Saturday, July 31, 2010
This is a color-correction test of Robin Kurtz as "Helen" in Earthkiller. We're experimenting with very subtle cc in both "Day 2" and this movie -- mostly based around the Magic Bullet "Neo" preset at between 50% and 80% intensity. The trick with this shot is to see the background and man, on different monitors (or even between FCP and Magic Bullet still) the background either sinks or is too bright.
From last night's rehearsal of Tyrannosaurus Mouse. These aren't really listenable by civilian standards, I'm just putting them all here so that the band can easily access them to hear them.
The latest version of our Arabesque (Bolero)*, One Last Drink, the Thing in A, and I don't even know what that last thing is. The guitar is clearly too loud. It could be louder.
*I have no idea why the Bolero just won't embed no matter what I try.
This is near Washington Square Park in New York. I was impressed with the depth of the real-life and it photographed just right. And by "just right" I mean it looks fake, like a really bad composite using AfterEffects to put photographs of buildings in "2.5D" space.
One of the things I'm trying to do today is figure out how I can copy my entire blog (including images, which is the trick) to a WordPress blog.
When I'm done with Earthkiller I figure I'll have used 80% of the space I'm allowed for images here on Blogger.
Because apparently I like to post a lot of images.
That's what I've been told at least.
Friday, July 30, 2010
That's right, we're all about talkin' about cases all over again. But this time, rather than talkin' yakkity yak yak about it, I just bought the same brand Ethan has.
Of course, mine's smaller. And no, that's not what all the girls say, it's because mine is the guitar version of the iGig bag.
I can fit a pair of Rode NT1a's with a Sound Devices recorder as well as an amp switcher and whatever other pedals I want. All that in addition to a Les Paul.
Which is good because today Tyrannosaurus Mouse actually got too loud. I could tell because my -15dB earplugs were not enough protection. I'll need to get the -25dB inserts if we keep this up.
And no it's not because I was playing with three amplifiers. (A Peavey Classic 50 and a Traynor as the rhythm amps with a Marshall JCM 900 as the "lead" amp. I'm not switching back-and-forth, I'm just adding the Marshall when I need to play a solo. ) No. It's not my fault.
I don't think.
Anyway, the iGig is the best bag. Not as much protection as my other bag but it'll fit in a subway turnstile and I can put more stuff in it.
Billy Gibbons gives a guitar lesson. As a guitar lesson it doesn't really make any sense unless you can already play the guitar and have some sort of basic music theory. But check out his right hand. At the end he even tells you to not be afraid of mixing pick and fingers. He sure ain't afraid of it.
If I could sing as low as he does on "La Grange" I'd wear a hat like that too.
Today I am finishing up next weekend's schedule on Earthkiller. We have this weekend off because, of course, we need a weekend off after shooting two 1-day weekends in a row.
But this coming weekend will be a doozy. The sets which are coming will be quite exciting. And there are a lot of them. We have a big fight scene and a big dialog scene just on Saturday with something on the order of 18 characters (including zombies). We may have to simplify the fight scene so that it's more straightforward to shoot.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Just look at this amp. It has Heyboer transformers, SoZo caps. KT66 output tubes. A switch that lets you select between "sweet" and "bitchy".
It's Scott Fitzpatrick's take on a fully loaded Marshall JTM 45 (which was itself a take on the Fender Bassman of the late 50's).
What more could you possibly want with your life? You plug a Les Paul into this, jumper the inputs while on the back you're feeding it to a 12" Celestion Alnico Blue.
Instant rock. No waiting. I mean, of course, once the tubes warm up.
Amplates makes custom logo plates for amplifiers.
Filevo is a new bittorrent service.
The Edana is a very beautiful JTM45 from Celtic Amps. I should have one, in a beautiful Cherry cabinet. I should, shouldn't I? Yes. Yes I should.
Marsh Amplification also makes a JTM45 (using Heyboer transformers -- I wonder how those Heyboers are compared to the Metro Amp transformers, which are also made by Heyboer?)
Are you curious about what kind of watch Obama wears? Would you like your curiosity completely and irrevocably sated? Then click away and find out why you need to get a close friend in a Secret Service agent to get a watch like his.
You're wondering where our costume budget goes, aren't you? Coveralls are $3.55 a piece at Lab Safety Supply.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Joni Mitchell: 1-5 many bad boyfriends, many chords. Twitter has it all figured out.
