Saturday, February 28, 2009

Late adopter of a cold

1. I thought there was a limit on the number of colds you could get any one season. I thought I'd already passed that limit. Apparently no.

3. Taxes for an LLC with multiple partners is confusing. The thing is, the LLC doesn't have to pay taxes, but all the members do. And the paperwork... actually I don't understand the paperwork at all. I have to get to my accountant this week.

5. But you know what? I think I'm just going to end up being a late adopter of the Nikon D90.

6. The first time I really saw Alien Uprising all the way through was at the cast/crew screening. It's pretty enlightening to watch the movie with an audience. There are some music choices I'd have made differently. And, like all ultra-low-budget pictures, I missed some in-between bits of action which if we had a couple more days we might have been able to shoot. I think we'd re-do a couple visual effects shots and I'd certainly re-color-correct a couple things to match better.
And maybe if we had more time/money I'd have swallowed my pride and ADR'ed a couple scenes when the actors were standing right below a clickity strobe.
But other than that, I'm still happy with the picture. 

8. I need to buy some paint.


Man, I have been overblogging lately. If only I could get started shooting a movie, I wouldn't be overblogging. 

To make your band's album cover, do the following:

1 - To get the name of your band, go to Wikipedia and hit “random” or click here. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - To get your album title, go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations" or click here. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

3 - For your album cover photo, go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click here. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use Photoshop or something similar to put it together.

Tell me that's not how they're doing it already. "Merriweather Post Pavillion"? Please, give it a rest. (This coming from someone who had/has a band named "Prague Spring" which released an album called "Pleasure for the Empire". But at least I had the guts to actually use a random band-name generator for my album title.)

Pay no attention to Queen of Mars notes below:

The two lead characters should have their motivations swapped. She should be gung ho and he should be reticent. 

The different characters should all have unique voices. It might work if she had a really dirty mouth but used archaic terms for everything.

Can the cat be a hologram of a cat?

Water Nymph

So I'm listening to Katy Perry and then I look her up on Wikipedia and find out that a "controversy" of hers is that she once posed with a knife and "anti-knife campaigners" criticized her. 

Anti-knife campaigners? What the...?

Oh dear Lord. It's a British thing again. At least it's not as confusing as the statehood of residents the Channel Islands...

A friend of mine who's Welch* was complaining about how she was out at a bar in New York and some British guy wanted to go fight her boyfriend outside the bar. Apparently she just went off on the guy telling him that he was in America and that sort of thing was just stupid and that he should just go home** etc., etc. 

She felt that the gun culture in the US made it vastly more dangerous for people to "settle this outside" because of the likelyhood you'd end up dead in a "bar fight". And that's why we don't tend to just want to go fight other boys (as much). 

I figure that the gun thing is why we don't have many "anti-knife activists" in the US. You're a lot more likely to live from a knife attack than a gun attack, so knives just don't come up on our radar.

This is a Herbert Draper painting called "The Water Nymph" or some such thing. I just love how lurid beautiful it is. Tell me Vargas didn't get all his best ideas from Draper. Actually, I bet you can trace from the pre-Raphaelites through the "post"pre-Raphaelites to the pinup art of the 1950's...

*Note that most of the British I speak to are ex-pats and are almost by definition more critical of their home country than anyone else. That's why they're ex-pats. You know what you don't want to do? Talk to any American ex-pats in France about the U.S... you'll get an ear-full.

**Telling someone to go back to the country they came from is particularly vulgar for an American to do. But for a British person to tell another British person it's pretty funny.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Furious Sound

Back in the early 70's I would try to listen to this thing called the King Biscuit Flower Hour on my little clock radio in my room at night. The live performances, as I recall, by and large sounded like dog butt. In my recollection they were all bad. Basically the mixes sounded like distorted lead vocal and some sort of mess underneath.

By the late 80's I was a professional sound person. Whatever that means. But I did get to work with some people who knew what they were doing. So I learned a lot. And one of the first big things I learned was: live broadcasts don't have to sound like poop. In fact, a badass sound mixer who really knew what they were doing could actually mix live and to tape and have the tape come out good. But boy that's hard (I never became that badass). For instance, you sorta have to guess how loud the drums should be on an auxilliary send (relatively speaking, and counter-intuitively, they should be louder than the vocals because the drum sound is so much louder in the room you don't have as much gain on them as you do the vocals.)

