Friday, December 10, 2010

Brandon's Studio Session #1

group pic

snakey smoke

ring of justin
Brandon takes good photos.

Writing 140 Assignment #4

…It’s the ‘Niggar’ family!” The Chappelle Show’s Season 2 skit “The ‘Niggar’ Family” opens by depicting a 1950’s style TV sitcom revolving around an affluent white family “the Niggars.” This is the typical Leave-it-to-Beaver-type nuclear family, except for the fact that the family name is pronounced exactly like the racial slur. Most of the skit’s humor is created by the disparity between the family’s extremely white appearance and their last name “Niggar.” Keeping in mind the last name of this fictitious family, Chappelle sets up a series of scenarios in which he applies African-American stereotypes to the white family. For example, the family affectionately comments on their newborn niece saying she has “those Niggar lips,” and jokingly chastise their son for sleeping in, calling him “one lazy Niggar.” Furthermore, the family’s African American milkman Clifton (played by Chappelle) puts specific emphasis on the name of “his favorite family to deliver milk to – the Niggars!” While some may argue that Chappelle is merely using racism as a means of humor, the skit “The Niggar Family” effectively critiques unfair yet deep-seeded African-American stereotypes. By presenting audiences these stereotypes, Chappelle shines a harsh light on racism that the public would otherwise lack the audacity to address, and further ridicules these prejudices by imposing the same stereotypes on a White family.

In this skit, Chappelle addresses a multitude of racist presumptions about African Americans, such as their athleticism, their love for pork, and their forgetfulness when it comes to paying bills. By presenting these stereotypes in a comedic fashion, Chappelle essentially mocks and makes light of an otherwise serious issue. His mockery is as blatant as his jokes are – he criticizes racism by making the prejudice the subject of laughter. As Kant stated, “laughter is an affectation arising from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing” (Berger 6); thus Dave Chappelle turns this racism into the focus of his comedy and reduces it to nothing. He takes an otherwise fragile subject and makes it approachable, and impels audiences to address these stereotypes, even if it is on a comedic level. For instance, the opening song introduces the family, but also presents something socially controversial – the use of the ‘N’ word – rather jarringly. This bluntness creates the humor that Chappelle utilizes to critique the racist stereotypes of African Americans by bringing them to the forefront of the audience. Just as the family in the skit acts as if there is no racism at hand when there is a clear and direct reference to it, Chappelle draws a parallel to society, ignoring racial context, stating that it is still very present. In fact, the latter portion of the skit directly tackles the issue when Chappelle bets that the white Timmy Niggar will “get the finest table a ‘Niggar’s’ ever gotten in this restaurant.”

Yet another prime example of how this critique functions is the portion of the skit where Jenny Halstead’s father learns that she is having a date with the “Niggar” boy from school. Initially thinking that she is to have a date with an African American, he acts appalled and concerned. At this point, laughter is generated by making fun of such a racist close-minded reaction. And when the father is relieved knowing that the boy is actually white, his relief from what he considered to be a problem pushes the humor even further. This instance takes a glance at racism in a similar household and ridicules it. Jenny’s father is portrayed as holding racial prejudices and is the center of the joke; Chappelle illustrates the fallacy of the father’s view that the situation is acceptable since the boy is white. He presents the prejudices as illogical and unwarranted, and audiences find such a perspective hilariously candid.

By relating these stereotypes to a White family, Chappelle degrades the racist conventions that, until then, had only applied to African Americans. As Assata Shakur believed in the 1970’s, these white stereotypes of African Americans were so ingrained in society, that Blacks called each other similar derogatory terms (30). However, in Chappelle’s system of comedic retribution, the White family is faced with the same prejudices that they perpetuated for decades. While some may argue the skit merely fuels this cycle of racist stereotyping, Chappelle illustrates its absurdity by bringing it full circle to Whites. In “The Niggar Family,” the whites are the ones being forgetful of paying bills, loving pork, being athletic, or being lazy. The skit illustrates that a family of any color can exhibit these same stereotypes that were previously reserved for African Americans. Furthermore, the skit degrades the racist standards by placing such a light tone on the atmosphere; although the racism is there, the skit remains cheery and jovial. As Chappelle would say in response to these racist remarks, “Niggar, please!” The skit turns the stereotypes into what they are – merely stereotypes – and undermines their power.

