Social Justice Warriors

This is a statue that my wife, Laury Dizengremel, was commissioned for.

I will link to two of my videos, one all about this statue, and a more general one about my sculptor wife, which includes snippets of this commission.

Anyway, it was commissioned for the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Jersey in the United States. This guy, Sir George Carteret, born 1610, served as Baliff on the Isle of Jersey off the coast of France. He was involved in all sorts of things quite commendable, but sorely covered in the Wikipedia article I just read. But to one small point, the reason he was granted a piece of land in the U.S. by the new King Charles, was that Carteret defended the young Charles during a tumultuous period of the English monarchy that eventually led to the beheading of his father, King Charles the 1st. And Carteret was the first to proclaim young Charles the new King of England when it wasn’t so popular at the time to do so. Anyway, Charles became the next king of England and as a reward for Carteret’s shelter and support in an environment of anti-royalty and hanging kings, King Charles II gave Carteret a tract of land in the New World, which Carteret, the Baliff of Jersey, named ‘New Jersey’. (which happens to be where I grew up).

It was also back in the days when slavery was a hot source of labor for the elite of the time.

Anyway, if you think modern history and international relations are complex now, this was back in the wild, wild, west of international relations. And if you think I’m defending monarchy and all that went along with it, no. That’s beside the point. It’s just history–something that social justice warriors have no understanding of except what they are spoon-fed by various agenda pushers and financiers.

And Sir George did indeed dabble in it a bit.

So, as you can imagine, with the various shenanigans going on in the U.S., with mass protests amazingly coordinated and financed by people like George Soros, which have been exported to other countries around the world, George’s statue was vandalized twice. The photo above was the second time in a month or two. That’s blood on his hands and chains at his feet.

So let me make a couple of points.

  1. Who amongst us is aware of what our white ancestors have done that isn’t considered humane or polite today? Any of us have Vikings in our family tree somewhere. Vikings who raped and pillaged villages? Any of us have Catholics in our family tree who, as members of the Spanish Inquisition tortured and killed non-believers? Hey, I live in Southern France. An entire Christian religious sect called the Cathars were wiped out by the Inquisition. For defense, they build castles on the tops of impossibly steep rocky mountains. They’re scattered all around here.The Inquisition and their armies would camp at the base and starve them out over many months. One near here, Mon Seguir, wound up in sort of a truce. They were given the chance to come down and relinquish their beliefs or walk into a funeral pyre. Many walked into the fire and died rather than do so. What about modern religions in the Middle East where stoning to death for imagined transgressions is still practiced? What about the various genocides that have happened around the world? In other words, who amongst us doesn’t have ancestors guilty of crimes against humanity.
  2. But more to the point, RIGHT HERE AND NOW IN THE PRESENT DAY about 40 millions people are trafficked by human traffickers. Mainly women, but 40% are children. Why isn’t the media and all the social justice warriors all over this??

Just because slavery existed a couple hundred years ago for Blacks and they can sort of point to relatively recent heredity to say they had a great or great, great grandmother/father who were slaves doesn’t justify the complaint that they are owed anything now. Black slavery in the modern western world hasn’t existed for a couple hundred years. Many generations. Yeah, it was bad, but people did bad things back then. Get over it. It ain’t happening now.

But child slavery and female slavery and other sorts are happening RIGHT NOW and it affects millions RIGHT NOW. You want a cause? Get onto that one that matters right now. Sorry if your great, great grandfather was a slave. You aren’t. You’re just a slave to some unsavory characters who favor anarchy and have the money to finance your movement and the toppling of governments. Don’t think that these ‘spontaneous’ protests and riots just happen. They are organised and paid for.  You’re a slave to them and you’re just a slave to the media who are owned by these sorts.

Wake up. You’re fighting the wrong war.

History was then. Learn from it.

What’s really happening in the present is far more important.

Here’s the story of the Sir George Carteret statue and why it was deemed a significant historical monument. Incidentally, neither my wife or the official on Jersey who commissioned it was aware of any slavery connection at the time, despite research and consultation with historians.  So maybe history was white-washed a bit in this case. But when isn’t it? It comes down to who writes histories and what they want to be known and remembered. Very much like the main stream media who write stories they want you to know and remember. If it doesn’t fit the narrative, you don’t hear it.

