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Monday , May 20 2019
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Home | Tag Archives: movies

Tag Archives: movies

Op-Ed: The Green Book Is Divisive, And Maybe That’s A Good Thing.

“The Green Book,” a movie about a white New York bouncer that drives a gifted New York black pianist in the deep south through a concert tour during the Jim Crow 60’s.

The movie has three won Golden Globe awards and of course, like many movies that deal with racial issues in America, has caused some bit of controversy.

The controversy surrounds not only the actual facts of the movie (such as the main character’s estrangement from his family, a fiction his family has reported) but more interestingly the Hollywood perpetuated story of the white man saving the “magical negro.”

Think Sandra Bullock saving the gifted “magical” black athlete in the “Blind Side,” Sidney Poitier as “magical negro” in “The Defiant Ones,” or Whoopie Goldberg in “Ghost” to get an idea of what the magical negro idea is all about.

And while there may be some truth to Hollywood’s tendency to write stories that appear to have similar themes, I tend to not have serious problems with stories like “The Green Book,” specifically because they introduce, gently, subjects that might be lost to the current generation that would otherwise have been forgotten to time.

Consider just some of the topics that most young people are unaware of that come out of The Green Book:

  • The Green Book itself, a brochure that listed “safe” motels that allowed blacks as guests traveling in a South where blacks were not welcome to mingle with whites in many places.
  • Don Shirley, a gifted black jazz pianist. Had you ever heard of him before this movie came out? Probably not. Now, you have. Now you can look him up on iTunes, or Amazon Prime and enjoy his work.

And while the story in the movie is probably best sanitized to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, now we can open up the audio vaults on Don Shirley recordings, and students can research the Green Book itself.

(I strongly doubt if CBS News would have done a segment on it’s Sunday Morning News, which caters to a pretty white beyond middle class audience, about the Green Book if the movie had not been made.) Check it out here. 

I like it when modern artists look at older artists and story tellers and reinterpret their work or tell a story that has never been told to a wide audience. This allows a whole new generation access to the art they may not have been interested in previously.

I once got into a discussion with a friend of mine about Rod Stewart recording the Tom Waits song, “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen).” He said that Rod Stewart ruined the song. I said that Rod Stewart had just introduced Tom Waits to his millions of fans. Maybe a few them will now become Tom Waits fans. Tom Waits should be thankful. Making an idea or work of art available to many, even if it requires removing some of the gray areas, isn’t always a bad thing.

In my time when a singer like, Linda Ronstadt made several albums of songs from the great American songbook, it did not lessen the originals, but introduces older songs to an entirely new generation of listeners who probably would have never heard them before. Who was that Nelson Riddle? Who was Lerner and Lowe? Who was Bing Crosby?

Those new listeners, hopefully, will now be curious enough to go back and listen to the original recordings. Maybe a fan or two will be born. Rod Steward did a favor to Tom Waits.

So I didn’t have that much of a problem if a semi-fictitious story about a real person pushes the truth, if in the end, the audience is introduced positively to someone new, or something new. I suspect that visits to Wikipedia for Don Shirley and the Green Book went up exponentially after the release of the movie. That is what art does: it gets people thinking.

For some, the Green Book is divisive. To me, when people are talking about something they normally wouldn’t talk about, thats a good thing.


Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.

Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Montecillo Presents Teacher Appreciation Week

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo is treating all educators and administrators to a free movie at any time of the day from Thursday, April 27th through Wednesday, May 3rd.

“Teachers and educators work hard and deserve recognition,” says Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo Creative Manager, Kyle Alvarado. “We’re looking forward to celebrating them with a free movie and thanking them for their hard work and dedication!”

Educators, including homeschooling parents, and administrators can bring a current ID from their place of employment (preschool, elementary, high schools, universities) to receive free admission to any show at ANY time of the day from Thursday, April 27th through Wednesday, May 3rd.

Plus, to further reward our teachers, the Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo will extend their Happy Hour Menu to be available ALL DAY (until 10pm) during Teacher Appreciation Week in the Glass Half Full Taproom.

