Sep 9

A great book ~AND~ a great movie!

I’ve recently decided to post more bloggy-type stuff on here so here’s one that’s been on my mind for a while: great books that are also great movies! I know what you’re thinking- “I read lists of great film adaptions ALL THE TIME, who cares?” This is different. (But the “who cares?” part is still totally valid…) Anyway, the point here is that these are not just great adaptations of literary source material; these are “All-Time Great Desert Island Books” that are also “All-Time Great Desert Island Movies.” Each of these books has a coveted “top shelf” position on my bookshelf and I probably have the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray on my entertainment center’s top shelf as well. BOTH book and movie must be all-timers – that’s pretty rare.

In no particular order:

“The Maltese Falcon,” by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston.

This has been my favorite movie, basically, since I HAD a favorite movie. I watched a lot of “classic black-and-white” films with my dad as a kid and was obsessed with Humphrey Bogart. Everyone in this movie was the coolest cat on their particular block. The way Sam made such a chump out of Wilmer time and again was classic, Gutman was a great villain and Joel Cairo was different from any character I’d seen before.

It wasn’t until maybe 2010 that I actually read the book while going through a Noir phase and churning through James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler as if my life depended on finishing their entire catalogs, but I was always afraid to read this one; I truly thought there was no way that the book could live up to this movie that I’ve revered since childhood… but it SO did and I couldn’t be happier about it.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. Directed by Robert Mulligan.

This movie came to me a little later in life, surprisingly. I was probably in my early teens the first time I saw it, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Just when you’re at that phase where you start thinking about morality and values and what kind of person you want to be, along comes one Atticus Finch to show you EXACTLY the person you want to be. (Please, let’s not talk “Go Set a Watchman.” I haven’t read it and won’t.) The heart-breaking reminiscence that permeates the film was also a perfect fit for the beginning of that “lost childhood” phase as well. (Bonus realization after 10+ viewings over 20+ years: that’s Robert Duvall creeping in the corner there!)

Again, I didn’t read the novel until a few years ago.. but, wow, what an impression it made. Lee’s mastery of language, theme and tone are such that it seems strange she didn’t become the Stephen King of her time. So many great characters that didn’t make the movie, too. If you didn’t grow up in fear of your block’s “Mrs. Dubose” then you may have become a horrible human being. She’s cruel and creepy and awful but she also teaches valuable lessons, just like that neighbor who kept you in line as a kid.

This book is now a welcome addition to my “special” library.

“The Shining,” by Stephen King. Directed by Stanley Kubrick.

The perfect horror movie for people who don’t like “Horror” movies! I’m sure I don’t need to expound on this one too much, movie OR book. However, it is interesting (to me, anyway, and that’s what matters) to note that I also didn’t read this book until 2-3 years ago. I had read some of King’s non-horror novels and loved them, but horror just wasn’t for me. It still isn’t, but I have mad respect for Stephen King and his “On Writing” is one of the best examples of the writer’s craft.

I know, Stephen King hates this movie. Sorry, I love it. The “don’t interrupt me when I’m writing” monologue makes me feel like I have some deeply-rooted issues of my own, that’s how much I love that scene. I do prefer the roque mallet, though, now that I’ve read the book…

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” by Ken Kesey. Directed by Milos Forman.

The latest addition to my list of “All Timers” – both in book and movie form. I was well into my 20’s before I finally saw this movie… and soon after, had to go read the book. I’ve done both again, several times, since. You can put Nurse Ratched right up there with Hannibal Lecter, Anton Chigurh and Bill the Butcher in the pantheon of truly evil villains.

One important(?) item that I’ve noticed in each of these entries is that, in every case, I came to the movie first and only later read the book. Is that relevant? Maybe. It’s also interesting to point out that none of these are more recent than 1980’s “The Shining.” Read into that what you will… but I’m not that old.

I’m sure I missed a few. I hope I have. Finding another would be a two-fold treasure, but this will never be a long list. Want to tell me how lame I am for pulling out four well-respected classics, go for it. Or how weak my list of villains seems? Whatevs, dude. Next time I’ll tackle a much more controversial topic: movies that are BETTER than the book! Until then, I’m out like “the Chief.”

Aug 4

New Doc — and FREE BEER!

