Sunday, November 29, 2009
Every department on a movie complains about not being respected. Sound, wardrobe, writers (especially), and now even the producers. Sheesh!
The dog makes me laugh. Over and over again. As I keep watching it. On a loop.
My favorite Video Copilot tutorials include Ancient Titles. That's just gosh-darn neat!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Ian Hubert interview. Filled with Blender-related things.
I've been playing a bunch of different guitar amplifiers lately -- Vox AC30 with top boost, some fancy-pants Yamahas -- and I've a bit of experience playing Marshalls and such, but you know what the nicest amp I've played recently has been? A Traynor amp.
I might be a lot more interested in chess if I'd only known we could make up our own rules.
Radial amp switcher. Actually, the active Radial amp switcher. I suspect I'm going to want to "Y" my Little Laneli and my Fender Twin. But I want to do it will little loss in as reasonable a way as possible. Maybe I should buffer down the line output from the Laneli? Maybe I should get a couple more Celestion Blue speakers. Boy, those are nice aren't they?
Voodoo Labs also makes an amp selector. But Lehle makes the sort of "gold standard" of combiner/switchers. Actually, if it's on all the time, here's the Lehle passive "Y".
The thing is, if I'm going to go through a Digitech Time Bender -- why don't I just use it as my splitter?
Of course, Mitchell just sent me an invitation to Google Wave. Now I have to play with that all day rather than working on the script I was to have finished by this weekend. At least I got lots of time snuggling the cat...
Please send this link to your aunt. You know the one. You know, and I know, that you know the one. Send it to her. Now.
The weather where you are. No extraneous advertising or anything.
Friday, November 27, 2009
You know what has a brilliant screenplay? Shakespeare in Love. When you're writing about a writer you have an enormous gun pointed at your head with the words "This is going to be boring and pretentious" inscribed on the bullet.
And somehow they managed to make it not only not suck, but make it good. Part of what I marvel about it is how it might have been so freakin' heavy-handed. Sure, there is some of this kind of dialog: "Who's that?" "Nobody, he's the author." Ha HA!
Romeo and Juliet, what a brilliant logline: A young man, perpetually in love, falls for the daughter of his family's enemy. Come on. That's awesome.
Die Hard has a great script too.
This is what happens when I stay at my parents and have too much cable TV.
Why does Shakespeare in Love seem so much like A Fish Called Wanda?
You know, over the last 40 years we've actually lost the meaning of "conservative". Of course, over the last 40 years we've seen the two major political parties in the US flop over a very major issue.
When Goldwater reached out to the segregationists in the South as part of the "Southern strategy", he alienated the old Republicans whose raison d'etre was civil rights. Indeed, there used to be "liberal Republicans" (sometimes called "Rockefeller Republicans"). And, according to that infallible source of all knowledge, Wikipedia:
A higher percentage of the Republican Party supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did the Democratic Party.
Anyway, "conservative" used to explicitly mean, among other things, being against the Civil Rights act of 1964. (Remember, there were Dixie Democrats and Liberal Republicans at one time). But it's the other things which had a lot of variable to them. Literally, being a conservative simply means you're against change. So at this point being a literal conservative means you'd be against overturning the Civil Rights Act. Yup, there are some morons out there who'd like to see it go, but like Medicaid it's pretty well here to stay. Oh dang, this is where I was going to put the awesome freakin' website of a North Carolina Republican... which I can't find now. So er.
Anyway, here's the most hysterical article about anything Twilight-related that I've ever read...
I ended up having a vegan Thanksgiving. Well, I mean it was vegan except for the turkey appetizer.
Today I am avoiding Black Friday and working on a script. Avoiding Black Friday is like cowering in one's improvised bunker while the swarms of screaming infected zombies mosh and stamp around the streets hungry for fresh blood. Yep. It's basically the same thing.
Today's big blog news is that Brian Schiavo's Strangewerksfilms is now a blog. Brian has been designing all our monsters, guns, and robots.
Hmm. Monsters, guns, and robots.
Send monsters, guns, and robots.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tyrannosaurus Mouse had another rehearsal Tuesday night at Complete Music Studios in Brooklyn. The rehearsal studios are nice. And big. And only $25/hour for the "smaller" rooms (which are still bigger than the "big" rooms at a lot of other studios in New York City.)
