Chicken On Wire

by Jimmy on November 28, 2012

Synopsis:
To fulfill his destiny and experience the highs of glory, a man prepares to walk across a slackline with his beloved chicken.

Making the Movie:
Man On Wire is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Not only was the movie a remarkable work of art and clever docuthriller, but Philippe Petit’s grand imagination and single-minded focus on achievement influenced me greatly.  Philippe, like other steadfast documentary protagonists such as Jiro Ono of Jiro Dreams of Sushi or Steve Wiebe of King of Kong – A Fistful of Quarters, taught me that no matter how straightforward (making the best sushi) or trivial (high score on an arcade game), making reality of any dream is one of the greatest highs in life.  Dreaming is a comfortable bosom in which to lay, however, after a pause you should come to realize that she’s a nasty old mistress who will keep you prone and intoxicated your whole life.  Be prolific in accomplishing those simple, trivial, wild, inexplicable dreams and real life will essentially become one long, sweet dream. [click to continue…]

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Shielded Metal – A Welding Documentary

by Jimmy on November 1, 2012

Synopsis:
A documentary about the gritty beauty of welding. Professors and students from the Northern Virginia Community College arc welding class star in this short movie and help give a brief history of welding (including the grand history of women in welding), their motivations for pursuing a career in welding, and the great assortment of things you can create from metal and heat.

Making the Movie:
It’s been almost a year to the day since I posted something on the Jimbob Movies website and what better way to get back into the swing of things than to premiere a new documentary.  Hopefully, this will assuage the fears of the few Jimbob Movies fans out there, if not my own fears, that I have not and will not stop making movies.  I just took a hiatus to focus on starting a small farm.  I recently bought a 13 acre farm in Fauquier County, Virginia and leading up to that purchase I decided to enhance my on-farm acumen with some needed technical skills like welding.  Welding and farming have been a natural match since the early 20th century when tractors slowly started to replace draft animals on the family farm.  Farmers were able to using various welding processes to repair and modify their tractors and the attachments that were pulled and pushed by those tractors.   Of course, you don’t really need to be a good welder to be a good farmer.  You just need to know enough and have a steady hand.  In fact, often times people call a bad weld a “farmer’s weld.” [click to continue…]

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If making a movie is tantamount to giving birth then a movie premiere can be akin to showing off your newborn at a family reunion.  At both events, you are among people who connect with you on a personal level.  These people will usually see your newest creation as something to be adored, if not appreciated.  Everyone is joyful.  You are happy.  Now if we can extend the movie production/baby-making comparison further, we might say that submitting your movie into an actual competition can be compared favorably with entering your child into preschool or kindergarten.  The event is filled with some trepidation as it is the precise moment you unleash your creation to the cannibals.  You tell yourself that it had to be done, but you know full well that something will be gone forever.  On rare occasions, if disciplined, you can still look back with nostalgia at how brave and pure your original pursuit once was and how at one moment during that transcendental time when day begins to creep into night, when you in your glorious solitude, half-naked, sleep-deprived and high on adrenaline had held in between your hands for what seemed like a lifetime something undeniably, absolutely perfect.  But after this moment,  that perfection will disappear and once again become a myth.  But what of love, you ask?  Yes, there will always be love.  The love still remains for your creation, but it will be of the ordinary, unconditional type.

Disclaimer: I have never had a child, but I do intend to have one.

Jimmy Nguyen wins 4-H First Place Blue Ribbon for moviesFor me, it’s all about the feel of that blue ribbon on my cheeks.

So with all that being said, I want to share with you the results of entering my last two movies, Warm Clothes and The Golden Mother, into the 4-H Short Film Contest at the Fairfax 4-H Fair, which took place this past August 2011.  Before we proceed, a bit of background on the 4-H Fair.  The fair is a place where 4-H kids are allowed to show off their wonderful creations (artwork, photography, sewing), talents (barrel jumping with horses, gardening, floriculture, tractor pulling, dog agility), and animals (dogs, rabbits, cows, goats, pigs, and things made from dead animals).  It really is a wonderful atmosphere that allows children and teenagers to show off their amazing potential or rather how amazing they are right now and how lackluster and unproductive you were at their age.  All of their creations, talents, and animals are also judged and awarded ribbons.  So what was I doing entering my movies into a 4-H Fair for kids?  Well, I did enter my movies into the “Open” category designated for adults who want to try and muscle in on the excitement.  Also, my wife is the 4-H Extension Agent for Fairfax County and she asked that I enter my movies.  You see, she kind of organizes the whole thing.  And this was the first year the movie competition took place at the fair and so there were not a lot of entries.  And, who am I kidding?  I wanted that damned blue 4-H ribbon.  Because blue equals First Place.  And First Place equals winner.

