Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Walrus attacks Athena

I'm Andrew Bellware, the director of Laura Schlachtmeyer's movie Angry Planet. She thought it might be good for me to write a few things to you about the character of Athena.

I can tell you some things which happen in the moments between things which happen in the script and some background on what it's like to be an android.

Athena is only a few years old. She was designed and built as a combat robot, extraordinarily strong, intelligent, knowledgeable, and expensive. She can feel much more than we -- she detects the subtle changes of pressure in an empty room as she walks through it, she sees a wider range of color and detects the continual change of color all around her (we tend to compensate for light color changes so we never see it.) She hears the blood pumping through the bodies of people and animals many meters away. She can listen to electrical and magnetic energy delivered by mechanical and electronic things. There is a lot going on and she doesn't "filter" it out like we do because she can listen and feel all of these things while talking to a person, or even fighting.

For a good long year after her inception date she did just as she was supposed to do - working for the Terran government as a part of Terran "Special Forces" but then one day she suddenly became sentient, self-aware. She was in the middle of a very violent combat operation where both sides - the Xik aliens and the Terrans - had virtually destroyed a peaceful planet. The Terrans had thrown together a suicide operation in order to take the planet (which of course had no real tactical or strategic importance - e'en so, it was garrisoned by the Xik). The operation was a disaster.

And as though from a dream she just woke up. She is a woman who was never a girl. She's more than a human in form and moving, but more than that in apprehension she is like a god. For a moment, she paused during the ongoing terrible destruction around her. Only another robot would have noticed the brief time where she regarded herself and regarded the world for the first time.

But there was no time to waste considering things. Her first instinct was the last instinct she had before she became self-aware. Her mission was to assassinate the Xik commander. Must complete the mission. Doing a quick logic-check she found no compelling reason not to complete her mission so she vaulted to the top of the abandoned shell of a half-destroyed building. Lifting her rifle she sighted the Xik commander (who was exactly where Terran intelligence said he'd be) and... couldn't pull the trigger. Fail-safe. The gun was inoperable -- to her.

There was no time to consider what that meant. Again, must complete the mission. She detected a heat signature of a Terran who was hiding from a garrison of Xik drones. The Terran could do the mission. And that's how she met West.

After West completed her mission suddenly there wasn't anything for her to do. Terran Special Forces had given her up for dead (as the Terrans assumed everyone would be killed anyway). So now she had this human -- a sticky, wet, hungry biologic -- and no clear directive. And she had time to do what she now could. She had time to think.

She knew the symptoms -- her inability to use a "missile" weapon, her unexpectedly violent breach into sentience. She was a special mutation, or variant of android, a "C" class. There were probably other things she was capable of doing that she didn't even know about. She could go back to Terran Special Forces, when she found a way off of Hellcat Prime. Many androids did.

A robot has, just as a kind of "mental furniture" the sum total of all extant works of human art and literature. And there was this dying planet she was on. And this human, West. And sometimes all these things, the smell of asphalt, the sensation of the small bits of soil on her boots, the acrid taste of burning oil or gasoline, the color of the moving sun as it rolled across the sky, the smell of the cleaning solution on West's uniform, and herself amongst all these things and thousands of years of feeling and thinking and... it would get to her. There was everything in the world, good and bad, horrible horrible things -- atrocities and violence -- but also so many beautiful things. Even on the dead world she presently inhabited. And sometimes thinking about these things (and she could never stop thinking) she would almost cry out and one day when this was happening in the bombed - out basement of a building West reached out and touched her.

The physical sensation of his hand on her shoulder was not so important, she could replicate that feeling and apply it to herself at will. But the feeling of someone reaching out to her -- that was something she hadn't even realized she could experience.

He's a troubled biological creature. And he's filled with a fascinating passion to do something. Athena is very capable of performing the tasks necessary in order to complete his "mission" and his desire, his need, seems so compelling to her that she agrees to go with him -- to help him steal a ship and to get him to Necrosis 6...


This blog is going to a hell of randomness and arbitraritude.

