Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your Hammond Organ

Your Hammond organ is NuBi LE with Spinner LE Leslie simulator.

And to run that you're going to need a stand-alone VST host like Chainer.*

Then if you're using a soundcard that doesn't have ASIO drivers, you'll need ASIO4all.

If you want to add an electric piano to all that lovin', check out the 4Front Rhode.

*You could use Minihost although it will only run one VST instrument or effect at a time so you can't use the organ and the Leslie simulator together.


It's a Trick!

The joke we make around these parts is whenever anyone does a cool move which makes the picture better "Oh, so movies are all tricks. I get it."
It's all about the tricks.

Irene NYC from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.
So I'm watching this nice little video about hurricane Irene. It's in black and white. It's very beautiful. The depth of field is very limited and there's all this nice bokeh and...
There's no grain.
It's no secret that video deals with shadow detail better than film. And film handles highlights like it's nobody's business.
But those inky blacks that we've always been searching for in film are now totally achievable in video. And... and I don't know whether I like it all that much.

So I'm playing with some color correction on Android Insurrection. We have this one scene which is getting hit with a mighty thwafth of color correction because it's in an office and... well just look at it -- we're shooting with overhead lights. How can this be a horror movie? (Note that this is the only scene in the picture being whumped this way).
So we're really kittywhumpusing this one scene. Still, the darks are inky black.

1101 Android Insurrection Juanita Arias, dead guy, and Tom Rowen.
 So I'm experimenting with adding a bit of film grain to the image.

Same shot with film grain added.
I don't know if this is just something that bugs me, or if it just bugs me because I know enough to look for film grain in an image, or what.
We have 26 minutes and 31 seconds of Android Insurrection edited. Maybe if I get my butt in gear we can be up to 30 minutes by the end of the week.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tell Your Friends

If you're one of the hundreds of producers who lost your last performances of a Fringe show this weekend because of the hurricane and you want to do those shows, call Theatresource and get yourself a Development Series show.
The way our Development Series works is different for different days of the week. If you're doing a weekend show then normally you guarantee $450 of ticket sales. Then MTS takes all ticket revenue up 'till $600 and then you get anything above that. If you have a sold-out show of 50 seats at $18 a ticket you can walk home with a clean $300. (50 seats are $18 a piece or $900. If you sell 25 seats then you can paper the house or do whatever you like but MTS will take the door and we'll call it even.
It's a pretty good deal. Ain't nobody else offering it.
That's right, do theater without putting money up-front and have a chance at making some cash at the end of the night.
What could be even better than that?
How about this: you get more than the 30 minutes the Fringe gives you for tech.
But wait! There's more!
The numbers I'm quoting above are the higher numbers for a weekend show. We have lower minimum guarantees on other nights. And we hold a special place in our hearts for Fringe people who lost their shows.
So look, I'm not offering this officially. Call or write or come on down and visit our General Manager Jill and work out a deal.
Make some theater!

Just Like Big Brother

Here I am with my stepmom. People say to my sister: "You look just like your mother!" My sister says "Yes I do, and that's not my mother." Big yuks all around.
This is the moment of discovery that is finding one has a web camera built into one's monitor.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene Wracked Your Show?

What's important and what's making a big difference right now is the fact that all the Fringe shows this weekend were cancelled. And that's really hard on the producers. It was the last weekend of Fringe and so typically all those shows get sold out.

Those are the shows that all your relatives and friends who were waiting to see your show were going to go to.

Many producers are taking a bath on these shows.

So you're saying to yourself, "How can I help?" or "What can I do?"

I'm not precisely sure yet. But I'll tell you what can't hurt. If you need to do a couple nights of your show -- call up Manhattan Theatre Source and see what kind of deal you can make. If you can sell out a couple shows, we have a space for ya.

Not that I'm not saying this "officially" but rather as a friend of Theatresource. Give 'em a call. Talk to our new GM, Jill. She's in from 1pm to 7pm Monday through Friday. She won't bite!

Bein' Small

I keep saying that Pandora Machine is the smallest of the micro-studios in New York. So I kind of have to demonstrate there are other, larger, studios. Right?