Like George Flyod. You heard and saw what they wanted you to hear and see.

Interestingly, it was the BBC in England that first released the full police bodycam footage of the entire event. Not the U.S. media and, (forgive me if I’m wrong because I don’t live there now), it wasn’t released by the mainstream there either–because it didn’t follow the narrative. BUT. with that footage and the autopsy report, the whole ‘I can’t breathe’ narrative takes on an entirely different look. Listen, if you’re stuck on it, fine. But if you want to know the whole story of what really happened, tragic as it was, dig into it. The data is there on the web. If you’re really interested, I can point you in the right direction, but I shouldn’t ‘t have to.

And here’s a little video I did for my sculptor wife some time ago before the media descended upon her to demand her reasoning for making a statue of Sir Geoge Carteret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,000,000 Views

Well, this happened yesterday with my YouTube channel.

I knew it was going to happen, but then got caught up in something and came back to find I’d missed it. (I was going to film the screen live and capture it).

Anyway, it’s a bit humbling. I’ve never really promoted the channel, and strangely, most of the 350 or so video are the corporate videos I’ve done with a handful of music videos and documentaries thrown in.

Then there are those series of camera reviews I did on the NX30 and X70 which account for about a third of all the views as well as a few other odd tutorials.

The Sony X70 review I think surpassed all other camera reviews on the internet in terms of views  and comments. It’s an old camera and is still being watched every day as my top video and is sitting around 180,000 views.

The only thing being seen in bigger numbers these days is DRONE REVIEWS! And I don’t plan to get into that as the field is very ably covered, I assure you.

But I do have a drone now (DJI Mavic Pro Platinum), so that’s something you’ll be seeing more of here in the next short while.

If you thought I was gobsmacked with the NX30 (in its time) and the X70 (in its time), the DJI Mavic Pro technology is beyond “pure frickin’ magic'” by a lightyear or two.

Anyway friends, THANK YOU for being there and following me or putting up with me or whatever it is that you’ve been doing.

I will be entering my next phase soon and it’s likely to be a new platform (Patreon.com). It will be introduced by a new video (featuring me–like in the old review videos, and some splashy drone footage shot around here where I live in Chalabre, France). It’ll be cool.

I had hoped for that to coincide with the million views, but that didn’t work out. I hope to get around to it very soon.

I’m actually retired now, so this will be my retirement phase. It will be more aligned to giving you guys what you want rather than me shoving down your throats what I’ve done and why.

It will be fun, and soon I’ll invite you all to be part of it.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year.

And thank you for sticking with and occasionally saying nice things about me these past few years. (insert winking smiley face here–apparently not a WordPress option)

 

 

 

Family Stuff

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I found myself in England with a week of downtime between a couple of other videos, so spent a couple of days doing this one. Most of the time was fishing through 15 terrabytes of drives digging out the material. Laury’s back in France. I’ll be going back there tomorrow.

Unusually, this one started off with a piece of music that I had bought and never used. I liked it and thought it might work for a short promotional/mini-bio piece on my wife’s work.

Laury doesn’t follow this blog, so this is between you and me.

At the end I’ll be asking you a favour.

What’s with that picture?

That’s Laury being ‘pushed into her new life’ by the Chief of the Blackfeet Indians, ‘Earl Old Person’.

That’s our wedding in Montana where we lived for about 18 months before moving to England.

I asked Earl Old Person if that was always his name. You know, even when he was a kid. Yes, that was his name, even as a kid.

The ceremony was a mixture of Blackfoot and English. When he pushed Laury (who didn’t know what was going on) she resisted. (that’s our Laury)

The Chief’s secretary had to whisper from the sidelines, “He’s pushing you into your new life.”

“oh, cool.”

See that feather in her hair? He had me put that there. It’s a American Bald Eagle feather. We were both given one.

One of the concessions the US government gave the American Indians was that only American Indians could possess eagle feathers. (they’re a significant part of their spiritual culture). It is actually a crime with a $10,000 fine for a white man to possess or try to sell eagle feathers.

We think Earl Old Person got in trouble for that. But that’s another story.

We also were given Indian names, which we didn’t expect.