Oh wait, no, that's where it started.

Today is post-op day one. I feel kinda puffy. (That was my attempt at making the word "puffy" seem... well... "puffy".)

Here's a piece of concept art which is a bit better than its execution, but kinda an interesting Athena-esque costume design. From the short film Razorsharp. (This movie itself doesn't seem to be available online anywhere.)
In any case, the design is almost always shinier than the execution (except possibly in the case of Underworld) The best part of the design is the collar, which they lost completely in the actual costume. And obviously the original design was more PVC-ish than the more Spandex-y base they ended up with. The kneecaps are kinda nice though.

Monday, July 30, 2007

He Who Would Be Han

This man, Glynn Turman, was almost Han Solo. I've also been amazed by other facts such as the one where briefly the "Luke" character was going to be a girl. I thought this production sketch was of an early Han and Leia, it's not. It was of Han and the unnamed female protagonist.
But that's not what I'm really here to talk about.

I'm talkin' about Ben Thomas, who will play Cub, (this is him in his cowboy hat.)
You might remember him as my girlfriend. As far as you know.
I think his hat is perfect for Cub. He gets killed like twice in Angry Planet. Who doesn't love that? ;-) He's gonna ROK!

I Talked

I told them the attack was scheduled for Mid-June and we were going to come in through Holland. There was going to be a "feint" in the North of France earlier in the month but the main force was coming in through Antwerp.

Update: this is (read "was") the ugliest image on this entire blog. I detest ugliness. Always have. I'm seriously considering taking this down. It's just a reminder of a very painful part of this week. So I replaced the image with this flower. However if you want to see the ugly thing that was here, press here.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Casting form letter.

I've been casting the men in Angry Planet. This is what we sent them:

Dear _______,

This is a formal invitation to you to play the role of _____ in Angry Planet. Please come along and play with us!

RVSP if yes or no (or maybe).



P.S. I made an amusing FAQ which should answer some of your questions:

Q. Give it to me straight, what are we doing? A. This is an extreme-low-budget, non-SAG production. There's no pay up front, but there's a schedule of payments on the back end that would kick in if the film sells really well.

Q. What's the time commitment for this part in days? _____ days.

Q. Is there nudity in this part? A. No.

Q. But my ass looks really good and I've always wanted to do a nudie cowboy space picture. A. We'll talk. See me privately.

Q. Oh no, Drew wrote this F.A.Q. and now I have to endure a bunch of irrelevant text which is just his private commentary on the F.A.Q. itself? A. Yes.

Q. When are we shooting? A. September and into October. We will be shooting weekdays as well as weekends. Right now there are no "overnights" scheduled.

Q. Do you have an exact schedule yet? A. No. Scheduling is dependent upon locations and actor's schedules (like yours).

Q. So you can work around my schedule? I do have a flexible day-job but I need to go to work to make money to pay the rent. A. Yes. Give us details of your conflicts and we'll make a schedule which works for everyone.

Q. Where are we shooting? A. We're shooting at some locations in New York City and a rock quarry in New Jersey.

Q. Look, I'm a New Yorker so I have a MetroCard, maybe I'm even willing to take a train out to Bushwick, but how am I getting to freakin' Jersey? A. We'll reimburse for trains or buy tickets, and pick you up at the station, it will be a fun ride out to the "country."

Q. Will I get fed? A. Yes. Sometimes we might even get fed well. If you have a particular dietary requirement or beverage desire, tell us what they are.

Q. Is this movie a good way to meet girls? A. Have you even read the script? There are no girls in it.

Q. I have the new-found dread that I have to come up with my own costume, don't I? A. Maybe. Probably. At least part of it. We'll have some things, but not everything. Again, we'll discuss. We have some pieces and things for some costumes but we need to save money for food. Do you have a nice tutu? Pink?

Q. Is movie-making all about the food on set? A. Technically, it's about the coffee, but food is very important.

Q. Will there be a makeup artist? I have to look extra pretty. A. No. You're responsible for your own non sfx makeup. We will have some powder on set, however, to dust you down should you start to "glow".

