Thursday, December 31, 2009

Not going on the endangered species list

without a fight.

Scalzi's got it again

In this article he demonstrates how fantasyland the America "left" is.

Furthermore, doesn't anyone remember that this is exactly what happened to Bill Clinton? And then the "Millionaires for Bush and Gore" in 2000 and that dipshit Ralph Nader got George Bush "elected" president.

And then the left remembered "Oh, right, when we were saying there was no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties we were completely full of shit." But now they'll do it again.

Yes, the fact is that the US is, as compared to many other countries, a "center-right" country. And Obama is, in the history of the US, essentially a Republican President*. And the Republican party is now the gung-ho brain-free know-nothing whack-job party. So get over it. Heck, Bernie Sanders is "center right" if you're talking about, say, French politics. But that's not what matters. What matters it that you agree with him on virtually every policy issue. And Obama too.

I don't know what actual thing Obama should be doing differently than he is. I got no idea. The dude is a very good politician and is very good at managing. Better than you. How do I know this? Because he's better than me.

But that's not what's important. What's important today? It's snowing! This is the view outside my window in Jersey City.

Oh, and my sister took me for a walk the day after Christmas. Here is her dog, fashionably dressed for hunting season. Her name (not my sister, the dog) is Chien. That's right. The dog. Is named. "Dog."

*Well, not really. The Republicans have historically been vehemently against health-care reform (like Ronald Regan decrying Medicare as "socialism") until such legislation passes, when they claim to be the only ones defending it. But I would argue that Nixon ironically ran on a somewhat comprehensive health-care platform. And, of course, the Republicans dumped their progressive anti-racist stance with Goldwater. But remember, I live in the Northeast where the Republicans used to not be such major assholes, and even if I disagree with former New Jersey Governor's Christie Whitman's tax and needle-exchange policies, I'll note that she's essentially been thrown out of the GOP for not being a crazy right-wing lunatic.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to Know When You're Done

So I ordered a camera package -- the Panasonic GH1 with two 16GB class 6 SD cards, spare battery, and a UV filter. I'm kind of thinking about getting the Indi Rails Pro DSLR SM mount but that thing ends up costing $400 with shipping and I might just stick with my Spiderbrace for a while. I could get the f1.7 20mm lens for $400.

Or, I could get this Hagstrom Select Swede Cherry Quilt Guitar. $400 is a good price for that but there's no way it's going to sound as good as my all - custom guitar or my Les Paul.

I'm on page 15 of "Day 2". If I do that 5 more times I'll have 90 pages.

"I" before "E" except after "C" or sounded like "A" as in "neighbor" and "weigh". Isn't that weird?

I've worked my way through most of our punch-list on Clonehunter. Every time I see the movie I think "eek! there's another thing I want to fix!"

I've been asked "How do you know when you're done?" Well basically:
1. The movie is due to be delivered. That means wherever you are when that time comes is "done".
2. I get tired of watching the movie over and over again. Plus, I'm lazy and don't want to do any more work.
3. My computer says "no". This, friends is actually the time we're done. My computer says "no" when it's just too far gone to fix stuff or make changes. This actually happens. There are a couple shots I can't fix because the computer just refuses to render out any changes. Simple shots too. That's when we know we're done.

Apparently the computer does not work for me. Rather, I work for it.

Girls -- do you have a problem with Robots?

Sometimes a robot can become... inappropriate. Lucky for you we have this step-by-step guide, provided by the Gunnerkrigg Court, on how to handle your overly-affectionate robot.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Here's a notion for the spacestation in Earthkiller.

I'm on page 12 of "Day 2". Hopefully my outline will work out. I realize that every time I write the words "she walks down an empty street" I'm causing a lot of AfterEffects painting to happen in post.

Furthermore, this incredibly not-safe-for-work thing is absolutely the funniest thing I've seen all day. It's the Omega .gif. There is no source. It just is. And it is perfect. Based on this.

Writing Plays

There's an interesting article in the Chicago Reader about why playwrights can't make a living.

Basically it's because dynamic theaters want to produce new works. Funders like it, it makes you look like you're doing something. If you're producing another goddamned Seagull or freakin' Cherry Orchard, you're basically in Hell.

