Friday, December 31, 2010


I was kind of disappointed in the relatively low success the Chronicles of Riddick had. I thought the picture was exceptionally well written. One thing about it, upon re-watching it, man -- it's dark.


I wonder how much Warhammer 40K influenced Chronicles? Dune is a clear influence on both works.

But man, that movie does not let up. No robots show up and say funny things. There's no soldiers cracking wise under pressure. And although I don't mind that, I suspect that grimdark does bad things to profitability in a movie -- especially a big-budget wide release.

Pic via (with more pictures of costumes.)


This cat. Lounging in a tub of water.

That is all.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sound and Picture

Dig it: Ian Hubert's new VFX reel.

There's a shot from Clonehunter in there!
I sure miss working with Ben Sulzbach. He went home to the Midwest. A still from Alien Uprising
Sound & Picture has an online version of its magazine. There's a whole article on Modern Family sound recording. Nothing too illuminative but you'll note I mentioned their sound in another post.


Lady Gaga vs Metallica

Via 10 Mashups you should have heard in 2010.

Things to Keep in Mind

In Samplitude, in order to turn off that damned auto-looping they've started to have since version 10, you have to click "Y" and go to the "General" tab and unclick the "play cursor independent of range" box.

Here are 15 apps for recording Skype conversations. That's via Chance.

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." is apparently a Martin Mull quote.

Three things is my maximum for a blog post. Three things plus a bunny. Oh, and a naked person. So it's three things plus one bunny, plus one naked person. And a disclaimer. Three things, a bunny, and a naked person, and a disclaimer are the maximum number of things for any blog post.


The Future

Edward Jay Epstein writes a fascinating article about the risk that Netflix is taking in going into the online streaming business.
Remember last year when I blogged about the article on the 10 Brands That Will Disappear in 2010? Hmm... there are quite a few brands there which ain't disappeared.
For us the most important one is Blockbuster.
Now what would be interesting is if Netflix takes a bath now and Blockbuster comes back (only smaller). Very interesting. But I don't like to make predictions because (as the article above shows) predictions can be very unreliable.
Right now my business plan is that we absolutely must make three pictures this year. But firstly, I shall take a nap. But then -- three pictures.

Party Video for Earthkiller

Henry Steady, who's rather brilliant, makes these videos for our wrap parties. One of the amusing things is that he hides the edit from me until the unveiling at the actual party.

Here's the party video for Earthkiller. And yes, if you don't come to the wrap party we do talk smack about you.

0801 Earthkiller Party video from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Counting

When I was a wee lad my father would set me on his knee and tell me "Son, always make sure you calculate in your profit before bidding on a job."

I see what he's saying, but I'd take that one further. "Dad, always calculate what you get paid, as a worker, in addition to your profit before bidding on a job."

My dad, being an engineer who convinced the Dean of his school that he wouldn't be able to pass to get his engineering degree unless they accepted his course in accounting as his math course (I'm not kidding about that) actually uses one of the most brilliant accounting systems I've ever seen.

He uses an accounting system which sacrifices precision for accuracy. Boy, that's an engineer way to do things, isn't it? Here's how it works: his company does all custom fabrication (wow, just like a film studio or a theater) and each job is given a job number (which is why our movies have job numbers).
So each employee counts how much time they've been working on each job during the week. And each employee is assigned an hourly expense. Say you're a welder and you make (I'm just making up numbers here) $20/hour. Well you also use a welding machine which effectively costs $x/hour. And there's the heat and the rent on the space you use, there's your safety gear, the truck you ride around in, etc.
So rather than try to calculate all those thing separately, my dad in his internal accounting creates an arbitrary number like (and again, I'm making up these numbers as I don't even know what he uses nowadays) $50/hour of cost of that employee.
So all he has to do is look at the number of hours each employee has worked, multiply by the somewhat arbitrarily come-up-with number of $50, add the cost of materials and viola! He know how much that job is really costing right now.

Honestly, it's a pretty brilliant system. It doesn't pass muster with the government in no way no how, but if you want to know internally how you're making a profit or taking a loss it's an off-the-charts brilliant method.

Asylum Movies

It looks like there's a new Asylum picture with both Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Mega Python Vs Gatoroid. It's being directed by Mary Lambert whom I have worked with. She's hands-down the worst director I've ever seen. Like "you'd be better off without a director" bad.

