A Golden Age for Documentary

“The late documentarian Albert Maysles—who made sympathetic figures out of door-to-door Bible salesmen, decaying shut-in aristocrats, and the IBM corporation—once said, “The film is sort of the beginning of a love affair between the filmmakers and the subjects. Some filmmakers make targets of the subjects they film; that’s not our way.”   This is a great article over at The Ringer about the incredible evolution of the documentary genre, the increased awareness of audiences and investors about the potential of documentary, and the remarkable box office success of movies like the recent Mr. Rodgers biopic “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” https://www.theringer.com/movies/2018/7/24/17607044/documentaries-box-office-three-identical-strangers-rbg-wont-you-be-my-neighbor-mister-rogers-cnn

On Public Rhetoric and Hate Clicks

There has been a very important (and destructive) development in our public rhetoric, which is not new, but becoming more pervasive: the success of hate-click-inducing articles. In the economy of the internet, clicks are currency because they represent attention, and attention can be turned into money by way of advertising revenue. It’s not unlike the ratings system of network television. The more people who are watching a show, the higher price that network can charge for commercial time.   Well in today’s world, people are after web traffic, and they will use any and every tactic to maximize clicks. One way to do that is to illicit a reaction. Strangely enough, human psychology is such that a negative reaction is often more apt to produce action than a nuanced or thoughtful take. So people produce content that is intentionally  combative, racist, controversial, prodding and often just plain bad. This induces us to share such bad takes in a sort of “can you believe this person?” way. This in turn encourages the practice, and more extreme views, more offensive content and more bad takes are produced, the creators of which are handsomely rewarded.   This is is a case where the […]

Johnathan Gold Dies at 57

Johnathan Gold, the emblematic food critic that fostered a deep and widespread love for the LA food scene, who almost singlehandedly transformed food criticism from that of a snobby profession focused on high end dining, to a democratization of food, celebrating diversity and context in Los Angeles eateries… died today of pancreatic cancer.  At 57, we have lost him too soon, and I am deeply saddened by the news. For me he was engaged in highlighting and celebrating what makes LA so great: its diversity, the stories of its people, and the spirit of discovery and curiosity. I owe much of my LA experience to Johnathan’s guidance, and I will always cherish the documentary celebrating his life: City if Gold.  God bless you Johnathan and may you Rest In Peace.  From the LA Times article:  “He wasn’t looking down his nose at the world, he was looking out from the table and trying to put restaurants, meals, and cuisines in context. Empathy, understanding, commensality: That’s what he brought to the game,” Meehan said. “Jonathan didn’t write restaurant reviews, he wrote about who we are and how we feed each other. He wasn’t just a better writer than the rest of […]

My Profile on Goodreads

Hey guys! I’ve opened up and author profile over at Goodreads. If you are on there, please look me up. Once you have my book, if you would review it on there that would help us out a lot. In the meantime, you can ask me questions if you follow this link! https://www.goodreads.com/author/18221330.Justin_Wells/questions

Minding the Gap Official Trailer

The trailer for Minding the Gap is up. Again, this is my favorite film from Sundance 2018. It’s going to be in theaters and on Hulu next month!

Cover Art 

Things are moving forward with my book you guys. I just approved the cover art, whipped up by the good folks over at Wipf & Stock.

ND/NF Review: Wood and Water Finds a Spiritual Connection Between Germany and Hong Kong
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Minding the Gap is Coming to Hulu

My favorite film from the 2018 Sundance Film Fesitival is a beautiful little film called Minding the Gap, a personal piece of confessional cinematic space by Bing Liu. I’m so happy to see that, after an award winning festival run, it will be coming to theaters in August, and you’ll be able too see it on Hulu after that. I can’t recommend it enough.   “What makes Minding the Gap so powerful and intimate is the presence of Liu, who uses his past connections to dive into his own family experience, confronting his mother and brother as the filmmaker breaks the third wall, revealing why he’s returned and documenting the process of healing. Setting itself apart from other rough and ready documentaries about lost youth coming into their own, the creative forces behind the lens slowly immerse us in the drama that happens once everyone leaves the skate park.”

How to Easily Upgrade Your Smartphone Audio

Here’s a little device that is now on the market that I’ve been waiting on for a long time. As you guys know, I’ve been experimenting with micro photography, inspired by the Old Man in Motion blog. So I’ve been shooting when I travel with small Sony cameras like the a6500. Well I’m choosing to do that, you are essentially choosing to rely on dual system sound, since the audio recording capabilities of these prosumer cameras are limited. This is a handy little wireless lav that works with your smartphone. It means that you won’t have to carry around a separate audio recording device. I’ve ordered mine and I’ll let you guys know how it goes! https://www.desktop-documentaries.com/smartphone-audio.html