The problem is that this notion extends into relatively new works. So producing theaters (which I'm distinguishing from places like Theatresource which, since they got rid of their artistic director, isn't producing anymore -- it's more like a 50-seat road-house) don't tend to want to do a work which was originally produced a few months ago somewhere else.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Maduka Steady, all the way from Geneva, Switzerland, turned us onto this "cheap" version of the high-end "Chromatte" reflective chroma-key. When I say "cheap" I mean you can get one for under a thousand bucks. But it does look quite cool and would save you a lot of time and lighting for blue/green screen setups.

... are for a full system (1 ring, box, PSU + fabric), shipping is extra (charged at cost). UKP is the real cost, USD & Euro are approximate (check your exchange rates with Paypal):
A: Full body (same fabric and v.similar size used in the video):
System + Fabric A @ 2.10m x 1.80m (approx 7' x 6'):
£420 (~700 USD / 462 EU)

(think about it you need a floor piece as well - I might be able to add one)

B: Extra large:
System + Fabric B @ 3m x 2.6m (~9.8' x 8.5'):
£575 (~950 USD / 625 EU)

And this is hands-down the oiliest picture of me ever taken. Egads! I guess I'm getting ready for dinner on Christmas. Oh and yes, that's a toothbrush in my pocket. It's like I'm trying out for the new, American, Dr. Who.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dude, Zombies Aren't Dead

I mean, yeah, they're dead, they're just not, you know, "dead". Or, well, I guess they're undead. But not dead dead. You know what I mean. It's just that they're... French... now. You know?

La Horde.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunset View

For my 1600th post I wanted to prove that my stepmom's new camera could actually shoot in color. It can. Here is the view out of the living room of the suite my parents rented for Christmas.

My dad and my sister.

And one more sunset view.

Look, I'm Ansel Adams All of a Sudden

Outside my window at Bedford Springs, visiting my sister. Zone system on an iPhone. Right.

Friday, December 25, 2009

But What's Important

Is Olympia Candy Kitchen. I just had some of their peanut-butter things. Even though they're milk chocolate, they were pretty good. Were.

Alas. Someone seems to have eaten our supply. I blame... uh... mice. Yeah. Very very large mice. Dangerous too. We're going to need more chocolate in case they come back. You wouldn't want to make them mad...

Lisa Klink is a sci-fi TV writer.

Concerning the Jews

Mark Twain's essay of 1898 in Harper's concludes:

If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent. of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star-dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers.

He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

There's more to it -- the link above takes you to the entire article including the suggestion that Jews take up residence in some place called Palestine and become the dominant political force there, quite a queer notion I'm sure. And being written thirty-some odd years before the Holocaust, speaks of Vienna in a manner which to the modern eye and ear is naive. But but but. There's a point here that is: why are Jews so critically important to the Western world? Philosophy, the arts, literature, the sciences and yes, even commerce -- why are Jews so heavily represented out of proportion to their numbers?

There might be some actual answers, not a bunch of malarky foisted by axe-grinding partisans, but real notions of what is going on here. And yes, I may be drunk on Christmas night, but I shall attempt to elucidate a pair of them thusly:

1. Jewish faith virtually requires literacy (I know I know, it didn't always but it does now and yeah, that doesn't really apply to women in Judaism but the women in Judaism tend to actually control the practice of the religion in the family and yeah yeah yeah but that's not the point so get over it.)

2. The maintenance of the disapora creates a special "outsider looking in" at culture which in turn creates better culture. In other words, the Jews having a Jewish identity among Christians (I'll say "Christians" because in the West, for all practical purposes, we're talking about Christians) gives them a lens on the culture that they're in which gives a perspective advantage when it's time to create new art, literature, science, what-have-you. Think Thornstein Veblin. But you know, with millions of Jews.

Wait. I'm drunk. And suddenly I don't care about this thesis at all. The Jews and the Gays. You want a dynamic and rich culture? You gotta have both. Get on it.

OK, Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Later on Christmas Eve

Tom Rowen decided that Christmas isn't kinky enough and so he made some shorts starring Santa Claus.

Keyboard skins for Final Cut, Photoshop, et al.

Merry Christmas Nicolae Ceausescu.