Me: ‘Mountain Walker’

She: ‘Bird Woman’

Another long story.

Anyway, there’s a bit of the background to the ‘in the Rocky Mountains of Montana’ part of the video.

In the 18 months there Laury joined an artist group called the ‘Alpine Artisans’, of which Jennifer, the master basket maker was a member.

Laury made lots of friends no matter where she was. And she got involved in art projects and sculpture, no matter where she was. There’s practically no place on this earth where she doesn’t have friends to visit or stay with when she’s travelling. Believe me, I’ve stayed with many of them.

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There’s Mountain Walker getting pushed into his new life.

Anyway, the video?

It’s just another run and gun video. At least all the footage was. A ‘compilation’ video is probably the proper term.

I’ve been practicing with my Mavic Pro Platinum, so there’s that.

Also, near the beginning there are a couple of short ‘dolly shots’ (handheld with the Sony X70). Those are a couple of statues she did near Dublin, Ireland about 10 years ago. One of my recent videos was in Dublin. I made the short trip to Drogheda to see the statues and sent her a selfie with me and her work, to which she replied, “OMG!” (I didn’t tell her I planned to go there).

Attention: Justin Opinion. (follower of this blog). If you see this, contact me with your details. I’ll be in Texas first week of December. I’d like to visit.

And, as always, it was fun making it.

Hope you enjoy it.

And that favour I was going ask of you, my few loyal followers:

Please share it on your social media with whatever excuse.

She wants to make more steel sculptures, and who knows; maybe one of your friends will find the perfect Christmas present they’ve been looking for.

 

Off-Topic Rant

I like good police dramas; ‘The Killing’ (Danish version), ‘The Bridge’ (Swedes?), ‘The Money Heist’ (Spanish), and many others. And things like ‘Breaking Bad’ (best of the best in my opinion). I think I’ve written about each in this blog.

Now I’m watching an Amazon Prime series (Bosch), a US police drama because, it seems, I’ve already watched just about everything else.

It’s good and I am enjoying it. Excellent characters and acting across the board along with an excellent and original storyline.

But why, oh why, in EVERY single drama I’ve ever seen are the obligatory scenes of ‘protests’ always so unconvincing?

It seems there’s a must in contemporary scriptwriting to include protests scenes involving ‘social justice warriors’.

I know the drill. I used to direct.

They hire extras and make up a bunch of prop signs and ‘stage a protest’.

If everything else is so good (acting, characters, etc.) and they feel so obligated to stage scenes of social justice warriors protesting, WHY are they always so unconvincing, including the casting and acting of the principle actors of the protest? Why do they always give it such short shrift, assign to ‘Second Unit B roll directors’ or whatever.

Is it because all these protests and movements are so fake and sponsored by unseen vested interests hiring paid bad actors to begin with?

It’s hard to believe Hollywood is so honest. Or so stupid.

Well, not really.

Just sayin’.

 

Staged vs Un-staged Action in a Corporate Shoot

I was wondering what to say about this one. Yea, I know, I said this blog has run its course and the next lot of stuff would be about drones.

I do have one waiting for approval that features drone shooting in a distribution centre warehouse, but meanwhile this one was approved.

It occurred to me that there is something I’ve never really mentioned in regards to run and gun corporate shoots.

I never stage action.

Everything you see here was shot in about 1 1/2 hours, not including the interview which was another 45 minutes.

Staging action is almost always a bust. The people get so introverted they either ham it up or act so silly you can’t use it.

So what I do is run around with the camera in my short allotted time and shoot just about everything that’s happening, as it happens–including all the bits I know I have to cover in terms of the machinery itself. But the working staff are always shot discretely just doing what they are doing.

Yes, they often notice I am there and maybe get a little introverted, or smile or something, but you know they are working and doing what they always do. If you staged it, you can always tell that too. So just don’t–unless it’s an emergency.

The key is to shoot a lot. You don’t know in the end how you’re going to use it or how it will fit in with the narrative from the interview, but if you want to show how something works, you just shoot all parts of it as much as you can. Later, in editing, you’ll find you have enough pieces to put together B roll that supports the narrative or tells the story of what the narrative is about.

 

My Town

 

My Town?

