Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Coming in from the cold

I am a spy. A so-called "sleeper agent" for the planet Kargonon-6. I was put in place 30 earth-years ago to report on your technology.
I'm considered a bit of an embarrassment in the intel field. The people I work for have interstellar travel and what have you guys got? Velcro. Cat videos. Actually the cat videos are quite popular on Kargonon-6. But that's not the point. I'm supposed to ship technology back to Kargonon-6 and you guys just don't have anything interesting. I'm really looking forward to the custom - built human shells our minds can be placed into. 20 year-old athletes with titanium skeletons and the ability to shut off pain. I wanted to report back "They've got the bio-tech to do that!"
Instead all I got in the iPad II.
That's not technology. Force fields are freakin' technology. Warp drives. You know, that sort of thing.
Make some of this stuff so I'm not sending my employers the latest copy of Wired and an apology.


So the good news is that we've gotten a whole bunch of small sales from a whole bunch of territories. The bad news is we have to actually finish the movies! ;-) Ha!
Virginia Logan as Foxwell in Android Insurrection.
Actually, we've locked Act 1 of Earthkiller (including visual effects, but not color-correction) and we're going to start going gang-busters locking other acts.
Then we'll be onto editing Android Insurrection.
Also, sitting here on my desktop is what is potentially a fantastic script which has so far been written by Nat Cassidy and me. It needs another week of work because we changed up the bones of the story structure. Nat is doing some ridiculous thing called "theater" so he can't work on it any more. Maybe I'll work on it while mixing Earthkiller.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Short Films

Short films are usually too long. This one is kinda perfect. It's not entirely un-misogynist. But it has Nazis!
Ollie Klublershturf vs. The Nazis


Beware Russian Bride Scams

There are a number of ways you can tell if your future "bride" is scamming you for money for her supposed "visa" or plane tickets. You can tell from her correspondence. Does she say "I love you" too quickly? Has she had such a hard - knock life that you want to send her money because you feel sorry for her? But the most important thing you can tell if your future "wife" has no real interest in you at all:

  • she loves eating fruit salad;  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The News From Cannes

So, the Asylum says they just had their best Cannes ever.

Actually, we did too. We sold Clonehunter, Battle:NY Day 2, Earthkiller, and Android Insurrection. And we sold to many markets we've never sold before. Of course, we have to finish half those movies. Ahem.

So although my cash situation is what we might call "dire", we do actually have some sales coming up. To which I say "whew".

But they at the Asylum have more to say. About IMDB:
We’ve just returned from the Cannes, where we had our best market ever in the history of The Asylum (sorry, haters, we’re set for the next couple years…). But we also heard a disturbing bit of news from some of our friends who were also selling movies: Apparently, some Buyers were coming to meetings armed with IMDB ratings for the films they were considering.
Personally, I make movies to impress my friends. That's the secret. I'm just trying to impress fellow-filmmakers with what I did and how little I had to work with to do it. Shockingly, I'm not lying.
Two critically important prop-making posts:
Making old-fashioned prop microphones
Making sci-fi armor
Read and memorize. And then make me a whole lot of each!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wooden Ships

So, at some point, Ethan remarked that my guitar tone sounded "very good" and that it reminded him of Stephen Stills' sound in "Wooden Ships."
This is amongst the highest compliments a guitar player could ever receive.
And the fact is that I'm very proud of the clean guitar parts on the Mouseverture and the Narwhal Song.
Nowadays when we're trying to figure out how we're going to actually play live, I wonder how I'm going to deal with my guitar rig.
And the fact is that I just can't get that sound from my Peavey Vyper modelling amplifier. I can get it in spades from my Lil' Dawg "Mutt" (jump the channels and turn the right channel all the way down, neck pickup on the Les Paul Custom.)

