I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 5

Day 5: Indiana Jones and the Curious Gophers

The first shots of an Indiana Jones film follow a very simple formula. Start with the Paramount logo, then fade into a matching shot of a similar mountain. The first film featured a mountain somewhere in South America. The second twisted expectations by fading to a gong with the Paramount logo on it. In the third film we were back to a mountain, the twist that time being that it was some manner of "Young Indiana Jones" standing near it.

It's an integral part of the franchise, so people were obviously excited to see just what that Paramount logo was going to be fading into this time around. Imagine their surprise when it turned out to be a pile of dirt that bares only the slightest of resemblances to the Logo. A little underwhelming, to be sure.

Buckle up, though, because it's about to get a whole lot less whelming.

The mount of dirt shakes and crumbles, revealing a CGI gopher.

I don't know what I was expecting from a new Indiana Jones film, but I'm extremely familiar with the franchise, and had I been forced to sit down and list five hundred things that could possibly appear in the forth film in the series, CGI gophers would have appeared nowhere on that list.

It's not just a momentary appearance, either. After the gopher shakes off the dirt and ducks out of the way of a speeding roadster, he appears a few more times in the film. In fact, it seems that Indiana Jones can't do anything in the desert without the filmmakers cutting to the CGI gopher for a reaction shot.

Just to be clear. This is an Indiana Jones movie where comic relief is gained by cutting to animals being puzzled by the activities of Harrison Ford. That makes the previous lowest point of humor in the series - Willie Scott being scared by animals in the Jungle - look like Fawlty Towers in comparison.

Apart from the borderline madness that led to the gopher reaction shots appearing in the film at all, why CGI gophers? Are there no trained gophers in Hollywood any more? Would it be that hard to get an actual gopher out there for the reaction shots? If the Webternet is to be believed, it's really easy to get them to look dramatically at things.

There's only one possible explanation for the presence of CGI gophers in the film: Dreamworks spent so much money on CGI gopher technology for the film Over the Hedge that they had to split the cost between a number of films. Now that Spielberg has tricked George Lucas into picking up some of the tab, expect that Clone Wars animated film to feature hordes of CGI gophers. Although they'll probably be aliens called Barnoors, and their leader, Geg Galumnous, will speak like a Red Indian from a '30s serial.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Get a professional headshot
You'd be surprised how many people send Polaroids, Xeroxes, or other photos in place of a professional headshot. Don't; they go directly into the trash. If an actor doesn't have the commitment to get a headshot done professionally, how can we expect him or her to act professionally on the set?
Make sure your headshot reflects your spirit.
If you're nerdy, don't send a sexy headshot; embrace your best qualities. Casting directors look through thousands of headshots, and the first hurdle is the "look test." If the actor doesn't have the right feel, they may not bother to look at your resume. But if your headshot misrepresents what you can play, you will most probably end up wasting everyone's time.
Respond only to appropriate listings
If the ad says "mature," and you look 16, or "Latino," and you are Asian, it is best not to waste the postage. Better to focus on those roles that are best for you than to cast a ridiculously wide net.
Send your headshot in an easy to open envelop
Nothing is worse than trying to tear open 500 glued shut headshot envelopes. The best approach is this: Buy clasp envelops and clasp them. If you are worried about the contents falling out, or Peeping-Tom postal officials, use a small piece of tape over the seal.
Write a note
You'd be surprised how much difference a note makes. It is your chance to get a few additional seconds of the casting director's time, and to make your case for why he or she should call you in. (Remember, you aren't asking for the part here, but only for an audition.)
Explain why you should get an audition
If there is a compelling reason why you should get an audition, make it. Is this a Shakespeare play? Well, then, talk about the past verse shows you've performed in. Have you seen this company's work? Talk about that.
Staple everything to the back of your headshot
Imagine how messy some casting directors desks can get. Now imagine your lovely letter (or resume) - which got your past the first round of eliminations - hopelessly lost from its owner. This may mean that both will get thrown out. So staple everything to together (to the back, please - keep that photo clear of debris). And by the way, paper clips are the weak cousins of the mighty staple.
Make your resume meaty
After you pass the "look test," the next stop is an analysis of your resume (laser printed and stapled to the back of your headshot, of course). Remember that most casting directors will only have a few seconds to determine whether or not to read this page, so the first thing that will turn them off is a short experience list. As a rule of thumb, try to get 15 productions listed. (Of course, this is a major Catch 22 - but there's no way around it. A future Tips list will describe how to get all those juicy roles.)
[b]Include an email address[/b]
Email is an easy way to contact actors, schedule an audition, and deliver sides. If you're worried about privacy, create a hotmail account specifically for the purpose.
[b]Write your name on the front of your headshot[/b]
Simple and important, but often overlooked.
Modeling Photographer