Chance Shirley, vastly cooler than me, and the exciting new release of Interplanetary.
Yahoo's sitebuilder is probably what I needed last week rather than bothering my sister to make the Clonehuntermovie.com site.
Today's conversation at the Hospital for Special Surgery where my stepmom is in orientation for a knee replacement.
My dad starts getting hungry while waiting for the doctor.
Dad: You know we brought sandwiches?
Me: Yeah. Bologna sandwiches.
I try to not make my voice sound the disgust which my stomach has for them. Luckily my stepmom chimes in and asks my dad:
Mom: Did you bring any fruit?
Dad: I brought bananas. Andrew, do you want a banana?
Stepmom turns to my dad...
Mom: Dan -- you don't know your son at all.
Dad: What? You don't like bananas?
Me: I'll have plenty of bananas and bologna sandwiches in Hell, Dad.
I know, I know, he was only offering me a banana. A refreshing, tasty banana.
My parents are technologically incapable of reading this blog unless I send them the URL. Even then I'm not so sure...
But today Barack Obama is going to Tastee's.
I guess later he'll go to the Forum Theater in Metuchen and catch a second-run movie for a buck-fifty.*
*Actually, the Forum Theater is now back to being a legit theater. It had originally been a vaudeville house, but for all my childhood up through my late '80's it was a movie theater.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Speaking of New Jersey Transit -- quiet cars are coming soon. Oh man. I can't tell you how long I have desired such.
I feel bad for Richard Jewel. He saved the lives of a lot of people. And really that didn't go so well for him. Died when he was only 44.
Oh, and save the date. May 21, 2011 the Messiah arrives. Jesus is coming. Look busy.
We did an 11.5-hour day (including lunch) on set on Sunday in Metuchen, which is 25 miles from Columbus Circle (which is just outside "the zone"). So the trouble I'm having is that's not 11.5 "portal-to-portal" from NYC. Getting cast and crew back over the river at night is a bit tricky.
They're closing the Holland Tunnel altogether between 1am and 5am on weekends. And there's construction on the New Jersey Turnpike. That pretty well leaves us with trains -- either NJ Transit or the PATH system to get over the Hudson River. For people who live in the outer reaches of (say) Brooklyn or Queens, that's still leaving them with a long journey after they get into Manhattan. NJ Transit leaves Metuchen at 37 minutes past the hour. The 1:37am is the last train out to New York Penn Station. And it takes 72 minutes (and you know they're lying and it's gonna take longer than that.)
It's rough. If we could get our days back to 8 hours of shooting and leaving ourselves with two hours of travel -- well then things would be reasonable.
But we have two things which make our lives harder that way. Good makeup and good sets. We virtually never "do" makeup on actors. They do their own, just like in theater. But one character has this whole body makeup thing which adds a bunch to her character. She's only in it a few more days. But it takes a couple hours to apply (although that's getting to be less and less each day) and then a run has to be made to my ancestral home for a shower after wrap, or when she has to go into regular makeup.
The other problem is that we have, for once in our lives, real sets in Metuchen. Indeed, we were going to shoot a bit in the "break room" at my dad's shop, a place we've shot before. I said "We'll never see above these lockers, let's not try to dress that. Our art director Joe said, however, "You could see above them in Alien Uprising". Oh man. He's caught us by the oeuvre. He'd actually ordered and seen the picture the night before. So we dressed it. And we put up a couple panels to hide some other walls. And we put mats on the floor and all of a sudden we had a set we could look 360 degrees horizontally and vertically. I'm still surprised whenever I see the footage. That room looks pretty darn cool.
OK, so... we're shooting in a corridor. In the script was this whole bit where Mozz wrote that the escaping android pops a grate in the ceiling and lifts herself up through it. I was not even skeptical about that scene, I just said "that's never going to happen". But Joe made that happen. And he made it happen safely and elegantly.
More than that, he and Libby built a whole rig which we set on saw horses with the ceiling piece so Helen could pop up and the camera would be with her up in the air duct.
Then when it came time to shoot over-the-shoulders of the guys Helen was spying on, we simply removed that side of the set for camera. That's a big-time movie trick of old, sure. But the fact that lowly we were able to do it was entirely because of Joe Chapman and Libby Csulik. We can actually get the vastness and scope of the entire station with these interchangeable set pieces. And the camera can do what it needs to do and go where it needs to go.