Lou, Ethan, and I are starting to actually get that "groove" of what it is that we do. We're still figuring it out. What we do. But occasionally we actually sound like something. Sort of Pink Floyd meets Neil Young on Danish late-60's progressive rock band Street. Or... well maybe.
One thing I discovered about myself -- well, Ethan discovered it as a joke -- was that I'm bad at coming up with that second section of a song (usually the verse) and really bad at coming up with that 3rd section (the bridge).
I used to have a couple songs with bridges. But right now I have a bunch of song sections that don't actually go into the next section because... where is no next section...
Gotta work more on that.
Ethan brought this guitar tuner which clamps (gently) to the headstock of the guitar. I really liked it a lot. It's a nice, readable readout -- I don't need my glasses to see it. Now I want all kinds of displays to surround me when I play. I don't care what data they put out, I just want data! Anyway, it's a lot less expensive than one of those big rack-width tuners and the guitar can still plug directly into the amp.
Via Ato Essandoh.
Wow. Author (and college classmate of our producer, the Queen of Mars) John Scalzi gets 45,000 unique hits a day.
I've often wondered what the deal was with child car seats. Apparently, after the kid is 2 years old, not a whole heck of a lot.
Avary reminds me why I never want to drive.
OK, so the left is just as perfectly capable of being nuts as the right is. Case in point is this Socialist Worker rant about Thanksgiving.
"What children learn is the overarching message--that Pilgrims were everything good about America: European, Christian, sober, democratic, generous, God-fearing, and so on and so forth."
What? No. What children learn is that without the Indians all the Pilgrims would have been dead.
Sure, I'm 44-years-old and I went to a public elementary school in Metuchen, NJ. But that was the message that came across even then.
Gimei Design in Germany has some free explosions and such for download. They have lots of textures too. Oh and inkdrop samples from their DVD.
Teen Chat Decoder. What your 14-year-old's cat is really saying... Or what your 14-year-old cat is really saying. I don't know. My French isn't that good.
Oh and dude -- 18 minutes into this tutorial, Andrew Kramer has the most amazing way to animate a sky replacement in After Effects.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, that the Jewish people are an "invention", I guess I'll admit that yes, yes it's true. And I'm the one who invented them.
Sure, I'll admit they're not my best invention. For instance, I'm kind of proud of the Japanese. Oh, and the finger-lakes region of Upstate New York. But still, they're pretty good. At least they made more sense to me at the time than the Sri Lankans did. And don't get me started on Austro-Hungaria, I was drunk, OK?. But you like the whole "Jewish mother" thing? I thought that was pretty funny. They get a kick out of it too.
Anyway, I gotta go fix a thing with Brazil. I'll be right back.
As it turns out, these annoying people really are a fraud. It's pretty easy to identify frauds when they're shouting from street corners for you to give them money. I wonder if this article will help shut them up and shut them down.
Apparently the Congressional Accounting Office really does think that the Senate health insurance plan will reduce the deficit over the long term.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Ted Hope has "Twenty New Rules: what we all MUST TRY to do prior to shooting". Well, I dunno if we all must try 'em. Nobody's gotten these "rules" to work consistently up until now certainly. But the notion of starting with 5000 fans seems like a fairly good one.
Zoe Keating complains about being a rock star. I don't know -- if you're not getting enough sleep how about you cut out the party on the bus? Ironically, she skips over the part about being a rock star which is actually hard -- when you front a band you're also dragged into all the publicity -- so you gotta be up at 5am to get to the drive-time radio shows in the city you just showed up in, in order to promote your show later that night. Then you go on to do whatever other publicity-oriented things you have to do before all the rest of the stuff on her daily pie chart.
And granted, all the touring I've done has been pretty luxurious. Three-week sit-downs with a private hotel room and per diem can be pretty nice.
I took a Chakra test online. Gotta open up them Root and Crown Chakras. I'll get a Kyanite stone and balance that right out.
OK, so I'm totally envious of The Asylum getting this picture out. I want a Princess of Mars screenplay!
