Monthly Archives: February 2014

Oscars 2014 – Best Production Design

What is Production Design?

The production designer is responsible for the overall look of a project. 

Production design is a crucial element to any major creative project since the visual elements help bring the story to life. The look of a set or location is vital in drawing the audience into the story, and is an essential element in making a film convincing and evocative. A great deal of work and imagination goes into constructing an appropriate backdrop to any story, and into selecting or constructing appropriate locations and/or sets.

Production Designers begin work at the very early stages of pre-production. They work closely with the director and producer to determine what they’re hoping for with regard to the look of a film. The Production Designer then draws up sketches or builds conceptual models based on these conversations and upon receiving approval, hires the crew necessary to turn their imagination into reality. Production Designers direct the art department and set builders. Although the work can be very demanding and the hours long, this is one of the most highly skilled, creatively fulfilling roles within the film industry.

And the 2014 Nominees for Best Production Design are…

American Hustle


Set in the 70’s, I think this film looks EVERY BIT the time it was. From the characters’ hair and clothing to the amazing sets down to the electronics. I enjoyed this immensely. It was hilarious.

Found these interesting production design pictures on Pinterest. Enjoy!



I hate having to watch movies in 3D. I find the glasses irritating. It’s bad enough that I now have to wear glasses to read, do I really have to wear those flimsy uncomfortable things to watch a movie? Sigh! But other than that…watching this movie in 3D was totally worth it. It was an amazing experience, provoking enough fear of Space in me, not to want to ever have to be out there. What with all the Space crap that could totally ruin all my chances of survival. After all…this was just a movie. The reality would most likely be much darker. But anyway…production design on this was awesome. It looked and felt real (to a lay person like myself) and it took you there. Nice work!

Here’s an interview with Andy Nicholson, the production designer…

The Great Gatsby


Uh oh!!! Haven’t seen it yet. It’s hard to set aside 3 whole hours for a movie as a mom. But I have it on-demand now and can watch it whenever, so I will.

Judging by the posters, the trailers and many articles, it is clear that the production design on this film spared no expense to make it perfect. The homes and locations are luxuriously beautiful. The audience is instantly transported into this world with no sense of disbelief.

Just check out these pictures and see for yourself….

And in this Interview, Catherine Martin, the Oscar winning production designer of Moulin Rouge, explains her work on The Great Gatsby.




Even though this is such a “different” love story, it is such a sweet one. Set in futuristic Los Angeles, the production designer had his hands full making this look real and believable. I think he did a good job, because when I watched the film I didn’t for one minute doubt what I was seeing. And I felt totally at home in this world. And I could see myself having some fun with my personal Operating System too. 🙂

Here is an interesting article about ‘Her’ production design

12 Years a Slave

12 years a slave poster


Another period piece; starting out in upstate New York, but set in the South for the most part. The feel of the locations were real and characteristic of the time as we know well from other films and the history of that time. But I feel that the people and what they went through took us to that era more than anything. Nonetheless, the sets have that perfect Dixie history to them. In the following article, the production design of all the other places visited in the movie are discussed as well.

Article: Below the Line: Production Design on “12 Years a Slave”


Who does the Oscar go to in your opinion???

Comments are welcome 🙂


What’s your excuse???

sky diveYOU’RE never too old to be adventurous and ticking things off your bucket list.With the help of family members, Kellyville’s Paul and Lyn Conlon, who are 69 and 70 years old respectively, travelled to Wollongong to do a tandem skydive.

The couple jumped out of a plane, free falling at 200km/h before their parachute was ejected and gave them an amazing view of the south coast.

Read more…


Oscar 2014 – Best Cinematography

OOscar statuettes are displayed at the Meet the Oscars exhibit in New York

We continue our Oscar theme today, looking at the movies nominated for “looking” good…

best cinematography

First, a little education:

What is cinematography? Well, the name comes from combining two Greek words: kinema, which means movement, and graphein, which means to record. In film, cinematography refers to the photographing of the movie itself. The person in charge of this is the cinematographer, also known as the director or photography or the DP.

Understanding Cinematography

In the hierarchy of a film set, the director’s two key creative people in the crew are the art director and the cinematographer. The art director is in charge of the art department and the cinematographer is in charge of the camera, electric and grip departments. The camera department maintains the camera and has it ready for the shot while the grips and electrics handle the lighting. Electrics set the lights and run power to them and grips shape the light by using flags and diffusion. Grips also provide support to camera department when there is camera movement for the scene. An example of this is a dolly shot. The cinematographer is one of the most important people that will be hired for a film. The visual look of the film is heavily dependent on him.


And here are the nominees:

The Grandmaster

I have not seen this film yet, but based on the trailer, it looks beautiful and artistic, so I can understand why it is a nominee. The trailer I saw was in Chinese, so I could not understand a word, but the look of it was enough to pull me in and make me want to see this film. I also love the woman kicking butt part, but that has nothing to do with cinematography 🙂


Another great “woman victory” movie!!! I love it! I saw this film in 3D…which you absolutely have to do to get the full effect. I am not really a fan of 3D, but this is well worth it. A definite contender in this category. Space looks and feels real. Scary! And Sandra Bullock totally rocks!!! 🙂

Inside Llewyn Davis

Although I am a fan of the Coen brothers, I confess I have not seen this film, but from the trailer one can see the very artsy look and feel of it. Of course I am not as technical as a seasoned cinematographer might be, but it looks really well shot to me. You can see the very specific choice the Coens made in the way this film looks, in order to match it to this story featuring folk music. It totally makes sense. And did I mention, I really like Justin Timberlake 🙂


I saw this touching movie with my husband recently. It brings home the reality of how age creeps into your immediate family. A marriage that has lasted years…and do we know why? Secrets that may be inside a man, that may now, never be told. And us, ‘children’, now adults…trying to figure our parents out and to do right by them. It’s a very sweet tale, definitely an actors movie, but an interestingly sober choice to have it in black and white, which makes for an interesting look into the very ordinary lives of these people. Had it been shot in color, the effect would not have been the same.


