Sunday, February 27, 2011

Color Correction and Needs

I've mentioned this blog before, it's from the Art Director on Moon. He goes into detail about the production and post-production of that picture. This post is on color-correction. Right now I'm in the midst of color-correction quandaries with Earthkiller. I don't know which way to go with the picture. When I'm color-correcting I usually feel that I've gone too far. My producer frequently complains about the amber-and-bronze tones. And I find that I start to get lost by looking at frames and trying to figure out where the skin tone should be.
But the fact is that big-budget Hollywood pictures are frequently colored very radically.
So we're going for more severe CC in Earthkiller. I don't think, however, it's going to be consistent. I think that certain rooms will look a certain way and other rooms are going to look their own way.
Other members of the production team have a different opinion. Whoever it is who actually does the color-correction work will probably be the winner in the color-correction battles that take place deep inside the Pandora Machine.
I need a mech and I need the side panel and door to the lander.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Track Assignments

So, er, I can't figure out the point of a hi-hat track. I mean, when is it that the hi-hat isn't loud enough? Am I missing something here?

Remember that link to John Vestman's site below? I forgot to mention he offers some very interesting advice:
P.S.  For a bigger drum sound, have the drummer hit the cymbals softer...
I'm trying to figure out how we're going to mix this Tyrannosaurus Mouse album. Because I don't know. I would absolutely love to break the album down to 16 tracks and premix the guitars and mult the basses and such. Yes, we have three bass tracks right now.
So how about this:

1.  Kick
2.  Snare
3.  Toms L
4.  Toms R
5.  OH L
6.  OH R
7.  Room L
8.  Room R
9.  Bass
10. Rhythm Guitars L
11. Rhythm Guitars R
12. Keyboards L
13. Keyboards R
14. Vocals L/ instrumental solo L
15. Vocals R/ instrumental solo R


Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm Often Surprised

At how much open-source software I use. From Open Office to Gimp (open-source Photoshop). Inkscape is an open - source Illustrator-like program. And of course Blender is an excellent 3D animation program.

Chipmunk pigs?
The three pieces of software we just haven't gotten away from are Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe AfterEffects, and Magix Samplitude.

Cinefx is an open - source AfterEffects-type application although I haven't gotten it to run and I doubt it's nearly as sophisticated as AE, especially for what we do with AE. The same issue is with FCP and Samplitude. We need to be able to import/export OMF files. We need professional color-correction tools. We need to be able to put effects on segments or "objects" rather than on entire tracks.

Cukisag is your source for cute... and weird

Day 2 Screening

It's happening.
Sunday March 20th at 2pm
The Gibson in Brooklyn

108 Bedford Avenue.
Corner of N. 11th Street.
(between 11th St & 12th St)
BrooklynNY 11211

You and your friends brutally murdered on the mean streets of Gowanus.

Running time is about 90 minutes. Bring guests. 

Three More Things

What your favorite classic rock band says about you. My favorite?
Jethro Tull: You have a favorite rune.
I ordered a Tyrannosaurus Mouse T-shirt from The dark T-shirts are under $12 with shipping. That's a pretty darn good price. The idea is that you can resell the T-shirts with a markup. Unlike Spreadshirt or those sorts of companies you can't set up a "store" that people can click on widgets and automatically buy from your website. That's just not what they do. They do have a relatively limited selection of colors. When I get the shirt I'll tell you what I think of it.

Apparently this imaginary band's mission statement came to the Queen of Mars in a dream.

Your three things from the Mouse today

Motu makes Electric Keys -- a library of virtual electric pianos and such.
I just ordered ten Tyrannosaurus Mouse plates from Amplates.
Samplitude has an interview with John Vestman about mastering with stems. Our mastering engineer, Alan Douches of West Westside Music just hates mastering from stems. I have to say I agree with him. It's better to get the mix to not suck before you go to mastering. Ooh. Wait. That was a really catty thing for me to say.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beep It

Via Chance Shirley, the BeepIt. That's a $35 Theremin-like thingy.
I got some spam mail from BMI about BMI Live (I'm a BMI writer). Presumably you can get paid for performing your songs even in small venues. I can't imagine that the royalties are more than a couple cents per song at a bar in New York but hey, we'll be earning royalties.


