Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Bear Disapproval


Roger Corman's Splatter on Netflix for free (via Bill Cunningham).

1940's slang. Void coupon -- ugly girl.

National Health, by, er, National Health.

This baby bear disapproves.

If I were writing a novel of 50,000 words then I'd be at 13,609 words.

Opening Image: word 1
Establish Theme: words 1 - 2300
Setup: words 1 - 4500
Inciting Incident: 5500
Debate - Half Commitment: words 5500 - 11400
Turn to Act II: 11400
Subplot intro by: pg 13,600
Fun - Games - Puzzles: pgs 13600 - 25,000
Tentpole - Midpoint - Reversal: word 25,000
Enemy Closes In: word 25,000 - 34,100
Low Point: word 34,100
Darkest Decision: word 34,100 - 38,600
Turn to Act III: word 38,600
Finale - Confrontation: word 38,600 - 48,600
Aftermath: words 48,600 - 50,000
Final Image: word 50,000

Purr! Avast!


We interrupt this day to bring you an important message from my sister. This is the cat Guinness aboard the mighty pirate ship... er... um... I don't have a good name for a cat pirate ship to insert here.*

*Arr, it be the Black Purr indeed!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Compose for Me

More Creative Commons music at Free PD.

Woofer replacement. Refoaming. Newfoam kits. For when I have time and money to do any of that. In the meantime, I'm thinking gaffer's tape.

I have the worst luck with composers! It looks like I'll be composing at least part of the score to Clonehunter. And Eek! I only have two months to complete the entire picture!

This image is from Rochr (Rudolf Herczog).

The brilliant Ian Hubert breaks down a visual effects shot from his upcoming feature.

Gratuity


Oh look, this is my 1501'st gratuitous post.

Shockingly it's also my 1501'st post.

Interesting how close those numbers are, no?

Red Tide. Obviously an inspiration for Fly By Night. I got Bill's last revision of the screenplay today. That means we'll likely press the "go" button on the picture in about 3 weeks. And it means we'll be in simultaneous production of two pictures. At least ONE of those pictures has to be done by the Cannes film market next year.

Oddly, I don't think there are enough naked tied-up women in Fly By Night. We might need to make some changes then.

And how can Bill be so opposed to fog machines when Blade Runner is all based on this look?

Also via Bill Cunningham: Royalty-free music. I always need royalty-free music.

I'm gonna try to get me some Madrone Mountain -- wish me luck.

Pressing the Button

OK, nobody's given me no script analysis about Earthkiller.

So I guess I'll make a decision on my own.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Pandora Machine is greenlighting project number 0801: Earthkiller.

All hands to battle stations.

From.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

7 Days

It's 7 Days to the AFM (for those of you, like us, who are playing along at home.)

Borderlands (video game).

"Sometimes sarcasm helps us think more clearly." - Dogbert

The order in which people are admitted to Heaven. Jews, check. Accordion players? Not so much.

Ready the Pandora Machine Mr. Sulu

Today is inbox zero day. I'm going to make it to zero. I am.
Just.
You.
Wait.

And today I'm going to activate the Pandora Machine and greenlight Earthkiller. Heck, I guess I can say I'm gonna greenlight it even if I don't have a schedule for it. But I'm gonna press the button. I'm a-gonna!

John Scalzi's analysis of the Obama Administration/Fox News war is right on the money. Remember, Fox's goal is to make money not actually put a Republican in the White House. Those two goals can be (and right now "are") at odds with one another.

Which is OK, because Obama is basically a Republican. His health care proposal is to the right of the health care platform Nixon ran on. Oy vey. I'm sorry, I forgot that Obama is a Marxist socialist blah bleh meh...

Monday, October 26, 2009

We Have an Edit

So we have a complete picture edit on Clonehunter. Now all that has to happen is all the music must be composed, all the visual effects have to be completed, and all the dialog, music, and effects have to be edited and mixed. Oh, and then the end title credits have to be added and the lab has to transfer everything to HDCAM. And we have to make .pdf copies on disk as well as photocopies of all the contracts, covenants, and other paperwork. We also have to deliver 100 stills. And even better? I'm probably forgetting something. ;-)

If you need to know more about CreateSpace.

Mayahuel is where I have to take the casting director of Earthkiller for drinks. You understand the sacrifices I have to make as a director and producer?

You can't say that Harlequin doesn't know what they want. Their writing guidelines are remarkably explicit. Man, I wish everyone could be that clear about what they wanted.

Steampunk Halloween

Steampunk Halloween in New York City.

Here is a Lulu royalty calculator. Apparently the big problem with using Amazon's CreateSpace is that Amazon doesn't use "real" ISBN's and they aren't registered with the publisher or anything so you can't turn and sell your book in another store. At least that seems to be what the internets complain about CreateSpace.

