Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Overheard at Theatresource

Henry "Maduka" Steady:
"When I'm clockin' hoes, and smokin' punks, I never felt more alive."

Mac Rogers:
It'll be
1. Morally Complex
2. Action Packed
3. Affordable

Drew added:
(with nudity)



Monday, January 29, 2007

Q&A Angry Planet

Mac Rogers sent the following notes. Here are my answers, and Laura's response, and my answers to THOSE:

Mac: 1. I think "Corvette" is the wrong word - too much potential for unintentional giggles.
Drew: Really? Is that funny? Does it make you not think of WWII battleships?
Laura: Um. There was a WWII battleship called a Corvette? You don't plan to have any girls watching this movie? You didn't want me to be thinking of Athena as some sort of K.I.T.T on 2 legs?
Drew: well, the car reference I think is fine, I mean it's a bit of a joke to call a person a Corvette-class, but I didn't think it was “unintentional giggles” materials.

Mac: 2. Why does Stahl say it's a free planet?
Drew: I think he's being ironic. But maybe the line has to go away.
Laura: We don't lose anything by cutting this line (other than a little confusion).
Drew: OK, whiners. It's gone. What else do you want?

Mac: 3. Why is Galloway an alchemist? Then he wouldn't need one.
Drew: Maybe he's a low-grade one. Or maybe we just shouldn't make him one at all.
Laura: Yeah, he's not an alchemist. The Xik dropped the trial capsules and they had their evil effects. But when Galloway tried to replicate it, he couldn't. Something like that?
Drew: So now he's a “colonist”. If that's fine with youse.

Mac: 4. In the new model, how do Kyle and Maleyna make love if he's programmed to be revolted by her?
Drew: I think in my little brain the effect doesn't last very long. So that she looks like a corpse, but then fades into real girl.
Laura: Oh. I guess I thought they didn't actually succeed in making her look like a corpse until later. Guess I need to re-read that part.
Drew: it'll be cool. She'll look like a girl, he'll kiss her, he opens his eyes and she's a corpse, he'll close them again and she's a girl again.

Mac: 5. Why does Athena lick Maleyna's cheek?
Drew: To pick up enough DNA to mimic her later.
Laura: Liar. She licks Maleyna's cheek because Drew wants to see some chick cheek-lickin action. Athena doesn't need any DNA from the dead wife, now does she? (That said, I don't care if this stays or goes.)
Drew: no really, she suspects Maleyna is West's daughter, by licking her she can “taste” her DNA. Plus, there's some chick cheek-lickin' and who doesn't love that?

Mac: 6. We don't have the redemptive ending we originally talked about, where West learns the folly of vengeance and forgives Galloway at the end.
Drew: Right. Galloway goes to hell. West goes to hell. The kids survive. They'll go to heaven. Is that OK? I kinda like it.
Laura: I like that West dies instead of living happily ever after; I think that's well foreshadowed in his conversations with the android. But I think Kyle and Maleyna need to be a little more front and center at the end.
Drew: I say that we block it so they're in the second row on the right.

Mac: 7. If Galloway has an implant that controls all the Marshals, why does Stahl give him shit?
Drew: Maybe he shouldn't. I was thinking that Stahl being the only intelligent one could push Galloway just as Babish did. Galloway can't afford to make him insane.
Laura: See below when it comes to Stahl. Perhaps we need another look at his character...

Mac: 8. Why does West go for Stahl's gun if he's in despair?
Drew: Maybe we need an angry moment. I dunno. What think'st Laura?
Laura: What if it happens the other way around? After West puts down the controller, he picks up the gun right away and holds it on Galloway. Galloway then explains everything about his daughter, and West just absently hangs on to the gun. It's only after Stahl shoots him that West even realizes he's armed. Or, maybe best forget the gun altogether and have West stick to the controller and razor death thing.
Drew: Yeah, that last idea might be the best.

Mac: 9. If the mutants are just people, why do they eat Babish and Cub?
Drew: Babish and Cub kill themselves just as Stahl does. But we don't realize it 'till the movie is over. We might need an extended "flashback" moment to explain all that -- and Athena's changes too.
Laura: I think these 2 deaths have to be shot in a very ambiguous way. Cub looks down, obviously fighting something off his leg, takes his last blaster shot and shoots off his own leg. We see mutant children only in his POV. Or something.
Drew: They don't have to be ambiguous. We just can't show that West or Athena's POV being filled with mutants.

10. Stahl's dialogue needs a polish - we don't have a consistent tone for it yet.
Drew: Boo yeah. We wanna make sure too that West talks different from Galloway who talks different from Babish.
Laura: Yeah, I'm still not 100% personally in love with the circumlocution. It's hard for an ordinary actor to do this. And yes, all our actors will be extraordinary, but still in Pandora Machine and Bloodmask we didn't succeed in getting really great, convincing deliveries when the language was deliberately unnatural. I'd rather have this character be about the character than about the way he talks. (does that make sense?)
Drew: You are so wrong. Jason Howard said “You've injured my Nosferatu-Class Neuronecromotron” like nobody's business.