I'm not saying that it's not a little frightening to not hear any of the dialog (see post below for their teaser trailer) but the red martians actually look pretty good. Sure, they look nothing like the book, but those martians would be a major league pain-in-the-neck to deal with.
I actually heard a story today about an independent film where the producer actually told the cast to take down any pictures they had of shooting the movie from their Facebook pages and the like. The producer was trying to limit the publicity. For an art-house film.
You've got to be kidding me.
I think I'm going to make everyone sign a Disclosure Agreement, not an NDA. You have to post pictures and stories about the production on your Facebook page. Or you will get a spanking. Unless you're into that. And then you won't.
I forgot what the third thing was.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Today was Nadia Dassouki day in the Pandora Machine. Nadia shot in front of a bluescreen in lovely Jersey City. This was, we believe, the very last of the footage we need to shoot for Clonehunter.
Nadia's initials are "ND". I was wondering if we put the ND filter on the camera -- would she disappear? ;-)
Coming up -- fabulous composites of Nadia as though she's the Coca-Cola girl on the dirigible in Blade Runner.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
So after all the griping about film festivals (in the comments), I found one which was a "fantastic film" festival and was free to enter:
The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film.
I think the time has come to start issuing press releases at the end of post-production. I don't wan to do that during pre-production because of what spy agencies call "blowback" or some such things. Once you announce you're going into production, every writer puts down his pen thinking "Oh, I don't have to worry about that deadline, Drew's going to be working on something else and I don't actually have to have a completed script until maybe a day or so before they begin principal photography on it..."
Don Arrup on Lobbyists versus Activists.
This is a short synopsis of Clonehunter:
Assisted by his attractive cyborg partner Rachel and their genetically engineered cat Naomi, merciless bounty hunter David Cain finds himself in the employ of Gulliver, a space tyrant whose escaped clone is holding the planet of Tara-6 to ransom. Either the population turns Gulliver over to him, or the whole planet gets blown sky high by hidden nuclear explosives.
But nothing is ever that simple in Cain’s line of work. Gulliver’s clone has set himself up as the head of the planet’s mafia. Now Cain must overcome hitmen, mutant enforcers and betrayal from his own ranks to hunt down the wayward clone through the planet’s criminal underworld.
When Cain and the clone finally come face to face, the full extent of Gulliver-9’s mutant abilities are revealed. But with the nukes connected to the clone’s heartbeat, Cain must find a way to capture Gulliver-9 without killing him, or Tara-6 will burn. Or he could always accept the wealthy clone’s bribe to leave the planet.
In November of 1999 I was looking for a theater for the winter concert that Prague Spring would perform in January of 2000. My high school friend Ed McNamee said "Hey, Andrew Frank is looking at a shoe store where he wants to put a theater, you want to go into New York tomorrow and see it?" I said sure and the next day the three of us were walking around the old Capezio store on MacDougal Street. Andrew turned to me and said "Would you rent this space as a theater?" I said yes, absolutley. And so a week later Andrew signed the lease.
How are things going now? I realized the other day that I am the only one of the founding members who has never "left" or taken a sabbatical from Theatresource. And I'm the only one who's there on a daily basis. So I've been involved in what's been going on for 10 years now and witness to the way it's changed (usually for the good) throughout the years.
But now the place is moribund. It's kind of amazing how in 12 months we could go from being one of the most interesting, artistic, and dynamic off-off-Broadway theaters to one that is completely stagnant.
The Board of Directors essentially meets in secret, there is a complete communications blackout from the Board to any of the volunteers, the bookkeeper dissembles and refuses to write numbers down (she prefers to not have a paper trail regarding the balance sheet (!) and there are actually no mainstage shows scheduled for January.
January? You realize it's the end of November, right? We didn't have that problem in November of 1999 -- the only reason January wasn't completely booked was that the lighting grid wasn't in the air yet.
Now, the communications blackout is likely due in part to the fact that I've been criticizing the malarky infused communications that had been coming. So of course the logical response is not to use less malarky, but to just stop communicating. Great.
Worse than all that, though, is that artistically the place is dead. Somebody thought it was a great idea to do The Crucible at Theatresource. Yeah, that's a great idea. We so desperately need another version of that play. Here's a simple rule you can use in life: When the Wooster Group has done their version of a play, it's time to put it away. Forever.
