Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Convergence 2013 preview

Looking forward to Convergence this weekend. I'm honored to appear on two panels with some great folks. More info below. Keep in mind that the Sofitel, across the way from the DoubleTree mothership, is also hosting events this year.

Kubrick's 'The Shining' In Depth
A look at Stanely Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel. We'll deconstruct the film and the effect it has had on the language of film.
Panelists: Melissa Kaercher, Tim Wick, Romeo Azar, Jon Cazares, Mike Hallenbeck
Friday July 5, 2013 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Sofitel Bordeaux

H. G. Wells
A discussion of Wells' impact on his world and the lasting effects to today.
Panelists: Pat Harrigan, Mike Hallenbeck, Jody Wurl, Matt Kessen
Sunday July 7, 2013 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Sofitel Dijon

I've had a lot of fun doing research for these panels. The H.G. Wells group got together the other night to put together an outline for the discussion. Then we watched the 1936 screen adaptation of "Things to Come", for which Wells adapted his own novel as a screenplay. I'd never taken the time to watch this film before, and I have to say it's definitely a touchstone of sci cinema that I'd heretofore missed:

I'm hoping the above gives an idea of just how amazing the sets and art direction are, even by today's standards. It also offers a glimpse at Wells' bizarrely elitist utopian impulses, which we'll be delving into on the panel.

For my other panel, I've watched "The Shining" four, count'em four times in the past couple of months to make sure I'm intimate with the material. As I've written previously, the conventional wisdom is that Kubrick films improve with multiple viewings, and though I was skeptical in this case I found that to be quite true-- the specificity sought by his gazillion-take approach really shines through (sorry).

I watched "The Shining" three times on my own: once straight up, the next time with commentary partially by Steadicam inventor Garret Brown (who seems like a good guy, and obviously has a lot of insight into filmmaking, but damn he says the word "astonishing" a lot), and then another time straight up again to explore what I'd learned. Then another viewing together with my panel-mates, followed by some discussion and divvying up of subject matter to present. If there's a "Shining" edition of Trivial Pursuit coming out any time soon, I'll do quite well at it.

I was shocked-- shocked!-- to find that it fell to me to deliver a presentation on the music and sound design of the film. I've been tracking down as much of the music as I can, falling further and further down the Penderecki rabbit hole as I do so. I love his music, and it's been great to have an excuse to immerse myself in it for a while.

I want to thank "Shining" panel-mate Melissa Kaercher for hooking me up with the image that appears a couple paragraphs above; it's part of a collection of charts made by Kubrick and music editor Gordon Stainforth to plot out the appearances of assorted music cues during the film.

Don't expect this panel to be entirely laudatory though-- we all have some pet peeves about the movie, and you'll be hearing about those too.

When I'm not on panels this weekend, I plan on sitting by the pool, offering a dollar to anyone who's willing to scream "IMPERIUS REX!!!" as they jump in.

Mike Hallenbeck home page

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