Cocoa and Caffeine Hollywood Travels

This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Costume Design

In the early days of filmmaking, costume sketches and fabric swatches generated by the wardrobe departments of Hollywood Studios were deemed unnecessary after the costume itself was created.  Much of these sketches were lost, damaged, or otherwise thrown away before it occurred to anyone that they just might be valuable in their own way... little pieces of artwork and links to Hollywood's past.

Some are mere pencil sketches, like some of Edith Head's designs for Audrey Hepburn in the film, "Sabrina." However, Fashion sketches and illustrations can also be much more colorful and elaborate.  Many contain original fabric and embellishments and are hand-painted, inked, or washed in watercolor.

Few fashion design sketches from those early days remain (especially for well-known films) but luckily we can still appreciate the artistry for what remains of those early days in Hollywood.

(c) Copyright 2014 by K.Liedle/cococaffeine
For more about early fashion illustration :

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Classic Experimental Film From The Silent Era Showcases Modern Editing Techniques

"The Man With A Movie Camera" is a Ukranian film from 1929 that depicts the hum-drum of daily urban life in a revolutionary way.  Known for its innovative, experimental and surprisingly modern use of editing styles, the film is considered to be one of the most influential film pieces of the silent era.  
[ In 2012, Sight & Sound magazine named it one of 8th best movies ever made. ]

Experimental.  Open.  Closed.  Awakening.  Sleeping.  Machinery.  Mechanisms.  Voyeurism.  Movement.  Freeze Frame.  Upbeat music with haunting, creep chimes.  Contrast.  Trains.  Divorce documents.  Woman undressing.  Man's eye reflected in a camera lens.  Funeral.  A woman in bed, delirious.  Rebirth.  Timing.  Town square splitting in half.  Tempo changes.  Extreme close-up of man's eyes.  Movement.  Fast cuts.  Dizzying.  Crowds -- Man capturing it all on camera.

For anyone interested in experimental film, editing techniques or film history in general, "The Man With A Movie Camera" is a classic to behold.

Directed by Dziga Vertov (1929)
Currently available on Netflix and Youtube

Blog content
Copyright © 2014 by K.Liedle/@cococaffeine
#manwithmoviecamera #ukranianfilm #silentfilms #filmhistory

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Henri, Le Chat Noir

I recently started learning French via Duolingo.  It's a terrific FREE app that allows you to learn several different languages in an easy and fun manner.  Every time you practice, you earn points.  You can compete against yourself (like I do) or compete with other people.

Whenever I'm on-set working on a movie or tv show and I see crew members scanning through endless FB newsfeeds on their phones, I always think to myself: "Dude, do something productive.  Maybe learn a language."  Film production is hard work, but it also entails quite a bit of downtime, too.  I'm always  trying to be productive, always trying to learn something new.

On that note, here's a little French short film about a cat named Henri.  I discovered it today when I read an interview with actor Christopher Walken via @the_talks in which he mentioned enjoying Henri's ennui.  May you enjoy it as well:

Henri, Le Chat Noir - Video Tube for YouTube - iPhone/iPad

(c) 2014 by KLiedle @cococaffeine

Monday, September 1, 2014

Evolution Of Hollywood Press And Celebrity

Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Dietrich, and Dimaggio,
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean, on the cover of a magazine...
(from Vogue, lyrics by Madonna)

Most of these names would mean nothing without the advent of motion pictures-- for the motion picture brought with it the modern conceptualization of the movie star. Traditionally, movie historians have credited the public with initially creating the movie star system. Marilyn Monroe herself believed that the public chose its "stars", but it was the studios that "tried to make a system out of it."
However, if the public did indeed create the movie star, the major studios in their heyday perpetuated the system by selecting unknowns from the ranks of the ordinary and carefully grooming them into stars in an assembly-line fashion.

