Anomalisa – Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson

Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson - Anomalisa  artwork

Anomalisa

Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson

Genre: Drama

Price: $ 4.99

Release Date: December 30, 2015


From the Oscar-winner who brought you ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH comes a riveting new masterpiece. Michael Stone – husband, father and noted author – travels to Cincinnati to speak at a customer service conference. But once he’s separated from the routine of his daily life, a chance encounter helps him to realize just what, and whom, he’s been missing. Love, laughter and loneliness align in a “staggeringly inventive” (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly) stop-motion work of art from directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson.

© ©2015 Paramount Pictures

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The Right Stuff – Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman - The Right Stuff  artwork

The Right Stuff

Philip Kaufman

Genre: Action & Adventure

Price: $ 14.99

Rental Price: $ 2.99

Release Date: October 21, 1983


Winner of four Academy Awards for its technical achievements, and nominated for Best Picture, this adaptation of Tom Wolfe's bestseller appeared on almost every "Top Ten" Best Picture list for 1983. Featuring an all-star cast including Golden Globe-nominee Dennis Quaid ("Yours, Mine and Hours," "In Good Company"), Academy Award and Emmy- nominee and Golden Globe-winner Ed Harris ("A History of Violence," "A Beautiful Mind"), Scott Glenn ("Training Day," "Vertical Limit"), Academy Award-nominee and Emmy and Golden Globe-winner Barbara Hershey ("Falling Down," "Hoosiers") and acclaimed playwright-actor and Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominee Sam Shepard ("Stealth," "The Notebook"), whose enigmatic portrayal of Chuck Yaeger garnered him an Academy Award-nomination.

From Yaeger — the first man to break the sound barrier — to the seven Mercury astronauts, it's the story of the birth of the U.S. Space Program.

© © 1982 The Ladd Company. All Rights Reserved<CR>

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Big Screen Dreams With Aaron Kaufman

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Imagine the level of talent, determination, grit, resolve and ambition it must take to succeed in the movie industry. The competition is stifling. You are not backed by a fancy degree. You don’t have the money to buy your way into the business. Nope. The only thing you have is an intense burning desire to make movies and enough of a WHY at home to figure out some way to make money doing it. This is the story of Aaron Kaufman. He is a self-made movie producer/director success story. He came from modest means and worked his way up the ranks in film animation and production. Now he’s building his own directorial empire and the foundation of his new empire is his directorial debut movie which will hit theaters in quarter two of 2016, Urge.

Urge, a thriller starring Pierce Brosnan, Danny Masterson (That 70s Show), Ashley Greene (Twilight), and Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect 2), features a group of friends who head out on an island vacation. While there they experiment with a new designer drug called Urge. The drug, if taken more than once, diminishes one’s ability to control destructive urges like sex and violence. How long does it take for society to crumble? Can Urge be stopped once it’s started? The movie is co-written by Kaufman, and having been privy to a sneak peak, I can only promise that you will be riveted to your seat. The storyline, characters and music come together to create a magnificent motion picture masterpiece, the likes of which nobody has pulled off since Silence of the Lambs.

Having spent time with Aaron in his N.Y.C. editing studio, and having listened to his story, all I can say is that 20 years ago his big dream of producing and directing movies, seemed improbable. Yet, he’s made it. His movie producer fingerprints have touched dozens of movies, and now he’s out on his own living his big dream, directing his first major motion picture for the big screen. Here is Aaron Kaufman’s advice for accomplishing big screen dreams.

The Best Stuff: According to Aaron, his number one piece of advice for anyone who wants to make it in the movie industry (or in any industry for that matter) is to be true to yourself. You make magic happen in the movies by doing creative work that inspires you. Too often, people get into the movie industry and they start looking around to see what everyone else is creating and then they copy that blueprint. This strategy never works. “I can’t make a David Fincher movie, ever. I am not David Fincher. But there’s a lot of people out there trying to make David Fincher movies.” Aaron says that the time he has spent working on movies with greats like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino has taught him to focus on his own passion for movies without paying attention to what others are doing out in the field. “Focusing on what everyone else is doing is the same as commoditizing the industry. Focusing on what works for others does not create art.” It is for this reason, Aaron’s directorial debut, Urge, is a movie co-written by him. It’s his vision, his focus, his own art.