Chappelle’s degradation of these stereotypes is mirrored by his similar breakdown of the ‘N’ word. What makes this skit presentable to mixed audiences is that Chappelle uses the ‘N’ word to refer to the white family “Niggars,” when it is a clear reference to the racial slur. In fact, Chappelle phrases the family name no differently than in the manner he says the ‘N’ word, such as “Peace Niggars!” While some may argue that he only does this to produce cheap laughs and use offensive language on television, he is breaking down the word’s derogatory connotation by making it simply a family name. He makes clear what he is doing when he calls Frank Niggar, “Mr. ‘N’ Word.” Just as the name “Niggar” is just a family surname, the ‘N’ word is merely a word. Here, he undermines the power of the ‘N’ word by presenting it to the opposing race. Had he used an African American family, however, the skit would merely reiterate the historical self-hatred (Assata 31) among the Black community and perpetuate prejudices. But because the family is white, Chappelle is able to utilize the ‘N’ word in an unconventional setting and thus portray it as nothing more than a word to be made fun of. For instance, when Chappelle introduces Timmy Niggar to his wife, his wife actually mistakes him for another one of her African American acquaintances. This mix-up portrays the ‘N’ word as something not only used to refer to African Americans, while still being connected to its traditional use.

Yet another layer of critique present in “The Niggar Family” addresses how Whites are more socially accepted than the opposite race. In the skit, the white “Niggars” can get away with having such an offensive term as their last name as well as possessing some of the negative qualities that stereotypically black people are said to have. This notion focuses on the day-to-day cases, as well as historical incidents, in which African Americans are persecuted and scrutinized for their actions more heavily than Caucasians. This inequity is also a source of laughter for audience members, and Chappelle makes them aware of this disparity with his concept of a family that seems to resemble a Black family, but is more socially acceptable because they are white.

Now according to journalist Dexter Gordon’s theory of humor, Chappelle’s skit would be a “ridicule of White slaveholders” as a “safe way to do violence to the oppressor in return for justice” (256). He further states that this African American humor provides a channel for a “venting of anger and aggression while providing the community a sense of solidarity” (256). While this may be plausible, Gordon’s argument is not particularly valid because Chappelle’s social commentary isn’t limited to blacks. His audience is a mixed one, and his show holds massive appeal across the ethnic spectrum. Although his blunt commentary may be more acceptable for audiences because of his own race, he addresses both blacks and whites since they have both perpetuated these racist conventions. Plus, the closing portion of the skit features a family called the “Wetbacks” and opens the door for the breakdown of stereotypes for other races. Chappelle not only tackles issues of African American racism but racism in general.

However, there is merit to the argument that “The Niggar Family” simply encourages the racism it is intended to critique. Chappelle’s social commentary can fall onto the wrong audiences. Although most can see his evident critique, there are bound to be some, among the millions of viewers, who see nothing but racist jokes. Chappelle was actually concerned that he was acting “socially irresponsible” by potentially contributing to the very prejudices he is trying to break down. What he may not have considered is “how many people watch [his] show” and that the hottest comedian at the time had had a “moral responsibility” in his content (Chappelle). The effectiveness of his sketches is contingent on his audience, and he is socially aware of this. In his interview with Oprah, he acknowledges “that [there are] a lot of people who understand exactly what [he’s] doing…[and] then there is another group of people who will get something completely different” (Chappelle). This group of people refers to the racists he seeks to make fun of – and his skits can be taken as a means to reinforce their views. For instance, viewers who actually hold the prejudices Chappelle pokes fun at may only see the racism on the surface of his show and further uphold their prejudice. While the slim percentage of these viewers limit Chappelles’ social commentary, the majority of his audiences can view his message clearly in this skit.

Although Chappelle holds no moral obligations in his content as a comedian, his stance on his humor is clear. It is obvious that his skits aim to address social issues; and in the case of “The Niggar Family,” Chappelle breaks down racial stereotypes and the use of the ‘N’ word. His critique comes full circle at the end of the skit when he laughs, “This racism is killing me inside;” he implies that the racism is killing him humorously but also literally in a double entendre. Overall the skit’s directness clearly addresses issues of race, but is limited by the few who fail to see beyond Chappelle’s racist jokes. The meaning behind the skit is ultimately subjective to its audience, and cannot be perfectly conveyed with such a broad base of viewers. When taken as a whole, however, “The Niggar Family” can be interpreted for its social commentary by any conscious viewer who pauses to think for a moment.

Twenty Two Fourteen



From the Radison
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Random HD Footage

Watch in 720p! I was too lazy to use any slow motion better than FCP. Some extra footage lying on my computer. Some at 30 fps and 60 fps. Edited most of this in class.
I've finally been home so I had a chance to upload a few new videos to my YouTube account.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Old Hendrix Edit

Pulling an all-nighter at Starbucks. Their internet is super fast so I decided to upload an old montage to some Hendrix. It's really old so the filming and colors suck, sorry! I miss this camera, hopefully I get it back soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interracial Unity in T. Thomas Fortune’s Black and White

I like to feel scholarly sometimes.

American Studies 252 - Black Social Movements
Essay #1.
Promt: What was T. Thomas Fortune’s vision for America, particularly for the plight of black and white farmers? How did the U.S. Constitution, the Magna Carta, and the Communist Manifesto inform his ideas? [Obviously, Fortune makes passing reference to these documents, so it is up to you to extrapolate his ideas from the text.] What movements in the late 19th century took up his agenda and why did they fail?

