Read my A to Z Reflections:

The Madlab Post is Home to the weekly Monday Movie Meme: Signup!

Are you ready for the best blog hop on the net? #atozchallenge

*All 31 "Prompts" might not be featured on this blog; I have my own schedule and topics to adhere to.

Your ad could be here, right now.

Search

Bring The Madlab Post to You!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Sunday
Jan082012

Harry Potter Party Ideas Inspired by Ron Weasley Scenes #entertaining #movies

Harry Potter Party Ideas Inspired by Ron Weasley Scenes2

As the King Dong series continues, this month begins with a new content posting strategy to try to make it more useful and no longer skip any months like I did in December 2011. Without further adieu, join me in welcoming Ron Weasley, played by actor Rupert Grint, as our January 2012 King Dong. While Ron is one of the cutest little boys ever who often gets in situations that are way over his head throughout the Harry Potter film series, he does have unmatchable skills at the game of chess, compared to his friends Hermione and Harry.

One of my most memorable scenes from watching 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone' is the one where Ron sacrifices himself in Wizard’s Chess to help his pals. After several years of Hogwarts mania at the movies, Harry Potter themed parties may seem like they feature the same activities and planning for entertaining guests, no matter who’s hosting it - a book club, HP fan club or a family somewhere around the world.

Thanks to Ron Weasley, however, you can squeeze out little aspects of the Harry Potter movies, to create fresh party ideas that can be used when entertaining adults or teens and kids who know how to play the game. Here are some Harry Potter party ideas that I thought of based on that Wizard’s Chess scene from The Sorcerer’s Stone film.

Harry Potter Party Ideas Inspired by Ron Weasley Scenes3

A Ron Weasley Inspired (Non)Seating Arrangement

Make a giant chessboard featuring 64 black and white (32 for each color) squares made out of towels, pillow cases, painted cardboard, card stock sheets or whatever you can bind together using masking tape (or duct tape, depending on the materials and your preference) to create a flat game board surface. You can also use blue squares as a substitute for black.

Cover your living room, basement or other party area floor with the giant chessboard. This will become the “seating” area for your guests, so make sure that each guest stands on the proper square, according to his or her position in the Wizard’s chess game. You will need a total of 32 guests to complete the chessboard style seating arrangement for this party theme. However, a smaller guest size for your Harry Potter party will also work just fine, allowing more flexible options for Wizard’s chess costumes as well.

Since this arrangement obviously creates a standing-room-only setup, either position chairs along the walls surrounding the chessboard or move them into another room altogether.

Harry Potter Party Ideas Inspired by Ron Weasley Scenes

The Harry Potter Party Dress Code

All of the standard Gryffindor and other favorite Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley costumes go out of the window for this Wizard’s chess party theme. Require guests to come to the party dressed in a costume that coincides with one of the 16 chess pieces needed for your giant game board.* There are two ways you can enforce this dress code:

1. Assign costumes or dress codes to each guest who is invited to the party - This provides each guest with a running start on making their costume, since they don’t have to spend extra time trying to figure out which one of the chess pieces to dress like.

or

2. Allow guests to select their desired costume from the 16 chess pieces, for which you can check off as you go along the list, on a first come, first served basis. - This can help you to speed up the RSVP process, as some guests may race to make sure that they nabbed one of the few king or queen positions.

*If you are planning a smaller party that is more casual in design, then just rearrange these dress code options to fit the needs of your celebration.

The dress code options for guests should include kings, queens, rooks, bishops, knights and pawns. Thanks to merchandising, there are a variety of color options for your Harry Potter party dress code. Instruct guests to come in either red or white costumes if you want your live chess pieces to match those from the actual scene in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone' where Ron beats Harry in a chess game at Hogwarts. Or, create a black and white or black and grey dress code if you want guests’ costumes to match those of the chess game pieces that are found in the retail version of Wizard’s chess board games, manufactured for consumers.

Harry Potter Party Ideas Inspired by Ron Weasley Scenes4, http://www.flickr.com/photos/valerierenee/

Wizard’s Chess Game Activity

Nothing says “entertainment” at this type of Harry Potter themed party than a live game of Wizard’s chess. Get a standard size chess game or the Harry Potter chess game and play it with a co-host, while both of you announce each move that you want to make, out loud. The guests will have to navigate through their positions on the giant chessboard based on the moves that you and your opponent announce.

You can also re-enact the scene from 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,' allowing Ron to be the unofficial host of your party game. This way, you can be part of the live action while everyone is moving based on the chess moves that he calls out. While the Ron Weasley element of this activity may fun, it won’t last as long as a real game of chess between two people. It’s your call though -- literally!

Now that we’ve gone through some alternative Harry Potter party ideas, here’s a question...

