Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Am researching Dvořák and Leoš Janáček for Mac Rogers' Universal Robots.

Columbia University has a bunch of recordings on the interwebs in .mp3 format. There are recordings of the New World Symphony in the public domain linked on Wikipedia.

Plus also too I want some col legno samples. You know what I want. Maybe I should just get a cheap violin bow and play them on the guitar?

I ordered a cheap bow on eBay. We'll see how it goes.
I have a friend who used to have a one-bedroom here for $849 a month. He thinks the rents are a bit higher now, but not much (he moved out less than 6 months ago because he bought a new place). It's in Jersey City, which is pretty quick to right around the corner from my studio via the "Hudson Tubes" (the PATH train). Riding the PATH will add $3 a day to my commute (if I also get an unlimited Metrocard).

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And I can't find my orange rugged external hard drive.

Disturbed by Art

Here's some disturbing stuff. Beautiful, but disturbing. But surprisingly, not in a Czech-holocaust-nightmare sort of way.

The artist's name is Jason deCaires.

I Hate That Monkey

Isn't this the horrible little gold monkey from The Golden Compass?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pic Me

I got a decent picture of me by accident. I was just climbing up on this giraffe you see...

Going Random

Yes, I'm publishing a picture of the brand of socks I like. They're available at K-mart. When I want new socks, these are the kind I get.


Here is a list of comics which might be made into movies.

Lesbian Vampire Killers. Sure, they've given up on doing anything serious. But still:

Via Chance Shirley, the "best band in Birmingham", indy rock act Teen Getaway. "The South is generally the last cultural frontier in America... it makes for some nice organic weirdness."

We Have Signal: Live From Birmingham - Teen Getaway from We Have Signal on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Do To 2009

I'm getting more and more stressed about being "homeless". I've been trying to figure out how to get my credit report. There's only one right way, as it turns out. They really want to make you sign up for a "service" which check your credit every month and automatically debits your credit card. Thanks but no thanks. The above site is the way to do it for free.

Unfortunately, the way that a so-called "credit score" is calculated is proprietary to each of the companies (Experian, Equifax, etc.). Thanks a lot guys!


My mozy.com backup seems to have finished. It's a little more than 60GB of all the data except for the actual camera video data. That stuff is another few hundred GB so we have physical backups in other counties.

Oops. Nope. That doesn't include the sound mix-to-date. That's another 16.6 GB. Allegedly that's another 6 days and 14 hours.

Holy cow. What did they put in those mojitos? I know, I know. Presumably some kind of rum mixed with a KGB knockout drug. Cow. Holy.


It's the new year. And it's official. We has can much to do. Must deliver Alien Uprising by mid February. That means we gotta be done with it by the end of January. Sheesh!


I'd really like to actually make another album this year. I meant to record it last year but I didn't. Step one is to make demos for the drummer. The big question is: do we play to a click track or not? I suppose it's easier if we have a click and then I can start recording guitars and such even before we record the real drums.

Making a List

So for Christmas this year we had all of my siblings together (well, that didn't go down 'till Boxing Day -- we didn't have my sister until she arrived on the 26th -- but it's close enough that I'll consider it Christmas.) This (all of us in the same room on XMas) hasn't happened in at least 20 years. Furthermore, it happened at my parent's new apartment. (It didn't happen at the Ancestral Home where I've been living with them for 43 years, but within 20 miles of there so it's close enough).


Older brother brought remote controlled helicopters. Not one. Not two. Not four. I think the total was 7, although not all of them were with us. Hilarity ensued. A hobby store with spare helicopter parts was found nearby. Twice.

Apologies made to eldest brother, who's helicopter I accidentally clocked with my own.


Eldest brother got me a new shaving kit and a miniature tripod.

Sister is trying to fatten me up with multiple cinnamon nut chocolate carrot cake/breads.

I bought cheese. Oh, and a wireless headset for my dad which he seems to really like. And some chocolate. And cheese.

Probably the best thing I purchased was some apple schnapps to add to the hot cider we kept on the stove. Brother-in-law and I partook mostly. And frequently. In ever greater quantities.

Step mom had a little and then took nap.


I believe the entire household voted exactly the same way in the Presidential election.

That's a new development.


My parents seem to have given up even trying to buy me anything for my birthday or Christmas. I know what the problem is. I keep asking for dental care. I have to stop doing that. "Going to the dentist" is a boring present. Nobody wants to give that.