In a country torn apart by deep-rooted racism and the “peculiar institution” of slavery, the 19th century African-American encountered radically changing time periods in the face of an oppressive society. From the outbreak of the Civil War to an era of Reconstruction for the defeated South, T. Thomas Fortune has witnessed the vices and plight of the African American in the course of pivotal points in U.S. history. While the Northern industrialists and Southern planters shared a post-Civil War vision for reconstructed America revolving around cheap docile labor, Fortune had his own revolutionary vision for the newly freed African Americans. His vision in Black and White transcends racial lines between the African Americans and Whites, and instead perceives the conflict to be one of socioeconomic class. Speaking out against injustices on land, education, political oppression, and labor of the hour, Fortune finds the cause of the laboring man “the same in all sections, in all States, in all governments [and] all the world” (108) and writes Black and White for the “common cause of a common humanity” (108). On the aforementioned issues, he advocates, respectively, common ownership of land, universal fundamental education, political independence by means of universal suffrage, and the unity of labor against an unjust capitalist system. At the heart of Fortune’s vision for America is a theme of interracial unity and can be reflected in his influences from the U.S. Constitution and the Communist Manifesto; furthermore, without this central component of interracial cooperation and class-conflict, his vision, as shown through the late 19th century movements that took up his convictions, ultimately fails.

On the subject of land reform, Fortune’s main vision for this interracial working class is the adoption of common land as a commodity and the abolition of land as private property. Interracial cooperation against this economic concern is crucial in his image of land reform; he believes both black and white farmers had an unalienable right to land for it was “one of the natural elements…without which life could in no wise be sustained” and upon which “[grew] those things which nature intended for the sustentation of the physical man” (136).

Indeed, the issue of land reform surpasses any racial lines and shifts the focus of the question to the economics aspect. A monopoly on land means farmers of both races struggling not only to pay land tenants but also to merely survive and feed their families; this leads to the poor conditions of the South, while it also increases the wealth of the land-owners with minimal labor. Fortune opposes these powerful land-aristocrats because “they thrive” while “all the rest of humanity…[revels] in poverty, vice, and crime” (140). Thus, the concept of land as common property would give “the same opportunity to the great laboring classes, who earnestly desire to make a living but to whom the opportunity is cruelly and maliciously denied” (Fortune 140). Without common access to the soil, the laboring classes of blacks and whites share the common enemy of the land-monopolist and must ultimately work past racial differences.

Fortune’s call for universal laborers mimics the Communist Manifesto’s universal cry for “working men of all countries [to] unite” (Marx 32). Similarly, Fortune’s idea of common property is shared in Marx’s Manifesto; in fact, the theory of the Communist party “may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property” (Marx 14). Both Marx and Fortune speak against the injustices of the upper class, which controls the methods of production, in this case, land, in support of the “proletariat.” The common land reform question is even raised in the English Magna Charta from centuries before; the 13th century citizens instated that all private forests to be “disafforested;” furthermore, the common ground for equal opportunity stems in Fortune’s belief in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that “All men are created equal” and are “under equal protection from the law.” Thus, looking at Fortune’s vision for equal opportunity in common land, one can see his influences by the aforementioned documents.

The idea of racial unity behind the common ownership of land is accompanied by Fortune’s same idea of racial unity behind labor. This is one of Fortune’s most directly explicated visions – that the economic oppression of laboring classes causes a need for the laboring blacks and whites to overthrow the capital-ruled society and distribute wealth more equally. By illustrating that “the condition of the black and white laborer is the same and that consequently their cause is common” (109), Fortune aims to change the capitalist environment that drives the labor of the majority to provide for the few. He speaks against competition between black and white farmers and instead asserts, “[the] intelligent, the ambitious and the wealthy men of both races will eventually rule over” without invidious regard to race or previous condition” (110).

Indeed, Fortune’s emphasis on the interracial future of labor is clear; capitalist competition, in its drive for the maximum production at the minimum cost, ultimately “reduces the wage of the great consumers as well as producers” (104). Slavery illustrates the immorality of exploiting workers at minimal cost; yet after its abolition, it has persisted in the economic exploitation of “wage-slavery.” This capitalist machine accumulates wealth in the hands of a few, and leaves little for the laborers. Thus, the black farmer and the white farmer “should unite under the one banner and work upon the same platform of principles for the uplifting of labor, the more equal distribution of the products of labor and capital” (108).

Again, it is evident that desegregated labor was at the heart of Fortune’s agenda; and this, again, has its roots in the Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto advocates an agrarian socialist society with equal wealth and opportunity for all, which is essentially what Fortune argues for. Capitalist economy has a tendency to undermine, and therefore eventually eliminate, racism; and after the smoke has cleared on the controversy of race, what is left shall be the class struggle of poor versus rich. After all, as Marx affirms, “[the] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (3).