Dominick Servedeo is an audiologist in in Manhattan. For $180 he'll hook you up with some custom molded musician earplugs (those are earplugs which are flatter than regular earplugs.) You call the office in the morning and tell them when you're coming in. Open 9-5, Monday through Friday.

GH1


So I'm basically decided -- I'm a-gonna get a GH1 rather than a Canon. And I'm gonna do it for the thing which most professional camera ops don't want in a digital cinema camera. Autofocus.

Eric Escobar tries a GH1 with a Zeiss 50mm.

You'll notice from his video that the one thing Eric isn't good at as a camera operator is pulling his own focus. And that's the one thing the GH1 is good for.*

I would say that as a handheld camera operator who has to pull his own focus I'm... OK. OK, that is, for a non-news/non-French cameraman. If you look at the focus on my recent films you'll think that my focus is mostly good -- because we've edited around the parts where I blew the focus. Mostly. Lenses for still cameras are generally a bigger pain in the tuchus to pull focus with than their cinema cousins because the focus ring has to swing further to go from (say) someone up close to someone far away. But it can be done.

There are two kinds of shots which are a big pain to do when you're pulling your own focus: walk and talks (where the camera op is going backwards) and dolly push-ins. And we could do a much, much better job at both of those kinds of shots once we have a good autofocus camera/lens.

I've played with the GH1's autofocus. It does work. Most of the time you just want to focus on the face in front of the camera. It does that. For those other times, you just turn it off. Result? Movie is cheaper and faster to make, and movie is better. All three.

*But not with a Zeiss superspeed lens, you'll have to use the GH1's own (slow-ish) lens.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Still with spaceship


Sometimes I'm very happy with this composite from Clonehunter. That's the Venturer and Cain, Agent Durham, and Rachel. In the live plate I'm sure that's Brian's 1K blasting down on them. The model itself seems to have the wrong gamma but the compositing is pretty OK. Well, it looks better on a Mac. See how I'm backsliding?

Let's look at something else. Here are two pieces of key art for recent sci-fi pictures. I think Halcyon brilliantly added them together to create the key art for Clonehunter. It makes me think we might get domestic distribution on this one. But I don't wanna count any chickens afore they hatch.

Sundralicious


Dreamworks is developing a live-action Ghost in the Shell.

Who said it, Kanye or Hitler? Yeah. I know. From Garfunkle and Oats.



Via Jason Birdsall "Rockfish":


For those of you who have broken down scripts before you probably know this annoyance: Final Draft (or virtually any other screenwriting program) knows who speaks in a scene, but it has no freakin' clue as to who is actually in the scene. That makes the scene report all but useless. It's good for page counts I suppose but when you have action scenes your page count doesn't really reflect reality anyway...

I have a 79 page script. I know that's too short, it's just the way it works out. Perhaps some of the fight scenes will last longer. I dunno. That's certainly my guess though. I have 89 scenes. If it were up to me I'd do a 20-day shoot. That sure would make the fight scenes easier to photograph...

Oh, and I also have a lead character who's naked for something like the first 32 pages...

Clonehunter



Halcyon International Pictures, our sales rep, created new key art for Clonehunter. And I'm very very happy with it.

How do you stop the unstoppable?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Earthkiller

I'm just posting these pictures in order to amuse Bill Cunningham.

Rubber crowbar, $70. Seems to be something we always need.

So I worked with this screenwriter once, Anthony Jaswinski, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1097510/

he said something really interesting to me: he always tried to find the name of a movie from something in the script. So I generally try to do that myself. I found this in 0801 (Dominion):

Earthkiller

Any notes or ideas? I think that's the new title.

This article from Hot Rod Camera
indicates that the big issue with the video compression on the GH1 is that the blacks are dead with no detail. Well, we're used to that. The only thing I like to bring up is a bit of gamma after we've sunk the blacks.

Here's what they say: "the GOOD news is that you get a decent amount of contrast with the image in some of the user selectable ‘film modes’ (including “Standard”) up to nearly 10-stops (about 2.5 over, and 7 down) if you can maintain your shadows to highlight contrast ratio- and keep skin tones more or less in the middle, you can keep a lot of detail/information, and then can confidently move those levels around in post."

I think it doesn't really matter because the autofocus is the killer app. That's ironic 'cause typically professional film production is against autofocus. Indeed there is a whole a job category called "focus puller" whose job it is to make sure the movie is in focus, we don't need a machine to do it. But Pandora Machine can't afford a focus puller. Frequently our crew is 2 -- a producer and a director. The GH1 will allow us to do moves (walk and talks, push ins, complicated dolly movement) which we avoid right now. That right there makes our decision about which camera to get for us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

S.S.C.


S.S.C.
Lens or hot-rod engine?
Well, the Canon S.S.C. lenses -- I really like the "look" they give. Are the newer Canons any better? How do they compare to the Lumix lenses? I'd love to see them compared to Zeiss.
The biggest thing to me is how they handle direct light into the camera. I wanna know how they deal with flares.