Would YOU beat Ron Weasley in a game of chess?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday
Jan022012

Drunken Characters Gone Wild in the Movies #amblogging #atthemovies

UpdatedMondayMovieMemeGraphic

While expressing apprehension to cook a full meal and feeling regret about agreeing to host a New Year’s Eve party for family and friends, at her house, a young lady recently said to me “It’s not about the food, it’s about the (alcoholic) drinks!” Plans for cooking chicken wings changed to serving some meatballs, and nothing else, for guests so they can at least have something in their stomach to prevent them from getting wasted on booze.

Since many people around the world celebrated New Year’s with a drink or two or three or several, I’d be willing to bet that some of these folks treated others in their surroundings to a handful of stories, jokes, insults, incomprehensible rambling and other outbursts that became the highlight of the EVE-ning -- which brings me to this week’s Monday Movie Meme topic: She/He said what?!!!.

Share on your blog movies that feature drunken outbursts during holidays or special occasions. Here are my selections for this week’s She/He said what?!!! movie meme.

The Other Sister

It’s hard to not feel embarrassed for Carla, when her boyfriend Daniel revealed their sexual escapades in front of a room full of family and close friends, at a Christmas party. For what it’s worth he did say that he is in love with her too. His drunken announcement at the party was funny, sweet and surprising. Who can forget the scene...”last year on Thanksgiving, we did it...and it was so beautiful.” I don’t know what’s worse...Daniel’s public declaration filled with TMI or the fact that many of the guests started laughing at him and Carla and not with them.

What’s Your Number

Ally’s tipsy toast left much to be desired after she insulted her sister Daisy’s fiance Eddie by calling him a douche-bag, aired the couple’s dirty laundry out in front of guests by introducing another woman who he cheated on Daisy with and then accidentally broke a champagne glass during an engagement party. Needless to say, Ally sure does know how to drink and say inappropriate things at the most unseemly moments. She’d probably be a lot of fun during a New Year’s celebration but I wouldn’t want to give her the floor unless I was tipsy too and unlikely to remember what she said, the next day.

Poetic Justice

Ok, here’s a lesson for Iesha: Never get so drunk after a family reunion barbecue (that you and your friends crashed) that you feel bold enough to tell your boyfriend “that’s the reason why I’m fucking somebody else” after calling him impotent and weak during an argument, and then expect him to be cool, calm and collected about it.

Chances are, he’s not going to take that one sitting down or standing up for that matter and while the situation in this particular movie scene is messed up and Chicago was wrong for hitting a woman, Iesha’s drunken outburst is the reason that he whopped her ass on the side of the highway. If she kept her mouth shut....better yet, if she wasn’t cheating in the first place, then none of that would have happened. Now, the better way to deal with that from Chicago’s position would be to just end the relationship and tell Iesha to take her drunken behavior to the new man that she’s sleeping with...but I guess that’s too logical of an option.

Don’t forget to visit your fellow Monday Movie Meme participants and show some love by leaving a comment or two. By the way, Happy New Year!

Shouts out to Dale at Smurfin the Web! I look forward to another fun month of hosting this thing alongside you.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday
Jan012012

On Directing Commercials, Opportunities in Entertainment and Maintaining Relationships: An interview with Filmmaker Nick Santana – Part 3 #indiefilm #kickstarter

On Directing Commercials Nick Santana Interview Part 3

As the short film “Elvis” continues to raise over 100% of its production funds through a Kickstarter project that ends in under 24 hours from now, it is clear that crowd funding is not only alive and well but also here to stay in 2012. After discussing how immigration challenges affect more people than we know and realizing ways that second tier film festivals may reach targeted audiences better, “Elvis” director Nick Santana also shares some insight into navigating the landscape of opportunities for filmmakers who want to direct commercials and/or motion pictures.

Madlab Post: In what ways did your work at William Morris Agency help to build your filmmaking reel?

Nick Santana: I built my filmmaking reel while I was there. It was great but very difficult because when you are an assistant to an agent, you don’t have a life – you’re constantly chasing new deals, trying to stay up on everything -- but the person who I worked for was a very cool mentor and very helpful. More importantly, I got to read a lot of good scripts and then I got to see a lot of good short films that came across our desks. So, it was great to see – I think it’s important to see other good work.

I don’t understand when people – like writers or novelists say “Oh, I don’t want to read certain books because I don’t want that to influence me.” I really think you’re cutting yourself short because you need to see good work and read good material. I mean, that’s the only way you’re going to ever get better.

I can assure you that the way you interpret something is so different than the way someone else is going to do it. You can direct the same movie and it will be completely different. So, I don’t think you should worry or let that get in the way – you should see some really good films and you should see some really bad films so you can go “wow, ok. This is bad!”

I think you need to allow yourself to see good work and bad work and then go out there and try it yourself and fail and not be afraid to fall short – to constantly keep doing stuff so you can improve.

How do you maintain a work/life balance or does film take up your entire existence?

