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George Ebersole

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    George M. Ebersole
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Blueghos - at - pacbell -dor- net

    Freelance Stage Manager, Grip, Camera Operator, AD, PA, SFX Assistant
    August 1987 to July 1995, again in 2009

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  1. Situation Comedies (Sitcoms) deal with family psychology. Drama deals with potential or borderline criminal behavior within familial or "tribe" units, where gamesmanship of affection, money and lawyers is the norm. Police / Court Drama deals with actual criminal cases. Science fiction deals with villains with abnormal psychology or people who cause huge rifts in society. I guess that's why I got bored with TV and feature films. They are predictable to a fault. As a former young film major many eons ago I was under the belief that you could create any story material for the big or small screen. As long as it was good and socially acceptable, that someone would pick it up and take a chance on it. That's not really the case anymore. Thank goodness for the Japanese and the miniaturization of cinema technology, and net at large. Back in 82 or 83, heck maybe it was even 1981 (checking something real quick...), nope, it was 1982 when I was playing on my friend's 286, and specifically MS Flight Simulator, and we were doing the Europe 1917, and it was my notion back then that this was the future of entertainment; movies and interactive media. And now it's finally come to pass, but all those years during the late 80s and early 90s when I tried to go the regular route, to me, seems like a waste of time now. And yeah, I am extremely bitter. But better days are here now. I see lots of great indy media on YT and elsewhere that shows that you don't need super huge budgets and colossal super-computers to crank out media with dazzling CGI and everything else. I'm glad a real true and new brand of film makers without sociological overlords can and are creating raw media that really looks at social divides square in the face, and without taking the Hollywood / LA old school route of painting a pretty face on social harmony. That, and the scifi genre is no longer relegated toward inspiring young minds to puruse a career on medicine or law enforcement, as was the case from everything from the original Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and Twilight Zone, to Space 1999, Babylon 5, even the original Star Wars' trilogy, and whatever is on these days (I've quit watching mainstream TV). I don't want to knock all of LA offerings from the 70s up through the 90s and today, but my adopted family has a legacy that extends back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of this nation fighting under the direct command of General Washington, and the values instilled in my character were freedom, liberty, independence, and a Jeffersonian way of looking at government and the expression of ideas and concepts. So much of what I see coming out of LA is about satiating fantasies and touting social acceptance. I can't recall the last time I saw a major theatrical wide-release feature film with any of the founders as main characters. Gibson's "The Patriot"? Eh, I tend to dismiss it, not because of Gibson's own personal legacy via his father, not just because the film really condescends to its targeted audience, but also because it really doesn't tout the core concepts and feelings of the era. "1776"? Erm, a good enough film for what it is. I love DaSilva's John Adams, and all the rest. I'm just sorry it was a musical comedy. But I can't recall the last time I saw a film about … John Paul Jones, Nathan Hale, Lafayette, or even Paul Revere who had a really stunning life. It was my ambition to put those men in proof of concept trailers, along with some science fiction concepts. But, I no longer need to. Hollywood, to me, and one of the chief reasons I never moved down there and stayed up in the SF Indy scene all those years ago, was the unholy marriage of ego, social tyranny by way of what could be produced and what couldn't, and corporate backing of that social structure. That, and no offense to the company on this forum, but every goddamn crew that came up from LA brought drugs with them, and a few prostitutes too. Whatever. I've met a lot of roadblocks, and one dream project that I wanted to produce is now already in production as of this year. A thing at one time that I was on the fast track to produce way back in 1988. Oh well. I don't have to do it anymore. Strangely enough, I now have the resources to do it, and do it better than the guy helming the thing. But, I'm burnt out on it. I guess venting here isn't raging against the LA Hollywood machine. Far from it. It's that when I discovered the writing formulas for some of my favorite shows growing up … it's suddenly discovering mechanics of a car or jet; fuel goes in here, a batter provides the spark, fuel ignites, power is created and pushes your vehicle; everything from a car to a yacht to a jet fighter, forward" kind of thing. To me writing has always been about exploration and presenting