And I need to know how the Panasonic GH1's codec, when properly handled, deals with color-correction and compositing. I hear terrible things about it on the Internets but Mitchell seems to have a decent experience with it.
*****
Art-house filmmakers are still whining.
*****
Hey, remember when Eisenhower was a "conscious, dedicated agent of the Communist Conspiracy"? So why are we paying attention when the same freakazoids are calling Obama a Marxist?

(According to Welch, "both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same furtive conspiratorial cabal of internationalists, greedy bankers, and corrupt politicians. If left unexposed, the traitors inside the U.S. government would betray the country's sovereignty to the United Nations for a collectivist New World Order, managed by a 'one-world socialist government.")

Blah blah blah...

Can we just ignore these people again? Have the neo-Cons really turned back into paleo-cons?

*************
More notes you don't care about:

"A machine shall wield the killer of Earth against us."


I don't know what my inciting incident is. I might have to scrap the Mina part of the story. Or maybe an explosion forces Helen to move out of the Sick Bay. And then saving Mina is the big decision which brings us to act II. Except that Mina doesn't live long. Maybe that would work better if Milton had tried to kill Helen. Duh. I'm going to need some help... most of mental.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

70 Pages



"My wife's boyfriend broke my jaw with a fence post..."

Did you know that stagehands at Carnegie Hall make like a bajillion dollars a year? And, OMG, a star pianist would have to work 27 days to make as much as a stagehand makes in a year? Oh look -- the Bloomberg reporter Philip Boroff completely forgot to mention that these guys are working 80 hours a week. Oops. Yeah, they make almost as much as a star pianist. Right.

I tell ya what, Phil, you do one of these guys jobs for one week and tell me if it ain't worth it. Come on down to my theater and put in a whole week as the assistant to the electrics and set departments on Sunday and Monday, and then be the assistant to a stage manager for the rest of the week. Just to make it easy on you we won't do any tech or rehearsals starting on Thursday. That is, if you make it that long without falling flat on your face.

Stu suggests the Canon 7D. Chance does too. There are merits to the Canon 7D over the Panasonic Lumix GH1.

The 7D has a bigger sensor. People like that.
The 7D can shoot in somewhat lower light.
The 7D will output video when you shoot.
The 7D will shoot "overcranked" somewhat more easily.
The GH1 has autofocus (which works) in video. Thereby eliminating a huge pain in our shooting day.
The GH1 will accept virtually any kind of lens, including my beautiful Canon S.S.C. lenses (which the 7D will not accept.)
The GH1 will let you use the viewfinder when you're shooting.
You can get a Loupe for the 7D for $80.
The 7D with a lens is $1900 (when it's available.)
The GH1 with a lens is $1500 (when it's available.)
But Stu thinks the compression on the GH1 is harsh. Mitchell's been having an easier time with it.

If the Internet disappeared.

I have 70 pages. They're a good 70 pages but... they're only 70 pages. Um.
I'm gonna re-board the script and take a look. Clearly helping Mina is the break into Act II.
It might be that we're all about zombies in act II and then we kind of lose their "zombie-ness" by the end. That might need to change.
Opening Image: pg 1
Establish Theme: pgs 1 - 3
Setup: pgs 1 - 6
Inciting Incident: 8
Debate - Half Commitment: pgs 8 - 16
Turn to Act II: 16
Subplot intro by: pg 19
Fun - Games - Puzzles: pgs 19 - 35
Tentpole - Midpoint - Reversal: pg 35
Enemy Closes In: pgs 35 - 48
Low Point: pg 48
Darkest Decision: pgs 48 - 54
Turn to Act III: pg 54
Finale - Confrontation: pgs 54 - 68
Aftermath: pgs 68 - 70
Final Image: pg 70

Needs Moi


4 ways sound affects us.

Philip Bloom's blog (thanks to Chance.)

Shop H. E. A. R. (musician's earplugs and the like.)

Czech videogame Machinarium. Play the free demo. Or buy it and do nothing else for a month. Your choice.

Do you know what one of the most popular pages on this blog is? Three Mechs. Yeah, I don't get it either.

IndiSYSTEM rails and such for DSLR support.

When you want to spend as much on your tripod as you did on your camera, try the 1514 Miller Dolo DV Carbon Fiber tripod.

Me? I want a cheap good geared head. Gimme one. Heck, I want a grip department. And a guitar tech. I also want a post-apocalypse zombie/vampire picture to shoot. Ask yourself: WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT SERVING MY NEEDS???!!!





Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Breaking the Story!

Stu says the Canon 1D mark IV has the lowest amount of rolling shutter shear of any DSLR he's ever held. But it won't autofocus while recording video. And he still likes his Canon 7D.