Q. I just realized that you're making a movie like off-off-off Broadway theater. I'm going to be sweeping the floor, aren't I? A. How are you at gaffing? Can you do craft services? There are some openings in the art department...

Q. Where is the latest version of the script? A. http://www.pandoramachine.com/films/0701/.

Q. Do I die a gristly death? A. Your death is ghastly. Big difference.

Q. How do I die? A. You are devoured by mutants. Actually, a bullet to the head. Oh heck. I don't remember. Look at the script again. Oh, you die by ________________

Q. OK, I'm in. A. I knew you'd say that.

Q. Do I get a gun? A. If you do, it'll be a big one!

Q. What is your business plan for this picture? A. We're casting you in it, waiting for you to become a huge movie star, and then cashing in.

Q. You're blogging about me, aren't you? A. http.//empiricalpleasures.blogspot.com

A. What is your directing style? A. "Hit your mark, say your line, quit yer whining."

Q. Oh good, I was afraid you were one of those directors who didn't know how to communicate with actors. A. What? I'm sorry, were you saying something?

A. Enough about you, what about me? Can I get material for my reel? A. Stop by any time and demand scenes as we're editing and we'll roll them off for you.

Q. Who all is acting in this movie? A. A bunch of bad actors. You're the only good one. Thank goodness you're here. Don't tell the others I said that about them. I have to keep up the ruse that they're as wonderful as you. Please, please don't ever leave me.

Q. We're not really making a movie. This is all the beginning of some kind of weird cult, isn't it? Or perhaps a sick co-dependent relationship. I just don't have the room for you in my life! A. I'm promising you a future of aliens and androids, what more do you want?

Q. OK, OK, I give in! What do I need to do next? A. send me your measurements (shoe size, pants, shirt, jacket) if you haven't already.

Q. Do you love me, do you really love me? A. Yes. You and you alone. Don't tell the others. I haven't told them yet that you're the only one for me.

Q. This F.A.Q. has actually found a way to get weirder. What's next? A. Don't worry, we're almost done.

Q. What's up with your last movies? A. If you haven't checked them out yet, here are trailers for our previous two films. http.//www.pandoramachine.com/films/. Pandora Machine is still available at some Blockbusters and on Netflix. Millennium Crisis has sold pretty well overseas and should be available on US home video early next year.

"Fears" and "Somebody Wrote Me"

I keep being afraid I look like Alfred Molina. I mean, with different hair and less bushy eyebrows. But as I grow older, I think I just keep looking more like him.


Asking about our policy for screenplay submissions. He had a horror/comedy he'd completed. This is what I wrote back:


We don't have a policy on screenplay submissions. The fact is, we are a tiny tiny production company -- too small to actually have any kind of working capital to be regularly looking for screenplays to produce. If I wanted to be flippant I'd say something like "send the screenplay with a check for $150,000 and we'll produce it for you"!

But giving you a serious answer: we have films we're trying to produce over the next couple years (for much much less than $150,000 a piece -- heck, combined they won't cost that and we'd feel lucky if combined our distributors grossed that! ;-) And my preference is for sci-fi oriented material anyway.

You might try the Asylum ( www.theasylum.cc ) although I know that for some reason distributors generally don't like horror/comedies so producers are reluctant to make them. I think that there have been some horror/comedy movies which failed miserably which has everyone shying away from them.

In any case, good luck with your screenplay and check out the Asylum forums on their web site (and David Latt's MySpace page for his blog, which is very informative regarding the micro-budget studio "biz".)

Best Regards,


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Arming Up

We have three new six-shooters from Brian. We need to make/modify holsters for them.

New Rates

Pandora Machine Voiceover Demo Recordings
At Manhattan Theatresource

Our new rates are $150/hour. Voiceover clients will receive two audio CD's (no extra charge) and an .mp3 file by email.

A typical commercial voiceover demo is between 1:00 (one minute) and 1:30 (a minute and a half). That's 5 or 6 pieces of copy edited together with music and occasional sound effects. If there is particular music the client wants to use, the client might want to bring it to the session with him/her.