Sister got parents a really nice globe. It goes perfectly with the new apartment.

The cat did not get cat armor. He has fur. We say that's good enough.

He puts up with my sister's dog pretty well now. Mostly by ignoring the big fuzzy sheep-like animal. Dog is good with the cat. I think that Dog would like to be friends with Cat but my cat is slow to make friends with non-humans.

I feel I should selfishly classify the things I did not get for Christmas: an XBox with GTA IV, a Wii with Wii Fit, a Peavy Vypyr 30 amplifier with foot controller. Not that I asked for any of these things, mind you. These material possessions not under my aegis will need to be obtained eventually. Maybe prices will plummet after new year...

No, I do not understand the Canadian theme in this blog post. Perhaps it's a "hello" to our Canadian relatives.

Friday, December 26, 2008

4 a year plan

There are few things in this world which one really knows. But this I know: we absolutely must make at least four pictures a year in order to be a viable business. That means we have to have four completed and viable scripts per year. That's four Save the Cat level scripts, each of which is delivered 3 months before the first day of principal photography.

After doing 4 a year for a couple years, we may have to move up to using other directors. Then the logistics will go through the roof. Hopefully revenue will do some similar rise.

First though I think we need an editor working full time. Or at least an editor working full time for a part of the year (editing four pictures).

Shooting four pictures is a wee bit of a cash crunch but I like to think we can make it.


Ernie and Burt do MOP's "Ante Up".

I appreciate that the shop on Carmine Street where I buy my strings has nude models with their guitars. Thank you.

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Should I just buy this software? It's not that much money, it is my new religion. It's kinda silly to spend 90 bucks on something which a few pieces of paper would take care of. You tell me. Tell me now!


We have a drop dead deadline for Alien Uprising of February 15th. Whew, that's gonna be rough. But we gotta do fast turnarounds eventually so we may as well get to it!

How Things Work

Substantial numbers of my siblings have been remiss in providing grandchildren of late. The grandkids are nigh into their mid '20's so Christmas started at about 5pm. Heck, it almost didn't happen at all today.

But we played with RC helicopters and my parents made noises regarding the incredibly expensive remaining dental care for my Christmas present.

Nobody's eaten the cheese yet. The chocolate on the other hand, has met with an early demise.

The cat enjoys the company. Everyone, exhausted, went back to hotel rooms rather early tonight. Presumably my sister and brother-in-law arrive tomorrow for more eating and merriment. I gotta get us some apple schnapps.

I could go on and on about the "best pineapple we've ever had." It will go down into the annals of legend, this beautiful, whole, pineapple. It was some good stuff, boy. Diana gave it to me for Christmas. Smooth, sweet without being cloying. A hint of coconut. The pineapple, I mean.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Smarter Animals Than Me

These stuffed animals are smarter than you. Well, at least, they're smarter than me. Or rather, one of them is smarter than me, but he can't talk. This is starting to not make any sense. Don't worry, it won't make any sense even when you watch the video.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This is what it looks like when I clean out the "temp image" folder on my desktop.

I have performed only one veto at the old age home where my brother and I (and soon my whole tribe) are spending Christmas/Hanukkah. OK, so it's not an "old age home". It's one of those "over 45" or "over 55" places designed for people to retire to in order to get their adult children to finally leave the house.*

In any case, that veto was of the listening to Johnny Mathis. The home is quieter now, more peaceful. Mostly because I'm not banging my head against the wall saying "It's not even mediocrity! It's not as good as mediocre!"


I should have some vodka. That will make everyone feel better.


In fact, I'll make myself a screwdriver right now.


There. That's much better.


Sometime after Christmas I think I may end up getting a Peavey Vipyr 30 amplifier for myself, with a Sanpera I foot controller too.


I wish you could caption and format in Blogger better than you can. And I wish you could export your whole blog with pictures easier too. While we're at it, can we have a new government in Burma and an end to the Darfur genocide.

"The problem with vodka is... that it can be a good-tasting alcohol." -- David Bellware (my brother)

"Either God gave me a brain, or maybe it was just Darwin." -- Dan Bellware (my dad)

There are a lot of Dan and David Bellwares, so I figured I'd be specific.


I did start the following poem:
'Twas the night before Christmas and the inbox is zero. Not an email was stirring, not even a Nigerian business scam.

