My Long Hiatus From Blogging

It has been about a year since my last post and it saddens me that I have neglected this project. But as many of my readers undoubtedly know, life often gets in the way. However, I have returned with renewed resolve to write and post on a much more frequent basis and one can expect to see much more from me in the coming months. In fact, one could expect a new post by the end of this week! Exciting things are yet to come my friends.

So to remind my readers of who I am and what my intentions are with this blog. I am Coleman McPherson and I am now a senior at the University of Alabama double majoring in Telecommunication & Film and English. I started this blog as a conduit for me to share my own personal insights on filmmaking and general media. In the past I have posted reviews of films in addition to my own critical analysis of trends in filmmaking. I also hope to post some of my own work as I complete more. It is my hope to continue this mission going forward with renewed fervor and precision.

Over the past year I have been mostly devoted to my studies which are nearing their end. Also, I have spent time working at a film production company in my home state which has been an invaluable experience for me, honestly, to some degree more so than my studies. It is one thing to sit in a class and learn about filming and to work on projects specifically tailored to the views of a professor or a course text but it is something else entirely to be able to have a comprehensive hands-on experience on set. While I have enjoyed my time at my alma mater, I have learned that student films only go so far in teaching one about the art as they are made with required (though sometimes arbitrary) creative restraints. However, to be able to work on independent projects with a professional cast and crew gives one more free reign and allows for a more in-depth learning experience. Following my graduation and throughout the application process for my continued education (I hope to obtain my Masters degree in English before fully entering into the professional world) I shall be continuing my work with this studio. Ideally, this will be my gateway into professional filmmaking as I will not only be bolstering my own reel with the films I assist in making but I will also gain new colleagues with each production. At the end of the day, one of the primary aspects of the art is networking.

Expect a new opinion piece sometime toward the end of the week. Hopefully it shall be a much better read than my previous posts as I have spent a lot of time over the past year honing my skills as a writer.

Auf wiedersehen (I just watched Django Unchained, hence the German salutation).

COMING SOON:

A film by Crimson Cinema Productions. The Crescent Occurrence follows a man named Riley Fault as he attempts to infiltrate a laboratory to steal a mysterious, hallucinogenic compound only known as Crescent. As Riley makes his preparations, his life descends into madness and violence and what begins as a simple job becomes a fight for survival. As well as a fight for his own sanity…

This film is still very much a work in progress. Some of the effects are still a bit rough and the finished product will look very different from this trailer. Principal photography on the film has wrapped and we are in late post production. Currently, the final cut of the film has been assembled and the crew is working on compiling the VFX elements and the musical score for the film. 

More updates to come!

This is a trailer for a film that I directed and shot last spring. There were some difficulties with post production but we’re are finally making progress and will soon finish! Keep in mind, that the film is not a finished product and this trailer will reflect that as many of the effects aren’t entirely finished.

This is a quick short that I did for my one of my film classes – TCF 201. The assignment was to shoot three minutes of footage of someone working. The film is entitled “Writer’s Block” and follows a novelist who has trouble getting his latest project started. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Anti-Science Fiction – OPINION

Quick question: What do Frankenstein, The Matrix, WALL-E, Terminator, I,Robot, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, the Alien franchise, Jurassic Park, The Island, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes all have in common?

Some spoilers may follow:

I would say that each of these films have an aspect of technophobia in them. When I use the term technophobic, I mean that these films in some way portray technology or scientists in an antagonistic role.  In Frankenstein, a scientist trying to conquer death inadvertently creates a monster. In The Matrix, WALL-E, Terminator, and I,Robot we have human made robots that turn on their creates with hostile force. In 28 Days Later, a group of scientist through means of animal testing, create a deadly virus that spreads throughout England, ravaging the population. In I Am Legend, a medical doctor in an effort to cure cancer turns recipients of her alleged miracle drug into vampiric creatures. In the Alien franchise, there are a group of scientists that are desperate to capture the alien species and weaponize it. In Jurassic Park, scientists using genetic engineering and cloning create a population of dinosaurs that escape their confinements and cause havoc. In The Island, a corporation creates a farm of human clones the are routinely harvested for organs. In Rise of the Planet Apes, a group of scientist perform invasive animal experiments that results in a creating a population of highly intelligent apes that escape and wage war on humanity. In Rise, the same human scientists also inadvertently create a pathogen that spreads and kills a significant percentage of the global human population. Granted many of these films don’t explicitly focus on these details. For example the Alien franchise, Jurassic Park, and The Island could all be seen as being criticisms of capitalism rather than science. However, I chose to list these films because the language of those films does suggest criticism of the scientific concepts themselves (i.e. in my opinion, Jurassic Park and The Island both seem to oppose the practices of cloning and genetic engineering while the Alien franchise advocates the eradication of an alien species rather than the study of it).