Black Lightning. A new Russian movie about... flying cars. Kinda "Herbie" meets "Night Watch."
*****
You really don't care about the remainder of this blog post.
Here are notes on the script of 0801:
The story is broken! Whew! Yay! 65 pages but we know how Act III works.
Make act II decision bigger.
It looks like she has to choose between people and zombies. Nobody would choose to fight with the zombies. Something should make that a real choice.
If her first meeting with zombies told her that the station needs to be protected.
Is there a way to set this up so there are two legitimate sides?
Of course, then the big reveal that the zombies are right isn't as effective.
The mantra should be:
"By your enemies you will know yourself."

Best Job in the World


I just wrote the following sentence in an action slug:

"She punches a DOOR RELEASE and an ARMY of ALIEN ZOMBIES rushes into the docking bay, overrunning and killing Tybalt."

In many ways, I have the best job in the world.
*****
From the Save the Cat Community, auntieant says:


Break into 3 is actually a part of Prepare to Storm, and "Dig down Deep is part of realizing that "it's a trap" and segues into the "Final Battle"...

...Unless you are writing a 150-page epic, I'd say treat the beats as a maximum rather than a target.

13. Break into 3 (85): half a page of action/speech

14. Plan to storm Castle (85-90): 6 pages here; aim for 5

15. Enter the Bad Guys’ fort (90-95): 6 pages here; aim for 5

16. “It’s a trap!” (95-100): 6 pages here; aim for 5

17. “Dig deep down” (100): 1 page here; make it as short as possible - it's a moment of realization, not a sequence.

18. Final Battle (100-105): 6 pages here; aim for 5

19. Wrap-Up/Denouement (105-110): 6 pages here; probably aim for 4 TBH, (or 30 if you are Peter Jackson making a film about Hobbits) otherwise it gets a tad dull.

Then your --

20. Final Image (110): is a full or quarter page.

This equals 25 pages, and is about right IMO...

...I'd go here: http://www.rareform.com/screenplay-editor/beats.php and adapt the five-point finale accordingly. Fit your five point finale between pages 73 and 94.


A site for checking if you have any dead pixels on your monitor.

Father and son cats from.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Page 60


Camera Quest sells micro 4/3rds lens adapters. You'll need one for your GH1.

Here's a chart regarding speeds of camera pans when shooting 35mm.

Other ways to reverse telecine your AVCHD footage from a Panasonic Lumix GH1 than using Neoscene. Mitchell reports the plugin works better than Compressor.

I won't ever use it 'cause I keep the ringer on my cell phone off, but Where's My Cell Phone.com is a brilliant idea.

I'm on page 60. Can I get 5 more pages done today?

Stop Loving Me So Much!


We got some reviews of the Japanese version of Alien Uprising. It's called "Alien Revenge" in Japan (or エイリアン・リベンジ if you prefer.)

Japanese is very difficult to translate properly. Safe to say, these reviewers absolutely loved the work and can't get enough of it!

Here's one from "La la la" (When copying text from Google translate, it seems to copy a whole bunch of both English and Japanese):
SF Alien's low-budget original video that is no shame in the work is not to revenge and revenge is not alien to the alien and not come in since.
基 本設定的には『エイリアン4』ぽいのでエイリアンのでないエイリアン4という感じですね、一応囚人惑星の囚人たちをある大企業が実験体にして囚人1人を不 死身の化け物にすることに成功しておりその彼が普通の人間の姿で顔にそれらしいマスクをかぶっただけで出来損ないのゴリラの物まねみたいな格好で襲ってく るだけの内容でした。 In the basic configuration is not Alien Alien 4 Alien 』Poi 4 because it is felt that the prisoner's body to test a large company of the planet prisoners and one prison一応able to make people immortal monster only the contents of the sweep was dressed like a poorly-made imitation of a gorilla wearing a mask only likely to face in the form of a man and his ordinary.
ちなみこれ一体だけです。 This is the only integrated Chinami.
この程度のことしかできないので大勢出すわけにはいかないのでしょう、舞台は明らかにどこかの貸倉庫という感じでした。 Can not put a lot because you can only do this around the reins, feeling that the stage was a clear field warehouse somewhere.
海兵隊員たちはヘルメットの両脇にペンライトを付けてるだけというお粗末な姿で歴戦の海兵隊員のはずなのに素人に言いように振り回されあっさり倒されたりします。 Marines will be swayed and brought down to simply say I should have been an amateur in his Marine veteran that just because they are poor on both sides of the helmet with a penlight.
CGを使う余裕は何ので70年代のSF映画のような光線や爆発合成をしております。 CG afford to use the SF 70's, so what we like and the synthesis of light and explosion of the film.
当 然俳優さんたちはへたくそばかりで吹き替えはいつもの子飼いのへたくそどもなのではっきり言って字幕でもても吹き替えで見ても目も当てられません、一番酷 いのは超低予算名ために襲ってるシーンやその後など病や仕切れないためかわざと見えにくくしており映像も最初から最後までぼやけており平気でライトの逆行 撮りをしたりとにかく詳細を見えないように撮影しており完全に逆光になってます。 Of course the actor who dubbed dub is just terrible to look at but not even seen it in a different language subtitles dub us so frankly trained from boyhood in the usual, I hit the scene for the most severe low-budget traveler sun is completely invisible and taken to the details or just taking in cold blood against the light and blurry footage from beginning to end what has been deliberately obscured so as not partition and subsequent disease and Masu.
はっきり言ってみる価値がないのでパッケージのデザインで借りないようにしてください Please design a package to借Rinai not worth it honestly