Lucky for you I didn't go any further.


*We did determine that a "dumb Bellware" is actually someone who makes weights for lifting.

We're Safe

The cloned raptors are hunting the last of the cyborgs. We're safe.

Royal Naboo Air Force 1. Indeed.

Big Mistake

Monica Belluci made a big mistake when she walked out on me.*


We are low on Robot Kung-Fu movies in our lives. Please, someone rectify this problem. Oh, thanks.

Tonight my brother David is trying to teach my dad how to put a new profile picture on Facebook.

Soon, his new picture will be up.

At the same time it is raining frogs and a beast with a whole lot of eyes is wandering around outside in the parking lot.


*Technically, she didn't "walk out on me". Rather she "never met me." I guess that's better than "won't return my phone calls."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More et al

John Carpenter's The Thing -- on Hulu:

(You have to sign up because it's rated "R".)

You can also watch The Fifth Element (it is not embeddable.)

And too, Gattica.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Ed McNamee has me almost convinced to buy Toontrack EZdrummer.

Maybe if someone's complaining that they can't find anything for me for Christmas, I'll suggest that.


As far as Christmas goes, everybody gets cheese this year. My whole tribe is descending on Princeton NJ this year. Ergo: you get cheese. The only person getting anything more than cheese is my dad (who I assure you does not read this blog, because reading blogs on the Internet is just an additional pain-in-the-tuchus)*. He gets nice Sennheiser wireless headphones. I gotta figure out how to hook them up.

This amuses me:

*I had to take the brunt of his yelling about the interface to Facebook the other day. Why me? I didn't design it. Not that I blame him for yelling about it. The interface drives me nuts too. In addition, he hates GMail. I've informed my dad that my sister Jean is his IT department, not me. I am strictly Physical Plant support. He apparently did not get the new org chart.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Alien Uprising Update

Amelia Randolph Campbell. Photograph by Mitchell Riggs.

I had one of those Wikipedia experiences where I was surfing around and eventually found this version of Procol Harum's Conquistador. The band is Conjunto Jardin and they do an excellent cover of the song, which is one of my favorites.

Does anybody know where my old drum machine is? Didn't I have both an Alesis D-4 and an SR-16? It would be nice to use one or the other to make some quick demos. I could probably use the Roland JV1080, I'd just have to figure out the drum maps.


But that's not what's important right now. This is an Alien Uprising update.

Maduka has left for Madison for Christmas but before leaving today he did his second pass on the picture edit of the entire movie (I know what you're thinking: "Drew, you let Maduka have Christmas off? What the...?").

We have a locked picture cut of Alien Uprising.

I am 3/4 of the way through a first pass on the dialog, music, and effects edit on the second (of four) reels. So far there's no actual ADR except for one line of Maduka's which he wants to change. Also I noticed two dialog stumbles today in wide shots but I'm positive we have better takes from closeups which I could match.

We still have to make the ship speeding away from the exploding planet. And we have a number of shots of the facility which we see as wireframe holograms. We think we know how long each of those things takes, which is why we feel confident enough to lock the picture cut and go onto sound.

Artistically my guess is that we're going to want to add a few seconds here and there to open up the pacing just a bit. It's cut very tight (which is good). Now that we're adding music we're finding we can sit for just a bit more in a couple of moments. But that'll be the "third" picture pass and we'll have to unlock the audio to make those changes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Keanu Reeves has a Cowboy Bebop picture set up, but no script yet.

Here is a confusing chart of the relative energy required to move people around using different transportation methods. If you thought airplanes were bad, just look at cruise ships!

CreateSpace. I dunno what I could use it for, but we'll keep it in mind for selling albums and DVD's and such on Amazon.com. The trick, as always, would be getting marketing to work for us so enough people would be interested in buying. That hasn't worked out for us yet, but that doesn't mean it never will.

[update: I really have to stop re-posting the same bunnies.]

Friday, December 19, 2008

Save Your Cat

Save the Cat is the best book on screenwriting I've ever read.

There are lots of good books out there, and they give lots of good advice. Different writers have different weaknesses. Most writers have problems with structure. Save the Cat will solve your structure problems*.

Save the Cat is the standard text for Pandora Machine now. I've bought six copies of it so far -- and handed them around. It's the only book on screenwriting which I would use as a tool which which to model a screenplay.

