3 Benefits Of Being A Film Major

So, I recently graduated college. With an so called “useless” degree.

Yup, I’m freaking film major.

Now, film degrees get a bad rap.

“It’s a dumb degree.”

“It’s useless.”

“What job are you gonna get with that?”

People say these things all the time. And I’m surprised people don’t see the connection — that it baffles me. How can you not see it? It’s right in your face!

Wild.

Benefit Number One

Anyway, first and foremost, if you’re in film, writing, psychology, philosophy, public speaker, actor or humanities lover (like me!) — you’re an communicator.

Putting Pen to Paper is your strength.

Dealing with or influencing people is your strength.

Public Speaking is your strength.

Soft skills are your strength.

And these are the skills you need to obtain any job you want.

What’s the first thing you need to do to get a job?

Write a resume and interview.

Writing and public speaking.

This is the edge you have over other people. You’re an master at these 2 things.

Tech geeks have engineering.

Finance gurus have numbers.

Designers have pencils.

You have communication skills — use them — any and everywhere.

Story time — I remember I took a public speaking class two years ago where we did one speech per class. 10 in total for the whole semester. This was my favorite class, btw.

I aced this class with flying colors. Every speech I hit it out the park.

BOOM – BOOM – BOOM!

And you know who struggled?

The Tech and Finance folks (no disrespect to them).

They were scared. And barely made it through the speeches.

They weren’t built like me — whose had over 10 years of customer service exp, whose been blogging since 2016, whose been acting for more than 4 years).

These are strengths you hone when you’re a film major.

Benefit Number Two 

The most important people in the world, specially in Hollywood, politics, and business are communicators.

Donald Trump goes viral on Twitter – everyday.  140 characters of writing!

Aalexandria Ocasio-Cortez goes viral as well. She’s heating up.

Denzel Washington, Steve Harvey, Tom Cruise, Kevin Hart, Will Smith — you name it, any A list Actor is a super good communicator.

In business, salespeople and marketers drive the growth of the company. Without sales, the company dies, period.  Steve Jobs was probably the most influential people in business in the last two decades and he was a gifted marketer and storyteller.

All these people can communicate extremely, extremely well.

The top people with the most $$$ and influence are the best communicators, period.

Benefit Number Three

Studying acting really helped my mental health.

Before I took improv classes, I was pretty shy (not introverted) but I couldn’t communicate my thoughts and feelings as well as I wanted.

Then, I solved my problem — I found something I was extremely passionate about — improv comedy. I was to communicate clearly and think clearly. To any one.

Which – I think – is extremely underrated today — where we’re living an a fast paced world. And the best, clearest thinkers would be able to stand out from the bunch.

I personally journal my thoughts every day. I even do a video journal as well. And it makes me feel awesome. And I don’t think I would get that feeling if I wasn’t a communicator.

Okay – that’s enough writing for me.

Thanks for reading,

Jamual

P.S. You can follow on Twitter because you love communicating too!

Skinny Chick Beats Up A Bunch Of Big Dudes – Wild Times!

So, I saw Atomic Blonde last week. You know of the film?

Starrin’ Charlize Theron?

Yeah – I, personally, am in love with this movie. I’ve already seen it twice. And am thinkin’ bout seein’ it ‘gain.

You do know the story, right?

If not – here’s the quick rundown – Charlize is a spy and she has to find a list that is super valuable to the government. Along the way there a whole lot of twists n’ turns, a bunch of action, an’ even a lil’ romance. Oh, an’ it’s set in the 80s with 80s music attached. (one of my favorite musical periods).

Few movies have me leavin’ the theatre, thinkin’ bout it well into the night. But this one made think bout the cool scenes, music and the action (OMG! The action was so good).

If you didn’t know the director – David Leitch – who helped direct the two John Wick movies (which I’m in love with too, probably end up talikin’ bout that too).

Anyway, the action scenes are awesome! There bloody, well paced, and super engagin’. It feels like you’re watchin’ the old hong kong flicks – where the choreography is the definin’ characteristic of films. This director has a passion for action an’ it really shows. A whole lot.

The next definin’ characteristic was the music. All 80’s pop. The best era, period! The movie would even play with the sound an’ volume, where it would go in an’ out through scene. This was cool cause it made you feel very immersed in the experience. Addin’ to the down to earth quality the film already has.

And throughout, the second viewin’ of it – keep shazamin’ songs for later, cause there were some that me – a 80’s music buff – didn’t know. At all. Surprisingly.

Like this one. 

Or this one.

So Good!

To go with the 80’s music, the film had a 80’s look too.

The costume design had throw backs to 80’s hip hop culture.  Even the titles had a 80’s graffiti look (awesome!)

A lot of the places were dark, dingy, an’ cold. But other places were really well it with neon lights. And the neon lights bounced of Charlize’s skin tone, perfectly. Leitch has a nice visual eye. Really nice.