I had no idea they were saying "Change my pitch up" before the words "smack my bitch up". I always thought it was something like "change my picture" (pronounced "pitcha"). The Internet is so edumacational.

More importantly: Nana the Dreaming by Sheila Chandra.

The first lady of France.

Didn't somebody say there was pie around here?

My Notes on Ted Hope's Notes

Ted Hope has his 50* Ways You Can Do Something Different on This Production. Here are my snarky notes on his, er, 13, points. Merry Christmas!

  • How can you help other artists with this film you are doing? Can you bring others into the process?
  • We're not in this to "help other artists". If it's helpful to them in order to get another credit or something for their reel then yay. Otherwise, it's about making a good picture, not about them.
  • Do something stylistically just because you like it. Allow something to be "outside" the film, something that doesn't fit so right and is only there because you dig it. Why does it always have to fit?
  • Please. How about we not do this deliberately? There will be a lot of self-indulgent crappity things you'll be fighting in the production and post-production of the picture, how about we try to make things work for the picture?
  • How can you help the world by the content of this film? How can you work for impact first, and business second (without ignoring those financial obligations, that is)?
  • If you're doing something else first then you're fired. "Help the world"? Feh. Try to make a movie that doesn't suck. How's that for helping the freakin' world?
  • How can you have less environmental impact on the world with your process? Recycle. Use less paper. No styrofoam. Car pool. Carbon credits.
  • How about we do whatever's cheapest so we don't run out of money before we make deliverables? Yeah, let's not print out sides every damn day. And stop making revisions, try to make the script not suck before you start shooting.
  • How can you do more to show appreciation for your collaborators? What if you put people first would that change your content significantly?
  • We show our collaborators appreciation by not shooting their families.
  • Are you really collaborating with your crew? Do they feel like you are? What if you listened more, and spoke less?
  • How about we shoot the damn movie, and everyone spoke less?
  • You say it is a team approach, but what if everyone was treated equally? What if your equality carried over not just to financial matters, but also in terms of access?
  • If we treat everyone equally, we will be here all the damn day. No, we're not going to shoot a special scene so you can have a fight scene on your reel. No, we're not adding visual effects you've always wanted to do. And no, we aren't doing a dance sequence so you can show off your best moves. We're making a movie. Right over there. Camera is up. Say your lines. Hit your marks. Quit your whining.
  • What if you completely demystified the process and opened it up to comment by all cast, crew, and fans? As opposed to the studio's no-twitter policy, what if you made it a requirement?
  • OK so wait, you want to go from interfering with their 1st Amendment rights and what they can't say to interfering with their 1st Amendment rights and forcing them to say what you tell them to? How about we leave the cast and crew alone and let them do whatever the hell they want?
  • What would be a different business model? Could you give it away? Free it? Never plan to screen it theatrically? What if the movie was not the main event, but something else was?
  • Yeah good luck with that. When you figure that one out I'm all over it.
  • Place the bar higher & reach higher. What makes something better? What if you made sure you could answer any question as to why before you started? Or maybe this would be the opposite and you should answer no questions but hold it all within yourself...
  • What? I have no idea what this means.
  • Is your work truthful? Is every action, emotion, reaction honest? Are the settings truly lived in? Can you extend only from your characters, their psychology and socio-economic situation -- removing your own intent from the design?
  • Truthful? Honest? Are you making a movie or saving your marriage? If you want the truth then go outside. I want fiction. I want it to not suck, but I want stories. The "truth" is just bullshit you believe.
  • What if you built your audience base prior to shooting? And maintained significant communication with them throughout the process? How might that change your final work?
  • That's a pretty good idea actually. +1 for you. I'll get right on it.
  • Innovate. Try some new equipment on every production. Improve a simple process. Isn't production about the communication of information in the service of art, as efficiently, economically, and aesthetically as possible?
  • Dear God man, don't just "innovate" it to be saying you're "with it". Don't "innovate" when you can make something not suck instead. Just because everyone's using a new lens or (Lord help us) a new camera does NOT mean we should be using the same stupid thing. You know that old Schoeps microphone that grand-dad used to record the dialog on his movie back in the 60's? The one with the T-power? Yeah, it's still the best.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Funniest Thing on the Internet Today

    The funniest sentence on the Internet today is:

    "The professional pretending people will be yelling at sticks. Occasionally, they will flee from a mop."
    That's from the Kung Fu Monkey.