I was the sound mixer on The Attic. It's the last picture I did sound for (immediately afterwards we shot Millennium Crisis so I've been doing that ever since.) John Savage is in that picture. Funny thing about John -- he's an old song-and-dance man. His voice is amazing -- as an actor and as a singer. He's a great example of how much of acting is simply in a trained voice. When you hear him he is instantly recognizable and he always sounds great.

So one day we're doing a scene and John comes through a doorway and he flubs a line. He says to the director who tries to feed him lines "Don't give me my lines -- I have them, I just have to do it a few times." So I'm there in the room and I figure OK, he's one of those actors you just have to give a little bit of space to -- he'll totally deliver because he's not thinking about the lines, he's in his role. But Mary comes onto the set and starts to read him his lines. He keeps telling her he has his lines, but she keeps reading them to him. And better yet, she reads them wrong.

I was trying to figure out if I could hide under the kitchen sink at that point. 

In retrospect, John was pretty cool about it. But other actors were not. I've never heard actors yell at a director as much as she was. Yelled at in the "You don't talk to me like that Mary, I will not respond to you" way.

It was also readily apparent that she has zero idea about performance, or editing, or really anything. She was constantly in an argument with the art department on that picture. I have no idea why, they were pretty good. But it made the set very tense, which is why by-and-large I put my recording gear in another room and ignored them.

There was a shot on the movie where did a take of a wide and suddenly Art and Electrics realized that there was a huge bundle of electrics cable running along the wall in the bottom of the shot. So they ran in to dress the cable and Mary started yelling at them and made them put the cables back. She said that "something you should know about me" is that she will use a take if the performance is good even if there's something in the background!

And I'm thinking: so you use that first wide take, and want to maintain the continuity of electrics cables in the background?

So yeah, trying to explain to production that they should have used quieter generators so we're not hearing them grinding away in the back yard all the time wasn't even a worthwhile proposition. They had a lot bigger problems on their hands. And although we shot Millennium Crisis after The Attic, we released the picture a year earlier than they did because (so I understand) of arguing among the producers and the director about the edit.

Hopefully the boys at The Asylum had a better time making Mega Python! ;-)

The Jabberwock

So I think this is the recording of Jabberwocky. The mix is just a simple rough mix I put up on my computer.

But I think everything kinda works. I added a second guitar to the last verse of the song through the end. Odd thing about that last verse -- we've been rehearsing it as a single 8-bar verse, but when we played it here we did all 16 bars. Then I realized that back in the olden days (I think) we went back to the very first verse for those last 8 bars. So I stole a vocal take from an earlier version of that first verse and put it in there.
Tell me your notes! Go ahead, post a comment. Blogger won't bite you. I promise.
UPDATE: the notes have come back. We've added more slap to the vocals in the verses and we're doing a new Hammond solo. ;-)

Getting Ripped Off by Spielberg ;-)

Oh I am amused endlessly that we put out Day 2 first, but Spielberg's Falling Skies is coming out on TNT in June.

Their tag line is "Join the Resistance" whilst ours is "Join the Fight".

Day 2 trailer from Andrew Bellware on Vimeo.
The irony is that we'll probably be marketed as a Falling Skies mockbuster. Ha! (But at least it does increase our chances at distribution, thank you Mr. Spielberg.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Internet Today

My cousin's backyard in the New York Times. (My parents don't believe she exists because they've never met her. ;-)
A glass lens doorknob. You'd really want this to be one-way in most cases. But doors to (say) kitchens which swing in-and-out would benefit.
The funniest sentence on the Internet today, Rogers on his terrible experience on an amusement park ride:
Afterward, the various twelve-year olds regarded me with pity. Pity. Do you know how far you have to fall in an adolescent's eyes before you drop below scorn? They're hard-wired for scorn. The evening ended with my wife actually taking me to the petting zoo for a bit, to collect myself, before we headed home.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Music, Modern and Otherwise

Now, I've never been one who pedestaled "youth". Indeed, I sounded like a grumpy old man as a teenager. And the truth is that I like modern pop music. Lady Gaga is amusing. And I like that song Bulletproof by La Roux.
And I certainly don't mind doing covers of classic songs (I actually released a 12" EP with a cover of Cream's Sunshine of Your Love with a "band" called Plaid Cow.)

