The New Blacklist

“The blacklist was a time of evil…no one on either side who survived it came through untouched by evil…[Looking] back on this time…it will do no good to search for villains or heroes or saints or devils because there were none; there were only victims.”

-Dalton Trumbo

The Academy Awards have been viewed for many years as a sham by many people, but this year I feel insulted as a lover of cinema. I love Film, I hope by now that has been made clear, but I think Hollywood has out lived its usefulness.

I don’t think you should make a film to win awards. You should make a film because you have a story to tell. If you do win an award, it should be because you earned it. It shouldn’t matter who you are, what you look like, or what set of genitals you have.

Art is about appealing to the human soul. It transcends the flesh., crosses barriers, and brings us together. Art does not pander. 

Out of the 20+ films I saw in 2017,  it irritates me that Get Out is nominated for Best Picture, a genre film with forced social commentary over something like A Ghost Story, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, or even Blade Runner 2049 (though I didn’t care for it). Those films were something slightly different than the exciting, annual racism-is-bad romp that we are accustomed to seeing.

It is pretty obvious that Get Out was put there to meet some sort of of quota and that’s really sad. It shouldn’t matter who you are, it should matter what film you made. Enforcing this distorted “diversity” will turn the Academy Awards into the Not White Male Awards.

Isn’t this forced inclusion of “diverse” films simply shifting the prejudice to another group of people rather than giving more people exposure?

I find the idea of the censorship and maligning of the art of any artist based solely on what group they belong to alarming and disgusting. I firmly believe that everyone deserves a voice in art, even if popular opinion is that they have too much privilege. It has only been  50(ish) years since the infamous days of the Blacklist. Are we really going to repeat this petty political game this quickly?

My First Screenplay

Hi guys! I’ve been dealing with a pretty rough migraine this week so I couldn’t really write anything too extensive this week.

However, I did find the first screenplay I ever wrote.

An Eye For An Eye is a Sin City-esque revenge film I wrote sometime in 2014 while I was in community college. It is approximately 16 pages and hopefully it isn’t too horrible to read.

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A Year in Focus

As of today, Pulling Focus with Ethan Hatchett has released 10 episodes cover subjects such as Christine (2016), Mindhunter (2017), and film editing. I couldn’t be more happy with the series and the response towards it. Thank you all!

I have always loved watching video essays and I had tried making some in the past, but for whatever reasons, I was never happy with them.

I have a big plans for 2018, so stick around for more!

My Brother

*I’m digging through old writing and I have found some stuff that I think might be worth posting.  This was written sometime in 2015.*

This is not an easy topic for me to write about. I don’t want this to be a catalog of perceived wrongs or just the good things about my relationship with my brother. I want to give a fair portrait of my relationship with my brother.

I have an older brother. His name is John. John has Asperger’s Syndrome and epilepsy. He is adopted. John is six foot nine inches tall. He is the most gentle person with animals I have ever met. John is also the crassest person I have ever met. Our relationship is… complicated.

John is different than most older brothers. He is nineteen, but his sensibilities are that of a thirteen year old. John can’t be left alone. He could seize and really hurt himself. John is socially awkward and doesn’t always get social cues. He doesn’t know how to tell if someone is disinterested when he is telling a story, if someone got his joke, but doesn’t think it is funny. and other things like that. John has no filter. What a normal person knows not to say to their grandmother, John says on a regular basis.

I used to resent my brother. My parents would always make a big deal over his, in my childish perspective, tiny accomplishments. He would color in the lines once and there would be a celebration. I would always color in the lines and not even get a pat on the back. John couldn’t ride a bike, but he was congratulated for trying. I could ride a bike with no problem, but no one cared. I understand now why my parents did this, but at the time I did not. It was a massive injustice in my mind and it was all John’s fault.

When I was born my brother was unhappy. He pitched a fit, actually. He was jealous that his mother was holding a new baby. This wasn’t exactly unusual behavior from an infant, but this behavior continued all the way into adulthood. My brother was always jealous of me. Who could blame him? I could do things that he couldn’t. Things that he struggled with, I did with ease.