Another snarky review:
The original title is 'Alien Uprising'. ターミネーター・プラネット 」のアンドリュー・ベルウェア監督によるSFアクションです。 "Planet Terminator," directed by Andrew Bell SF ware action.

連絡の途絶えた辺境の監獄惑星へ派遣された宇宙海兵隊の面々。 Surface of Space Marines were sent to prison on a frontier planet lost our contact. 囚人たちによる反乱かに思えたのだが、そこで彼らを待っていたのは異形の怪物だった…。 But you seemed to revolt by prisoners, where they had been waiting for a deformed monster ....

お話の方はこれまでの「エイリアン」シリーズをごちゃ混ぜにしたような感じ。 If this story is to "Alien" feels like a series of pell-mell. まぁお陰でこれまでのベルウェア監督作に比べると格段にストーリーが判りやすくなってました(w。これはやっと監督自身の脚本じゃなくなったというのもあるでしょう。 Temashita story is much easier to understand and work than ever thanks to Director wear Maa Bell (w. It is there that I was finally directed his own screenplay's not.

でも演出の方は全く進歩の跡無し! 相変わらず霞がかかった様なボンヤリ画面の中、誰がどこで何をやってるのかさっぱり判らない始末。 If the director is no evidence of any progress at all! Of the screen took a lazy haze like usual, refreshing Are you unsure how to dispose of anything that anyone anywhere. 会話シーンすらまともに見せられないくらいで、当然アクションシーンになると何がナンやら。 The scene even talking about not showing properly, and what will Yara Nan action scenes of course. おそらくは上手、下手の概念も判ってないんじゃないでしょうか。 Well, perhaps I do not think the concept of判Tsu not bad.

というか、根本的な問題なのが、怪物の正体は巨大企業が極秘裏に進めていた遺伝子操作実験によって誕生した生物兵器で、別にエイリアンじゃないって事! まぁ予算の都合か怪物全体の着ぐるみorCGを作れなかったようで、遠めにチラチラ、もしくは酸のよだれ(…)をダラッと垂らす顔の超どアップでしか見せられてないから余り関係無いんですけどね。 Or rather, the problem is a fundamental biological identity of the monster is born by the genetic experiments were carried out secretly the giant, another thing I'm not aliens! Wearing schedule or budget of the entire monster Maa Nor could they pull the whole orCG like, shimmering in the far Me, drool or acid (...) I'm not involved, but is only showing up about not being from the cheese and dribble Daratsu the face.

そんな感じで相変わらずの超駄作。 Still super trash like that. 良かったのは宇宙船や惑星の施設なんかをワイヤーフレームで見せてた事くらい。 The good thing is I was shown around the wire frame to something more spaceships and planets. でもこれにしたって、誰がどこで…みたいなのをちゃんと指し示してないから何の意味も無い、完全な宝の持ち腐れでした。 What was it, but who and where from did not mean anything ... not even seems like a decent point, sit on the shelf was full.

And then there are reviews from commenters "baked pudding", "genie erotic erotic great" and others:
Worth zero, is the worst picture, no story.  レンタル代金返して欲しい! Rental price I want it back! ! こんな作品レンタルして欲しくない。 Do not want to rent this works. はっきり言ってエイリアンの名前を借りただましです。 The trick borrowed the name of the alien to be honest.
Disaster was the original manufacturer of transformers Even気Ga付Kanakatta released.
セットのチープさをごまかす為、画面を思いっきりボカす手法はこの会社が集めてくるC級映画に共通。 Cook for the cheap sets, restraint techniques Su Boca screen grabbing of the company's common to C grade movie.
また1枚無駄になりました。 The single one was wasted.

Sorry. つまらないです。 Is boring.
今までのエイリアンとはだいぶ違います。 Until now, much different and alien.
内容はありなのかもしれませんが、映画の映しかた? Although there may be a content, reflecting the film How? 展開がものたりない・・・・・ Unsatisfactory deployment
エイリアンがよく画面で観ることができず、人ばかり映してあるので、恐ろしさが感じられなかった・・・・ Screen can not often be seen aliens, it just reflects that people did not feel the fear
Oh yeah - These guys are mass-produced culture is genetic, why are not born本元upstream from the movies a lot! 本家のエイリアンシリーズは4で今のところ終わっているが、パクリ作品が進化してむりやりプレデターとも融合し、いったい最後はどうなるのか? Aliens of the upstream series of four so far have been done in combining work with the evolution of predator forcibly con man, the last is exactly what will happen?