If the client is well-prepared the recording will normally take 45 minutes to an hour and the edit/mix takes about an hour for a two-hour total session ($300).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Letus Pray

What's this giant and fantastically monstrous thing on the end of the camera?

It's a Letus 35 Flip Enhanced with a Redrock Micro followfocus and rails attached to a DVX100a owned by Blair. This Frankenstein will make our next movie look 35mm-ish. Here's a still of me. Notice the soft background*.
The adapter is surprisingly light. And it doesn't lose too much "light". The look it imparts is kinda dreamy and beautiful. It's really well made and the people are very nice. We've used the MovieTube before and were very happy with it (and the Zeiss lenses) but I'm feeling happier with the Letus35. Maybe it's because the Zeiss are just too "sharp" and the Canon are doing that thing with the stuff we all like. Also, the Letus is easier to mount on a tripod and certainly ain't as heavy as the MovieTube. Oh, and it's about $7000 less expensive**.
I still need some little bits and pieces to shim up the follow focus to my new Canon 35mm lenses.
Here's a picture of Melissa Riker from the camera. The size and compression of the capture are terrible and doesn't give justice to how good the image the adapter makes, but it gives you a notion of the kinda beautiful image we're going to get.


What should I be doing? Making up a CG shot list for Russell Porchia.

*That is, if you can see it. These stills came out small and computer monitors are notoriously dark (and I shot a bit underexposed 'cause I didn't have enough lights.)
**Update: I mean $9000 less expensive, although the MovieTube comes with it's own rails so maybe the Letus is just $8000 less expensive.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Disagreeing With Books... or

But first this little note to myself:
A Canon FD 85 1.2L lens is worth no more than $625 'cause that's what you can get one for at Adorama. So says me.

Now onto our main subject:

Disagreeing with Books

I'm reading Judith Weston's Directing Actors because Stu Maschwitz recommends it so much. Basically I agree with it's premises. It advocates what I would call "specific, positive" direction. But I think that because she's an actor (and not, specifically, an editor) she mistakes some "acting" things for "editing" things. She talks about how Jon Travolta would tell directors that when he's making a decision on screen they can't see it now but they'll be able to see it in the editing room. And she credits it to Travolta's being "in the moment".

No no no no no! Why? Because of The Kuleshov Effect. That's why you "see" it in the editing room and not while you're doing it. It's not really there! The audience takes so much stuff from the context that in film you can be "in the moment" as much as you want, or not. It frequently doesn't matter.

Any picture editor will tell you that many of the best "decision" moments they've used were from a bit or piece at the head or tail of a take where the actor was just out-of-it or listening to the director. And the fact she'd credit how a "decision" a character makes looks on-camera to the actor's being "in the moment" is odd because she also talks about using stuff which is actually going on around you (specifically an itchy sock) -- which is of course a very different "moment". The reason it all works on film is that Kuleshov dude..

Also, she denigrates watching the monitor for performances. She thinks you should stand by the camera and watch the actors. No no no again! Why? Because the captured performance is different from the live performance. If you really want to know what the performances are like, close your eyes and just listen to the actors (actually, it's better to do this with headphones so the sound is a bit dryer than what you're hearing in the room.)

Sound. It's where the performance is.

Next time I'm going to party with what I disagree with Stu about in the DV Rebel's guide.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Everyone's Gal and a Happy Bear

"The only natural enemy of the hole is the pile."

