Monday, August 31, 2009


Oh man, I just had a really wicked laugh over the following conversation I had with redacted. It's about an art house project they're talking with someone about producing. Some facts have been altered to protect the guilty.

Me: "What's this project you're working on?"
They: "Troilus and Cressida. In Yiddish."
Me: "Yiddish? Well, at least you don't have to worry about making DM&E's."
They: "I don't think you have to worry about making deliverables at all."

Operation Windowcurtain

I can't tell you how difficult this entire operation was. But now you can walk around naked in my living room.

You're welcome.

Let the Wookie drum

You'd almost think we'd be done with Star Wars memes by now, right? Star Wars rocks.

I've got a better idea, let the wookie drum.

M-BRANE is creating a whole "shared world".

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Clonehunter Club

Here is a render of the CG plate for the outside of the elegant club in Clonehunter. Alex Sherman created this environment in Blender 3D. I have no idea what the Chinese says. The top character looks similar to "mao" (cat), which would be right becuase this is the Kitty Cat Club.

Below is the picture I presented as a sketch. The reason I went into filmmaking is precisely because I can't draw.

This Article Doesn't Directly Say it But

"name" actors are generally not worth what they're paid.

Yesterday Maduka asked if I was coming in today. I said that I was thinking of taking the day off. Ha! "Taking the day off" to me means working on scripts...

Tyrannosaurus Mouse. Gotta learn to spell it... consistently.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today is Debbie Gibson Day

in the Pandora Machine.

Maduka likes "Tyrannosaurus Mouse", he thinks the first album should be called Oedipus Mouse.

Tyrannosaurus Mouse

Today's big question is: do you think that the first album by Pleasure for the Empire should be "Tyrannosaurus Mouse" or do you think the first album by Tyrannosaurus Mouse should be "Pleasure for the Empire"?

M-Brane SF blog.

The Phillip K. Dick Collection Boxed Set.

From Stu: how the Iron Man HUD was created in Nuke:

Compare and contrast to a similar effect the way.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Zoetica, who is at or of Coilhouse Magazine.
I'm not exactly sure if this embeds properly but it's a made-for-tv thing about the recording of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

Fried brussels sprouts at The Wingery on Smith Street in Brooklyn are some of the most amazing things I've ever had in my mouth. Shockingly they don't have a website as far as I can tell.


Crepuscular means: generally most active at twilight and dawn. Like a bobcat. I wonder if there's a word for "runs around like crazy after using the litter box"? Because that would be like my Pushkin cat.

Blockbuster is going into competition with Redbox. Ultimately this might be problematic for genre indys as the number of titles in a kiosk is limited, especially when compared to a big Blockbuster. But we'll see how that pans out...

J. D. Robb makes futuristic police procedurals. Dude, I made a futuristic police procedural. It was called Pandora Machine. J. D. Robb grosses $60 million a year. I didn't.

Anybody know what fans consider the best J. D. Robb novel? I'd like to start with that one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Godkiller is an "illustrated film" (which is a fancy - pants way of saying "animation" I guess.) It's from Halo 8 Entertainment:

Why it is a cross between a radio-play, an animation, and a comic book.

Am struggling to figure out what to do with my office. Should I move to another location? Should I install a T-class alien android? Nobody knows.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Russian Joke part I

I just finished Blind Man's Bluff. The stories in it just get more and more chilling as you get deeper and deeper into it. We almost went to war with the Soviet Union a number of times (especially in 1983). Our entire espionage system was wide open to the Soviets because of all the traitors (who were typically right-wing scumbags in their day jobs) and as it turns out that was a good thing because the thing the Soviets learned was that the US was not planning an immanent attack -- no matter what Reagan was saying.

Anyway, there's a story about a Soviet and an American sub crashing into one another. The sad part is that the guys on the US sub thought they'd sunk the Soviet sub and killed everyone -- it wasn't revealed until 30 years later that the Soviet sub had limped home.