I absolutely adore Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, love Terence Howard and am in awe of Viola Davis, but I did not enjoy this film. It made me angry for much of it, but that is not what this is about, and besides it did quite well at the box office. Cinematographically speaking (is there such a word?) It did look good. And there was very good use of the surroundings in the nice suburban neighborhood, making for nice composition and interesting lighting. Yeah, not my favorite movie, but it does look good


Let me know your favorite picks and why. Let’s get an interesting conversation going here 🙂

Mailing List Button wBgrd



Oscar 2014 – Best Song Nominations

It’s that time of year again!!!

The Oscars!!!

Oscar grouch




No…not that one…..this one….


As an actor, producer and film buff, I never fail to vote for my own winners from the list of nominees. My husband or I usually go home with the spoils from the Annual Oscar Bash ballots.

Join me over the next few days, looking through the main categories of nominees for this year, starting with best song…

“Let It Go”, from Frozen; Music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

This song is dedicated to all my fellow women who have had to overcome the “nice girl” syndrome, to be able to come into their own and stand up for themselves in the face of all the opposition from especially the ones we love the most…it’s a tough thing to do, but well worth it.

“The Moon Song”, from Her; Music by Karen O; Lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze

A sweet little love song. They don’t really write them like this anymore. But that’s what made it such a perfect fit for to movie. The song really translated the feeling of falling in love between the still gorgeous and brooding Joaquin Phoenix and the sweet, sultry voice of Scarlett Johansson. Hell, I fell in love with her.

“Ordinary Love”, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen (U2); Lyrics by Paul Hewson

U2 are well known for their message songs and they never fail to deliver. Of course, with the recent passing of the great Nelson Mandela, this film and the song take on a whole new significance. The lyrics are thoughtful and meaningful and the music brings them straight home to the heart.

“Happy”, from Despicable Me 2; Music and lyrics by Pharrell Williams

This may well be Pharrell’s year. And I would not be mad if it were. Pharrell has been in the music industry creating stars longer than you know it. I do believe he is a genius. In a previous post I gave my props when he won the grammy with Daft Punk for my favorite summer hit, Get Lucky. Happy is another hit. It truly puts a smile on your face. On a recent episode of the Queen Latifah show, Pharrell was asked what his son’s favorite song of his was. It is “Happy” And no wonder…


Mailing List Button wBgrd


Just till the next Traffic Light


There is only one way to complete any daunting task…

…one step at a time!

I love the way my marathon training is teaching me about life and business.

Yesterday I was pushing myself over a hill as I ran the 6 mile Central Park loop. Boy, did I want to stop! I was not interested in waiting for my body to hit the runner’s ‘zone’ at all. All I wanted to do was give up. How could I possibly make 6 miles? Talk less of 13.1 miles on race day???

But then I remembered how I had made it through my last melt down (when I was only running 3 miles a couple of weeks back) and I looked up seeking the next traffic light.

See, the park drive is spotted with traffic lights to make it safe for runners and cyclers when car traffic is allowed in through the park, so I use these lights as markers during my runs. If I feel too tired to go on, I tell myself that I just need to make it to the next light. And I keep on. At the next light, if I still feel like giving up, I allow myself to slow down to a brisk walk..up until the next light. Usually, by the time I get there, I have caught my breath enough to take another go at running…so I do….until the next light, or further, if I am able to.

Before long, I have finished the entire 6 mile loop, and with more running, than walking!

This ties into life and business so neatly; We set these HUGE goals for ourselves. Nothing wrong with that, but if we look just at the goal and begin to work towards it with no real plan, we soon become overwhelmed. The Goal looks too big, we can’t do it, it will take too long, we give up!

BUT!!!…if we break that huge goal into smaller goals, smaller achievements that we can celebrate along the way…sooner rather than later…we will reach the goal.

You want to make $10,000 a month? It is not impossible! But first you will probably make $25. Maybe $100…but if you don’t give up at that, and you just keep working to the next sale and the next sale, soon enough your check will have $10,000 written on it.

All you have to do is make it to the next traffic light!

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Mailing List Button wBgrd

The Nick of Time

Beautiful and poignant post. Enjoy!

bribri41's Blog

 With my father’s 80th birthday less than a week away, I find myself increasingly pondering the concept of time–how much we have of it–and how much we don’t. One of my favorite Bonnie Raitt songs is “Nick of Time.” In case you haven’t heard it, the song is about getting older and how running out of time impacts our view of life and the decisions we make– to live, to love, to move forward. My favorite line goes “When did the choices get so hard, with so much more at stake. Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste…” 

One thing we can all be sure of is that eventually we will all run out of time. A couple years ago a dear friend of mine was going through some major life transitions. He had been single for quite a while and decided he was ready for love. He also decided to pursue his…

View original post 460 more words