But when you're a hard rockin' outfit like Type O Negative you'd thing you'd do something other than making a kind of meh cover of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl. Wouldn't you?
Now this is actually a lesson I have to keep learning. There are, for instance, things which are fun to play (like high-gain preamp distortion) that actually don't sound that good. They feel good. They don't sound good.
When mixing, the same thing happens when you add too much compression. You feel like it's better. But it's not. It's just louder. And although you think louder is better (everyone thinks louder is better, it's virtually a principal of psychoacoustics) it ain't necessarily so.
And it takes discipline to play a guitar which isn't screaming on every note. A guitar which actually rings and then dies out. You know, like a natural instrument.
I've been playing both my amps at a variety of volumes. I have cranked up my JTM-45 clone, the Celtic Amps Edana that is, to 11. And it turns out that just too much. I know because I've listened to recordings where I've "dimed" the amp (the controls only go up to 10, the "11" thing is just a Spinal Tap joke) and it actually over-saturates. It's awfully fun to play. But it's too much.
At about 4 on the dial the guitar sound will rock your vole. If you play some power chords hard with a Les Paul, the growl you get is like no other sound you can imitate with other gear. And if you pick lightly, there's this amazing sheen in the sound.
Neil Young actually uses a relatively clean sound here. I mean "relative" to a modern rock high-gain sound. The guitars certainly break up. But the dynamics and the incredible one-note solo are the point.
But with the tools available to the modern guitar player and mixer, it's awfully tempting to go a lot further than this sound, even if you don't really need it.
And instead of linking to either version of Cinnamon Girl, here is Down by the River instead.
Neil famously uses a Fender Deluxe. The amp I play in tandem with my Edana is a Lil' Dawg Mutt, which is a Deluxe front-end with a Champ power section. It's a remarkably loud little 6-watt amplifier.


My oldest brother recommends Luksusowa Potato Vodka.
Luckily he has some as he is snowed in, in North Carolina.

I Am Home Alone

This would have probably made both movies better:

Fun fact: our own Nat Cassidy was one of the zombie extras running through Washington Square Park (but was replaced by CG zombies) in I Am Legend. Ooh, I guess technically they're vampires.

What I Got For Christmas

Funny, nobody checked my Wish List on Amazon and got me a Hughes Kettner Rotosphere MKII

Or a Royer 121 ribbon microphone.

Instead, almost all my gifts serviced a drinking habit. From a stainless steel flask to a blender for mixing fruity drinks and a bottle of Absolut, I'm  ready! Way to go, enabling family! ;-)
Truthfully, I got other people things to drink. I bought my brother-in-law a fine Blanton's Bourbon. I'm not a whiskey drinker but that kind of bourbon could change my mind.
But the big win seems to be getting my dad an iPad. The big deal is that he can read the text in the Kindle app at the 2nd-to-largest setting -- without a magnifying glass -- which means he can read books with it. That's very exciting. We got him the Foote Civil war series (actually, we only got him the 2nd volume because for whatever reason volumes 1 and 3 aren't available 'till March or some such).
Now everyone is snowed in but comfy (I mean, as comfy as we can be without any orange juice.)
This Japanese cat has a blog.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

So I'm Walking Down the Street the Other Day

And I see this girl walking toward me and she is the spitting image of an ex girlfriend of mine. So I'm thinking "Hmm... how long ago was that?" And the math snuck into my mind that was as many years ago as this girl walking toward me is old...

Merry Christmas!

Sliding Otters

Sliding otters amuse me. And they amuse you too.
Funny Pictures - Otter Gif
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Merry Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yuletide Cats and Virgins

Interview with a Virgin. This brilliant bit is from a show we did a few years ago at Theatresource.

The Yuletide Cat eats the lazy. Or perhaps children who haven't been given clothes for Christmas. I'm not entirely sure. But that link takes you to some groovy playing cards.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I get the Big Dummy for Christmas award

So last night my dad kind of implied that I should open my present earlier than Christmas day -- like when we get to the hotel in Bedford. So I take a look at the box he's talking about and decide that it's exactly what I want.
And being that I'm sure the box contains exactly what I want I should run out and get frozen fruit and some orange juice and some rum -- mm especially if I can find that rum that Joe and Libby brought. So I got all that stuff (rum, OJ, and frozen fruit) and it survived relatively cool ride in the trunk and we brought the supplies in and I opened the present and it's the most awesome of the blenders there are. For Christmas! Early Christmas! It's big and smooth and easy to clean and has sexy blades which will blend your beautiful fruits.
I have fruit and a refrigerator in my suite. I have the awesome Oster blender which totally rocks.