Glass Eye Pix

Rebecca Kush in Alien Uprising

This is where we go

to complain about the Mac operating system.
1. The "open" window in an application doesn't work just like the Finder, letting you copy/paste/delete files when you're scooching around.
2. The default action for moving one folder to the same location of a same-named folder elsewhere is to replace rather than to merge the two folders. What? To do that you need to buy an application like MoveAddict for OSX. Right. I know.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Marry Me

Emily Plant's spoiler-filled critique of Cowboys and Aliens is pretty spot-on.
One Red Cent Trying to Make Sense is a really well written blog by a sitcom stand-in. I'm nominally against using standins myself, but if you're really going to use them you should have pros. Anyway, her writing style is really amusing and witty. Unlike, say, mine. ;-)
You'll be surprised to learn this artist has a Deviant Art page.

$512,449 Created by GiftRocket online gift cards

Friday, August 26, 2011

I made the front page!

How that happened with... 7... votes... I'm not exactly sure.
But yes. I'm very, very proud of myself.

More than anything you want to know where the manual to the Proxima 5600 video projector is. It's here. The trick to turning it off seems to be that there are TWO sets of fans. So you turn it off and a minute later the really loud fans go off. But the other fans are still going when you flip the switch on the back of the thing. So there.
You might also want to remember that in order to move files from one drive to another on OSX you have to hold the "command" button while dragging

Press this button to make everything OK.

Winter is Coming. Or at least a hurricane is.

I honestly don't understand why anybody thinks they're going to shoot any werewolves with a handgun. They're much too fast for that. If you're close enough to get off a shot with a handgun, you're going to be a goner.
We have had a severe werewolf problem here lately at Theatresource. The only thing we've been able to use to stop them is a high-powered rifle with a night scope and silver-filled bullets fired from the second-story window.

Now, of course, everyone is issued 12-ga double-barreled shotguns (with silver shot) in case a werewolf gets inside, naturally, but until now we haven't had to go to those extremes. I mean except for that one night when Maduka was here and had a small werewolf get into the janitor's closet. But Maduka just snarled at it and it ran away.
This turned into a post about Maduka. I don't know how that happened. Nor do I know why this still is on the desktop. 

You know, I should probably inquire of my dad, who is a metallurgist, about the best way to make silver bullets and shot.

Project London has a list of blogs and news outlets to send movies and press releases to.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Make Blockbuster for Spare Change

Label-mate Neil Johnson is teaching a course on making sci-fi blockbusters for spare change.
He and I have had pictures out on Halcyon for a number of years now. A while back Neil came down to visit the Pandora Machine in New York. He and I shared our prejudice in favor of Australian actors.

via Bill Martell

Mouse Haz Planz

We have secured an electric piano and costumes from the Broadway show of Tale of Two Cities.
I consider this a major coup.
My band, however, is somewhat "meh" on the subject(s).
But why, oh why hath we these accouterments of rock?
Because on Wednesday the 28th of September Tyrannosaurus Mouse is playing at Theatresource with the City Samanas as part of Vinnygenius.
We do not, as of yet, have a fan dancer. But we shall. We shall.

Delivered Again

Well whew, I delivered Earthkiller again.
I finally saw Predators last night. By far it's the second-best of the Predator movies. I recognize the battle for second place in that series is a pretty low bar.
The only thing I thought strange was that the music seemed to be mixed very low.
I made a new page of the wiki on dialog continuity.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice and Joseph

 "Disaster films work pretty much anywhere," Bales says, "But creature films only work in a few territories. In most of Europe, a big giant fish means nothing to them."
Actually, this is a pretty good interview with the Asylum guys. It's impossible to get anyone to write anything sophisticated and un-snarky about the Asylum. But as far as the steps to go to in order to make a mockbuster, it's pretty good.
Here is Joseph Beuerlein being his every-day sexy self. He's an editor on Earthkiller and on Android Insurrection. I was very surreptitious in the taking of this picture.

Apparently we sold out at Amazon.com. But also my distributor tells me they only order like 5 units at a time, but they did make a re-order last week.

Kitten Huffing

It's a scourge.

Donate to Theatresource

Yup, there's a fundraising drive at Theatresource!

The first five thousand dollars of donations will be matched 1:1 by members of the Board of Directors. Just go here and party down! Five bucks becomes ten bucks. Fifty bucks becomes a hundred! You can't afford NOT to donate!

And what will you get?

We have a theater with a focus. We have a new general manager -- Jill (you should stop by and meet her, her hours are 1pm to 7pm Monday through Friday). Next month we're doing Vinnie Genius where our pal Vincent Marano is taking on a whole month of producing (and Tyrannosaurus Mouse will be playing as part of a benefit!)

Donate now, it's a two-for-one offer!