It's funny, there are a lot of things I don't like doing. Writing is one of them. Scheduling is another. But I've finally boarded Robot War, or whatever we're calling 1101. And I can't complain because it's better than having a real job. But it sure would be nice to have an AD sitting around who could do this instead.
And if miniature baby elephants had wings then... er... well I guess miniature baby elephants do have wings. So... this is one of those "I can't complain but sometimes I still do" things. So I can't complain.
We're still bouncing ideas back-and-forth on this picture. But we're nigh on ready to shoot it. And you know, I was reading through it today (and deleting accidental bits of dialog where someone who'd been killed two scenes previous had a line or two) and it's a good movie.
It would be awesome if we could do 4 3-day weeks on it. We'll see what we can get. My intent is to have this picture shot and have some decent CGI finished by Cannes in May.
Source Code is made by the same guy who made Moon. It's funny because I've been watching the last bit of Caprica's first season which is also about a terror bombing about a train. When I say "funny" I don't mean funny funny... I mean... nevermind.


The musical version of Predator is really pretty cool.
If it bleeds we can kill it:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I kind of have this rule that interns aren't worth what you don't pay them. Of course, that's ironic coming from a producer who doesn't pay anyone anything. But we tend to get professionals who just like us. Or who like the free flow of hookers and cocaine from our office.
Wait. I'm getting a message from my co-producer. Uh. Uh-huh.
OK, unfortunately the hookers and blow have been all used up. Apparently the writers were here earlier today. Sorry about that, folks. You don't mind lighting this scene, do you? It'll look good on your reel...
Here's a funny fact. Interns are basically illegal.

I haven't finished the rewrites on Robot War. I must finish them this weekend so we can schedule the shoot. UPDATE: I finished my rewrites and David Frey made (again) smart suggestions which will change our heroine's motivation and also the action scene at the very end.

I've just learned that we need to deliver Earthkiller two weeks earlier than I'd expected. So I'm going to get on top of that.

The HD Hero camera is kind of cool. You can shoot underwater with it. My buddy Blair just got his. They're cheap too -- $269 or so. Sure, they only shoot 30 and 60p. And they only have one focal length and fstop. But they're also kind of awesome.

Here is an FAQ about Samplitude. You'll notice that like all us Samplitude users, the FAQ casually mentions that Samplitude is the best audio editing program. Like there's no argument about that. Because there isn't.

From, via Chance.


The Bloggess tells you to buy jewelry from this Etsy store, Sandrandan Jewelry. Mindlessly do what the Bloggess says. Use the code "BLOGGESS" at checkout to get some sort of percentage off or something.
On Twitter I've been trying to keep new people from following me. Because let's face it, if you weren't following me in the first couple months I started Twittering, then I don't know you and you don't actually care what I tweet about. Unfortunately this has made the quality of my tweets, well, plummet. Right now I'm on a miniature baby elephant kick where I pretend that miniature baby elephants are all around me and doing miniature baby elephant things. Right. Exactly.


You know, every time I send my band an email they basically ignore me. I think they listen to Ethan, because he can encourage people to show up at rehearsals and things. But when I send out an email I can only imagine that the collective response is "WTF is Drew saying?" and then immediately dump the email in trash.
Which doesn't, however, keep me from thinking or saying absurd things.
Lately I've been wondering what sort of cover songs we might do if we ever had to do a really long set.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money (or Werewolves of London, either way)
Heaven on Their Minds from "Jesus Christ Superstar"

In Between Movies

I've had some conversations this week about the movie business. Usually they're depressed and unhappy conversations fueled by alcohol and a clear disregard for reality and getting enough sleep.
Here's the reality as far as we know it:

  • Distributors are still looking for "creature features". Big monsters like "The Host" are a winner. If you can make a "The Host" - type movie you're in for the win. I mean, if you can make it cheaply.
  • Distributors are looking for disaster movies. They loves 'em. Big outdoor destruction. That's what they want.
  • There's still the possibility of television. Personally I don't know how to market to television. The Texas lawman and the vampire series still sounds like a great idea to me. We'll have to figure out how to make that.