On the question of the political role of the African American, Fortune champions harmony between the two races by calling for the black’s assimilation into a traditionally white political society. Although the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments guaranteed the ballot to all males on paper, they held little power in enforcing these ideals. Here, it is important to note Fortune’s bitter view of the Constitution as a non-living document.

Fortune’s reference to the Constitution as “our Magna Charta” illustrates how significant he perceives the document to be (at the time the English Magna Charta still stood for the righteous sentiment of government by the people for the people). It is the disparity between his strong belief in the Constitution’s ideals and its inability to enforce them that makes his tone bitter and ironic. In regards to slavery, however, Fortune mocks how “the most broad and liberal compact” can be used to shield the slave owners “but yet cannot shield a black man, a citizen and to the manor born, in any common, civil or political right which usually attaches to citizenship” (7). Of what use is a guarantee of equal protection under the law if it is not enforced? This document, which institutionalized the enslaved labor of millions of human beings, betrayed the ideals of equality that it had stood for. Thus, although political equality for African Americans cannot be achieved through America’s Magna Charta, it is nonetheless important to note its influence in Fortune’s beliefs in the very ideals it fails to uphold.

Returning to Fortune’s vision for political equality, he endorses “the harmony of sentiment between the blacks and whites of the country” as “natural and necessary” (71). Hence, the colored man of the South “must cultivate more cordial relations with the white men of the South” (78). In turn, the white men would ideally acknowledge the colored man as an independent force in Southern politics. To attain such acknowledgement as a true independent voter, Fortune sought to eradicate party affiliations by telling blacks to affiliate with “any faction which will ensure him in his right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’” (68). Again, one can note the influence of the Founding Father’s ideals on Fortune’s beliefs. Furthermore, he emphasized the need for intelligence and knowledge on the political system of government in order to create a true independent voter. And when African American votes lie on both sides of the political spectrum, racial divisions among politics will have been eliminated, and only then will the African American vote truly count.

With race out of the picture of politics, Fortune’s image for black and whites is comprehensible: that the “best interests of the race and the best interests of the country will be conserved by building up a bond of union between the white people and negroes of the South” (71). Since the interests of the two are essentially the same, future legislation affects them both, and African Americans should firstly assimilate as American citizens and equal recipients of the law. Thus, as Fortune states, “[to] preach the independence of the colored man is to preach his Americanization” (76); he must put his nationality before his ethnicity and join his fellow Americans, regardless of race.

Finally, Fortune’s theme of interracial unanimity is mirrored in his call for universal education. The role of education is vital in Fortune’s post-Reconstruction era, and he believed the government should provide it for all; it is the government’s responsibility “to see to it that its citizens are properly prepared to exercise wisely [their] liberties” (36). (Fortune’s reverence to the principles behind the Constitution is yet again reflected in his belief that “[the people] should be instructed in the language which is the medium through which to interpret their grand Magna Charta” (37).) Indeed, without education, the ballot is meaningless. Fortune not only speaks specifically for the blacks, but the poor whites, as well, who have no schools, appalling literacy, and horrible poverty, who are also men the same as their racial counterpart. Therefore, Fortune denounces the segregated school system that undermines his vision of racial unity. Not only does it unjustly demoralize the students, in their supposition that one is better than another, the system maintains twice its expenditures for the two sets of schools, “simply to gratify a prejudice” (41).

What Fortune suggests instead, is universal industrial education, education in a specific trade. If education prepares one for work to be done, then men should be taught with specific reference for that work. In his interracial proposal for education, Fortune asserts, “What the colored boy, what all boys of the country need, is industrial not ornamental education” (55). Here, he finds a social injustice as dealt to the African American population, and then incorporates his interracial standard for the Whites, as well, in dealing with the injustice.

Undeniably, Fortune’s concept of interracial unity is so crucial that the movements inspired by his beliefs eventually fail because they lack this unity. For instance, the National Colored Farmers’ Alliance, founded in 1886, took up the principles of T. Thomas Fortune and Booker T. Washington with an agenda that advocated economic progress for political unity. When collaborating with the white Farmer’s Alliance, they became divided over a Federal Elections Bill; and subsequently the white Farmer’s Alliance opposed one of the Colored Farmer’s strikes for the increase of wages of cotton-pickers. These failures consequently led to the decline of both movements. This is a prime example of how Fortune’s interracial unity was not achieved, and, as a result, the movement encounters failure.

A similar social working movement, the Knights of Labor, neglected the segregation of the South and excluded Chinese workers. The disparity and inequality of race ultimately resulted in the party’s decline in the 1890’s, too. Out of this grew the Populist movement, which, too, failed due to divisions within the party. Although initially speaking of setting aside between poor whites and blacks, their fusion with the Democratic party in the 1900’s introduced white supremacists, such as Thomas E. Watson, and a call for disfranchisement of the black vote. Here, these movements could not overcome the deeply rooted racial differences that Fortune believed would, in the end, disintegrate.