Drew added:
And I can't believe we missed the opportunity to make the pearl-handled straight razor not the weapon which West's wife used to kill herself! Jeezum Crow!
That's been fixed.


This short film was actually released with the DVD of Pandora Machine. Melissa Riker is Salome, Ato Essandoh is Herod, Laura Schlachtmeyer is "Queen Herodius", and Daryl Boling is the hand of the servant...


James Lee's art. I can't find a web page for him.

I'm plagiarizing David Latt's blog. Right here. Right now. Because I can't find a way to link to it. He's with and this is an edited version of what he says:
-No more than 115 pages
-No less than 80 pages
-If you really want it read, make it 97 pages
-Put the genre in the first five pages of the script. Meaning … if this is a vampire film, then there better be vampire killings in the first five pages
-Write a traditional three act script
-Each Plot Point should answer the main plot with 'NO'. Meaning…if the plot is, Will Timmy get laid? Then at the first plot point (p. 18) the answer is 'No' because Timmy is sent to an all boys school. Plot point two (p.75) the answer is 'No' because Timmy's pecker fell off (plot point two should always be impossible to make right).
-Do not be lazy. Make each situation impossible to get out of. Do not make it easy. Think Pulp Fiction.
-A minimum of five set ups and pay offs.
-Do not over describe anything.
-Two sentence paragraphs at the most when describing things.
-Write a detailed Bullet Sheet before writing. Use only one line sentence. The whole script should fit on 1 or 2 pages.
-You will win the prize if you think of a cool title.

Blender Tutorial

Here's a Blender 3D tutorial from Ian over at

Because you want to use an open-source 3D animation program rather than 3DSMax or such.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Title Generator

How can you not love a fantasy-novel Title generator?

Some of my favorites:

Apprentice of Chaos
Island of the Ebony Fire
Keeper's Vengeance
Maidenِ Rogueِ and God
Sea of the Rogue Stone
The Golden Storm

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Well, it works, kinda

The favicon.ico will show up on this blog, just not in IE6. I guess it was good to update anyway. One strange thing about IE7: there's a feature ironically named "cleartype" which makes everything fuzzy.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

favicon.ico test

I'm gonna try to get this in the nav bar. Wish us luck!

General Script Notes

1. Character names should only be in ALL CAPS the first time we see them. I guess some people always put them in caps. I dunno if we should include this in our style sheet, but whatever we do we should be consistent in a given script.

2. Make everything active. Don't put "is being" or "is doing", just say whatever it is they're actually doing.

Even more, tell us about what we're seeing. For example:
"Kelly is being guarded by an alien."
should be:
GROK, a big ugly alien, with a thermal BLASTER in one hand and a bottle of MILK in the other, sneers at Kelly; who struggles fruitlessly against the ROPES binding his hands behind his back.

3. I think we ought to standardize the way we deal with scene headings.
Final Draft likes "INT." with the period. And one dash (-) between each element. Really, I'd like to avoid the second part of the scene place ("NEAR OBELISK" in this example) because that'll make it easier to spit out reports and such.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Front and Back

Here's the actual front and back of the Millennium Crisis "one sheet" or "sell sheet".

Monday, January 22, 2007

Japanese Distributor Exposed!

I think I found our Japanese distributor:
They have movies like "Alien Zero" and lots and lots of soccer videos.
It's so exciting!


(Welcome to the wild world of Star Wars literary theory.)
And under further funnys in blogs:

All you wanted to know regarding Star Wars theory.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Project Standards

Every idea at the "let's write something down" stage, whether it is a treatment or a script or even just a story, will have a job number assigned to it.
Since we have to have only one person doling out job numbers, in order to prevent duplicates, that person will be me.
A job number will have four digits. "0701" is the first job of 2007. We can only have 100 script/treatment/stories per year, and we'll be out of business by the year 2100.

Here's an example the file name of a script in Final Draft format:

0701 v1.27 Angry Planet.fdr

Notice that the name of the movie ("Angry Planet") can be changed without affecting the alphabetical order of the project. Also note that every time a script is "handed off" to another writer, or any time anyone makes a change to a script, the "v" number is incremented. Here's an example of the above project when someone has made a change and changed the name:

0701 v1.28 Happy Planet.fdr

The job number (0701) will follow this movie until the very end of its life. "0701" will end up on slates and on contracts in order to identify the movie.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm testing Avant Browser

So far it seems to work with Yahoo Toolbar (which I use for to keep my bookmarks) and with Google Toolbar (which I don't really use so much, actually, 'cept for its search functions.)