But I left the alcohol in New Jersey.

(I got the same brand of rum that Joe and Libby got us this year. That was so tasty.)
So tonight was mixed drinks for the under 21 crowd of which there are only cats... sigh. I made smoothies sans alcohol. Yeah I bought the right stuff -- rum from St. Croix. But it's in my car in a cold parking lot. Back in NJ. Not 4 hours away in PA, where I am now.


My sister made some noises about getting us to a State Store tomorrow (Christmas Eve).

Notes on Future parties: more fruit more juice and also we should order sandwiches and such or at least get Chinese food.

This Oster blender is the party babay. Oh yeah. But tomorrow (after State Store) the above squompshous concoction will be a joy to the world. If I may.

We have to have 3 wrap parties in my apartment in the coming year. So I'm gettin' good at this mixin' berry drinks, let me tell you.

Gross Sales

So the North American gross sales of Millennium Crisis in the first two quarters of this year (January through June of 2010) was $173.51.
One hundred seventy-three dollars and fifty-one cents! Woo!
But those are the gross sales applied to our account, which had returns of over five hundred dollars in the same period. What I mean by this is that our advance is pretty much the last money we'll ever see for that movie.
Which is all well and good because it's what we expected. Besides, the movie is a number of years old so as a title it's dead. Indeed those gross sales might represent sales which actually occurred at Best Buys many years ago.
I suppose as a company we're unusual because we worry sometimes about how our distributor is faring. That's right, we're the producers who care about distributors.
The movie Pandora Machine made a decent profit for our distributor (The Asylum).
Millennium Crisis is as above (that's Pop Cinema who distributed.)
So far Solar Vengeance hasn't been released in North America (but with the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens maybe it will be?)
Alien Uprising probably made money for the distributor(s) (Maverick), but we don't know any details of their deal. We took our bit of upfront cash and ran.
Clonehunter didn't make money for our distributor. And we feel bad for him.
So far we've made the distributor happy on every other movie. The odd-numbered movies.
Oh, and the movies with lots of orange on their covers have done better than the blue - art movies. Hmm...

Your Pandora Machine links

Well, this maybe belongs on the Pandora Machine blog. But it's not there. It's here. I published to the wrong blog. I'm over it.
I thought this was a very smart quote. From the Complications Ensue blog:
A TV show is, fundamentally, about the sort of things that happen to your characters every day. They may be extraordinary things, but then your characters are people to whom extraordinary things happen every day.

A movie is, fundamentally, about the most remarkable time in the character's life.The turning point, the moment they change, the time they face their greatest challenge.

And the Unknown Screenwriter is back. (H/T to Josh James). I have zero idea how to follow his RSS feed. Can it be done?

And via Lost in Schlock, miniatures by Lori Nix, plus also Steve Wang creates monster suits.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A New Kind of Awesome

My sister took pictures of cats. You will be looking at my sister's pictures of cats.
Disembodied Pushkin cat head with a Winston in the background.

Is Pushkin really staring down Chien here? I have no idea. Pushkin is not an aggressive cat but Chien is a SERIOUSLY non-aggressive dog.

Chien looks the OTHER way.

Meydl and her blurry tail.
I decided to stick with Foxmarks and not go to Lastpass at all. Thing is, they're the same company now.
I'm completely fascinated with these kinds of anthropological things. Humans came out of Africa (many stayed in Africa) and some (Europeans) bred with Neanderthals. Now we know about Denisovans -- a new kind of not-quite-human whom New Guineans are related to.
Actually, I'm using Firefox Sync. It's not cross-browser though. Oh well.

Bun Schlaff

The Cherry Lane theater is closing. It's most famous for being down the street from Milk & Cookies. Which is unfortunate because now I want a cookie.
The Economist says life gets better after the age of 46. I think they're just saying that for my benefit. They also explain why their articles don't have bylines. Another reason is because many of them work in intelligence for a couple of the bigger governments.

