The storytelling language of ‘Star Wars’

Patrick Willems has put together another insightful video essay, this time on the storytelling language of Star Wars. This essay eschews any talk of storytelling decisions, focusing only on how the craft informs the audience’s experience of the film.

One thing this essay made me realize is that each of the post-Return-of-The-Sith films (i.e. the ones made by Disney) has a vastly different style, yet a couple of them (Rogue One and Solo) have had a really troubled production history, requiring new directors to be brought in. It’s a small reflection of how Lucasfilm was willing to take chances on new directions for the series, but then discovered during the execution that maybe it didn’t want to do that after all.

One Second for Every Day of My Life (2017-2018)

For the past six years, I’ve recorded one second of video for every day of my life, then combined them all to create a 5-6 minute video that summarizes that year.

As usual, the process of going through the seconds is an emotional one. I fondly remember details and moments that I’ve forgotten, and get nostalgic for all the things in life that I miss.

Ultimately, this has been one of the more intense, eventful years of my life and I’m glad to be living through interesting times.

How realistic is HBO’s ‘Barry’ when it comes to acting class?

I had a chance to chat with legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky about the new HBO original series Barry. Stephen and I talk about the show’s themes and how realistic its depiction of acting class is. Also: Stephen gives advice to anyone interested in taking acting classes for themselves.

Check out Stephen’s new book, My Adventures with God, on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

A review of Mixtiles – a cool way to mount and hang photos on your wall

Update (12/16/18): This post has really blown up! If you’re here to check out this review, welcome to my blog! The Mixtiles product has changed a few times since my original review was filmed/written:

  • Mixtiles are now a flat rate of $10 each. While that is still a bit hefty per tile (given that the tiles are essentially made of cheap foam), I think this pricing is much more convenient and palatable. It’s a much better deal for 1-2 tiles and makes it easy to order that many without needing to do math.
  • Mixtiles now comes in a variety of styles: Bold, Ever, Classic, Clean, and Edge. The latter is the only one that was available when I made my review. I’ve obtained some Bold tiles to try out and thought the frame looked pretty good, but there are two important differences:
    • The Bold (and I assume the Ever, Classic, and Clean ones) are much thinner than the previous version of Mixtiles. This makes them more manageable to store and move around, but also makes them feel even cheaper than before.
    • The new tiles now only have a single adhesive strip on one side (vs. four sticky pads). This means if that single pad wears out, you are out of luck and will need to contact Mixtiles to get more sticky stuff. I’m not a fan of the new single stripe pad, primarily because it makes sticking it onto a wall surface feel inherently unbalanced — after all, the pad is sticking out of only one side of the frame. That said, I haven’t had any problems with the single pads wearing out on any of my new tiles.

My original review follows below. If you’re a fan of my video/writing, feel free to subscribe to get emails from me.


I had a fun time trying out Mixtiles recently, which is an app that lets you print out photos that are ready to hang. I found Mixtiles via an Instagram ad and was intrigued at the idea of being able to easily print, mount and move around photos.

Mixtiles cost $49 for the first three, and $9 for every Mixtile thereafter. Shipping is free (although it’s basically just built into the cost of the first three Mixtiles).

Overall, I had a good experience with Mixtiles and think it’s great in certain circumstances. Find my full video review above and my pros and cons of the service below.

Pros:

  • Responsive customer service — You get the sense that this is a mom and pop operation, but not necessarily in a bad way. Customer service through the app was extremely fast, and responsive. These people really want you to have a great experience.
  • Adhesive quality is good — Mixtiles stick really well onto walls, and aren’t super difficult to remove.
  • Photography quality is decent — Photos appear to have a matte finish. Fidelity and sharpness is solid.
  • Weight — Mixtiles are super light and easy to carry around and transport

Cons: 

  • Foam core does not feel like a premium product — From far away, Mixtiles look great. But when you get up close and touch them, they look exactly look what they are: Photo prints mounted onto foam core. They feel flimsy and don’t seem built to last.
  • The first few are expensive — The first three Mixtiles are $49 (including shipping). That is a high price to pay for this quality level. But the more that you buy, the more it makes sense to do so. This service is particularly useful for events, where you might need to gather large set of mounted photos in short order.