Friday, February 29, 2008
So, after my debacle with Picasa, I had to figure out a way to host my images.
So I'm using this thing called Gallery on my website. I loaded it through Fantastico, which is basically the only way I can do anything on my website because I do not understand PHP or CGI or Linux or... well... anything.
After a protracted battle involving installing other applications and learning the weird file structure on the server I have an images gallery.
This picture, which is linked directly to my gallery, is of Maduka Steady, Laura, me, and Ben Sulzbach on location shooting Solar Vengeance.
Update: it doesn't seem that my server likes it when Blogger uses one of its images. I'm going to see if that can be changed. If you see two pictures here (the same picture twice) then I've solved the problem...
Thursday, February 28, 2008
So I've been on a rampage, insisting that some of my friends have web pages. Maduka Steady, who's basically like my little (more talented)1 brother, has been parking his domain for (as far as I can tell) years.
So I finally built his site. Just one page. He's going to take it down as fast as humanly possible so I did a screen grab for posterity. Here it is.
I've never seen him this close to being irked before. He's really, really embarrassed about the "Actor, Poet, Lover" thing.
But hey, the man's a poet. And just look at those eyes...
Just gets you all hot 'n bothered, doesn't it? ;-)
In cat news I've developed a new cat emoticon:
1I don't mean more talented than my other brothers, just more talented than me.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
OK, look people. This is how it is. If you want a bio of yourself on the Web (and you do), you want it to be as well - written as this one by a guy who is, by coincidence, my brother David.
Yes, I realize that means that I too have to get on top of writing my biography. But really, isn't it time?
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Three of the five acts of Solar Vengeance are divided into three sections in order to make them more manageable. I'm on Act II B.
Let the Hamlet jokes ensue.
I've been rotoscoping Daryl's butt. I've been color correcting every shot. I've been motion-tracking forcefields by hand. But we're almost finished, at least with this pass, with the robot fight.
Mac, who wrote the screenplay, asked if I was getting enough sleep. As it turns out, my top priority is getting enough sleep. Otherwise I get really really inefficient.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Today took my sister shopping for a good still camera. Got a 8 megapixel Canon Digital Rebel. She owes this blog many pictures of cats now.
Today we had more auditions for The Shriven. Egads I hate meeting 20 to 30 new people in a day. It's really excruciating for me. So I hid away and let Maduka and Brian work the auditions with Brian reading and Maduka giving adjustments and shooting the actors. We met some excellent people who could really act though, which was tres nice.
We did need to open up our pool of actors. We have the usual people we'll use into the future (we are, after all, shooting 5 movies in 2 years) but not everyone can do every movie.
I'm digging into color correction and effects finalization on Act II (of V) on Solar Vengeance.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
This is a somewhat blurry picture of Ruby, the 5 year old long-haired dachsund. She's even cuter in real life.
She's been flopping around the theater today. We're holding auditions. A theater company is holding auditions at Theatresource too. Plus, there's a show going on. And someone else is holding rehearsals in the front. You can't say it's not busy here.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I had to manually motion track a scene today. That was fairly tedious but I think it all worked out. I believe I have a bit of a break from heavy effects work for the next couple acts, but we'll see.
This still of Sarah Doudna is actually from Act II, which I get to start on tomorrow.
Here is the sleepy kitty laying down to rest on the top of the cable box.
He has a disconcerting habit of deciding that it's time to go right now and jettisoning himself from the cable box. Physicists among you will realize that oftentimes this results in the cable box itself being flung to the floor. Inefficient kinetic little kitty.
In any case, my dad invented a cable box batten. Or a cat-launch collateral damage prophylactic. In other words, he tied the cable box to the receiver below it. So far the cat hasn't managed to knock it over.
These pictures both come from my sister Jean. Here are more.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I found another review today -- again, not a good one but they spelled most of the names right.
But then, oh man, I hit the mother lode. In this Argentine blog of pictures of naked men in movies, there are screenshots of Daryl Boling in Millennium Crisis!
My work on your earth is almost done [insert maniacal laugh]...
This blog has made me laugh quite a bit. I discovered it through The Invisible Woman.
"The secret you may not know, is that deep down, all white people are desperately trying to make their life seem like an ad for a Sub Zero refrigerator."
