|THE MORNING WATCHJOHN BOYEGAVFX ARTISTSINTERVIEWSTAR WARSVFX|
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch as stuntment recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian with some low-rent props and visual effects in the middle of a dojo. Plus, Patrick H Willems, or rather some of his collaborators, put together a video essay on Labyrinth and the themes of capitalism in 1980s America, and you can get a lesson on how to draw a Walt Disney caricature.
First up, some professional stuntmen, with the help of some local cosplayers and propmakers, got together in Atlanta Judo Midtown to recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian in a very low budget style. But the camera work and cheap digital effects make this video from Legend of Micah a little more stylish than your average sweded video elsewhere on the web.
Next up, since things are crazy right now with coronavirus, Patrick H Willems takes a backseat to video essays this week. Instead, his collaborators Jake and Matt took advantage of the situation to do a video essay about the 1980s cult favorite Labyrinth starring David Bowie and how it fights back against the idea of greed being good.
Finally, Walt Disney Animation Studios animation supervisor Michael Woodside sat down to teach you how to draw a Disney-Style caricature of Walt Disney himself. It’s all in honor of the annual caricature show curated by the studio, and it’ll help you pass the time while you’re stick at home with nothing to do. Maybe you can even try to draw a caricature of someone else like this too.
Now that he’s done with Star Wars, John Boyega is using his clout to get some new projects off the ground. The actor just signed a deal with Netflix through his production company, UpperRoom Productions, to develop non-English language films, with a focus on West and East Africa countries. The streaming service says its all part of a plan to reinforce its investment in African storytelling with projects developed in African countries.
John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions is teaming with Netflix to “develop film projects based on stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements in or around African countries, with a focus on West and East Africa.” Boyega, who was recently seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is next set to appear in Chase Palmer’s Naked Singularity. He’s also set for the Netflix film Rebel Ridge, from director Jeremy Saulnier. Boyega previously came aboard the South African crime-thriller God Is Good as an executive producer and will also oversee the movie’s soundtrack.
“I am thrilled to partner with Netflix to develop a slate of non-English language feature films focused on African stories and my team and I are excited to develop original material,” said Boyega. “We are proud to grow this arm of our business with a company that shares our vision.” Boyega set up UpperRoom in 2016 as part of his producing role on Pacific Rim Uprising.
Netflix wants to increase its African created-based content, having recently announced production on its first original scripted series from Nigeria, the still-untilted Akin Omotoso Project. They’ve also announced other African originals, Blood & Water and Mama K’s Team 4, that will premiere later this year and join Netflix’s first Africa Original, Queen Sono, which dropped on February 28.
“Africa has a rich history in storytelling and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world,” said David Kosse, Vice President of International Film at Netflix.
While the VFX industry has shifted rapidly to remote access during the global pandemic to keep content pipelines churning, thousands of practitioners have been forced to remain in their offices, putting themselves at risk. That's because of pre-existing non-disclosure agreements NDAs designed to protect intellectual property. As of Monday, though, nearly 10,000 VFX artists have banded together in support of working remotely, signing an online petition to the Motion Picture Association of America MPAA, launched by Mario Rokicki, a color supervisor at Double Negative in Vancouver.
“The NDAs that are forced on VFX Studios put artists and [staff] at [their] peril,” wrote Rokicki. “What was [a] minor inconvenience before is the major life risk situation with Coronavirus outbreak. VFX houses have or can quickly deploy secure technology solutions to allow work from home on the projects that with the magnitude of the pandemic will probably be delayed. All I ask is to put aside often legal misguided IP protection measures and harsh NDAs and allow tens of thousands of dedicated artists to work from home and prevent total VFX studios shutdown and layoffs.”
In response, the Visual Effects Society VES lent its support through the following statement on Monday: “The Visual Effects Society wants to encourage all employers — large or small — to grant permission for their employees to work remotely during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the concerns around security to protect proprietary work product, but right now is the time for the utmost flexibility towards VFX artists and all practitioners as we try to figure our way through this crisis. Many companies are trying to take action, and we are optimistic that studios and vendors can find and enact workable solutions.”
Nicole Dove / © 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Additionally, the VES Technology Committee issued a series of best practices guidelines for working from home, culled from studios, vendors, and facilities. These cover secure remote desktop solutions, band comparisons, cloud solutions, and, most important, secure file transfer solutions.
Indeed, security file transfer solutions remain the biggest concern for allowing employees to work at home, while the high cost of remote software makes it difficult for contract artists to do the same. However, some staffing is required at studios and smaller companies to keep the IT going and to move files. “Most of the studios have been amenable to it, in concept, but some companies have not been able to sort out how to let artists work from home because of the security aspects of it,” said Mike Chambers, visual effects producer Christopher Nolan's...
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Vice TV has ordered Shelter in Place with Shane Smith, a new half-hour weekly interview show hosted by the Vice Media Group founder. It’s set to premiere Thursday, April 9 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes.
In the series, produced through remote video interviews from Smith’s home in Santa Monica, Smith will tackle the biggest questions of the moment with experts from the fields of science, journalism, entertainment, food and economics.Vice Media
“I'm at home, you're at home and our news cycle is changing by the minute,” said Smith. “So, I decided to dial up some of the world's foremost thinkers to offer us some much needed perspective and get to some truth on what we should be doing in this time like none other.” You can watch a preview clip below.
Smith’s first guest will be whistleblower Edward Snowden, who delves into the world of surveillance, privacy and our future civil liberties as international governments and autocratic regimes enact bold, new policies to curb the virus.
“When any of us look at where this is heading, we need to think about where we’ve been,” said Snowden. “And sadly, these kind of emergency powers that are born out of crises, have a perfect history of abuse”.
The second episode will feature California Governor Gavin Newsom who speaks to Smith about how his state has braced for the pandemic, where the federal government has stumbled, and what is coming next. Dr. Anne Rimoin, a world-leading epidemiologist, is also featured and will speak to how the virus has spread and what we can do about it.
Produced by Vice TV, Shane Smith, Alex Chitty, Maral Usefi are the Executive Producers for Shelter in Place. Jonah Kaplan is Supervising Producer.
Shelter in Place will be available on Vice TV via all major satellite and cable providers; ViceTV.com; and the Vice TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. The first two episodes will be available for free on Vice & Munchies YouTube page.
Shelter in Place with Shane Smith is the latest programming from Vice TV produced in response to COVID-19. Vice Quarantine Hour is a limited variety series airing weekdays at 8 AM ET/PT. Vice TV's Emmy-winning nightly newscast is airing dedicated COVID-19 episodes with Vice News Tonight: Remote.