The author, Blake Snyder, doesn't make the mistake of saying that your lead character must have an arc. But he does specify how to make sure you make a story that someone wants to actually watch. And he is quite specific in breaking down the form of virtually any movie story-type.

So read it. Love it. Learn it.

So say I. So say we All.


I just read his follow-up book, Save the Cat Goes to the Movies. In essence it expands the second chapter of Save the Cat and give a lot more story examples and breaks down the stories of many more popular movies. It's a good book and it's helpful for its examples of stories but not absolutely necessary.


You could buy Fender Custom Shop '54 pickups for your Stratocaster or Strat copy. They might cost more than your guitar though.

Oh, and I gave up and put 10's "regular" slinkys on my Squire Strat. The lighter strings were just too buzzy. Phphthththth.


*Most of your other problems can be solved by having good actors make up better stuff on set. Ha! ;-)


Washington Square Park. The city looks beautiful while it's snowing.

By this time tomorrow it'll mostly be a gross brown sludge.

So enjoy it now!

Chaunnakah is on Monday

First of all, when was it exactly that Mick Jagger couldn't get no girly action? Secondly, what is up with that shirt he's wearing? I don't think the ultra-thin lead singer of a band from Williamsburg would wear that shirt ironically.

I believe this was a number 1 song in the US when I was born.

We have an offer for North American distribution on Alien Uprising. That would be a movie we haven't actually completed yet. We're workin' on it. We don't have North American for Solar Vengeance yet, but we do have some great artwork for the Japanese version which we can't show you yet.

I'm kinda thinking about getting a dark chocolate dradle

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This amp just looks groovy. I want this paisley-esque design on my next album cover (which should be the first album by Pleasure for the Empire).

Because we will be...



Via Chance Shirley's Twitter: Timecrimes has a "shoestring" budget of $2.6 million. Feh!


I just saw the IFC-released movie Anamorph. It was directed by a fellow named Henry Miller. I worked for Henry on a previous movie of his called Late Watch. I was the sound mixer.

Late Watch was an interesting shoot. I've never seen the final movie. (Actually, it was on Late Watch that we met Jim Mickle.) While I'm in caveat mode I should say that I used to work at the Wooster Group, so I've worked with Willem and with Paul Lazar, who plays the medical examiner. Oh, and oddly, I mixed Deborah Harry when she did a benefit for the Wooster Group. Oh and look -- Jim was one of the editors on the "making of" video of Anamorph.

Anamorph is an IFC production. I don't know if that means they actually financed it, or just picked it up. The movie made about $5000 in the IFC theater on 6th Avenue according to imdb.com and then went on to pay-per-view. My understanding is that IFC makes a buttload of money in pay-per-view. Who makes money with pay-per-view? Well, it looks like IFC and pornos in hotel rooms are the only people making pay-per-view work. Bully for them then.

I liked Anamorph. The movie really looked like something. So many movies are shot now where they just put a whole bunch of cameras everywhere and then they sort out the mess in the edit. It's a pretty artless way to shoot. But Anamorph keeps going from shot to shot with these beautiful and elegant wide shots.

Really, the framing in this picture is worth studying. It's always beautiful and well composed. In fact, the movie is about art. I suspect that the framing was Henry -- he was very good at composing frames on Late Watch. The DI is pretty spectacular -- it's an amber-and-turqoise picture. The plot is interesting.

This could have been a brilliant picture. I think they really went for brilliant but it ended up being flawed. Most movies go for mediocre and end up mediocre. I prefer the former.

I felt the flaw with the picture was all with the dialog. The writing (and especially the exposition) was a tad "on the nose" for me. I kinda felt like we were being told "Exposition Scene!!" in those scenes and it took me movie out of how good it could have been. Just one more pass on the dialog writing and it would have been fabulous.

Not just the dialog writing though. Oddly, the opening scene was very ADR-sounding, which surprised me. It had that close-mic'ed sound of a bad foreign film with bad "loopy" acting and breathing. Which is strange, because the movie looks so fantastic and has such a great score, they really spent some money on it. But sometimes a piece of foley would jump out in such a way I thought to myself "Yipes! Are we listening to the temp mix?" I wondered if we were hearing the end of the budget... (You know, it's just a little reverb guys, that and try to roll off some of the low and high end on those looped tracks. It'll be fine.)