Mac Rogers makes Huffington Post!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Beleaguered Castle

Source Code is the kind of movie that has a perfect script. In fact, the director of a feature like this is largely irrelevant. The writer is a dude named Ben Ripley.
The screenplay is brilliantly conservative. There are arguably three sets: the train, the control room, and the "capsule". Other than that there are a few exteriors, maybe a train station, etc. It doesn't matter -- it's an action film written like a stage play. Or maybe that's the other way around, a stage play that's an action film.
It is very well acted. I particularly liked Vera Farmiga as the Captain.
And I have an apostasy to pronounce upon it. One for which I am sure I shall be forced at gunpoint to write a Confession and Recantation but:
Source Code is better than 12 Monkeys.
And I'm a huge Terry Gilliam fan. And my buddy Ernest Abuba is in 12 Monkeys.
But the script to Source Code is just so good it doesn't matter. My only question about the picture is the name. "Source Code"? To me it doesn't even make sense after having watched the movie. But the movie is nigh on perfect. And what were they going to do? Call it "Beleaguered Castle?" Yeah, I didn't think so. ;-)

My Three Things Today

From the "Blog No One Sees":
Hey filmmakers, free advice: If you need more than 30 seconds of narration to set up your movie, your script sucks.
I don't understand unicode. I'm sure it's not terribly complex. Yet for whatever reason, I don't understand it. For instance, I don't understand when it appears sometimes, in some browsers, and not others. I'm sure it has to do with what fonts are loaded. Or something.

Lasting Art at 101 W. 28th Street is where you get your fake fruits and vegetables.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pulling a Bozo

I royally derped it up today. I sent a small version of Earthkiller up to my distributor today but I hadn't checked the audio for it yet.

That's sexy Maduka in the Quicktime window. See how I've labeled everything? 
Turns out I'd accidentally assigned track 18 (the left side of the commentary track) to the full English stereo mix. Which meant that I made a stereo version of the movie with us yapping all over the picture. And uploaded it to our sales rep's server.
Smoove moove there Drew.
Ugh. I'm cursed by lousy QC.
And I'm working on the page for deliverables on the wiki.

Thinkin' Rembrandt

Well, not exclusively maybe.
But probably, yeah. I think Tyrannosaurus Mouse should essentially do our own version of this painting:
There aren't enough of us, of course, so we'll have to be positioned somewhat differently. But I think it should be our inspiration.

Interplanetary Alternates

Remember kids, tomorrow Battle New York: Day II comes out.

In the meantime, groove to these alternate VHS and Criterion Collection images of an Interplanetary that would be (by David Cornelius).

Sunday, August 21, 2011


The movie The Mechanic, the remake with Jason Statham, comes shockingly close to being a good movie. It's not one, but it comes oh-so-close.
Weirdly, every ten minutes it becomes a new, different movie. And then there are large swaths of the picture where one is saying "who's movie is this?" Meaning "Which character is the main character?"
For a long time it seems like it's Ben Foster's movie.
I bet there was a conversation at one point that Ben Foster's character be Jason Statham's character's love interest. Which would have been... interesting.
But the thing the movie does repeatedly is lose all conflict. The main character will go a couple scenes without any conflict. I counted 4 occurrences of loss-of-conflict. Which is really deadly.
The ending too was unmotivated. A slow, slow, burn to wait, why did he do that?
Cat Stevens' ex.
That brings us to everyone's favorite blog post of the moment: Disney Exec Says Tentpole Pictures Are About Spectacle, Not Story.

Books to Read, Baby Owls to Look At

Professor Meredith Neuman recommends I read:
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy

The Coquette -- Hanna Foster (published by Girlebook Classics!)
Charles Brocton Brown -- Wieland
Melville - Typee
The Life of an Amorous Man --

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm Glad I'm not Chance Shirley

Because if I'd made the movie Interplanetary my head would never fit through another door. I'd be all in a hot tub with gold chains around my neck smoking stogies while giggly skinny models bounced and played around me all day. Why? Because I deserve those things! That's why!
In other words, I'd become a class-A jerkbucket. Why?
Because I made Interplanetary. Class dismissed.
I will fight any man who dares a slanderous word about my buddy Chance's movie Interplanetary.
This movie is perfect. Not just because I'm drunk, no! Because it is BRILLIANT!
It's just marvelous. Heady. If you aren't digging this movie you just haven's ascended to the right plane, man!
Say then thou nothing wrong with this great work of cinema.

