Friday, December 23, 2011

CELEBRATING 2 YEARS

About this time of the year, about this time of the day, about this place in my room, about two years ago, I was hunched in front of the computer with steam coming through my ears and birds flying about my head--with my eyes appearing to move completely independent of each other. I was slowly pining away, hoping and praying the DVD would start compiling.

Not to dramatize, but when I called Jared to report that it was finally working, I never screamed so loud in my life. And he'll testify that.

It's the second anniversary of Sons of Risen!

video

Friday, November 18, 2011

"What filmmakers do on rainy days" wins Film Festival




Timothy's church held a film festival a few months ago and Timothy took the liberty to enter "What filmmakers do on rainy days". The film won "Best of Festival" and "Best Special effects" including the highly esteemed prize: A package of Skittles and a Jamba juice gift card! I would post a picture, but we ate the skittles already.

Don't you love it when you accidentally win?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Veterans Day!

This short film was made by myself and my loyal comrade Tyler. 'Twas for our co-op to celebrate Veteran's Day, and we had a jolly time interviewing people in our co-op and making fancy green-screen effects. We hope you enjoy our endeavors!

Courtesy of Snowtop Studios and Last Minute Productions, inc.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Behind-the-scenes for "Asia Bibi: A call for Mercy"

A few weeks ago we participated in a video contest petitioning to free a woman in Pakistan named Asia  Bibi.  The entry won second place in the Call for Mercy video contest. You can watch the original video here.

This video project was a blast. We threw it together within 48 hours and had loads of fun frantically telling everyone who would listen to watch the video so that we could reach 200 views and be eligible for submission. Thank you everyone who watched the video and supported us! It wouldn't have been possible without you guys!

Anywhat. As a token of our gratitude (ok, and partially for the heck of it) I decided to make a behind-the-scenes peek into the making of this short little video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Courageous" Video Review

From the creators of "Facing the Giants" and "Fireproof" comes Sherwood Picture's fourth feature film, "Courageous: Honor begins at home"!


Raymond Dokupil, Hannah Dokupil, Mary Charvet, Paul Charvet, and Nathan Quick were privileged to attend a pre-screeing of the film. Courageous premiers in theaters everywhere September 30th!



"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

More information at www.courageousthemovie.com

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DELIVER-E off ebay

Wait...it was on ebay?

That's why it's off.

If you wish to purchase a copy, Deliver-e will be available in a single and double disc edition by e-mailing us at snowtopstudios@gmail.com.

It's not that hard. Really. You just go "Hi, my name is so-and-so, I would like a copy of Deliver-e blahblablah..." Yeah, and we'll work from there.

In the meantime, you can go and follow the production blog for First Impressions. Because they're awesome and stuff. Yep.

In the meanertime, Jared and I are working on a new short film you can be on the lookout for sometime in the near future.

And if you're still reading, I might as well tell you an idea for our next feature film has been conceived, but still in the brain stage, which you can be on the lookout for in the quite-very-distant-future. Yes, it's happening. But Deliver-e is still off ebay. So just e-mail us and stuff...sometime...because that would be nice...

Thank you for your sweet time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Call For Mercy

Hello everybody! The Snowtop crew is participating in a video contest for a Christian organization called Voice of the Martyrs to help free from prison a woman named Asia Bibi who was sentenced to death for proclaiming her faith to her co-workers. The film needs 200 hits on YouTube to be eligible for submission in the competition, so please pass this video on to your friends and help spread the word!

Enjoy the video :)



Sign the petition at www.callformercy.com

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not just another "Pride and Prejudice"...

Get ready for the must-see movie of 2012.

Phantom Films (formerly Arivia Productions, creators of The Silver Chair) an independent movie company in Grants Pass, Oregon are currently working on their next full-length feature film based of Jane Austen's classic masterpiece called First Impressions, set to release next spring!
Phantom Films was founded this year of 2011, consisting of a crew mostly made up of teens and young adults. The 2011 team for First Impressions is as listed:

Tianna Strom (19) | Producer
Andrew Eddy (20) | Director
Ariel Strom (18) | Screenwriter and Composer
Joshua Eddy (18) | Photography and Public Relations

