By Christina Herron, MSThe Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, gathers information about the mental health of military families. A previous blog, Resource Discovery: Enhancements to the Family Lifestyle Survey, featured the new additions made to the 2015 Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey. These additions included: New survey questions about mental health including: depression, substance abuse and stressAdditional questions regarding veterans’ transition, education, and use of resourcesBlue Star Families recently released the results of the 2015 Military Family Lifestyle Survey. Below is a highlighted infographic from the survey results.The complete survey results come in the form of the 2015 Executive Summary, 2015 Comprehensive Report, and the 2015 Comprehensive Report Infographic.Blue Star Families. 2015 Military Lifestyle Survey. Retrieved from https://www.bluestarfam.org/resources/military-family-lifestyle-surveyThis post was written by Christina Herron, MS, a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.
Want to speed up your Adobe After Effects workflow? In this post, we share a video tutorial that shows you a trick to being more efficient: background rendering in After Effects.One quick way to kill editing momentum is to start a render. It’s necessary, but can be painful waiting for your motion graphics or video editing app to process your project. In the past, I’ve always twiddled my thumbs while rendering in After Effects (or jump over to a different program). Now, here’s a better way.In this video by DigitalSandwich.net, you’ll see how to use Adobe Media Encoder to do background rendering in After Effects. After saving your After Effects project file, open up Encoder. Bring the AE file into Encoder and target a composition to render. It’s as simple as that.Note however, background rendering in After Effects (using Encoder) will not be as fast as if you were actually rendering in AE. Glen from DigitalSandwich explains that Adobe products place the highest priority on the application that is at the forefront of your system (the one you are actively using). So, if you’re working in AE while you’re rending your After Effects project in the background using Encoder, After Effects will get a higher percentage of your available RAM. The trade off here is that youre actually able to keep working. In that case, I’ll take the slower render speed.If you want to see how to do background rendering in After Effects check out this quick and informative video tutorial:
It’s almost comical when I see filmmakers attempting to hold a discreet shoot, but then leave Pelican cases filled with gear, scripts, and other paraphernalia sitting around. In an ideal world, you don’t want to have any gear around you, or even on your person for that matter – other than the bare necessities, which in most cases is your camera and a single lens.Even tripods can often give you away, so as painful as it might be, handheld is often your only option (so be sure this ‘look’ is in line with your vision). If more stability is a must for the look of your film, go ahead and use a monopod, shoot with stabilized lenses, or use a camera like the Sony A7 II that has built in stabilization. Whatever you do, just make sure that you are extra cautious when shooting with anything but a bare camera body (including a small shoulder rig, even) as it will draw more attention than you’re going to want.5. Plan in Advance and Work as Fast as PossibleThe one and only way to properly execute a guerrilla shoot is to strip your gear and crew down to the bare necessities and plan as diligently as possible. This means doing your research online, going location scouting ahead of time (to see which locations will be easiest to shoot at without permitting) and preparing your crew as much as you can.Planning will make you far more efficient when it comes time to shoot, which will subsequently allow you to work a lot quicker. Any and all set up that’s required (such as hair/make-up or sound checks), need to be worked out in a different location close by, so that once you’re ready to shoot, you can just get in, get your shot, and get out of there as fast as possible.Bonus: Escape from TomorrowThe guerrilla film that made the biggest splash in recent years was Escape from Tomorrow, which premiered at Sundance in 2013. Shot entirely at Disneyland and Disney World without permission, the filmmakers utilized DSLRs and a skeleton crew to record the feature length film entirely undetected by park staff. Director Randy Moore described the process to Filmmaker Magazine:We rehearsed each day’s dialogue in the morning, usually in my hotel room. The schedule was extensive and planned carefully weeks ahead of time to coincide with the direct location of the sun during each shot. There was no crowd control.Takes were usually limited to just three or four before we’d arouse suspicion and have to go someplace else – it really all depended on the amount of traffic and visibility and the time of day….we must have walked through the entire movie at least eight or nine times during multiple scouting trips before we ever rolled camera.SlashFilm did a review of the Sundance Premiere noting:Sound was recorded without an on-set sound mixer, sometimes using smart phones, and sometimes using digital recorders taped to each actor, which would record an entire day’s worth of audio, which editors had to sort through afterward.While the film was shot guerrilla-style, it doesn’t feel like found footage or home video. They chose to shoot the entire movie in black & white, a practical decision which helped them have a better feel for composition and lighting in the camera as they shot in the parks.Did we pique your interest? Check out the trailer for Escape from Tomorrow below.Have any other guerrilla filmmaking tips? Share in the comments below. Guerrilla filmmaking can be risky, but sometimes there’s no choice. Here are some important planning tips that can help prevent disaster.All images from ShutterstockWhen faced with the dilemma – to shoot without permits or not shoot at all – a lot of filmmakers will opt to shoot their film “guerrilla” style. In other words, they’ll choose to go ahead and film without location permits or permission from property owners to keep more money in the bank. While this may seem like a fairly easy decision (especially when faced with having to shell out potentially thousands of dollars for permits), there are some severe downsides to consider when going down this path.If you’re caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, you run the risk of having your production completely shut down, receiving additional fines, and the possibility of having your gear confiscated. Thankfully though, there are some workarounds that can help you tackle a guerrilla or low budget shoot if you want to do it right. These tips are equally as applicable to journalists who may be working in restrictive conditions.Quick Note: When shooting guerrilla style there is always a risk that you will be shut down or fined. If you do choose to go down this path you are doing so at your own risk, so always be