Conversations with Chance Volume IV (Audio)

Drew: Make sure that no sound happens over dialog (because you'll have to replicate those sounds for the M&E so that the English dialog-free version sounds exactly like the full English mix). And make sure whomever's booming is "riding the line" just above the actor's heads.
And if for some reason neither of those techniques work, just do a wild take of the dialog - without actors moving around - immediately after the camera take.

Chance: Thanks for the audio advice. I'd already planned on getting all the lines "wild" after each take. And I'm not afraid of ADR anymore, which I should have done a lot more of on HIDE AND CREEP.

Drew: Please... maintain your [healthy] fear of ADR!

Conversations with Chance Volume III

Drew: I love whack colors. I love mixing fluorescent and tungsten's with different colors in the frame. The other thing I love is being able to shoot a reasonable amount of coverage. I'm way to dumb to know what we're going to need to shoot less than about 18:1.

Chance: I think 4:1 is reasonable. But I'm a lazy editor. I've been trying to keep my ratios to 4 or 5 to 1 for years now, just because I hate going through all that footage.

Drew: What are you transferring to? DV or HD or what?

Chance: I'm thinking about going straight to hard disk, DVCPro HD, 1080p, 24fps. Assuming that will work okay (I need to do a test with the lab at some point). If I can't make HD work, I'll go with good ol' DigiBeta.

Conversations with Chance Volume II

Drew: "Sharp" isn't really something I necessarily want in an image. That part of DV compression which is soft and dreamy I kinda like.

Chance: And maybe that's not the right word. "Flat?" "Too Clean?" There's something about video, even good video, that always bugs me, and it's hard to put my finger on what exactly that is.

Drew: Yeah, video has that video look. It's not just gamma, or the highlights (because honestly color reversal stock has similar problems), the framerate, or the latitude. That being said, one can make film look like crap (see: most indy films). But if you have even a somewhat well-lit scene, there's just a little o' that extra magic you can get out of film which is nice.

Chance: Exactly. It just seems like less work for a good image in the long run. Plus, there's so much latitude in the negative. It's amazing how much detail you can pull out of the shadows or the highlights if the need arises.

Drew: And I'm also a fan of infinite depth-of-field, the advantage there goes to DV/HD.

Chance: I tend to like less DOF. That way, it's harder to see the flaws in the background sets/props/etc. I'm half kidding. Plus, like it or not, less DOF is fashionable these days.

Drew: But the way highlights squish on film is nicer (although Panasonic has done a whole lot to make their highlights better.)

Chance: That's for sure. I really hate shooting video outside on a sunny day. Yuck.

Drew: As long as you're shooting naked people there are fewer complaints about the image.

Chance: No doubt. I'm going to call that "Andrew's rule!"

Drew: "Off with the clothes!" I say! "No gratuitious costuming!"

Conversations with Chance Volume I

Here's some of an email conversation with Chance Shirley over at Crewless. (Image courtesy Suicide Girls.)

Chance: Video and film both have their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, you have to look at your budget and script and personal preferences and decide what's best for the project. So far, I've been making genre movies that I want to look kind of like a traditional 80s or 70s B-movie, and I own and am comfortable with a 16mm camera, so I go for Super 16. And I even write the scripts with Super 16 in mind.

Drew: Did you look at the Panasonic HVX200 camera when doing tests against super 16mm?

Chance: Yeah, it looks pretty sharp, but it's not film. The more I look at even higher-end HD (Varicam and Sony's AltaVista), the less I like it. I'm just a nerd that way, I guess.

Drew: To me, 16mm hasn't been nearly as helpful to the image as 35mm.

Chance: Sure. But I like a rawer, grainier look. And it's easier to pull focus on 16mm...

Drew: That's why I'm excited about shooting 2-perf...

Chance: Yes, yes, yes. THAT'S what I'm talking about. I heard Arri's going to add a 2-perf option to their 235 camera.

Drew: ... as soon as we can get our hands on cameras with 1000' magazines...

Chance: Even on 400' magazines, you should get 10 minutes to a roll shooting 2-perf... is that right? If you're shooting lean, 10 minutes of film goes a long way.

Drew: The thing which drives me nuts is having to tell the actors we have to stop to change mags. So don't get me started about what its like to shoot short ends!

Chance: Even disregarding the time issue, short ends can come out a little wonky sometimes. It seems like factory fresh stock is more consistent, as far as color and grain go.

Drew: I'm kinda into Fuji stock...

Chance: Kodak's a little sharper, but Fuji is significantly cheaper. I vote Fuji.

Drew: [W]ould you be shooting 500 ISO stuff?

Chance: For interiors, at least. Might go down to 250 ISO for outside/daytime.

Drew: I've been kinda interested in shooting daylight in tungsten...