Furthermore, our pals at the Asylum tell us how to pitch movies to them. Note that is just a good rule for pitches (but you should also think about creature features and disaster movies):
So, how can you write for The Asylum? Well, if you’ve got an interesting take on a mockbuster for a studio movie that is coming out in six to twelve months, that isn’t a remake, sequel, or based on an old television series (good luck); we might read that. Or if you happen to know the buyers at Netflix or Redbox or Comcast and can ask them what types of movies they need, we’ll listen to that pitch.

Notes from the planet Xeglog 3

Foxwell has to have taken Rathbone's robot actuator (done).
Foxwell has to have taken the EMP from Bellware (done).
A standard business card is 3.5" by 2" or 7 square inches. At 1.35 per square inch that's $9.45 a piece for an amp plate. Plus setup and shipping.
I can't believe there's no nudity in this picture. What's happening to me?

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am Old

So last night I'm standing on the train, reading my book, and a woman in her 30's jumped up out of her seat to offer it to me -- like I'm old and frail and somehow deserved her seat.
I must have aged suddenly.
Maybe I'm so fat she just thought I was pregnant.
Maybe I have the look of the infirm. Or incompetent. Maybe I looked drunk. I mean, I had to argue with her ("No, it's OK, I'm getting off at the next stop." "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm fine, thank you.")
What happened?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Today I Skyped in on a special commentary track for Chance Shirley's brilliant Interplanetary. I know, what am I doing on the commentary track of Chance's movie? Basically I'm interviewing him, tricking him into telling me his secrets.
This also means that I own a complete copy of Interplanetary. Yes, it doesn't even come out for a month! Do I feel insufferably cool because of that fact?
Yes, yes I do.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Musical Theft

I was playing a bit of the Mouseverture for Ken Coughlin and he played along with the descending chromatic section on guitar and I thought "Hey, I should steal that."
So I did... er... I tried to. I played the new guitar part a couple days later and it's more the idea of the notion of what Ken played. I'm too stupid to actually be able to steal a musical idea. Lord knows I tried.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


They: At work my boss told me to go home and get some sleep.
We: That sounds like me.
They: Yeah, but you're not quite so abrasive.
We: I'll take that as a compliment.
They: No.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Notes I'm Not Even Sure That *I* Understand

Guitar line col bass in One Last Drink? (I've done this twice, once with the Blattocaster and once with the Les Paul. I'm not sure what I think of this idea.)
Additional guitar line in Mouseverture? (That's been done. See post above.)
Add rhythm guitar for Jabberwocky (I added one but it needs to be done again. At least one more time).
Breath at top of Jabberwocky (taken care of).
Check flanging in vocal of Jabberwocky (that was probably a result of a poorly understood second vocal track I think this is fixed).

Maybe we should make a whole album like Frampton's "Do You Feel Like I Do?"


I Am Such a Wuss

Today I had a dentist appointment to replace a crown that had a "screw loose". That's right, I literally had a screw loose in my head. And I canceled everything else I had to do today. And I planned to go to my parents' afterwards and curl up in a ball with a couple cats and feel sorry for myself. 
Of course, not only did the dentist not give me any Novocaine, I didn't need any. Why would I? There's no nerve in that part of my jaw anymore. So it was no big deal. 
Still. I didn't do any work.

Monday, February 14, 2011


So Vinnie borrowed my keys. And then promptly gave them to DeLisa.
Nobody gave them back to me.

DeLisa has attempted to mollify me with pictures of dogs.
It worked.

Lady Gaga

The Grammies. And the Superbowl.

OK, so for Lady Gaga, here are my notes: Have a dancer take your microphone when you're leaving the egg or when you go up and down stairs. Any time you don't need the microphone to sing in or as a prop, make someone else carry it.
Have a safety person walk you up the stairs. Don't worry, you'll look elegant.