Learning The Industry: Aaron’s path in the movie industry is different than most. He didn’t go to film school, then intern, then get a job in movies. At 21 years old he was getting married while getting his feet wet in film through his own animation studio, doing work for the likes of MTV and Nickelodeon. As the internet took over society, so did it take over his business, where at the height of his business he was doing more animation work that companies would use online than on film, so he sold his business and started throwing feelers out into the film world. Aaron says that the best thing any budding artist or entrepreneur can do for his career is to become a Jack of All Trades within the industry. By doing so, it makes you a valuable commodity because firms will hire you for one main job because you can do all the jobs. Aaron’s belief is that the best way to learn anything is to jump into it. Mistakes will happen, but that’s where growth takes place. Aaron says that he’s very thankful to have started his family at such a young age, because when there are little mouths at home waiting to be fed, it forces you to get outside your comfort zone to do things you would put off doing under other circumstances. His need to make a living forced him to take any and all jobs he could get within the industry, and it forced him to push himself to reach for bigger and better opportunities along the way. He says that stress can be an awesome motivator.

Mistakes: I asked Aaron if he’s made any mistakes along the way. He says his biggest mistake was in waiting to go after his huge dream of becoming a director. “Being a movie producer for 15 years was great. I loved it. But being a producer is like dating a girl you really like, but always dropping her off at someone else’s house at the end of the night. Directors get to do the fun stuff.” Aaron says that in any business, it’s really easy to let years go by as you coast along on your excuses. He says that you can invent one million reasons why it’s a bad idea to do something right now, but then you wake up 15 years later and realize all of them were just stupid excuses which prevented you from realizing your dream. Aaron says that what he learned from waiting so long is that when you are really passionate about something, when there’s this burning itch you cannot stifle, go after it. Do it now.

Taste Before Skill: Aaron says that one of the most important lessons he has learned was from Ira Glass, host of This American Life on NPR. Says Ira, “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit. Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that. And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions. I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.” Aaron says that this advice has been absolutely critical in his journey as a movie producer and director. He says that over his lifetime he’s acquired a taste for finely produced and directed movies. It takes a long time to close the gap between what you know is a great movie and your output. For example, when Aaron finished the first draft of his screenplay for Urge, he was on the one hand excited it was done, but on the other hand felt like it was shit. Aaron says you cannot compare your taste to your skills at the start of the project. Over time, your taste and your skills were merge as one, but it takes a lot of time.

Mentors: Aaron says that he’s created a habit of finding mentors in the industry to learn from. In his younger years, Aaron found out that Roger Smith, COO of Warner Brothers, lived nearby. Aaron, anxious to learn about the movie business, reached out to him. Smith didn’t respond. So, Aaron kept calling and writing until one day, Smith agreed to meet him for lunch. They met at Café De Artist for lunch and that was the start of a lifelong friendship that offered one of kind insight into the business that Aaron could never have received in film school. In fact, most of his career has been the result of reaching out and asking questions from greats who have paved the way before him, including Roger Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Sydney Lumet and Chris Blackwell. Aaron says that it would take many lifetimes to navigate the movie industry alone, hence it’s an industry rife with broken dreams. The only way to make it in the big screen business, and probably any business, is to get in front of those who have already forged the journey before you to find out the roadblocks, shortcuts, and rest areas along the way.

Urge will hit the big screen in the spring of 2016. Having seen the trailer and having spent an evening with Aaron, there’s one thing for certain; Aaron Kaufman has made his big screen dreams come true.

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