Friday, September 30, 2011

Post Mortem

So, here is my personal post-mortem of the first Tyrannosaurus Mouse concert.

My biggest worry about this show was that I wouldn't have fun. This has been a problem for me in the past -- where I've been so stressed out that I'm just trying to hold it together for the duration of the set and all I want to do is get it over with. If that had happened it would have sucked.
I have a memory of playing with Pavlov and the Drooling Dogs in Stanhope, New Jersey in 1985? '86? .. or wait. Maybe not. Wasn't there a venue up in Dover or somewhere? It was a huge place. Anyway, I remember playing there once and thinking "I spend all month gearing up for how awesome this is to play live, and now that I'm here I'm miserable just hoping the band won't fall apart. I'm going to enjoy myself instead." It worked and I enjoyed the rest of the set.

So that's what I did with T-mouse too. By the time we went up to play I was done with stressing over the sound system and the projections and whether we'd get stills taken and if the lights would dip down properly, and just enjoy myself. So that's the number one thing. I had a good time. Other than that, here are my thoughts:

1. Costumes worked great
Everyone, even the initially resistant band, agrees on that. They look great.
2. Guitar volume is hard to control
I've gotten myself set up such that my guitars are very responsive. Which means that the volume controls on the guitars do a lot. But setting the volumes can be very tricky because just a little bit of turning goes a long way. And it can be incredibly difficult to see exactly where the volume is turned to, so you basically have to play and listen. In a live situation that can be difficult. I almost wish the volume controls were stepping potentiometers (which would make volume swells impossible but that's just how things are). Anyway, that's something I have to figure out.
3. The video projector is mighty dim
This might be because the lamp is going. And/or it may be that we had the stage lights up for shooting video. In any case it would be nice to have a projector which could put out a whole lot of light as well as spread it over a short distance. That sounds like it'll cost money. We don't have money. So it'll have to wait.
4. It's hard to keep the volume under about 80dB SPL
The guitar amps, as you can even see from the picture above, are turned way down (the volumes are the last two knobs on the right). And the guitars really start to sing when they're up just a bit louder.
5. Why hasn't Ethan been playing electric stand-up bass all this time?
It sounds awesome. Infinite sustain. Plus as an added bonus Ethan plays fretless with a lot of taste (which is unusual for a bass player. ;-)
6. The keyboards are a good situation with the laptops
We're using laptops to generate the sounds (electric piano and Hammond). Look down below somewhere for the formulae. They sound fantastic. We might look into getting something other than a bass amp for the keyboards though.
I don't know what's going to happen with volume control. Right now Arie is using one volume pedal. Will he use two? Who knows?
7. I need a guitar stand.
I managed to knock over the Les Paul during the first song because it was leaning against my guitar cabinet. Not my best moment. Right up until we were about to play I was going to play the entire show on my Blattocaster but then Greg Bartus said "You're not going to play your Les Paul?" and so I had to have the Les Paul there too. But to switch guitars I will ultimately need a guitar stand. And, let's face it, a guitar tech too. Gimme one.

More things from my notebook

Here's some more stuff where this blog is my internet notebook.
The Studio is a rehearsal studio in Manhattan.

John Marshall Media is the company of my ol' buddy John Cheary. You know the last time I saw John? I believe it was the blackout of 2003. I had just gotten off an elevator. No, that's not right. The blackout happened just before I got on an elevator.

Harrison Consoles makes the Mixbuss -- a DAW for only $149.

What Are We Doing?

What are we doing right now? Aren't we supposed to be in production of a feature?
Well this is what happened. I was talking to our sales rep about the casting -- we're looking for someone who plays a tween/teen girl for the picture and he's all "Natalie Portman in Léon".
Oh great. So we need someone who plays young, and has that preternaturally sharp facial architecture of an older woman.
Chloe Grace Moretz
By and large those things are mutually exclusive. What makes a "girl" is rounded facial features (and a typically high voice). It's fairly rare to have a girl be able to look both young and old at the same time. Which makes sense.
My preference would be to have a woman who can play a tweenager. Those exist in greater numbers. I think to get what my distributor wants would require us to actually cast a young person.
Do you have any idea how complicated the employment laws become when you're working with someone under the age of (I think) 16? And what with the Jackie Coogan laws (which only apply to the entertainment field) it's a bit of a nightmare.
Anyway, I'm off to look for a girl to fight some dragons with a crossbow...