aware of the potential consequences. We would never advocate doing anything illegal. Be sure to check local laws and, most importantly, always keep your crew’s safety in mind.1. Don’t Get Tempted By Cinema Cameras – Use a DSLRThe DSLR revolution may be slowing, thanks in part to cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, but as of today there is still no better option for shooting guerrilla style than a DSLR.It goes without saying that the smaller the camera you’re using, the less likely it is that you’ll get caught, but there are other considerations as well. For instance, cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Camera may be smaller than most DSLRs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to be the right choice.The Pocket Cam (and other similar cameras) are unique looking and often draw attention from onlookers, and they also often require more rigging than DSLRs which ultimately brings up the actual size of the camera. So while working with a small camera is one key to successfully accomplish a guerrilla shoot – it’s not the only consideration. DSLRs may not be in their heyday right now, but in capable hands they can produce gorgeous images. 2. Keep Your Crew out of SightIf you’re shooting without permits, chances are your budget is limited and your crew is pretty small to begin with. That said, it’s still extremely important that you do not appear like a film crew in any way. Even with a three or four person crew, you can start to draw unwanted attention very quickly.The number one rule when shooting guerrilla should be to keep the crew (no matter the size) out of sight unless completely necessary. As I mentioned above, film shoots tend to draw crowds. You need to be concerned about attracting members of the general public who can very quickly cause a scene around your guerrilla set.It’s a huge mistake to have more bodies present on a guerrilla shoot than necessary, but unfortunately it’s a mistake that so many filmmakers make. Really the only person that needs to be present during shooting (outside of the DP and actors of course) is the director. Audio doesn’t need to be nearby (more on that in the next point), the make-up artist, PAs, and any other crew members should have no need to just hang out in plain sight while takes are rolling, so always make sure that your crew is situated in a low-key area when you’re actually shooting.3. When It Comes to Audio, Always Go WirelessIf you have a half decent location sound recordist on your team, he/she will be begging you to use a boom whenever possible. Unfortunately though, boom mics are the biggest giveaways of a guerrilla film shoot, so you’re going to need to learn to work without one. Your sound recordist may not be happy with you for requesting lavalier microphones only, but at the end of the day, you are far more likely to get the shot you need when you avoid attracting unwanted attention.Once you have your lavs up and running, the key is to figure out how to hide the wireless receivers and recorder. It’s usually best to have your sound recordist standing by with the gear in his or her backpack, or alternatively the recorder can be kept in a nearby car. This may seem like a bit of a headache to deal with, especially when trying to communicate with your sound recordist, but it really is the only option that you have when shooting guerrilla.4. There Should Be No Gear in Plain Sight
The Spy Who Loved MeImage via MGMReleased the same year Nolan first watched Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me may be the most well-known Roger Moore Bond film. To the eyes of a kid, this was the coolest Bond ever. To Christopher Nolan, 1977 may have been the greatest year ever.One of the first films I remember seeing was The Spy Who Loved Me and at a certain point the Bond films fixed in my head as a great example of scope and scale in large scale images. That idea of getting you to other places, of getting you along for a ride if you can believe in it — in The Spy Who Loved Me, the Lotus Esprit turns into a submarine and its totally convincing, and it works and you go ‘Wow, that’s incredible.’ — IndieWireNolan frequently cites this particular Bond film often, but he is a huge fan of Bond films in general. He credits the franchise for creating threats that played on audiences fears.Interestingly, the Bond films, back in the 60s, they were very specifically about Cold War fears — They introduced the threat of nuclear terrorism very specifically for the first time in movies and they were closer than people realize, in pop culture terms, to what people feared at the time. And I think that one of the things in taking on an action film set in a great American city post-9/11, if we were going to be honest in terms of our fears and what might threaten this great city, then we were going to come up against terrorism and how that might feature in the universe of Batman. And I think we approached it with a great deal of sincerity. Before Christopher Nolan was a blockbuster director, he was a kid who loved movies. Here are the five films he identifies as his biggest influences.Top image via ColliderChristopher Nolan has established himself as one of the blockbuster directors of this generation. The skills he has acquired as a filmmaker can be credited to the countless movies he’s seen in his lifetime.“Movies become indistinguishable from our own memories,” Nolan said in an interview with Wired magazine. “You file them away and they become very personal.”Here’s a look at how five specific films played a major role in establishing Nolan’s blockbuster worlds.2001: A Space OdysseyImage via MGMIn May of 1977, Star Wars reinvigorated the world’s love of sci-fi and space films. That summer, theaters in the UK re-released Stanley Kubrick’s space epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey.My dad took my brother and me to Leicester Square, which is where you’d find the biggest theaters in London. I remember very clearly just the experience of being transported to another world. I was a huge Star Wars fan at the time. But this was a completely different way of experiencing science fiction. I was seven years old, so I couldn’t claim to have understood the film. I still can’t claim that. But as a seven year old, I didn’t care about understanding the film. I just felt this extraordinary experience of being taken to another world. You didn’t doubt this world for an instant. It had a larger than life quality.When I tell people this story, they often find it unusual that a child of that age would want to see 2001. But the truth is all of my friends went to see 2001 in the year after Star Wars. We would all sit and talk about what it meant. It was ‘pure cinema.’ The fact that it’s challenging cinema in an intellectual sense doesn’t bother you when you’re a kid. You just appreciate the feeling of the movie. — Entertainment WeeklyIt just has that sensory stimulation of pure cinema that speaks to people of all ages. People forget kids like it too — because we were all into spaceships. — Empire Magazine Image via The GuardianIt’s obvious that 2001 highly influenced Nolan’s Interstellar, but director Stanley Kubrick would be the one that really shaped Nolan as a filmmaker. Not only did Kubrick’s work leave an impression, but so did his personal approach to the craft.From a storytelling point of view, from a directing point of view, there is one thing I associate with what he does, which is calm. There is such an inherent calm and inherent trust of the one powerful image, that he makes me embarrassed with my own work, in terms of how many different shots, how many different sound effects, how many different things we’ll throw at an audience to make an impression. But with Kubrick, there is such a great trust of the one correct image to calmly explain something to audience. There can be some slowness to the editing. There’s nothing frenetic about it. It’s very simple. There’s a trust in simple storytelling and simple image making that actually takes massive confidence to try and emulate. — Entertainment WeeklyIt’s not Kubrick’s filmmaking alone either, as the director also influenced Nolan’s approach to studio collaborations.I think anyone who is working [for the studios] looks to Kubrick as the great example of someone who is able to make films that were very personal to him, very idiosyncratic, with a great degree of passion, while collaborating with the studios and making what he did fit within the economic models of their times. — Entertainment WeeklyThat mindset has since helped Nolan’s production company, Syncopy, establish itself as a blockbuster powerhouse in a matter of years. Syncopy has collaborated with Legendary Pictures, DC Entertainment, and Warner Bros. to produce films that have hit nearly $4.7 Billion in box office sales — in less than a decade.Blade RunnerImage via Warner Bros.Director Ridley Scott had just blown audiences away with Alien when his 1982 follow-up film, Blade Runner, hit theaters. The films established Scott as a blockbuster filmmaker during Christopher Nolan’s most influential years.I have always been a huge fan of Ridley Scott and certainly when I was a kid. Alien, Blade Runner just blew me away because they created these extraordinary worlds that were just completely immersive. — Media FactoryThis film has influenced nearly all of Nolan’s movies. He considers Blade Runner a key touchstone of science fiction. The film’s production design and style were key to establishing the base of Nolan’s Batman universe. Nolan even cast Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer in Batman Begins.Image via Warner Bros.It’s hard to say what was conscious homage, and what was my analysis of why Blade Runner was so convincing in its production design and in the way it uses its sets. From a pragmatic point of view, Blade Runner is actually one of the most successful films of all time in terms of constructing that reality using sets. On Batman Begins, unlike The Dark Knight, we found ourselves having to build the streets of Gotham in large part. So I immediately gravitated toward the visual treatment that Ridley Scott had come up with, in terms of how you shoot these massive sets to make them feel real and not like impressive sets. And immediately we started looking at the rain, the handheld cameras, the longer lenses…So myself, my designer Nathan Crowley, and my cinematographer Wally Pfister, we started to throw all of that into the mix of how you can help the look of something, how you can create texture, as Ridley Scott has always been the absolute master of. Creating a texture to a shooting style that maximizes the impact of the set, and minimizes the artifice — the feeling that this world has edges to it that you would see at the edge of the frame. Blade Runner is one of the examples of how you can take a camera and get down and dirty… and really envelop your audience in the atmosphere of the world you’re trying to create. We definitely tried to emulate that style, and I think in doing so we actually created homage, particularly where we used the rain very much. — Forbes Image via Stay For The CreditsIt wasn’t only the Dark Knight trilogy that benefitted from the influence of 007. In fact, the closest thing we may get to a Christopher Nolan James Bond film is Inception.The Bond influence on the film was very intentional because, for me, growing up with the Bond films — they’ve always stood for grand-scale action. — BBCThe Spy Who Loved Me was not the only Bond film to be a major influence, as Nolan also cites On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as his favorite Bond film. Overall, it was the world of James Bond that showcased an expansive cinematic universe.I think for me, when you look at the idea of being able to create a limitless world and use it almost as a playground for action and adventure and so forth, I naturally gravitate towards cinematic worlds, whether it’s the Bond films and things like that. So without being too self-conscious about it or without too much intention as I was writing it, I certainly allowed my mind to wander where it would naturally and I think a lot of the tropes from different genres of movies, heist films, spy films, that kind of thing, they therefore sort of naturally sit in that world. — ColliderThe Thin Red LineImage via Fox 2000 PicturesTerrence Malick‘s 1998 film, The Thin Red Line, is listed as one of Christopher Nolan’s all-time favorite films. The film helped Nolan realize that there were no set boundaries in film editing, which helped him set up the story in Memento.I also see a lot of attempts to do what I saw Terrence Malick doing, in terms of the portrayal of mental states and memory. If you watch The Thin Red Line, that was a revelation to me. He’s cutting to memories and flashbacks with simple cuts; there are no wavy lines or dissolves. There are moments [in Memento] where Guy’s character is remembering his wife that were taken very much from that film. — MovielineImage via The Film StageSupermanImage via Warner Bros.One of the great films that I am very influenced by that we haven’t talked about was Dick Donner’s Superman. It made a huge impression on me. — The Hollywood ReporterDonner took on the character of Superman, he made the image of how people my age saw Superman. I still remember the trailers. I remember going to the cinema to see something else and seeing these epic trailers — the character standing in the cornfield, Marlon Brando’s voice — and that stuck with me. — IndieWireOne of Nolan’s biggest takeaways from the film was the realistic setting.… the world is pretty much the world we live in, but there’s this extraordinary figure there, which is what worked so well in Dick Donner’s Superman film. — The Hollywood ReporterWhen I talk about reality in these films, it’s often misconstrued as direct reality, but it’s really cinematic reality. It’s about trying to find the translation and credibility in the events and fantastical nature of what is going on. — IndieWireThat cinematic reality played a huge role in the world of the Dark Knight trilogy, and once again appeared in Superman’s universe with the Man of Steel franchise, which was produced by Nolan.Image via Collider If you would like more on Christopher Nolan’s favorite films, check out his Top Ten list on Criterion.