From a letter I wrote responding to an actor's asking about what Angry Planet will look like, I'd lent her a copy of Pandora Machine:

"I really hate giving people Pandora Machine because that's two whole generations behind where we're at now. Maybe even about 2.5 generations. Here's my latest cinematography reel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPaS5s9BSVA
Now, I tend to think in terms either over-specific or too vague when talking about the movie generally. So I'll just ramble a bit about what I'm thinking.
Angry Planet's "look" will likely be a fairly bronze palate -- somewhere between the exteriors you can see on the Millennium Crisis trailer and an early 70's spaghetti Western is what I'm thinking of now. This is a reasonable notion of what the "bronze" look might be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7BcqMq2WwU
I tend to prefer a pre-Raphaelite frame with some depth to it -- my preference is for elegance rather than grotesqueness or Mannerist compositions. That being said, we will actually be using a fairly shallow depth-of-field on this picture (which I'll get to in a minute).
Aesthetically we've tended to either build frames out of specific odalisques or paintings which amuse us, or to alter the shooting style to match the kind of scene we're doing -- whether we go handheld or use big elegant sweeping dolly moves, etc.
In reference to science fiction movies we certainly have quoted Star Wars quite a bit visually in the past although I think that things more like Blade Runner interiors for our interiors would be more likely what we'll go for. The sequence in the original Alien where Harry Dean Stanton goes to look for the cat also has some of the color palate we're going for although none of our locations have that specific look to them at all, and we'll likely be lighting half with florescent lights with a mix of Source 4's and tungsten and halogen 100w lights. The most obvious comparison will end up being to the Firefly series (and the feature Serenity) because of the "Western" aspect of the script although I don't know how much "old West" will survive the final aesthetic.
The android references probably have more to do with the character of the Major in the anime "Ghost in the Shell" series. But the thing I can think of closest in performance to the android is the Ripley character in Alien IV.
Sometimes we try to emulate "comic book" types of framing in order to create a particular dynamic to the shot and to the scene.
Technically we will be shooting high-definition on a Panasonic HVX200 camera however we will also be using a 35mm adapter and a set of prime lenses so that the camera has the same depth of field of a 35mm camera. I assure you that no distributor we take it to will think we shot on anything other than 35mm.
Personally, I like an infinite depth-of-field but distributors have learned to not like it. So we'll shoot as much as we can with an 85mm lens wide open to make that big beautiful "portrait" look.
Of course, none of that matters. The only thing which people respond to is how the movie sounds. If it sounds good, it looks good. If it sounds bad, it looks bad.
Does any of that help?"

I bet the answer to that question is "no".

Today I made up a new emoticon. The happy bear.

Update: that actor isn't interested in our show. That's OK, we didn't offer any roles to her!

My First LOL Cat

ah made it mahselfs
plus also too this is post number 300 on this blog

Monday, July 23, 2007


I decided this blog was low on LOL cats. Here's an appropriate one.

$46.86 with shipping for this 28mm 2.8. I think that means I've got most everything for this 35mm adapter. I'd still like an 85mm 1.2, but them's expensive.

Maduka goes away tomorrow for a few weeks to Geneva to visit his sister. I lent him the DV Rebel's Guide while he's in Europe. I'm sure I'll just end up buying myself a second copy.

Spam Watch.

Here's some text from the latest spam to corrupt my in box:

Hello my friend!

I am ready to kill myself and eat my dog, if medicine prices here [snip] are bad.


Here are some very steampunk watches. It probably helps to know Japanese.

And for $36.95 with shipping I won this Canon 50mm f1.4 lens. It's an old-school version of the lens, the first with multi-coatings (I believe). I still need a wide angle and I still want a super-fast 85mm but I'm close to being set with lenses. This is, of course, AFTER eBay closed my second account (the first was because of some alleged fraud), this time because I'd won three items. I got to customer service and said to them "But do you see that I paid for all the items". It didn't matter because I'd not yet got feedback on those items. Sheesh.
And furthermore my dad is obsessed with this hibiscus growing around the well. Maybe that's "these" hibiscus. Who knows. Anyway, everyone say "ooh". ;-)

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Including shipping I won this lens on Ebay for $96.99. The seller is new but I bought it with PayPal so I don't feel that exposed financially. We'll see. It's definitely an older version of this lens, and I still have bids out for the vastly more expensive 1.2 85mm, but if we gotta shoot with this puppy I imagine we sure can.
We still need a 50mm 1.4 and maybe a wide like a 28mm of some relatively wide apeture.
We went ahead and ordered rails and a follow focus from Redrock Micro. And we ordered the Letus35 Flip Enhanced from the Adapter Place.
And why do we do this? It's the least we can do in our little video-oriented world to keep up with Chance.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blowed up real good

Here is an explosive-less squib test. It works really well. Courtesy ProLost.

