Posts by bdkuchera

Let me introduce myself. I've been an artist for more than thirty years, but my story originally started with creating small comics when I was I was a young boy in Indiana. Comic were a passion of my youth and I learned the value of storytelling through visual Art almost by osmosis. In my early adolescence, living in Minneapolis/St.Paul, my simple drawing skills evolved as I began to branch out and shift my primary focus to more complex illustrations and mediums. I was also working with early computer aided design on some of the first digital imaging systems. The limitless potential of bringing something to life from the foundation of a blank space, creating something from nothing has been the essence of who I am as an Artists and comics were just the start of delving into many Art forms. At thirteen, I was lucky enough to encounter an Art teacher from New York who had taught at The Cooper Union. As my first mentor, he saw potential in me and made investments in my talents. He helped me broaden my approach to the Arts and expanded my focus into new territories and mediums. I started working in clay, wood, pastel, watercolor, early paper, computer 2D animation, and eventually film photography. I entered the International Baccalaureate diploma (IB) program in high school and attained the highest score possible on the world score system (7HP) for the Arts. By the age of sixteen, as a Junior in high school, I was admitted to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) where I chose to go deeper into pastel and ink work. Although I was an illustrator, the "mac lab" caught my eye in 1991, and the it was "game over" at that point. I had found electronic media at the earliest possible entry point and started building machines that would allow me to create Artwork that would, with computer assistance, move my expressions into strange territories in which few were delving into at the time. I was a very early adopter of computer technology at the forefront of studies, and i 1991, the available color spectrum was only 256 colors on a computer screen. When 4,096 colors came out, that shift allowed photo-editing programs to become more useful. Continuing my studies in all mediums, including some metalwork, I jumped full-force into the digital canvas. I began working with digital illustration and in 1992 I discovered the medium of analog video. I was enthralled by video and immediately started cutting video footage together on videotape. Not long after that, I was shooting film and ordering film to video transfers. In 1994, I was admitted to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a scholarship in illustration, but by that point, I had fallen in love with film. This was a strange time for me as an artist because I had been a student in the best Art school in the world, but I was an illustrator gravitating toward film and the Art Institute wasn't the place to be for film; California and CalArts was. I completed a year at SAIC and lived on Michigan Avenue, but eventually, I felt called to apply to CalArts (specifically the school of film and video) and entered the program in 1995. It was at this point where I started to keep my own creations for archive and totally shifted gears to film. Over the next four years at CalArts I would walk among 2D and 3D animators, mixed media creators, experimental Artists, interface designers, musicians, actors and even a ballerina or two. My goal was to finish my first thirty-minute 16mm film at CalArts by my second year, and a feature in 16mm by my final year. I did exactly that. I graduated in 1999 with a BFA in Fine Arts with a focus on film, video and sound design. In 2003 I moved to Lexington, Kentucky and began creating more Artwork. I quickly got a job as a television producer and started winning awards and getting work on local PBS. By 2005, I was truly in my game and started teaching in a technical college. It was there that I began to train others and focus on my own skill sets to make another move within the Arts. I had found the “next” for me. During my teaching years, I continued to win many more awards, start community-based projects, began some of the hardest and most rewarding experimental works I could, moved to lead a magazine as a creative director, and finished my first feature film in the digital format. The technological wilderness time of my life had prepared me for all this without my even own plans. In 2005, around the time I started teaching college, major injustices were taking, political chaos, protesters silenced, people killed from the sky; it gnawed at my Artistic conscience. Even though I was creating new works, I was beginning to see something else that I wanted to be a part of. I was beginning to see a way forward in the Arts that could enact change. I started working on scriptwriting, and my storytelling took a turn. I continued to teach for two years, and then the crash happened. It decimated the college where I and so many others were teaching. That time was one of the most rewarding times of my life and the circumstances of a college collapse was heartbreaking. After having taught for more than two years, I was pushed off a new cliff. I started amping up my small media business, which made a way for me financially. I got an inheritance a few years later which allowed me to expand and create new projects in my own free time (which I hadn't had for quite a while). I began revisiting my past and started writing a television show. I knew that because I had money, I could produce the show on my own. I wrote the first season with confidence, and by the end of 2014, I started production design and planning. I scaled back my business and went at my show with everything I had. By 2015 I had begun building the cast and filming prototype scenes, and soon after I was filming the series and running my business much more than full time. By the middle of 2016, the first half of season one was completed. I found that filmmaking was still deeply ingrained in who I was and I couldn't look back. What I didn't realize along the way was that my passion for writing had expanded beyond screenplays into more formal short stories and pre-novel work. This would eventually lead me away from writing for media companies and directly into masters training in writing. I attained my masters in writing in 2020 and I'm now writing a book, a radio series, and a cartoon show I hope to executive produce that's linked right back to my Indiana origin story of comic creation. The next phase of my life will be heavily rooted in writing for media. Still, as my comic creator skills come back to life, I think I have a bright future in maintaining my own brands. With me luck in building a future.

I Write Stuff

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I first learned to type in 1982 on an Atari 800 computer using a program called master type. It was my brother Peter who brought it to my attention. He was four years older than me and his fingers were flying away at the machine. I was astonished at the speed and skill of my brother. His intelligence was phenomenal, and he was the inspirational genius that showed me the world long before the Internet showed me the world. It wasn’t just the program or the machine that taught me how to type -it was brother’s own journey that guided me.

Over the years Peter showed me how to write in screenplay format as he lived in California as screenwriter for hire. By osmosis, Peter and I began our journey as writers who wrote movies that would never get made; except, I did make one and it nearly killed me.
My brother was tremendously proud of me for making my first feature at eighteen. I didn’t realize making a feature would take me twenty years to finish and nearly break me, but across those twenty years, I wrote twenty features. I was a person that wrote, but not yet a writer, that is what became clear over the last year.