The Synopsis: 
Audrey Kinslett lives in Grants Pass with her nonchalant father, fussy mother, and four sisters. She has a pretty normal life until she begins reading a book called Pride and Prejudice. Little does she know that her life is going to have a very similar twist to the book.
As the film takes off, our protagonist meets the extremely friendly Brandon Hester, who is attracted to Audrey's older sister, Mae. She also meets Daryl Burke, who is so rude and arrogant that Audrey wishes he'd disappear off the face of the earth - or at least from her life.
As she works at the Pharmacy, plays Ultimate Frisbee, and goes to barn dances, she meets more people, such as the pompous and ridiculous Cornelius Jones, and learns tragic secrets from her old friend Skandar Lakes, all the while trying to avoid Daryl, who always seems to be wherever she is.
Weaved in between these modern scenarios are scenes from Pride and Prejudice, basically Audrey's imagination as she reads the book.

When several unexpected events occur, Audrey realizes that not everything is as it seems- but by then it's too late. Everything has turned upside down. She will never judge by her first impressions again.

Here's the big news story. If you have a Daily Courier account, you can read it here.
(Click to view larger)


Filming for First Impressions will be greenlit by next week. You can follow the film at http://firstimpressionsthemovie.blogspot.com/. You can also visit their website at www.firstimpressionsthemovie.com where you can learn about the cast and crew, check out the cast photoshoot, and more. If your interested in contributing to this spectacular motion picture, out can donate from their kickstarter page. Any questions can be answered at firstimpressionsthemovie@gmail.com.

I'm REALLY excited about this movie. In a BOLD ITALICS UNDERLINE CAPS LOCK sort of way. And I'm even more excited that I got to be hire as graphics designer!!! Thank you, Tianna!! (yes, I got to design the logo up there :D)

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Essence of Snowtop Studios

We're considering changing our headquarters. What do you think?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Movie review: Cars 2


If you know anything about me or read this blog at all, you know I'm a fan of Pixar. Any post on filmmaking or storytelling or pretty much anything is often tied back to Pixar movies, because I find so much depth and heart in their films. I have loved every single Pixar movie out there, any of my friends can tell you that I rarely go to the theater for any other reason than to see the latest Pixar blockbuster. Just go read some posts like Bubble Wrap or The Color Conspiracy to see what I'm talking about.

But the Cars sequel directly contradicts Pixar's storytelling standard.


Pixar only makes a movie when the find a good story and want to tell it, and they only make sequels when they find there is more story to tell beyond a single feature. Cars 2 filled neither of this criteria. Cars only called for a sequel for one reason: marketing. The original Cars had made approximately 5 billion dollars in toys. I can prove this with my brother's extensive collection of Cars toys piled in the playroom. It started out with Lightning McQueen, but branched out into the most obscure characters that virtually every single character in the film has been made into a toy.

Cars 2 was only made to make more money, not to tell a good story. They forced a story together that wasn't asking to be told, that didn't naturally flow along with the original. Cars 2 didn't feel like a feature film, it felt like a really long short film.

I got nervous when I saw the trailers. Cars 2 is a spy movie? Set against the backdrop of the World Grand Prix? Non-stop action, explosions, and goofy lines from Mater encompassed the entire marketing campaign. I kept on telling myself, Pixar has never let us down. Why should they now? Nevertheless, I went into the theater with low expectations.

I have to say, with my expectations set so low, I wasn't disappointed. Actually, I sort of enjoyed it. The action was exciting, I laughed out loud several times, and the whole film was quite entertaining. But it didn't get any farther than entertaining. The theme of friendship was weak and poorly executed, and the plot was thin, relying on action and gags to keep the audience entertained. It was the last movie you'd expect to see from the world's #1 animation studio.

I think my main problem with the movie is that it's almost the opposite of its predecessor. The whole point of Cars was switching out of the fast lane and enjoying life. Cars 2 was all about racing through life as fast as possible and blowing stuff up. Okay, it didn't explicitly say that, but that was the message it brought across. The whole Radiator Springs gang was reduced to cameos, and Doc Hudson's role was cut out completely due to the death of Paul Newman.

This is one of the many reasons a sequel to Cars should not have been made.

His absence was explained in a 10-second long scene with Lightning and Mater admiring his Piston Cups and saying "Doc would've been proud." McQueen adds "You know, Doc said it's just an empty cup, but hey, it is pretty cool." This also contradicts the lesson Lightning learned in the original film, that trophies aren't what racing is about. But hey, it's cool!