Lovecraft in Brooklyn

Lovecraft in Brooklyn by the Mountain Goats

Three Things and Two Otters

Slutty Storm Troopers is a site which is, as you can tell from the name, awesome. And not safe for work!
Brian Schiavo's LifeForm has completed 8 days of principal photography. Our man David Frey is DP. Are you under the impression Brian is not going to be filming in my apartment? I'm not under that impression at all.
John Scalzi makes notes on arguing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Black Dog

A variety of things are awesome about this video. Including, but not limited to, the number of actual black dogs featured.

This is a mashup of an (estimated) gazillion versions of "Black Dog" found on the Interwebs.

Unsex Me Now

Today I get an emergency email from our rep regarding seeing too much of our android in Earthkiller. So I'm scrambling to do things.

Android walks away.
You can just barely make out see the time code beneath the image. Have I ever mentioned that I really wish Final Cut Pro had an "adjustment" layer? No? Pity.

Android hears a sound. Irony? I like this framing better than the wide. 
The timecode needed to be manually "advanced" to make sure it reads properly through the whole movie.

This was what I in my innocent stupidity thought was a perfectly acceptable wide.  It's now been zoomed in.

This is the furthest that the camera (handheld) "dipped down" in this shot. It only goes this low for a couple frames.

Burning android "zoomed in" and re-framed.

Burning android original. Note that we "Barbie dolled" her in post. Not the first time I've had to do that, but this time 'twas to no avail.

1102 Dragon Girl

So here's a screenplay. With dragons. And a girl with a crossbow. That opens as a .pdf link. There are right now still some issues with the script -- she's only supposed to have one dragon, we need to clean up the father's speech, we may need some more exposition. The number is 1102 and the title is "Dragon Girl". Unless, of course, you have something better.
It's a script. And we can lock it.

The things -- the THINGS!

Google says it looks like my blog is popular and I should monetize it with AdSense.
Chance says I should blog about Asian Fishing Cats. But I would never do anything like that.
Liz Lerman has a process for criticizing work. The New York Neo-Futurists use it.
BackBlaze might be a good backup service.
NPR actually thinks this Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy is one of the best sci-fi books ever written.

Amazon Studios

Libby Csulik lies dead on the floor (with a leather jacket draped conveniently over her) while Maduka Steady sweeps the room.
So. Amazon Studios. They want an 18-month exclusive window if you upload a screenplay to them. This dragon movie I've got needs to get produced in the next few months. Doesn't someone want to give us a chunk of money in order to make this picture?
It is, I think, the most commercial screenplay we've had. Dragon Girl. (That's a .pdf link to the screenplay). It needs a couple passes of cleanup but it's in pretty good shape.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Better For Writers

Last night I had a discussion with one of the founders of Theatresource regarding the difference between a theater producing new works versus doing (y'know) some old dead dude's play.
My argument:
Doing original works is better because:
Of all the different groups we serve: actors, writers, directors, and even the audience, we cut out a group (writers) when we don't do original works.
Original works are better for grants and funding in the future.
His argument:
When you do a work everyone knows, they talk about the design, the acting, everything about it; when you do an original work they just say they liked the play.

That's actually a pretty good argument in favor of doing plays by old dead dudes. Certainly in the short term it's a better argument because you'll make more money this year, not some year in the future. If you wanna get butts in seats do 12th Night, know what I'm sayin'?
And getting butts in seats is a major goal of ours. But his argument goes one further than that: for the director and the actors and the designers, doing some old dead dude's work is better than doing new work. It's not, obviously, better for writers. But it's better for everyone else. And, arguably, because it's easier to get people to come see, say, 12th Night, it's better for audiences too. I mean unless "better" for audiences is something that's hard to get them to do, sort of your Aunt Mabel's idea of Cod Liver Oil.

So I'll just pretend those arguments don't exist. Look at all the awards folks we know are nominated for!

Cost more done

What costs $645.06? Duping two videotapes from a Quicktime movie to a pair of tapes -- NTSC and PAL DigiBeta -- sent via 2-day UPS to California.
Are you low on characters in the alphabet when writing English. Heck, everybody is. Get some more. (That's via... er... someone. I don't know. It was a tab open in my browser which I can now close.)
The Earthkiller station in... Earthkiller.
I don't care what I've done on this screenplay. Whatever it is today will be called "finished". That doesn't mean there won't be changes in the dialog or things to make it more logical, but the scenes will be locked.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Three Things

Tom's Hardware actually likes IE9.
I'm experimenting with Electric Sheep. It's a psychedelic screen saver made by this dude.
I'm making sure Amelia only has one dragon. I'm tying up the story of her brother and her dad. And figuring out how Sebastian plays into all that. I'm either on page 63 of 84 or actually on page 84, it's hard to tell. We'll end up at 90 pages when this is done but it looks to me like the false victory happens on page 60 which means this should really be a 120-page movie. Or I cut 15 pages from the beginning of the movie and shove those in the end. I don't know. My brain has melted.