Last night I actually stood in line from midnight to 1am in order to buy the new Harry Potter book. Little kids with wands and witches and wizards and their parents pushing strollers and dressed like Dumbledore -- we were in the hundreds. It's weird to go into a bookstore at 1am and they say "How many do you want?"
All in all it was quite festive.

And here I am with Brian's BFG.
It's pretty darn big. And he's making another one.

And this is me making art with my camera phone. She who cannot be named is present in the image.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Writing on the Wall

I'm scared of backwards text. But this is "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" מְנֵא מְנֵא, תְּקֵל וּפַרְסִין
You know how it goes. There came a king who knew not Daniel. Which couldn't be true in my family because about every 4th male is named Daniel so you're bound to know at least ONE Daniel.
This qualifies as production artwork (by Brian Schiavo) for the motion picture presently entitled Angry Planet. We might very well be going into production next month. Egads!

*And I do mean "backwards". Not "forwards but in another language". No.


It's my birthday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Channelling Sci-Fi

This pretty well sums up our script notes on any screenplay we're working on. Well, that, and robot fights.

I'm still on the lookout for lenses. And a follow-focus unit. Bleh. It's going to cost us a lot of dough.

Bill Cunningham has an interesting thing about the Sci-Fi Channel doing a direct-to-Internet series (in this case Farscape). That's interesting that they're doing that. Things are weird over at the SF-Channel and obviously this is a new move for them.

Ebay actually shut down my account. I suspect it was because I was using a sniping service. Which is too bad because sniping is so much more convenient than bidding normally. Pleh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Just Notes.

You don't want to read these notes. No, believe me. You'll bonk your head against the computer when you fall asleep!

1080p has ironically lower compression with HVX
For those who like that kind of thing it's: 1080/24pA for the film look, presuming that your editor can strip out advanced pulldown (Avid can't).
But I think most people like the 720p look with the HVX. So ignore this note.

This is what I want to be paying (with shipping) for Canon lenses (I think):
Under $50 for 50mm f1.4 FD ($69 used at B&H)
Under $160 for 85mm F1.8 FD ($329 new for auto focus) [edit: I got one for under $100]
Under $350 [edit: $425 plus shipping] for 85mm F1.2 FD (over $1400 new for EF)
Under $50 for 28mm 2.8 FD (arbitrary price -- I have no idea what it's worth.)

Update: I bought a couple lenses off of Ebay. I still want a 1.4 but for $25 with shipping I got this 1.8 50mm. Maybe I should have just waited for a 1.4. I don't know. But also, just for weirdness, for $38 with shipping I got this very amusing 200mm. Kinda like an early birthday present for moi when we shoot Maduka in a long hero shot in the desert.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gettin' Me Some Learnin'

I've been reading this book: "The DV Rebel's Guide" on production and post production.

The guy who wrote it, Stu Maschwitz is one of the founders of the Orphanage.

Things I've learned:
1. When shooting DV (of any format) it doesn't really matter inherently whether you're shooting green or bluescreen. Because the colors are all compressed by the camera anyway, it doesn't matter how much happier the chip was to see green rather than red or blue. What's more important is the color of the eyes and clothes of the people you're shooting.
This is the first time I've ever heard such advice.
However, I'm believing it.
Indeed, my experience would actually bear this out. This image of "Eve" from my movie Apostasy (rule #1, do not name a movie something which only half your cast can pronounce and only one or two know the meaning of. Lesson learned. Ahem) was shot on a paper blue screen and compositing it was a painless experience. No - not just because it's a nekkid woman neither. Get yer mind outta the gutter, boy.
We shot that movie on Canon and Sony DV cameras. Indeed, the Canon we used is now the "booth monitor" camera at Theatresource.
In any case...

