THE YEAR OF THE ACTOR: The Best of 2013

Am. Hustle

Back in the blog game. This year has been a particularly crowded year for movies that’s seen a couple revolutionary looks at storied settings (Gravity & space, 12 Years a Slave & southern slavery, Spring Breakers & … spring break?), original insight on the 20th century American identity (American Hustle, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Inside Llewyn Davis), and a handful of tiny pictures that’ll stay in your heart and mind much longer than most of their big brothers (Fruitvale Station, Before Midnight, Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers). Most of all, though, this year is notable for how much actors took over their movies, not due to their own star power but through pure screen presence. Hollywood got casting right this year, and it shows in movies big and small:

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RGB // Self-Portrait


RGB Self-Portrait
RGB // Self-Portrait, a photo by AnkySoho on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I (finally) have film coming back in a couple days, so I decided to post the few digital shots I have ready. This shot came as the light was getting dim and after the mosquitoes had already bitten the hell out my legs back in the woods. I tried one shot five times or so, all on a 10s timer so I could run into frame. Somehow I framed it up right to be in the right place with the right focus. I made sure to make the DOF as deep as possible, but still. I’m glad it worked. I’m obsessed with these three colors (R, G, B but there’s not too much B here) put together in minimalistic patterns, and I want to see how various films interpret them, but digital did nicely enough in this case.

Canon EOS 60D w/ Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, edited in Lightroom 4 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.1.

All of a Sudden I Miss Velvia


All of a Sudden I Miss Velvia by AnkySoho All of a Sudden I Miss Velvia, a photo by AnkySoho on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I’ve recently realized how expensive film photography actually is as a hobby. Between the film itself, the cameras I’ve acquired to use it, and then the processing and high-quality scanning costs, I’ve spent a big chuck of my money (which is not a large pot right now) on the entire process. I decided to go out and shoot some digital again, but after one day (yesterday) I quickly realized why I liked film so much more. It’s the colors, the accuracy, the dynamic range, the simple and sharp beauty of it. Digital feels very sterile and flat by comparison, especially pre-Photoshop. And digital can quickly come to look after editing… although maybe that’s a sign of my skill with it. Continue reading

OBSESSION: Film Photography

I’ve always been a little bit drawn to cameras — there are old photographs, taken by my father, that show a toddler me reaching for a camera on a tripod. I didn’t want to be in front of it so much as I wanted to control it; I was curious as to what the contraption was capable of.

Later on in life, as in 2005 (second semester of my freshman year in high school), I had the opportunity to learn old style black & white film photography, darkroom and all. I had been obsessed with digital cameras for a few years; they seemed like the next vital technology my family should hop on as quickly as possible — you know, somewhere among the DVDs, CD Writers, and Minidiscs, all of which I was quick to hop onto, ignoring that these technologies cost was mostly based on novelty and not advances in media quality. My high school’s Art Photo class forced me to go backward and explore the way photography had been done for a century. Continue reading

THE SCORE: Coldplay Live 2012

Coldplay Live 2012

Coldplay’s latest tour, which officially launched around the time of their album release in October 2011, actually reaches back to the previous summer, when the British band hit up Festivals across the world as a test for their new music. Among these fests was Glastonbury, sort of a musical home for the band, which played there in 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2005. Continue reading


From Brosnan to Craig

Most people under the age of 30 — all part of the Millennial Generation (or ‘Generation Y’) — would probably strain to remember any experiences with Bond films before the Pierce Brosnan era, which stretched back to Bond’s first post-Soviet-dissolution adventures in the mid-nineties. While I never knew a Bond movie until 1999’s The World is Not Enough, my first experience with the walther-packing martini-sucking spy had come a few years earlier through a video game: Rare‘s classic N64 game Goldeneye, released in 1997 as a tie-in for the 1995 film of the same name. James Bond was a video game character first, and movie character second, at least in my eight-year-old eyes. Continue reading

ARCHIVE PIC: Me and the Duplass Bros


Photo courtesy of AJ Manoulian.

I uncovered this picture from over two years ago, when I sat down with Cyrus directors Mark and Jay Duplass as part of an interview I wrote up for the Michigan Daily. These guys have both since gone on to direct the 2011 film Jeff Who Lives at Home and Mark (middle) stars in the FX show The League and is also in Safety Not Guaranteed and the upcoming Kathryn Bigelow movie Zero Dark Thirty.



Bricks are the asphalt of old Boston and Cambridge.

I’ve been in Cambridge, MA for the past four days visiting my brother, who’s attending Harvard Law School. After having dinner in Boston’s North End last night, my family and I took a trip out to Boston today, visiting Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, and the surrounding areas.

Not having been here in a long time, I could easily forget that Boston and Cambridge are very, very old cities. But even here, where there are numerous landmarks to document, I wouldn’t try to take very interesting photos with my iPhone 4 (my Canon 60D didn’t come on this trip), save for the occasional Instagram or picture for Twitter. But the picture above, taken mistakenly while fidgeting with my phone, offered some cool focus and blur effects I could never have achieved if actually trying. Cool road surfaces and boat shoes prove somewhat picturesque in this odd mistake that I actually rather enjoy.


I recently traveled relatively far from the Michigan homeland of Ann Arbor — first I visited Vancouver, BC for the Vancouver International Film Festival and then continued on to Los Angeles for four days. While most of the trip was social and vacation-like, it was all nonetheless embedded in the context of filmmaking and my future career plans. Zug played at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct. 1 and 4, and the next week I was on to Los Angeles to pay my old Disney friends and coworkers a quick visit.

I don’t get out of the house much (or at least out of Ann Arbor). The occasional trip is, then, something I’m remarkably not used to — the combination of the comfort of home and the danger of peanut ingestion on the road often keeps me in a physical comfort zone where it’s incredibly easy to just be. When I get out, it’s a different enough experience that it inherently does a number of things to me. First, it makes me appreciate the awesome and generous place my hometown is; and second, it brings exciting new places and new ideas of what my future could realistically become. CONTINUE READING →