This is what I want

I just want a nice monster puppet for Tyrannosaurus Mouse. Here is some footage from an Australian version of "How To Train Your Dragon."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The TV Series

It's a police procedural. With young police officers in a specialty division: the VH division. That's for "Vampire Hunter" division.
Like Rookie Blues meets the X Files on U.S. Marshal street.
Deputy Marshal Jeremiah is a Texas sheriff
And this is Dolphin Hitler.
His lead detective is much older than she looks, and she's a vampire.
Under him are detectives and junior officers with different skills at finding, capturing, and killing, the undead.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Page 57

I'm on page 57 of this rewrite. I feel like I'm catching a cold because of the thing where you get sick after doing something which took up a lot of emotional and physical energy. In this case it was getting Earthkiller out the door to the lab.
Of course, the lab could call tomorrow and tell me I've got a problem.
I'm hoping they don't do that.
Anyway, I have this girl-with-a-crossbow script. It's 81 pages right now. We're about to go into the fourth dragon-battle scene. How exactly are we going to shoot this again?

19 minutes and 57 seconds

Helen (Robin Kurtz) blows Mina (Katie Hannigan) out of the airlock in Earthkiller.
Joe Beuerleine, Rebecca Kush, and Tom Rowen have edited 19 minutes and 57 seconds of Android Insurrection. That's almost a quarter of the picture.

Friday, August 12, 2011

400 Hours

Keri Geddes in Earthkiller
Y'know, the IA is basically encouraging its members to work more dangerous overtime with the 400 hours-till-healthcare rule they're implementing.

Crumple Pop seems to think that magically everything will be OK with Final Cut Pro X.

"It’s tempting to speculate about the heated internet reaction to FCP X and the psychology behind it."

Right. What's not tempting, however, is to actually look at why FCP X isn't in any professional environments right now. Maybe I'm just getting tired of being told I have a psychological problem with FCPX rather than a logistical one.

What am I really doing? I'm avoiding writing a screenplay. I'm on page 42 of the rewrite. If this screenplay doesn't get finished this weekend I'm going to have a conniption.

Do you know what is cool?

The Tyrannosaurus Mouse guitar pick is cool.
Does it make your guitar rock harder?
Can you play better with a Tyrannosaurus Mouse guitar pick.
Will you instantly become a guitar god with one?
That's what happens. Hey, I don't make the rules.
Are they less blurry in real life?
Once you have a Tyrannosaurus Mouse guitar pick, all of so-called "real" life is blurry. The Tyrannosaurus Mouse is the only thing that's real.
Where'd you get them from?
Clayton Custom.

American Ambulance

American Ambulance is Pete Cenedella's band. I went to high school with Pete. He was the first one to play the Dead Kennedys, Talking Heads, and the Residents to me.

We also played a one-time concert at our school. We played one song. Ask me about it sometime.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Out the door!

Robin Kurtz with a laser.

This is the most nerve wracking time. We delivered Earthkiller to the lab. I hope there aren't any errors I haven't seen.
That being said, I'm very happy with the way the picture came out. Every new picture is the best movie we've ever made. And yup, Earthkiller is the best so far.

Fifth World Problems

This is my favorite page on the Internet today.
Laughing, laughing, reticulating splines. Arboreal conundrum.


Every once in a while I get a real hankerin' for some vegan food. Or at least vegetarian that's low on cheese. And one of my favorite places to go for that is the MacDougal Street Hummus Place. I know, it's a chain, and it's absurd to think the one on MacDougal is somehow better -- but that's just the way it is.
Or was.
I was having one of my hummus-oidial cravings today and walked to the fun little Israeli-run Hummus Place to find it is... closed.
Oh. No.
I didn't just want a hummus plate with delicious bread. I needed it. Craved it with my very soul.
And now they are gone.
I have since written to my Congressman. Protested in the streets. Conducted a hunger strike (until finding a Mexican place on Bleecker at least.)
This is the Most. Terrible. Thing. That's ever happened.
Weep for me.