    I had lunch today with the beautiful and talented Sky Chari of Eats Well With Others fame. Before that she was the flautist of Prague Spring. (Er, 14 years ago. Egads!)

    Whole Foods in Princeton NJ where the elite meet to eat. ;-)

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Galactic Years

    Neoscene is the software I'll need for the GH1.
    Rolling Shutter is software to deal with... well... rolling shutters. It costs $500 which seems a bit steep to me.

    Galactic Years disturb me.

    A Russian Home Companion

    So, the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York performed on Prairie Home Companion.

    From the PHC site -- here's a picture of Garrison Keillor with Nikolai Kachanov, and a picture of Nikolai conducting.

    And so OK, now I have a little crush on Nora Jones.

    Creepy Dude, Likes "Nice" Girls

    Via Coilhouse. Can you tell from my overblogging that I'm avoiding work? Because I am.

    This Week at the Source

    The brilliant Sharon Fogarty has two shows this week at Manhattan Theatre Source.

    The dashing and handsome Jason Grossman performs the Fogarty directed It's a Wonderful (One-Man Show) Life. That's right, the one-man show version of Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. And it's exactly as much fun as it sounds. The show has been playing as a perennial at Theatresource for some years now but as I'd only seen the movie It's a Wonderful Life for the first time last year I, er, never got it. Now I do.

    The other Fogarty show is Sharon's "anti-musical" Witch Christmas, which returns this year. A work of genious in miniature, the not-really-safe-for-work musical includes gassy witches, adorable children, and a theme song which I've been humming in the shower all year.

    These works harken back to the day (which was only last year) when we performed new works as a mission at Theatresource. Those times are, unfortunately, over. Theatresource is artistically dead, it's essentially a road-house for other companies to rent. And sometimes that works out.

    This is, apparently, the way the Board of Directors at Theatresource wants it. Ever since the financial "emergency" earlier this year there has been a blackout of communications from the Board and there's no real way of knowing who makes decisions. It's sort of like Myanmar that way. I'm not even exactly sure who's on the board anymore as the members have never been officially announced (and they aren't all listed on the website.) But I'm there every day and the only time I see any of them (that I know about) is on the day they hold their secret board meetings (which I typically find out about a few hours beforehand.) OK, so it really is Burma.

    Which is too bad, really. The theater is in a sorry state artistically. We still have no bookings in March, and only a scattering in February. The other day I was joking with a friend that we should put a sign up that says "Under No Management."

    Apparently we're doing another InGenius festival. Of course, nobody knows how the decisions are made as far as what plays are performed as part of InGenious. Heck, I can't even link to InGenius (which at one time the Queen of Mars wanted to name EvilGenius but she unfortunately did not prevail.) Originally InGenius was the brainchild of Jim Lawson's* vision of Theatresource's "creating new works" but now -- who knows?

    As a joke, there seems to be this Source Forum for "volunteers". Really it's a forum where spammers spam one another with low prices on DVD box sets. I don't even think I knew this existed. I doubt many others do either.

    *The Theatresource artistic director, not the comic book artist.

    Happy Solstice

    Ooh. Yesterday was the winter solstice. It seemed a bit dark...

    I have, or am actively uploading, all of the acts of Clonehunter for the producer, the editor, and the writer, to give me notes on. So far though, nobody's done that. I'll just assume everything's perfect. Ahem.


    I finished Bitter Angels. It starts out mightily slow. But then it picks up. The debate section takes up practically the first 1/3rd of the book.

    Still, the armor on the cover is pretty nice.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Oh the Information

    Hey, what's 85 minutes, 11 seconds, and 8 frames? Clonehunter, that's what!

    We're on our last rounds of quality control.

    Ning is... well actually I have no idea what Ning is.

    I think I finally figure out what I need. A psychedelic tailcoat, but with a mandarin collar.

    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    RCCNY on PHC at TH

    I saw the live performance of A Prairie Home Companion tonight at Town Hall in New York. I'd never been to Town Hall before. I'd never seen the live show of PHC before. It was fascinating.