The second big problem was the star: Tow Mater. Nearly all movie franchises focuses on one main character and continues to expand on that character in the sequels. For instance, Woody's character arc is continually expanded and developed as the trilogy progresses. But for Cars, the ending was nearly perfect. McQueen's character arc was so complete, and there wasn't much room for expansion. So they had to switch to the co-star, Mater, and expand on him. Unfortunately, Mater's absent-mindedness and dumb humor quickly gets old. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Mater, in some ways he's more likable then Lightning. But Lightning is the backbone of the story. Without him, the story just doesn't work. The fact that McQueen's character arc was concluded in the first film was yet another reason that the sequel for Cars was uncalled for.

So as quickly as the filmmakers can manage, Lightning McQueen is bustled out of Radiator Springs to race in the World Grand Prix. At the same time of group of cars are brewing a conspiracy to take over the world, and Mater is mistaken for the spy and has to save Lightning McQueen from being blown up by the evil Professor Z. The filmmakers really push the limits with the cars world as the anthropomorphize planes, boats, and trains. Bringing cars to life worked, but I just didn't buy the boats.

The new characters in the movie are, I must say, quite interesting. The British spy car Finn McMissile has a seemingly endless supply of super cool gadgets and mad karate skills, and you never know what he's going to do next. Lightning's rival Francesco Bernoulli is absolutely hilarious and steals the show in any scene he's in, and he has some of the best lines in the whole movie ("Ah, Francesco is familiar with this...reaction to Francesco.")

The whole movie was full of Pixar cliches (yes, the cliches were all unique to Pixar) especially the ending, and by that time I was just waiting for it be over. I didn't hate the film, but I didn't walk out of the theater with the same sort of awe I have with past Pixar movies. It just was mediocre.

I'm pretty much on par with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Cars 2 is as visually appealing as any other Pixar production, but all that dazzle can't disguise the rusty storytelling under the hood.

Cars 2 wasn't a bad story, but it was unrefined. If John Lasseter had an extra year to knock out the bugs, it may have been a better film.

John Lasseter has been my inspiration for years--in fact, he was the inspiration for creating Snowtop Studios. But for Cars 2, he's apparently so in love with the idea of a spy movie with talking cars that he is blinded that his story falls short of the standard he is responsible for setting.

I won't say it isn't worth your time. Go and see for yourself and tell me what you think in the comments!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Filmmaking analysis: The Color Conspiracy

Everyone knows filmmaking is visual storytelling. A book tells a story through words, a movie tells a story through pictures. But you can't just stop there. How the pictures are expressed defines the idea you are trying to get across. Even the smallest things, things you don't even notice, like camera angles, can communicate a different idea with the slightest change. Here's an example from our movie Deliver-e.

Jacob is trying to get home. He's had a long, hard day, he's beat up, he's dirty, and he's hungry. How do we show this on film?

Notice how the camera angle changes throughout Alexander's speech. It starts out with a shot of Alexander approaching Jacob, then it switches to Jacob's reaction and see that he's apparently not looking at Alexander. Then the camera changes the third time to Jacob's P.O.V., and instantly the audience knows what he's thinking. HE WANTS A BITE OF THAT HAMBURGER....

But right now I'm going to be focusing on particular mode of storytelling: color. Color is, in my opinion, the most subtle mode of communication used in movies. However, it is also one of the most powerful. Color can subconsciously portray non-present characters, awaken memories, evoke emotions, all without you noticing.

That's right. It's the Color Conspiracy.

The actual term for it is a "color scheme", but it's pretty much the same thing because if you look it up in the thesaurus you'll find the two words synonymous.

Pixar is probably the most well known for implementing color into their movies to portray a mood, particularly in the movie Up. Carl Fredericksen is a grumpy 72-year old man who promised his wife Ellie at an early age that he would take both of them to the lost world of their childhood dreams: Paradise Falls.  Unfortunately for them, their everyday married life gets in the way, and Carl eventually finds himself heartbroken as his wife dies and his promise is left empty. And you know the rest of the story.

Watch this clip from the movie and see if you can see the changes in the color and how it reflects Carl's mood. Observe closely.


Wow. I love this movie. I could go on and on about the incredible artistry and philosophical insight of it, but back to the color. Did you see it? lets break this down.






At the beginning of the scene, there the color scheme is dreary. It's lifeless. In fact, it's nearly black-and-white. Not just the in the room, but Carl's whole skin-tone seems to be this shade of gray.