Like I said -- it can be hard to translate properly. But who needs spoken language when there's this much love around? ;-)


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cat Says Hello

Here are some instructions on refoaming speakers. Because I don't have anything better to do this month. I have a pair of Infinity SM 122 speakers which I got from a friend who bought them when she was in the army and had them shipped here from Germany and then after a few years bought a new apartment where she couldn't fit them and gave them to me.

So right, after 15 years the foam on the woofers of my free speakers starts to fall off.

The Edit Detector -- for After Effects. We're going to need this to split out a bunch of different cuts of bluescreen stuff for Clonehunter. Now for the big test of my morality: the price is "pay what you want". Eef!

I'm going to sell my Panasonic HVX200 and my wonderful Letus adapters (I actually have an older and a newer adapter). They're goin' up on Ebay baby!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gunnerkrigg Court


Neoscene, because apparently you have to have it in order to edit properly with the Lumix GH1. Or so says this review of the Panasonic Lumix GH1 which I might have linked to before.

Apparently trains actually leave one minute late from most New York City stations. In my experience the trains tend to leave on time, go a few hundred yards and then sit on the tracks waiting to get into the tunnel. And no, that whole thing isn't a "New York Minute". Everybody knows that a New York minute is the amount of time between when the light turns green and the guy behind you leans on his horn...

English girls with Russian names and... robots. (Special credit for mythical beasts.) Gunnerkrigg Court.*

Don't forget, he'll draw a picture of you for twenty bucks.

The Brownstone Diner is not exactly around the corner from my apartment, but it's either walkable or PATH-able and they're not afraid of pancakes.



*OK, maybe not Russian names, all, but...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Religious Bigotry -- Alive and Well


So my theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, has finally updated their financial position. From a mass email I got today:
"Manhattan Theatre Source is delighted to announce we are in a position to sign a lease for five more years here at 177 MacDougal. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without you. We have plans for the future and need your continued support as we go forward. We will be holding a Fundraising Gala on November Fifth and hope that you can share in the revelry. For details of this and our exciting 'November News' season, read on..."
That's not exactly what happened. What really occurred was the fact that there was no crisis at all. Again. Instead, they didn't make a cash-flow projection and were relying on their bank account balance to determine if there was a "crisis". This would be simply unfortunate except that they've made this mistake at least twice before. And I fell for it now twice. (I mean three times -- including this time.)
*****
But let's see... how could it be worse? Oh wait, I know! Use an anti-Catholic holiday as a fundraiser! Awesome!

I was aware that the (now unneeded) fundraiser was being held on November 5, and that some moron had posted a giant ugly sign in our front window saying "Remember, remember, the 5th of November" but what I hadn't realized was that we were actually making the theme of the fundraiser a "Gunpowder Plot/Guy Fawkes" fundraiser. Awesome.

The Reichstag fire of British anti-Catholicism is the theme of our fundraiser. I'm just disgusted and this blog post is me and my company, Pandora Machine, officially dissociating ourselves with the event.

I've written to the Board of Directors but they haven't bothered to respond. Maybe next year we'll have a Kristallnacht fundraiser -- won't that be fun?

For extra credit here is a fun fact: George Washington banned the celebration of Guy Fawkes day by his troops because it was anti-Catholic and anti-democratic. Unfortunate for us then our new management wants to bring it back.

Some What Says


Stu says:

Ask any focus puller, focus is easier on film. Why? Because film is *thick*, 3 dye layers. There's a softer threshold of what's "sharp."

On film, if the image is sharp in one color channel, it's soft in the other two. Makes for a soft landing into "in focus."
$8675 is the minimum cost for exhibiting at the AFM. Realistically it costs you plenty more 'cause I'm sure they charge you for phones, furniture, copy machines, etc. You can't go if you're a barred company or individual. For a long while Uwe Boll and his companies were barred. Doesn't seem to be any more though. I have to presume they paid the arbitration awards which were judged against them. Right now Merchant Ivory (the company) is banned. Obviously IFTA arbitration has some teeth to it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conversations


Here's a conversation I keep having.

They: How can you say the terrible things you've been saying?
Me: Because they're factual and the analysis is dead-on.
They: Well you must not know the actual facts.
Me: OK, what are the actual facts?
They: Well, did you know that the previous administration was really terrible at keeping books?
Me: Yeah, and how does that impact the actual balance sheet?
They: Well the accounting was in terrible shape!
Me: That doesn't affect whether money was owed, or how much money was owed, and it's fairly straightforward to figure all that out. My figures aren't precise, but they're fairly accurate.
They: No! No! They aren't!
Me: OK, so what are the actual numbers?
They: Did you know the previous administration ate puppies?
Me: Did that affect the balance sheet?
They: You just don't know all the terrible, and secret, things that were happening.
Me: OK, tell me what they were.
They: I can't tell you everything that was going on. Stuff you don't know about.
Me: Really? Why can't you tell me?
They: Uh. Reasons.
Me: The balance sheet, is it getting better, or worse?
They: You hate puppies -- don't you???!!!