Chance: I've never really got "golden" out of daylight stock and tungsten lights -- more "orangen." But playing with the color is half the fun.

Drew: ... [Y]ou [would] have to shift the color balance in post to get the colors to switch from orange to golden. We managed to do that in Millennium Crisis by using the wrong color balance on the DVX100. It looked kinda nice. I wonder if a bronze-color filter would do the trick?

Chance: I'm pretty sure somebody makes a general "warming" filter for that sort of thing, though I'm not sure what they'd call it.

Pandora Machine Logo

A naked woman enters a room with a small pool (light dancing everywhere) and a box.
She kneels and opens the box -- her ARM is a ROBOT ARM -- and removes a big GUN with LASERS.
She sweeps the gun across the lens of the camera. BANG!
Titles: Pandora Machine

Our Manifesto

Good acting. Good stories. Robots.

We're going to make genre films. Scripts will be pre-approved by our rep.

The stories will be strong. The acting will be good. There will be action and nudity and, of course, robots.

And they better sound good or it'll be really embarrassing for me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Pandora Machine

The new production company name.

We're going to make genre films. Scripts will be pre-approved by our rep.

The stories will be strong. The acting will be good. There will be action and nudity and, of course, robots.

And they better sound good or it'll be really embarrassing for me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Poll

What should the new company be named?

1. Braidwood Films
2. Empirical Pictures
3. Pandora Machine
4. Empirical Planet

Those are the choices. Choose wisely. Drop me an email or a comment if you have an opinion.



Update: so far I have a vote for Braidwood Films, Pandora Machine, and Empirical Pictures.

Here are some negatives with these names: I'm a bit bored with the "Braidwood" name. Pandora Machine is a name of a movie we made. And there's another company called "American Empirical Pictures".

Update Update: now we have two for Pandora Machine, two for Empirical Pictures.

UpUpUpdate: One for Braidwood Films, three for Pandora Machine, two for Empirical Pictures.

U4: Pandora Machine and Empirical Pictures are tied at 3 votes each.

U5: Pandora Machine has 4, Empirical Pictures has 5, and Braidwood Films has 2.

U6: On the advice of my lawyer, Empirical Pictures is out of the running. My dad likes Braidwood Films, but I'm weary of "Braidwood". The purpose of that name was to be pretentious. "Pandora Machine" -- like "Good Machine" but without the bankruptcy.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Nobody gets rich, everybody gets paid.

Or, How to make money making movies.

The model of the new movie-making business is:

Budget $60,000

Genre product: Nudity, action. Preferably monsters, fights, explosions. This means horror, sci-fi, or maybe thrillers.

Put name talent (names the consumer would know) in the movie.

Shoot some part on 35mm.


But first we'll start off with Kung Fu Monkey:

We've apparently been paid already from our Japanese distributor. The hard drive is at the lab in California (I haven't been able to find anyone in New York who can actually do the work of making a 4-channel DigiBeta from a Final Cut Pro project, who actually understands why we might need that for overseas.)

And really, at the same time we're formulating a business plan for our next film company. Empirical Pictures was going to be the name of the company, but it might end up being Pandora Machine Films. Just because I still like the name "Pandora Machine". I even named my iPod that.

The secret, it seems, is to make movies for $60,000 (sixty thousand dollars) plus one's overhead. Make them look like what buyers think at least 2 million dollars looks like (although I'm targeting 12 million in "looks"). But research shows that the magic number is $60K for production, and another $40 or whatever for "overhead".

There must be recognizable name talent in the picture. It would be really good if at least some portion of the movie were shot on 35mm.

We can do this.

Beware MacDuff

This is the third Macbeth I've worked on. And it's the second I've composed for. It has a fairly extensive score. And it's getting good reviews! Even I've been getting good reviews, even if I'm not the "composer" but rather the "sound designer".

Because this blog is all about me, I'll only quote about me from OffOffOnline:

"The sound design, by Andrew Bellware, is an almost continuous, complex, moody score, with a subtle Celtic influence. It gives the play the feel of an action movie. It is carefully synchronized with the action, and supports rather than overwhelms the most emotionally intense moments. "

Read the whole thing here:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Ato calls me "Smoove D".
Both Blair and Jim tend to call me "Drew Bear".
Catie calls me "Kualda". I have no idea why.
Ed calls me "Drew".
Jim sometimes calls me "Drewbee."
Maruti calls me "Chicken", and by extension Sarah Matthay does too. But they're the only ones allowed to call me that. It's because I had a haircut once which made me look like a baby chicken.
Ben Sulzbach calls me "Drewcifer".
Josh James calle me "Cat Daddy."

Once again, does it again.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Year. New.

There used to be a post here. I dunno what happened to it. In my efforts to reconstruct, I believe I put up this tutorial by Ian Hubert (