Now you're asking yourself: why is the mix for Lady Gaga just fine when the mixes at the Superbowl were so awful? Well that's because experience shows. And they only started doing those halftime shows at Superbowl games a couple weeks ago and...
OK, there's no good reason.
Factoid one:
I can't imagine that the lead vocal you hear on that Lady Gaga performance is entirely Lady Gaga live. Because she's dancing a lot. Her dancers are winded. And you have about zero breath and pitch control when you're that winded.
That being said, we can imagine that a lot of the Superbowl Black Eyed Peas performance was mostly done with live vocal microphones. A little (or, at times, a lot) of autotune goes a long way.!5759420/lady-gaga-hatches-from-her-egg-to-debut-born-this-way-at-the-grammys
Lady Gaga's performance could be helped with a dancer or two giving her a hand to pick her up. Walk her up and down stairs, open her egg, take her microphone from her when it's holding her back aesthetically. Someone like the girl who gives David Byrne his guitar in Stop Making Sense.

The Superbowl? You didn't have a professional mixing the Superbowl. Wherever they were it was TOO LOUD IN THE CONTROL ROOM. Those levels have to be way down. And don't let anyone talk to you on the IC either. When you mix too loud you just can never "seat" the vocal into the music minus tracks.


Today's Doings

  • Managing a flurry of creative emails about the storyline of the third act of Robot War.
  • Sent a copy of Day 2 via FedEx to a distributor who might look at it and try to get it to Blockbuster. I'm afeared that we were too late about getting a screener to people to think of it as a mockbuster of Battle: Los Angeles.

  • Working on the edit to the first act of Earthkiller. Added a minute. 
  • Created the "credit block" which goes to our distributor for the DVD covers, etc.
All in all, better than real life.

    Less is Better

    You know that when the guitar player finds his attention wandering during a guitar solo, that the solo in question probably needs some help.
    In our case, it probably needs to be excised altogether.
    And that's just what I've done to one of the many, many solos in the Mouseverture. I chopped another minute out of the middle of the song. Don't worry, it was during the part that dragged. If you don't know what that part is, you'll not notice that it's gone, yet you'll feel the song is just better somehow.
    I promise.

    Why Can't All Reviewers Write Like This?

    From a review of the Neo-Futurists' Laika Dog in Space.

    People who would like the show are people who like dogs and people who like space and people who like borscht.

    That's really all you need to know, isn't it?

    Happy Valentines Day!

    Notes of Clarification

    The politics need to be simple. Humans battling A.I.'s is simple. We just have to figure out how they get into this Facility -- why isn't it better guarded by robots? 
    This might be easy. Maybe the A.I. in Yonkers (Alice) made a deal with the humans in the Free Union to build robots for them. So they Union sent scientists to Alice in order to build an army of the Yurra-type robots. But Alice was secretly trying to build a Foxwell-type robot in order to place her mind so that she could escape the Facility.
    When she couldn't make a Foxwell variant, she killed the humans in order to get Foxwell to come to her

    Sadie Eden is hot.
    I'm thinking that the android variants are like the way chips work now. You keep making chips and some of them are naturally faster at lower voltages than others. With the androids they just keep coming out different rather than faster or slower. 

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    David Frey, Hero of the People

    Dollygrippery talks about dollies and sound. Personally, I think that the grip department should carry its own little rugs and such to set the dolly on.
    The issue he talks about never hearing what the set actually sounds like 'till the first take is one that comes up all the dang time. Sets are noisy 'till you call "roll sound".

    The Rostronics 6-banger florescent light bank looks very cool. If it were up to me, all light on a movie would come from either sunlight or lights built into the set. But sometimes you just need a big ol' pile of light. This is a link which originally came from Chance but I've just been looking at it, keeping that tab open on my computer. For months.

    Our man on 8th Street, David Frey, broke the third act of "1101". Ironically, in the email he sent which broke it, he said it would work the way I'd originally ended it at page 60. But he suggested we "Predator" the movie a bit more. So we're moving the Big Bad to the very end to get killed.

