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Jonathan Spear

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About Jonathan Spear

  • Birthday 12/24/1981

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    All aspects of filmmaking.

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  1. Hey Adam, I'm in a similar situation. I decided to dedicate the next 1-2 years to writing with the goal of submitting my best work to a number of contests. If nothing comes out of it other than the pure rush of the process itself, I'm going to put the writing on standby and dive into cinematography. By standby I mean stop writing. It's all about time management. Some people say you can do both at the same time, I find it virtually impossible. When I'm in "the zone" it commands 100% of my focus and passion. Nothing else matters, not even having a social life. I had to quit my band because I couldn't stop thinking about writing during rehearsals and gigs, I used to space out on my bandmates all the time lol :P. If you're the type of person who can juggle between two passions then go for it, give it everything you have and don't look back. If you can't, you should take a week off and really think about what you'd rather pursue as a potential career -- then go for it. The only bad thing you can do is to become so torn between the two you end up wasting years doing nothing. I wasted 5 years of my life doing just that - nothing. As long as you're honing your craft you're in the right direction. I could be wrong about all of this but that's my $0.02. Anyway, good luck dude and keep us posted!
  2. I'm going to study cinematography and directing and I am primarily interested in feature films. Thing is, the college that accepted me only focuses on documentary style filmmaking. They call it "social filmmaking". I asked the woman who heads the department if the program could include narrative filmmaking in the future, she said not a the moment. I could be 100% wrong here, but it seems that studying the art of documentary films for the next 3-4 years has nothing to do with the type of movies I hope to be working on some day. Will I get the skills I need to work on a feature film set from a college that focuses solely on documentaries -- or will this be a waste of time and money? Thanks, Jonathan
  3. Thanks Brian. Will definitely get a copy of your book. Cheers.
  4. Thanks David, appreciate it. I see your point. Personally, and I may very well be wrong about this, I think that being good/reliable is the very least a film school graduate (or any other college grad for that matter) should aspire to. I'm not implying that being low key and hard working is bad, but the film industry is a creative industry as much as a technical industry. The truth is that almost anyone can learn the technical side of filmmaking, just like anyone can be taught scales and modes on a piano. It's hard work, but it's possible. Originality needs to be nurtured and developed. Besides, who gets the job at the end of the day? People like you. Sharp, hard working, intuitive, original and creative (and don't sell yourself short David, you are VERY creative and original, I've seen your work :)). Today's job market is a rat race for many college grads. How else is someone going to stick out from the crowd if their unique voice and originality isn't developed? If my entire class learns how to operate a camera and light a scene, it's obvious that not all of us will find work after graduation, but I have a feeling that the people that do get jobs in the industry are not the mediocre, timid, safe and reliable types but the unique, original, extremely passionate, highly motivated types. I do see your point though and I agree, I did overreact.
  5. Hey y'all, haven't been here in a while. I've been seriously considering NYFI's cinematography program... until today. NYFI posted this quote from Paul Rand on their Facebook page: "Don't try to be original, just try to be good". I was one of the only people there to have a serious problem with this. For starters, NYFI's tuition costs an arm and a leg. "Good", is not worth 100,000$. I was also shocked that a school could post something like that in the first place. Since when do schools, especially film schools, have the gall to downplay originality? So my response was: "Wow. I couldn't disagree more. What a stupid post, especially considering the fact that there are so many prospective students lurking about. On a brighter note, thanks for saving me over 100,000$ in tuition :) To which they responded: "sorry to hear that. But please keep in mind there are many world-famous directors who would disagree with you. Quentin Tarantino, for one. There's hardly anything that's original in the world. We only get to *play* God. Thanks for getting in touch!" I imagine that they must have thought I was an 18 year old with delusions of grandeur that idolizes and emulates Tarantino (like so many of their applicants). I was offended that they did not take me seriously and used such a cliched run-of-the-mill response. So I finally wrote this: "NYFI, are you kidding me? You are an EXPENSIVE school and you're training the future generation of filmmakers. WE deserve for your standards to be high and for you to demand excellence and nurture