Monday, May 31, 2010
Anthony Litton is back and blogging again. Go ahead, ask him detailed questions about editing audio for picture. Or about audio in videogames (he's worked on some of the biggest). Or about, say, otters. He knows many things. I'm just guessing about the otter thing.
This coming weekend the New York Amp Show is happening in... Piscataway, NJ. Um. OK. It's $20 at the door. But Metropoulos Amplification isn't listed on their vendor list. I've writ to them to make sure they'll be there. UPDATE: George Metropoulos wrote me back. They aren't doing this show. Well I can understand, these things can be expensive.
The "graphic sequencer" in eurorack format from STG Soundlabs. It's $300. I wish it had a prettier knob. But that can be replaced. Analog sequences are pretty darn expensive. They're typically upwards of five hundred bucks and you need to stick them in a rack with a power supply. Almost makes you want to just give up and get a MIDI-to-CV converter and use a computer, doesn't it?
My Lil Dawg Mutt is, at 5 watts, really freakin' loud. I mean it's really loud. Even with the cabinet inside my Whisperroom. If there's anyone else at the theater and I want to play through the amp... well let's just say I'll be playing it cleanly then. What would I do with a 50-watt amp? I guess I'll have to do all my recording at 8am.
You may be asking yourself, "Why doesn't Drew have this synthesizer?" Other than the fact that Drew is actually a guitar player of middling ability and not a keyboard player at all.
It's certainly not that he doesn't have vast sums of easy cash at his immediate disposal. No, he doesn't have the $14,357.50 on hand anywhere but that's not the reason. Nor is it because of the great wealth of extra space in his one-bedroom apartment and his 8'x12' recording/control-room space he shares with two others. I mean, that's a good reason. But... OK, those are actually both excellent reasons. But just... just look at those knobs! And patch points! O!
You know my birthday's coming up, right?
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Armageddon--2419 AD is basically the best name of any book ever. And it's free. I wouldn't know about stuff like this if it weren't for SF Signal.
We sent away the hard drive for the North American version of Clonehunter. That means we're all-but-done with Clonehunter except for two pieces of paperwork we have to send in -- one of which must be notarized (which is why I won't get to it until Tuesday.) And of course we still have to do whatever it is we have to do at the last minute that we don't know about yet.
My next big concern is PR. We're going to start sending out a batch of press releases, our distributor will send out press releases, try to get some interviews and reviews and suchly.
And we're getting ready to schedule Earthkiller. We'll probably start shooting on July 17th but I'm not ready to make that "official" until I work out the schedule in detail. Hopefully, if I get enough sleep, that'll be tomorrow.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
You know who's the most underrated keyboardist in rock? Rick Wright.
Here's the middle part of "Echoes" from the David Gilmour Live in Gdansk concert.
Friday, May 28, 2010
They: Hey Drew, I have this outline for a script. You're going to love it.
[Maduka rolls his eyes and puts on headphones so he doesn't have to listen to this again.]
Drew: I don't want an outline. I want a beat sheet.
Drew: Have you read Save the Cat?
They: No. What's that?
Drew: It's the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need.
They: Is that true?
Drew: Well, you have to understand the 5-point finale, and that's actually in the third Save the Cat book. But luckily you can read about that on Blake's blog so arguably you don't need "Save the Cat Strikes Back". So yeah, it's the last book on screenwriting you'll ever need.
They: I read the Syd Field.
Drew: Not good enough. You know the part in the middle where Syd is kind of vague?
They: The middle of the book, or the middle of the screenplay?
Drew: Blake's Save the Cat isn't like that. There's a really specific beat sheet to follow. With page numbers for each beat and everything.
They: A beat sheet sounds really restrictive.
Drew: It's actually freeing instead. You can do anything you want within the structure. And your screenplay will be vastly better.
They: Do you have a copy of the book I can borrow?
Drew: I gave away my last copy. But we can go around the corner to B. Dalton and get one right now. You're going to want to own it for reference.