The lack of interracial unity was yet again the downfall of a political advancement in Wilmington, North Carolina. Although the Republicans and Populists defeated the Democrats for control of the state’s House and Senate seats in 1892 and even elected an African American to Congress in 1896, the Democrats eventually regained power. By appealing to whites’ racial fears, the Democrats won over white Populists to the ideas of White Supremacy and destroyed this interracial alliance.

Even the movement sparked by Marcus Garvey was undermined by racial conflict. While he initially gained followers because his advocated racial unity, his progress was eventually hindered because he made the fundamental assumption that those of colored skin shared his common beliefs; this assumption undermined racial equality for he presumed an entire race to possess his perspectives on the mere basis of their skin color. Once again, interracial agreement is key in Fortune’s proposal for America; without this, Fortune’s suggestions prove impossible to sustain.

Thus, interracial unity is central to T. Thomas Fortune’s vision and can be illustrated in his propositions for land, labor, politics, and education; one can see the influence of this essential component in the U.S. Constitution and Communist Manifesto. Indeed, the book that is the brainchild of his beliefs is titled Black AND White, with emphasis on the conjunction “and,” which connotes togetherness of the two people. As a book centers around its title, Fortune’s beliefs gravitate around this concept of harmony between Black and White. The failure of late 19th century movements that attempted to take up his agenda serves as direct evidence that the interracial unity they lacked was a key factor. Fortune’s ideas, as well as those behind Marx’s Manifesto, were radically ahead of his time – that “black and white citizens of the South must alter the lines which have divided them since the close of the war,” and that they are “essentially, one people [with] a common origin…[living] in the same communities, pursuing identical avocations, and subject to the same fundamental laws” (84). And although his vision for an agrarian society and the death of capitalism was never attained, it is significant to note his influence on future movements for political, social, and economic equality for blacks and poor whites, and to recall his main premise of interracial unity upon which these ideals are built can provide valuable insight into our nation’s past and to our future.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Clara x DFD

Pretty cool show. Two of my favorite YouTube stars. Great musicians. I wish I had taken some pictures of the Dr. Dog concert at the Wiltern.


Clara Chung

Clara C

Monday, November 1, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Planet Productions

I landed another internship. I'm really grateful I got this one; it'll allow me to see if I want to go into film production or not. I got a fancy new email and even a company water bottle. No more free boards and skate videos but at least I get to actually work. The firm does commercial and documentary work advocating alternative energy and a cleaner environment; last year their documentary Fuel won Sundance. I just might develop a much greener conscious and a few bags under my eyes. Working and being a full-time student is going to be a challenge, but here I go.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vans Downtown Showdown

Two Skateboarder events in the same week makes me quite the lucky intern. Just another contest with all the big names, only it was held on the set of Paramount Pictures. The Hollywood lot was full of the typical LA hipsters as well as all the OC weirdos who decided to follow the crowd. Top hats, checkered pants, Canon DSLRs and the occasional "Who's Nick Trapasso?" were the mandatory requirements to fit in. All in all though, good vibes all around, and I got to see my homies from Active back in Brea.

Paramount Pictures

Vans Downtown Showdown

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Standard Hotel

Raven Tershy

Skateboarder Magazine held a sick Mini-Ramp Jam Contest, judged by the skaters themselves at the Standard Hotel in Hollywood. While initially I was a little skeptical about the scope of the event, when I saw names such as Andrew Reynolds, Mike Carroll, Vincent Alvarez, Daniel Castillo, Eric Koston, and Dylan Rieder among many others, I immediately retracted my statement. An awesome night of skateboarding, pros, girls, and drinks. Check out the recap and photos of the night at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nollie Flips With Justin Nguyen

This was an old college essay attempt that I was experimenting with. It's totally cheesy, but I threw in some profanity to help it out. It's kind of like a photo with accompanying text.

1. The feeling of rolling away from a trick, no matter how simple, is purely liberating. Unfortunately for you, this trick isn’t so simple – it involves flipping the board from the nose instead of the tail, essentially kickflipping switch stance. Roll nollie, with your front foot on the nose and your weight in the middle of the board.

2. Check yoself before you wreck yoself. Being hotheaded and breaking your ankle is one of many ways to humble yourself, as I’ve learned. So make sure you chigity-check yoself. Set your feet up - front foot square on the nose and your back foot hanging off the bolts in a pointy nollie-flippy position.

3. This is where vision meets reality. Pop the nose like you’re poppin’ a cap. If at first you don’t succeed, call an airstrike.

4. Every jump is a leap to defy the laws of physics and to be finally amount to something greater than this limited world - so jump high. Flick your back foot across the board to make it turn on its axis. Try to avoid looking like a frog.