"White people love staions like NPR (which is equivalent to listening to cardboard)."
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
So, you can actually see Millennium Crisis, is all it's Flash-enabled glory, and in its entirety, as a streaming download on the Interwebs.
Man, somebody got right on ripping this DVD and putting it up there. And for some reason, it's in two parts. I wonder how many people actually sit and watch it on the web like that. I hate watching long-form stuff on the computer. Cat videos and hampsterwithagrape.com, sure, but a feature-length movie? Bleh.
Brian was in the city today, we did some more auditions, spoke to some makeup people. Here's the spaceship. We may have something close to a locked cut of Solar Vengeance. There's still things to insert (like this spaceship) and lots of force fields to rotoscope, but we're close to having picture...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
So, I'm banned from Picasa. No real explanation. No examples of what actually constitutes violations of their Program Policies. Because of course, there aren't any. The scary thing is that I rely on things like Google Documents and, well, Blogger, but clearly I have to find alternatives. But I guess I'd been forewarned.
"Your Picasa Web Albums account has been permanently disabled due to repeated violations of our Program Policies. Google reserves the right to suspend a Google Account from a particular service, or the entire Google Accounts system, if the Terms of Service or product-specific policies are violated. Google also has the right to terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice. You may review the Google Terms of Service http://www.google.com/terms_of
If you believe your account has been disabled in error, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to describe what happened when your account became disabled."
Of course, that email address just has an automated 'bot which tells you to contact them through their help page.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Ugh. I'm behind schedule and I'm sick. I get weepy when I'm sick (at least that's the excuse I like to use.) Right now I'm crying at a Dr. Who episode and I'm not even watching a Dr. Who episode right now.
The episode Father's Day has one of the most brilliant examples of "not speaking your subtext" in it. The idea of characters not speaking their subtext is a difficult one for a writer to get their head around, mostly because it involves the negative direction "Don't have the characters say what they're really thinking." How could you possibly illustrate such a thing?
Well, starting with the synopsis of this particular episode, written by Paul Cornell:
"Rose persuades The Doctor to take her back to 1987 to be with her father, Pete, when he's killed in a traffic accident. But Rose saves his life, damaging the timeline and allowing through creatures who are determined to kill anything in their path."
Pete, played by the wonderful Shaun Dingwall, realizes that Rose is his (grown) daughter. He plays this scene with a great deal of grace and precision where outside the church they're holed up in things are really bad. Fantastical monsters are attacking them. So his character does not protest too much at the equally fantastic idea that he's speaking to his daughter, grown up, while his same infant daughter is in the next room.
And right about here I'd use an example from the script but alas the New York Public Library doesn't have it. They do have the DVD, but there are like 22 "holds" on it. So my little essay on not writing subtext will have to wait until some other time.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
This is Alternative Cinema's Millennium Crisis page.
I think... well I'm not too sure... Alternative Cinema is owned by our distributor. Actually, I don't really know -- perhaps AC is the mail-order distribution arm. They have a number of labels. I gets confused.
The website for Millennium Crisis has taken a lot of hits since the movie came out in North America last week. I've had to reset the bandwidth quota twice (I'd never had to do that before.) And consequently, more hits on this blog too. Welcome!
Wow, it feels like we shot that movie a long long time ago. In the interim we've shot another movie and are prepping yet another one. Sheesh!
Now I just gotta get over this dumb cold/flu thing I have...
We have auditions today for 0704 The Shriven. I'm way too sick to go. Basically, if I went I would be patient zero for the massive New York actors extinction which would occur in the early part of the 21st Century. Since we need those actors (or at least some of them) it's better I not be responsible for the horrible plague which wipes them out. In retrospect, they'll appreciate it.
But the auditions will be videotaped, so I can watch them. And we'll have notes on how nice they are or if they seemed weird in not a good way. And Brian, my co-director, will be there. Laura, of course, will have the best bead on who can act for which part.
Bill Cunningham over at DisContent (which is now known as something else) wants people to mass blog about this Italian comic. I'm a bit delirious so when I read his post about it I still wasn't too sure why we're doing this, but here ya go:
I'm supposed to be breaking down this dang movie (0704, that is). I know I know, I can blog but I can't focus long enough to make a chart of each scene and what characters are in each scene? Sheesh! It's hard...
