Monday, July 27, 2009

Mathilda And Nicole

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Normally when I do a cartoon I scribble out a rough sketch to make sure my idea looks reasonable. Then I switch to good paper and draw a more careful version and letter the text within ruled lines.

Sunday morning I did a scribble sketch for “Mathilda And Nicole” and for fun I applied a little color to it and when I was done I thought, “Oh-oh. If I do a finished cartoon, it sure will be neater than this, but I don’t know that it’s going to be all that much better.”

So I decided just to scan my scratch paper and use my scribble sketch as my cartoon today.


This cartoon is built around the idea of mumblecore.

Now I’ve never actually heard anybody use the word ‘mumblecore’ in conversation and I’ve never actually seen anyone even use it writing. However the word is in Wikipedia and if you do a Google blog search the word does get hits.

It means micro-budget filmmaking. Films created using the most minimal equipment imaginable. Consumer grade digital cameras. Webcams. That kind of thing.

The Wikipedia entry for the semi-famous “lonelygirl15” contains a link to the mumblecore page.

I wanted to write about mumblecore for two reasons. First because I like the idea of people making their own movies. Second because Wikipedia says people who do mumblecore are sometimes referred to as "Slackavetes," — it’s a reference to actor/filmmaker John Cassavetes and I think the word Slackavetes is funny. Slacker versions of John Cassavetes.

To my eyes the idea of doing mumblecore with the intention of creating miniature Hollywood productions sucks. But doing mumblecore that uses the elements of Hollywood filmmaking to create something wildly personal and expressive and entertaining strikes me as one of the coolest things imaginable.

The Blair Witch Project” proved that images and sound and editing are really all you need for a profoundly powerful and amazingly poetic experience. The whole George Lucas nonsense of creating pseudo-Nazi “Triumph of the Will” type spectaculars with glitz and music and endless cinematic manipulations seemed fucked up even before “The Blair Witch Project” and afterward it seems almost like a joke that, little by little, people are catching on to. As fun as the movie “Scream” was a decade ago, today when anyone I talk to hears that Wes Craven is working on a new teen slasher movie everyone just rolls their eyes, mutters, ‘What the fuck for?’ When news got out that “Scream 4” is in development everyone I talk to muttered, ‘Please, no.’ It’s a whole paradigm of filmmaking that has become yesterday’s news.

If people thought “The Blair Witch Project” was an anomaly, a one-off that doesn’t prove a point, just stands alone, the low budget Spanish film “[● REC]” came along and put an exclamation point to the whole genre, becoming one of the best zombie films ever made. (The US remake, ““Quarantine” also was good, but without the religious element, the story completely lost its profound subtext—‘In my Father’s house are many rooms,’ John 14:2)


I don’t have plans to do mumblecore about Nicole Richie buying a bottle of perfume. But if Mathilda loves that kind of stuff—celebrities, fashion, pop life—and if Mathilda does a mumblecore film that attempts to capture the passions she experiences, the reality she observes watching Nicole Richie buy perfume, I’d very much like to watch that movie.

Because I think that’s what real movies are—people capturing their passions in a way that can be shared so everyone who watches can experience something of those same passions.

I think that’s what poetry is.

I think that’s what art is.

And I wish there was more of it.

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I’ve never attempted to make mumblecore.
However someday I may try it. I have been
playing with video. Over the last few months
I’ve put up four fifteen-second movies
and six posts that included clips
of me playing guitar.

Fifteen-second movies:

Red Bull: The Movie

Shadows On The Tissues In The Sun

UFO Movie

Umbrella Button: The Movie

Guitar clips:

Carla The Postmodern Groupie

Quasi Una Supervillain Fantasia

Quasi Una Fantasia Again

LeAnn Is Misty Too Much In Love

Quasi Una Fantasia

Me, Happy

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The sequel to today’s post:

Mathilda And Nicole: Perfume, Things Like That

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