Looking south on Cortlandt Alley from Canal Street.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Today, now that we have a new (and earlier) deadline to be finished with Clonehunter, has been "figure out exactly what we need to be doing" day. We do have quite a few more visual effects shots to have complete by the end of December. And to make life more interesting, Maduka will be leaving mid-December for Geneva.
I believe the whole picture is color-corrected. I have beliefs like that. We have a mix of every act except for Act 4 (we're waiting on the music from Sam Reising) and Act 8 (waiting on music from Drake Sherman and sound effects from David Frey.)
In other exciting news Ian Hubert will be working on visual effects and creating our city flythroughs.
Fish. Artist and sculptor extraordinaire.
So here's a thing: looks like we gotta move Clonehunter up 30 days. Luckily I'd put about a 30 day "buffer" in our schedule but now we gotta make it with no mistakes. We'll must needs deliver picture at the beginning or middle of January.
"They made a porn movie about Sarah Palin and the same actress, Lisa Ann, played me in the porn version of '30 Rock.' Weirdly, of the three of us, Lisa Ann knows the most about foreign policy."
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Here's a script that will move sequences from Final Cut Pro to After Effects. Wow. So could have had this a few months ago. The Popcorn Island Final Cut 2 After Effects Script. Whew.
These guys have a post about moving from Mac to PC (which is something we occasionally have to do with picture.) The procedure involves opening the .xml file and doing stuff with it.
All of this exciting information comes via a Twitter from Stu.
Today I am avoiding reading scripts. Oh, and contracts. I gotta stop those two avoidances...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If I ever moved to Vermont I would expect the following exchange to take place between me and the Official Welcomer at Border Control.
"Hi, I'm coming to live here."
"Ah, yes, another white guy moving to Vermont. Here's your micro-brewery license, your fleece jacket, and you have a choice between the Subaru, the '97 Jeep with balding snow tires, or the Volvo -- but only if you live in town."
I just read Boneshaker -- it's kind of a checklist of steampunk. Airships, fancy armor, lots of goggles and gas masks, even zombies. And I liked it pretty well. My only complaint was that the 15-year-old boy was kind of a stereotype of a 15-year-old boy.
And yes, The Mystery of Edwin Drood is the one he didn't finish.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Anti moire filter.
I have coined a new minced curse of which I am quite proud: "Julie Christie it's cold outside."
I can't believe I'd never thought of that before.
Red Giant makes Holomatrix which is a hologram plug-in for After Effects. We seem to have holograms in all our movies.
I need a steam room. Maybe a humidor. For me, a couple guitars, heck -- I'll even keep cigars in there if I have to. I just want one. With a couch for napping.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So today's big stressor is that we're waiting to hear if we made any sales at the AFM. Oh me oh my oh me. But I had a big hour-long massage so I'm basically a liquid today. That helps. But please tell us the picture has been bought.
How to make friends by telephone. I guess this thing was once actually published by Bell Telephone -- in the '40's. Via Martin Klasch.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Here are a couple stills from Maduka's shoot last week. He's using Mitchell's DVX100, shooting in the fabulous Lower East Side of Manahatta.
That's Jim Mickle's crazy setting on the DVX which starts off this nice amber look, and (I think) Magic Bullet's Warm Bird color for even more of that fun.
In the lower picture that's Robin Kurtz (on the ground), Nadia Dassouki (center), and Tzaddi Simmons (on the right).
Friday, November 13, 2009
Clonehunter act 5 is color corrected and all effects are in (even if we want to change them later, at least they're something now) -- except for the silhouettes of the nude dancers, which we haven't shot yet.
Would you like to dance naked and be projected as a "James Bond" silhouette in a bar in Clonehunter? Then contact our producer.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Cats, the other white meat.
Russia is... weird...
If G-strings are too bulky for you, there's always C-strings.
Just read (most of) Punished by Rewards. Still wrapping head around it. If Veblin hammered the last nail into the coffin of communism, Alfie Kohn hammers the last nail into the coffin of capitalism.