to the audience what you'd like the audience to see and experience. But scifi shows are essentially police formula dramas. Sitcoms are about talking about your feelings. Drama is about testing values against potential criminality without delving into criminal scenarios. I can't remember the last time I saw a TV show about … Jason and the Argonauts, or Paul Bunyan …. or the Underground Railroad from the CivilWar. And even then those stories get visual layers added onto them to push social harmony messages. Well, okay fine, but what if all the characters in the story are Native Americans a thousand years before Europeans came? What if they're all part of the ancient Ethiopian kingdom? Dare I say it, what if they're all white and living in rural Russia? I think social harmony is cool. We should all get along with our fellow man regardless of what he or she looks like. But I feel like I've had a ton of those films and TV episodes presented to me, and I'm kind of burnt out on them. And part of this rant is that all those years under August Coppola (FFC's now deceased older brother), and the likes of Jim Kitzes and a few others guiding my screenwriting and producing ambitions, and it's like I understand that there is far more art emphasis under that program, and that the majors want stuff they can rely on, but at the same time there's stuff beyond the cop and family psychology stories, stuff that's successful, that works, that's part of this nation's heritage, but you never see or hear about it. Again, thank goodness for the Japanese and the silicon valley types an hour south of me that I grew up with, because now free information can exchange, and places like this forum can help fuel young minds and tear down barriers. I knew it would come. I just didn't think it would be like this and that I would be so burnt out on the practice. I won't say I wasted my time working all those industrials, commercials and a handful of feature films (none of which I ever got a credit for … I helped setup the shop for "Look Who's Talking" and worked with a couple of ILM types, but my name never got put on the film … it's the story of my life), but I did. Still, it was fun. "Eat a bowl of Tea", "The Running Man", some film about a lost rifle or an antique weapon … black and white, low-budge … whatever. Well, to my faux parents who were physically present, to my psychological parents who live in LA who tried to steer me towards film way back when, and to my biological parents who live both in LA and on the East Coast as well as abroad on occasion, thanks, but no thanks. I stil like a good movie. I still like the original 1960's Star Trek. I still wish I had taken up that job up at ILM way back in 87. But, whatever. I don't have to do it anymore. Thanks to all who answered my stuff here, and encouraged me when I was striving to rebuild my name. You guys are great.
  2. Oh dear, did I shut down the conversation on this thread?
  3. Kurosawa's RAN. EDIT; https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089881/awards?ref_=tt_ql_op_1
  4. Minor related rant; I bought a DVD of "Windwalker" staring Trevor Howard. It's really a remarkable film, but the only bluray available is from Germany, and apparently Amazon streams what looks like a 2K 1.66:1 version, while the DVD is your standard 4:3 SD. So … the 2K version is only available by streaming, and a bluray is an import of a film about Native Americans. For those of you interested, Reed Smoot does some really terrific work with snow and just the natural forested mountains of North America. He really captures the beauty of the great outdoors. I think he shot the film with a soft filter.
  5. I didn't know the Aaton was still a workhorse for some people. Very cool. I talked with their LA rep way back in the 90s when considering buying a 35 mm kit, but was concerned about them being based out of France and needing servicing if anything went wrong. I've got mixed felings on cosplay. Some of it seems interesting, other people seem to be kind of "out there" for lack of a better term. Just my honest gut feeling on the topic.
  6. SF State teaches both theory and hands on, but you need to be part of the "core class", entry of which requires your student film in either freshman or sophomore year to pass muster with both student body and staff. Hence I emphasized in writing, and started my film career at San Francisco Studios run by Charles "Skip" Stanyan and owned by Roberta Reily. Steve Essock was my senior manager, and the man rarely got any sleep, but I learned about gels, gripology, divisions of labor, unions, Mole Richardson and Arri lights, Arriflex and Bolex cameras, and where the local rental houses were … I could go on. The artistry of cinematography you need to get on your own. You can get tips from pros, but they can't teach you too much style. Some, but not much. As many a gamer I've heard say "get good" (they usually spell it "gud"), which in gamer speak means experimenting with different tactics and technique. It's the same with any art form; painting, sculpting, writing, and cinematography. I've stated the obvious here, a lot of which you already know, but in case you didn't, those are my experiences.