As a certifiable INTJ you can imagine how after five or six times this conversation starts to drive me a little nuts.

More Than One Point


Another free, and presumably illegal, way to watch Alien Uprising.

Yawny kitten is from cuteoverload. Looks like Pushkin (as a kitten) but isn't.

This tutorial has some very sweet projection techniques in AfterEffects. More than that, it explains an effect called "Roughen Edges" which we might have a lot of use for.

Today we're uploading what we have of the hoverbike chase in Clonehunter. The reason we're doing this is that we've made some changes since we sent the hard drive to our sales rep, who's creating the trailer.

Just because, that's why.*

OK, I'll bite. Why are people having sex with dragons? Again.

Tonight Greg Bodine's play The Upper Birth was canceled due to... high winds.

High winds.

I've decided to nod knowingly and pretend that makes utter sense to me. Hopefully they'll re-mount the show soon.*

And I'm including this link to a Panasonic GH1 review just because I can.

Yes, I'm procrastinating because I don't want to work on a script.

Coming up: How Manhattan Theatresource jumped the shark.

*And because you were low on pictures of Claudia Schiffer tied up.
**Yes, it was to be played on a ship docked in the Hudson.

Aliens 4 U





Here is a Dr. Who fan film, which apparently mixes Dr. Who with parts of the Star Wars universe.
I don't really know what I think of the movie itself but I certainly like this alien. It's not a stock alien is it? I like the rebreather it has.
We're in need of aliens so I posts me some pictures.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tie Breaker


The one thing that's missing in Save the Cat is the 5-point finale. And it's free, here (in .pdf form) from chapter 3 of Save the Cat Strikes Back. If structure is your problem (and there are writers for whom it's not. I hate them.) then the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet is for you. And yes, I keep re-reading and re-thinking his structural ideas in order to make the screenplays we shoot better and better.

Now some people just "get" those beats and they roll in the back of their minds in such a way that they can just feel it. For me, a feature film is very very hard to just feel your way through. Keeping a story going for 90 minutes is a big ol' task. That's one reason I'm super happy to not be doing what I would call the "main edit". I'll roll up my sleeves and do a little bit of editing, or I'll say "Oh, when I was shooting that I was intending that we dissolve right into the front-facing shot so that we could avoid that screen direction problem bla bla bla..." But it's soooo much better to have someone else edit.
And then it's nice to have someone, like the producer, come and look from an even more detached position.

You can really learn a lot about what works and what don't.

Now, not everyone will agree on what's best. The writer, the producer, the director, the editor, the actor, the gaffer -- they may all have different ideas. But typically if someone is unhappy with some part of the movie there is a solution which not only makes that person happier with what's going on but also makes everyone who wasn't unhappy with it think it's better. That happens on set, that happens when writing, it happens all the time. The gaffer frequently comes up with the best solution. Sometimes it's the key grip. But you get my meaning.

And I know, ironically and especially when I'm not directing, that the single most annoying thing is when no decision gets made. I'd rather freakin' do the thing I think is the lesser idea, than just sit around blahbing and not getting any pages shot. Drives me nuts.

That's why there's a director -- to serve as tie-breaker.

Can you tell that today is a re-write day for me?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rebelling Against the Focus Ring


Ok, so Bill Martell made me laugh today when he described art-house films as "rebelling against the focus ring." Yep. That's still funny.

I'll tell you when I stop laughing at that.

Quoth the kitten "get some more".

Although the name "Twenty" is awesome, it's going to have trouble when people use the name because the audience will say "Wait, what? 20 what?" Because I'm a brutal and non-collaborative director I've hierarchically and arbitrarily changed his name to "Russell". That is, until someone comes up with a better name.

Still smiling broadly about Rebelling Against the Focus Ring.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review of GH1


Here's a review of the Panasonic GH1 which I've probably posted before but is so important I'm posting it again.

Here's a review of the Panasonic GH1 which I've probably posted before but is so important I'm posting it again, yep.

Here's a review of the Panasonic GH1 which I've probably posted before but is so important I'm posting it again, no really.

Am reading a boot about Jon Peters, widely considered to be one of the stupidest men in Hollywood, and Peter Gruber (not thought of much better) -- Hit & Run: how Jon Peters and Peter Gruber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood.

One interesting thing about Jon Peters is that although he was clearly out of control and nuts, he did revolutionize the way Hollywood movies were marketed. And it's also clear that

1. they were jerks to people they worked with and
2. a lot of people hated them solely because they had "low-brow" taste.