creativity and originality. Quentin Tarantino can wax philosophical all he wants, do you think he'd be where he is today if it weren't for his ingenuity and originality? In fact, despite what Quentin Tarantino might think (and why you would think it would interest me in the first place) he is the EMBODIMENT of originality. And don't forget, at the end of a student's relationship with your school -- WE STILL NEED TO FIND JOBS! What studio in their right mind would let a "good" directer lead a big budget project? What director/producer would hire a "good" DP? What DP would hire a "good" lighting technician? What agent would sign a "good" writer? None would, and I wouldn't blame them. Hollywood is STARVING for originality... and y'all know it :)" Am I wrong here? Did I misunderstand their intent? Some of these film schools, if not all of them, are just as much business enterprises as they are educational institutions. NYFI will survive if 99% of their students don't find work after they graduate. Not only will they survive, they'll flourish. We, the students and potential students, will suffer if we spend 4 years and an ungodly amount of money and not find work. As a business, they have nothing to lose and kids will continue to still swamp them with applications every semester. I don't know, maybe I overreacted but it really pissed me off. What do you think?
  6. Hi, I'm 28 and have decided to pursue a career in cinematography. I have been working on screenplays for the past six years but have always been fascinated with cinematography. I've read about 30 books so far but haven't really had any meaningful hands-on experience. I'm an American citizen but currently living overseas and there are only a few schools that teach cinematography. At the moment they are way out of my price range. If I could afford to, I'd buy/rent some equipment and go make a film but I'm definitely not experienced enough to take that risk. I really want to study this craft properly. So here's what I'm thinking. I can afford a DSLR, a few primes and some lighting equipment. If I create a solid photography portfolio (fashion, nature, products, etc), will that help my chances of getting a scholarship? Do film school cinematography programs see potential in still photography? I would love some advice. The clock is ticking, I know 28 isn't old but I feel like I need to get the ball rolling because this will be a long journey and I want to start it as soon as possible. Thanks!
  7. FANTASTIC work, David! I thoroughly enjoyed this film and loved the moodiness. It really gave this picture a dark, brooding and venomous feel. I also loved the contrasts between the cold, dark blue scenes to the brighter more vivid scenes. The sex scene with Needy vs. Megan and the emo kid were visceral and intimate. You really made Megan Fox pop too. The lighting and colors in that scene towards the beginning where she's a cheerleader were amazing, as well as the lake scene (besides the obvious reasons :D). Another GREAT shot was that long one on the football field. I read the script before watching the movie and your and Mrs. Kusama's vision for this story were unique, beautiful and creepy as hell -- a perfect compliment to Ms. Cody's work. Absolute awesomeness.
  8. John, As a noob you've helped numerous times in the past, I will never forget your kindness, humor, passion, remarkable wealth of knowledge and sheer brilliance on these message boards. You are a maestro of this art form and a true inspiration to us all, my friend. And the article was great! Your family, your career and your friends are all proof that you really are an amazing human being. Much love and respect to you and your family, Jonathan
  9. Visually and artistically, at least as far as I'm concerned, "300" is right up there with the virtuosi of the Rennaisance and Mannerism eras. There's just something about "300".. I don't know.. the abundance of testasterone, unquestionable comraderie, the composition, lighting and colors.. This is by far the most visually inspiring film I've probably ever seen. I'm getting shivers down my spine just writing this.. So.. Mr. Fong.. from the bottom of my heart.. thank you for your extraordinary vision and phenominal contribution to this film. -Jonathan
  10. Hey Stephen, The Scott Robertson and Carlos Huante (I'm a huge fan of his) DVD's look incredible.. have you seen either of them (they're both in the 2D category)?
  11. Hey all, it's been a while since my last post. John P', hope you're feeling better my friend. I was wodering if anyone here has any experience with the Gnomon DVDs? If so, any recommendations on specific lessons or instructors that focus on character design for feature animation (2D or 3D)? Their website is incredible, but kind of confusing. I'm asking because I can only afford about three DVDs at the moment. Thanks in advance, Jonathan
  12. Hang in there, John. Listen to plenty of good music and take it one day at a time. I have faith in you.
  13. I wish I could, but honestly, I can't really post anything informative yet. I'm not at that level. So.. Tim, please don't kick me out. I love this site. I've been visiting regularly for almost two years :( ! Besides, Richard B' will miss me if I get the boot.
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