The simple fact that these films do portray technology as somewhat antagonistic, does not necessarily mean that any of these should be considered bad films. However, I do find this technophobic trend in cinema somewhat worrying. Not to say that there isn’t potential to misuse technology, there most certainly is, but I personally would like to see more films that celebrate technology and science. Films like:

Contact

A movie based on the novel of the same name by Carl Sagan about a group of scientists who attempt to make contact with an alien race.

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Contagion

Following the worldwide outbreak of a deadly virus, scientists and doctors race against the clock to produce a cure while everyday people take measures to protect themselves.

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Sunshine

The sun is dying and with it, the planet Earth. In a last attempt to save humanity, a team of astronauts embark on a mission to re-ignite the sun.

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(ironically) The Lost World: Jurassic Park

A group of scientists attempt to preserve the natural habitat of dinosaurs living on a remote island.

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Avatar

A paralyzed marine embarks on a mission to assist in relations with an alien race.

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World War Z

A UN Investigator sets out to find a cure for a pandemic spreading across the globe.

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October Sky

A biopic based on the autobiography of Homer Hickam, a NASA engineer.

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Apollo 13

A film surrounding the events of the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. While on the journey, something goes wrong on the spacecraft, leaving the astronauts stranded in space. The film details the efforts of NASA scientists attempting to return the astronauts safely home.

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Inherit The Wind

Details the story of the famous Scopes Trial, in which a man faces criminal charges for teaching the theory of evolution.

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Lorenzo’s Oil

Two parents attempt to develop a cure for their son’s illness.

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Gorillas In The Mist

A biopic of Dian Fossey and her work with the mountain gorillas.

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The Day After Tomorrow

A disaster film about rampant climate change and the scientists who attempt to prepare the world to survive it.

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Armageddon

A group of astronauts and oil drillers attempt to prevent a large asteroid from crashing into Earth

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Titan A.E.

Set in the future, this film follows a young man after the destruction of the planet Earth. He searches tirelessly for a spacecraft called The Titan, which can forge entire planets.

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Pacific Rim

The world has been ravaged be gigantic beasts called Kaiju. In order to stave off the impending apocalypse, humanity constructs giant robots called Jaegers.

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Each of these films portray science and technology positively and that is what I want to see more of. I’ve gotten tired of the re-hashed story of an out-of-control creation of corrupt or inept scientists. Also, specifically, I want to see films about pseudoscience; films that portray anti-science as the villain. We do see this in some of the films listed above. For example, in Contact, a group of religious fanatics suicide bomb the machine that the scientists in that film are constructing to contact the extra-terrestrials. In Contagion, there is the character of Alan Krumwiede, a conspiracy theorist who hinders the efforts of scientists. In the film, the character of Krumwiede seems to personify the anti-vaccination and alternative medicine trends. In several of these films, there is also bureaucratic and corporate opposition to science. In Pacific Rim, we have bureaucrats attempting disband the Jaeger Program. In Armageddon, the government in panic almost jeopardizes the mission. In The Day After Tomorrow, it is stated that had the governments of the world acted sooner, the environmental catastrophe might have been averted. In Avatar, corporate interests lead certain character to disrupt scientific and diplomatic efforts on the alien world in pursuit of commercial interests. In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the InGen corporation attempts to extract the dinosaurs from their natural habitat for exploitive purposes.

I am of the belief that if anything should be feared in our world today, it certainly isn’t science or technology. In fact, we should fear the opposite. We should fear pseudoscience. We should fear ignorance. We should fear fanaticism. I would rather our art reflect those fears.

Stills From The Crescent Occurrence

This gallery contains 5 photos.

These are photos from an upcoming short film that I directed: The Crescent Occurrence, written by Harrison DeFalco The film stars Sam Hardy as Riley and Motell Foster as Powell. The film follows  these two characters who are given the task to break into laboratory and steal a hallucinogenic compound called Crescent for their employer…. Read more.