There's going to be a third book in the "Save the Cat, the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need" series. Even though the first book is the "last book you'll ever need", there really is a lot of value in the subsequent book because of how it goes into detail with more examples and analysis of other movies. But this 3rd book looks very interesting. It looks like the 3rd book has some details which were missing from the first Save the Cat book, like the 5-point finale, and things that Blake hadn't figured out 'till after he wrote the first book, like an alternative to the "beat sheet" method of examining screenplay structure.

In this free chapter from the book Save the Cat Strikes Back, Blake explains the three-act structure in a way which makes sense to me. To me the way of looking in 3 acts always bugged me because act 2 is twice as long as acts 1 and 3. So I tend to think of a 4-act or even a 5-act structure.
But there is a very clear difference between acts 1, 2, and 3, which Blake posits as Thesis (act 1), Antithesis (act 2), and Synthesis (act 3).

And who doesn't love a fun flow chart?

*****

We are ever so close to having act 4 (of what looks like 9 acts) in Clonehunter locked. And then 5 and 6 aren't far behind.

*****

More thoughts re: Firefly. Zoe never wants to disappoint the Captain, Jayne never wants to be shamed by the Captain.

*****

More thoughts on 0801. She meets the half-man after she returns from the Core. She sees zombies in mirror scene to the opening shortly after leaving sick bay.

My Dad


Here's my dad, in a picture taken by my brother David on Christmas Eve, 2008.

Varoom


A very pro-Lightwave article/interview on/about the visual effects in Serenity.

Uppercaseit is a site which will take all upper-case text and make it... less sucky.

I figure that if they had about 10 people working on Firefly's visual effects, and the cost and overhead of each person was an average of $500/day ($2500/week/person or $25,000/week for the whole team) and it took an average of 6 weeks to deliver the visual effects, that the vfx budget for the show was $150,000 per episode. That's what I figure. You got a better idea? Just tell me! ;-)

Tapestry


OK, OK, so the QOM (who doesn't like having her name posted on this blog because God forbid any future employer google her) was in California and she was on a train platform near Palo Alto trying to get to the San Fransisco airport.

The train was being late and running on an unposted schedule. She kept going back and forth to the telephone in order to call a car service but there weren't any car services which would actually come get her and during all this she struck up a conversation with an older guy who was hanging around the train station ("I just like to watch trains" he said) and he offered her a ride to the airport.

So, being a better judge of character than she is of her own character, she accepted. They got into a conversation about how he used to be a photographer and did album covers in the 60's and 70's. She got to the plane on time and when she got to New York she looked up his name. Jim McCrary (apparently he looks just like his self-portrait on his site.) He did some album covers? You don't say? Like any we might have seen before?

Oh, how about this one? The longest charting album to date by any solo female artist. You might have heard of it.

For extra credit here is Cat Stevens.

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

So I finally saw Danny Boyle's Sunshine, or as I like to call it "The Real World... in Space".

Now I can understand the most obtuse sci-fi movies. I mean, I almost understood Solaris, and I'm not talkin' about the remake I mean the original weird-o-thon which was the Russian Version. But I'll tell ya, there were whole sections of Sunshine which... just... what the hell are we looking at?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Three Little Pigs


Madrone Mountain Gewürztraminer -- this stuff is excellent. Very sweet and "dessert-y" but if you're into that stuff (and I am) it's totally what you want. I can't figure out where to get it though... It turns out you can't order directly because of the idiotic laws which vary from state-to-state regarding the shipping of alcohol.

So I still don't know how I'm getting my psychedelic band jacket, but my big question now is: brown or black boots?

John Scalzi dances like a monkey for our delight.

Notes from QOM on a script. We think we have all these issues worked out:
The stakes are not high enough for a long while.
Which means you need to find out what the stakes are and then find out what the stakes really are.
That means that she needs one more sequence where she observes zombies before she meets Mina.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beat Out the Throbbing Rhythms

See the sex capital of the world, where topless bands beat out the throbbing rhythms of a turned - on generation!

... Bored with sex, bored with drugs, bored with life itself, drop out... for good.


Why Am I Cooler Than You?


It's because I have the new Special Edition of Hide and Creep.

I Love Shawna Trpcic



I am in love with Shawna Trpcic. It's true. Love her. Now, some of you may be thinking "Aren't you in love with Emily Isaac from Trois Pommes?" Well, yes, Emily does make the finest jelly filled doughnuts and... and I still have very strong feelings for her...

But I love Shawna -- especially the "officers" uniforms in the Firefly episode "Shindig".And yes, she's not exactly... well how do you say this? She's not, um, blessed with an adequate number of vowels in her name, her uniforms are outstanding.

In the top photo I love the silkiness of the man on the right (whose back is turned to us.) The guy facing us, with the medals and the sweet buttons and that gold "stuff" is just awesome. I can't figure out how that material was made/bought/stitched together.

In the bottom photo the dude with the beard: that coat has tails which is simply double-plus tres super-cool.