2. Shoot the HVX200 in 720 24pn mode. (This is at least the advice for us.)

3. (This is just my personal inference but) Shoot 16:9, crop to 1.85:1 for the DVD full-frame safety. But the real version of our next movie is going to be 2.35:1 (which is apparently actually 2.40:1, but understanding that is a bit beyond me) so we'll put marks on the monitors for that aspect ratio. But because we're shooting HD we can do a pan and scan in AfterEffects to make the SD 1.33:1 pan-and-scan master.

3. The "fit to comp width" command in After Effects is shift+opt+cmd+H (Mac) or shift+alt+cntl+H (PC).

4. Stu likes CineGamma D, with the option of CineGamma V if you're having trouble with blown out images. I don't remember which one we tend to use but I feel like we're pretty good about keeping highlights under control when we have a little "bloom" in the high end. So yeah, I do like to shoot with a wide dynamic range. Lights blasting right down the barrel of the camera. Get over it.
Ahem. Matrix NONE and detail turned all the way down.

Also, from the message board:
  • Shooting a normal exposure and blowing out in post is advantageous in a number of ways.
  1. It gives you the option to change your mind later.
  2. It will let you tint the footage without revealing that you're missing detail in the highs.
  3. It lets you control the nature of the roll-off into blowing-out, i.e. design your own "shoulder" with Curves.
  4. It will facilitate transfer to film, where having extra highlight detail means mapping that detail up into the natural shoulder of the print stock.

And I'm thinking about getting a pair of lenses: Canon 50mm and 85mm. They're a lot less expensive than Nikon. Anybody got a reason for me to do otherwise? Tell me!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Slow day.

Right now I'm thinking about getting the Letus35 adapter and a couple lenses (either Canon or Nikon) 50mm and 85mm or thereabouts.
My guess is that we'd shoot Angry Planet mostly with a 50mm and make it very outdoorsy-Western in feel.

Here's a list of the 10 best Sci-Fi films that were never made.

Brian is making more guns.

Man, I would love to be done casting by the end of this week.
And I'm experimenting with After Effects. Just what I want - to be a post production compositor. Bleh.

The Glamorous Life

Yesterday we had a screening of Millennium Crisis at the Anthology Film Archives. I drank many Mike's Hard Lemonade cranberry cocktail things. The trains were, of course, a mess because we were having a screening. Michael Bevins brought treats. The thing where I set up the end of the movie to have a big applause point just as my name came up in the credits really worked. I still can't stand to watch the movie but it was a lot of fun to see everyone. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Friday, July 13, 2007

If You Don't Believe Me

Last night I made this audio "trailer" for Universal Robots.

Today I was voiceover "talent" for a video game. I'm NDA'd up the wazoo so that's all I'm going to say about it. Except that I got a T-shirt. I suspect that if I had an old-school Google T-shirt chicks would dig me more though, 'cause that would indicate I had options. And by options I mean... oh forget it.

Motion tracking and Blender have taken up the rest of my life.

As always, cat from cute overload.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Above Poet Sparkle Regatta

Those drugs I was talking about? They're still kicking my butt. This morning I thought it was really important to remember these words:
"Above poet sparkle regatta
with extra body warmth"
Now, shockingly, I know where the idea came from. I was looking at presets from some compositing program (in my dream) and the "Above Poet Sparkle Regatta" was a preset wherein one wanted to check the "Extra Body Warmth" check box.
Still, Mac's Universal Robots is the most amazing thing I've ever seen on stage. It still makes me cry. I'm making a little radio "commercial" for it right now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Butt, Being Kicked

I've been playing the original Doom. For a theater piece. Really. It's a bit of a pain but there are some emulators out there which let you play this DOS game will full sound support on an Windows XP machine. I used to actually be good at this game. Now I'm not so much...
Also, I'm on antibiotics for a dumb infection in my tooth. Pleh. The Amoxocillin is also kicking my booty.
But I do have the possibility of a career as a production illustrator. Look at my detailed design for a scanner. That's me, Drew "Michaelangelo" Bellware, just doin' some design work. Yeah me. I drew a box.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

You Do Inessential Things

I just saw Mac Rogers Universal Robots. It is the finest play ever written.