Here are a few tips and tricks for using practical lighting to establish mood and set the tone for your next shoot.Top image via Netflix.Choosing the right lights for your shoot can be difficult. You have to consider the space you’ve chosen to shoot in, the size of your crew, and the budget you’re working with. While there are a million different ways to properly expose your image and light your subjects, there are a few helpful tricks that can up the value of your shot while saving time and money. A recent trend among filmmakers and DPs in television and movies has been to employ camera lights that serve the story while also aesthetically lighting the actors.Mixing ColorsImage via Netflix.One of the most recent examples of this technique comes from the popular Netflix series, Master of None. In the last episode of season two, the two central characters find themselves isolated inside an apartment as the tension builds in a classic “will they or won’t they” fashion. The lighting for this scene involves simple blue and red light bulbs on opposite ends of the frame. This might seem like an obvious choice for representing passion and loneliness, but the lights are also backlighting the subject, almost creating a vignette, while composing one of the most romantic and memorable shots in recent memory.There are a few things to consider before choosing the color and type of light to use on the subjects on camera. You need to complement your actors’ skin tones and wardrobe with the appropriate lighting. Colorists can grade a project to a certain extent, but when it comes to complementary lighting on set, the results will speak for themselves. Just know that blue and orange, red and green, red and blue, and blue and yellow all complement each other, making your subjects pop.One of the best-known DPs who adheres to this method is Benoit Debie, who has often used two opposing colored lights or practicals to light his actors on camera. His work often consists of heavy neon usage, so if you’re curious about mixing crazy colors in your shot, check out some of his work.Using Neon LightsImage via A24.A director who keeps coming back to using neon is Nicolas Winding Refn. The majority of his movies take place in the dark underbelly of society, whether that includes cannibalistic supermodels or underground boxing rings. These themes rely on practical neon lights to set the tone. Neon lights are a cheap and visually appealing solution in these situations. Consider location too when you’re scouting for your production; you can’t put a price on a lighting setup already waiting for you on set.Image via Radius TWC.One of the masters of on-set practicals was Stanley Kubrick. Whether it was lighting characters with candles, christmas lights, or single-source lamps, the man was a master of setting ominous tones through lighting.The recent John Wick films also make excellent use of creative lighting by employing practical neon (and LED) lighting and lens flares. Given the subject matter is usually very dark and intense, this decision to feature reds, blues, purples, and white lights makes for some pretty outstanding shots.Image via Lionsgate.Practical LightingFor a more in-depth look at practical lighting in general, Ugly McGregor dives into how to light an interior night scene with only lamps and candles in this quick video tutorial.Practical lights can serve as purely aesthetic choices. If you decide to make use of practical colored lights for your next shoot, think about the colors, the emotion the scene calls for, and how the colors can complement the mood you want.Have you used practical lights in the past? Let us know in the comments.
Before the Avengers, before the Suicide Squad, even before ’90s Batman and his . . . anatomic batsuit, Hollywood relied on comic book heroes.Hot take: Marvel’s upcoming Avengers: Endgame is probably going to do okay at the box office. This radical opinion is based on the fact that, even though the media loves to paint a picture of a public suffering from “superhero fatigue,” an exceptionally meh film like Suicide Squad can still manage to make serious bank.Yeah, Marvel definitely changed the cinematic landscape back in 2008 when Nick Fury appeared post-Iron-Man-credits to foreshadow a cinematic universe that now spans twenty films. But it is medium-worth remembering that Marvel didn’t create the — Hey, wasn’t that a comic book? — landscape.Image via Warner Bros.So, while the nerdiest/most committed of us marathon 11 years’ worth of films to prepare for Avengers: Endgame, let’s look back at five comic book movies that attempted to stick the superhero landing in the 1980s.(Oh, and it’s twenty-one Marvel films. Sorry, Ed Norton. Totally forgot.)Swamp Thing (1982)Image via Warner Bros.DC’s most famous human-scientist/swamp-plant hybrid gets his/its own television show in May. But your dad no doubt remembers Wes Craven’s (1982) Hollywood iteration, starring Adrienne Barbeau.Here’s the critical consensus from Rotten Tomatoes: “Unabashedly campy — often to its detriment — Swamp Thing is not without its charms, among them Adrienne Barbeau as the damsel in distress.”While that’s faint praise for anyone involved — who isn’t Adrienne Barbeau — none less than the great Roger Ebert offered a livelier take on the film, one that involved three out of four stars: “Swamp Thing had already won my heart, before its moment of greatness, but when that moment came, I knew I’d discovered another one of those movies that fall somewhere between buried treasures and guilty pleasures.”Read Ebert’s review for yourself.Supergirl (1984)Image via Columbia.Christopher Reeve had already truth’d-and-justice’d his American way through three Superman movies by the time Supergirl premiered in 1984. The film starred Helen Slater in the titular role, making her the first woman to play the lead in an English-language superhero film. Unfortunately, with a plot spotlighting a warlock named Nigel, a mouthful of a McGuffin called the Omegahedron, and a “Hey, small world” appearance by Lois Lane’s kid sister, the film flopped among critics and audiences alike.Nonetheless, even though the film didn’t spawn a big-screen franchise, Slater went on to get a few more Krypton-related gigs on the small screen. She played Clark Kent’s biological mother in the WB’s Smallville and the adoptive mother of Kara Danvers in The CW’s Supergirl.(Interesting aside: Supergirl (1984) is canon with the Christopher Reeves run. The movies share Marc McClure’s Jimmy Olsen, and Reeves’s Superman appears on a poster in the film.)Sheena (1984)Image via Columbia.Here’s another one to ask your dad about. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle was the first female character to have her own comic book title — debuting on racks in 1937 — just a couple of years before Wonder Woman was introduced to the world.The film adaptation bounced around studios for several years, struggling to get made — even with big-time names like Raquel Welch and Bo Derek attached to the starring role. Eventually, ex-Charlie’s Angel (and future Bond girl) Tanya Roberts was cast in the production.In a quote Wikipedia sourced from a broken link to the LA Times, producer Paul Aratow explained his reasons for never giving up on his quest to bring Sheena to theaters: “Girls today need superheroes. And I want Sheena to be that superhero. I also want Sheena to be a character that parents will want to send their kids to see, and the type of picture that parents can go see with their children.”It seems, however, Aratow fell short of his goals (skip to 6:25).Red Sonja (1985)Image via MGM.Here’s your Red Sonja movie summary: Swords. Sorcery. A talisman. Castles. Sex. Someone probably transforms into a snake-priest at some point — I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.Instead of digging into the story told in this movie, let’s look at a story about the movie called A Tale of Two Sonyas/Sonjas (and One Arnold). It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. (It was the ’80s, so it was the worst of times.) Please try to follow along.Author Robert E. Howard created the character Red Sonya in 1934. (Red Sonya is a 16th-century woman who fights Turks.) Howard also created Conan the Barbarian in 1934. Conan the Barbarian is a Hyborian-Age man who fights transforming snake-priests (probably). Red Sonya has nothing to do with Conan the Barbarian — though Red Sonja really does.Image via MGM.The comic book character, Red Sonja, was created by Roy Thomas. She first appeared in Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian series in 1973 with Robert E. Howard’s creations Conan the Barbarian and the Hyborian Age.Conan the Barbarian (the movie) is set in the Hyborian Age. It hit theaters in 1982, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian. The sequel, Conan the Destroyer, is also set in the Hyborian Age. It hit theaters in 1984, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian Destroyer.The movie Red Sonja is also set in the Hyborian Age. It hit theaters in 1985, starring Brigitte Nielsen as Red Sonja.It also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hyborian-Age warrior Conan the Barbarian Destroyer King Lord Kalidor, who may or may not be a transforming snake-priest but who is definitely not Conan the Whatever or might very well be actually.Howard the Duck (1986)Image via Universal.The first Marvel movie. Produced by George Lucas, just two years after Return of the Jedi. Visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic. Lea Thompson as the female lead, fresh off the success of Back to the Future. A popular, counter-culture character, whose edgy adventures were sharp exercises in satire and parody. What could go wrong?Everything. Just, so much of everything.Howard the Duck is one of the most famous flops in Hollywood history. Its problems are myriad. Shockingly, one of the problems isn’t that the main character is an anthropomorphic duck. In fact, Howard was a beloved fixture of ’70s pop culture — prominent enough to get threatened by Disney’s legal department due to Howard’s Donald Duck-like appearance.Perhaps the greatest problem was that the minds behind the movie were unconcerned with the very essence of what people loved about the comic books.Image via Universal.Co-creator Steve Gerber describes the existential heart of the comic he wrote: “There is no joke! There it is. The cosmic giggle. The funniest gag in the universe. That life’s most serious moments, and most incredibly dumb moments, are often distinguishable only by a momentary point of view. Anyone who doesn’t believe this probably cannot enjoy reading Howard the Duck.”The film’s screenwriter, Gloria Katz, felt differently: “It’s a film about a duck from outer space . . . It’s not supposed to be an existential experience.”The movie was marketed as a family-friendly, light-hearted romp, full of duck puns and wackiness. Fans of the comic book stayed away on opening day — and every day after — disappointed that the movie had strayed so far from the decidedly non-family-friendly source material.The $37 million production made just over $16 million. Marvel didn’t allow another film adaptation until 2002’s Spiderman, and director Willard Hyuck never helmed a feature film again. Frank Price, head of Universal’s motion picture group, was forced to resign (leading to the legendary Variety headline, “Duck Cooks Price’s Goose”).Additionally, George Lucas ended up in debt and was forced to sell off Lucasfilm’s upstart computer animation division to Steve Jobs — who turned it into an independent company called Pixar.Howard the Duck himself is doing okay in 2019. He’s an official part of the Marvel cinematic universe, having appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy — and its sequel — and there’s no reason to think he won’t appear on the big screen again.After all, he didn’t just survive one of the greatest film disasters of all time — he also survived the snap.Cover image via Red Sonja (MGM).Looking for more on the film and video industry? 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A game salesperson from a game sales organization would have replied to my offer to take the discount like this: “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t know you were a customer. If you signed up last year, you got a way better deal than the one I am offering your neighbors. But you really have to see this new offering we have for you! You’re going to love it! Check this out!” The poor salesperson that rang my doorbell had a wonderful deal for me. He said, “I have my trucks in the area over the next few days, and if you sign up for service, I can do it for half price.” I told him that I would accept his deal for half off the regular price, but then added: “By the way, I am already signed up with you. Thanks!”Poor kid had no game, so I let him off the hook. I said, “No worries, kid. I’m busting your chops.” He was relieved and walked away as quickly as he could.Last week I received an email from another salesperson. He promised he could save 40% over whatever I am paying for Internet bandwidth and voice over IP services. I didn’t reply, but I should have. I’m already their customer, too. I’d happily take the 40% savings his email promised.Transactional sales organizations are funny.Why would you send your salespeople out into the world to sell without giving them a list of your existing clients?Why would you offer a new customer a deal that you wouldn’t offer your existing clients? Why would you treat strangers better than you treat the people who are already writing you a check? What do you want your existing customers to believe about your relationship?And why on Earth would you lead with a discount?The answer to these questions are many:Because you don’t intend to create value.Because you don’t know how to create value.Because you are transactional.Because you won’t train your salespeople.Because you don’t care about anything but the sale.