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
He's thrown the cable box off the top of the stereo twice now. It's a warm place but makes a convenient launching pad. Took my parents untold hours to get the cable TV working again. The cat has shown no remorse.
Here he is in more conventional sleeping arrangements.
The cat seems to sleep a great deal, when he isn't knocking A/V gear around. It's hard not to come wake him when he's being so dang cute!
It is amusing to tease him for sleeping so much. He doesn't seem to mind how you are talking to him, he just likes to hear some talking.
But of course you're not thinking that at 2 o'clock in the morning when the little fellow is running laps from room to room.
He's awfully soft. I like to snorgle his softitude.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Here's the best article on screenwriting I've read all year. It's all about keeping things active. Brilliant examples, too. I mentioned something similar in this post but Josh says it so much better.
This morning I was helping Maduka shoot a short. Here he is with Diana Ferrante setting up a shot.
And here's Maduka going through the paperwork.
And here's the view from the roof. We had to use actor's heads to block out the Chrysler Building because the scene was supposed to take place in London.
Update: I think I actually got sunburned out there on the roof.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
"Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons "in any circumstance" to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Hillary Clinton's response: "I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or nonuse of nuclear weapons."
Any sensible person knows that keeping nuclear weapons on the table is vastly more likely to precipitate a nuclear strike by another nation or nonnation. Clinton's response makes Pakistan, North Korea, and/or some rogue crazy guys in Chechnya want to run out and get more nukes.
Remember the days when this country took the moral stand against the unspeakable horror of nuclear weapons (even though we're the only ones to have used them)? Remember when we vowed we would never use atomic weapons in a first strike against anyone we share this planet with? Ahh.. Nuclear detente. The position the "inexperienced" Obama takes...
And, of course, there's the practical aspect of the matter: keeping nuclear weapons on the table means every nation and nonnation and rogue crazy guy wants to rush right out and get more nukes of their own. Thanks Hillary Clinton!
I'm against a nuclear war. I'm against some jerkwad coming over and taking a suitcase bomb into New York in retaliation for some idiot's use of atomics on what our "intelligence services" told them was a uranium refinery but what turned out to be a village with a school and a hospital.
I'm voting today for Obama in the first presidential primary where my vote has ever had any meaning (NJ typically has had their primary so late that the party's pick is a fait accompli.)
End of rant. Must find fuzzy animal picture to post on blog.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Yesterday I was rotoscoping Daryl's butt for the first half of the day. Then Emi came by the studio and we went through the edit as it is. I'm really happy with what we have in Solar Vengeance. The drama works well, the music and sound effects she's chosen are wonderbar. (And best of all, I didn't have to do any of it! ;-)
We're very close to having locked picture on the entire movie.
Today there was a party at the Source. I got some kind of award.
At the party I ate a slice of pizza. Then I had chocolate, cheeses, a chocolate-chip cookie, and two mango-peach vodka drinks with a lot of vodka in them. I had more crackers and salami because I was drunk. And I had some water because the whole thing made me very thirsty.
I came home and marinated cheap steak in expensive vegetable oil and had that with a bag of Caesar's salad just to try to have some normal food.
Now, I play this game every year where I try to not find out who's playing in the Superbowl. I know the Giants are in -- it's hard not to because the Giants are a local team. I believe the New England Patriots are playing. How are they the "New England" Patriots? You don't have the "South Western Broncos"? Anyway.
Now the trick is to see how long I can go without knowing who's won. Considering the din outside in the fair city of Brooklyn it seems like a more local team hath triumphed. But yet I know not.
And yes, this makes me proud. Don't spoil it for me.
If you know the outcome of the election however, take the stress off of me and tell me. I will be voting in my first Primary of my life in two days. Until now there has not been a primary in New Jersey where the candidate hasn't already been a fait accompli. I will have a chance to affect the future.
I want my country back. Please? Can I have it back? You know, the one that didn't torture people? The one that was obsessed and methodical about the Geneva Conventions? The one where we were a nation of laws, not men? Can I have that back please?