Now somebody at the Letterman show knows how to mix live bands. And it makes me wonder if there isn't some fascist overlord at the Letterman show who says to the band beforehand "If you jerkwads don't keep your stage volume down, Dave will kick you off his show and instead do a little bit of business with Paul for the length of time it would have taken you to play your song and nobody will ever know you were supposed to be on. So when you're old and alcoholic and have no career, looking back on your pathetic, miserable, wasted lives, you'll have no one to blame other than your stupid selves who didn't keep your amplifier at the position we marked earlier in rehearsal." But I don't know. I could just be making that up. Then again, maybe they aren't as polite as all that.

What I do know is the number one secret to mixing. It's the biggest single thing and everyone I've ever met who knows how to mix and get it right immediately does the same thing. 

Mix quietly. 

I'm talking about how loud it is in the room, not how hot the levels are to tape. Your sound pressure levels have to be low enough for you to talk over or you're just going to get confused and not have any idea what you're mixing anymore.

Now I'm not entirely sure that this Airborne Toxic Event is a live performance. I mean, well -- I don't see how the string players are monitoring. That would tend to indicate they're miming along to playback. But then again. Hmm... At the same time the strings are out of tune. That would tend to indicate that they are indeed playing live but not able to hear terribly well. 

This Death Cab for Cutie performance seems fairly "live". That's not to say it wasn't mixed again some hours later after they finished performing it. There are advantages to mixing (a live-recorded thing) later on -- namely that you can mute any microphones (which are open and would otherwise be creating a reverberant "mess" of the mix) which aren't being used. I'm thinking the second vocal mic in particular. And notice that the lead vocal microphone is almost exactly aligned so that the drums will be as far off-axis of it as possible. Well, for that matter the second vocal mic is turned around backward...


Look. If I lend you my camera, you're gonna have to deal with the fact that I might post some pictures* I find on the P2 card you had in it. ;-)



You know what's frustrating about "independent film"? It's how dang conservative it is. The irony is that some big-budget major releases** are really quite radical look-wise. Off the top of my head I'm thinking: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or American Beauty or for that matter, 300 and Sin City

What's odd about this is that it's actually easier to shoot something which looks like 300 than it is to shoot the average boring two-people-talking-in-a-room movie. But the indies just won't do it. I remember watching that picture and thinking "Wow, people will put up with any look."

(Sound, on the other hand, is not to be messed with. We have a very specific way we want to hear dialog -- close, clear, and in sync*** -- that's the only way.)

So I'm going to start making more whack images. Yup. That's what I'm gonna do. And make a comic book movie. Yeah.


I just read a screenplay last night which was on InkTip. It's a good screenplay. While reading it I thought -- hmm -- how does this stack up against Save the Cat? So I loaded up the BS2 beat calculater (which is linked in a previous post) and sure enough -- the beats all lined up within one page. Yup.


I want to direct a remake of Total Recall. If I can't direct the remake of it, can we at least do the mockbuster of it?


The image size of a 35mm motion picture negative is 18x24mm.

Ken Rockwell's D90 review.


*Yup, makin' a music video and using the playback of timecode on a laptop as a timecode slate. Now THAT'S the way to do it! Sure, I could have lent them a timecode slate but this is so much freakin cooler!
**"Hollywood" doesn't really mean anything and it usually irks me when people complain about it. If you mean the 6 major studios (and there have be 6 practically since the movie biz began, no matter how they gobble one another up or split apart, it keeps equalling 6) then just say the "Big 6". Otherwise, whenever an argument is made which involves "Hollywood" as a bogeyman, they end up throwing some small studios (even the size of Pandora Machine) in with the Big 6 just to make the point.
***Don't talk to me about parts of my movies which are out of sync. I know about it. I don't want to hear about it. There are times when it can be incredibly difficult.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Audrey Day in the Pandora Machine

Somewhere around 100 pages and 17 DVD's (data and video DVD's) later, we've got (almost) everything off to the distributor for Alien Uprising. A couple weeks ago the DigiBeta tapes went out, as were a couple VHS tapes with burned-in timecode (I have no idea what those are used for, I should ask).

And now I need a new feature to shoot. I'm chomping at the bit. Maduka is loading his tranquilizer dart gun. Chomp chomp chomp.

Mozz is running a Save the Cat check on "0801 Dominion" (at least three people have independently called the task of analyzing a script with the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet as a "Save the Cat check").

And Blake Snyder wrote to me out of the blue. He liked all the things I've been saying about Save the Cat on this blog. He's sending us a couple books to make up for all the books I've been giving away! ;-)

I still say. Read it. Love it. Learn it.

Intuitively one might think that using a strict "beat sheet" might be constricting artistically. It's not though. It actually makes it easier to be creative when using the Beat Sheet because you know structurally exactly where you are in the story.