I may have mentioned this before but these Eiko lamps are 85 watts (what they like to think of as the equivalent of 320 watts of incandescent) of pure love.
In the meantime, there are ways to prove to Netflix that people want your picture. Via Bill Cunningham, a picture called The Commune wants your help. If you have Netflix (I, er, don't) just queue up the movie. They say that Netflix wants 130 people to queue* the movie afore they'll buy it.
Really, all we independent filmmakers should form
The quote of the day: "Sex and the City 2 makes Phyllis Schlafly look like Andrea Dworkin."
Most squandered melody in a popular song. 1:19 into Paul McCartney's Band on the Run.
Really this theme should be recapped. Maybe he should have made a 22 minute song out of all the sections of the song Band on the Run.
*Wait. Is it "cue" or "queue"? Or does it matter if we're in America or England? I think maybe we killed the extra "u's" on Christmas too.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Monster Camp is a documentary our North American distributor is handling.
"The interior of the coated oatmeal cookie shall be crisp and have the characteristic flavor of oatmeal." That's from the MILITARY SPECIFICATION
COOKIES, OATMEAL; AND BROWNIES; COCOLATE [sic] COVERED. Go ahead and read the whole 28-page .pdf.
From a conversation on IM with Chance Shirley, regarding the creation of materials for key art:
I think the deal with key art is that graphically one or two people makes a more powerful image [than a big ensemble].So a monster, a big dude with a bigger gun, and a half-naked girl? That sounds like the making of key art to me.
Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
Dreaming of Lilian is the font that Ray at Halcyon used for the trailer of Day 2.
My sister's dog, Chien, in my bed at my parents' place. Perfecting the art of camouflage. And looking like a polar bear. With a wig.
I keep forgetting the name of the Noteflight website. Noteflight -- internet music notation and scoring. Hopefully that's enough keywords to let me find it on this blog again.
Red Giant makes a Canon camera file footage translator thingy software type program called Grinder. And I have to give up my technical language license now.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
At least I did a world of color-correction to me. And who doesn't love an interview with a large-diaphragm microphone?
Now it's failing at rendering out the whole dang movie (Clonehunter) with sixteen separate audio tracks. No, I can't figure out why I only get two in the Quicktime movie. I'm working on that.*
(16 tracks? That's stereo, stereo music and effects, 5.0 full English mix, 5.0 music and effects, and a stereo pair of commentary.)
*UPDATE: oh, right. In the first tab in sequence settings (not the "audio" tab) you have to select the audio outputs (not stereo). Yup, that's intuitive.
My sister: "That's the app for the Huffington Post."
After a moment my dad starts laughing hysterically.
My sister: "What?"
My dad: "I thought you said 'Puppies and Toast'!"
Here's a fun little YouTube action scene. The muzzle flash tutorial is pretty good too.
These are the four seconds of picture that have been excised from the North American version of Clonehunter. If you watch these 4 seconds of video you will surely go blind, although we can't discount the possibility of genocidal rage.
Save yourselves. Just don't look!
Our distributor is concerned about any nudity in Clonehunter. The problem is those dang kiosks in grocery stores. Nobody minds if you have a gristly brutal and bloody murder in your movie but they'll absolutely throw a conniption fit if there's the possibility of naked people in the picture.
So I'm seeing what we can get away with. Can this shot stay in the picture? Sure, we have a gratuitous digital cat in there and all but...
So I read Die Twice by Andrew Grant and it was pretty cool, a good idea with a fun tough-guy character, and a nice first person narrative which does a fun set of flashbacks to the main character's training. But the book... never saw the light of an editor's pen.
Oh boy that's one of my pet peeves. Early on in the book there's a long expository scene and in it one guy tells the other how much their bosses love him because he's just done such a great job. But a couple pages later the same guy explains how the other guy is in trouble for the way he did his last job. During the same conversation. Two completely opposing ideas. Nobody calls him on it. The earlier idea goes nowhere. Nothing.