Frankly I think this blog has run its course. Couldn’t think of anything of much interest to post or comment on.

There is one tiny difference in this video though.

If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve often said that I shoot everything hand held (using both Sony PXW X70 and HXR NX30) except for sit down interviews. That’s the only thing I use a tripod for.

Well, this one has sit down and stand up interviews and they’re all hand-held–which means, except for the drone shots, and one locked-down camera shot during one of the concerts, the whole video is hand-held.

I shot about 98% of it. Ironically a couple of the ‘hand-helds” that weren’t so lovely were shot by someone else. But still, who cares? It is what it is. It’s a live music festival.

One guy who was shooting with an OSMO gave me his footage. I used one shot.

As far as my comment about this blog having run its course, I do expect to be posting more later this year on drones. That will be the next generation of Video Whisperer posts featuring the Mavic Pro II.

As to ‘my town’, well, this is where I live. My house is the one with blue shutters in the center of the photo above and is right across from the Market Square where the main night concert was held.

We’re doing it again this coming August, only bigger.

If any of you Sony owners fancy a little vacation to southern France and can get yourself here, I’ll put you up and feed you in exchange for being a second cameraman. I say Sony owners for ease of color matching in post.

Any takers?

Double interviews

Normally I hate double interview shots. I’ve even advised against it in my book I think.

The reason, of course, is because the guy who’s not talking is sitting there like a lump on a log.

So I told these guys they could stand side by side and chat and I’d feature one or the other as we went.

But I changed my mind.

They actually pulled it off.

I just held the camera and let them talk.

If you don’t know, Phil Burtt is the David Beckham of the shooting world. He’s known internationally and is also a very nice bloke.

So this whole video was done on the strength of his name. And he knew exactly what to say.

So I let it ride and with very little editing and some judicious B roll, I thought it came off very well.

Yes, it’s a bit long, but if you’re a soccer fan and the video features David Beckham, you’re going to watch the whole thing.

And so it is with this one for those in the world of shooting.

Toppling a 17th Century 2nd Floor Stone Wall

The Forge (1652), as purchased and before site cleanup.

 

Not my usual type of video. It was done for family originally but just thought I’d make it public now because it’s kind of interesting.

It’s a detailed account of the process of removing a dangerous 17th century stone wall (the old Forge, a typical ruin in south France) without machinery and without getting killed in the process.

The exciting bit is at the end of course.

Money Heist, Filmmaking Par Excellence

 

If you really want to learn film making, yes it is usually necessary to school yourself on the fundamentals. Really school yourself, learn the basics and get them down cold. I say ‘usually’ because there are a few geniuses that have by-passed that approach because they somehow gleaned it all from the next point I’m going to make.

The next thing is to study the work of real professionals who successfully applied those fundamentals and made classic or ground-breaking films. And even ‘cult underground’ ones. I’m sure you can think of a few,

But amongst that group are a smaller group of visionary artists who push things to a whole new level. That’s a very small group in my opinion.

In the book Run ‘N Gun Videography–The Lone Shooters Survival Guide, I made mention of a few who I felt were in that category at the time. Mentioned were ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Killing (Danish original–not the American version which is crap) and ‘The Bridge’ (a Swedish/Danish collaboration), all of which were crime dramas.

I confess, I’m a crime drama fan, so I’m going to have to add one more to the list.

It may be the best one of all.

La Case de Papel (literal translation: ‘House of paper’ and stupidly translated as a series title to ‘The Money Heist’) is a Netflix original Spanish crime drama. Strangely, I’d never really seen a Spanish film before. Looks like the Swedes, Danes and Spanish have all left Hollywood in the dust. (my theory: Hollywood got into politics while the rest of the world seems to be making better and better films)

Anyway, I was gobsmacked. (a British expression meaning what we might call ‘shit-faced’).

Wow!

I binged watched the whole series in two days.

Why is it so good?

Well, for you readers of Run ‘N Gun Videography, you’ll know what the primary point of that book was and how that primary point is the common denominator of all the fundamentals for any part of film making–MESSAGE.

This series is a fantastic example.

It’s cinema par excellence in all departments. ALL departments (camera, lighting, casting, acting, scripting, sets, props, music, editing….you name it). That’s always what makes a great film great. All departments acting in harmony to forward a message with the greatest possible emotional impact.