A lion doesn’t have to learn to be a lion. It is born knowing everything it needs to know to be a successful lion. It doesn’t get sent off to lion school to be taught what it means to be a lion or what it needs to do.This is true of all the animals on earth, with the exception of we humans. We are born knowing nothing about what it takes to be a successful human. We are born with none of the collected wisdom of all the humans that have come before us pre-installed; we have to learn it all ourselves.The Easy WayOne way we learn is through the successes and failures of those who have come before us. The things that others have done to lead a successful life provide clues about what beliefs and actions produce the results we might want. And other people’s failures provide lessons about what doesn’t work and things to be avoided.You can read and study the beliefs and actions that lead to success or failure, and you can also observe the people around you to pick up these lessons. Studying success can help you learn what to do, and the studying failures can help you avoid mistakes.The Hard WayBut that isn’t the way we usually learn. We usually learn through our own experiences. The way we often learn is by placing our own hand on the hot stove. We have to see for ourselves why we shouldn’t touch the fire, so we ignore the collected wisdom of the ages and repeat the mistakes ourselves. We get burned.You weren’t the first person to spend more money than you had and found themselves in serious financial trouble, even though we have known for a millennia that this is not the recipe for success.You weren’t the first person to take a salary from the money invested in your new startup only to run out of runway and crash and burn. Lots of entrepreneurs have left a warning, along with a graveyard of good ideas that never made it to market.You absolutely weren’t the first person to ignore your parents warning and fall in with a bad crowd only to find yourself in deeper trouble than you could handle. I wasn’t the first person either, but I did demonstrate some mastery here.You are not the first person to waste a good part of your life fooling around before you stumble upon your real mission later than you wished. Many others have come before you.You are one of the majority of us who have ignored the wisdom and the warnings of those who have come before us and made the mistakes that have brought you whatever wisdom you have accumulated. This is how we learn, and it is your job to share that wisdom with others so they don’t make the same mistakes and so you can shorten their learning curve.Most of what you share will be ignored, and those with whom you share it will set out to repeat your mistakes on their own. But not to worry’ we’ve been repeating this pattern with some success for a long time.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused the BJP government at the Centre of subverting democracy and said the Trinamool Congress will work with all opposition parties to oust the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.Giving the slogan of ‘BJP quit India in 2019’, Ms. Banerjee charged that the BJP-led government at the Centre has “taken away the rights of the people in the country.” She also alleged that “secularism is under threat.”“The BJP-led government is trying to divide the country. We will not allow it. In 2019 our slogan will be ‘BJP quit India’ We will work with all other opposition parties, so that we can unitedly fight against the BJP. We want this politics of communalism and hatred to come to an end,” she said while kicking off the campaign here.Ms. Banerjee launched the campaign on a day when the country is commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement.“We will fight and not stop till the BJP is ousted from power. Democracy will triumph against all odds”, she said.“They can threaten us by using the ED, Income Tax and the CBI but we are not afraid of it. The central government has turned into a government of the agencies, by the agencies, of the agencies and for the agencies,” she alleged.Ms. Banerjee said she will attend the rally convened by RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in Patna later this month. The TMC leader also accused the BJP of shedding “crocodile tears” for adivasis and backward sections of the society. “On the one hand they (BJP) are lynching adivasis and people from backward sections of society, while on the other hand, they are are clicking photographs with adivasis and having lunch at their houses,” she charged.
The circulation of pamphlets calling for a social and economic boycott of Muslims in Narkhed of Nagpur district, Maharashtra has created tension in the town.The pamphlets appeared a week after the town witnessed a riot-like situation when a doctor was beaten up by some members of a particular community over a social media post on Vande Mataram.They appeal to the majority community to boycott Muslim festivals and programmes.“Don’t employ Muslim workers at your home or work places. Don’t call Muslims to your homes. Don’t go to shops and petrol pumps owned by them. Don’t vote for Muslim candidates,” were some of the exhortations.
Five persons arrested for their alleged involvement in the Kotkhai schoolgirl rape and murder case were released on bail by the the District and Sessions Court here on Tuesday. The court granted bail to the accused after the CBI failed to produce a charge sheet even after 90 days of their police and judicial custody. The accused should furnish a bail bond of Rs one lakh each within a week.One of the accused Ashish Chauhan was given the bail on Monday on the similar grounds. The four accused who were released today belonged to Uttarakhand and Nepal. They were arrested after the heinous murder and rape of a class 10 student of Kotkhai in anterior Shimla in the month of July. One of the accused, Suraj a Nepalese died suspiciously in the police custody on July 19 and the local police blamed a co-accused Rajender Singh for killing him.But interestingly when the case was handed over to the CBI at the instance of High Court, the premier agency found the involvement of the Himachal Police in the prison death.Eight policemen including an IG Police, Zahur H Zaidi have been named and have been sent into a judicial remand. The designated CBI Court had extended their remand by two more weeks on Monday. These police officers were part of a special investigative team constituted by the State Police to probe the rape and murder case. The police officials who were arrested on August 29 are presently lodged in the Kanda Jail near Shimla.Since the beginning the local villagers are doubting the involvement of some well connected youth of the area in this case and not the outsider Nepalese and Uttarakhand labourers. Mass protests were held in Kotkhai, Theog and Shimla against the wrong arrests by the Police and the involvement of Police itself in the custodial death.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is running for the fifth consecutive term, has a total of ₹3,930 in cash and a bank account and has never filed an income-tax return, says the election affidavit submitted by him along with his nomination papers on Monday.The CPI(M) leader donates his salary to the party and gets ₹5,000 from it as subsistence allowance.The 69-year-old leader has ₹1,520 in hand and ₹2,410 in his account in a nationalised bank. He does not have any other bank deposit, the affidavit said.Also Read Manik Sarkar, the ‘poorest CM’ is really appreciative of tag Mr. Sarkar, who is contesting from the Dhanpur constituency, has no cultivable land or homestead.The Chief Minister’s wife, Panchali Bhattacharya, a retired Central government employee, has ₹20,140 in cash and ₹1,24,101 and ₹86,473.78 in two bank accounts. She has three fixed deposits of ₹2 lakh, ₹5 lakh and ₹2.25 lakh, besides 20 grams of jewellery.Ms. Bhattacharya inherited 888.35 sq.ft of land and has invested ₹15 lakh for construction there. The current value of the land is ₹21 lakh.