Amp Notes

These are important and sexy notes from Scott Fitzpatrick about my new Celtic Edana amplifier:
Regarding the Sovtek inverter tube and the difference between it and the JJ which the amp came with (and unfortunately which showed up DOA):
It's really hard to get a picture of a band in performance which includes everyone.
"Check your bias. Should be between 36-40. Adjust by ear in small difference. Bias test points under chassis. Set multimeter to dc volts."
I also went gushing on and on about how great an amp it is and his response was:

"It's one of the most incredible circuits ever.  True definition of classic.  Best part is, you can drop 6L6, 5881 or EL34 tubes in there with a rebias.  (FYI, el34's change the speaker out me if you decide to ever do that)."

These are important notes for me to retain. Keywords are "bias", "rebias", "Edana", "tube".

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This Close to Christmas

You'd think I'd be smart and have all my holiday shopping done. I could be like my partner Blair and have my office stuffed with boxes from Amazon.
But I don't.
A trip to a liquor store and I'm about finished with Christmas shopping.
I simply cannot stand Christmas shopping. Especially the incessantly happy Christmas music they pipe into the stores. I always think the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York as like an antidote to "Jingle Bell Rock".
I look forward to talking politics with my family. We're a fun gang. I'm going to be testing my "end of Monroe Doctrine" theories against the wisdom of my brother-in-law. At some point this will happen during the conversation:
"The invasion of Nicaragua"'
"No, I mean the other invasion of Nicaragua."
"No, sorry, the other "other" invasion.'"
"I believe we're referring to the one after that."
Are we talking about just the 20th Century?
"Yes, so it's the one after that."
"Oh. I see."
Wap. Aren't we still IN Nicaragua. Aren't they like the 51st State?
I don't think legally. Not anymore.
The last invasion was Grenada. No, then Panama. How is Lulu President?

Yup, this is how the conversation will go.

I'm not a bettin man but I see South America in the next 40 years.

Yep. With intermittent petting of cats, drunkenly. If you're not talkin' politics and religion, you're talkin' about cats.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Something I learned a while ago from Melissa Riker back when we were shooting the movie Apostasy was the idea of "completing a phrase". Specifically I learned it because she was critiquing herself for not completing her phrases as she danced in a particular scene in that movie.
That was rather eye-opening to me. One of those moments where suddenly everything made sense. Like I should have seen it all this time. Ahh yes, completing a phrase -- in dance or music -- is very important. And it's one of the very few times you can really use a dance analogy to discuss music.
As we'll starting to move through the overdubs on the Tyrannosaurus Mouse album I've been doing a lot of close listening and one thing I appreciate is how Ethan makes full and complete phrases as a bass player. Ethan is a very conservative player -- never plays too many notes. When he does play a "fill" though, it's going to be complete and thought out.

This actually has the effect of making me a more conservative player. Which is a good thing. You want the guitar player to be conservative. He doesn't have to make swoops and dives and what-have-you every 8 bars. Having the turn-arounds on the bass and the drums is just sexier. And, nowadays, rare.

I'm very fortunate that I'm still really enjoying listening to our groovy little album. And we certainly do have a compete album of material if for no other reason than we can't seem to play a pop song for less than 9 minutes. My plan is to have most of the electric guitars finished by sometime around the beginning of the new year. Then we bring in Arie to finish up some keyboard overdubs!


This little fellow is apparently named "Tyrannosaurus".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trois Meydl

Or: "Innocent Tongue Thinks" which I think should be a secret spy code for something. I ordered up some pictures of cats from my photographic sister Jeanne, this is what she provided.



People I Look Like

I've been told I look like professional drummer Keith Carlock. It turns out I do. Via.
I always think I resemble Alex Lifeson.

Islamic Insurance for a New Generation

No, I have no idea what this site is about but apparently if you aren't afraid of what sort of cyber STD your computer can catch, you can download Clonehunter from it. Bizarrely, I think the site itself actually is about Islamic Insurance.* Why it has links to torrent sites is beyond me.

In any case, it might explain why the only reviews for Clonehunter on IMDB are from countries that do not have a licensing deal for the picture (as of this writing, the UK and the Netherlands.)

In Japanese the name of Clonehunter is


Which I believe is "Terminator 2525"**. I can't find any Japanese reviews online but honestly I wouldn't know where to look. If you happen to read Japanese and find any, hit me up! I've found a lot of places to buy the picture in Japan but no reviews.
*You know that many Christian sects were opposed to insurance at the turn of the last century. It's because buying insurance meant you didn't believe in Providence or some such.
**In my browser that text is seriously messed up. In my editor on Blogger it seems fine. Yeah, I have no idea how my computer handles Japanese text.