The fields of modern public relations and the cinema industry are both relatively young. Modern public relations first began in the mid-1800s while cinema was invented and developed in the late 1800s. The historic early years of both industries were times of tremendous expansion and growth.
Modern public relations, as discussed in Fraser Seitel's, The Practice Of Public Relations, began with press agentry and was first practiced by the infamous P.T. Barnum.  Barnum staged publicity merely for the sake of publicity for his traveling circus. Likewise, one of the first methods that the film and entertainment industry utilized to publicize its cinematic products (and its stars ), was this press agentry technique borrowed from public relations.
The Historical Background of Motion Pictures
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the motion picture, later affectionately referred to as a "movie," became a primary source of entertainment. As highlighted in the book, American Cinema/American Culture, during the era of 1929 through 1949, an unbelievable 83 million Americans per week went to the movies. A broad array of fascinated fans brought forth the construction of immaculate movie palaces during the 1910s through 1920s. These palaces, according to John Belton, author of American Cinema/American Culture, were widely advertised as "an acre of seats in a garden of dreams", ranged from a modest 500 seats to the extravagant 6,200 seat Roxy Theatre.
By the mid 1920s, four major movie studios had emerged: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Warner Brothers. In 1934, MGM was, by far, the most sophisticated with its 117 acres consisting of some twenty-three sound stages, large exterior sets, a lake, a park, a mini jungle, and, of course, as the studio boasted, "more stars than there are in heaven", as noted by Ronald L. Davis, in his book, The Glamour Factory.
While hard to imagine now in the voyeuristic world of celebutantes we now live in, stars were not identified by name in the first movies. As people began to write fan mail to principal actors, however, studios were forced to reveal the star's identity to satisfy the public. It was only with this demand that someone known to audiences solely as the girl with the golden curls suddenly became widely identified as Mary Pickford [circa 1910] With this change, the movie star was born.
#earlyhollywood #hollywoodpress #hollywoodhistory
Copyright © 2014 by Kendra Liedle from Evolution of the Movie Star: Promotion And Publicity in Hollywood's Golden Era

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Welcome To This Century

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Are Worth More Than The Sum Of Our Parts

The first time I heard "Joining You," by Alanis Morissette, I couldn't get through the whole song.  It cut me to the bone. I immediately thought of a friend of mine who committed suicide and it was too much for me to bear those raw emotions again.

I'd spent so much time burrowing those emotions deep into my soul and yet, there I was again, tears steaming down my face, completely unable to focus on the lyrics.  A testament to the power of music and emotion.

It took some time, but eventually I came back to "Joining You."  It remains to be an amazingly powerful song for me and it also serves as a reminder that we are all worth more than just the sum of our parts...

There's nothing selfish about suicide.  Most of us will never understand how (or why) anyone could kill themselves, but I believe that we can all agree that suicide is a desperate act, not a rational one.  Don't judge people who take their lives.  You have no way of knowing what it's like to be inside the prison of someone else's mind...

© 2014 by K. Liedle

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Laughs, The Joy, The Lessons: A brief tribute to Robin Williams

One of the first dolls I remember receiving as a kid was my "Mork" doll with the talking space backpack.

I may have gotten rid of Barbies over the years, but not Mork.  I've still got him.  As a kid, he kept me company and made me laugh.  He showed me that quirky can be cool, that it's okay to be different.

As I got older, I realized that it wasn't Mork who taught me those things... It was Robin Williams. 

He will be missed, but never forgotten.

#morkandmindy #robinwilliamstribute #comedylegend

Don't let suicide get the best of you or a loved one.  Suicide is a big topic to me.  I had a friend who took her own life.  I can't quite explain the extent of a loss like that. The shock you feel.  It's unlike any other type of death in that you blame yourself.  What could I have done differently?  Should I have called more, visited more?  

When you feel at your loneliest, at the depths of darkness... don't fall into the shadows by yourself.  Talk to someone. Seek help.  And if you see someone who is struggling, "Be a rainbow in someone
else's cloud," as Maya Angelou once said.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

-K. Liedle
Copyright © 2014