While in love with this film, it’s not all super good.

As an writer, the story – the final version on screen – is okay. It’s a basic spy story. With double crossin’ abound. And if you’re confused bout a certain double cross, the movie tells you in the next scene or too.

Personally, I’m not gonna judge the writin’ too harshly cause it’s an action flick as heart (they’re not known for the greatest plots). And – straight up – writin’ is hard, hard, hard!

But – I do gotta say – the dialogue was cool. It was laconic, dead. Which went with the bleak tone, perfectly.

Oh – I almost forgot – the lead, Charlize!

She was awesome. And super down to earth. And didn’t feel super overpowered like other action stars like Arnold in Commando.

She got beat up, bloody, bruised.

When she was sad, you felt it.

When she was angry, you felt it.

When she was emotionless, you felt jack.

A plus performance. Pretty much the whole cast was dope too…

… All in all, I was very impressed with this movie. I thought it was gonna be good. And it was.

You should definitely go see this if you like action, guns, 80’s music, and/or neon lights!

It won’t disappoint.

Later,

Jamual.

 

The Gift of Human Speech

I’ve seen the movie, The Hateful Eight, about three times already, and I love it. It’s memorable, filled with dark humor, over the top violence – blood splattering bodies — and reams of some of the most sayable dialogue since Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs — another masterpiece that released in early October of this year.

The thing with Tarantino that I love is his gift of human speech.

Anything that his character say is pure gold. Lately, I’ve found myself reciting Major Marquis Warren’s hangman monologue — played by Samuel J. Jackson, one of my favorite actors. And who can forget the Royale with Cheese scene from Pulp Fiction — pure beauty.

I distinctly remember reciting Sam Jackson’s dialogue on the train — in my head, of course, I’m not crazy like the rest NYC finest’s citizens.

To me he’s a screenwriter’s director, everything he writes on the page appears on the screen. That’s really something interesting to note, because a lot of times a writer’s script can be changed so much that he/she doesn’t even claim it anymore.

Case in point — Max Landis’, Hollywood screenwriting wunderkind, film, American Ultra — that script was changed around a lot, scenes thrown out like yesterday’s newspapers. Even the tone was changed from Landis’ more playful, funnier tone towards a darker, less funnier one.

There are many reasons for this too. Budget issues, studio executive disagreement, location issues, deadlines to meet, etc, etc, etc. I understand.

When I shot my first short, I only shot 1/3 of my script and improvised the rest, on a whim. (Thank you two years of improv, time well spent).

That’s why when I watch a Tarantino film, I always get happy when I see that he hardly noticed changed anything in his script because he keeps his initial vision — showcasing his confidence in his writing.

And when he does cut a scene or two, it’s usually not that significant — never taking away from the vibe of the film. For example, in this script he cut a pissing scene involving Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell, John Ruth, allowed his prisoner, Daisy Domergue, to take a nice little whiz before going into the hotel, Minnie’s Haberdashery. I really enjoyed this scene, because it gives the audience an insight into their relationship, a odd and violent one.

The most significant cuts I’ve noticed with Tarantino was in the Django script. Django would have intense. nightmare flashbacks of him being a slave, which were peppered through the script every couple of pages or so. I guess, this was Tarantino’s way of showing really intimate character moments — which he’s master at. The fun thing about Tarantino is the way he’s able to run circles around other by writers by creating drama in one location — flawless scene construction.

Most screenwriters jump from location to location on a whim, creating no drama, no conflict at all. It’s just a waste and uneconomical, if your looking at a script for a producer’s eye. This trait is something, I’ve noticed among dialogue writers in film, television, as well as, theatre. They lock their characters one room and play. I’ve learned this trick too (improv days again). This is an amazing thing to do.

Why?

One: it lowers budgets by having one location (think about Reservoir Dogs — an successful indie, Tarantino’s first film).

Two: it forces the writer to understand the character even more, by hearing him talk, thus bringing out their characters’ personality traits.

Three: it’s a breeding place for drama. All great fiction writer throw characters with different personalities together, and have them duke it out, either verbally or physically.

In drama: Conflict is king.

Stop and think about Aaron Sorkin for a second.

Every scene he writes is laced with dialogue, one location and has conflict. This is his trademark used in Steve Jobs, The Social Network, The West Wing, Newsroom, and many others.

The beginning of the Social Network ,Mark Zuckerberg  (Jesse Eisenberg), is breaking up with his girlfriend, Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). It’s a eight page scene, brimming conflict — said quickly.  This is Sorkin’s specialty, which has made him an household name in Hollywood.

 Evidently, he’s aware of this too. He was even quoted, saying “any time you get two people in a room who disagree about anything, the time of day, there is a scene to be written. That’s what I look for.”

Boom, there you go. This is why he continues to get projects green lighted and why Tarantino can still make his offbeat, genre bending, dark humor projects — cause he’s a master of human speech.

A1