Now... I know how that happens. You're writing along, you're trying to figure out how these two characters interact and which direction the scene is going in. And you settle on the only way for character one to convince character two to do the things character one wants is to tell him how much trouble he's in. And yeah, that works. But then you have to go back and clean up the bit where he was saying the opposite and it went unremarked or noticed. And yeah, I checked -- it wasn't a case where the character "slipped" (or if it is, then it was a case were the character's reaction to the argument being changed got excised.)
Anyway. I'm still drunk from doing a commentary track to Clonehunter. There's no way to do those things sober, that's for sure.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Remember when I said I wanted a geared head? I still want one. But still, six thousand bucks is a LOT to spend on a head. That's 3/4 of the cash budget of an entire feature. Now six hundred bucks would be more my style, and it's not that I don't realize that it's a specialty piece of gear with a relatively limited audience but still...
Oh, and if you didn't read the comment by "Anonymous" (which is where you always get the best information on the Internet anyway), it turns out that they're leasable at $300 a month.
"CineToys, the company which makes the GearNex is offering a leasing application by requesting one at sales@CineToys.com. Once you fill it out and approved, you can notify them what dealer you wish to buy it from and they can arrange delivery for you."
Still, I wish it were cheaper. It's pretty hard to amortize the cost of the geared head over anything short of 10 movies.
We do certainly need a better dolly. Right now I have this little homemade skateboard dolly which runs on PVC track. Honestly, it works pretty well for what it is and how much it was (a couple hundred dollars for "Wally Wheels") but we could use something more robust to ride on. And yeah, OK, it's still a real pain to pan while dollying -- making the argument that a geared head would make even a cheap dolly look great.
I have to pull the trigger on shooting Earthkiller. Because of sets difficulties I haven't been able to schedule it, but I'm going to split up the schedule so that we can shoot it and we're just a-gonna go! More about that... soon.
Monday, May 24, 2010
So I nailed some 50lb picture hooks into the cloth-covered MDF walls of the Whisperroom in our studio and hung a couple guitars in there. It looks nice and it's good to get the guitars up off the floor.
I might put a couple more up in order to hang microphone cables, but that'll wait for another day.
Letus is really one of my favorite companies. I have really loved using their 35mm adapters (I've used two generation of adapters on three or four movies, with both Nikon and Canon lenses.) And now they make DSLR kits. I bet the viewfinders are going to be very nice. I went and joined their Facebook page. I know, we should all be boycotting Facebook, but I joined it anyway.
By the end of this week we have to make all our deliverables for the North American version of Clonehunter. I have to do an on-camera "Interview with the Director" for the DVD "extras". I honestly have no idea how to do that without it being silly. What am I going to do, shoot myself wearing a smoking jacket with a glass of brandy, pretentiously answering questions from a non-existing interviewer, while behind me a Titian painting is elegantly lit and just ever-so-out-of-focus?
What I need is a pipe.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Here's an interesting interview with composer Jonathan Newman. Jonathan's a full-time composer and 'till I met him I thought that was only possible if one were a commercial composer. He proves me wrong.
I keep getting spammed by the "Institute for International Film Financing" which seems to me to be a fantastic scam. So many indy filmmakers are concerned with where they're going to get money to make a movie rather than how they're going to get money from having made a movie. It's sort of sad how they sucker people into paying them anywhere from $55 to $200 to attend one of their nonsense events.
If you're thinking about attending an IIFF "Townhall" then please just take my advice: don't worry about how you're going to finance your picture. Worry about how you're going to sell your picture.
grump mode = off
Plastic Bullet, by Stu Machwitz. Turn your good iPhone camera into a really crappy plastic camera and produce better pictures. Yeah, that's the way it goes.
Universal Dead is a new zombie web series. All the performances are pushed. Have no idea why. It do make a fellow cringe slightly to watch it. Otherwise it's a good idea.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Jean took these pictures of the little orange freak machine.