Blue Sky speakers are pretty amazing -- and relatively cheap too. I get cranky with bad monitors, but with my Blue Sky 5.1 system I can actually mix. That's sorta a big deal.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well, it depends on whether you think that the two years began at the beginning of 2008, or in March of 2008, or in September of 2007. We have: Solar Vengeance, (and if we count) The Shriven, Alien Uprising, and Clonehunter. So if we cheat and count Solar Vengeance as one of the pictures, and we count Earthkiller (which we probably won't start to shoot 'till 2010) then, er, yeah, no. I got no way to fudge the numbers. We're still a bit behind. We'll have 4 pictures shot, one of which will still be in post, in two years from March to March, but we're a little bit behind the fantasy schedule.
More importantly, what is our plan?
Obviously, we need to make Pandora Machine a company known for making cool cinema fantastique. We have to have a way to grow our audience and bring their attention to our pictures. I think the way to do that is to keep making better and better pictures (with better and better visual effects) until we begin to be recognized in that manner and then use all the usual suspects (social networking) to keep and maintain that position in the brain-space of them what like those kinds of movies (like me).
In short the plan is: better product first, marketing later.
(Ha! I know I know, most marketing guys would say "Nah, just do the marketing first." Marketing guys just love marketing. But no, I'd rather be doing it well and then strike out into the world of getting more people to pay attention. The fact is that marketing is very expensive and low-performing. Even if it doesn't take a lot of money, it takes a lot of time, and most marketing simply doesn't work. So it's high risk with extra risk. Making stuff that doesn't suck is a lot of work, but the payoff is less risk. Would it be awesome to have a viral video? Sure. But the real trick is making something worthwhile that folks would enviralate. And yes, mark that today I coined the term "enviralate". )
How long do I think it'll take until we start seeing ourselves in the position where people even know what a Pandora Machine movie is? Um. 2 years? (And remember my accuracy of predicting how long things take.)
If you have an iPhone 3G, this application will plot out the sun's course through the day -- which is very cool if you're shooting outdoors or with windows (warning -- link opens iTunes.) Sunseeker is the name of the app.
Zambri would like you to vote for them as "artist of the month" in Deli Magazine.
Brian Trenchard Smith thinks that although "Let the Right One In" is the best vampire movie ever, Strigoi is a worthy follow-up.
I'm having a kind of Angela Funk fetish-y day.
On Clonehunter: we're trying to complete all the effects which aren't flythroughs of the city as soon as possible. Just completed act 6 in that regard.
Apparently the effects order in Final Cut Pro is from top to bottom. I read that in a comment on a YouTube video so it must be true.
Some people are so nuts they put anamorphic adapters on the Panasonic GH1. I have no idea how those things fit.
The Magnum Edit Detector is freakin' awesome. Shamefully I'll admit I didn't pay anything to download it. And they only ask for $20. I'll pay later today. It works great. When you want to bring in a piece of footage in an After Effects composition, but need it split up scene-by-scene, this is the script to run. I couldn't even practice guitar it went so fast (that's my excuse for not practicing though).
Oh look, I just did a pass on act 2 -- all effects are in, sans the city flybys. And act 1 is done (sans city flythroughs, there was one missing cat but I took the footage from the previous cat shot, we'll see if Maduka discovers I did that and yells at me.) And now act 3 is done.
My favorite compositing tool in After Effects is the ability to bring the exposure up in the preview window. You can really see what you're doing with that thing.
Lookit me, I'm avoiding work.
OK, act 4 done (w/o city flythroughs). I'm starting act 5 but there's a hugenormous bluescreen section right at the top and I don't want to deal with it right now. So there!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This essay on Gawker poses a very real possibility for the GOP -- that it might eat itself.
Xtranormal -- movies that make themselves. My work here is done.
OK, maybe you haven't heard, some Australians are upset that Britney Spears was lip-syncing at her concerts there: Singer John Mayer twittered astutely, "If you're shocked that Britney was lip-syncing at her concert and want your money back, life may continue to be hard for you."
Composer Jonathan Newman twitters: "At night, mice run around my studio like furry little ping pong balls." Furry little ping pong balls people!
Hmm... I'm starting to sound like the Bloggess.
