Carl Sprague is a busy guy. You can see it in our conversation with him below. But, more importantly, you can see it on his résumé. Since he began building theater sets at Harvard University (he says it was more rewarding than directing actors), Carl has worked in the art departments of more than 30 films, including Oscar winners like The Social Network, 12 Years a Slave, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. While his collaborators include Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson…
We’re suckers for great documentaries, and there’s no shortage of them right now. What’s amazing is these films are not only fascinating and beautiful, but they create actual change. Just think about what’s caught our attention over the years: Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the documentary series Making a Murderer, was released from prison after more than a decade. (He was supposed to serve a life sentence.) Serial’s Adnan Syed got a new trial. That’s part of what’s so addicting about the form. These stories make a real difference. They throw their weight around.
Movie magic happens in an instant. It’s an alchemy of elements that, for whatever reason, creates something much more valuable than the pieces themselves. And like alchemy, the formula has been sought for generations. So far, no luck. But if there’s one thing we know movie magic does not require, it’s a lot of time.
Welcome to the first-ever Musicbed Top 5, a rundown of our favorite short films featuring music from our artists. Hearing their work in great videos is one of the most rewarding things we get to do and we’re excited to share a few of them with you. This rundown is just a small sample of the work we’ve seen on Vimeo recently, and you can watch even more in our Musicbed Collection on Vimeo. We went with a decidedly sports-oriented version this time around, but as you’ll see in these films, they’re about so much more than that. Enjoy these incredible short films, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below.
A title sequence doesn’t have to be memorable or inspired or even very good. A title sequence doesn’t have to exist at all, in fact. Plenty of great films just roll credits over establishing shots or black. Which is why when a title sequence does transcend the norm, it becomes something really special. Think Napoleon Dynamite. Think Star Wars’ scrolling paragraphs. These preambles become part and parcel of the whole film: inseparable from our experience or memory of it. Like all forms of filmmaking, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for what makes a title sequence great. Some are serious, some are playful, some are abstract, some are a lie. Whatever form they take, they enhance our experience and understanding of the film or television show that follows. They make a first impression — they set the stage.
There is no shortage of incredible films out there just waiting to be made. Weird films. Beautiful films. Films unlike any we’ve ever seen. But without funding, many of them will never see the light of day. Recently we’ve been reminded of all the amazing films that have come into the world thanks to grants and fellowships and other alternative forms of funding. Stories are more than a commodity, and that’s why we’re so passionate about them.
When we asked Robert Legato about his success rate at achieving the impossible, he didn’t immediately answer the question. He’d never thought about it. This is the man responsible for the visual effects in films like Apollo 13, Titanic, Avatar, and The Jungle Book. A man fluent in the impossible. And yet overcoming it had rarely occurred to him. It’s the exact mind-set, we soon realized, that makes Robert Legato Robert Legato.