Meydl, since her first day here, has decided her favorite place to sleep is on my dad's jacket. Here she is on my dad's jacket, using his cap (United Flying Octogenarians, if you have to know) as her pillow.
That pretty much covers it.
Now is the time we find ourselves waiting. The Marché du Film at Cannes is going on and all our movies are there, including Day 2, so we sit and wonder if we're getting any sales.
Well, it's not like we're doing nothing. Maduka is editing Day 2, I'm pounding out a render of a giant robot, on Tuesday we record the commentary track for Clonehunter and I have to finish up some Clonehunter paperwork.
But to me it feels like we're waiting with bated breath. Meh. Well we're keeping our fingers crossed at least.
Every time I look at this picture I laugh. A little girl yelling at a donkey. Yup. That's the Internet.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I just finished Chasm City. I kinda liked it but it also made me grumpy. Especially having read virtually all the Jack Reacher books, which are stunningly well-written. In any case, Chasm City, at 694 pages (and small-type, densly-packed text pages at that) it's about 2/3ds too long. Sometimes I felt that characters had goggles just to make them more steam-punk-y. Furthermore, there are too many characters desperate to do stuff which just doesn't matter. Who cares which ship gets to "Journey's End" first? How could that possibly matter? And, as it turns out, it doesn't. But that's an entire subplot.
Wait, what's your job?
You mean, what do I do?
I get yelled at by distributors.
That's a job category?
It's more of a lifestyle choice.
What do you get yelled at for, mainly?
Not getting them stuff by tomorrow which they'd originally asked for two months from now.
Well, at least it's for a reason.
Yeah, but then it'll turn out they won't need it for a six months anyway.
From a Gawker commenter, Meretrix, who explains how to use it to "keep the East side avenues in order, signifying "1st, 2nd, 3rd, Lexington, Park, Madison, Fifth."
Now we just need to learn the mystery of what the heck happened to 4th Avenue up there...
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
RainyMood is good for some ambient rain sound when you need it.
If you're low on ninjas today, you can look at this story-free short, Cup of Tears. Via Sci-Fi Wire.
But if you're low on shotgun shell animations, head over to Video Copilot for free ones you can composite to your heart's content.
If XKCD confuses you, here are solutions.
Bandcamp.com is kind of awesome. It's a site for putting up an artist's music -- where you can set up embeddable streaming players and downloads (for free or for pay) in a variety of formats. The best thing about it is that they figured out what it is that "we" really need -- a site that's sort of a cross between the advantages that Myspace had with the ease and ability to put a band's music up, but with iTunes-like sales tools.
But the really brilliant thing about it is that it's not actually designed for your fans to necessarily go to. No, instead they figure that someone looking for (say) Tyrannosaurus Mouse, will go to the T-mouse homepage and there will be Bandcamp - embedded audio right on the artists' site.
Now, people can go to the Bandcamp Tyrannosaurus Mouse page (and you can make that look pretty nice*) but Bandcamp is really set up to be the "back end" of your server.
Which is kind of awesome.
It's easy to set up what kind of copyright you choose your music to be under, how much music costs (or if it's a "pay what you want"), and have the music available in a number of different formats (not just .mp3). Plus, there's the cool embeddable player with the groovy psychedelic visualizations.
And they even have a sweet setup where a music label can have a page which links to all its artists.
Bandcamp can be used for all sorts of purposes. I use it for demos and tests and things. It's really well thought out and seems to be getting better all the time.
Anyway, that's my plug for Bandcamp.
*Neither the T-mouse homepage or the Bandcamp page for T-mouse have very much on them. We need to have some pictures of the band and at least one album to really have a decent website.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Midwest Grip is where Al Rivera's at now. I've learned more about lighting from Al than anyone other than Mitchell. The biggest thing I learned from Al is that you should be able to re-light for the reversal faster than you can actually pick up the camera and move it to the other side of the room.
