Sunday, August 16, 2015

John Singleton Looks Back at Ice Cube and Compton

This has been a big weekend for folks from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton. The film " Straight Outta Compton" has grossed nearly $60 million at the box office this weekend exceeding initial expectations. The movie which profiles the rise and influence of members of the world's most dangerous rap group, N.W.A., has reintroduced people to early West Coast hip-hop. It's interesting to see where guys like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube are now in their respective careers compared to where they stood 25 years ago. As powerful as N.W.A. was in the early 90s, it wasn't just the music that was influencing people, but film as well.

In 1991 a young up and coming director had a major splash with the release of his film Boyz in the Hood that told the story of a group of friends trying to make it out of their South Central L.A. neighborhood. They guy who directed that flick was a man by the name of John Singleton. It was Singleton who also gave Ice Cube his first acting gig and it's something that Cube is grateful for even to this day. Check out the clip below to hear John Singleton talk about Boyz in the Hood and the impact N.W.A. had on him in this 2013 interview on Canadian television.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Getting A Seat at the Table

As we move through the last week of July and trudge through the dog days of summer, it's worth remembering that the looming shadow just beyond the horizon, is our national reminder that football season is coming. Training camps began their annual commencement this past weekend, and a deluge of journalists will be there to report every touchdown, failed snap, and pick-six that takes place. One of those journalists is getting some much deserved shine.

Josina Anderson is a well respected journalist who has covered a multitude of sports over the years, but is probably best known for her NFL coverage. She's be stationed at training camps, given live reports from the field, and as black woman, has stood out in an industry that has long been dominated by men.

So that's why it was good to see her not in the field this time, or outside some training facility, but with a prominent seat (literally) during a recent discussion on Raiders QB Derek Carr. We don't often see women -- especially black women -- with seats at the table when discussing sports, so it was certainly refreshing to see this. Much props, Josina. See you on Sundays this fall.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Super Producer Will Packer Offers Words of Wisdom

To say these are good times for Will Packer would be an understatement. Between movies and now not one, but two, new TV shows on deck, Packer is definitely making moves within the industry. It's good to know however that he isn't above sharing some wisdom with the public.

In an informative and revealing interview with New York hip-hop radio station Power 105.1, Packer discusses how he got started in the industry, the current projects he's working on, and gives some advice for aspiring filmmakers and producers.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Brandon Todd Rises to New Heights

There's a good chance that I'll never dunk a basketball in my life and I've learned to accept that. However, this video which features Brandon Todd -- a guy all of 5'5 -- has inspired me to think maybe there is some hope after all.

This video featured on The Atlantic website tells of how Brandon Todd always wanted to be able to dunk a basketball despite his short stature and limited hops. He put his body through hell and made some serious sacrifices all for just the possibility that one day his hard work would result in him doing something he'd always dreamed of but never achieved -- dunking a basketball. See if his work pays off.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Back from a Hiatus

This feels like learning to ride a bike again after a long absence.

This is probably the longest I've gone without blogging since I started FilmSwag some 4 years ago. It wasn't for lack of ideas -- there have been plenty -- but more of a self evaluation on where I plan to take this blog. I've been researching, attending conferences, meeting folks, and generally gaining a broader perspective on blogging and my purpose in it.

While I always enjoyed writing about film and media, I've lately been asking myself what do I bring to the table that's different than what you'll find on other sites, and how can I better showcase not only my work but others as well? So I'm thinking for now: less articles, more photography, increased video, and testimonials. Might also be abandoning Blogspot altogether -- stay tuned.

As for the foreseeable future however, I do plan on blogging more consistently and giving you guys, the readers, better and more unique content. Thanks for visiting.

                                                                                                                             - Warin