    The thing is, of course, that the live show is really for the radio. So the sound in the auditorium is actually pretty quiet. And "dead" (meaning not "live" acoustically). It's a show about what's on the radio, after all, not what's happening live.

    The guests were the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York -- which is a 25-person group, and Nora Jones (who came with a band), as well as Madeleine Peyroux (who also had a band) and their regular band. That means there were two trap kits on stage, at least four keyboards, and something like 8 bass players (but I can't be sure). Boy, there was not a lot of room on that stage. And then they added the chorus. Good times!

    It's probably a bit disconcerting for many of the acts to be as quiet as they were. I imagine the stage monitors were fairly low too. Now these were acts which aren't typically super-loud rock bands (heh, like Tyrannosaurus Mouse) but still I can imagine it was a bit off-putting. But that's just the way it's gotta be for the broadcast to sound any good.

    Nora Jones seemed very uncomfortable playing guitar. She seemed vastly more relaxed behind a piano. RCCNY simply nailed their performance. The director, Nikolai Kachanov, is quite simply a genius.
    After the performance. Snowfall in December. Looking south on 6th Avenue toward Bryant Park.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Because you wouldn't believe me if I just TOLD you --

    THIS is in the lobby of my apartment building! ;-)


    The last "drrring" indicating a complete render from After Effects rang out a couple minutes ago for the movie Clonehunter. I'm not deluding myself that I'm not going to go back and fix or change anything but at least the entire movie is in the Final Cut Timeline.

    Now to fix up some mixes -- we've added some time and we need to put music and such underneath.

    Cheap, non-working airsoft guns (via Stu).

    Allison Stokke via, well, the Internets.

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Some Information

    Here is information you desperately need for the weekend:

    Acme Guitar Works will wire a Strat pickguard with pickups of your choice -- Fralins, for instance.

    Die You Zombie Bastards is a free movie on Be forewarned, the picture is beyond weird.

    A piece of advice from our sales rep regarding visual effects in a movie:

    In the best case scenario, there would be nice visual effect sequence at the beginning of the film, a two minute (=/-) effects sequence every eight minutes, and then a climactic effects sequence at the end.

    Seriously, we should put that in the beat sheet shouldn't we?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009


    So, Maduka is in Geneva (international fellow that he is, albeit now one with a US passport) and he foolishly left me with effects to finish. Ha! Here come the lens flares.

    We're in mid-December and all I'm doing is going through and finding bluescreens and replacing them with whatever supposed to be there. Maduka did all the hard work with the set of bluescreens which weren't filmed properly (sorry!) but he didn't have the footage that went in the composition so all he did was carefully matte out the area through the windshield of the spaceship without the city beyond it. So I gotta slap those in and render them out.

    We'll be sending out a press release (I hope today). And that's about how it's going in the old Pandora Machine.
    I want a psychedelic dark paisley late 19th-century 3rd Hussars officer's jacket -- with tails. It turns out Winston Churchill was in the 3rd Hussars. Adam Ant wore a Hussars jacket (and it wasn't actually made for him but rather was from a 1968 Charge of the Light Brigade picture) but I don't want all the gold frou-frou he had (I think it was a different Hussar... division?) and I really think I should have tails.
    I'm like a squirrel that way.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Against Kwanzaa

    When I first heard about the holiday of Kwanzaa I thought "Who made that up, a Communist?" And yep, that's exactly right.

    Now, I wouldn't be so irked if it were made up by a "communist". But a "Communist"? That's a different story. Specifically the "principle" of Kwanzaa which raised what we might call "red flags" to me is the -- well let me quote Wikipedia on the issue:

    Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
    We're supposed to unquestioningly obey our leaders like sheep? Hey, that's cool with Pol Pot and Ceausescu. Wait a minute, aren't the leaders the ones who got us into this mess in the first place? Isn't the unquestioning "belief" in leaders exactly what Malcolm X's problem with Elijah Mohammad was?

    Whether our leader is George W. Bush or Gustav Stalin, I don't see any reason to "believe with all our heart" in them. Heck, I don't even "believe with all my heart" in Barack Obama. I think he does a good job at a variety of things. But when the facts change, I change my mind.*

    Now, to a Communist, the problem with me is that (in their eyes) I'm an anarchist. Which may be technically accurate but isn't terribly descriptive other than that I am inherently distrustful of hierarchical power structures. And they love power structures. So of course one would insert the State, as a principle in Kwanzaa. Why don't they just use a big sign which says OBEY?