5. Take your time – watch it flip and wait for that familiar grippy tape. Good things come to those who [skate] (I think its supposed to be “wait”). Appreciate the beauty of the physics – its pretty wicked eh?

6. Do not think. Feel. As Bruce Lee said. If you’re feelin’ it, stick that shit!

7. Bring your board down and roll away like a boss. Destroy all obstacles, be it rocks, bumps, or even security guards.

8. Congratulate yourself and repeat about one thousand more times. Practice makes perfect, being steezy ain't easy.

Like art, skateboarding has no set of rules or boundaries, and everyone has their own individual style. Now that I’ve shown you the basics, go out and make it your own; craft your own personal Nollie Flip. I’m Justin Nguyen and that’s how you Nollie Flip. Now throw it off some stairs!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chasing Perfection (Short Film)

A short film about an individual's compulsive behavior and its accompanying loneliness. Filmed with Canon's 5D Mark II and the Rebel T2i. Edited in Final Cut Pro. Featuring Chris Robertson and music by The Album Leaf and The Veils. Enjoy.

A Day in the Life

A short edit filmed by Brandon's Nikon d90 and Kevin's 5D Mark2. Edited in Final Cut Pro. Graphics done by Sam Jau. Inspired by Fred Mortagne's shorts.
It was a fun experience filming and being unproductive. Stay tuned for more shorts!


A short film shot in three days with Kevin's Canon 5D Mark II and a broken focus ring. Somehow edited on iMovie. Music by the Album Leaf and from the Wristcutters Soundtrack.

Brandon's Viewfinder

Brandon took some photos as I filmed John Nguyen of Hammers Skateshop this summer. Check out his photostream.

Under angle

Justin 2

gap spot


Maloof Pictures

Eric Koston

Stefan Janoski

Ryan Decenzo

Check out my Flickr.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World Review

From the moment the Universal Studios classic intro is played in 8-bit sound, you know you’re in for something different with this movie. Michael Cera is once again type-casted as his typical shy, heartbroken awkward-character, except this time he’s got video-game fighting abilities. The plot follows Scott Pilgrim’s journey from coping with a heart-wrenching breakup with She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named through an epic Battle of the Bands in Toronto and falling in love with the girl of his [literal] dreams. The catch is that he must defeat her bitter evil exboyfriends, each with their own superhuman video game powers. The supernatural ridiculousness isn’t too questionable since, from the start, the entire movie is set like a big video game, with plenty of childhood references for you gamers. The smaller quirky things, like on-screen texts and classic anime-like animations (split-screening faces and crazy flying backgrounds), also make this an extremely innovative film. The editing was superb for these subtleties. The scene transitions are very quick and creative, as expected from Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). The film displays a new style an genre of cinema I haven’t seen before; it’s definitely worth the watch. What can I say, that shit was fresh!

Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

Another movie review - this one was released in 1998 (still amazing 10 years later). For those who don’t know, the director Guy Ritchie also directed the latest Sherlock Holmes film, if that sparks your interest. Forget your convoluted-‘Inception’-plot syndrome. Forget your classic Pulp Fiction cross-cutting and juxtaposition. This pre-“Madonna” (before he married her) Guy Ritchie film is the British enigma of an ironic story. With over seven or eight different parties (the main group of protagonists, their theif-neighbors, a legend Harry the Hatchet, his debt collector, a group of stoner pot-growers, a Samoan drug boss, two idiot-goons, and two expensive smoking barrels), Guy Richie somehow manages to over-explicate dramatic irony as all we see the separate stories interweave and unfold. I can’t do the ridiculous story justice, nor would even a Wikipedia summary, so I won’t say anything more than that it’s a story about criminals taking risks and making chips. While the dialogue isn’t as fresh as say, Pulp Fiction, it is definitely there and very crispy. The characters are all very hip (this was before Jason Statham became lame), and their accents and use of the “F” word make this an enjoyable watch. Be careful not to get lost though, there are many characters and they all tie in together in some twisted coincidental irony. Go out and rent it. It’s bloody brilliant.

Inception Review

The most contagious thing is an idea. Once an idea is planted it grows into a virus or cancer or something like that, according to Leonardo Dicaprio. And the idea or concept behind, what I feel is not only the best summer movie but perhaps the best movie I’ve seen in QUITE a while, Inception, is pretty original. I’d like to say something cliche like my opinion is worthless and I’m just writing this for the hell of it, but if I didn’t feel strongly about my taste or thought it was no value, I probably wouldn’t be writing this for the hell of it.