It's really quite humbling.
And of course it also takes more time than we're used to for going from one set to another or for moving camera around. But we're not waiting on lighting and the art department is playing very nicely with lighting (personally, I don't believe they should be different departments but that's another long story.)
We're still unloading a minimum of 80 setups a day single-camera. Probably closing in on 90. It just takes us eleven and a half hours (including lunch and cleanup and wrap) to do it all.
The results are worth it. And we will get faster as we're using pieces we already know and understand. It's all quite lovely. Especially if the weather is kindly to us. When was the last time you were on a shoot and the director was begging the skies to rain? When it was about 100 degrees in the shop that was me. Begging.
Brian Silliman plays Lycidas in Earthkiller.
Brian is terrific. He has this whole Orson Welles vibe going down. And, like most everyone else in the story, he doesn't live very long.
I noticed that we're making an amber movie. I guess that's due to my tendency to use florescent lights (and not well-balanced fluorescent lights at that). And this picture was a clear contender for lots of haze.
Joe and Libby's sets are a-freakin'-mazing. We can actually shoot 360 along a horizontal axis and a vertical one. We can (and have) pulled out a side wall so we can put the camera there -- you know, just like real movies do!
And I found last week's dialog. Someone (probably me, but I don't remember) did something irresponsible but not entirely stupid with the CF card. It got dropped into our main (banana) case, which we used for camera and sound. But it ended up stuck inside a plastic bag filled with wind covers for lavaliere microphones. So you couldn't see the CF card inside by just casually looking at it. And besides, the bag looked closed. Anyway, it's found and that's one less stressful thing from my life.
Monday, July 26, 2010
make custom gifts at Zazzle
Here is the T-mouse store at Zazzle.
I got mine. Start the car.
Joe Beuerlein as Milton takes some shots at Trig.
Joe and Libby's sets are fantastic to work on . We were able to do so many things -- like go up into the freakin' ceiling! I knew when Mozz wrote that the android had to go up into the ceiling there was just no freakin' was that was possible. But we did it.
We're going slower on Earthkiller than we have on previous pictures. There's a couple reasons for that. One is that having an actual art department means that we have actual sets to build and move around. We're able to shoot in 360 degrees, and that's certainly a first for us.
The other is that the full-body makeup on the lead android simply takes a while to put on. We did chop an hour off the day in makeup-putting-on by the second day of shooting however.
The real problem right now is that we can't leave sets standing because my dad's graciously lent his shop space for us to shoot in on weekends and they, shockingly, need to do actual work there during the week.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Josh James, who wrote Alien Uprising, has a book of his plays coming out called "The The Plays". Order yours early. Order often.
I've decided I really need a clone of a Marshall JTM45. The question is from whom? Oh, and I certainly don't want to spend much more than a thousand bucks. Really, I want to spend a thousand bucks. Heck, no, I want to spend about thirty bucks... but you know what I mean.
I'm finally abandoning wearing long pants. A long time ago a girl who was part French convinced me that short pants and sneakers were simply no good. Actually, on adults, those habits are English and American (as far as I know). Anyway, my knee hurting when I work on concrete moved me to sneakers. And this freakin' heat is moving me to short pants.
Tomorrow is another fun day of shooting Earthkiller. Groovy pictures of shooting in the brutal heat to follow...
Oh, and next weekend we have a hiatus from Earthkiller shooting. And it's not because I can't read a calendar and therefore didn't schedule any shooting for the weekend. Nope. No way. Uh-uh. Not me.
Friday, July 23, 2010
6. DV3 is a film/commercial production outfit in Wilmington, NC.
I'm really hands down the most obnoxious guitarist ever. And it's not just because I set up two amps on either side of the drum kit. Shockingly, no. It's because I reached over and turned up the volume on Ethan's bass rig in the middle of a song.
It turns out it was way the wrong volume knob on the GK amp, so I got yelled at "Nooooo!!! That's the "fart" knob!" he shouted as the bass sound went "pfblahtt".
Egads! Just as I was about to buy a Metroamp JTM-45 (that I can't afford), George Metropoulos has gone and closed the store! Presumably they'll open again in a couple weeks.
Arie Uyterlinde is playing keys with us now!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
An old girlfriend (who had a master's degree in play writing) told me once that a playwright should "never write for the stage". Instead, you should write what's in your mind and free yourself of constraints.