The captain of the Soviet sub, the Black Lila, recounted how he was chastised for hitting the American sub. But of course, the whole thing was very hush-hush on both sides so the incident was kept under wraps. But the in the Soviet navy apparently the following joke went around:

"An American nuclear sub collided with an iceberg in the ocean. The iceberg's crew had no casualties."

Which leads me to my favorite Russian joke:

"In Czarist times all the most interesting people were sent to live in Siberia. In Soviet times, we believe they continued this practice."

The End of August Already

Aargh. I still don't have a script. Obviously whatever it is that I'm doing to try to get scripts is wrong. I suspect I'm being too nice.

At this point I'm down to one piece of paperwork that I have to do, which I was supposed to do on Monday. More Copyright stuff. I really hate this kind of paperwork. Almost as much as I hate bookkeeping. Unfortunately the Copyright Office has decided they want a 35mm print of Alien Uprising. I've never had them be such a royal pain in the neck before. Now I have to get "special relief" in order to (re) send a DVD. Sheesh.

So what am I going to do? Am I going to finish the other prison planet screenplay I have going? I really don't want to but if I really threw myself into it I could.

And furthermore what am I doing about my studio and office?

The Inner Swine is Jeff Somers 'zine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Dude. This is awesome. A ghostwriter. For $5000 a month! Sure, that's 5/8ths of our budget for a typical picture but still.

You know, practically every indy feature I ever worked on could have used someone like this. Ha! (Practically? I'm trying to think of a single indy feature I was a hired hand on which didn't have huge script problems. I don't think any of them were in good shape before we went into production.)

I feel like the scripts we've been producing have been in pretty good shape since Solar Vengeance. (I'd do some re-writes on our first two movies "Pandora Machine" and "Millennium Crisis" if I were to do them over again.)

You know what else is awesome? Alabama. Riots, family feuds, oh they have it all! C'mon Alabama, don't take the news away from Jersey City!

I have about half of what I was supposed to do yesterday done by the middle of today.


Dr. Grordbort's Infallable Aether Oscilators. From WETA, guys who make some steampunk stuff which is pretty cool.

Suite 200 -- office space in Greenwich Village.

Bitter Angels -- Scalzi talks about it here. Love that armor. I'm always amazed at illustrators who are costume designers too. The integrated thigh pieces are very nice. Could this material exist? I think so -- it seems pretty naturally wrinkled. It also seems somewhat practical from an armor perspective, offering movement and protection (at least protection from bumping into stuff). Also, who doesn't love the gold background with the blue foreground?

Clonehunter news: Act 2 is off to the composer. I suspect that we'll be able to render act 3 off to the composer later today. I guess that means I'll start to do the dialog pass on those acts right away.

The Man (Men) Who Saved the World

Can we have a special international holiday to recognize the man who saved the Earth? Stanislav Petrov saved hundreds of millions of lives on September 23, 1983.

Oh, but so did Vasily Arkhipov so maybe we need to have two holidays.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Constitutional Hipsters

Constitutional Hipsters.

As it turns out, nobody's good at media multitasking.

A dollar store laser gun. Aesthetically pretty super sweet -- from Lost in Schlock.


We're getting more art from Alex. I'm feeling that this is a very interesting environment he's creating. The city looks like this? I like it.

Obama = ... whatever

It's critically important to remember the 5-step finale. It's the missing section of Save the Cat.

You are low on your Olja Hrustic. She was in Millennium Crisis. Oh, and Werewolf Women of the S.S. ;-)

The best (NSFW) Twitterfeed evah.

I'm 44 and up until now I thought that ponies were adolescent horses -- you know, between colts and horses...

Paperwork Day

Today is paperwork day over in the Pandora Machine.

Ha! As it turns out, today is suckity-day nobody's doing what they're supposed to and irking Drew day in the Pandora Machine. Aargh. We're missing a drive. It's the Millennium Crisis deliverables drive. If we have to create an M&E for the domestic version of that picture we're in trouble. I think we have virtually everything else.

