Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guide To Lighterly Painting (For Movies)

Vanity Fair has reproduced a rambly, sixteen-point stylistic guideline produced by Thomas Kinkade for folks working on his movie about, I guess, being him, which is getting a straight-to-DVD release just in time for this holiday season's consumer spending collapse. (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

Even in West Coast time it's getting pretty close to the point where I need to change out of my pajamas and go to work, so I won't summarize the list myself, but it's a pretty good read for the armchair aesthete who, like Kinkade, doesn't know much about making movies but has maybe seen "Barry Lyndon" a couple of times. (A couple of preceding notes on Kinkade's more private woes are fun, too; do a search for the word "codpiece".) The basic takeaway is that you should approach making a Thomas Kinkade film exactly the same way you would make a Thomas Kinkade painting: gauze up the lighting, create well-balanced but unchallenging compositions, pour on the anachronistic nostalgia signifiers. Also keep the camera movements and editing slow, almost as though your characters are walking around inside a painting; very slow. In fact the pacing should go so slow that the movie... just... stops. That way you can LaserJet it onto a two-by-three canvas and sell it at the mall.

The "Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage" trailer gives you a taste of the outcome of the above principles: It looks like (TRAILER SPOILER ALERT) a maudlin, indifferently photographed story about a young man who makes a terrible public mural for Christmas. And somehow I feel a much more pronounced "oh, how his acting prospects have diminished" feeling for Chris Elliot than for Peter O'Toole, for whatever that's worth.

I remember hearing a Christmas Eve sermon some years ago that featured an anecdote about Thomas Kinkade discovering that his warmly lit paintings could make lots of people happy; I guess this is the movie version of that. It wasn't the most inspirational Christmas sermon, though I did prefer it to the "you'll go to Hell if we don't see you back here before Easter" angle.


Blogger Jack said...

That is absolutely fantastic.

11/19/2008 9:22 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Does it count as "a couple of times" if you've seen the first hour and a half 3 times but the end only once?

12/02/2008 11:30 AM  

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