One of the new projects that I alluded to in my last post is picking up some MAJOR steam lately. It’s called “Free Beer” and it is a documentary project by Lucas Smith detailing a curious (and troubling) law in the state of North Carolina (where curious and troubling laws are born, seemingly.)

This particular law pertains to local breweries and places an arbitrary limit on the number of barrels one can produce before, essentially, their product is taken out of their control. It’s a very interesting law and one that is causing some little uproar in the bustling brewing town that is Raleigh, as well as greater NC and the Triangle. Join the movement to “FREE BEER” and head over to the page. We are just starting to raise funds for the documentary and we’d really appreciate your help in spreading the word!

Check out our facebook page and the fundraising page at IndieGoGo.

Apr 11

Film Fest and New Projects

Ah, filmmaking. A brave new world where production companies are born, live their lives and then die, all before the website is finished. But it’s Spring and things are blossoming all over the place, so let’s talk about new life!

Our short film, that I mentioned in the previous update (as two shorts, now published together as a double feature) was accepted to the Eastern NC Film Festival and will be screened on Friday, April 30th. Looking forward to that experience! Festival site has an online voting poll set up, but since they aren’t publishing the film, I’m not asking anyone to blindly vote for us.. we’ll tough it out and win the RIGHT way.. Check out the line-up at ENCFF.com. IMDB page for our entry here: FlipSide!

This weekend, I’ll be in Virginia Beach shooting a documentary for a friend. We’ll be camping under the stars, on the beach, and there was something mentioned about a Dutch Oven… We’ll see how that goes. But projects (and weeds) are Springing up like weeds all of a sudden, so expect a more active blog for a while. Good thing? Bad thing? You decide..

Feb 7

Filmmakers, Assemble!

I am proud to announce that Null Field Productions is teaming with a couple of local filmmakers in Raleigh (NC) to form D-Team Films! We’ve already completed principal photography on two short films and have several more projects in the pipeline for 2016. These two shorts are in post right now and being prepped for festival distribution- look for more updates on the D-Team Films site, Facebook and right here at NFP.

Jan 16

It’s a whole new year!

After a brief hiatus the last few seasons, Null Field Productions is back on the scene- and with a brand NEW scene! Now working in Raleigh, NC in addition to the Chicago area we’ve always served, NFP is again producing our original content and actively seeking out new projects. We’ve got a few projects in the works for 2016, so keep your eyes open.. and hit us up if you want to get involved OR have an idea you’d like to see produced!

Nov 27

Unlikely H.E.R.O, episode 5

A Thanksgiving miracle, indeed… UH episode 5 to fill your belly.

Apr 19

Spring 2013

Spring is (finally) about to get sprung… This is the time when all of your friendly neighborhood indie filmmakers emerge from their Winter cocoons made out of shredded screenplays, hooded sweatshirts, dryer lint and tears and get back to filming! And, in that regard, NFP is no different. We’ve got a few Winter writing projects in Development, one major project in pre-production with an eye towards shooting this Summer and a couple of episodes of Unlikely H.E.R.O in post. This looks to be a busy few months, so get ready for me to be super annoying again, but in that dazzlingly charming way I have.. See you soon!

Sep 22

Update- Fall 2012

So, it’s been a very busy Summer here at the ol’ NFP HQ. Unfortunately, it’s been very busy with things other than writing, filming, shooting, editing… basically any of those things that you, loyal reader, might care about. The good news is that we’re prepping for some new shoots and working on a few new ideas, so there IS a reason for you to go on living. (I’m sure you’d been starting to question that, right?) Anyway, all of that is just to say “look out for some new projects soon.” In the most long-winded way I could. Hope your Summer was as much fun as ours!

-Ken

Apr 28

Unlikely H.E.R.O, episode 4

Here it is, at long last: Episode 4! And, it’s super-creatively titled “Episode Four”…

Apr 26

Unlikely H.E.R.O episode 4 — coming (very) soon!

OK, I know it’s been, like, forever or so.. but guess what? OK, if you’ve read the title of this post then my surprise isn’t all that surprising at this point, but it’s still pretty gosh darn exciting, right? Yes, Unlikely H.E.R.O episode 4 is going to be released in the next few days. Keep your eyes and mind open for it!