You know what made me think it didn't sound so great? It sounded to me like I mixed it.*


Now I'm a fairly sophisticated listener of movies so I'm perfectly capable of identifying things in the sound mix which might be awry. But to most viewers the effect of any sound issues was probably that they thought the picture didn't look as good.** Which is too bad, because the movie looked inspiringly good in a sort of an Edward Hopper noir New York of the future/past way.

I have a feeling whomever spent between $7 and $10 million on the picture. If that's IFC then they seem to think they can get that kind of money back. That's... very interesting... While "under the radar" IFC is making money in the secret window of distribution that is pay-per-view. They probably don't want the rest of the art-house film industry to know that they're raking in the dough while everyone else is complaining that "indy" film is dead.


*"Re-recorded it" would be the correct term. The dialog recording (which is what's done by the "mixer" in the World of Movies) and the dialog edit were perfectly fine. And most of the final mix was perfect, just not all of it.

**That's good news for the sound department, bad news for camera department. Sorry guys, people just identify sound problems as being picture problems.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Is making a mockbuster of Priest a good idea? Now would be the time to come up with a treatment.

I don't like picture editing. I don't like music spotting. I'm glad I'm not picture editing. I wish I weren't music spotting.

So far in my life I've bought six copies of Saving the Cat. I've been giving them away like I have a dozen writers who should read it. I should get a discount.

You know what will mess you up? This stuff. That's 99 proof, bitches! On its own it is undrinkable -- it tastes like something your uncle Rufus made in the bathtub. So add it to some apple cider.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Name This Blog Post

You can go here and pet the cat.

For our Hungarian readers this cat was featured on Cukisag.

Cute things falling asleep. Look at the bear.

And for those of you playing at home (or rather, on the road) there's an iPhone app for LogMeIn now. You can log onto and operate your PC and Mac now.


The Andrew Mellon award for incompetence as Treasury Secretary: Hank Paulson, whose lack of strategy and catastrophic decision to let Lehman Brothers fail made a bad situation far worse.

Why am I blogging about the Secretary of the Treasury? I should be giving updates on movies in production with pictures of naked women and bunnies.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Oh and...

Today Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States.

In case you weren't paying attention.

I certainly wasn't.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bloggin Drunk (Again)

Via Bill Cunningham, a rant on the death of the indy film business model. A few things in a row caught my eye.

Begin snark.

  • "Story - a guy trying to make little cheapo guns ‘n boobies sci-fi movies on the ultra cheap - make 3 a year. He got no bites on international distribution at some film market, and sold all domestic rights for $16K. That’s half of what he needed just to break even.
Dude. The plural of anecdote is not data. C'mon -- we make little cheapo guns 'n boobies sci-fi movies on the ultra cheap. 3 a year is what we try to do (we missed this year -- I sorta made two, but really just one). If you got no bites on international then I'm 'fraid to tell you -- your movie really freakin' sucked. Actually, all three of your movies really freakin' sucked. Or your sales rep sucked. Actually, you were able to score $16K for domestic this year (even if that's for all three pictures) and you didn't get any overseas sales at all? Yeah, your rep sucked.

That's like saying "Oh we made a horror movie but never got any distribution." My grandmother could make a horror movie and get distribution. If you couldn't get distribution for your horror movie -- any distribution at all -- then you made a world-class suckkity movie.

Also, don't talk to be about anecdotes which are more than 24 months old. I don't know if this one is or not, but anything longer ago than 24 months is ancient history.

  • "Another story - similar tale of someone who, after all the other fees and cuts and whatnot were done, got $2 per DVD as producer. OK - sold about 5000 units. That’s $10K compensation for making a feature film.

Get over it. That actually sounds pretty good right now. Sell overseas to make up the difference.

  • "True Tale - a big box retailer has out and out STOPPED taking content from indie distributors - if you aren’t coming through the big boys, they don’t want your stuff.

I don't know why he doesn't attribute who the big box retailer is. Is he talking about Blockbuster or Wal Mart? I'm fairly certain he's not talking about Best Buy as we just had a movie in there earlier this year. We only sold a bit over 500 units, but they were on the shelves. Why don't you just say who it is? It's certainly not a secret to anyone selling to the retailers.

  • "-talking to someone involved in movie financing, I said I guess it sounds like you shouldn’t even try if you don’t have $10M. Without even pausing to look up from her salad, she instantly corrected “20 million” before she took a bite. Think about that - it seemed so intrinsically obvious to her that it wasn’t even worth looking up to make eye contact."