Oh and I got an apartment. I really don't want any mail coming there but it's at
129 Magnolia Ave #201
Jersey City, NJ 07306

I don't get the keys until next week. And I have absolutely zero plans for how I'll move in.

Don't forget the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (BS2) calculator.


A Picture of a Bed

I'm trying to convince a fellow I know to not spend $120,000 on his independent feature film. I haven't read the script, and it does have name talent in it. But even so, doesn't the IFC only pay a few thousand dollars?


Rethinking in apartment.

$300 -- 84" by 64"

I bought a gallon of chromakey blue a long time ago. There's this one wall which would look great in chromakey blue...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Script Issues

Sleeper might become a movie. Tom might be writing the mockbuster to it without even knowing it.

Has anyone else noticed how buggy Final Draft is? If you delete a section of a script it arbitrarily jumps to another page so you have to manually scroll back to where you were.

Don't bother reading the text below. It's pretty boring. It's just me trying to work out some story points. Do yourself a favor and just look at the cute kitty.


So. Helen finally finds Doctor Hywel and can't kill him. She doesn't know why she should kill him. She escapes to the air ducts and is shot by Valmont. She gets away from Valmont but is then hunted by the drone.

Then Tybalt realizes that 1. Hywel can't be killed and 2. Hywel is willing to help -- they only need Helen to open the Core.

The drone beats the crap out of Helen. Helen figures her only chance is to get the Genesis (the necklace suggests that?) so she opens the Core.

But the Genesis is a completely alien robot. All it wants to do is protect Hywel. Hywel is the last of his alien species.

Mach kills Hywel (because Mach is human, he can).

So the Genesis goes nuts and goes hunting for Helen to "fix" her. Then it's going to "fix" all the other androids.

Tybalt reprograms the drone to fight the Genesis.


Hywel waits until the robots kill (what he thinks is the) last human on the station. Then he reveals himself. Then he's going to open the Core, and get all of them to attack the remaining three stations


It becomes Mach's movie. He's the Bruce Willis character in Die Hard


As Mozz pointed out, it's really The Bourne Identity on a space station.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I don't have letterhead. I have business cards, just not letterhead. I just realized this when I had to come up with a lab access letter.

We have almost all the documents in place to go to the distributor. There's something on the order of a hundred pages of hard copy and 15 DVD's (data, audio mixes, and screeners).

We haven't before had to provide this much paperwork. We were ready to provide it, but we just haven't had to before. I dunno why we need to this time.

I still have to register the copyright of 1. the music and 2. the movie itself.


One thing I found very satisfying at the screening was watching the big surprise saves-the-day moment working. When I first read Josh James' screenplay to Alien Uprising the big surprise really made me happy. I was sitting on a train to New Jersey reading it on my iPhone and I said "Yes! That totally works!"

And in the movie the pacing of it does work. That's a big thanks to Henry Steady. I know that a cast and crew screening is a pretty forgiving environment, but I could feel the big "Yes!" moment working even before the applause.

Now I just want to make sure our future screenplays are at least as good!

You have no idea how close this Medium Large is to our work. Of course, the robot getting any is a staple of our pictures so we don't think of it as bad really...


Nikon lens info:
35mm f/1.4 AI-s with f/2 AF 2nd place
80-200 2.8 zoom
85mm f/2 AI-s

Cats in Space

Our own Brian O'Neil has a writeup in the Wall Street Journal "Taking a Career Cue from Hollywood".

You know, if we can make a comic book movie, we could do a Green Hornet mockbuster. The Red Bee? The Black Wasp? Something... (Thanks to Bill Cunningham.)

QOTD -- "Any TV you buy today will probably have that infernal motion smoothing turned on by default, so that you can enjoy your favorite films re-imaged as if they were PBS specials from 1983."

As we all know, I am the voice crying out in the wilderness. The prophet of the new religion(s). Our sacred texts are Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, and The DV Rebel's Guide by Stu Machwitz. No, I don't believe their authors infallible. But I do believe they were directly inspired by He who comes after Me. Or something.

OK, look. I don't have this religion all quite worked out. But it's real, man, it's real. You dig?

Chance called out my kitty fetish with this kitty astronaut. That is one tolerant cat.

Oh, and apparently my review was spoiler - free. So here's the one [warning] with spoilers:

Chance Shirley's Interplanetary is awesome!


So what if Helen knows all along she has to kill Doctor Hywel, and when she finally gets to him she can't, because of the failsafe. That's when he orders her to open the Core.

If that's the case, do we need these flashbacks?