Last night we ordered Thai food. Emi, who was born and raised in Japan, lifted high some Pad Thai into her bowl using chopsticks without spilling or dripping. My amazement at her great feat caused her to utter the words "I come from the land of noodles."
Friday, February 01, 2008
... well, a check of the Best Buy website says it's in "most stores" but looking around on the website it seems that it's only available in some stores. I dunno. But it was available in the store in Woodbridge, NJ and I went to visit.
There it is -- right between "Matrix Revolutions" and "The Mothman Prophecies".
This store only had three copies. Now they have two. I wonder if that'll be the tipping point at which Best Buy will order more?
When I got my copy and brought it home I noticed that although Ted Raimi and Ato Essandoh are both listed above the title on the cover; Clare, Ted and Olja are listed in the plastic thing you peel off the top of the DVD to open it.
Shock-O-Rama did a nice job of the packaging on the inside with a clear plastic case so you could see through to the inside artwork.
P.S. Yes that's my dad's Sudoku on the table. He finished it a little while later. I think it was a 5 - star.
A little birdie told me that the web series Sanctuary is getting picked up by the SciFi Channel. That's certainly one way to actually make money with webcasting. Actually, it's the only way I've heard of as I can recall...
I still haven't gone to Best Buy to visit Millennium Crisis. It's still not available in Manhattan -- I suspect they get new shipments on a different schedule than everyone else. So we're going to Woodbridge later to find it. We've had a screener copy for a while, and we're getting a big load of copies from the distributor, we just ain't seen one yet.
I'm rendering robots for Solar Vengeance. Gives me lots of time to blog.
Dave Campfield, the director of Dark Chamber, a picture which is coming out on POP Cinema roughly at the time our movie is coming out, forwarded me another review of Millennium Crisis. I gotta say, it's fair to say that about our bland commentary -- I was really tired when we recorded it. Next time I promise to get enough sleep before I record a commentary.
I like Dark Chamber, it's well written and a good little horror/thriller picture. I'm friends with one of the cameramen and one of the actresses and I was aware of the picture (and had actually seen little bits of the picture because it's on their reels) long before I met Dave.
What's the funniest quote from the above-linked review of Dark Chamber? "The lack of gore/nudity is inexcusable."
I'm still laughing.
I'm always pleased when one of my friends makes some great theater. Tonight at my theater I saw Montserrat Mendez's Thoroughly Stupid Things, which is a rompy farce sequel to Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest".
This is a brilliant door-slamming cross-dressing comedy of the "let's dress like men and then kiss men dressed like women" variety. Actually, it's a door-slamming cross-dressing comedy of the "let's dress like men and then kiss men dressed like women" and then go even further with the French English Undercover Secret Police, on-stage quick-changes, and spending an entire freakin' act in rhymed couplets (because that's the rules of the English men's club we're in) - type comedy.
Now that's brilliant.
Thoroughly Stupid is very tightly directed by Megan Demarest (whom I had met before tonight but it was while I was shooting Solar Vengeance so I hadn't really put together her face with her name because my brain was so scattered at the time) with an excellent cast.
You see, the trick with this kind of material is that for the course two hours each and every actor has to be very specific -- at a rate of about two specific things a minute -- or the jokes would be lost. This kind of thing is really hard and exacting to direct and act in. And they really pulled it off. I can't even single out anyone excellent from this cast because they're universally so strong -- working in this absurdest and frequently self-referential play which I simply must see again.
The costumes and sets were lovely, putting the audience (and perhaps the actors too) immediately into the world which Mozz had created. And although a couple dimmers were apparently turned off during the first two acts of the show I saw (argh), which was only its second performance, the lighting design was elegant and dramatic.
Can you tell I liked it?
The ending of the play, which nods to A Midsummer Night's Dream, even has a touch of a somber note -- marking the reality of the world which confounds us. Making such a touching and poignant ending was a brave and successful choice to a beautiful, hilarious, and ridiculous evening. Now that's what theater is!
And to think, Mozz is writing a screenplay for Pandora Machine! Wow, I really lucked out with the people I'm graced to work with.
Clearly, this is a play, which like Universal Robots by Mac Rogers, has more life to it. I can't wait to see the journey it will go on.