SOCIAL VOX

My thoughts on the world around me

Discovery’s Escape Artist

The ingenuity that went into making this commercial is second to none. If you can find another marketing tool that packs more adrenaline and creativity into a 30-second spot, please let me know. The Discovery Channel’s escape artist certainly got my attention.

Advertisements

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Art, TV | , , , | 2 Comments

Mike Wallace’s Interview with Ayn Rand

CBS’s Mike Wallace interviewed Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, in 1959. I found the interview utterly fascinating.

In Part One of the interview, she discusses the conflict between a society whose morality is based on faith and self-sacrifice for one’s fellow man (conventional thought) vs. morality founded solely on reason and selfishness (Rand’s objectivism):

In Part Two of the interview, Rand argues in favor of a separation between state and economics (laissez-faire government):

In Part Three of the interview, she contends that the only solution is a market free of government interference:

“I have no faith at all, I only hold convictions.” Wow, it takes guts to believe in a statement like that so firmly.

At a time when women did not have many prominent voices, Ayn Rand was a luminary and a courageous trailblazer.

With that said, I’m curious to know what she would have to say about the current economic recession. Fifty years ago, she called for absolute deregulation. Look at how well that’s turned out.

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Art, Economics, Literature, Politics, TV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nike’s “Take it to the Next Level” Commercial

I found another inspirational sports commercial that I thought I would share. I love the creativity that went behind making it. I find particularly powerful the fact that the character (whom you never see presumably because that character is actually “you and I”), struggles from a competitive standpoint, but continues to work harder and harder in spite of the fame and accolades. “Take it to the next level” is the title of the commercial, but it’s also a message: push yourself, never settle, and always pick yourself up whenever the going gets tough. As a writer and storyteller, I’m very impressed that these creators could convey such a great story without words. Well done.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Nike’s “Take it to the Next Level” Co…“, posted with vodpod

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Art, Media, Sports, TV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Political Institutes and the Dystopian Future of Film

Films advancing political views are as old as films themselves.

In 1915, “The Birth of a Nation” provoked controversy by suggesting that the Ku Klux Klan restored order in the post-Civil War South, allegedly endangered by abolitionists, freedmen, and politicians from the North.

However, it is striking to learn that there are institutions that actively use films to advance a political ideology.

What is the Moving Picture Institute? From their “History” section:

Founded in 2005 by human rights advocate Thor Halvorssen, the Moving Picture Institute is unlike any other foundation dedicated to promoting the ideal of liberty. At MPI, we believe that film, more effectively than any other medium, can bring the idea of freedom to life. In keeping with that belief, we are working to ensure that film becomes a center of genuinely democratic art in the coming years. Our goal is to guarantee that film’s unique capacity to give shape to abstract principles—to make them move and breathe—is used to support and promote liberty. Toward that end, we fund films from development through post-production, support up-and-coming filmmakers, and serve as a high-level intern placement service.

Historically, the film industry has been largely unconcerned with developing a distinctive and nuanced portrait of deep-seated American values such as free speech, freedom of association, and the free enterprise system. Such values have been defined and defended almost exclusively in print and through oral argument. But as visual media become increasingly prevalent, we depend more heavily upon movies for our philosophical, moral, and social guidance. If the ideal of freedom is to endure—if it is to maintain its vitality and relevance in our society—it must find its way into film, our most vital, relevant, and far-reaching art form. Freedom must be seen to be believed.

If the masses truly are relying upon movies for guidance in these critical matters, then this may be the beginning of a very slippery slope within the film industry: what stops an institution, or even a government, from producing films that attempt to brainwash? While this may seem like a topic reserved solely for a science fiction novel, let us not underestimate the influential power of the motion picture.

The problem is that media, in recent years, have become battlegrounds for partisan politics. “Outfoxed” tackled this issue with respect to the news media:

This is not to say that the Moving Picture Institute’s films, which have a right-wing slant, are invalid. Here are two of them:

The foreseeable problem is an unnatural escalation of left- and right-wing films being produced — not unlike a nuclear arms race. Both sides of the political aisle would compete for your attention, your loyalty. For two hours, while fact blends with fiction, you become their social experiment.

Keep your eyes open, and be wary of the political propaganda. Films are likely the next frontier.

January 18, 2009 Posted by | Art, Film, Media, Politics, TV | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Josh Bernstein on The Martha Stewart Show

Josh Bernstein, host of the Discovery Channel’s “Into the Unknown,” made an appearance on The Martha Stewart Show. I had never heard of him before, but my sister suggested I look into him because it seemed like he’s been leading a fascinating life. Here’s the video from the show:

I can’t underestimate the influence a successful person can have on another. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that someone came before you and was able to reach the top of the mountain. So, when I look at the video above, and I see that Mr. Bernstein has traveled 125,000 miles in the past year, I am reminded that there truly are no limits to what man can achieve. You want to write a book? Start typing. You want to travel the world? Save up money, buy a plane ticket and toothbrush, and go.

There’s an entire world to discover out there. What I’ve learned only recently, though, is that there’s also an entire world to discover within ourselves.

With every word I write, I learn something new about myself. What I like and what I dislike. What I’m afraid to say and what I’m dying to say.

Ultimately, I extracted a valuable lesson: the world is yours to take, mold, own, and, finally, to celebrate the fact that you can do it all over again tomorrow. Mr. Bernstein, I’ll see you in Papua New Guinea.

Sis, thanks for the video.

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Art, Travel, TV | , , , | 1 Comment

USC Cinema: Writing for Screen & TV

I’ve long considered going into graduate school for film/TV writing. While I took three screenwriting classes in college, I’ve always felt that I would need to attend a graduate writing program to truly hone my skills. So, I visited the website of the University of Southern California’s writing program, and I came across this video:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I like that they’re exposing writers to different facets of the art of film making. Not only do they focus on writing, but they also look at the craft from a director’s and actor’s perspective.

It also serves as an inspiration to see and hear people who’ve “made it.” USC only admits roughly 30 writers per year, and being affiliated with such a prestigious program is an important, albeit not a necessary, step toward finding success as a writer in Hollywood.

At least with respect to me, this video served its purpose: I now find myself even more tempted to apply.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Art, Education, Film, TV | , , , | 2 Comments