Of course I didn't want to point it out at the time, but the fact was that she never had any of her plays produced.
Now, it's not that I don't understand the idea there (and it's not that she isn't a raving psychopath, but that's another story). You should free yourself creatively and make characters do stuff without always thinking about the box the actors are going to be standing in.
But at some point you kinda have to.
And I'm not exactly sure where that point is. It's true that some very good work has come about with writing to very specific constraints (like locations or number of actors, etc.) And it may be that "not writing for the stage" is really only helpful if you want to spiffy up a script and use "no stage" writing as a kind of fun experiment. Or, cynically, it may be that mostly it's good for writing plays which do well "on paper" rather than on the stage.
And that's pretty much the beginning and end of my thoughts on the subject.
The fabulous Robin Kurtz.
Here are closeups of Helen in Earthkiller. We're moving her "look" from a very cool android at the beginning of the movie, to this sort of look, to a natural look by the end of the picture.
I think her lipstick could be more blue. Indeed, why is she so red? These aren't color-corrected -- I bet it's the fluorescent lights mixed with the incandescents.
More Clonehunter from Pulpmovies.
Colorista II is coming. We use Colorista all the time.
Clonehunter from Quiet Earth (which is one of my favorite names of a website and a movie.)
David Frey hacked a loupe for his DSLR. You should too.
IndieFilmChat (which you might think is about a cat who doesn't work for the studio system but isn't) on Clonehunter.
Ooh, David has video up of his loupe hack.
What am I going to do when this blog runs out of space? Right now I'm using 72% of the space Google gives us for images. Do I just go to my own Wordpress blog?
Ueber Sci Fi Geek and the Clonehunter Press Release.
And Geek Native too!
Here's the word on the mix/edit of Day 2:
"Act 3 is ready for sound.
Act 5 is ready for sound.
Acts 4, 6, 7 and 8 are waiting for a few vfx from me, and David Frey's exteriors."
"Ready for sound" means that as far as Maduka is concerned the picture is locked and I can go on and start the dialog edit. Actually, I'm gonna look at the picture and if I make 6 tweaks per act it would be a lot -- Maduka's first edit is always very very close to our final edit.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My distributor is making me work on my birthday. I'm sending out press releases for Clonehunter. Below are the places I sent to before collapsing into a coma.
Ted Hope rightly complains about how film incentives are set up to keep out the low-budget filmmaker. Especially in NYC, where they're designed to make you shoot on the (very expensive) sound stages.
Troll in the Corner
Johnny and Angus
Total Sci Fi Online
Ain't It Cool News
And now I'm making the big, big bucks. Big. I'm owed almost seventeen raw, unadulterated, United States cold hard cash dollars.
And no, I have no idea who is using Prague Spring songs.
But I do know this. I'm shoppin' for yachts.
In the indy film world, Blockbuster has really done us well. Netflix? Not so much (as this article from my distributor shows.) So don't hope for the end of Blockbuster, they're the only ones on our side out there.
The clonehuntermovie.com site is getting improved with much help from my sister, who has less fear of the web than I do. Maybe it's not as much "adamant apathy" as I do. In any case, the site is getting better.
Ooh, remember Solar Vengeance? We just got a Thailand sale. It's a small sale (Thailand ain't too big) but it's kind of neat so see their artwork. And as (I think) I pointed out earlier, Clonehunter will be on DVD in Japan in (I'm guessing) about four months.
Monday, July 19, 2010
OK, so the latest info on Clonehunter is that we officially have a Japanese deal in place. So look for it in... 4? months. That's my guess based on previous experience.
And we gotta do a better job of getting web-press on our movies. I mean, we're cool, right? We make science fiction pictures. We're the smallest micro-studio in New York! Can't we be one of the cool kids too?
The only brick-and-mortar retailer to pick us up is Hastings. And that, my friends, puts us ahead of almost all the indy movies out there (yup, that's how scary it is in the real world.)
In that vein we have to put more stuff on the www.clonehuntermovie.com website. And I hate everything web-related. I don't like CSS. I don't like Java or Flash. Heck, HTML irritates me. And right now you can way tell that I'm the last one to work on that Clonehunter page because it's the most rudimentary single-page ever made on the web (or at least since 1995.) So I've got to
The metadata the distributor wants is:
science fiction, independent science fiction, Andrew Bellware, Clones, Pandora Machine, Lifesize Entertainment, blade runner, sci-fi
"Advice is to put all links, Amazon buy link, rent link, (block on line) Indiefilmkiosk Buy button (not ready yet) right across the top."