And I gotta say, "What on Earth are you spending 10 to 20 million dollars on?" Well, if you're a financier who needs to say the number "20 million" I can assure you of one thing: you don't know the answer.

You'd really have a tough time blowing more than about $150K on 35mm film, developing, camera rental, camera crew, and the cost of a DI or whatever you want in the way of post color correction to get to a release print. But hey, money is no object so let's say:

  • $250,000 Camera, camera crew, color correction, and suchly
OK, but you want to blow up some spaceships and have a horrible purple alien attack your crew in the first act. Oh, and every car every character drives will explode, on a superhighway, in the rain. Twice.

Again, money is no object at all so you throw three million dollars into CGI at one of the smaller, but well - known, effects houses. For $3M they do everything, including sending someone over your house to make you toast every morning and they never ever complain about your camera plates.

  • $3,000,000 CGI
You're going to spend $100K on sound in production and post - production. You're going to need a gaffer, a grip, a swing, and maybe a dedicated dolly grip on a 45-day shoot at a cost of $500/day each.
That's another $100K.
You want the best food you've ever tasted for the shoot, that's another $250K.
You deign to hire a script supervisor and some assistants because you want your shoot to look more like a real movie shoot and have way too many people running around with radios -- another $100K.
Because you have all the money in the world you spend $100 on G&E's equipment because you love how those HMI's look sitting inside the grip truck even when you light your entire picture with Dedo lights and a couple banks of Kino's (did I forget to mention that your gaffer had to be competent, not one of these clowns who takes over an hour to light a closeup?).

  • $650,000 "set operations"
Basically you're spending a million in production and 3 million in post - production (for CGI). What's left?

Actors. Damn actors. You can spend any amount of money from $250,000 through $100,000,000 on them (on a full SAG contract). The costs of an actor include their trailer, their chow-chow's life coach, and whatever else they negotiate. Oh, and if they're on a W-4 then multiply their salary by 1.23 to get an idea of how much it costs with taxes to employ them. Now we want this picture distributed, so let's get a name talent -- a star to show up for 20 days for $5,000,000. That'll include all transportation and what-have-you (which means we offer him $4,000,000).

We'll spend another $450,000 on a bunch of New York actors, paying somewhere between SAG scale and $1000 a day to each of about 20 or 30 of them. That'll include moving them around, housing them in remote locations, and giving them vitamin E shots or whatever.

  • $5,450,000 "talent"

Let's go ahead and spend $200K on picture edit and music. And another $200K on insurance, legal, office, copies, telephones, liquor.

  • $400,000 "back office"
And let's throw a million dollars at the art department and costumes. After all, it is a period piece which takes place on the planet Zyglore 16 where a hundred starships compete in an 18th-Century pod race. They need to build three unique spaceship sets and the part of the city on Zyglore as well as that Paris street from 1744. You plan what you need to shoot and shoot only that. A million dollars will do. Tell the art director to quit whining and pick up a hammer.

  • $1,000,000
So in this model of film financing we're throwing money around like it's going out of style. We're making a big exploitation picture with lots of stuff blowing up and huge set pieces. And still we only barely broke ten million dollars ($10,750,000).

The reason things get so expensive is fear. People who haven't shepherded a feature through to distribution are afraid of all of the tiny things they don't know -- tiny things which each and individually can completely skunk the entire movie and cost a lot of money. You must be able to deliver DM&E tracks. That's an expensive pain-in-the-butt thing to do. And many people just clam up with terror when they hear those things. So fearful producers just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away.

You know why I can't work on other people's movies anymore? I can't keep my mouth shut. I watched once as an "art director" tried to tell an (especially idiotic) director that it was going to cost two thousand dollars to build a pair of walls. I said (and note that I was the sound mixer on the show) "It can't possible cost more than twenty dollars a lineal foot." And don't get me started on most cinematographers.

Once I was told by a producer "You know why nobody listens to you? It's because nobody understands what you're talking about."

Now, admittedly, I come from a somewhat weird background: theater and sound (not in that order). But c'mon. Can't you producers learn? I mean, didn't you learn from your 2nd feature? You didn't?


Oh look -- it won't be 'till tomorrow that the second reel is done rendering and I can begin to work on the sound edit for it.

Worst Case Scenario

I'm running worst-case scenarios in my head. Because it's time to go to bed, of course.