From The Bloggess:
· Dear Bloggess, I am single. Very single. So single I have not had a date in over a year, and then it was with some guy who could talk about nothing but his family's geneology and Battlestar Galactica for hours. My friends say all the guys I've gone out with are obnoxious know-it-alls. I've asked them to find me better guys, but they don't know any. I've tried online dating, singles groups, and church -- no luck. I'm going to be 40 soon so I'm running out of time. Where are all the non-obnoxious men hiding and how do I meet them? ~ thirtynineandthreequarters
Forty is the new 32 so no worries on that. I would however be concerned about your lack of commitment to getting hooked up. Have you ever even watched Battlestar Galactica? Because it’s kind of kick-ass. Honestly, it’s like you’re not even trying.
Life may continue to be hard for you.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Little does Bill Martell know that he just named my next movie.
He goes on to say: "I’m sure I have mentioned Brain Damage Films before - I’ve talked to the guy who runs it in the past (seems like a nice guy) and they specialize in no-budget horror films people shoot in their back yards for PARANORMAL ACTIVITY budgets (around $10k-$15k)... and they are not only still in business, when a movie is made that cheap, it’s hard not to make money. A baby step higher is The Asylum, who make all of those really bad films you see on SyFy and those knockoffs you see on the Blockbuster shelves with titles like I AM OMEGA and SNAKES ON A TRAIN. These guys used to make films for $100k... with a name in the cast! Now their budgets are a little bit higher (not much) and they have a couple of names... but we are still well below half a million bucks. Again, hard not to make money off a film made for so little. But the problem is - the budgets are getting smaller and smaller and there’s not enough money in the budget to make a living writing something like that... or directing... or anything else."
Yeah, it's hard out there. And it's very hard to be only one thing: director, writer, etc. Strangely, we (Pandora Machine) may be somewhat insulated being at the very very bottom rung of the ladder. Let's hope!
Bill goes on to say: "With studios aiming at some Hasbro toy tentpole crap, and the indie world decimated, and the grindhouse world being $10K wonders and $200k mockbusters, where is the business going? I’m having trouble seeing the future."
Yep. Seeing the future. It's hard. And it's almost always surprising. What does that mean for us? Hopefully I'll know in two weeks.
Today was the first time I can recall experiencing the problem where a sound effect ran headlong into a music cue. It was almost funny -- yup, that sound bed is out of tune with the music. It's the sort of thing which horrifies film composers because they figure their music is going to get the axe. But I just replaced the spaceship sound bed so it wouldn't clash.
Today Maduka was directing a short. I showed up with a smoking jacket and a martini in order to "help".
That's Tom Rowen, Henry Maduka Steady, Tzaddi Simmons, and Nadia Dassouki.
In the second pic that's the same folks as above with the addition of Robin Kurtz.
Maduka on the ground shooting Nadia and Robin.
Maduka shoots Tzaddi and Nadia.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
IMDB makes it harder and harder to get listed. It used to be that just getting a little blurb in the Hollywood Reporter was good enough. Then we found we had to wait 'till our distributor had the movie up on their site. Now, that isn't even good enough -- they insist that we have an actual DVD street date for the picture. I mean, they insist on that or...
... Or we submit to some festivals through their partner Withoutabox.com. Wow.
So basically they want to you pay them for listings. And give more of your hard-earned cash to some idiot festival you have no reason to be in (even if you did get in) but which makes its money from filmmakers who pay their entry fees.
I'm gonna read me some Harlequin books to get over it...
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Via Project London, Pomplamoose. Plenty o'free downloads so you can listen to Michael Jackson's Beat It whilst retaining your indy cred. I can vouch for their Sennheiser headphones -- the isolation on those are excellent.
The Connextion, fulfillment for DVD's and CD's and suchly.
Ted Hope Indy Film is Dead from, er, 1995.
Friday, November 06, 2009
The Digital Room has what seem to be decent prices on mounted posters. I want to make some posters from our recent pictures because when people ask what we do we can point to the wall and say "that".
Or Zazzle, we could go with Zazzle (wait, that's for a black T-shirt) oh, here's the link for posters.
Excuse me, I'm avoiding work.