The SIX Rights (not 5)

This is my new favorite picture of me.
Payola doesn't make very much sense to me. The economics aren't right. Firstwise, a record company can indeed pay a radio station to play their songs -- I believe the only restriction is that they have to announce "This hour brought to you by Arista Records" or whatever. The illegal part is when someone pays a disk jockey or program director directly to play their songs. But the bigger issue is that the advertising revenue on radio stations is vastly higher than any "payola" they might receive. Here's a fairly out-of-date list of stations in New York.*
My point is that if you paid a radio station (say) $30,000 to play your song (through an "independent promoter) and they lost enough listeners to lose just a fraction of their advertising revenue, it wouldn't be financially viable for them. If you're bringing in $1400 for a 30-second spot, that's a lot of change to be hanging on adding some song nobody wants to actually hear.
Hey -- I've been saying all along that there are 5 rights associated with the creation of a new piece of music. Nowadays it's actually 6. Tunecore has an ideological commitment to telling you this. Because now it's all about the digital rights, baby.

* Admittedly, NYC has the worst radio in the US outside of Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tyrannosaurus Mouse Live Pictures More

More from our man David Frey.
Andrew Bellware (guitar) and Lou Clark (drums).
The dashing Arie Uyterlinde in his three-corner hat (keyboards).

Ethan Rosenblatt on the upright electric bass.

Lou Clark.

More Lou Clark!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tyrannosaurus Mouse Video

This is us, just playing the first half of the Mouseverture.

And yup the second two chords I play are wrong. But I'd made the deliberate decision by the second part of the first bar to not care about any of that and just have fun.

Teaching Part I

Do you like ideologies? Do you like screaming political arguments? Then "education" is the subject for you!
Why is education so fraught? I seriously have somewhere from little to no idea. In the USA, education takes up a very large amount of tax money. The strange thing is that the taxes are almost all local -- usually in the form of real estate taxes. The Federal government spends a relatively small amount of the money which is spent.
The percentage of GDP the US spends on education seems fairly average. But that's a wack way of describing spending. One might intuit, for instance, that poorer countries would spend a larger portion of their GDP on education. And except for Cuba that doesn't seem to be the case.
A better way might be looking at the percentage of education spending of the GDP/capita. Although honestly I can't even read the charts.
Much of the fights in the US has to do with class sizes. Nobody argues that smaller class sizes aren't better. They clearly are. But the question is do we want to spend that much money on education?
To me it's kind of stunning that the answer many people have to that question is "no".

Yup, there's more

This picture was actually stitched together in Gimp using a stitching-together script called Pandora. The whole band (taken by David Frey). That's Andrew Bellware, Lou Clark, Ethan Rosenblatt, and Arie Uyterlinde.
Shortly thereafter yes, I did knock over the Les Paul behind me. It suffered no damage however. At least none I would admit to myself. ;-)

Tyrannosaurus Live Mouse

David Frey took these pictures. First -- the empty stage before the show.

And here with the rock added. Andrew Bellware, Lou Clark, Ethan Rosenblatt, and Arie Uyterlinde.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Vincent Marano in Clonehunter
I've done a terrible job of talking up the festival that's going on right now. Mostly because I've been calling it by the wrong name. Vincent Marano, who is producing tonight's City Samanas/Tyrannosaurus Mouse show, is producing 5 short plays. You only have a week left to see Vinniegenius What I Meant Was.

Vincent Marano and David Ian Lee (with Angela Funk just visible) in Clonehunter.
And check out the review in (Thanks to DeLisa.)
Buy your tickets now!