Security Officer Blair LAWSON plays DOMINOES, with officer Boling VALENTINE. Helen approaches.
You got company.
Blair puts a piece down, and stands. Walks over to HELEN.
I want to see Doctor Hywel Rastlin.

Her EYES FLUTTER for a moment

Helen, in her battered uniform, stands in front of Lawson.
Valentine sits behind her, ignoring the two of them, reading a MAGAZINE.
Lawson offhandedly acknowledges the visitor.
Welcome to Dominion Station. Your destination?
Lawson is suddenly none too happy with Helen standing there.
I am here to see Doctor Hywell.
You’re a... [combat robot]
I am here to see Hywell.
Yes... yes... I’ll... have to call... um... security.
The RADIO behind Lawson SQUAWKS.
Lawson presses a button and ignores the radio.
Dominion Station this is Galilee Seven Transport Five, Six, Nine Dominus requesting permission to dock. Over.
Helen looks up and flicks a SWITCH. A HOLOGRAM wireframe of the station appears. She studies it.
Nevermind. I will find him myself.
Helen walks through.
Lawson looks back at Valentine.
Boling looks up briefly.
I’m on break.
The CLANG of a docking ship.
Dominion Station, we are awaiting a reply.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, and all the tribes of earth will wail on his account.
You didn’t even check our security clearance. We went to a lot of trouble to get it.
SATI stands there. She is ARMED.
Peace be fucking with you.
No! No!
Three shots ring out.
Lawson runs out and seals a DOOR. There is a PORTHOLE in this door. It’s possible that we go back to him seeing everything from below.

Lawson on the other side of the door. Can hear the androids talking outside.
Dominion Station, infiltration, phase one commencing.
Tybalt’s face appears. He looks and although he does not see Lawson, he knows where Lawson is. Instead he looks almost straight ahead.
Behold I come with the clouds and every eye will see me, all tribes of the earth will wail in my account.
Sati appears next to him. They both look in.
TYBALT (cont’d)
Therefore all things whatsoever that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law of the prophets.
Take the station. You know the ones I want alive. Kill the rest.
Sati walks away. But what is Tybalt looking at?
HELEN. Stands at the other end of the ventway, looking back at Lawson and Tybalt.
RETURN to present.

Three mechs

Atrox mech.

Racing mech.

Update: I have zero idea why this is by far the most popular page on this blog. If you feel like it, why don't you tell me?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Goddess on the Rocks

An article about Universal Robots. Jason Howard has been in a couple of our movies -- Solar Vengeance and Pandora Machine. Ben Thomas took the photograph in the article. He was in Solar Vengeance.

imgur is a new image hoster. I'll put up an image and see how it goes. If you see a picture of a naked woman on my blog then you know it works. Oh wait, I've just been informed that we'll have to use another scientific methodology...

Hosted by

Speaking of robots, I Fight Robots is a blog.

I have to made .pdf's and hard copies of all of the contracts we made for Alien Uprising. It's a lot of ornery work. Plus I have a bunch of other contracts -- things where I'm signing that we own all the music and we have given them the complete credits and such. It's going to be a huge packet when I send it out.

I have to change our standard actors' contracts. They must: put all the stuff the actor cares about up at the top (percentage of compensation, how they're credited) and also be more clear that the contract clears the rights of exploitation and requires nothing else in performance for those rights to be cleared.

Oh, and I might be living in Jersey City soon.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I have really really bad news for my friend Chance Shirley. I think that his movie Interplanetary is beyond brilliant. It's like ur-brilliant. And... wait, what's that sound? Is there someone outside? No... no!!!. Don't listen to me! Wait. What's that? Aliens. Yes. Aliens. At the door. Make sure the shotgun is here. Warm against my hand. Four ready to go, one in the chamber. Breathe...

OK. Where was I? "Interplanetary." Yeah, it was like a religious experience. Yeah.

OK. I'm cool.

All of the movies I watched in my childhood while pretending to be asleep; from Robinson Caruso on Mars to Forbidden Planet are represented in a single motion picture.


It's like 2001 meets Office Space but with more nudity. The nuances of every single shot (not just every single scene) are exactly right. It's like... it's like Chance is in my head! Get out!! Get out of my dreams!!!! How did you know?!!?

When the Mars buggy rolled up all I could think was "YES!"

And the world of the picture is so physical -- with the spacesuits and the props and [dear Lord!] a MARS BUGGY! A FREAKIN! MARS FREAKIN!!! BUGGY!!!!!!!!!!

OK, I've calmed down.

The movie is awesome.