    Frederick Leighton.

    I'm feeling Boared.

    Ha! I slay me.

    Royalty-free is a royalty-free music house. I don't know why I have that link open on my computer but now it's in this blog.
    Composer John Mackey on self-publishing music.
    Here's an article about indy music labels in NYC in 2007.
    Lansing-Dreiden is, or was, on one of those labels. Kemado.
    There's also Nublu.

    The Windup Girl

    So I just finished Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and it's pretty brilliant.
    I'm reading the acknowledgments and right up there at the top is a thanks to Daniel Spector.
    Well there's only one Daniel Spector that I'd ever heard of and he was a childhood friend of mine from about the 7th or 8th grade through 10th grade (when he moved to California.)

    And I checked with Daniel (the Internet lets old school chums get back in touch you know) and indeed, it is he who is thanked.

    I have a very specific and formative memory of Daniel Spector. He and I would have been about 11? 12 maybe? And we were in the band room in middle school sitting next to one another. We were both playing brass instruments, Daniel seems to think that by that point I was playing a Sousaphone although I could very well have been on valve trombone.
    And Daniel leaned over to say something conspiratorial to me, as 12-year-olds often to. And doing so he put his arm around me so he could lean in.
    And I specifically remember at the time thinking "That's nice, he has nothing against putting an arm around a friend. He's not afraid of this while listening to whatever he was saying." And it felt nice and comfortable. And, of course, no sooner had I thought that when some jerkwad immediately called us (or possibly just him, I don't remember) "fag".

    And Daniel's reaction to it, in my memory and my feeling at the time, was exemplary. I don't know whether he flipped the other kid off, or just waved his hand in disgust and irritation, but he didn't let the jerky kid affect him.
    At the time, and even now, it seemed to me like a very brave thing to do: to resist the merciless thought control of public opinion just to be human.
    It was formative because I learned that there were some people who could be your friend and not be deathly concerned about how your friendship was perceived by other people. And that there's simply no good reason boys can't put their arms around one another.

    I don't Look Happy

    Playing with Pizap to see what I'd look like with hair on my face. Not terribly attractive as it turns out. Also I look like a Hollywood version of a Honduran drug lord.

    This one looks the most realistic.

    If I had any kind of rap career this is where I'd be.

    Here I look ancient.
     Below are different mustache colors.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    The Shriven

    Brian Schiavo's The Shriven is available for preorder at Amazon.

    The movie is also available in Japan.

    Any Japanese speakers out there wanna tell me what the cover art says?

    Again, the Japanese doing great cover art.

    According to Google Translate, which I trust about as far as I can throw it, the Japanese title is "Whisper of the Parasite Species XXXX" or some such. Which isn't a bad title, honestly.

     The distributor is apparently

    Keeping You Up-to-Date

    Rather than wasting Bandcamp's drive space with slightly newer and different versions of mixes, I'm just going to keep updating the mixes here. Remember that you can't see the widgets in an RSS reader.


    One Last Drink

    Ice Maiden



    Narwal Song

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    To Waste Much of Your Time

    If you're like me, and if you're reading this blog you're probably enough like me for the analogy to hold, then you're going to spend the next 140 minutes of your life watching this documentary on Star Wars.
    You get to see deleted scenes. Hear David Prowse perform the dialog of Darth Vader.
    Koo Stark was considered for Princess Leia.


    At one point Ethan had mentioned that he wished that steampunk weren't quite so popular because that would tend to be the aesthetic direction he would naturally go in.

    To me, a lot of steampunk is just "too much". The aesthetic is overwhelmed by the "stuff". Steampunk becomes kind of a Mannerist parody of itself.

    What I'm thinking is that we want to do more of a Victorian/Edwardian psychedelia vibe. Although I do have a penchant for old microphones.

