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9 Established Movie Directors Who Also Worked on TV

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TheRedlist.fr

Most directors start their careers working on television before taking the plunge into moviemaking. When a director shifts their focus to the small screen, it is often seen as a step back in their career—but sometimes the transition revitalizes their creativity before they return to the big screen again. Here are nine big-screen directors who made forays into television.

1. David Lynch

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After receiving an Academy Award nomination for The Elephant Man, David Lynch continued to push boundaries with the cult classic Dune and the neo-noir Blue Velvet. Then, in 1990, Lynch decided to turn his attention to TV with the strange crime series Twin Peaks. The series was a creative and commercial success for Lynch; the director returned to the big screen with the cinematic prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me in 1992.

2. Jane Campion

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Starting a successful career with the strange and eerie film Sweetie in 1989, Jane Campion went on to direct The Piano, In The Cut, and Bright Star. In 2011, Campion turned her attention to the seven-episode TV mini-series Top of the Lake—about a detective who returns to her small New Zealand hometown to investigate the disappearance of a local preteen girl—which had its debut at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and will air on the Sundance Channel beginning March 18. 

3. Martin Scorsese

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In 2007, Martin Scorsese won an Academy Award for directing. He later decided to bring the Prohibition-era crime drama Boardwalk Empire to the premium cable TV network HBO. Scorsese won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for the series’ pilot episode in 2011.

4. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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One of the founding directors of the New German Cinema movement in the late 1960s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder died in 1982 at age 37 from a drug overdose. His career was short but prolific: He directed 40 feature films, two TV series, and 24 stage plays from 1970 to 1982. After releasing his masterpiece The Marriage of Maria Braun, Fassbinder created the 14-episode TV mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz, which followed the life of an ex-convict during the 1920s.

5. David Fincher

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Mostly known for highbrow, cerebral genre films like Seven, Fight Club, and Zodiac, David Fincher produced and directed episodes of the American adaptation of the British political drama House of Cards. The series explored the behind-closed-doors dealings of Capitol Hill; the episodes were released in bulk through the Internet streaming service Netflix, rather than traditional broadcast or cable networks.

6. Alfred Hitchcock

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After almost three decades as a movie director, Alfred Hitchcock created the mystery anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The original TV series run lasted from 1955 to 1965 as a way to tell thrilling and suspenseful stories that were too short to be full-length feature films. In the early 1960s, when Hitchcock couldn’t get funding to make movies, he turned to his TV crew to make low budget features—including the iconic horror film Psycho. Thanks to Hitchcock’s TV crew, Psycho cost a fraction of what a traditional movie would cost a studio.

7. Gus Van Sant

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In 2009, Gus Van Sant was nominated for Best Director for the movie Milk; he next focused his attention on the TV series Boss for the Starz Network. It followed a fictional Chicago mayor as he tried to run a city and keep his family together, while coping with being diagnosed with dementia in the series' pilot episode. Boss was canceled after two seasons, but was nominated for two Golden Globes, including Best Drama Series.

8. Robert Altman

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Director Robert Altman started his career in television, then made the leap to the movies with the surprise hit MASH in 1970. Consistently releasing commercially successful but challenging films throughout the 70s, Altman hit a creative wall in the 1980s. To recapture his artistic flair, the director returned to TV, helming the political mini-series Tanner '88, which was written by cartoonist Garry Trudeau and aired on HBO. The show's 11 episodes followed a fictional politician as he campaigned during the 1988 Democratic primaries. Shot as a documentary, Tanner ’88 revolutionized the TV mini-series and the mockumentary film genre.

9. Michael Mann

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One of the first directors to embrace the digital filmmaking revolution, Michael Mann realized he could find success with the new format on TV instead of at the movie theater. In 2011, Mann teamed up with NYPD Blue co-creator David Milch to create the horseracing crime drama Luck for HBO. The series received critical acclaim but low ratings, and was canceled after the deaths of racehorses used during filming angered animal rights groups.

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Here's How to Change Your Name on Facebook
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Whether you want to change your legal name, adopt a new nickname, or simply reinvent your online persona, it's helpful to know the process of resetting your name on Facebook. The social media site isn't a fan of fake accounts, and as a result changing your name is a little more complicated than updating your profile picture or relationship status. Luckily, Daily Dot laid out the steps.

Start by going to the blue bar at the top of the page in desktop view and clicking the down arrow to the far right. From here, go to Settings. This should take you to the General Account Settings page. Find your name as it appears on your profile and click the Edit link to the right of it. Now, you can input your preferred first and last name, and if you’d like, your middle name.

The steps are similar in Facebook mobile. To find Settings, tap the More option in the bottom right corner. Go to Account Settings, then General, then hit your name to change it.

Whatever you type should adhere to Facebook's guidelines, which prohibit symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, and honorifics like Mr., Ms., and Dr. Before landing on a name, make sure you’re ready to commit to it: Facebook won’t let you update it again for 60 days. If you aren’t happy with these restrictions, adding a secondary name or a name pronunciation might better suit your needs. You can do this by going to the Details About You heading under the About page of your profile.

[h/t Daily Dot]

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