I think at one time I told Chance I'd give him notes. These are my notes.

Now stop filming my dreams...

What was that sound!!!??

Venus Wars

Venus Wars.

Hackintosh a Dell notebook.

"The AIS lens had the serial number on the barrel, not on the focusing ring."

Here's more information on Nikon non-AI, AI, AI-s, and lenses which have been "AI'ed".

My guess is that a good price on a Nikon 85mm f/2.0 AI-s
Would be about $100. Fair price is somewhere around $150 or $160
This scene can't go where it is. It's gotta get moved.

For a Nikon 35mm f/2.0 AI-s, a good price would be about $70 and a fair price is... more. Actually, I've seen them go for as little as $35 including shipping. Well maybe the cheap one was for an AI, not an AI-s... And really, why do I need an AI-s?

This scene does not need to go so close to the beginning, it actually spoils too much for us.

Helen’s EYES.
She is on the table, wearing her beat-up black uniform.
I suspect we do NOT see this: Outside the observatory WINDOW:
HYWEL, is a remarkably handsome man, older, in his forties, but with all the markings of a scientist who has been in the middle of battle. An eye-patch, a cigarette, and a whole lot of sex appeal.
There are things you know, things you should not.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Last Book on Screenwriting

Have I mentioned recently that Save the Cat is the best book on screenwriting? No?

Well it is. And the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet is an incredibly powerful tool. It works when analyzing a previously existing script too -- that's amazing to me.

You really should "board" your whole movie before writing it. You should really know how it ends. You should know how it amps up into act II. That will make things rock.

But if you have to go back and look at the movie scene-to-scene, Save the Cat still works as an analysis tool.

If Blake Snyder knew how many of his books I've bought or encouraged other people to buy, he would feel he owed me money. And then he'd feel I owed him a part of my profits. It wouldn't end well. Legions of killer robots. A desert where a city once stood. Brave men doing what brave men do. Many saved cats. OK, so maybe it'll end well after all.


Don't think for a minute I wasn't seriously considering this. I want whomever works for the Onion writing these things to work for ME!

I'm not kidding. (Thanks Bill Martell)

The entirety of the 1980 Lathe of Heaven. The score is terrible and the dubbing is so awful that all the performances go right out the window. But it seemed cool at the time.

Screening Day

Today we had our screening at the Gibson. It was a great time had by all. For some reason the first DVD failed about 5 minutes into the picture and we had to put another DVD in. But then it worked just fine.

Plus I had the new cocktail; the Alien Uprising. I have no idea what was in it. It was bright neon green. Someone said that it was made from real alien tears...

I learned a lot from Alien Uprising. I know that our big problem has traditionally been with plots that are just way too complex. But with AU the story is straightforward and simple. The characters are awesome (and defined in conflict well). And we have a "B" story (love story) which works. We just have to make sure all our scripts are this good. Then we can keep making movies which are better and better.

Can I point out that I forgot that Maduka had put a picture of me in the hologram when Brain was talking about what the horrible creature used to be? ;-)

This is how all albums should be promoted. I'm going to Tijuana.

I'm looking at Internet service for my VOIP. This quote is of interest to me:

VoIP uses a little over 50kbps of bandwidth so you can pick your package based on your expected usage. 128kbps will be fine - you can use the Internet while you're on VoIP. The only thing I would recommend if you do this is to get the RT31P2 router or a router of your own that supports QoS prioritization so that your VoIP traffic trumps your other Internet traffic.

Bun by.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lazy Magnum Boom Root

Lazy Movie is a Danish rotoscoping and chroma keying company.

Magnum Edit is a program for finding edits in footage in After Effects.

Boom Cable system for the Sound Devices 442 mixer. You have no idea how cool this is. I mean it, I can't imagine another sound mixer actually reads this blog.

Root Mean Square. And don't even get me started on standard deviations. I still don't understand them.

Rebecca Kush in Alien Uprising. We're having a screening tomorrow. Are you coming?

A Sundry Day

Thinking ahead to making a comic-book movie: hand cranking.

And from Bill Cunningham: My Name is Bruce.

For the next three days The Nymphos of Rocky Flats is available as a free e-book.

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

White Witch, Black Curse:

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

129 Magnolia

Here is the entrance.

Here is a horrible picture of the living room/kitchen. There is a light/fan overhead. An island will go right about where he is standing.

There's actually a fair amount of closet space. The bedroom is nigh on the same size as the living room.