    The Third Solution

    So we have this screenplay for Robot War. And I went in with what Nat Cassidy thinks of as a class of 2nd graders to do a rewrite on the screenplay he and David Ian Lee wrote. And I very damaged the original B story in the screenplay.
    Steampunk Pictures, Images and Photos
    But we have a very tight first and second acts. What we're not happy with is the 3rd act. Now the fact is that a 3rd act problem is usually a 1st act problem. So we're going to fix that. By the end of the weekend. And then we can break down the script and start scheduling the darn thing.
    Now we have the original solution to the movie which David and Nat wrote. We have the 2nd ("bad") solution which I wrote. And we're waiting for the 3rd solution which fixes everything and suddenly everything makes sense. Again.

    How To Start a Band

    Bergen Paradis
    [Explore] 2011.02.09
    A prophylactic measure against stupidity.
    1 - To get the name of your band, go to Wikipedia and hit “random” or click here. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

    2 - To get your album title, go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations" or click here. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your album.

    3 - For your album cover photo, go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click here. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.,_Bergen

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Your Three Things from the Pandora Machine Today

    Betty Ouyang, whose career has really taken off since she got the hell away from us moved to LA, is in another feature. This one is in Chinese language and is called A Girl Named Magic. She says this is her first Chinese language film but if you'll recall the minutia of detail in the movie Pandora Machine she did curse in Chinese just before being brutally murdered by an Austrian robot. Or wait, now I don't even know the plot of my own movie. Who killed her? That was Sikorski, right?

    Gorgeous Machines is a retro groovy act. Good as film music too! Just go and groove out. Or, contact them about using the music in your film.

    If I haven't been posting the beat sheet calculator enough, here it is again. I wish they'd just integrate the thing into Celtx. I bet there's a way to do that.

    Notes on Loudness and Mouses

    You know, as much as I complain about people trying to regulate the "loudness wars", I do think that we're going to tend to want to keep the brick-wall limiting on the Tyrannosaurus Mouse record to a minimum.
    The drums will be louder and bigger than the majority of records made in the early '70's. But we're certainly not going for that new-rock monster wall of sound wall sound.

    And really, I'd love to look at how compressed the Beatles were. Because on my iPod the "loudness" of late Beatles records is pretty freakin' loud.

    Notes only I will understand:

    3:00 gtr flub
    9:20 go ahead and clean the guitar up here
    11:50 gtr noise before entrance

    Has the noisiest vocal tracks. Especially that first line.
    "Lash me to the mast" is also noisy.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Eleven Oh One

    David Ian Lee & Nat Cassidy have written the screenplay for the next Pandora Machine film. The present title is "Robot War" and the job number is "1101".

    The project has a green light. We are a "go" on it.

    I want to start by the Ides of March.

    In a future where the Earth is run by warring Artificial Intelligence computers, Foxwell is an expert robot hunter. Sent on a mission to rescue an android, she and her team of mercenaries find themselves up against a bigger threat and have to trust the dangerous android to help them fight an evil A.I. and her robot army.

    We keep the most current screenplay here.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Shooting Ratios

    I'm shooting more than an hour a day on a feature. That's the equivalent of 7-10 rolls of film. That's what I figure. I dunno.
    The new thing over the next several years is going to be the average levels of (especially) TV shows. Nobody seems to know what the average level of a program really means but Dolby has an expensive box to measure it.
    My whole thing is that I don't know how long we're talking about when we say "average". How long should we be measuring RMS to determine the average level? Peak levels I got. Never go above 0dBfs. Or in the world of broadcast then maybe -12dBfs or whatever.
    Joe Chapman is responsible for sending me this image.
    Movies you may have missed is a very amusing blog/review/'cast thing.

    The Second Day

    Hopefully our distributor won't be yelling at us. We told him we'd get Day 2 out to him last week and we found some devastating errors in both picture and audio which we had to fix before sending to the lab (at least we didn't find them after sending the picture to the lab.)
    Now we can look back on the movie and see it with a bit of disinterest and distance.
    And by that I mean we're not terrified that we'll see traffic in the background of shots which supposedly take place in the apocalyptic future. Nor will there be random audio dropouts.
    To be kind, the movie starts somewhat old-fashioned in that it takes a couple reels to build up. And I went to a lot of trouble to try to make the opening "bang" just right. So maybe it's a tad slow to start. You know, just like the 1970's.