To view upcoming movie times click here.

Teacher Appreciation Week:

Dates: Thursday, April 27th through Wednesday, May 3rd

This offer may be used for one free ticket per teacher per screening. It also only works in person, at our box office. All shows are for ages six and up, unless otherwise stated on our website.

The free ticket must be for a screening on the day the guests visits the theater.

Art on Film: Want to Write a Movie Script?

Have you ever seen a movie (of course, we all have) and wondered, “I can write something like that,” or “I hated the ending, it should have ended like this” and didn’t much do anything about it but just think about it?

How would you like to write your own script? Yes, that’s right, it’s very simple and totally free. The only thing you need is your imagination!

There are certain websites out there that help you write a screenplay in MOVIE FORMAT. Anyone can write a script, but to be truly professional, you need to know the format, you need to know the lingo and you need to know how to write movies. Television format is different from Movie format and as well as Comic Book format.

They all have a format to them, but if you’re just interested in writing a good script, either short or feature length, you need to know at least some of the preferences. has a great script writing program that is not only free, but you don’t need to download any software. You can do it all at their website. You can save it, modify it and import old scripts you’ve written. Just go to and you’ll be set.

Adobe formats everything for you from start to finish, all you need to know is what each of the segments mean. It’s very simple really, once you jump in, you’ll get the hang of it. And if you’re having trouble, you can always check out their troubleshooting link or just go to your trusty old youtube and search for Adobe Storywriter Tutorial.

There are, of course, books by screenwriters that describe in-depth the structure of writing a movie. You also have the use of the internet search engines where you can download your favorite movie scripts or view at their page. It all depends on the websites; and learn that writing style.

Each writer has their own way of writing, but all of the scripts fall under the same format. Find your writing style!

Start with a short story and go from there. If you don’t have an idea for a movie, just go outside and look at your surroundings. Go to a park, go to the zoo, go watch a movie or listen to some music, or read a book or a newspaper. You’re creative, you just need to pay attention to that creativity.

You can also go to to write scripts, it’s a free website, but you need to download the program.

Now, when you’ve gotten the groove of things and want to try professional writing software, that’s all up to you.

Lots of screenwriters use either Final Draft or Movie Magic, but after working with Adobe Storywriter, I’ve found a new program that I will continue to use. I like the font that is used and I like the ease of writing.

So, go out there and start WRITING!



Art on Film: How to make your own movie

If you have always wanted to make a movie yourself, there are many great ways to do it. Because I’ve worked and still work in the movie and TV industry, I have gathered a lot of great experience through the years; either hands-on experience or people in the industry  showing me all the ins and outs.”

If you just want to start your own movie, with your friends and family, I have a great way to help you out with it and you don’t need fancy expensive cameras to help you. You can use the cameras you already have, like the cameras on your smart devices, the old consumer cameras that you have stored or your VHS cam corders, if you still have them.

If you do want to use VHS cameras, the best place to find great ones are on eBay. Now, if you want to get retro, you can find film cameras like 8mm, 16mm and 3mm cameras for a great price.

The thing with film, though, is that it’s expensive to get film and to process the film. And then you have the thing where you cannot see what was filmed, so you may never know if the film was captured right or wrong. That is where you’ll need professionals in the industry.

Let’s skip film cameras for now, until you’ve become the Tarantino of El Paso.

Okay, let’s start off with what you first need. You NEED a story. You can find stories anywhere. There’s always a tale to tell. One of the best ways to get some ideas is going to a crowded place, like a mall, and sit yourself down with your pencil and notebook or an audio recorder.

Watch what goes on around you, listen to what goes on around you and you’ll be amazed at the stories. Everyone has a story to tell, even you. You just need to dig deep enough to get it. It’s like a buried treasure chest that you heard around the campfire, and now you need to find it. BOOM! There’s a story right there that practically wrote itself. A pirate buried a treasure and left a map with clues and centuries have passed where this map resurfaces into your hands, or something like that.