Now I have heard that Stephen Stills himself used a blonde Bassman. And he mostly used Gretch guitars with their somewhat unusual electronics. But I'm not getting that sound out of the JTM-45 clone by Celtic I have. The big, what I would call "compressed" sound is just coming from the Mutt. And it does sound big.
Remember when I talked about that fantastic sounding Blankenship? The Mutt gives that to me -- especially with the 10" Weber.
Sigh. I didn't want to have to carry these exotic tube amps on the road -- it's going to make my load-in more difficult. And I'll certainly need an assistant to change settings in songs and such. Hoo boy.
Protecting the amps and the speaker cabinet from getting all scratched up will be a pain. The cases will weigh more than the amps.

Jonathan Coulton is a Snuggie

You know, Jonathan Coulton presumably made half a million dollars gross last year. I wrote a whole post with links and everything but it seems to have disappeared. So, imagine if you will, an elegant and scholarly dissertation on Jonathan Coulton's career and business model.


"The Lounge Lizards recorded nine albums and played in Europe and Japan to packed houses. In the mid-nineties, they made thirty-five thousand dollars a week. But their albums usually sold only about fifty thousand copies."
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/16/100816fa_fact_friend#ixzz1NVyHucth

When Someone Writes My Bio

When someone writes my biography, or my obituary, I don't care -- I just want this line in it:

"feeling that New York had become unsafe, and that his friends were too timid to take a stand on his behalf—decamped to Grenada for two weeks with a woman he’d originally met on MySpace."

Cats, Gold, and Light

This video of a cat actually manages to get weirder. No, I mean it even gets weirder after that. No, shockingly, it has somewhere to go that's weirder.

So Roger Ebert is gettin' all up in the business of theater owners using 3D projectors to show 2D movies. If the light levels are wrong, doesn't that mean that these theaters can't be THX certified? Surely THX has a digital cinema standard, I mean George Lucas was the one who insisted they put in digital projectors, right?

Our own Stacy Raymond is in the news! (And not for double homicide, although she killed a lot of people in Earthkiller.)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Business News

3net is a new Sony/Imax/Discovery channel. Word on the street is they're looking for 3D programming.
It may take time to assess this Cannes, but so far all signs indicate a slight return to the robust activity and old time glamour of past events.
Oh, please heaven let that be true. Let pre-sales be back up. Here's a British buyer's take on Cannes.
Yet it is also the frenzied feeding ground for the unscrupulous and untalented, with titles as unpromising as Sand SharkGhetta'Life and Juan of the Dead.
Those are, of course, the kinds of pictures we make.

Our sales rep is at Cannes. Well, he's probably on his way home right now. We won't really know what sort of sales or interest we may have gotten as the sales themselves typically come through at random times -- after all the sales are on the buyer's schedule, not ours.
Interestingly, the big studios are finding what we find to be true. Make a property which can be marketed based on another property (what The Asylum calls "mockbusters" are really what the big studios do just with their own material). Don't pay much for stars, pay much for visual effects.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Irish Money

Blinky is a short movie about a nice little robot. There are some gratuitous shots of a robot in the rain. Robots robot robots.

It's a pretty smart flick. Like most shorts it's about 1/3 too long. And there are a whole bunch of roto-out-the-robot shots in it which are super clean. Somebody spent money on post. Rebecca Kush turned me onto it. Irish Film Board helped pay for it.

It's not creepy to have a Stana Katic crush, is it? No? OK, cool.

Alien Uprising on Amazon

Check it out, Alien Uprising on demand on Amazon. I'm guessing that link only works in North America. We don't actually make any more money if you download it or watch it online because our North American sale was a buy-out. But it's pretty cool that it's on there, no?

Wrapping Out

Here are a couple pictures from Rebecca Kush's Blackberry when we wrapped out of the location on Sunday.
We wrapped a whole bunch of characters all at once.

Party Van

Rebecca Kush took some pictures in the van on the way home from location on the last day of shooting Android Insurrection.
Tom sniffs my head. I'm scootched down because he's giving me the willies.
On the way home, the Queen of Mars is driving behind us with Maduka Steady and Juanita Arias. So once we got into slow traffic David and Tom decided to moon them. Minutes later we got a text that the driver had hysterical blindness.