Dr. Fritz Sennheiser died. I had no idea the 421 was first sold back in 1960.
Orange salad. It's what's for dinner.
It's spelled "HACBM" but pronounced "Nasvoom". I know, it doesn't make any sense to me either.
This is a test of an idea for a test. I have no idea how Tyrannosaurus Mouse would play it, nor do I know what the "B" section would be. I don't know what the "C" section would be either, if it comes to that. We'll try it. Maybe we'll figure out something.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I've seen every episode of Buffy. There, that addiction has been sated.
And I've gone through all the Reacher books by Lee Child. Well, except for the one which comes out in the US tomorrow. I don't see it lasting the weekend.
In the meantime here's the Foo Fighters doing their version of Band on the Run.
The cats always look so dang serious when they're photographed. Pushkin, in particular, looks vastly more imperious when photographed than he really is.
Here he is atop his favorite chair.
My sister took this brilliantly composed picture of Meydl and my dad. Meydl has this thing where she has to walk all over my dad's Sudoku, swatting him in the face with her tail.
The cats essentially have free reign to do whatever they want. My parents will put up with anything. Even when my dad says "These cats have got to go." Nobody pays attention. Especially the cats.
Mitch Gross demonstrates lenses.
Joe Gage/Tim Kincaid interview.
The beautiful Ivory Aquino (Alien Uprising) is in this sci-fi short, The Koi of Hungwa.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
... whether it's iPhones or the Internet itself, seems to be for one purpose: the posting of pictures of cats.
Here is Meydl earlier in the day sleeping on my dad's chair.
Well, truthfully I woke her up in order to take her picture. I don't have much truck with being mean to animals but I will admit that I do love to wake up cats! They have such grumpy looks on their faces when you wake them! Plus, it's not like they have to work the next day or anything. They just go back to sleep. I mean really, would anyone notice if a cat slept in late?
And then Pushkin later in the day getting ready to sleep on my dad's chair.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
So far today I've logged $185 in medical expenses. That's for the doctor and the antibiotics.*
I only feel slightly high from the antibiotics so I don't know I'm getting my money's worth. Typically the first day on antibiotics knocks me out for about 20 hours. I should know within an hour whether that's going to happen again for me. I'm at my parents, which is the best place to go if I'm high...
*Insert your own joke here. Something about "That's the last time I accept a drink from a woman in Bangkok" to "I gotta stay off the roofies" but really it's just a low-grade sinus infection which has been making me exhausted. Anyway, leave a better punchline in the comments and I'll edit this post, pretending I made the funnier joke all this time.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Here's the latest of the Tyrannosaurus Mouse logos. This is one with text obviously. We can do with and without text. Reversed with white lines, reversed with alpha-channel ("clear") lines, whatever you want.
It's a mouse. But Tyrannosaurical.
Here's the latest artwork for Clonehunter. This is for the North American version. By coincidence or no, the movies of ours which Blockbuster has picked up have had orange covers. This was designed by Lori at (ten)12 Designs in fabulous Jersey City.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Aeroisla is Sebastian Lipszyc's recording studio in Buenos Aires.
Radio Free Brooklyn is Dexter Taylor's internet radio station.
Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air now has an html index.
Somebody signed up for a mailing list with the name "Doctor Abacus Thrumsvelt" which is surely a fake name (it doesn't come up on Google). But I think the name is so awesome I want to have an imaginary friend named Abacus Thrumsvelt.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
So apparently IFPI issued the takedown to Google about the blog post (mentioned in the previous blog post below). Here's the notice. It's bundled in with a bunch of other notices and conveniently doesn't mention exactly what the material is that they claim copyright to.
Three words for you: baby mouse nose.
From a comment from David Frey (below), using compressor to make SD DVD's from HD timelines.
I got a DMCA takedown notice from Blogger. They say that they post the actual notice at ChillingEffects but I ain't seen it yet. As far as I can tell the "offending" post linked to April Winchell's site and that's what the problem is. But as I can't find the takedown notice, I have no idea. There's a mirror of the post here.
