It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged and the author Ayn Rand. So when I was asked to shoot the Behind The Scenes photos for the 3rd Atlas Shrugged movie, I don’t think I let Scott DeSapio (the Associate Producer) finish his sentence before I jumped all over this. It’s not just that I’m a fan, but the idea of having real production value and professional actors to capture was so exciting. I’ve been extremely prolific, and I’ve moved very fast, but I’m still relatively new to photography. When I picked up a Sony NEX-3 four years ago, I first treated it more like a much better quality point and shoot. My friends know I went quite OCD with it, but I had NO IDEA a few years later I would be asked to shoot all these events around the country, and now BTS photos for a movie that will come to theaters and bring my photos to a much bigger audience… wow. Behind The Scenes photos are usually boring, so I was determined to create art pieces at the best of my ability. I had earlier gained some notoriety for my event and conference photos. There’s now probably around 10,000 Facebook profile photos of mine floating out there, being used by people for all sorts of purposes, from Match.com to Speaker Bios to Wikipedia to Book Jackets. And now the Associate Producer is telling me “I want Judd Weiss photos. Can you deliver us Judd Weiss photos?”. Hell the fuck yeah! The pressure was on. Fortunately production was starting the following week in LA, so I didn’t have to wait too long to jump in.
Thank god Sony just released their earth shattering full frame mirrorless A7 right before filming started in January. I had been shooting on smaller sensor APS-C NEX cameras before, and I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the full frame mirrorless, following any shred of rumor and news story for the previous 2 years. I knew I needed to move to a full frame setup in order to take my photos to the next level, and the A7 did not disappoint! I had never shot photos of this quality before, and my love for the camera rose along with excitement from the production team for the quality of photos I was delivering them. I was determined to push past my limits, and over deliver, but I didn’t expect to rise to this level. In January I still had plenty of room to grow, but these photos were a massive leap of a milestone for me. I’m so grateful for that opportunity.
The movie comes out in theaters tomorrow. Some of my photos were used in the film itself, not just in the marketing. For me this whole thing has been a real honor. I hope you enjoy some of these :)
A couple nights ago, at a private screening for Atlas Shrugged Part 1, I took my seat, closed my eyes, dropped my head, and for the first time in my life, I said a prayer. “Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball.” A vision flashed in my mind of John Travolta, on the cover of a Battlefield Earth poster. Petrified, my fingers hardened into a grip around my arm rests. “No!! Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball…”
No doubt, the excitement in the room was mixed with fear. The producers of this film had the balls to make a motion picture out of one of the most thought provoking and controversial novels of all time. A Library of Congress reader’s poll ranked Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book of all time next to the Bible. Other prominent reader polls of Best Novels ever written have listed Atlas Shrugged as #1. It’s a 1000+ page classic epic packed with action, philosophy, adventure, politics, romance, mystery, and a whole lot of attitude. Back in the 1500s, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of a prominent Catholic church, sparking The Reformation. Ayn Rand nailed these 1000+ pages on the door of the world’s churches and state capital buildings, sparking what history might record as the beginning of the next renaissance. The next cultural movement to bring a focus on reality and reason and freedom and productivity back to the world.
This novel isn’t about running a railroad. It’s about society crumbling. And what causes that. It is so ambitious and controversial because it dramatizes the different fundamental values of our culture, and how that plays out through people in a society in crisis. When times get tough, more is demanded and taken from the achievers and high earners. So they work harder, they try harder, but the chains pile on, until they strike. Yes, the business leaders strike, not the employees. The title references the Greek god Atlas, who strains to hold the weight of the world over his shoulders. The load gets heavier and he struggles through blood and sweat to keep the world up. Until he changes his mind, shrugs, and drops the world. Let it fall. Let the world burn. Let all the ungrateful leeches and apes have it to themselves and enjoy it. Atlas is done.
Continue Reading >>
See Below after the break
for a SPECIAL INVITATION
I’ve seen so many amazing documentaries. Right now I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a better documentary than “Waiting for Superman“. Brilliantly executed. Explains the issues clearly and intelligently. Demonstrates the affects of our failing schools at a macro national and international level, and also on a very personal level by following the story of a handful of kids in our schools around the country. This film was powerful; insightful; emotionally gripping; and so beautifully cinematic. If this doesn’t receive an Oscar, then the Oscars will no longer have any meaning. Very few movies are required viewing for everyone, this is one. It’s as simple as that.
Perhaps the most powerful message of Waiting for Superman is its title. The school bus with our children is heading for a cliff, the driver is asleep at the wheel. No one is coming to save the day. We cannot wait for Superman. We CAN become aware, and act.
Today I just saw the new Robin Hood movie directed by Ridley Scott. I was SURPRISED. Not just because I liked it better than I thought I would. Not because it was political, but because the message was so different from what you expect of the man who steals from the rich to give to the poor. And mostly that the message was so eloquently SPOT ON.
I never judge a movie’s quality by what it’s trying to say. I judge it by how well it says it. Avatar was an amazing movie, expressed itself powerfully, even though its message was juvenile. Not only did Robin Hood have an excellent message, but it brought it out in dramatic form so expertly.
This movie was about taxes. Yes, taxes. And it drives home the point of what taxes mean in the backstory. Showing how in 12th Century England people of the country are breaking their backs to support themselves in harsh times, only to see what they’ve produced and earned ripped from their hands by rulers demanding that everyone pay their fair share. Their fare share for the rulers’ endless wars and other endless expensive spending projects. Eventually it gets to be too much and the people organize together in mass for a tax revolt. Hmm… Tea Party?
I’m google-ing online now and finding many critics are very upset that this is not the classic steal from the rich to give to the poor Robin Hood. There’s no other such socialist undertones that imply rising higher than others is inherently wrong. No, instead there’s a demand on the King that a charter be drafted to limit his powers so that he cannot spend or tax without the consent of the governed. Robin Hood shouts to the crowd “What we ask for is Liberty. Liberty by Law!”, and makes the case to the King that a land of free people will create a stronger more prosperous England, as well as create citizens more loyal than any King enjoys.
[Check out the Trailer Below]
Yup, the movie’s message is a nearly explicit rallying cry for the Tea Party movement. And feels like an attack on both Bush and Obama. Continue Reading >>