  7. If you have a look at the opening sequence of the 1973 Salkind production of "The Three Musketeers", you'll see a similar effect as Dartangian duels his fathers. *EDIT* I couldn't find a YT clip of it.
  8. It's just the nature of the beast. The Japanese have democratized media with cheaper smaller digital cameras, and these schools have been sold on the idea that soon there would be (or "is") a need for more film schools, and wouldn't it be great if their school was one of them. To me you're expressing sympathy and outrage for students who get sold a bill of goods by buying into … I don't know … some "film school" out of University-X between the Rockies and the Atlantic, that otherwise only the locals in the state have heard about. I think that's kind of admirable, but you're also being nostalgic. And to my mind film schools are a Laissez-faire market. Little John or Jane who save up their money to go to Ohio State thinking that's going to be a pipeline into Fox or Universal, to me, means that the only thing that'll carry them is a combination of luck, drive and skill. They won't have the same access to a major studio or market place like you or I, or people who come here, but that's just the way things are. Anecdote; I had a film "business" instructor at SF State who had come from the distributor and producer area of the business. And even though Dean Coppola did his best to vet the people hired for the department, this guy, whose name I will not mention, got through, The thing that made him shady was the fact that (this was 89) he was essentially selling a series of VHS tapes that he had produced on how to be a success in "the film biz" at the student bookstore. I don't think he lasted very long. I signed up for the class thinking I would learn about line producing, how to officially get film insurance, how to manage accounts for investors in projects, dealing with studios on a business level and the like. Nope. The point being that shadiness is not a new thing in academia, in particular film school. But, for what it's worth, in the long run, those people don't last, and get caught in the end.
  9. I don't know what to tell you Macks. August Coppola at SF State tended to hire personnel for the department who were professionally accomplished and had a real passion or love of the area. I think all but one were veterans in some capacity, and for the production department it was mostly hands on training. I can't imagine any one of my old instructors telling me to log onto some site to stream a video to learn X, Y and Z. I would think this would be more of a student faculty issue than anything you would be or should be worried about. The most videos can do is teach you mechanics, maybe a little basics in art, but they can't teach you taste nor artistic dexterity that comes with innate talent and experience. If anything, if you're hard up for a job that is, send a letter of thanks to the university in question, and tack your resume onto it with a note saying your available for hire.
  10. My guess is that the hardware that allows HDR4K willl get smaller and more efficient, and come down in price. So much to the point that it'll become the VHS for the next 20+ years, in spite of 8K TVs, or the promise of prosumer 5K displays (an odd number, 5 ... something in the software, or so I recall from all the online material on it). I'm not sure that Joe Average is going to appreciate 4:4:4. It looks different to his eye, but I'm not sure he's really going to appreciate it. So I guess the big question is do 4K and/or "standard" bluray have the same visual impacts as widescreen formats did back in the 50s compared to television back then? I'm not so sure. Ditto with all of the new and newer evolution in media tech. I'm glad the sampling technology has improved the visuals, but I wonder if the tech improvement cost is really justified. I know I can't pay $3.50 for a seat like I did as a kid, nor rent disks anymore from Blockbuster (they're still in business) for a few dollars because of increased costs. But I really am tired of seeing new technology to justify higher price points. I don't know. I guess I'm also just burnt out on buying new editions of new movies I've already seen a few dozen times. just me.