The last of the stills

Here are the last bunch of pictures from Libby Csulik from the set of Android Insurrection. I'm so confused and beflustered right now that I have no idea what day these are from. Harbls.

Sarah-Doe Osborne as Yurra-1 hisses at an irksome human.

Joe Chapman points at an unnervingly happy Nat Cassidy with the slate.

Virginia Logan's new head shot.

Sarah-Doe Osborne as Yurra-1 in Android Insurrection.

The Queen of Mars is amused.

Time to shoot the robots.

Time to relax and have a smoke after shooting the robots.


More pictures of Alien Intervention. Er. Android Insurrection. I'm getting punchy.
The gang looks at playback. I have no idea what I'm doing there on camera left. Talking to Sarah-Doe?

Joe Chapman built this set, and he'll sail her to the bottom of the sea if he has to.

Jiah Peck looks on while David Ian Lee works a scene with Virginia Logan. 

David Ian Lee and Virginia Logan with her EMP grenade.

Virginia Logan and Henry Maduka Steady.

Makin' a movie here with gratuitous lighting.

Why isn't Maduka Steady in this movie? I have no idea.

That's me shooting through the ceiling of the set.

Drew shoots Sarah-Doe Osborne and Virginia Logan.

David Ian Lee wonders "What happened to the screenplay I wrote? I don't remember any of these scenes."

Second-to-last-day, er, 3rd to last day

The brilliant and astounding Libby Csulik took these pictures. I feel fairly confident that this is the third-to-last-day. No, wait, that can't be right. These are all the second-to-last-day.
Drew shoots the bluescreen with David Ian Lee and Virginia Logan (that's listed right to left.)

The original Charlie's Angels, Tom Rowen, Joe Chapman, Nat Cassidy.

David Ian Lee, Tom Rowen looking stranger than even usual for him, and Nat Cassidy.

Um. Er. Space Rangers from the planet Oxion 13!

Libby Csulik (shemping for Juanita Arias) flashing some gang signs with Tom Rowen. Maybe Joe took this picture?
 Now that I think of it more this must be the 3rd-to-last-day. If I looked at the call sheets or maybe the dates on the photos I could find out. I'm not going to.
Two Thirds of our Arizona contingent, David Ian Lee and Nat Cassidy, arguing about the script (they're the writers on Android Insurrection.)

Jiah Peck booming Virginia Logan and David Ian Lee.
 Today was the day that David Ian Lee made like he's the big name talent we brought in for only one day because that's all we could afford. Really it's because he has a baby now!
David Ian Lee not looking nearly as Hitler-esque as we thought he would. His character's name is Colonel Bellware and that amuses me to no end..

Can someone stop this guy? Joe Chapman in all his sexiness.

I see a buddy - cop crime drama here. Nat Cassidy and Joe Chapman in If Looks Could Kill Thursdays on NBC.

Second-to-last-day part 7

Virginia Logan manages to break her gun. Again. We're just going to take those butt stocks off next time.

Virginia Logan knocked down by an (as-yet invisible) robot.

Sarah-Doe Osborne with her laser sword and the Queen of Mars await more gratuitous robot action.

Joe Chapman, Maduka Steady, and Jeff Wills. I have no idea what they're doing. O wait, this must be second unit.

Joe Chapman waits patiently while the camera rests.

Joe Chapman and Jeff Wills are about to die by robot.

Maduka Steady, Queen of Mars, and Joe Chapman -- this is probably while 1st unit was shooting. As we only had one camera we had to trade back-and-forth.

Sarah-Doe Osborne sits on the special styrofoam "space blocks" that are used all the time in both this movie and Earthkiller.

Henry Maduka Steady second-unit directs Joe Chapman.

Libby Csulik loses it and starts taking some monkey jumpers out.