Three people, including the father of a woman, were arrested in Bikaner on Thursday for allegedly thrashing to death a 22-year-old man from another community who they believed was involved in a relationship with her, police said. Saif Ali Khan was abducted by nearly half a dozen people, including the father and cousin brothers of the woman, on Tuesday night, they said. He was brutally thrashed and dumped in a drain, the officials added. Police traced the victim and admitted him to a government hospital where he died yesterday morning, an official said.“The man was involved in a relationship with a woman. When the woman’s family came to know about the affair, they fixed her marriage elsewhere, but the man was trying to make contact with her so that they can elope” Sub Inspector of Naya Shahar Police Station Bhajan Lal said.Bikaner SP Swai Singh Godara said the family had fixed the woman’s marriage with another man on May 12 in haste, but Khan kept pursuing the woman. The case cannot be given a communal angle as the woman’s family members were against her marrying outside their caste, the SP added.According to police officials, a case was registered against seven persons.
Normal life was disrupted in Kashmir on Monday due to strike called by separatists against the recent civilian killings in the valley. Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar, officials said.Officials also added that public transport was sparse but private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying in many areas of the city. Private educational institutions were shut because of the strike, the officials said. They said similar reports were received from other district headquarters of the valley. There were no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, the officials said. Separatists, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), had asked people to observe a complete strike today against the recent civilian killings allegedly in firing by security forces.
Arunachal Pradesh is staring at scarcity of water, the very resource that is expected to make the frontier State India’s hydroelectric powerhouse.On Saturday, the State’s Minister for Environment and Forests Nabam Rebia said more than 200 rivers and streams across Arunachal Pradesh have dried up. This, he felt, would soon make the State face shortage.The scenario, he indicated, could be as grim as Shimla, the capital of another “presumably water-abundant” Himalayan State that underwent a severe water crisis recently.Mr. Rebia attributed the drying up of water bodies to rampant destruction of forests besides thinning glaciers in the Eastern Himalayas due to climate change.“The State’s forest cover has decreased from 82% to 79% and catchment areas of many rivers are under threat because of jhum (slash-and-burn) cultivation and landslides,” he said at an official function in the Papum Pare district. Large-scale hunting of animals, too, has been a factor in the depletion of the State’s natural resources, Mr. Rebia said. He added that the State government would ban hunting of wildlife. Many communities hunt birds and animals for food and adornment of traditional headgear. Wild animals such as Asiatic black bear, leaf deer and Mishmi takin are considered delicacies.M. Surya Prakash, the State’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, said public cooperation was imperative for conservation of forests and wildlife in a State where much of the land is community-owned. All, however, is not lost, officials said. They cited the examples of Hyer Habia Catchment Area Welfare Committee in the Midpu area of Papum Pare district, and the Bugun community of the Singchung village in West Kameng district, whose members take turns to protect a 17 sq. km. biodiversity hotspot. The water scare in Arunachal Pradesh has undermined the State’s much-vaunted hydropower potential, which the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Energy said is 25,962 MW. But only about 405 MW had been commissioned till 2017.
Protesting against the absence of permanent teachers to teach in Santali in schools, a tribal organisation has decided to hit the streets in the city. Santali as medium of instruction in the State-run schools of West Bengal was announced a few years ago. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education has been conducting Class X board examination in Santhali using Ol Chiki scripts across several schools in the State.Representatives of Adibasi Socio-Educational & Cultural Association (ASECA),West Bengal, on Wednesday announced that on September 24 thousands of tribals will descend on the streets demanding permanent Santali teachers in schools where the language is taught as a medium of instruction.Madhyamik exam “There are more than 20 schools in the State from where hundreds of students appear in Madhyamik examination in Santali. But there is not a single permanent teacher who can teach in Santali in these schools,” pointed out Madan Mohan Baskey, president of ASECA, West Bengal unit.Contractual staffMr. Baskey said that the para teachers or contractual teachers are engaged in teaching students in Santali in these schools. “Over the years there has not been a single recruitment of permanent teacher who can teach in Santali,” he said.Kalyanmoy Gangopadhyay, president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education said along with Bengali, English, Hindi, and Nepali, students write the Class X board examination also in Santhali in Ol Chiki script. “The schools are located in certain districts like Paschim Medinipur, Bankura, Murshidabad and Uttar Dinajpur,” he said.On whether there has been no recruitment of permanent Santali teachers, Mr. Ganguly said he was not aware. Sharmila Mitra, chairperson of State School Service Examination refused to comment on the issue.