Let’s go to finding a genre, you NEED a genre. You just can’t go out there with your friends and make a movie on the whim and expect to make a movie. You need a story and you need that script for your actors to, well, act and the director to direct. When you narrow a genre down, you’ve gotten closer to coming up with a story.

Now, if you’re making a horror movie, you need to think horror. Is it going to be about werewolves, zombies, witches, Halloween, etc? That’s a sub-category, all genre’s have them. Just pick the ones that best suit you.

Once you’ve gotten an idea down, it’s time to start writing. Now, you’ll need a program to write your award-winning script and don’t worry, there are plenty of FREE software out there that you can use. Here are a few that I’ve used in the past: CELTX, Adobe Story, Templates for your Word Processor and then there are APPS for your smart devices.

I found one called WRITER. Just look online, search for LIST OF FREE SCREENWRITING SOFTWARE and you’ll get a list.

Now that you’ve written your script and your actors have rehearsed and your locations have been found to shoot at, it’s time to start making your movie. There are three important things I need to tell you about making your movie to stand out from the rest.

YOU NEED GOOD LIGHTING. Don’t go out there and expect to make your actors look good without lights and reflectors. You can get cheap lights from your nearest hardware story. The basic lighting system is called the THREE POINT LIGHTING system.

You need your KEY light, which basically is your main light that lights the talent on screen. You can have that on either the right side or the left side of the talent.

You’ll need the FILL light, which basically fills the other side of the actor’s face, but softer or diffused lighting than the stronger KEY light.

Then you’ll need a BACK light. The BACK light goes behind the actor to make the talent stand out. You can position this BACK light on top of the talent to make that “halo” look around the hair and shoulders. Once you’ve gotten a good feel for lighting, you’re closer to becoming a renowned director for years to come.

The second most important thing you’ll also need is AUDIO! You cannot make a movie with audio being recorded by the microphone that comes with your camera. Your talent will sound like they’re in a tunnel or you’ll probably not be able to hear them clearly with all that wind passing through your microphone.

Simple ways to fix that: you can either go to your nearest electronics shop and buy an inexpensive lavalier microphone or a regular microphone that singers use and use that as your boom mic. Where you just have your friend hold up the microphone as close to the talent as possible without the camera catching it. If you’re going with the lavalier mic, just hide it under the clothes with tape as close to the collar as possible.

Now that you have your lighting set and your audio checked, it’s time for the most important and last thing to making movies, TRIPOD!

Don’t always go off handheld, because then you’ll get shaky video. If you’re filming a dramatic moment where someone is crying and the camera is shaking, you’ll lose that moment of drama because everyone is focused on if there’s an earthquake occurring. Get a tripod. All the professionals use it. A tripod not only steadies your vision, but it makes for great cinema.

Shaky cam is used when you’re trying to convey an action scene or a suspenseful moment in your scene. So, start making plans for your award-winning films. Of course, you’re going to come across many obstacles where you can’t use a tripod and all I can say is, steady the camera as much as possible.

As you continue to make your movies, you’ll not only get better at it, but you’ll find your niche to filmmaking where you’ll have your own style like the greats out there: Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Cameron Crowe, James Cameron, etc.

OH! One more important thing, you NEED music! If you have a friend that makes music, ask them for help to compose music for you. You can always use music from your favorite musicians, but then you’ll get sued if you try to sell your movie.

And if you’re trying to submit it to film festivals, you can forget about submitting it, because most film festivals ask for written letters saying if you have permission to use their music. Just compose your own or have your musically-talented buddies to do it or look around the Internet. There are many musicians out there who would LOVE to help out a filmmaker, because they TOO want to get noticed.

If you’d like to see some of my short movies, here they are. You can see the differences in each one. Hope you enjoy them and I hope that it sparks some ideas in your films.

Kosmikophobia: Click Here

Not Human: Click Here

Madness: Click Here

Soccer/Volleyball 728
STEP 728
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728
shark 728×90
Amy’s Astronomy