    A neat thing about Bandcamp is that you can use it like you used to use MySpace. You'd see that friends of yours, or friends of friends, were fans of some band and then you'd immediately go and listen to the band yourself.
    With Bandcamp you don't have "friends". It's simply a brilliant back-end to your band's website and such. But you can surf around on Bandcamp.
    That's how I found this Portishead-ish German outfit called Soleil. I expect to hear them on SomaFM soon.

    What I Want to See

    In the near future, zombies and werewolves and vampires are real (and licensed by the government). But when a paranormal creature goes rogue, regular law enforcement isn't equipped to deal with the problem. So the government creates a special law enforcement agency to deal with them when they get out of line.
    The trick is that you can't be "trained" to detect vampires and werewolves, it's an innate ability. So people from all walks of life become Special U.S. Marshals under a Presidential Order.
    One man, a former Texas Sheriff, is the only law enforcement professional in the new Special Marshals. He has the best vampire arrest record in the country.
    And he's just been given a new partner. And she's a vampire.

    See? It's a TV series. And because the monster of the week can be virtually any paranormal creature, it can be as romantic or icky as you want. Some of the monsters will be good. Some will be informants. It'll be like Law & Order only with vampires.


    I finally saw Pontypool last night. OK, you could make some arguments that it falls apart a bit at the end. And I'll tell ya, the thing at the very very very end? After the credits? I have no idea what that was.
    What I was impressed with, what is brilliant, is how they managed to make this movie watchable. No, I'm not kidding. Here's the pitch:
    "It's a zombie picture, but we spend the entire time inside a radio station -- you know, because radio stations are so photogenic. Anyway, we never really see more than a couple zombies even though there's a zombie uprising -- destroying houses, medical buildings, all kinds of stuff like that. Instead, we just hear about the holocaust from people who call into the radio station. We don't see them hardly at all!"
    As a producer I'd just say "Uh. No."
    But it's great at being a movie. I'm an hour into the movie when I realize that I haven't seen a single zombie yet. And we're gripped in the middle of a zombie holocaust. The way people go zombie is beautifully horrific. There's this amazing moment where a girl is in the late stage before she starts killing and she's just standing in the half light emitting a single note from her voice which is seriously one of the creepiest things in any movie.
    Indeed, there is a radio play of the book too.

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    Some notes before I am done

    Foxwell makes everyone dump their mods before they go in. That way nobody will be affected if the EMP failsafe goes off.
    They should have more like 12 hours rather than 22.

    They need to go back in order to kill the alien queen A.I. that built the nastybots. Foxwell ends up in a room full of dormant nastybots. The nastybots then become un-dormant.

    I Swear I'm Going to Finish This Rewrite Today

    So far my favorite line from this alien robot holocaust picture is:

    "FOXWELL, looking like four newly discovered varieties of shit, crawls out from under some rubble." 