Things That Amuse Me Volume II

Via Chance Shirley (I think), a really smart article about the music business in the Wall Street Journal by the lead singer for OK, Go.
I love this post on how to tour with a band. Especially point #13:

  • 13- Driver picks the music.


Actually, I've never done a truck-and-bus tour. I've only toured as a sound mixer for theater (and corporate broadcast) and except for some very ad-hoc situations where there was carpooling to out-of-town, I've only flown and then stayed in single rooms in nice hotels. I know, very luxurious, but that's the only stuff I've done.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Blast from the Past

Pat DuBois, the bass player for Pavlov and the Drooling Dogs send me a picture taken by Sean Dineen of an ancient demo tape of ours (probably these copies were used to send to clubs in order for us to get gigs.) You'll notice the "201" area code which makes this tape about 28 years old or so. Man, tapes were so expensive we had to send these out on "normal" bias cassettes. Plus I love how our old home phone number is hand written by me on the label. 
Here's a funny fact: Tyrannosaurus Mouse does a song that is on this tape. I must have been 18 or maybe 19 when I wrote it. The song is Jabberwocky (using the Lewis Carrol words) and when we do "One two One two through and through" we think about Pat who insisted (rightly) that the whole band accented the quarter notes right there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tidying Some Pencils

There are 378 comments on "Tidying Some Pencils" on The Dullest Blog in the World (and you thought this was the dullest blog in the world.)
Here's an interesting article on updating and auditing your passwords. I just use "123456" -- that's good, right? Well, that and "password". In any case, I'm going to look into LastPass.

Jackets and Amplifiers

I wrote a review of the Celtic Amps Edana on Harmony Central.
Today I spent some time playing it (and my Lil' Dawg Mutt) fairly loud. Not knock-over-the-furniture loud. But fairly loud.
The clean sound on that amp is very nice.

Now that I have a psychedelic jacket, what is the rest of the band going to wear? This is going to be a very difficult conversation when we come to it.

Hot Chicks With Stormtroopers

This is pretty much why the Internet exists, right? Christy Marie is like a professional slave Leia.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


IMDB is just generally a pain in my chops. I've got two movies, with distribution, which I'm not going to be able to get on IMDB unless we submit to one of their "partner festivals" via Withoutabox. Those are Day 2 and Earthkiller. Grrr...

Less IMDB is a John August script which makes some browsers show IMDB pages in a way that... well in the way they should be shown in the first place.

Somehow I've managed to not see both Chopping Mall and The Keep. I don't know how I did that but I did.

Day 2 Deliverables

We have a definite delivery date for Day 2. Well, we have a definite delivery month and that is January of 2011. I guess we should have a screening in January too. I refuse to try to schedule any sort of get-together between now and, say, January 3rd. Because nobody has a reasonable schedule between now and then.
Act 7 fell out of sync. Either I didn't tell Maduka that it was locked and I was mixing it, or he (understandably) wasn't paying any attention to me. Or something else entirely. Something weird and unexplainable. Because honestly, that happens more than you'd like to think it does. UPDATE: of course, it turns out to be weirder than that because the act is in sync but the upload to Vimeo was not. Meh.

You know, you think that you have plenty o'time to finish picture before delivery, but there's always some damned thing that can go wrong. And we haven't even run a QC check on the movie, much less made a dialog continuity script (with all the English dialog and its location in time-code so that the movie can be dubbed or subtitled.) But we can have drive failures, failures at the lab, stupid mistakes in the audio, and missing or weird color-correction. We have, in the past, noticed that we were about to send a movie out with missing scenes. Sheesh.

And I guess we should do a commentary track. We could just bring everyone over and set up a couple microphones and watch the movie. That would be the cheap, dirty way to do it.