But all that techno babble aside–if you want to see the greatest heist film of all time, the most unexpected love story of all time, a great story and  a great thriller, with world class actors you never even heard of, that you will watch episode after episode until 3 am when you realise you’ve unavoidably fallen asleep, and with a fantastic ending–watch ‘The Money Heist’ on Netflix. And learn.

And by the way, I don’t say that smugly. These guys are way out of my league.

YouTube Channel Coming Soon… (but not what you might think)

 

 

Heads up! Tons of rock coming down!

A couple months ago I started thinking about starting a YouTube channel to see if (using what talents I still have) I could hit the Big Time. Or even close.

About a year before that I had another idea. You see, we have a house in southern France that we’re renovating. An old house. Older than the United States. Sounds exotic, I know, but honestly we wouldn’t have it if not for an inheritance. Since then another family member who fell in love with the area bought an old ruin and we’re renovating that too.

But mainly this area of southern France is amazing in so many ways. It’s not the ‘usual’ southern France (Provence, Nice, Cannes, Marseille) that you normally associate with that term. It’s about 100 miles west of that in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It’s France’s Best Kept Secret. (and that was going to be the name of a promotional series I was going to do for the benefit of the local area).

But then, one day, as I was standing in the ruin of the old Forge (1652) that I was working on, I got this new idea.

The Old Forge (1652) as purchased and before site clean-up. That’s a very productive, ancient grape vine growing across the face of the building.

After all, renovating old stone houses is extremely interesting. It takes an understanding and appreciation of the technologies that they were built with that made them last so long. (Perversely, the one sure way of expediting the demise of an old stone/oak frame building is with the introduction of modern building materials such as concrete).

Anyway, interesting as all that that might be, it wouldn’t sustain interest as the sole subject of a YouTube channel…and that’s when the penny dropped and when the two ideas became one: a channel that showed how easily an old ruin can be transformed into a dream house (and also showing you some houses around here and how unbelievably cheap they are) along with a tour of the region and the myriad of interesting things that happen here, particularly throughout the summer, and all the fascinating things and places that are around here. From Cathar castles perched impossibly on sheer stone mountain peaks,

Montsegur, not far from here and one of dozens in the region.

 

to white water rafting, wine tasting tours, street parties that take over villages throughout the summer, concerts, tattoo festivals, traditional festivals, quintessential French villages and towns, lakes, the Pyrenees, skiing, tax-free Andorra, the Mediterranean, Roman hot baths, flea markets that take over towns and villages all summer long (called ‘vide granier’, which means ’empty the attic’ and the treasures you can find there) –all within 90 miles. And so much more.

And to make it interesting, I’d take you around to all these places in a 2CV.

2CV (‘deux chevaux’ –meaning ‘two horses’)

 

The French have an absolute knack and creating the ugliest automative designs that are so adorable they become beloved classics. I don’t have one (but hope to eventually), but may be able to sweet talk a local English friend who has one into borrowing it now and then. It’s the ONLY way to tour old France.

In an earlier post I talked about the possibility of starting a ‘Run and Gun Videography Boot Camp’ down here this summer. If that happens and I manage to get this channel idea going, guess what we’ll be doing? –making videos for the YouTube channel and running around in a 2CV. What could be more fun?!

So there you have it. That’s the news.

The video posted here was done mainly for family members at the time, but with this YouTube channel in the back of my mind. It’s much longer than it would be for the channel idea, but the channel approach would definitely highlight some of the interesting bits of renovating (like the last minute of so of this video).

And like most of what I do, there would be an element of humour along with interesting information to share–except all in short, digestible videos (not 14 minute ones like the Sony camera reviews–which nevertheless were the most watched videos on the internet for those cameras ever and to this day. Thank you. I probably wouldn’t be announcing a possible new YouTube channel if it wasn’t for those videos and your support.

And by the way, my chance for success is based on hedging the bet that many of you will come aboard and help me share it with others when the time comes.

So, for a wee taste, here’s the LONG version of a day in the life of renovating a 380 year old stone house.

(I just noticed a typo in the date. This didn’t happen in the future–it was last month. My bad)

 

 

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