    Me? I ain't buyin' it. Heck, Catholicism isn't as hierarchical.

    Now there's another problem -- the whole "unity" thing.
    • Umoja (unity)—To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
    This is more complicated than I understand but essentially it seems to be a justification for murdering members of the Black Panthers which, uh, Ron Karenga may very well have done. But that's a subject for another day.

    *John Keynes

    Clonehunter Plasticoat Ad

    We shot the live plates for the Plasticoat ad on the first day of shooting but we only shot Nadia and the advertisement itself a few weeks ago. So I've been waiting for this shot a looooong time! ;-) Enjoy.

    Clonehunter Plasticoat ad from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

    Clonehunter Hoverbike Chase

    Why did I ever think that it was a good idea, in a no-budget movie, to actually shoot a hoverbike chase? Well we did. And this is it! ;-)

    Clonehunter Hoverbike sequence from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.


    So obviously, as the lead guitarist of Tyrannosaurus Mouse, I need a groovy and psychedelic band jacket. I think I've made this point before.

    The jacket on the right was found in the fair city of New York. It's a kind of fake-leather (I think) and very reasonably priced at a couple hundred bucks.

    The picture on the left is Winston Churchill! Now, I figure without all those extra stringy-bits that might make a fine band jacket. Anyone have any idea what service or rank that jacket represents? I'm thinking I want a nice dark blue rather than British red because the blue looks better on me. What I really need are paisleys on the dark blue...

    To (not) do

    You can go to distribber and sign up to get your film distributed on iTunes for $1300. At the top of the page is a link to send you a "four part report" on "filmmakers' worst distribution mistakes." I'm thinking -- isn't paying for distribution one of them?

    Here (thanks to Xavier Rodriguez) is a lighting test shooting with a GH1. They reshot a scene from Blade Runner. It matches pretty well. Note how they put Deckard way to the side of the screen with no "front" space. That's not usually how you shoot someone but it looks great (I believe that was the framing in the original).

    Blade Runner GH-1 from Todd Norris on Vimeo.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    The Eternal Prison

    I just finished Jeff Somers' The Eternal Prison. I'd read (for free, online) the previous book The Digital Plague and I must say, I was mighty impressed with Somers' writing to start with. The Eternal Prison is sort of like Philip K. Dick meets Gibson but with a strong story-sense. It's a mighty fine read. There is good use of cyberpunkity technology -- with a deft avoidance of that stuff which can just get silly and embarassing in a couple years (a terrabyte? Dude, I have a terrabyte on my phone!)

    He builds some fun characters, almost all of them are nasty -- even the protagonist (who, by the way, "saves the cat" a number of times throughout.) And there's this brilliant bit which I won't give away where you get that Faulkner-like first-person you're not quite sure of.

    One thing the author does not do is tell you things twice. This is a bit of a problem for me as I am one of those readers who tends to blow off names. You gotta be saying someone's name over and over for me to even have a chance at remembering it.

    I remember reading The Digital Plague and thinking I just can't believe the quality of the writing in this "free" book (I don't think it's "free" anymore.) Maybe the editing is just that good. I'll have to read the first book in the series, The Electric Church.

    I know what you're thinking. Would it make a good movie? Of course. Would it be difficult to shoot and have a limited cyberpunk-ish audience? Yep, that too.


    From Biorequiem.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009


    In case I haven't made it clear, the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York will be performing on Prairie Home Companion this coming Saturday, the 19th of December. Show starts at 6pm. Check your public radio listings.