“THEY WERE GUNS FOR HIRE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR SOULS?”
LIVING FOREVER CAN TAKE LESS TIME THAN YOU THINK
What happens if the artificial intelligence that enables the wealthy and powerful to live in limitless luxury wants to share in it? Cane and his junior partner, Angela, are hired by Gulliver, a brutal Oligarch, to track down a murderous clone that threatens the stability of Gulliver’s private planet. The more Cane and Angela delve into the case the more corruption and rot they discover, until they come face to face with their own darkest secrets and must decide which side they are on.
Lastly the page needs a cast list, a link to imdb.com, and links to reviews.
All I want is a simple page with frames. Is that too much to ask? (It is, if you're talking about my web design skillz.)
We did mostly pretty well. It looks great. The script is great and it's well acted.
One problem is the heat. It's very hard and exhausting to work in this heat. So I'm trying to figure out how we can shoot as much as we can in my apartment in Jersey City instead of my dad's metal shop in one-hundred-degree-weather.
Thing two is the transportation. It's never that great when I have to be transportation captain because it's always better if I get to set first. The problems when one dang person is late to call in NYC for the drive out is that I'm late to set (if I'm the one driving) and that just sucks because nothing can get done 'till I get there. But the thing is that the drive back is usually kind of fun with everyone in the car.
More than that though, it seems the NJ Turnpike is going to be mightily clogged with construction for the foreseeable future. This can add an hour (or two) to our working day, which is stinkitty poo.
The answer to that problem is that we are going to start to have call at my apartment in Jersey City because that way people can take the PATH, thereby eliminating a huge traffic bottleneck, and we can avoid the Turnpike (eliminating another bottleneck). Hey, we got Dunkin' Donuts coffee and good bagels in Jersey City!
Third-wise? I've never done this before but the production dialog... is lost. Gone. I got distracted just as I went into the very important task of wrapping up all the "deliverables" at the end of the day and... something happened just as I was removing the audio from the sound recorder and I have zero idea where I put the CF card. It may have been picked up by someone thinking they were being helpful. Nobody knows. I've turned the place upside down looking for it. Luckily it was just one scene but it's incredibly frustrating that that happened. At least I saved picture from getting lost.
(The new rule is that nobody but me touches media or batteries when we wrap. And that's all I got to say about that. ;-)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I took this reverse angle of Robin Kurtz carrying Amelia Campbell just because I thought it was cool. Ha! I just noticed you can see Maduka in the background.
This is the largest set the Pandora Machine has ever had. And that's all thanks to Joe Chapman and Libby Csulik.
I took a couple pictures. You can see the greenscreen which dropped in front of the big window (which we had to tie up so we could shoot through the big window too.)
The set took up a lot of room. Lucky for us we had a whole bunch of room at my dad's shop. Amazing too is that the sets do all fold flat and can be stored on two four-foot high pallets.
Robin Kurtz and Amelia Campbell watch as the Earth is about to be destroyed.
Friday, July 16, 2010
See the smoke?
Gabriella Sunday July 25th (actually we can do this scene anywhere, any day.)
Trig plays on Sunday July 25th
Milton plays on Sunday July 25th
Lycidas plays on Sunday July 25th. (Could be F?)
Huh. So it looks like we scheduled the movie so that a whole bunch of roles play on that one day. Interesting.
Update: that worked out just fine.
Raze plays on Saturday July 17th, Saturday August 7th, Sunday August 8th,
Mina plays Friday August 6, Saturday August 7, Monday September 6 (Labor Day).
"Creature" plays Friday August 6th,
Mach plays on Saturday August 7th, Sunday August 8,
Tennyson plays on Saturday August 7th, Sunday August 8th,
Tybalt plays on
Carlysle (M) plays on Saturday August 7th, Sunday August 8th,
Russell (M) Saturday August 7th
Therin (F) Saturday August 7th, Sunday August 8th
Hywel (F) Saturday August 7th
One thing that's interesting about Earthkiller is that it's somewhere between an ensemble and an Alice in Wonderland picture. Hopefully I didn't screw up the structure. Hmm... I think the fun and games section is in the right place.
Via Bill Cunningham, an aesthetically inspiring sci-fi-noir short called Reign of Death.