An assignment by professor John King was where I hit the wall on a short story I just could not must up myself to be proud pushed me to the point where I flat-out didn’t want to even do a revision, but it was John that said, in summary, that the reason I needed to finish the work, even though I didn’t want to, was “clearly because we’re writers”. That’s when I came to realize the need of discipline and new ways to approach content creation beyond just works we love to write for ourselves or friends.
Through the last year, as I did my studies and started the “world-building” of my novel and facing incredible challenges that were crushing me personally, I maintained a thin line of my faith and my expression through written words. After two brutally difficult years, I truly knew I’d become a writer.
I am grateful for the last year with my peers and professors. I have hit the mark of author evolution by going beyond writing just for self, after all, we write because we must.

La Jette: The Reason for Film School

Draft:

Title: La Jette
IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056119/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Possible Offensive Content: Nothing
La Jette is by far my favorite film of all time. I’ve never written about it nor been given the chance. The first time I saw it was in 1991 in a film class at The Minneapolis College of Art and Design as a Post Secondary Enrollment Options International Baccalaureate student at the age of 16. I was both a high school student and a college student at the same time. I had no idea that in my new Art school studies I would ever enter a film 101 class and see the best thing I’d ever seen in live action. It was, in fact, La Jette that made me realize that I wanted to tell stories in cinema and that CalArts was the school for me. In that time I still had to finish high school in order to go to CalArts, and MCAD was not where I wanted to be. I immediately wanted to make movies.
16mm film and the square aspect ration disappeared for me in that dark room that day. I was enthralled by the fact that film was pulling through the projector gate at twenty-four frames per second, and that the film itself was comprised of photographic stills. It made no sense to me that the film was going through the gate and that no moving images were taking place. This was the moment where I changed from a photographer to a filmmaker and couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. By the grace of God I was seeing La Jette with the French voice-over and English subtitles. It was the perfect cinematic moment that would form who I was and migrate my skills as an illustrator and photographer to 16mm cinema. I shot my first short film that summer and then the next year started the first 16mm feature that would take me fifteen years to complete. La Jette was the inspiration for why I became the Artist inside the moving medium of film.
The story stuck with me for decades. I tried to watch it once a year just to remind me what could be done in storytelling through the use of film and photographic narrative. The story of time, romance, tragedy and the rescue of humanity was central to all my own forms of Art. Chris Marker had hit paydirt as an artist and I was insanely proud and jealous of him at the same time. It wasn’t jealousy that I wanted to be Chris Marker or make his film, but jealousy that showed me that my own artistic voice had a long way to go and he had set the highest bar possible. It was, truly, the greatest film I had ever seen. It beat out Citizen Kane, Sunset Boulevard, Walkabout, Taxi Driver -everything. It totally blew me away that this was what cinema could do.
There is a singular moment contained inside La Jette that was the very moment that shook my world to the foundations of what Art could do when it broke all rules. The film gets you moving through the timing of edits and how photographs smash up against each other. It reminds you of why an edit happens. The idea that one image effects another were unquestionable. Every edit was not just a choice, but a reason. The greatest surprise of all is when a woman is laying in bed and looking at the camera. We sit through this film in the notion and promise by the filmmaker that this is a series of photographs, one after another, telling a story in time. As the photograph of the young woman in bed with a sheet over her looks at the audience, we become her lover. We adjust to the photograph as a work of Art. Then, in brillance unmeasured, Chris Marker breaks his own rules to his movie -he lets just a moment become live action -a woman moving in the frame. She’s alive. We break through time and the film splits in half and returns us to the photographs juxtaposed as stills to tell the story, and yet, it’s too late. He’s taken us into something alive. We are, in fact, caught in time.
This film still has a unique magic. The structure is quite simple. We are with a man who is in the future. He must travel back in time to rescue the world. The scientists do this somehow through drugs and agreements of what time even is. We are convinced that they have sent our hero on a journey to stop the end of the world. It is the airport where a man is shot and a little boy sees the death of the man by a woman at the end of the airport overlook.
Our hero remembers being a little boy -seeing a man shot at the airport. The little boy, is, of course, him and the grand secret at the end of the film that shows us he saw the moment of his own death in some kind of endless time traveling -living to love and die again and again. Finality is expressed in the finale of the film, but there is still, in the tragedy, a sense that he will become both his own death and the endless loop of love and life through time.
The one, two, three structure seems clear. We move through time with the hero in total sync. We are in a linear adventure of finding out the mystery while struggling to hold onto the love of a woman caught in a timeline in a way where he can never have her but for a moment. Themes of heroism, tragedy, sadness, loss of love, keeping one’s sanity, sacrifice to rescue the world -they all sync and rise to the top. In the end, the film is both a live-action narrative and a photographic Artistic experience caught in time. The film itself is time-travel and no other film has captured time in quite this way.
The best way to see this film, quite frankly, is exactly how I did. Something is lost when the film isn’t seen on a 16mm print. The idea of the edit and time and the click of each frame does not exist in a digital format, and so, in a way, part of the story is lost. But even in that reality of a lost experience in film which would be beneficial to any and all filmmakers, La Jette still remains a singular experience as one of the finest films of all time that in its structure, utterly encapsulates what time itself is in live action cinema. The story lessons and themes and plot are clear, and they work in tandem to with film as Art. Watching La Jette is about experiencing it, not just absorbing the story. It is one of the few films where we become the protagonist in the midst of adventure and ultimately are caught in time. This formative Artistic experience as a viewer, for me, was the moment where I knew I wanted to be more as a storyteller. It is the very film that motivated me to enter film school raw, yet ready to absorb any and all things like it in order to find my own voice.