So in addition to everything else I have to do, I gotta deal with that. It's going to be a long day.

I'm going to get another webcam to use as security in our office. And we're going to have to be more fearsome about not letting people use the studio for whatever dumbass thing they want to use it for.

Somebody over at Freakonomics is overthinking District 9. I still say that there's no way that battle mech is only going to get 100 cans of cat food. Heck, I'd get in there with a couple of my own Nigerians and pay you 100 cans of cat food for just one hour of a prawn in that thing. If you kill all my enemies I'll give you a 200 can bonus.

Another idiotic review over at Script Shadow. Considering how stupid the reviewers are, we should feel lucky that there's no way anyone at a big or small studio would actually listen to their advice. I mean, sure, there are very very very very few people who really have any idea what a script even might end up being when it becomes an actual movie but these kids seriously have zero idea. They also don't know anything about Milton.

The producer's report for Alien Uprising reads that our cumulative "net" (after sales rep fees and laboratory costs) to date for "overseas" sales is $28,390.

I still don't have our next script.

No Predictions

From a BBC News article:
"People are not good at seeing the future, particularly the future of people. The problem is that people are changeable, they don't always do in the future what they do now. People, being people, know this - or should - but often carry on regardless."
This is why I don't like to try to predict the future.

If an insane man had directed Dune: Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Reading Blind Man's Bluff. It's all about American submarine espionage. And it gets scary when you get to the part about how close we came to nuclear war under Regan.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Marijuana Erotica

Our old friends at The Asylum have made a new movie called Sex Pot. It's a reefer picture, which they also provide with 3D glasses so you can watch the "3-DDD" version. As a concept, it's kind of perfect -- sex, pot. I get it.

What I don't get is where the dramatic tension is going to be. I think they were about to tell me in the trailer, but just like The Asylum tends to do, I couldn't hear the critical part of the dialog where they tell me the problem. You have to set up what these two guys are up against, otherwise there's no drama (and you have to have that even in a comedy.)

The fanworld gives the Asylum a lot of flack but those guys at the Asylum have managed to distribute art-house pictures, make a slew of horror pictures, a couple sci-fi pics, and even stretch out into musicals and... well... reefer pictures.

The best picture they ever released though was Hide and Creep -- Chance Shirley's movie.

As Far As I Know

Rumor has it that there are some Blockbusters with up to 7 copies of Alien Uprising in them. That means there sure will be a glut of them when this run is done. That's good, because they'll be cheaper used. I don't actually own a single copy yet. It doesn't matter directly to us if rentals and sales of the movie are made 'cause we took our $10K buyout for like 13 years for North America and ran. We still own broadcast TV rights though. Still, the better it does the more distributors will look at our future pictures.
Inglourious Basterds is, as far as I know, an historically accurate depiction of the events leading up to the end of the second world war.

Did that movie use a different filmic style for each reel? My feeling is that's what they were going for. I can't tell you how much it cheered me when we got to the David Bowie section*. You think that's a spoiler? Ha! Just wait 'till you see it.

It's vitally important to get a good evil Nazi scumbag in a movie like this. Christophe Waltz apparently has done a little acting in his life.

I'm looking for a piece of music used in the last game of the movie The Comebacks by Christopher Lennertz. I know, I know, but I want it and can't find it. Apparently (and this will surprise you) they didn't release a soundtrack album.

*Maybe that's the DePalma section. I dunno.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Photofunia puts your face in pictures.

In this case, an off-center picture of my cat Pushkin, but you get the idea. (He looks very lurky that way.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sundries C'est Us

We have some number of acts (of the new 10-minute acts we use) of Clonehunter rough-edited. I think that Maduka might be up to 5.

Our edit process seems to be: Maduka makes his edit, I make notes, she who cannot be named makes her notes, we put the puppy to bed.

Actually, then the same process happens with visual effects and the sound mix. Well, maybe it happens in a different order depending on the section. Sometimes I make my mix and take notes from Maduka and Her at the same time. We also take notes in this whole process from the writer and from other trusted people.