My sister's working on the type treatment to the Tyrannosaurus Mouse logo.
Here be my overly awesome sister Jean (or "Jeanne" -- there is a perennial argument in my family over what her actual name is and apparently birth certificates and driver's licenses get involved.) The year: 1977.
If you're a costume designer and you need to put clothes on people in a show set during the year Star Wars came out, then look closely. And yes, she's caning a chair.
Also note: that is a jeans skirt -- made of embroidered bell-bottom jeans and yes, she has a perm.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
The Cannes film market is coming soon and our distributor put together this trailer for Day 2. I rather like this trailer. I feel like we may very well have made this movie. Usually I feel like the trailer is better than the movie we made. I think this is a good trailer and I think we made this movie. Hooray for us then!
Saturday, May 08, 2010
For me, the Hollywood Juicer is a pretty fascinating blog. Notice how the producers mysteriously don't need anyone once the rate goes sky-high at the 14th hour?
But what I really find interesting is this idea that producers and distributors have that publicity about their show is somehow bad. See the blog above. No blogging, releasing video, auctioning (which actually I can kind of understand, any property belongs to the producers so you're just stealing stuff and selling it), or texting about the production.
Now maybe if you had a particularly fantastic looking monster (you don't, Alien already came out and that was the last one), or if you have Bill Murray in Zombieland, you might want to keep that under your hat 'till the movie is released. Other than that I can't understand why producers are so opposed to the free publicity they get from blogging/texting/facebooking, etc.
OK, let's imagine the worst case scenario. A second electric has a blog where he complains endlessly about you, about the stars, etc. Gawker loves this guy. Everyone goes crazy linking to him and his gripes about how awful the coffee is, how your star threw a hissy fit when green M&M's were found at the bottom of the bowl in her dressing room, and the show runner is a drunken pluff bagger whose kitten calls all the shots on set.
I just don't get it. I'm tellin' you, I'm gonna make people sign a disclosure agreement rather than an NDA in our movies...
At this point I'm just stealing pictures from Bill Cunningham to post here. A whole pitcher of sangria, that's what you get from me.
Yesterday went with Sebastian to Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island. Learnt a few things. One is that cheap Martins don't sound very good compared to, say, Guilds in the sub-$1000 price range. Also learned that the more expensive ($2000 to $5000) Martin guitars don't seem more expensive than the boutique guitars at any given price. So you're paying for the Martin name for the cheap guitars but not for the expensive ones.
Also -- Mandolin Brothers has an interesting way of hanging their guitars. They use these leather straps which hook over the tuning pegs and then they hang them on simple 25-pound picture hangars. This keeps the finish from being eaten away by the regular guitar hangars which the guitar neck usually sits on. I have two guitars with their finish eaten away because of one Summer on regular guitar hooks.
So I bought a couple guitar hanging straps. Three bucks each.
I'm also obsessively reading through the entire Lee Child oeuvre. But that's a story for another time.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Thursday, May 06, 2010
So today's frustration has been entirely with the fact that DVD's seem to take a week to make. First we have to burn a standard-definition h264 file and then we have to go through the process of actually making the DVD. But somewhere along the line something ALWAYS gets messed up. I know, you're supposed to be able to make the mpeg2 files in Compressor but...
Anyway, we ended up sending a portable drive with the DVCPROHD Quicktime movie on it. It'll get to the place by tomorrow and hopefully all will be cool with them making DVD's.
I wonder how many of my blog entries are titled "Oof"?
Still working on the logo for Tyrannosaurus Mouse and specifically looking at some of the beautiful art used for posters for the Fillmore. There's a book on the art (which seems to be out of print) and you can even find fonts online.
I think maybe this fellow Wes Wilson is responsible for the melty-letter look. Stanley Mouse seems to have some responsibility for the Art Deco part of the look.