So if we gross only $28K per movie and net 60% of that -- we make $16,800. If each one costs $10K to produce and deliver we "profit" $6,800 per picture. If we make 3 a year we pull down $20,400 on average.

Livin' large.

And almost above the poverty level.

Can we please replace the Treasury Secretary now?

At least we're not filing for bankruptcy like Avis will be after Christmas.

[update: it looks like we might be able to add $10K to each picture. That would bring up the "profit" to $50,400 per picture. It means we could survive, but we wouldn't be able to pay anybody yet.]

Ides of December 2008

A page with general information about guitar strings.

Not Just Rugelach has the best jelly-filled doughnuts.

A review of The Spirit. It's not a good review, mind you. Here's a sample quote: "Didn’t they know that high school plays directed by a middle school teacher who’s only directing because he hates his life has better staging than this?".

Issuu is a free online magazine publisher.

Oh, and here's a note which has been sitting in my sidebar notepad for a couple months, regarding our upcoming Montserrat Mendez movie. "Helen 2 has self-preservation only, Helen 1 is more complex."
Now I can remove it from the notepad.

Josh James, who wrote Alien Uprising, won the Rouge Wave 1-page Christmas short scene contest.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

OK, I quit

As far as I can tell, Grand Theft Auto IV is simply unplayable on the PC. At least on any reasonable PC which I have. (Maybe it's playable on my dual quad-core Mac, but I can't take up that machine's time with playing games.) When Nico's telephone rings it takes about 20 minutes of "game time" (and about 4 minutes of "my time") just to answer it. I can walk around but otherwise I just have to wait until the call "answers".

Needless to say, it's incredibly frustrating as that damn Roman is calling all the time and you can't even "ignore" the incoming phone call so all you can do is walk around until the game decides you are allowed to answer the phone. You can't even hijack a car when the phone has rung and you haven't "answered" or "ignored".


And I don't want to have anything to do with the Rockstar Social Club or any of that stuff. I don't want to do multiplayer. I don't really even want to do any missions -- mostly because I'm such a bad driver.

You know what I was good at? Doom. Yeah, the first Doom. I could play that at the most insane level without cheats and win. But now I just want to find the Ghanaian businessman in GTA and steal his car.

All I want to do is drive around and shoot my friends. Is that too much to ask?

I finally gave up and used the "give me all the weapons" cheat and started shooting at police cars. That's what you're supposed to do, right? Some days it's hard to tell.

In any case, I'm just going to get an XBox after Christmas (because you know nobody will buy me one) and play on that thing.

Oh, and you know what else is awesome? Not being able to figure out what control does what on the PC. In fact, when you look up the controls in the game, they give them to you as a game controller for an XBox, not which keys/mouse buttons on the PC keyboard do what. Thanks guys! But I found a list of controls on the Interwebs.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I was a bad boy. My chocolate ration will be cut in half for the next two months.*


I spent $120 on a used Fender Squire Stratocaster at 30th Street Guitars. Very low action. Nice build. Made in China. Crappity electronics (because it's a Squire). Surprisingly, apparently all Strats have plastic nuts. Yeah. I know. You're all about the bone nut.


I ordered 4 more copies of Save the Cat. Actually, 3 more copies and 1 copy of Save the Cat Goes to the Movies.


Plush Cthulhu. For you.


Everything you've ever wanted to know about dialnorm levels. Well, actually, it's impossible to really understand so it's more like "everything there is to know about dialnorm levels."


I go to FreeSound to get free .wav sound effects. I go to Sounddogs.com when I'm paying.


Sometimes I think my Little Lanilei 1/4-watt amplifier is the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes I prefer my Fender Twin Reverb (to which I've added a Celestion Alnico Blue 12" speaker but otherwise it's just a late '70's model with non-working vibrato and reverb) . Sometimes I just want to listen to my Behringer POD. Now I'm thinking I want a Peavey Vypyr amp but I don't know if I should get the $200 30-watt version and replace the 12" speaker with my alnico speaker or just get the 15-watt $100 version and record and perform through its line out.

*Yeah, I can easily spend $100/month on chocolate. Don't think I haven't. Don't think I don't. Actually, about $1000/year is easily what I do when you consider gifts and such.

Aching to Bore you

Betty Page.