Have I mentioned recently that I don't have a script to shoot?

Anna Gutto, who was in Millennium Crisis, is in The Contenders.

Whale Wars

Am I the only person who roots for the whalers?

They certainly can't be more smug, insufferable, or racist than the ass monkeys on the Steve Irwin.

And I like whales.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Wow. Today I had a huge realization while looking at a rough cut of Clonehunter.

These kinds of things happen when I look back on what I shot but this particular realization is an embarrassing one. We have a scene where everyone in the room is saying nasty, dismissive, and negative things about clones. About how they're going to casually kill a clone just to use its body and take out its brain. And one of the characters in the scene (we learn late in the picture) is a freakin' clone!

Now as the story goes, nobody else in the room knows that. The audience isn't supposed to know that (oh look, spoiler alert.) And the clone himself knows he's a clone. But cheezy-wheezy I should have been thinking about that when we were shooting the scene and I just wasn't. Ha-doi.

The actor, David Ian Lee, is pretty smart. I bet he was thinking about it all that time. So we're probably pretty safe.

Do I think we can pull off the little bit of extra -- that bit that if someone were to go back and look at that scene they'd figure "Oh yeah, they're talking all this smack and... oh man! He's a clone!" just like we'd planned it all along?


(That's what coverage is for.)

But man o man was that stupid to not be thinking about that while we were shooting the scene. I feel dumb. Lucky for me I have an editor who can fix it! ;-)


Lady Wasteland via DisContent.

Powered Armor

Via Brian, the best powered armor.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Just about 10 years ago I was trying to get a performance space for Prague Spring to perform. At the time that was basically Sky Grealis, a computer for playback, our friend Kevin, Melissa Riker, and me.

So I was discussing how expensive theaters were with my friend Ed and he said "Hey, I'm going to meet my friend Andrew Frank -- he's thinking about putting a theater in the old Capezio dance clothing store on MacDougal Street. You want to come along and see it?"

Of course I said yes. And when Andrew foolishly asked me if I thought it was a good idea to build a theater in the space I said "yes" once again. I think that was the final bit of convincing he needed.

Now, thousands of theatrical performances later (Prague Spring performed there twice but since Sky moved to San Francisco we have been essentially dormant as a performing group), my studio/edit suite/office is on the ground floor, immediately below the theater itself.

Jon Ecklund produced this video. It features many of our friends from over the years and gives you an idea of the kind of community we made. When I say "we" what I mean is that there are many many people who worked very hard to create it. All I did was say "yes". ;-) Heck, sometimes that's all you need.

"What is TheatreSource?" from Jon Ecklund on Vimeo.

Obama = Mr. Hilter

Do you know who also tried to provide health care coverage for all Americans? That's right -- Hitler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obama is literally Hitler.

What has been making me laugh for 24 hours now? Barney Frank confronts "teh crazy". "Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table."


Cat in silhouette.

Cat being very flat, pretending the air conditioning isn't on.

Cheap and Good

Free for a week: Crumplepop's tilt shift effect for FCP.

Sci-Fi web series Aidan 5.

Mysterious letters. Quite touching actually.

When I look at a group like the Mid Ohio Filmmaking Alliance I think "Oh, that looks really nice." When I think about the same think in New York City I think "What a bunch of annoying and phony ass-monkeys." Which is why I like Theatresource so much, it's just like a real community but in NYC.

The Xavier XV-500. Cheap good apparently.

I've discovered that the only time I really desire a great Fender Stratocaster is when I hear the mono guitar solos in Time. But if I just imagine the solo being played with a Les Paul, the desire abates.

That's actually bad -- because Les Pauls tend to be more expensive than Stratocasters.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Squirrel and I

Better than a garden gnome.

Craigslist Ad

I just posted this Craigslist ad in Los Angeles (I figure there are more vfx artists in LA than NYC and it doesn't really matter where they are physically.)


3D Texture Artist Needed

No-budget science fiction film needs artist to create UV textures for alien city.