You have to treat it like a full-time job. Sometimes, I get up at 6a.m. just to write and you kind of also have to make that a priority – you have to balance your social life, of course. I now only go out when I’m invited to dinners with friends or if it’s something where it’s like “I must do this,” then I’ll go out. Now, I’m so focused on doing this (“Elvis”) and I have some side projects in the tech space, there’s no time -- I want to come home immediately so I can work on all of these side projects and then, obviously, get some sleep as well. It’s hard but you just have to put in the time and do it.

Does indie film kill all relationships, as Heidi Van Lier says?

I don’t know Heidi, so I’m not speaking for her but speaking on my own terms and personal life with my wife – you have to have a balance in any relationship and you have to be supportive. My wife runs her own business and I’m supportive of her – I want to see my wife succeed, and everyone says “I support my spouse” but you really have to stand behind them and vice versa – My wife stands behind me, so, we just allocate time – Friday nights is date night, no matter what. It also helps that we don’t have children, but, we make it a point to do the date nights and going to bed early helps because I get up early.

Technology makes it so easy now to reply to emails – I can reply to emails on my phone, I don’t have to be on a desktop, so that cuts down on a lot of time but I think it really is about organization. I have another friend who is an independent filmmaker, Brant Sersen who is working on a new movie – he got married right after he went into production on his second feature film and now he has a daughter. He has a fully functional and healthy marriage. It’s with anything in life – you can’t be selfish. That’s the bottom line.

In a relationship, it’s a team effort – not one person, it’s two people and you have to realize that you have to be considerate to your partner and that’s it. Think about, not even filmmakers, but entrepreneurs or CEOs like Steve Jobs. He was the CEO of Apple and married and had kids. He was able to do it. Think about Sheryl Sandberg, who is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She is married, has a high-level executive position and has children.

So when I hear “oooh, independent film ruins relationships,” they’re just being selfish artists, because when you think about someone like Sheryl Sandberg, I think the work that she is going has more of a global impact than an independent filmmaker and she’s still able to maintain a healthy relationship -- kids and all that.

How can filmmakers get jobs directing commercials for corporate brands?

That’s a hard one. The way I did it was crazy – I had a company represent me and the first company was kind of cool but then I left to get with a smaller company and that was a disaster and then I left. Now, people are doing it on their own without representation. There is a company called Tongal where assignments come on board and you can try to find work with brands to do online content. I think it’s easier moreso now than ever and you just have to have the chops and keep doing it – and networking as well.

You gotta get in there and network and constantly keep shooting because your reel can get outdated. Keep updating your work and show new stuff. A couple of years ago, I just put my reel together and go out there and get signed. I had to send my reel out – I was working at the William Morris Agency at the time and it was hard just to get anyone to notice me.

So as a favor, the agent that I was working for made some calls on my behalf and then people saw my reel. Again, you have to understand that the landscape for commercials has changed as well. Now, that’s why I feel like it’s so much easier for independent filmmakers to make things and get it online quicker, faster and cheaper whereas some of the commercial directors that were getting paid a lot of money aren’t used to doing that. They’ll still get the big accounts, but now, brands want to do consumer engagement so they’re looking for user generated content that obviously has good quality, of course, or that is clever or has a really good concept.

I don’t have representation and I’m actually working on something this Friday, so, there is no template or no one-way to get in. Some people do a commercial, enter a contest and get discovered that way. I also think about how we always hear these stories of someone posting something on YouTube and then they’re directing a commercial from that.

What are the differences between New York and California, regarding opportunities for independent filmmakers who want to direct movies?

L.A. has more production. The city of New York is a little more diverse so it’s not entirely focused on entertainment. With that said, I think it’s easier now, in general, to fund something and make a movie – Look at me, I’m using Kickstarter to fund my movie and I’m shooting it on an HDSLR camera and I’m probably going to edit this movie myself – do the first edit and then give it off to an editor, but, I remember having to pay an editor to sit there and edit my commercials for me, when I was getting my reel done.

There was just so much cost involved and now, you can kind of eliminate a lot of those costs and do it yourself – you can spend $2,000 and buy yourself a nice camera, go out and start shooting and get practice. Back when I was starting, I was shooting on film and that’s expensive! Most of the stuff that I did on my reel was shot on 35mm and we had to literally beg, borrow and steal – I can’t remember who lent me their camera, but it was an old school 35mm camera and I bought short ends.

Then, I had to haggle for the telecine, to transfer from film to video. Now, I bought myself a camera -- $2,000 and shot the trailer for my Kickstarter project myself, came home and edited it together. That cost me nothing but time. Now, I feel like it’s almost even made me a better filmmaker -- a better storyteller. The more you do, the more you practice, the better you get.

Thanks to Nick Santana for doing this interview!

If you’ve been following the happenings on Twitter or reading my recent blog posts, you’ll be happy to know that “Elvis” is now fully funded…but the campaign doesn’t stop here.

The Kickstarter project for this short film runs until tomorrow afternoon, which means that you still have time to support this movie by either sending a donation, posting on Facebook or telling your friends about “Elvis.”