View Larger Map

Weaponize Lascivious

Oh my goodness. How did I not realize that Helen's ability to weaponize is a one-time thing. Otherwise she would have taken out lots and lots of people at the station. And the Xik drone would be no danger to her at all. So she destroyed the Earth. But Helen Genesis could do even more damage. So that makes it so Helen could be killed by the drone.

And I have to remember Blake Snyder's 5-point finale.

Dinosaur Robot "Porn". You go there. I'm not gonna.

This painting is the most lascivious piece of art I've ever seen. It's basically just a pinup. One wonders if Vargas got his inspiration from Godward. This painting is "Nu Sur La Plage". Yeah, right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Hell

A well - written article on happiness by... Cracked? No, seriously...

Elephant Shrew. I don't know what I think of that.

IDrive spammed me through my Twitter account (when I say "spammed" I mean "followed" but you know what I mean.) They are $5 a month with a 150GB limit on personal accounts but you can keep data up on their server as long as you like -- it isn't always "syncing" and erasing old copies. So you can upload and keep your data up there. Sometimes that might be helpful.

I went to Hell today. By Hell I mean the Post Office on Joralamon Street in Brooklyn. What's awesome about that PO is that it's in the Municipal Building so you get to go through security before you wait in the long line for the two surly tellers. Yay!

Save the Cat is awesome for analyzing pre-existing scripts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How long before your portfolio returns? A NYT calculator.

The East Village Opera Company. Good idea, badly executed.

The Bloggess blew my little robot mind with the following message:
111110001010101001 1010 10101010100 101010 2

That's trinary bitches!

Do you know what's missing in my life? Jackhammers right outside my window first thing in the morning. Oh no wait, that's not true.

More boring text below. Just stop reading now. Save yourselves!

Hallway 914 is outside of Medical Bay.

She’s walking through the desert. Her uniform is dirty.
She walks up to a MAN.
MACH, 20’s, lithe, handsome, dangerous, long hair, scruffy, tough.
He puts a NECKLACE with an ARTIFACT around her neck.
She points to SPACE.
I’m going back.
To Dominion station?
Behind Mach, an enormous SPACE STATION hangs in the blue sky.

Does Mach need to shut down the station? That only slows Helen Genesis, but not for terribly long. He really needs to see what Hywell is and what Hywell has done, doesn't he?
Does Valmont really need to exist as a character?
Can the Command Center be replaced by the Docking Bay?
How does Helen Genesis get from Sterling's office to the Medical Bay?
I think that Helen should get into a weaponized fight with Helen Genesis. But Helen Genesis has the imperative to save her own technology so she wants to get away from Helen.
Helen, then, starts a chain reaction which will blow the station's power plant.
And I love how

More Notes

There is no such color as magenta.

Hooray! Here is more text! There is no more part of this blog post which you want to read. (Boy, I could use an editor to edit sentences like that.)

Midpoint on 45

Valentine and Lawson 28
break into 3 p70

bad guys close in 46-62
finale 71-90
all is lost 62

hallway 777 leads to med bay
emergency ventway leads to docking bay

We can see through her eyes that a RED bar is raising dangerously high. High enough to HURT her Bio-Sensors.
She throws her head back in PAIN.
Then she looks at Sutton, like a robot possessed. The objects in the room start to shake, some start to burst and pop, Sutton takes a step back.
What the fuck? Look on Sutton’s face.
He grabs his head. OIL flows from his nose and then with the force of an ANDROID she punches him right through, her fist coming out with his metal spine on her hand.
He falls back. Then...
She calms down, everything stops shaking.
We see...
WEAPONIZATION ACHIEVED, LOCAL TARGET, and then the words disappear and she RESETS.
Helen looks around. She is lost. She looks at the bodies in front of her. The HUMAN and the ANDROID.
She looks at Sutton’s leather coat, his weapons, She undresses him.
She grabs them, and let’s HYWEL’S MILITARY jacket fall from her body. She starts to dress. When she notices Mach and goes to him.
How can I help you?
Mach says nothing.
HELEN (cont’d)
You have stopped functioning. Again.
She grabs him, he leans back, quite dead. She lets him fall back onto the floor.
HELEN (cont’d)
You must restart.
She sits against the wall, next to him.
HELEN (cont’d)
Execute restart.
Nothing. She seems quite innocently lost. She grabs the DOG TAG from around his neck. It has a religious SYMBOL on it.
HELEN (cont'd)
Your religion.
She examines the symbol.
HELEN (cont’d)
I will grieve, as per your manifests instructions.

Lincoln and Peaches

Today must deal with contracts and with scripts.

Tomorrow must trek to Post Office to get a money order.