Unfortunately there's no upfront pay (the picture is no-budget, times are tough and yeah, we don't feel too good about it either). But the production company has had all of its movies distributed so the work will not languish on some hard drive somewhere. All of our movies get imdb listings and we offer credit and of course if the movie should sell a whole bunch then everybody gets paid.

We need a texture for an alien city which was built in Blender 3D.
Artist will need to unwrap UV textures, texture and paint, and re-wrap the alien structures. We will need to have a couple textures work for closeups but not the whole city (thankfully). It would be nice if you knew Blender 3D but if we really had to we could export the buildings as .obj files and you could unwrap and texture those.

Our studio is in New York but we are perfectly happy to work with artists remotely. The Internet is a wonderful thing like that.

The latest Pandora Machine movie, "Alien Uprising", is on DVD in Blockbuster and just came out on home video in Japan.

Trailers (not safe for work):
Alien Uprising
Solar Vengeance


Here's the ad:

It is a sign

The Internet is almost complete. The Squirrelizer.

Babylon AD

OK, so my career as a science-fiction director is now officially at an end. How do I know this? It's because I actually liked Babylon AD. I liked the skull helmets the bikers wore. I liked a lot of the ideas. Sure, some of the scenes were a tad clumsy. There were a couple bits which were imperfect story-wise. Some of the performances were a tad flat. But the story overall was quite good and the aesthetic details were very what I think of French science fiction -- like the embedded passport, and the shilds on the train while going through Chernobyl...
There does seem to be a spare act in the picture. Sometimes I don't mind those. Heck, my last picture had one... Hmm, maybe it isn't a spare act, just a funky way to get from act 2 to act 3 that wasn't quite as seamless as I'd like. But maybe I'm wrong. The ending doesn't really do a very big thing that you'd expect in a picture like this, it sort of ends on a meh. But other than that I kinda liked the picture. I'd make a mockbuster of it if that weren't such a spectacularly bad idea.

Oh what the heck, I've had spectacularly bad ideas before and made them into movies. I did a modern-dress Hamlet in Pixelvision didn't I?

French/Hollywood visual effects house BUF worked on the picture.

Oh, I missed the first 20 minutes of the movie so I have no idea what happened in act 1. Overall structurally it's not such a bad idea. Perhaps it could be used as a model for a post-apocalyptic zombie picture.

Monday, August 17, 2009

100 Cans

OK so I saw District 9 and... spoiler alert... I mostly liked it.

Apparently when I see a movie I mostly like I start complaining about it rather than praising the parts I like. That's a negative attitude. But I really didn't think the "Office Space" comedy it starts as was the right tone to set up with. It makes the lead character a bozo when really he needed to have something not just goofy and goof-up about him.

But that's not my real complaint.


What is up with Nigerians? 100 cans of cat food for a freakin' bipedal MECH? A fully armored mech and you're only paying 100 cans of cat food for it? Dude, I'll pay you 300 cans of cat food a day to follow me around with that thing...

OK, now that I have that out of my system, the Australian not-so-FAQ. And while we're on the subject of Australia, the Wallace Line.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Doing You a Favor

Dreaming of Androids T-shirt is available from the XKCD store.

The blog of the dude who paints Obama naked on unicorns. It'll all make sense when you see the picture of Obama with a pancake on his head.

There's no need to thank me. I know.

Banned by Bunny Butt

Lost in Schlock h/t's me!

I thought I would set up my Twitter to take a feed from my blog and for Facebook to import my blog via "notes". Both those things worked but as my blog is not safe for work I figured Facebook would just close down my account if I maintained the feed. I have no idea. And no way to find out. I don't want this bunny butt to get me banned.

Greybeard seems to have the best Blender 3D tutorials.

I would have been at a Save the Cat seminar this weekend. I was really looking forward to it. So in honor of Blake's passing I bought another copy of the book (yep, I gave away another copy) and am studying it again. I need to get to Staples to get some Avery business cards so I can print out my "board".

