November 21, 2022

The Whole Social Media Thing

With the situation at Twitter (what, exactly, is the situation?), it seems a timely move to reassess my “social media strategy.” The quote marks indicate a certain irony 🙂

Twitter wasn’t doing it for me. Or, rather, I was bad at Twitter. So I have decided to make it a consumption platform only. I’m drastically cutting back who I follow to just my most trusted sources for news and information about documentary films. If you follow me there, you may unfollow at any time. I tweeted my last tweet there this morning.

As noted on Facebook last week, I’ll use my wall for personal stuff only — communicating with friends and family. I am trying to build a page there that’s primarily focused on my documentary work, which will continue after I retire in about four weeks.

Instagram is, and will increasingly be, all about my move to Portugal and promoting my documentary and nonfiction video work.

YouTube is go-to right now. Please “like” and “subscribe.” Unironically 🙂

I’m giving Tribel a try as a self-promotion platform similar to how I was using Twitter.

And then there’s Rhetorica — an old-fashioned blog. Blogs are kinda dead, I think. I keep this up for nostalgia. It is one of the oldest, continuously published blogs on the interwebs. Hit the link to for all the old stuff (that I lost awhile back in a server snafu).

November 15, 2022

Watch: Witness at Tornillo

I’ve recently posted Witness at Tornillo to my YouTube channel (handle: @acline). I was executive producer, assistant editor, and one of three cinematographers. This award-winning film (2020 Kansas City Filmfest International Best Documentary Feature) was directed by Shane Franklin.


October 12, 2022

I Watched ____ So You Don’t Have To

So there’s a long-running trope in the writing of tough reviews that starts this way: “I watched ____ so you don’t have to.” This signals that the review will pan whatever the thing is and offer an invitation to bask in confirmation bias instead. This move belongs solidly to the various tropes we might list under the heading “clickbait.”

So yesterday I tweeted this:

I “appreciate” the trope when it helps me avoid nonsense. But I did read this review because I’m interested in defining what a documentary is.

Proposition: Some documentaries engage in propaganda, but propaganda that employs features of the genre of documentary only as a rhetoric of legitimacy is not a documentary. Opinion and a strong point of view are necessary in the emotional medium of video/film. But there must be a foundation of information and knowledge.  Neil Postman offered an interesting way to think about this foundation. Information is statements about facts in the world. Knowledge is organized information embedded in a context. Many documentary projects live in these two formulations. The best ones, however, include Postman’s third feature: wisdom, the capacity to know what body of knowledge is relevant to solving significant problems.

[S]election Code fails all three. How do I know this? Not from the review. I know if because responsible journalism has already examined the information regarding the 2020 election and published knowledge. In a few cases, perhaps even wisdom. And none of it points to election fraud. All of it points to the Big Lie.

So, [S]election Code is not a documentary.

October 4, 2022

Spring Release Now Planned for Trinity

Yeah, busy. I’m 10 weeks from retirement, 11 weeks from leaving Springfield, and 14 weeks from arrival in Portugal. I had hoped to have Trinity ready for the BEA Festival of Arts. Not gonna happen.

But this does give me a project to work on as soon as I arrive in Europe 🙂

September 2, 2022

The Big (Short Documentary) Tease

Teasers and trailers are different things. Trailers — those things you see at the movies before the feature shows — are supposed to give a clue concerning what a film is about. A teaser can do one or more of a few different jobs, including: 1) indicating a film is in progress, 2) demonstrating “look and feel,” 3) creating interest in particular aspects of a coming film, 4) providing proof to a funder that, yes indeed, you are working on the damned thing, and 5) testing various filmmaking choices before committing.

I’ve produced two teasers for Trinity, my upcoming (because it’s in post-production) documentary short film about (and here’s where it gets sticky) coping with the Crisis of 2020.

For the perplexed, start by doing two things. search for #crisisof2020 and read this book.

If you’re familiar with Strauss & Howe you’ll “get” this teaser. If not, the look-and-feel thing is still in play 🙂 And the buddy-road-trip narrative arc should be apparent, too.

One of the things I’m wondering about is whether to go color or black & white. The latter is interesting to me because I like B&W and I think the baby boomer ethos lends itself to B&W. We’ll see.

Finally, a teaser has an important personal role to play for filmmakers: You’ve declared yourself, now it’s time to follow through.

Tech note: I filmed this with a Canon C100 Mark II using the Canon LOG shooting profile. I applied a “skin tone” LUT to the footage and corrected for exposure. For the B&W version, I simply desaturated and adjusted for exposure and contrast. Edited with DaVinci Resolve 18.

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