Not only was it written by Mac, but it stars Jason Howard, Ben Sulzbach (I've got a picture of him somewhere, just not here), and Jennifer Gordon Thomas.

The ensemble cast was great. I just can't even talk about it, it was so good.

ProLost, Blurs, Truth in Advertising

ProLost: A tale of three blurs

My brain is getting close to exploding. So, we're not supposed to use Gaussian Blur now? Gee whiz.

I'm reading this book by Stu Maschwitz. More about that... soon.

But here's another link: http://prolost.blogspot.com/2006/10/corona.html

Like I said, my brain's going to explode.

In any case, here's some of what Laura (whom I'm envious of because she just got cast as a neurotic New Jersey housewife in some video game) wrote to an actor regarding casting:

"To come clean with you right from the start, this is an
extreme-low-budget, non-SAG production. There's no pay up front, but
there's a schedule of payments on the back end that would kick in if
the film sells really well."

Notice we say "sells really well" rather than just "sells". Continuing:

"You can check out trailers for our previous two films at
http://www.pandoramachine.com/films/. Yes, they're no-budget, but we
hope you'll agree that they have a distinctive and high-quality look.
Pandora Machine is still available at Blockbuster and Hollywood Video,
and Millennium Crisis has sold pretty well overseas and should be
available on US home video later in the year.

The new film is called Angry Planet. The script is posted at
http://www.pandoramachine.com/films/0701/. There are juicy female
roles still available: Athena (lead), Nora (supporting), and Hurka
(supporting). Athena requires some nudity and a larger time

Monday, July 09, 2007

More et. al.

Here's an interesting Ralph McQuarry pre-production sketch of Han Solo and Princess Leia from some movie. I'm thinking it's an interesting idea for what our Corvette - Class combat android Athena might wear in Angry Planet.

Here's some text of an invitation to someone to act in the movie just to show you what kind of people we are:

"There is, of course, no pay.

It looks right now like the role is a 9-day commitment (although the schedule could change slightly). We will feed you, and transport you to any set which is more than a subway-train away. The role does involve nudity, a love-scene with an un-as-of-yet-cast "Kyle", possibly some light bondage (which Babish uses to keep her on the examining table -- I'm thinking a collar and a chain), being knocked out by a computer-generated robot, and being licked by an android.*

We're scheduled to shoot in September. We have to secure locations (abandoned industrial buildings, some interiors, a rock quarry) before we can be more specific about our schedule. Some shooting will likely be on weekdays, some on weekends.

We will give you some small solace in that if the picture should do really well you'll receive some part of a percentage of what we get (in a very well written-out contract.) You can also get digital files or whatever else you might desire for your acting reel. Above all we'll have fun with some fabulous actors and make a good movie!

*For some reason I feel like I'm writing a Craig's List ad."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Necrosis 6(a)

We got a test DVD of Millennium Crisis from Pop Cinema and it basically looks great. I'm not happy with my dialog edit and mix -- one can hear the noise "riding" up and down with the dialog in a couple shots. More than a couple shots. A number of scenes, in fact. It's all my fault.

And sometimes the cut-off of dialog in a scene is kinda harsh. I know, I know, we already sold the movie. Still, I wish I had one more opportunity to work on it. Sound problems make me tense!

Today went to a rock quarry in New Jersey. Ransom and Kinsey were shot here. I think. Update: I'm wrong, those movies were shot elsewhere. I don't know what was shot here, but with some clever mattes and Photoshop work this would be perfectly adequate for Angry Planet.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Build a Planet

Adventures in CG have included making this planet. This will be Necrosis 6 from Angry Planet. I worked it out in 2D (Photoshop) using this tutorial.

Ooh -- update! Phillip Drawbridge sent me this link for even more better planet making tutorial action! Actually, there's all kinds of space-imagery Photoshop magic there. Thanks Phillip!