And it turns out that the thing people seem to like the most from Maxon (the makers of Cinema 4D) is their Bodypaint 3D application. Perhaps that will be the easiest way for me to texture our city?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Captain is Singing Now

Here's a groovy site all about the exciting world of After Effects expressions. That's

Does the VFX world really need another "standard" 3D program? Apparently it does because a lot of people out there are working in Maxon's Cinema 4D. Oh I do wish we'd just settle on one 3D program. I've been irritated with Maya lately (it does things like make it very hard for you to tell it where it's going to put your render files, and it absolutely hates it when you save your project to another folder -- it'll make you re-find your textures manually) and I've been forced back into Blender (because that's what we have the awesome new city model in.) has a forum for matte painters.
Picard sings... the alphabet.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Once Again

Once again, Joe Gage figures out the best tribute. Here's his link to a Les Paul video. (That link doesn't have any but his site is simply filled with naked men. This is either a warning or a promise, depending on what you're interested in.)

I need a Blender artist who's good with textures specifically -- to UV wrap the city (see below) to make it photo-real. Actually, I suppose, anyone who's a texture artist can do the job -- it's just a matter of (I guess) me figuring out how to unwrap and then re-wrap inside Blender...

I still don't have a movie to shoot...

Become a Pleasure Fan

I created a band page on Facebook for Pleasure for the Empire. I know, as an actual band we haven't rehearsed together yet but we do exist. You should become a fan.

It seems like every day we need to corpse a skull around here. Luckily there are tutorials on that.

Have you noticed that band rehearsal space in New York City is really freakin' expensive?

I dare you to click on leekspin. I could (have) watched that thing for... much longer than I should.

Am experimenting with Twitterfeed in order to auto-post from this blog on Twitter. Because the world needs that apparently.

There are Blender tutorials on UV unwrapping.

And no, I have no idea what kind of animal that is.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The City

Tara 6, by Alex Sherman, for Clonehunter.


OK, one really sad thing about the Save the Cat software is that little windows will occasionally pop up saying things like "Still having trouble with your story? Email me at I'd be glad to help!" I never even met the man and that makes me choke up a little when I see it.

In any case, index cards are clearly the best way to go anyway. The software has some advantages but I think it's easier to get it all out on a board. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of Edward Tufte. But even Blake recomended the physical card method.


So I've been reading some script review sites like Script Shadow. Mostly they seem, and I think this is pretty obnoxious to say but I'll say it anyway, naive. I don't think these reviewers could tell a good script from a bad script at all. Their analysis is very film-school-y and has nothing to do with a sophisticated notion of what will play on screen and what won't.

Here someone reviews the screenplay to Rodriguez' Machete.

"Dusty beat up 16mm callbacks to 70s exploitation films are never going to play to anyone other than a niche audience."

Well, whether that's true or not, the review is snarky and analysis-free. It complains about how the movie is just this guy cutting people up with a machete but when the reviewer actually describes the setup and the plot I'm thinkin' "Hmm, that's sounds pretty good." The movie has a love story in the B line, the stakes amp up going into the 2nd act and then amp up again halfway through. So what's the reviewer complaining about?

I stand by my belief that there’s got to be something that keeps your audience’s interest in between all the gratuitous violence.

Um, what about all the political intrigue you just described and the love story? Aren't they the other things? There's also all the sex. Heck, maybe the screenplay isn't all that good, but certainly not for the reasons you cite.


Renegade Pictures. According to their website they produce, finance, distribute, genre pictures under $10 million.

Clonehunter Concept Art

Alex Sherman has come up with some concept art for the city in Clonehunter. Wow. I'd been presuming in this picture that we'd never see the whole city except in wireframe but these buildings look like nothing I've ever seen before. I think they're amazing.


Brian sent me this link to a video about building a spaceship set. My first first thought was "Wow, they have a lot of space available to them." Typical envy of someone who shoots in the New York City area...

Alex Sherman sent me a link of Blender tutorials.