But as the scene progresses, Carl discovers pages in the book he didn't know existed. The story of his life. Ellie. His adventure. No dialogue is used. Just pictures.





And slowly, the color begins to wash in.






Side by side, the change is drastic, isn't it? But when you watched Up in theatres (or on DVD, however you watched it) did you notice that before? Me either.

All the same, I knew what he was thinking. I was feeling what he felt. I was with Carl every moment of the way. How, I didn't know why, and I didn't think why. I just was. The color was the dialogue that silently whispered his feelings.

The Color Conspiracy.

And it's not just in Pixar movies. It's in any movie that's worth watching. The next time you watch a movie, look closely and see if you can catch sight of a silent voice. It may be a change color, a change in camera angle, or even a certain tune that plays whenever a particular character is feeling something. Filmmaking conspiracies are everywhere.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Almonds Comic Series

Hello to everybody. As you may or may not have known, I draw a comic series called Almonds. I've actually been drawing them since 2007, but I've never posted them online before. But now I'm starting a blog for the whole world to see, in which you can visit at www.almondcomics.blogspot.com
No, I'm not becoming a cartoonist. Actually, I'm one already. I've been a filmmaker, writer, and cartoonist for as long as I can remember. I'm planning on writing a book this summer. But now I'm just going on about nothing in particular. Where was I? Cartoonist.

This is a video I made introducing the Almonds characters. Enjoy! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bubble Wrap

Using figures as abstract as robots, Pixar still manages to create human characters that we can all relate to.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fellow Filmmakers

This is a post for all my filmmaking friends in the world out there. That is to say, there isn't a whole lot of them--filmmaking is a tough business. But take it from us--it's loads of fun.

"Why are you posting videos from fellow filmmakers?" you ask. (If this was not you, it was someone who looked like you). Well, I'll tell you. I don't know.

The first filmmakers I would like to acknowledge is Half-Insane Productions. Isn't that the best title ever!? Their crew members are:
Paul Charvet
Robert Polson
Dustin Partsch
And Jonathan Sulzbach

This is their most recent short film The Briefcase. Enjoy!


This is a company founded by a good friend of mine named Nathan Quick and his friends Ansel Broberg and Jonathan Carter called Quarterback Productions. I actually got to design their logo.
video

This is a short film Nathan made demonstrating his mad Jedi skills.


They're next project is a film called Mission: Accomplished Leave it to the Pros, which they will be filming a teaser trailer for sometime in the near future. Until then, plot details remain censored.


Nathan also has a movie review site called Nathan's Movie Reviews. He has up to 50+ movie reviews, so if you want a filmmakers opinion on a particular movie, this would be the place to go. Each movie is assigned a number and decimal out of 10. You can visit the site at https://sites.google.com/site/nathansmoviereviews/home

You also can follow their blog at http://brobergandquick.blogspot.com/

And this is the awesomely amazing Arivia Productions. This is my personal favorite, because they make Narnia movies. (What? Me? Biased? Heck no.) They're latest blockbuster is an epic-scale FULL-LENGTH FEATURE FILM adaption of the C.S. Lewis's classic tale The Silver Chair.
Teaser Trailer
Trailer 2


And last of all, just for kicks, I'm going to post the trailer for Ace Wonder From HeuMoore Productions. This actually doesn't fit in to the category of "fellow filmmakers" because I've never met any of these people in person. But they're company is particularly awesome, and I'm really excited about this movie because I was a huge fan of their last film The Widow's Might which won 1st place at the San Antonia Independent Christian Film Festival. Ace Wonder premiers in theaters Summer 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Special!

Boy, don't that sound sophisticated? Almost as if we were an actual like, business.

[We've got a ways to go]

Anyways, so for Easter, we are giving away TEN free copies of the 2-disc edition of Deliver-E!

Here's how to get one:

(that's right, there's a catch. But it's a small one, for the awesome prize of a free copy of Deliver-E)

Fill out THIS survey.

Oip! That's all! Have a wonderful Easter celebrating our Savior's resurrection!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

DELIVER-E goes international

Sounds big, doesn't it? Well actually, it isn't that big. But I'm pretty excited about it nonetheless.