    I've been working with the Russian Chamber Chorus for several years now. And each time they perform I'm elated with the brilliance of their performance. Watching Nikolai Kachanov rehearse with the chorus is like a master class in conducting.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Crash Reports

    You know, After Effects isn't actually all that buggy. That's one of the best things about it. The big - shot compositors all like a program called "Nuke", but we don't have that in our shop. Anyway, this is a pretty funny thread of crash reports in After Effects.
    Today I have a cold. I'm not exactly sure whether I should be sleeping or just give up and feel yukkity while working. I suspect I'll do some mixture of both, seeing as I don't really want to give Maduka a cold just when he's about to go to Geneva for a month.
    Another note about the big ol' room at Complete Music (which I've linked to, somewhere, below). David Eden bass rig. Boy, that thing sounds good.
    From The Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2010:
    Blockbuster. Blockbuster’s (NYSE:BBI) stock traded for $10 less than it did five years ago. Shares change hands for $.62 now. The video rental company had an awful third quarter. Revenue for this period of 2009 was $910.5 million, down from $1.16 billion for the same quarter a year ago. The 21% revenue decrease was mostly due to a 14% decline in same store sales. The firm’s net loss was $114 million compared to a $19 million loss in the same period in 2008. Blockbuster has only $141 million in cash and cash equivalents. No one has figured out what to do with Blockbuster. The company has 3,662 stores in the US and 1,703 overseas. Blockbuster has lease liabilities on a number of those stores, but ideally the company would be much smaller. It lost its chance to be in the online video rental business to NetFlix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and its chance at IP-based VOD to a number of internet streaming services and cable set-top box based products. The market value of the company is only $125 million. Blockbuster has bought itself some time by refinancing a large part of its debt and it has been aggressively closing stores. One of the things that Blockbuster mentions in its SEC filings is that its debt load and declining revenue could force it to seek a restructuring of its indebtedness or file for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A bankruptcy will do almost nothing to improve Blockbuster’s prospects. Blockbuster does have over $1.7 billion in assets, not all of them saleable, but the firm will almost certainly face liquidation in the relatively near future.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Tyrannosaurus M


    So Tyrannosaurus Mouse had another rehearsal last night. We were in one of the big "production studios" at Complete Music (we got bumped up because the small studio we'd originally booked time in was blocked out for the entire day by somebody.) The room is nice. It's big with sidefills and wedge monitors -- heck it even has a grand piano in it.

    And all of the amps are "higher end" amps.

    So instead of playing the Traynor Custom Valve 50 which they have in their small rooms, I tried a Vox 30 (without "top boost") and ended up with a Marshall JCM 900. Ethan's opinion (and he's not known for having moderate opinions about such things) is that the Marshall's tend to sound like angry bees when overdriven. Now, I've had some good luck with Marshall amps -- but primarily with lower-output-type guitars where I could get the amp to overdrive in a "sweeter" manner, and then when mixing we'd put the guitar through a Pultec EQ to warm it up. So, now that I'm thinking about it -- yeah, they sound like angry bees.

    That Traynor. The sound. It haunts me. It's a really really nice sounding amplifier with good control. We probably won't rehearse again until after Christmas. Maybe I'll do a lot of practicing until then. Nah, probably not.

    But hey. We identified our sound. Loud. Two chords. One section.

    That, we know how to do.

    And our drummer, Lou, came up with some preliminary sketches of what a Tyrannosaurus Mouse might look like. It's quite exciting.


    Bill Cunningham talks about Paramounts plans to make 20 pictures for $2million. Funny, becuase just today I was loosely considering a similar business plan...

    Dude. Tweetcloud. These are mine.

    Lastly: sushi etiquette.

    Friday's Update

    Here's a kind of brilliant sequence in My Bloody Valentine where Betsy Rue, naked, chases after her jerk lover, then gets chased by the gas-mask-wearing bad guy. Interestingly, the scene with the bed is very similar to a scene we have in Earthkiller.

    Of course in Earthkiller the bad guy gets curb-stomped by the naked girl but that's just how we roll.

    I think we have all the cg footage delivered on Clonehunter. There's still a dozen or a score of comps to do. Then there will be tweaks to the mix. Oh, and we have to do the end-title sequence yet to do but I think Maduka has selected most if not all the stills for that.

    Gorillacam is a free iPhone app which helps the camera be better.

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009

    Where They Are Now

    So, we're still working on shots to finish up Clonehunter. Ian has sent us some footage. Maduka leaves for Geneva on the 15th. It looks like we'll make it.

    We have a movie called Earthkiller that's ready to go but our sales rep has frightened us into talking about doing a disaster movie first.

    But I really want both available at Cannes in May.