First of all, goddamn. I don’t know where to start. It was brilliant, definitely up to par with some of my favorites (can’t beat Pulp Fiction, of course). It wasn’t the typical summer blockbuster with explosions and car chases and shootouts (Transformers sucks!); it also had one of the most intricate twisted plotlines breeching that of and requiring the logical processing to follow The Departed (also with Dicaprio). Although, at times, the ridiculousness of the plot approached a little too farfetched, everything pieced together perfectly which makes this film a pretty damn good work of art.
The premise is based around manipulating dreams and the subconscious to extract or implant information in a person’s mind. With this we get dream-within-dream scenarios, worlds that break the barrier of reality, and impossible anti-gravity fight scenes, while all the while raising the existential questions of “What is real?” and “Are we even here?” Nolan did a great job as the director (this was better than The Dark Night), with the help of actors Dicaprio, Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe and personal favorite Ellen Page. The ending is beautifully up to your own interpretation and will have definitely earned a spot in my heart as a “classics” a few seconds, years, decades from now. For those who haven’t seen it, you should go out and watch it now. Stimulate your mind and finally think, for a change. I’d gladly see it again.

Kick-Ass Review

Believe me, the trailer is no joke. This is not your average high-school super hero comedy. This is some real shit. A crossroads of wicked awesome violence and more-than-the-typical-crude humor along with some sarcasm and just straight up funny shit. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat the whole time - overwhelmed by the pure awesome fight scenes, witty dialogue, and even seriousness at times. This was my first time going to the theaters since - I don’t know - Zombieland, and Kick-Ass blew me out of the water. Probably the best film I’ve seen in quite a while. The director displayed a variety of editing styles that bordered old westerns and Terentino. A great music selection along with actress Lyndsy Fonseca doesn’t hurt either. We all go to movies to escape reality, get lost in a far off scenarios - and, trust me, I was there one hundred percent of the time. Look up the other trailers and check out the movie. Kick-Ass kicked some major ass. I’d love to see it a second time.

The Hospital

The lobby is finally empty. There are some lingering – a Hispanic child with his coloring book, an Asian-American with those thick-rimmed glasses that evoke a Steve-Urkel stereotype, and an old man with a beard reminiscent of Santa Claus. However, there is nothing magical about this place; it is, in fact, far from it. This is the most boring and realistic of positions to hold, aside from the one eerie light that now illuminates the hallway. When the eighth hour is struck and that minute hand hits the twelve, I am finally free – absolved of my duties, and escorted by the two security guards that define my volunteer experience.
D and N are a strange duo, the former an African American whose gravitational attraction is due to his size and deep voice and easy-going personality, while the latter a short stout Puerto Rican who, due to the culture in which he was raised, doesn’t mind chasing underage girls – or any girl for the matter (he doesn’t like to discriminate). Although he doesn’t seem to catch some of the Dave Chappelle references or the subtle humor between me and D, the three of us are nonetheless a pack of some sort, adjoined by some cosmic coincidence or a mere twist of fate.
“Ready to go?” asks D, and I instinctively hop on the back of the black-and-white golf cart – one of those stereotypical of those douchebag-campus-advisor-pseudo-authorities, but here, the differences lie within the driver. And thus, begins our hourly adventure on the premises. We prowl the landscape, the three of us, on the surface appearing busy, but instead engaged in an eternal conversation that is always cut too short. These are the Monday nights, searching to find a meaning, or pursuing the even-greater fight against never-ending boredom; this is the reason I put up with the menial tediousness of working the front desk where people seem to have an obligation of faith in my all-knowing ability to get exactly what they need. Too many a person waits for that slight head-nod of approval to pass the double doors behind me. But what they don’t know is that they’ve been fooled by a white-collar shirt and a nametag, and that secretly I am just a seventeen year old knowing barely enough to get by, let alone provide the answers to all the questions in his head.
This is one of my many faces, someone I pretend to be, a person of temporary significance, with a meaning, asserting and thus proving my very existence. One day, I hope to take off my masks and find that I, too, am human.

