Ryan Rivard

A filmmaker or something.

Parterning with Astoria Coffee

OkStupidRyan RivardComment

Photo elizabethvermotwick's Instagram.

We're scheduled to shoot the two remaining scenes for OkStupid this Sunday August 17. We're partnering up with Astoria Coffee - a new coffee shop that's opening soon in the neighborhood. The owners Dennis and Liz are kind, friendly people whose shop will share that same friendly ambiance.

Be sure to follow our Instagram page to see photos from on set as they happen. Looking forward to getting all the footage in the can.

300 Movies A Year: The First Month

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What I watched between June 29, 2014 and July 31, 2014.

6/29 - Do The Right Thing, 25th Anniversary Screening at BAM

6/30 - Annie Hall

7/11 - 50/50

7/13 - American Graffiti

7/18 - Louie Season 4: Elevator Pt. 3-6*

7/19 - Obvious Child

7/26 - We Are The Best!

7/27 - Boyhood

Number of Movies Watched: 7

*Number of Sort of Movies Watched: 1


Last week, I declared to watch 300 movies in one year. After the first month, I'm on pace to watch 84. I have some catching up to do.

I kicked off the month with the 25th Anniversary Screening of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing on my 25th birthday, and the film is just as relevant now as it was '89.

What better proof of that statment than Spike Lee's recent montage, intercutting the scene of Radio Raheem's death by police brutality with cell phone footage of Eric Garner in an alleged chokehold by police officers. The film holds a mirror up to who we are in a way that's so honest, and in your face.

Gentrification is an cyclical evergreen topic in New York City. Bedford-Stuyvestant has become a major focal point, with the median house prices doubling. I imagine all these various different cultures, people from different backgrounds, some who've been here for awhile, some not so long, all of these people are tectonic plates, constantly rubbing each other in this confined space. The tension perpetually escalates. It's perfect that the film takes place on the hottest day of the summer.

And , Lee is able to intersperse these comedic moments with sharp commentary. Like one of my favorite scenes: Moe and Joe Black.

The rest of my month was mostly filled out with some great new releases like Obvious Child and We Are the Best! Both are sweet, honest, funny films with charm. Last but not least, I saw Boyhood, a rare film that I cannot recommend enough. There's more to say on this one, but that's for another post.


600 Movies a Year

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Richard Linklater makes movies, because he watched a whole lot of them. The New Yorker's profile on Linklater chronicles his journey to becoming a filmmaker through his early years. He spent one summer working on an oil rig, which eventually lead him to drop out of college.

A friend helped him get a summer job working on an oil rig. It paid well, and gave him many free hours to read and write, so Linklater asked if he could stay on that fall. He never returned to school. Instead, for the next two and half years, whenever he came back to the mainland, in Houston, he would watch movies: first two a day, the three, then four. By his early twenties, he was seeing six hundred films a year.

In order to watch six hundred movies in one year, you need to watch about 1.64 per day. Miss one day, you have to watch three. Miss a second? You can do the math. If you want to be a filmmaker, you must watch movies.

Film is a language. Watching films to learn the language, is no different from studying Spanish or French. The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture, and in an environment where you have to use it. I studied Spanish for nine years, and every Spanish teacher or professor I ever had always said, "Use it, or lose it." The same goes for film.

By habitually watching movies, you are constantly immersing yourself in the language of film. The exposure helps you understand how to tell a story through the medium, which is an important part of becoming a filmmaker.

There's this seldom watched interview with Spike Lee that NYU produced where Lee talks about his frustrations with students who say they don't have time to watch films.

Like Linklater, I decided to become a filmmaker after watching a lot of movies. I'm sure many filmmakers have had a similar experience.

The summer before leaving for college, I was working a dull job in retail. On a day off, I drove my sister to my town's library in small town New Hampshire. I was wandering around, killing time, when I discovered the movie section. My library card lost its virginity that day.

I was taking out five or six movies at a time; watching two films every other day that summer. There was one night that I will never forget. The night I watched The Godfather.

I was enthralled for the entire film. I was consumed by the magnitude and scope of the story, the tension and character arcs. The Godfather was everything a movie should be. I immediately put on Part II. I decided to become a filmmaker that night.

On the first day of classes in college, I met with my adviser to switch my major from Journalism to TV/Film. He tried to talk me out of it, but I did it anyway.

I think it's so important to watch movies as filmmaker that I'm starting a new project called 300 Movies A Year. Since 600 is an unrealistic goal at this point, I've slashed it in half.


A few years ago, Steven Soderbergh released his cultural diet - a list of everything he watched in one year's time. You'll see from the list that Soderbergh was actively working on projects and was still able to watch a slew of films, and read some novels along the way. I've started logging my cultural diet, focusing on just movies. Each month, I'll be sharing a log of all the movies that I've watched, with the goal of hitting 300 in one year.

Now lets watch some films.