  11. For Bluray investment, I've purchased films that I really like and I thought would benefit from the additional visual data. I bought the Indiana Jones set, and it looks far more crisp than it did on DVD. I have the DVDs of the Young Indiana Jones TV series, and since those were shot on Super-16 I'm thinking they're not going to benefit from a bluray release. Ergo I won't buy a bluray set if they're offered. A lot of films I saw as a kid and can appreciate more as an adult, are offered on bluray, but to be honest they look more like they did on screen on DVD than the ultra crisp image you get with Bluray. Example. 1980 was a pretty outstanding year for feature fims, but I only saw a handful in the theatre; one of them being "How to Beat the High Cost of Living". I have it on bluray. But I also have the DVD. To me the DVD appears more like it did when I paid for a ticket to see it than it does on bluray. Meaning I'm happy with the DVD, took a chance on the bluray, was impressed with it, liked it to that extent, but was just as happy with it on regular DVD. The big SFX films benefit from a lot of tech advancement in terms of executing the shot, but that doesn't make the film better. The original 1978 Superman film, to me, looks far better with its anachronistic 35mm with a soft filter look than something very sharp like "Guardians of the Galaxy". I think a lot of that is just my personal taste, but I am struck by the artistry of that film verse more recent offerings; "Green Lantern" as an example. The more recent films will better, but I'm not getting a sense that there's more artistry in films. It actually feels like less. So, getting back on topic, I don't see Ultra4K HDR disks, overall, as a benefit. I don't know. Maybe with some solid anti-piracy technology and with lowered ticket prices more people would go to films or buy physical media. Hence no reason for HDR 4K gimmicks. Just me.
  12. Yeah, I guess my response to that is, to me, it seems like technical standards are more stringent than they ever used to be. I don't go to too many movies these days, but what I do see on the big screen, and in the trailers, is that there's more control and exercising of color manipulation than ever before. A lot more. And I guess it's just the technical robustness of content that's driving the pro-monitor market. I guess it's a matter of how much artistry the director and the rest of the team want to translate to the final venue; theatre / home video.
  13. Correct as usual, Phil. I've gotten so used to watching films on my computer and new-fangled TV that I forgot about CRTs. I want to say more, but I need to sleep on it some. All in all, like I say, I was really blown away by the HDRs of both Close Encounters and E.T. I mean those really looked sterling. They looked just as good or better than when I saw them in the theatre as a kid. But like you say, current display tech hasn't entirely caught up with it yet. Ergo it feels real gimmicky to me in spite of the superior picture quality. Call me a philistine, but I really don't like a lot of superhero movies, or how the scifi genre has been turned into this way over the top action-adventure thing. I mean the range of colors and light far surpasses the films I grew up on, but it's like the technical gloss of being able to crush blacks or enhance highlights and display both next to one another for an HDR experience, doesn't make up for some iffy content. And I don't know, when I was down at Tyler's place looking at his editing suite, to me, it felt like a good solild monitor is all you need, and not some $10,000 monster of a monitor to perfect every single color inthe spectrum for each shot. Just me. I'm kind of on my high horse when it comes to this topic. sorry about that :)
  14. More ranting; a thought just occured to me, and that is when films were released on VHS (and Beta too, I suppose) a lot of light was pumped through the prints during the transfer. Stuff in shadows that you weren't supposed to see in the release print were suddenly visible on the VHS copy. Which, to me at least, says that even though those films weren't shot with HDR in mind, you could, in theory I suppose, create an HDR of nearly every commercial film. Which leads one to ask, why not do that in the first place? Tons of examples. I won't go off the deep end too much, but I've got a Beta of The Empire Strikes Back. I have got a regular VHS of The Empire Strikes Back when four head VHS VCRs were mustleing out Betamax. I then got a "special edition letterbox" VHS of the same movie. I then got the DVD. And yes, I bought the bluray. I saw The Empire Strikes Back on opening day with the family. I saw it a couple more times after that. I enjoyed it. I still do. But, with all due deference and respect to George Lucas and Disney both, I simply refuse to give you another red cent for this movie. I wish I had bought the Laser Disk way back in 84 or 83 or something, because I wouldn't be griping here on this forum. Another soapbox moment. Thank you :) p.s. David, yeah, I don't know what it is about today's movies. I think they're more niche and less broad-audience oriented. That is they're aimed at specific demographics, or so it feels like to me. I mean they're technically competent, but I think the writing is lacking in a lot of them. In the end it just means less money out of my wallet.
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