Lost In Translation

Looking up at the bustling Tokyo cityscape, I felt like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation. Visiting Japan two summers ago was quite the culture shock. Throughout my studies, I had never found the Japanese language in any way, difficult or confusing, but there I stood, alienated by the foreign landscape. I walked around the city of blinding lights, helpless, and in search of a bathroom.
I walked in a nearby convenient store.
“Irrashaimasse!” rang the owner’s words in my ear.
I froze. Out went two years of grammar patterns, phrases, and expressions. Instead I nervously muttered a feeble “Konichiwa” and began to browse his wares. I don’t know what it is about the male ego that makes one hesitant to ask for directions, but desperate times called for desperate measures. Luckily, the shop owner spoke to me in English; so I asked him where the nearest restroom was. However, “How can I help you?” was apparently the extent of his English capabilities. Feeling a little confidence kick in, I asked him again, this time in his native tongue, “Otera wa doko desu ka?” And from there all hell broke loose.
He tried to give me directions, but he spoke too quickly; this wasn’t like class where I could replay the tapes if I missed something. I listened closely, and I listened hard. Hidari meant left, migi meant right, naka meant inside. I had to decipher his words, translate his sentences into English, and by then I was already two or three statements behind. We resorted to a more primitive channel of communication, a hand-drawn map. And after a humorous exchange of mutual confusion, I thought I knew my way.
I walked along the street, on the left side this time, not the right. As I followed my directions, I took note of the interesting fashion and hairstyles in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district. But my bladder told me that this was no time to appreciate some of the finer points of Japanese culture: miniskirts, big hair, and delicious-smelling noodle shops. Instead I had to interpret a very foreign map, lest my fate end like Tycho Brahe’s.
Eventually, I found myself standing in front of a small temple. Retracing my steps I wondered where I had made my mistake. But soon enough, I saw the restroom sign and asked no further questions. Little did I know, that I had accidentally asked the clerk for the nearest “Otera” instead of “Otearai,” the former actually meaning “temple” or “shrine.” Regardless, I was rather lucky to have found a restroom there.
My summer experiences in Japan were humorous, to say the least; and I learned much about the Japanese language and culture. My Japanese phrase book became my best friend, and I discovered that Sumimasen (excuse me) and Kudasai (please) were the only phrases I needed to get by. Japan and its culture were totally different than how I thought it would be, and I got a real taste of its customs and traditions. As Bruce Lee once said, “If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”

Ankle Break

It was like a Quentin Terentino movie where the plot twists at the end; only I wasn’t killing Bill or adding chunky pieces of pulp to fiction. But I knew for a fact that my ankle was more twisted than any other aforementioned screenplay. I stared at my large swollen ligament, which felt so numb I was nearly convinced that it wasn’t mine.
I don’t know why I jumped. Maybe it was the applause of fellow skateboarders encouraging me to think myself invincible. Maybe it was my ego slipping and forgetting Ice Cube’s advice to “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” But that wasn’t likely for me; I just really wanted to do it. Jumping with my board off of the 12-stair set was a challenge, an obstacle to prove myself something more than ordinary, a leap for independence. If only I had succeeded, I would have broken free from all limitations – fear, physics, and myself. I considered trying it again, but my logic told me the damage was too great for a second attempt.
The jump was irrational, but skateboarding in general is irrational – how the timing and coordination of my feet can manipulate a wooden board to flip, spin, and turn. I think that the worst enemy of skating is logic; once you start thinking, you hesitate; once you hesitate you fall and fracture your ankle. I longed for the pure emotion, the euphoric satisfaction of rebelling against the laws of physics, but my three or four seconds of mid-air suspension was interrupted by gravity, and I walked away with a broken bone, but not a broken spirit.
I was in the waiting room for urgent care, a place I had become acquainted with throughout my four-wheeled endeavors. I dreaded seeing my parents’ concerned faces, an image with which I am far too familiar. They didn’t understand my desire to be extraordinary, my leap to be something better than Justin Nguyen. Closing my eyes, I thought of the times where I was too scared to prove myself, where my logic trumped emotion – not riding Six Flags’ X2 rollercoaster, not entering beatboxing contests, not trying spicy Indian curry, ditching my friends for homework… I was enumerating the list, when I heard the nurse call my name.
“Nguyen, Justin.”
I rose, but now with a little pride, and I limped my way to the emergency room.
“Back again, I see?” asked the nurse half-humouredly.
Smiling, I nodded. This time, I was glad I had chosen the irrational thing. I would never look back and wonder “What if?” The shooting pain in my leg was a shining trophy of my passion for greatness. In fact, I couldn’t wait for the three months of healing to pass so I could try the very same maneuver again – to taste freedom in the few seconds of weightlessness. If every injury were a mark for my jumps and leaps for the extraordinary, I would gladly break my ankle over again.

Summer Montage

Throwaway footage from Joe, Travis, myself, and a little bit of James, John, and Drew. Filmed with my VX1000 and edited in FCP. Music by The Radio Dept.

Maloof AMs 2010

Goin' HD! Some janky clips from my 550D of Friday's AM preliminaries of this year's Maloof Money Cup. Cory Kennedy, Austin Gillette, Kevin Romar, Evan Smith, and much more.

Maloof 2010 Pros

Some janky clips from the Maloof Money Cup 2010 filmed with my Canon T2i

Hollenbeck Skatepark - Make A Wish
Make A Wish Skate Jam at Hollenbeck Skate Plaza | Filmed and edited by Justin N. | Thanks to DC, Skatepark of Tampa, Analog, Gravis, World Industries, Volcom, WarCo, Stereo, Deluxe, Native Amercian Action Sports and Welcome.

Imaginary Folklore

Finally had time to throw some footage together. Filmed/Edited by Justin. Song: Passion Pit - Moth's Wings

Butteryass Impossibles

Impossibles made possible.

VX Montage

First full length edit with the VX1. Some footage from over the past few weekends.


My first edit with my VX1000. Filmed at night about a year ago.