When I was little I loved going to the post office. My dad had an old-fashioned P.O. box and the combination was "J C G". My dad would let me reach up and do the combination and open the mailbox. That was awesome.

Now post offices have those plain steel P.O. boxes.

But the biggest problem is that in New York there's like a 45-minute minimum line you have to wait in. Sheesh. I've yet to be in a NYC post office where all the customers weren't really ticked off.

This is the only page on the Internet with both Abraham Lincoln and Peaches Geldof. Imagine the searches it'll turn up on.

These are my notes.

Mach and Nathan are the same character. Mach was on the drop mission Helen was on when she wiped out the earth. Hywell was with them. Mach went back to get Helen after the burnoff. She insisted she go to Dominion Station to kill Hywell but she was trapped by Hywell and her memory erased.

Hywell is actually an alien.

The technology the robots are built on is an alien technology. Helen One was a super-weapon the aliens tried to use against the humans but instead the technology was used to build the army of androids the humans used against the aliens in the war.

Helen (our Helen) was secretly built from Helen One by Hywell to weaponize and destroy the Earth.

The robot's religion is a remnant of the alien technology they were built from.

The Helens are made differently than the other robots. They are capable of destructively altering the molecular space around them, making the atmosphere reach critical mass.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Buying a Toaster

Wow, this is just so much like buying a graphics card.

I had a dream last night I had a zoom lens. It wasn't a good dream by any measure.

Barak Obama made you a mix tape.

Below are pieces of scripts which I've cut out in order to move around. I have nowhere else to put text other than my blog. Which I'm sure you've already noticed.


Farman walks up to the checking place. But the autocannon reacts the way it did before. It ignores her.
With something crossed between trepidation and embarrassment, Farman crosses away from the autocannon, without the “clear”.


She opens the door, a slight crack, HELEN sees two ANDROIDS.
Sister FOSTER - 20’s, curly hair, tattooed up the side of her neck.
Brother VALMONT - 20’s, olive skin, lean, large eyes, long nose, looks Puerto Rican. Way too sexy for his own good.
They are searching through these levels.
Helen let’s the door close gently. She goes in another direction.

Are you sentient?
No, I am artificially intelligent. I mold my personality to fit the way my owner interacts with others.
How do I interact with others?
I don't know. Mostly you just kill them it seems.

We have a problem.
What is it?
We have accounted for all the humans on the station.
And we keep losing androids to combat-related injuries.
That is a problem.

Does the necklace actually ever do anything as a communication device?

When exactly do the air compressors get turned off?

Helen cannot know that Hywel erased her until after they meet.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Took Maduka out to dinner tonight to celebrate the finishing of Alien Uprising's edit.

Valentines Day.

Greenwich Village.

Everyone thought I must be really rich to have such a hot date. That is until we proved we weren't gay by both ordering dessert.

No really, the waiter did a double-take.*

Bill Cunningham sent me a video link. OK, so this is awesome:

They do a fantastic cheat. They start off with some very nice shaky-cam motion tracked animation and then spend most of the movie in between a couple freight cars. Yes! That's the way to go!
Plus somebody on that post-production team knows how to use particle effects. The blood hits are very nice and the dust kicked up from bullets is super-duper nice.

The person I know who's the king of this kind of photo-real stuff is Ian Hubert:

*Yep, true story. I doubt that there were two men eating together at that restaurant all day who both ordered dessert.

Plus also, Robert Rodriguez 10-minute film school:

"You start that money hose going and you just can't stop it."

Viper Nest!

Nikon D90. Sure, it skews and jutters when you shoot in the subway. Typically there are no subways in space, so it's not a problem for us.

FX Factory Pro's "Artist Sketch".

While reading up on that plugin I found an interesting sentence: "Although you will see no difference in the Canvas window (due to the fact that Final Cut Pro always previews in 8 bit color) high-precision clamping ensures that your output falls within a predictable range." Hmm... that could explain why we can't see some problems with composites until we render them out...


So there's this blog. It doesn't allow linking directly to posts so I have to repost the text.
"Well I've often referred to Manhattan Theatre Source as a nest of vipers - and I've felt that way since the first time I ever attended a show there, way back in 2004 in search of actors for my TAM LIN. And as I've gotten to know various people associated with MTS it's only confirmed my feelings about the place. It gives me the willies just being in the space - and alas, I will have to be there on Thursday to attend Nat Cassidy's ANY DAY NOW."