On my birthdays (in early childhood), my parents would often get my brother a gift too so he wouldn’t complain. John hated when I was the center of attention. He would pitch a fit and complain to the point where I was miserable.

When I got my learner’s permit my brother was extremely jealous. Because of his epilepsy he couldn’t drive even though he was older than me. He wouldn’t go anywhere with me (when I was driving) without criticizing any little mistake I made.

When I entered into a relationship with a girl from his horse riding classes, he was, once again, jealous. He called her “The Foul Blue-haired Temptress” and me “The Love Leech.” Luckily, she took this all in stride and laughed about it. This time he was concerned about losing me which was kind of nice. It showed that he cared in his own weird way.

In later years, our relationship has improved. I used to ask ‘What is wrong with John?’, but now I know there is nothing wrong with John. He is just different. I understand John now. I don’t expect him to be like everyone else’s older brother. I love my brother. I wouldn’t want to have any replacement. He is special to me. He may be crass, rude, and just plain mean sometimes, but so am I. I would do anything for my brother. When I look to the future, I know that I will have to take care of John and that’s okay. I wouldn’t want my brother to be left all alone without anyone to look after him. They say you can’t choose your family, but I think you do. You choose who you keep in contact with, who you associate with, and who you trust. I choose John. He is compassionate, funny, and his heart is in the right place. Despite our past, I value my relationship with my brother even though it isn’t conventional.

Slide Whistle Wellness

How To Play the Slide Whistle,  is my most viewed video that I have ever made. It was released on January 3rd, 2011 when I was 11 years old. At that time I lived in Jackson and had a lot free time (obviously).

I was homeschooled at the point, and I was just learning to grapple with my nemesis, Boredom,  I made videos every day back then. They were unpolished, barely edited, and very strange.

Despite the lack of quality of the videos, they were well received by the small few who watched them. If I didn’t make all those videos, then I wouldn’t have learned the basic skills that I rely on everyday.

As a child, I would draw, write,  make videos, sing songs, and do whatever creative thing I wanted to do despite not knowing anything about those mediums. It just felt good to express myself.

Fast forward 8 years later, and I still like to be creative, but with some reluctance. I am now concerned with budgets, schedules, and equipment. I hunger for day when I can make something everyday once again, but at a “respectable quality.” Looking back, I am envious of that child’s “blissful ignorance.”

But, in reality, it is the adult who is truly ignorant. Films are not made by budgets and equipment, they are made by people. Schedules can always be altered to make time . for anything. These things are just excuses being used to cover up the true problem. The adult is afraid of rejection.

The child wasn’t dumped by his girlfriend, denied selection in this or that film festival, or not hired by this or that employer. The child still has the fire in him, but somewhere along the line, the adult had his flame smothered.

The reality hasn’t changed though. I could film anytime I want with my DSLR. No one is stopping me, but me. That may sound perilous, but by the same token I had hold the power to change.

In the end, we’re all fearful, but what makes us brave is acting in spite of that fear.

Below, I have compiled some of my favorite videos from, “The EMagnusTV Era.” I hope you enjoy their ridiculousness.

Mustangs and Mistakes

This past weekend, I ventured with my family to Lexington, KY to see Elizabeth Bussey compete in the youth division of the Extreme Mustang Makeover.  So naturally, I borrowed a Canon Rebel T6i and the Canon 18-135mm lens from work to capture the event.

In my infinite wisdom, I didn’t borrow a tripod with a tripod. I realized this about an hour into our 6 six hour trip. I shot the event handheld and it was better than nothing, but it wasn’t up to my standards. Adobe Premiere’s Warp Stabilizer is a great tool, but it isn’t perfect. For a lot of events, I use a video monopod because of its slight portability advantage. The Stabilizer works pretty well for shots on the monopod, but, as I learned, going handheld at 135mm is a task too great.

Here is the video I was managed to cobble together. To me, it is definition, “meh.”

*Note: This video is not on my main channel.*

Let me know what you think in the comments! Remember to follow this blog for more content and to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see it first.