No Paws on the Table

As my sister (who took these pictures of Pushkin and my dad) pointed out, there is an explicit "No paws on the kitchen table" rule at my parents' apartment which is routinely ignored by the 12 feet of cats which routinely roam the abode.
Pushkin has a Papal dispensation, however, allowing him to do whatever he likes without even the stern "talking to" the other cats might get.
And, I suppose, arguably there are no paws on the table. Tail, absolutely, chin, rump, flank... but paws might be safely tucked away.
Last night Pushkin fell asleep on my lap. Which as a normal adult cat he'd never done. Sitting on lap for pettings was more his style. But he's getting old and sleeps a lot more now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today in the Pandora Machine

Ironically I'm having the problem with Hulu which is the opposite of what one would intuit. The dang commercials are freezing up when the regular program streams just fine. Unfortunately, Hulu won't let you go ahead and watch the program when the commercials are frozen. I can understand their need for commercials. I just wish that whatever tube they're going through was a bit bigger.
I've been informed by my family's IT department that my father can in fact read my blog. I have sent instructions to mark by blog as "read" so that all posts preceding this one are invisible to him. If he wants to know what his Christmas present(s) is/were/may be he'll have to figure out how to read the entire blog. And that's just not going to happen, no matter how much I tease him about it.
UPDATE: hi Dad.
Here's a sample conversation between me and redacted:
Me: hey that musical project you were working on, there are a couple sync issues.
They: yeah, I know. [The client] re-recorded some vocals because they didn't like the takes.
Me: You mean you shot lip-sync to material which they were going to re-record with different timing?
They: Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
Me (cracking my knuckles):  Do you need me to choke a bitch?
They: No, no. They haven't made their last payment.


I got my Celtic Amplifiers Edana today. It's more beautiful in person than in pictures. Here it is in my ideal setup with the Lil' Dawg Mutt.
This is a quick little recording with this setup -- the amps are turned way down ;-) This is a Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop Custom into an MXR analog delay and thorough a Lehle splitter. The Edana is going to a 12" Celestion Alnico Blue and the Mutt is going to a 10" Weber.
Actually, you hear relatively little of the Mutt in this recording. The mic is an SM57 and we're recording through a Neve 1272 and an Apogee Mini-Me converter.

Darkness is Cheap

Plus he has nice hats.
The deliriously handsome Greg Oliver Bodine is performing his Christmas Carol this year. He's doing the one-man-show at the Workshop Theater Company, not at Theatresource. Last time I saw it I got all sniffly and sobby by the end. It's a fantastic show.

You know the first time I really interacted with Greg I was a total jerkwad to him. I asked if we could borrow his dressing room right at half-hour of his solo show so that Ted Raimi would have a place to dress and try on costumes before we shot Millennium Crisis. Which really is a dick move on my part to make that request. And Greg graciously let us take over his place just before he was to go on.

I thanked Greg at the time but I can't imagine that I thanked him enough. Like you don't have enough to do before a one-man show and now someone is moving into your dressing room? Sheesh.

Go see A Christmas Carol. It'll make you cry. Don't ask if you can use his dressing room beforehand though. I'm the only one allowed to do that.

The iPad

One of the big advantages of your parents not being able to read your blog (unless specifically directed to it) is that one can publish freely about Christmas presents.
My Dad is notoriously difficult to buy for. And I don't know why it took a whole freakin' year, but we finally did a test (using Science™) and found that the iBook reader on an iPad actually gets a font size that's big enough for him to read comfortably (in his words: "I don't even need a magnifying glass!")
The Kindle reader on the iPad seems a bit better to me as the iBook reader expands the space between words in a somewhat unreadable manner when you get up to some big type sizes. Looks like a 36-point type-size is about where my dad needs his text.
As soon as he gets Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy he's not coming out 'till Spring...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Amuseth Me

OK, look, I don't know who Kate Gosselin is but her line on "Sarah Palin's Alaska" (while camping in the rain) is the funniest thing I've heard all day:

"Why would you pretend to be homeless?"

That pretty well sums up my feelings about camping.

(For some reason I think I still have the ur-knowledge of how to select high flat ground for a tent, and dig a draining ditch around it with a trowel. For someone who dislikes spiders as much as I do I think I spent a lot of time camping as a kid.)

Three Cool Cats

From back to front that's Meydl, my dad, and Pushkin. Jeanne took the picture with her iPhone.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Learning New Things

Now, I'm not normally considered a stupid guy. When someone accuses me of being smart though I usually reply that it's not that I'm smart so much as I'm paying attention. So when I don't know something it's probably because I've never run across the information before. And here's something I ain't never run across before.
So here's a question for you. What's the name of the country immediately to the south of the United States? You know the one which shares a border along the Rio Grande (so right, I'm not talking about Cuba).