If you've ever been to our studio at Manhattan Theatre Source you'd know how silly that is.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Yesterday I:

1. Delivered the (new) hard drive to the lab for Alien Uprising
(I've delivered picture to labs for four different movies now and for some reason this dang movie was the most complicated to do.)
2. Agreed to make Bill Cunningham's next movie. We're gonna make a live action comic book!
3. Got the new Dominion script from Mozz.


We're shooting Dominion in... um... March?

The second timecode is the beginning of the "textless" portion of Alien Uprising which matches the "texted" portion at the first time code. This is important for me to know.


I simply love the texture of the silk in this painting of Lamia.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Notes on a script

I was wondering what to do about Helen walking around and her nethers. Perhaps when she gets her gun she also takes a gun-belt and thigh holster. Possibly that could work in such a way that it just makes her topless for the rest of the pages? She is naked, from what I can tell, for about 44 pages...

I want her to kill her some robo biotches earlier. Can she kill the guy(s) who come into the barracks?

Nice saving the cat there with Nathan. I was thinking that perhaps he can recognize she's a 'droid and they fight, she cripples him and decides not to kill him. I realize that means she has to not weaponize every time she fights.

We need to establish that the people taking over the station are androids early on. Maybe someone just says "Androids!"

If they're all in black uniforms, doesn't Helen notice she's in a black uniform in the flashbacks?

Rather than "environmentals" maybe we just just say "the air compressors are off". That's why the station is quiet (too quiet). I know, I know, that makes an issue with the air shaft. Perhaps the androids kill the O2 to the whole facility except to the hostage room. Oh wait, does the air shaft thing really do anything ultimately with the plot? It's just a way to move people around, isn't it? That could be done by anything -- just automatically closing off sections of the station for instance.

Dude, the pejorative term androids use for humans -- "breather" -- is fantastic! And "shells" for androids!

My first thought is that she shouldn't be convinced by Hywel's lie about her so easily. I feel she should know she's a robot, or at least have an idea. She should maybe be a bit Hamletian about whom to kill and why. It would be nice if she saw humans treating robots badly too -- then she could have a real dilemma about which side to be on.

Remember, the idea is that a combat android wakes up on a space station that's under attack and doesn't know which side she's on! ;-)

More flashbacks in the 60 pages region.

I feel that activating Creation should be more of a Messianic mission for Tybalt. It's not so much that it'll make the androids "human" as it will serve Justice and bring the androids their Messiah. Perhaps Tybalt promises "freedom" rather than "humanity" with Creation. I know. What the androids in Blade Runner were looking for was immortality. Perhaps there's planned obsolescence with the androids and they burn out relatively young. Creation will make them immortal. What do you think?

How does the Weapon work? I thought there was a hint when there was only one vial of nanobots for Nathan. Perhaps the Hell End models are bio/nano-weapons because they can create the nanobots which replicate and destroy living things and machines. Is the Weapon also Creation? Is it simply Helen 2? Or does it take both Helens to make Creation?

Helen 2 should probably waste a couple androids when she first wakes up.

I think Helen 1 should be contemplating mass suicide/homicide with her weapon instead of stabbing herself in the tum.

Overall I want to simplify it a bit by making the ending a bit more clear and by reducing the number of speaking parts.


Here is a great page which details the consensus of reviews of the Nikon D90 as a movie camera. You guys at Canon, I would totally be going in your direction if you'd provide a 24fps option on the 5D.

Conclusion: 16GB SDHC cards are under $30. Each one would have over 2 hours of record time on it (which is easily enough for a day of shooting) and you can plug the cards directly into virtually any computer.

How many lenses do I need? I think I can shoot most any movie with 2.1 lenses. We could grab virtually anything with a 35mm, an 85mm, and a macro adaptor (that's the ".1" lens). It would be amusing to have a long-ish 200mm lens (or possibly some sort of teleconverter 2x glass for the 85mm.)
I suspect that for practical reasons (cost) it might be best to go with a couple old Nikon f2.0 lenses but it sure would be fun to get a couple f1.4's wouldn't it?

I'll miss my S.S.C. lenses though... sniff...

Here's a depth of field calculator which has D90 settings available. You can save a lot of money by buying cheaper lenses which are f1.8 or f2.0 instead of f1.4. Ken Rockwell likes the Nikon 85mm f2.0. Apparently the "AI" and the "AI-s" version of that lens are the same.


Noise Industries FXFactoryPro effects plugin for Final Cut et al. Might come in handy if we end up doing a super-stylized movie.


Am listening to the M&E mix of Alien Uprising. Fearing hearing some actual dialog which ended up on an effects track by accident. Have heard a couple grunts but nothing in particular -- not any "dialog" by any means.

Whew. OK, so that's one QC check we passed...