6.) Get good actors -- While Kristen Kreuk wasn't bad, everyone else was. Enough said on that. Also, it was very clear in fight scenes that Kristen Kreuk is not an extremely athletic person. Her Chinese also sucks... which takes me to my next point.

7.) When you have people speaking in languages they don't know, get a language coach for them. -- This holds especially true for when people speak a tonal language like Chinese.

That's all for that. I'll do Dragonball another time. I don't think I have enough energy for it right now.

Dragonball Evolution AKA Bad Movie Series Pt. 2

I think calling Dragonball Evolution a bad movie would be unfair and horribly inaccurate. In fact, I feel as though Dragonball Evolution should be nominated for best comedy of the year. In fact, no other movie thus far has had me laughing harder.

Naturally, this is what I would like to say, and indeed it was truly hilarious and had me laughing throughout the entire movie, but then I wouldn't be able to go on my rant about just how bad it is.

I think we all knew that Dragonball Evolution was going to be mindlessly stupid, consisting of no plot, millions of cliches and horrific writing, but I don't think any of us expected it to be directed so poorly that it managed to turn a good actor bad. Well, I guess that just falls under bad direction.

Well, now we know why Hong Kong's king of ridiculous slapstick comedy, Stephen Chow produced and guided the production of this film.

At least Chi Chi was hot.

I also think the last 15 to 20 minutes of Matrix Revolutions was a better Dragonball than this.

Friday, July 10, 2009

NYAFF HK Film Focus

Additionally, I recently stumbled upon this and I am very sad and disappointed that I missed it/came upon it late. However, I did see IP Man (pronounced Yip Mun) and it's really good so I'd recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A return to New York and a return to the basics

Monday night I packed up my things and made the move from my home in New Jersey back to NYU to stay in Weinstein for a month while I look after high school kids, which I've done for the past 3 years.

The students arrive on Sunday, and it looks like we have some "V.I.P.'s" this year in the film program, which should make it... if nothing else, interesting. Aside from this, this past week a few interesting things occurred, although not too many.

Tuesday I was coming back from PBS and was around Washington Square South when a student I had passed by dropped her ID and kept on walking without noticing. Seeing this I went to pick it up and give it to her, so to get her attention I tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention. Upon turning around, the first words out of her mouth were "Oh my God," but not in a good way. It sounded more like a homeless man just went up to her with his pants down and asked her if she wanted to join him in his box for a few minutes.

Then, of course, she processes the words that were coming out of my mouth ("You dropped this,") and says "Oh my God," but this time in a good "oh what a cute baby you have there," kind of way and says thank you and we go our separate ways. I wonder though, do I give off a creepy aura or am I extremely hard on the eyes? Because I feel like that initial "Oh my God," was quite unnecessary.

On an entirely different note, since I feel as though this blog should talk about film or creative stuff that I'm working on or helping on or what have you, as opposed to my daily random life, I feel as though I need to post something film related here, which is hard because I haven't done much film related as of late. Despite that, I started to think about some questions about stories and story structure. It seems like, and it just might be because I'm too close to the material, that whenever I look at the projects I do I feel like something is missing. I started to wonder, "What makes a good story?" Here are some of the things I've come up with:

1.) A clear protagonist.
2.) A goal the protagonist needs or wants to achieve.
3.) An obstacle preventing the protagonist from achieving their want or need.
4.) Achieving or failing to achieve their want or need.
5.) A clear world and rules of said world that our characters live in.

So basically I've listed the main points that have been drilled into me in film school and STILL I feel like the projects I've done so far are missing something (aside from my personal take on whatever, because its not that) so I think I need to take some time and figure out just what a good story is so that I can try my hand at making one. I guess I'll try to post my findings if I come across any.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Drawings Pt. 2

Here are some more drawings, mostly from commuting in, although one is obviously of Washington Square Park so that's not from commuting in. Still working on my drafting skills, they've gotten a lot worse since this past fall but a lot better since... two months ago?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bad Movies

So I've decided to continue my post film school film school education by watching a series of bad movies. Yes, that was read right, bad movies. Everyone talks about the classics: The Godfather, On The Waterfront, Citizen Cane, etc... and yes, while those movies are important to see (guess which one(s) I haven't seen) watching the occasional bad movie is important too because knowing what not to do is as important of not more important than knowing what to do. So far, as mentioned before I saw "Street Fighter The Legend of Chun Li," the next one will be "Dragonball Evolution" then maybe the two transformers. I think I'll need to intersperse viewing of these films with some good ones so my brain doesn't explode.

On another note I think I've decided to try to do some animation projects I planned out doing throughout my years at NYU that I never got to but more on that as they actually happen... hopefully.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So I just watched Street Fighter the Legend of Chun Li, you know, for laughs, and wow is it hilariously bad, which is good because I watched it with the intention of viewing something hilariously bad because I didn't feel like thinking and just wanted to have a little fun. Besides, its not like I paid to see it.

On another, completely different note, on Tuesday I was at my internship and it started raining, seemingly out of nowhere. My response to this is, and well, the past month or so of almost constant rain was: "What's up with this weather?" The response I get to my question is "What are you? Jerry Seinfeld?"

Now, this isn't the first time this parallel has been drawn, the former having been made by none other than Nicholas Feitel some months back. I believe his comment being somewhere along the lines of "Matt, just because you live in New York doesn't mean you have to be like Seinfeld. You're Jew-ing it up almost worst than me,". Of course he gets away with this comment for the mere fact that he is actually Jewish.

Naturally, of course, as I sit here and begin to plan my long rant about how unjust it is that the term "What's with" or "what's up with" is relegated to a 55 year-old Hungarian-Jewish- Brooklynite comedian and how I should be able to complain about things without being compared to said sitcom character/comedian whom I never really watched or cared about, I realize that this course of action can only backfire because it, in and of itself, is feeding the parallel, so I guess I'm just stuck.

Additionally, today I actually managed to go to Nick's writing group. It was fun and productive in that it has succeeded in encouraging me to work on my script more; I know I definitely want to finish my script because I want to, 1, get it made and 2, go and start writing and developing other ideas that have been floating around this head of mine.

However, at this meeting I learned that two people whom were in charge of looking for additional crew members for this shoot I wanted to be involved with were desperately seeking crew members. Upon hearing this Nick, who was already involved with the shoot, approached these two people and suggested me. Their response was somewhere along the lines of "oh yea, Matt Chao... we'll call him if we run out of PA's." (This was a professional shoot and they were looking for PA's)

I don't know how to react to that information. Provided, it is Nick telling the story so facts are bound to be exaggerated, but, I mean, I expect this kind of reaction/treatment from one of the two people there, but not really from both. I also wonder why their reactions are like that. Have I wronged them somehow? I only really worked on set with one of them and I'd like to believe that we had a fun time together the two times we worked together. Am I doing something wrong that there would be a cause for hesitance when it comes to having me on set? Mike Sweeny told me he got more or less the same response from one of them when he approached them, the "I'll call you," which, of course, meant that he never got a call, and these are supposed to be people we are at least friendly with. Is there a reason for the trepidation?

I think that my reaction to this should be and remain the reaction I expressed at the cafe where we hold our weekly writing sessions: "Oh well, fuck 'em,".

Additionally, I finally got to see and hang out with my good high school friend Yong Choi, whom I haven't seen in two years and has recently graduated from UVA for Architecture. However, this story, if deemed worth telling, may be better suited for the Xanga.