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Blog . Monty Python and the Holy Book of Days

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Monty Python and the Holy Book of Days

03/27/12  |  Posted by Amber Luning  |  Posted in Digital Canvas - Apps & Accessories

I'd like to start off by pointing out that I'm an enormous Monty Python fan, as I'm sure a lot of the readership of this blog is as well. Just in case you aren't an avid Python fan, please become one quickly. There are "Monty Python's Meaning of Life" clips free on Hulu. It is fairly important to have seen or at least know of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film before interacting with this app, because the app is about the making of the film. To warm you up, here is the trailer for the app. Ooh yes. This will be awesome. What's important to know about Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is that it was shot in 28 days, on a budget of about $300,000 (which seems a lot, but remember, the budget for Russel Crowe's "Robin Hood" was $155 million, and it was a terrible movie in comparison.) Understanding the sort of hectic, tightly budgeted manner in which Monty Python and the Holy Grail was made, gives us a unique perspective into what it's like to produce an indie film, from inside the making of the film itself. So let's begin! The app opens with a monologue by John Cleese, and transitions into the main screen Which transitions into the secondary main screen... As you see, there are some helpful icons. One is actually a help icon, in case you get lost while navigating the app. One is for syncing the app with a blu-ray player, so as the film goes from scene to scene, your app will also transition to those scenes and give you background into on the making of that scene. That all sounds lovely, but I lack a blu ray player, or a blu-ray copy of the movie, so I will focus strictly on the standalone app aspects. There are two options for navigation. There's going through by day, and going through by scene. For comparison, here are two frames from day view, and scene view. [caption id="attachment_3180" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Scene view"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_3174" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Day view"][/caption] Scene view might be a better companion to the film, but day view gives us the greates bang for our buck, so to speak, in the rich quirky behind the scenes python action. For example, did you know that the sheep the French soldiers tossed off the castle wall at Arthur and his knights was actually a real roadkill sheep? neither did I, and come to think of it, I'm not sure I'm comfortable knowing it. Day view gives you the options to view some special things as well, like sound bites of your favorite scenes, and videos of Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Scottish mountaineer Hamish McInness wandering around the Scottish countryside exclaiming about "How bloody deep that gorge was. I can't believe we were that stupid" Occasionally there are also little finger slidey animations as well. Like this one showing Sir Robin flying into the valley of death. [caption id="attachment_3171" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="African or European swallow?"][/caption] In both views there's the opportunity to watch outtakes and raw footage from the movie, which is pretty amazing. To read Michael Palin's diary... [caption id="attachment_3173" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Grahm Chapman is Ethel DeKeyser when drunk. These are important things to know"][/caption] To look at cool photos, showing some of the ways the Pythons created their movie magic... [caption id="attachment_3177" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="I thought he moved a bit puppety in that one scene..."][/caption] And you can look at itenerary sheets. Yes, there were itinerary sheets. and you can look a them. [caption id="attachment_3172" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Movie magic"][/caption] At any point you can tap the grail in the lower left hand corner to bring up the bottom menu and find a scene or day quickly. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about this app. It isn't just for Monty Python geeks (although, from personal experience, I can tell you that Monty Python Geeks will love it), It gives you a real feel for what it's like to be on the set of an independent film, the day by day hassles and rewards and hilarity and sadness. If you ever feel like maybe you perhaps want to be involved in film or TV, or want to do video art, or large installation. Anything that takes a budget and a team and time, this app is a good resource for you. Plus, it's fun and funny, and who doesn't like that? Monty Python and the Holy Book of Days is available at the App Store for $4.99.

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