If you were self-employed and had a net profit for the year, were a general partner (or a limited partner receiving guaranteed payments), or received wages from an S corporation in which you were a more than 2% shareholder (who is treated as a partner), you may be able to deduct, as an adjustment to income, all of the amount paid for medical and qualified long-term care insurance on behalf of yourself, your spouse, and dependents.

The insurance plan must be established under your trade or business, and you cannot take this deduction to the extent that the amount of the deduction is more than your earned income from that trade or business.


You may not take this deduction for any month in which you or your spouse were eligible to participate in any subsidized health plan maintained by your employer or your spouse's employer.


Alas, the perfect woman for me:

SWF who isn't asking too much

Date: 2008-09-10, 9:46AM EDT

I am a single, free-spirted, web-savvy thirtysomething female. Living in the gorgeous Caroll Gardens for the past year, I love life and am only looking for a man who is not an idiotic pig-headed beer-swilling moron (which seems to be hard to find in this city). This is my final plea to the Craigslist community. I own my own internet business which means I don't get to leave the house much, but I do know the internet and its dating potential. So far it has let me down every single time.

I've done MySpace, Facebook, Match.Com, eHarmony, and even Jdate (I'm not Jewish and don't care about Israel). Don't get me started on Jdate. But with so many people out there, at least ONE guy can match this. I know he's out there. My standards are exacting, but they're not too much to ask. Life is too short to compromise yourself!
Here is what I am looking for. It's not much. If you're this guy or know this guy, have him contact me right away.

-non smoker

-must love cats and be open to the idea of future adoptions

-must not be more than one to five stops away from Carroll Gardens F train in either direction

-must not be opposed to wicker furniture

-must be 420 friendly

-must clean up hair from the tub after a trim, a ring of hair around the edge is GROSS

-past bar tending/table-serving experience a plus but not necessary

-some knowledge of vintage wine

-must be fluent in 2 languages (English DOES NOT count); I still like to practice my French from study abroad

-toilet paper must go over, NEVER under, when placed in dispenser

-PUT the lid DOWN. Animals have better manners than most men

-no stockbrokers, unemployed musicians, actors, or baristas

-no ravers, goths, punks, or rude boys

-musical taste must include, but not be limited to, Kingston Trip, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Judy Collins

-name must not begin with an R, a J, or a B (Js are negotiable; Rs are not. Bs should consider that if they treat a cat nicely, it will respond accordingly; but if you scare it by approaching too fast, of course it will attack)

-must like scented candles (not vanilla); no incense

-must be willing to pay for dinner at least once a week at a Zagat-rated restaurant after proper research and scouting of restaurant

-must own more than 3 items from ?The North Face? jacket line but no more than 5

-owning a car is a plus, but it can't be a hatchback (some standards)

-I ski one weekend a year, so you ski. No shredders.

-must love Gary Larson, and hate Dilbert

-passionate about animal rights, but willing to take in the circus when it comes to town

-must read at least 3 books a month, no comics unless Gary Larson

-must have read complete works of Jane Austen

-must know how to turn a Word document into a PDF

-must be on T-Mobile for Fave 5 access

-must love pinball and not play ping pong

-3 out of your 5 favorite movies should be John Hughes films

-must agree to watch "The Hills" on MTV on Sundays but hate that bitch Heidi, she is everything wrong with womankind

-must know CPR and have current certification, ++ for SCUBA certification

-must be home from 2-6pm on Saturdays to receive packages; bonus points if you're an Ebay power seller too!


-must have all limbs, no quads (not biased, just poor past experience)

-Ivy League education desirable, but Amherst, UPenn, Colgate, Vassar, Georgetown etc. acceptable

-must have Scrabulous installed on Facebook during work hours

-must prefer dark chocolate over milk; no omnivores

-must like North-Eastern microbrews, NO COLORADO, NO EXCEPTIONS

-no corduroy pants, jackets, shirts, socks, caps, etc. And while we're on the subject of hats, no hats at all. Having a hat as part of your job costume is not an excuse.

I know the guy for me is out there. I've come so close to finding him in perfect form so many times. If you are this know or know this guy, PLEASE contact me. I am willing to make a few sacrifices, but not many. If you see yourself in even a FEW of my specifications, you are invited to apply. Think of it more like a guidebook to my heart.

Please reply with a little bit about yourself, include pics.


It's too bad I freakin' hate wicker furniture. That stuff is for your enclosed porch, not your living room.