    Here is a wide view of the city Ian created. I'm thinking a couple robots on hoverbikes in the background and we're rockin'.

    Tuesday, December 08, 2009

    Barack Obama is Smarter Than Me

    When Barack Obama, while campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination, criticized the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (mostly by Republicans but signed by President Clinton in 1999) I thought "Nah, that's not really all that big a deal." I was wrong. Way wrong. It was a big freakin' deal and almost plunged the world into the worst depression since the Great Depression.

    Then, he decided (against my judgment) to not nationalize any banks and instead do that weird quasi-nationalization-with-labor-union-partners that he did with GM.

    And, er, well... it seems to be working.

    Now let's be clear here, it's very very unusual for me to be wrong in making political analysis and predictions. When I'm wrong, it's a big deal and it makes me go back and say "why did I make that mistake?"

    The last time I was wrong was because I was arguing with my eldest brother that the "management" in the United States Post Office were not "not members of the bargaining unit" in the Post Office, but that they were merely not in the same bargaining unit as other postal employees. I was wrong about that for two reasons: 1. I was incorrect in interpreting the National Labor Relations Act as applying to managers at all. It does not. Indeed, it explicitly does not protect "management" employees as having any union organizing rights at all and: 2. The NLRA does not really apply to USPS employees. Those employees are actually under some other act (Railroads and Post Office Act? or something -- I'm too lazy to look it up) and, according to my brother the National Labor Relations Board does have some jurisdiction in USPS matters but only in some instances (and of course that would only be since the time Nixon signed the Act which has a name I no longer remember). And yes, it does get more complicated because the USPS used to be a government entity, making the employees government employees, but now they're not, but they are, but they're not.

    But back to Obama. Firstly, the cost of the bank bailout is actually 60% of what we thought it was. That's very interesting. And, if the stimulus plan is really working, then, well, I guess we didn't need to nationalize the banks. Still, Paulson could have had some "strings attached" to the money we gave 'em.
    Oh look over there, there's a Save the Cat Wiki. And chinchillas... in party hats!


    The Internets (specifically John August) complain more about Scriptshadow. My big complaint about Scriptshadow is that the reviews are shockingly naive and unsophisticated. If I had someone covering scripts for me who wrote the idiot 10th-grader fan-boy opinions Scriptshadow's reviewer's wrote, I'd fire them right away and replace them with someone who had even the slightest idea about screenplay structure and how movies actually get made.

    But that's just me.

    From Indy Film Chat, Bruce Frigeri discusses the price war between Amazon and WalMart.

    Related fun fact: counter-intuitively, "price matching" (when a retailer will "match any advertised price") keeps prices higher because the retailer is telling other retailers that any price drops they make will be automatically matched, so it won't help them. Automatic price matching is kind of like the "nuclear option" of retailers.

    Dropbox has 2GB free (like a lot of services). But hey, I have 19GB of "Documents" on my freakin' laptop. You can imagine how over-loaded with files we are on our editing/mixing/compositing machines. Maybe I need to set up a backup server.


    How about this?

    A biological attack on New York City wipes out 99.987% of the population. After surviving the attack, a young woman is hunted by giant mechs. She is helped by an alcoholic homeless dude who seems to know more than he should about the bio attack and the mechs. She leads a small band of survivors out of the city to safety in New Jersey only to find that she must return to the devastated New York in order to do something which is critically important but I haven't figured out yet.

    Monday, December 07, 2009

    This, That, and the Other Thing

    Rotten Tomatoes has a link for Alien Uprising. No actual reviews are linked to it, though.

    Ah, man, I'm stressed about our next movie. Our sales rep wants us to do a modern-day disaster picture where ordinary people are running around not knowing what's going on. Egads, I so don't want to do that. OK, maybe I have an idea. I'll work on it...

    In the meantime I think we have rendered out the last of the hoverbike sequence in Clonehunter.

    If you need special effects makeup you can't do a whole lot better than Brian Schiavo.

    New Landing

    For Clonehunter:

    Here are a couple stills Ian rendered out of the "landing sequence". Tres super awesome say I.

    Act 8 is done mix-wise. We need to insert a bunch of effects but we're over the difficult part on most of those effects. We also have to make the end-title credits.