Anyway, as you may or may not have known, the Snowtop crew is made up of three families--Chongs, Sweers, and Dokupils. We, the Dokupils, are half Chinese, and the Chongs are fully Chinese. All of which means we've got a lot of relatives down in Asia. And thanks to Google translator, they can now enjoy DELIVER-E.
(Click to view larger)
This is still in test mode. Since I have no knowledge of the Chinese language, I have no idea of what it's translating into and whether the grammar is correct. It will have to be proof-read by Mrs. Chong.

At any rate, to make sure I had the translations moderately correct, I translated the English to Chinese and then translated from Chinese back to English. As with most translations, the results are hilarious. Particularly in the Uncle Francis scene, because Francis has a heavy southern accent and uses words that the Chinese NEVER use. Here are a few examples...

When Jacob tells Francis his name, he replies:
English version: Jacob, huh? Fine french name. Do you know Jacob means pain? Almost named my son Jacob but instead I named him Piano Joe.
Chinese translation: Jacob ah? Exquisite French name. Do you know Jacob is the pain? Almost called my son Jacob, but I told him to piano Joe.

When Uncle Francis tells of his childhood:
English version: I was raised in Mississippi bred in Alabama had my schooling in Missouri and was winged in Georgia! I can out brag, out fight, out talk, out wrestle, out sing, out dance, and out drink any man in the south! I’ve fought in all six world wars and with every general spread over tar-nation, from Alexander the great, to Stone Wall Jackson to Stormin' Normin'! Now, Stone Wall Jackson, there was a general! Did you know it took 18 bullets to bring him down?
Chinese translation: I was born in Alabama, Mississippi, proposed, Keeping in Missouri and Georgia wings! I can play out, speak out Out of wrestle, sing out, out dancing, drinking out of anyone in the South! I fought in all six world wars and every general gradually spread to the curse. From Alexander the Great to the stone wall, normalized to tackling! Now Stonewall Jackson, there is a general! You know, it took eighteen rounds of ammunition, so that he disappointed?

Uncle Francis defends Robert E. Lee:
English version: You speak with respect when you are speaking of General Lee! It's an almighty wonder that his soul doesn't descend out of heaven and smite your earthly existence boy! Are you a yank boy? We don't take kindly to yanks in these parts.
Chinese translation: Respect you, because you mentioned Lee! This is an all-powerful, no wonder his soul did not come from heaven on the ground there to kill you boy! Or you push hard and boy? We do not treat the Yankees in these areas.

English: Robert E. Lee was giving Grant his sword so he would clean it and Grant wouldn't give it back.
Chinese: Robert Grant gives his sword, so he is clean, and funding will not give it back! 

This one is my personal favorite:
English: Say boy, do you like spoons? Like the kind you don't eat spaghetti with.
Chinese: Boy, you like the spoon? Like the kind you do not eat noodles.

This is a line from a different scene, when Jacob laments for his misfortunes:
English: Somebody up there hates me.
Chinese: Some people hate me is the role of registration.

Yeah. It needs work :P


Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools: Snowtop's next movie

April fools! You probably figured this out, Snowtop's next movie is an April Fool's joke. In reality, we're still brainstorming for our next film.

So..we know there's been a lot of buzz about what movie we're going to be making next. And we're proud to announce: it's here! The film will be dubbed ETERNIT-E, and will serve as a prequel to our previous film, DELIVER-E.  Plot points are censored for the time being, but it will have a darker, more dramatic tone than our previous films.
Embedded below is the teaser trailer. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

'Tis been a while.

How do you keep a turkey in suspense?


...


GOTCHA!!! Lol. I'm so Witty.


'Tis been a while since I've made a blog post here. Heh, not much news going on lately. I've been kind of busy lately winning speech and debate tournaments. Ok, I exaggerating. Placing in speech and debate tournaments. And I'm not doing debate. So I'm not as busy as I should be. I have and Original Oratory on technology, and Humorous interpretation on The Life of Fred (which is a math textbook--don't ask) and a Duo on the Horse and His Boy. Loads of fun. I'm just rambling on, aren't I?

Aaaaannyywaaay. About Deliver-e.
Well first things first, the price has gone down by about 30%. It's now at $10.00 instead of $14.00. This is mostly because we now can get the DVD covers printed cheaper. We have this great new printer and it's fantastic for DVD covers.

For all those out there who giving us feedback on the movie and supporting it, thank you so much! I have now officially have made 30 2-disc special edition copies, and it's gone in homes, a school, and even a hospital!

Here's a 1:40 minute long sneak peek of the 2-disc special edition DVD. Enjoy!