    Repo Men

    So I'm a very very bad science fiction movie director. You'd think I'd watch every sci-fi movie as soon as it comes out. But I don't. In fact, I hadn't seen Repo Men 'till today. I'll tell you one thing. Repo Man was much better. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations. This wasn't the best sequel.
    Actually, Repo Men had a lot of potential. The theatrical version clocks in at 1:53 or some ridiculous time like that. You're asking yourself "did the movie have to be that long?" And no, the movie could have been 45 minutes shorter.
    There were two "B" stories. You really gotta pick one and go with it. Me? I would have axed the wife and child subplot. They actually have zero impact on the story. Yes, I watched the movie 'till the very end. There was no need for them.
    OK. So you got a guy who repossesses human organs for a living. So he's a "repo man" for hearts, lungs, what-have-you. What should be happening on page 20? We all know what happens on page 20. He becomes a runner. Oops. Sorry, I thought we were in Logan's Run for a moment there. What I meant was he gets an artificial heart which he can't make the payments on.
    OK -- but we're like 40 minutes into the damn movie by the time that happens. And I'm not even listing that plot point as a "spoiler" because honestly, if you can't figure out that's what was going to happen in the movie you have to go back to movie watching school. Plus, it's on the DVD box.
    But the plot went off in a lot of different, and unresolved, directions. There was even a moment where the big, bad, evil, boss suggested that the two main Repo Men go... freelance? Or something. So that they're hunting down the underground of people who have "past due" organs in their bodies and are trying to escape to somewhere their organs can't be repossessed. No no no no no. Do not have spurious dialog in your movie. Just don't. And keep the movie on track. That concept went nowhere. Maybe it was from an earlier draft of the screenplay. But the shooting screenplay needed about 50 pages ripped out of it.
    Somebody needs Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet calculator. And I'd say the writers, the director, the editor, and most of all the damn producers of this movie are the ones who need it.
    Don't get me started on the music choices.
    Furthermore, why does he get into a knife fight with a dozen dudes when he has two perfectly serviceable sidearms sitting on the floor that he has to step over to get into the knife fight?

    Sunday, February 06, 2011

    Things Three

    1. Don't think I'm not adding tape and tube amp hiss under the entire album. Because I am.
    2. Bandcamp is awesome.
    3. I made some changes to make One Last Drink better. Unfortunately I played the Hammond solo in it. That must be cured by Arie playing the Hammond solo.
    4. (Yeah, I added this later) I'm not that happy with the first guitar solo (the one after the first verse). And yeah, those guitars are noisy. It's a tad annoying to hear the noise come in before the first note of a section.
    The first guitar is too loud and compressed in this mix. By "first guitar" I mean the first one I recorded with the rhythm tracks. Don't worry, I know which one I'm talking about. I did fix one bit of overplayed sloppiness in the guitar solo before the keyboard solo and I feel much better about that.*
    5. Samplitude has simply amazing effects in it. Built-in there are the nicest tape-like compressors, 1176-type compressors, and big ol' fat Fairchild-esque compressors as well as tube channel strips. I'll admit a liking for those Waves SSL buss compressors, but the effects in Samplitude are nice.
    6. In the Mouseverture in the top 16 bars there's a bit where Ethan and Lou do fills at the same time and then the next phrase neither of them fills. I say move Ethan's fill to the hole in Lou's fill and everything will sound deliberate and nobody will even know unless they read this blog.**
    7. Also, I'm still under the impression that the 2nd Em-G guitar solo should simply be excised as a section. I certainly don't play anything interesting in it, that's for sure.***

    *This has been fixed.
    **This has been fixed in version 2.01
    ***This was fixed violently in version 2.02. I actually chopped out a Em-G part and the first chromatic thing (the chromatic part before the keyboard triplets). It's kind of a big change but I think it makes the song betterized.

    Latest versions of things

    If you've got 14 minutes and 46 seconds of your life you never want back*, here's the latest version of the Mouseverture.
    I think that the thing we need to do to really make this song pop out is to change the size of the apparent room -- tighten up to a very small room in some sections and then go to an enormous stage at other times. That's what I think.
    Ice Maiden is only seven minutes and twenty-nine seconds. I think I have to make the vocal line "your pale blue eyes" better. I'm sure I've done it a bunch of times. I'll just keep doing it... er... different. Somehow.**

    Note that you can't see the Bandcamp widgets in an RSS reader. So click through and listen to some music.
    If you want to spend a whole bunch of money on a smoking cap, Antique Arts has a beautiful one. We're talking almost five bills, though.

    *Lookit that, we're down to 13:07
    **As I go through things I discover what sort of things I've already changed. And apparently I took that note already. I think. Anyway, that line doesn't bother me as much anymore.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011


    My computer took this picture of me.
    Synergy is a cross-platform software KVM - switch. It'll run across Windows, Linux, OSX. I've read some reviews and it seems pretty cool. It's certainly something we could use in the Pandora Machine.

    The Second Street Bakery in Jersey City is a place my evil landlord told me about. Apparently there are sticky buns to be had.