I'm talking about Mexico.

What is the actual name of the sovereign state of Mexico?

I'm sure I only know one person who would be able to say off the bat what the answer is, and that's my brother-in-law Dave Lewis.

The actual name (in Spanish) is Estados Unidos Mexicanos

In English the name is United Mexican States.

How could I have possibly not known that?

UPDATE: as per Dave's comment below, my childhood friend Todd (being a high-school Spanish teacher) knew the actual name of Mexico. So that's 2 people.

Here's a Notion

OK, the dude on our right is a bit off. But this is something like I think the official Tyrannosaurus Mouse picture should be like.
Now... if I could only grow a mustache...

Betty Ouyang Booyea

At our wrap party we were talking about how many of the actresses we've worked with have disappeared on us -- by going out to LA. Hmm... if they're willing to run that far, maybe we should be a bit paranoid! ;-) In any case, the wonderful Betty Ouyang is one of them. And she sure has been doing a lot of work there.
She's working (or finished) a new picture. They made a "behind the scenes" video of her new movie "Piehead".

EarthWar notion

I do not know what these are other than "Fireball S. G." Presumably that means something to someone. Is that a Japanese anime? A TV show?
Apparently their kits are all sold out.

But for the "dumb" unmanned mech at the beginning of Earthkiller, they look like they might be "easy" to build and operate from inside. Just remember -- guy in black tights makes up for a LOT of potential issues in the joints. Also, the arms wouldn't have to actually work, they could be mounted so high on the body that the operator couldn't work them anyway. A few barrels on a gun and off you go!

Drug Policy

We shoot a lot at my dad's metal shop in Metuchen. Before discovering the joys of Zoloft, drinking was the best way for me to get through the day of directing. I actually direct drunk pretty well. When the damned fog machine is acting up it perturbs me a lot less. In any case, screwdrivers and other fruity cocktails are a regular part of the Pandora Machine experience.
Recently I had this conversation with my father.
My dad says "Is that your bottle of vodka in the refrigerator at the shop?"
"Oh yeah, that probably is."
"You know we don't have alcohol at the shop."
Oops. No. I didn't know that. At the theater we are so not a dry shop. Hell, the place is practically an opium den. For the longest time we gave out beer and wine after shows (for a donation) and would frequently drink hard liquor during the day. There was even a period when vice cops came in (I know, right? No kidding.) And they told us we really needed to have a permit if there was alcohol in a public space so all the whiskey and bourbon got moved into my office for a couple months.
But I should have known better about my dad's shop. Firstwise, it's a metal shop so it's dangerous. Secondly my dad has all his life been a guy who people down on their luck have been able to lean on. In practical terms this means my dad has in the course of his career hired a lot of alcoholics. I mean like "drive the guy to AA meeting, pick him up and bring him home to give him dinner and let him sleep in my old bedroom* so he could get to work the next day" alcoholics.**

Well we in the Pandora Machine have no drug policy. We have a "don't get hurt" policy. Why test people if they have marijuana in their bloodstream if they aren't actually high? And why worry about someone driving a forklift impaired on Jim Beam when they can be perfectly impaired on cold medicine?
So don't be unable to do your job. That's the rule. And if you're an alcoholic, don't drink.
*As a child I would change bedrooms as my older siblings moved out of the house. As they're upwards of 15-years older than me, that process began when I was 4 or 5.
**Fomenting, as it were, my love for Johnny Cash but that's another story altogether.

Vera Cruz

Because Montserrat Mendez told me to, I'm watching Vera Cruz which is free this month on Hulu. That Burt Lancaster is a man's manly man, I'll tell ya. And Mozz is right, Vera Cruz in space could really rock.

I'm Not Mr. Darcy

Do you like Chicago? Do you like style manuals? Then you'll LOVE the Chicago minibook. It's a .pdf. Print it out and give a copy to all your friends for Christmas. (Wait, it doesn't seem to actually work. I wonder if that's part of the style?)

Cornelius is on our left here. I don't look like the dreamy Mr. Darcy.
This is the dude I keep thinking I look like. His name is Cornelius Booth and he played Colonel Fitzwilliam in that recent Pride and Prejudice I like so much. His face is rounder than mine though.