4-H Judges’ comments and scores on “Warm Clothes”:

Judge No. 1 –
“Believable characters”
“Very interesting – connecting scientific study to real world”
“Dragged a little”
“Wonderful variety of shots and angles”
“The section where the zebra dryer was created seemed a bit long”
“The accompanying music selections were very nice – added to the tone of the piece”
“After watching this movie I wanted to ‘scrow up’ – a combination of scream and throw up’” (okay, I made this one up)
Final score: 52/60
Judge No. 2 –
“He should have defined the “warmth” part a little clearer- why they were putting on warm clothes – its effect on their lives”
“Random people and the violinist should have played for us to hear.”
“Authentic”
“I didn’t know that the dryer was actually working or if they were just sticking their clothes in there.”
“Definitely original”
“The Zebra Dryer making was too long”
“dragged a little parts were confusing”
“Movie lacked someone who can command your attention like that guy John Stossel does to me when he turns to the camera during one of his investigative reports on that 20/20 show and he starts to furrow his brows and flare his nostrils and I think the behind the scenes people might start dimming the lighting because I notice his complexion changes and gets all serious like and you can tell he’s fed up with something and he starts to say things, powerful things, only I don’t remember what, all I know is that I get lost in the way his mustache moves up and down and up and down and – this movie didn’t have that and it was sorely missed by this judge.”
Final score: 50/60

Final award: Blue Ribbon – First Place Winner

John Stossel from 20/20

For Judge No. 2, Warm Clothes lacked John Stossel.

Judges’ comments and scores on “The Golden Mother”:

Judge No. 1 –
“Fascinating topic and talent”
“Nice choices in complimentary clips”
“Loved this film!” (I did not add the exclamation point)
“Interesting framing, panning, etc.  Very professional feel”
“Great use of the ‘classic’ clips with interviews”
“The piece was a good length – kept my attention the whole time
Final score: 53/60
Judge No. 2 – “Unique”
Final score: 50/60
Final award: Blue Ribbon – First Place Winner
(Editor’s note: The judge’s comment about John Stossel was made up)
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Warm Clothes movie – Watch it here

by Jimmy on June 4, 2011

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Movie synopsis: Inspiration comes to Matt as he sits in a landromat, listening to a Radiolab podcast.  From the perfect confluence of events, Matt, an everyday provocateur, decides to build a social experiment to see how much difference a little warmth can make in people’s lives. Much to his surprise or intended plans, a beautiful woman becomes part of his experiment and the seed for a boy meets girl story is sown in the fertile cylinder of a zebra dryer.

Starring: Mike Wissner and Dana De Filippi
Guest appearances by: Raycurt Johnson, Portia Richae, and Lenah Nguyen
Music by Stan Getz
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Making the movie (spoiler alert, watch the movie before you read): Warm Clothes is a movie that suits my style perfectly.  No script, ever-changing, actors and actress casted on the fly, and an orgy of stolen shots in public places.  Running around Virginia and D.C. with that zebra dryer felt like I was peeing in my hot tub.  In other words, it felt like I could do anything I wanted because I owned the place.  I don’t actually own a hot tub, but I do pee in them.

[click to continue…]

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Movie Synopsis: The community of Kings Park in Springfield, Virginia is just like Any Suburb, U.S.A.  Uniformity and familiarity prevail as you pass through the neighborhood up until you spot the 30-foot golden statue rising up from behind a house.  That house belongs to Michael Meredith, a general contractor, part-time sculptor, and unconventional suburbanite.  The documentary is a light-hearted history and exploration of  the eponymous statue and its creator and the reactions they get from neighbors, aspiring artists, and commuters, who are witnesses.

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Making the movie (spoiler alert, read only after watching movie): Who doesn’t love listening to This American Life and the extraordinary stories they tell of “ordinary” Americans?  Some of my favorites episodes are Superpowers, DIY, My Experimental Phase, and of course, Home Movies.  These stories tell of people engaging in activities that range from the remarkable (spending decades trying to get your best friend out of prison) to the whimsical (a boy trying excitedly to find his superpower) and they are all very approachable.  So much so that it kind of inspired me to go out and make a documentary about something in my immediate world.  Well, there was no better subject or less subtle one than the 30-foot statue that stood 5 minutes from my house.  I am being a bit bold when I say that the large statue was an obvious choice for me because in reality it was my wife who told me about the statue  even though I had probably driven down Southampton Drive, where the statue stands,  more than a dozen times without seeing it.

After my wife’s half-hearted attempts at explaining to me what I should be looking for and where, I rode down the approximately 2 mile drive several more times and still didn’t spot the statue.  Our roommate at the time came home one evening and exclaimed that she had indeed seen the statue with her very own eyeballs.  I felt the same type of dread when those Magic Eye posters were popular, which is to say not much.  I can be patient for these magical moments.  I wasn’t going to sweat it.  Okay, maybe I was a little jealous. [click to continue…]

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