A JACKASS And A BIG FAN Take A Bunch Of Boys Out Into The Woods…
August 22, 2011
CROSSING STREAMS: THEY LIVE
August 22, 2011

Put Your Cellphones Away: DARK KNIGHT RISES Leaves Pittsburgh

There’s a play by Michael Frayne called Noises Off that is unique for its second act, in which you see the first act of a play from behind a set. The comedy comes from seeing the mishaps and dashing around and costume changes going on behind the actual performance. I’m thinking heavily of writing a superhero version of the play, as this summer has taught me that people apparently want to see their blockbuster films as poorly-shot behind-the-scenes specials rather than as actual films. Anyone want in on this with me?

Moving on: The cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises will be making a big ole company move right the fuck out of Pittsburgh, having wrapped photography in the city of a million cellphone cameras. The last month has seen a literally day-by-day stream of virtually every move of the production that could be seen from any angle. What has resulted is a nearly unprecedented level of annoying-as-shit coverage of take after take of set-ups, stunts, rehearsals, mishaps, and ass scratchings. It’s been exhausting, and while people haven’t seen nearly as much of the film as they believe they have (all of this shooting and coverage will ultimately only represent a fraction of the film), it’s still been an incredibly frustrating experience having so much imagery ruined in crappy screenshots and grainy pictures that literally could not be avoided if you possess an internet connection. Compounding the irritation are the thousands and thousands of words vomited out in forums, comments, tweets, and FB posts about every nitpicky detail, most of it with absolutely no understanding of how filmmaking works, or how what they’re seeing might figure into a bigger picture. But with a classy little full page ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

So now perhaps the production will move somewhere hopefully more easily controlled, or with less attention-grabbing work to be done. Regardless, the vacuum it will leave is already being filled by The Avengers and Man of Steel. Is it just me, or has a switch been suddenly flipped? I’m not sure if productions are getting bolder about shooting on main streets, if some critical mass of camera phone saturation has been reached, or if it’s really just the energy surrounding the films in question. Either way, I’m happy for at least one stream of it to be slowing down. (This is something I talked about pretty extensively on the Imperial Trouble podcast, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

No more headlines like “Cool shots from…” or “awesome video of…” or “first look at…”

And if I’ve sounded grumpy , it’s because of what I think is cool and awesome and worth a look… footage from the actual cameras shooting all of this stuff! 

Call me a grump or commiserate with me. Twitter, boards, comments — They’re the place to do it.