An umbrella body of 14 Assam-based Bengali organisations have demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into alleged “buying and selling” of legacy data during the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC).The Bengali Joint Coordination Committee, Asom, submitted this demand in a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday, citing NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela’s statement before the Supreme Court.According to Mr. Hajela’s statement, legacy had been made a commodity for trading in the process of NRC, the memorandum said. “This implies illegal migrants had their names included in the NRC with such legacies or family trees in connivance with senior officials of NRC who verified the documents,” it said.“Legacy trading is a crime whose investigation should be handed over to the CBI so that the culprits are booked,”the memorandum added.Members of the committee, who have been demonstrating outside the Assam Assembly, claimed that “irregularities” and “malpractices” committed in the NRC updating process led to the names of more than 1.5 million genuine Indian citizens being excluded from the complete NRC draft published on July 30.The committee said that the officials engaged in exercise flouted norms and procedures in the absence of any monitoring and supervision despite an order by the apex court
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday announced constitution of a three-member commission to recommend steps for strengthening and modernising the State police force. “A three-member commission will be constituted to give recommendations for strengthening and modernisation of police,” he said, adding by next year end, 1.25 lakh constables will join the force after training. “By the end of 2019, 1.25 lakh constables will join the force, ending their shortage. It will help people and will witness better policing. It will also address problem of their leave and they will be able to perform their duties without any tension and will also be able to spend quality time with their families,” Yogi said addressing the police on ‘Smriti Diwas’ here. The Chief Minister said the State government was taking necessary initiatives for the family of policemen who laid down their lives while performing their duties.Time-bound promotion “To enhance the morale of the force and ensure good work culture, the State government made special emphasis on their time-bound promotion. In 2017, as many as 9,892 police men and in 2018, 37,575 policemen were promoted, which is a record,” he said. The Chief Minister said at present there was infrastructure for training only 5,793 constables and the government was planning to double the capacity. “Help of Central Paramilitary forces and other States will also be sought for training capacity enhancement. In Jalaun and Sultanpur where training centres are ready, they will be started soon,” he said. He said to meet housing demands, more barracks will be put up in police lines and police stations. Yogi said cycle and uniform allowances of policemen will be increased soon and medical reimbursement related issues will also be sorted out.Compensation increased Elaborating on the initiatives of the State government for the police, he said the State government has already increased compensation to the family of a martyr from ₹20 lakh to ₹40 lakh, besides hiking the amount given to their parents to ₹10 lakh. Giving details, DGP O.P. Singh said 67 policemen lost their lives while performing their duties between September 1, 2017 and August 31 2018.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured a delegation of Goa MPs, legislators from ruling party and representatives of the Goa Mining People’s Front (GMPF) that the Central government would try to find solution to the mining impasse within the “four corners of the law”.Talking to The Hindu after a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday, South Goa BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar, who was part of the delegation, said that no time-frame for a solution has been arrived at. “The PM heard the delegation patiently and expressed concern over the situation which has arisen in Goa after the Supreme Court stopped mining,” said Mr. Sawaikar, adding, “He, however, said a solution will be found within the four corners of the law, since the situation has arisen out of the apex court’s judgement.” Apart from two representatives of GMPF, the delegation included North Goa MP and Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik; Goa State unit BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Tendulkar; Goa Assembly Speaker, Pramod Sawant, the State’s Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and some ruling coalition legislators from the mining belt.Asked if the GMPF representatives were satisfied with the discussion, Mr. Sawaikar said, “The leaders of GMFP must have come with an expectation of a sure promise of restarting mining. But the Prime Minister told them the issue has to be resolved by remaining within four corners of the law and within the framework of the apex court judgement.” The mining ban has been agitating a large number of mining dependants, who directly or indirectly lost their livelihoods since the Supreme Court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from February last year, for legal infirmities in the second renewal of leases. The State government has been asked by the SC to re-issue mining leases using appropriate procedures.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister and veteran BJP leader Jual Oram has locked horns with two party hoppers — Congress’ George Tirkey and BJD’s Sunita Biswal — to retain the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency, the only seat the BJP had won in Odisha in 2014.While Mr. Tirkey, a prominent tribal leader, joined the Congress recently, Ms. Biswal, daughter of former CM Hemananda Biswal, switched over to the BJD from the Congress just before the elections.Sundargarh comprises seven Assembly seats — Sundargarh, Talsara, Rajgangpur, Biramitrapur, Rourkela, Raghunathpali and Bonai. It is a tribal-dominated constituency where the BJP has won four times in seven Lok Sabha elections held since 1991. Mr. Oram, a four-time MP, had won three consecutive terms in the 1998, 1999 and 2004 elections. He had been appointed Union Tribal Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999. In 2009, he lost to senior Congress leader Hemananda Biswal but won it back in a tightly contested election in 2014.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi have already addressed two massive public meetings here. Not lagging behind, CM Naveen Patnaik addressed three public meetings and held two roadshows last week.Sundargarh being a tribal belt, the identity of the candidates will come into play during the elections.Mr. Oram considers himself in advantageous position due to the “popularity” of Mr. Modi among the youth. He is also banking on a number of central projects. Moreover, he had taken care to stay connected with the people of his constituency.Sunita Biswal is no novice in politics. She said the Chief Minister’s clean image and the BJD’s strong grassroots-level organisation would be advantageous for her. Moreover, the BJD’s emphasis on 33% reservation for women in selection of Lok Sabha candidates would also generate huge support for her, she said. Mr. Tirkey on the other hand has been a vocal advocate of implementation of Panchayats act. He has been fighting for the right of self-determination by tribals.