Bunny Blogging

The Asylum shoots from concept to completion in 4 months.
Fractured Atlas offers production insurance. (Via Angry Nun.)
If Sound Devices made a camera, I would buy it without even learning anything about it first. Why? Because it would be awesome, that's why. But they have made a video recorder and that sure seems like it rocks.


Editor J. Blake Fichera interviews Steve Cropper.
Blender 3D has a motion tracker! It does not look easy to use. One day I'm sure it will be. But having a built-in motion tracker is super tres awesome.
This is a pretty good list of 6 Things About Shooting Fight Scenes from the Angry Nun.

Monday, September 26, 2011


One Last Rehearsal

So last night we rehearsed at Theatresource for our Tuesday show. We were... stunningly bad. That's to be expected, of course, of the last rehearsal before a show.
The projection didn't work at all. Why? Well, as it turns out QLab decided to unpatch the video outputs when I swapped in a projector. I should have seen that coming. But I didn't and I was too frazzled to troubleshoot it, get the sound system working, and my guitar rig working.
Right here is where I would put a picture of us rehearsing, looking very groovy. But the guys refused to put on their costumes for the dress rehearsal.

The Best Review of Hamlet

"Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is hardly a trainwreck..."

That's the best review I've ever gotten for my first feature, Hamlet. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Interview

I was interviewed by Michael Haberfelner of (re)Search My Trash. (Thanks to David Campfield.) I talk about our movies and how they came about.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Importing Panasonic MTS into FCP

So Panasonic has released AVCCAM Importer. It lets you directly import Panasonic .MTS files into Final Cut Pro 7.
I learned about this nifty importer from the boys down at Abel Cine. I don't think Panasonic really created this app for the GH-1, but I've tested it and Final Cut Pro can certainly import .mts files directly with it.
What I don't know is how happy it is or isn't with interlacing or other things. The first thing I've noticed is that the playback in FCP was very herky-jerky but that could be for virtually any reason at all.
If the AVCCAM Importer really works it'll save us between 400 and 600GB of data on each movie we make, that's for sure.
I am amused by the feet on this rabbit.
We'll be testing it out this week. On other people's projects. Ha!
UPDATE: I can't get the files to playback smoothly. When a project is loaded with .mts files the whole computer just slows down. This is on both of our Macs -- the quad-core and the 8-core. Back to Neoscene then. ;-)

Solar Vengeance Review

Search My Trash's Mike Haberfelner reviews Solar Vengeance.

"Benjamin Thomas gives a scene-stealing performance as the soft spoken and eloquent local marshal."
That's totally true.

The New Order

A still from Tyrannosaurus Mouse starring Melissa Riker.

  1. Mouseverture
  2. Mercury
  3. Narwal Song
  4. Arabesque
  5. Jabberwocky
  6. Ice Maiden
  7. One Last Drink
  8. Reprise
This looks to seem to be the order of the songs we're playing on Tuesday the 27th at 7:30pm at Manhattan Theatre Source.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I updated the keyboards to Mouseverture. I can't say that this is the definitive version, but it replicates the version Arie played on an earlier chorus. So we'll see. Note that this is the un-limited version of the song.
But that's not what's important right now.
What is important is the song order and what we do in-between songs.
1. Preshow video
2. Announcement
3. Mouseverture video
  • Mouseverture
  • Mercury
4. Mercury video
  • One Last Drink
  • Ice Maiden
  • Arabesque
  • Jabberwocky
  • Narwal Song

I'm incredibly disappointed we don't have a fan dance. I feel like I've really let everyone down. What I do have is some psychedelic video and a pre-recorded announcement.

Nat Cassidy

Nat Cassidy won the IT Award for being awesome his solo performance of Things at the Doorstep. Here he is with Basil Twist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where to send movies to

Over at Project London they're maintaining a list of places to send screeners and such to.
D World Magazine,
Blender Nation,
Boing Boing,
Cinefantastique Online,
Dave On Film, (Entertainment Weekly),
Film Radar,
Film Snobbery,
Film Stalker,
Giant Robot Magezine,
Hammer to Nail,,
Illusion 360,
iTunes Movie Trailers,,
NPR News,,
SF Signal,
The Film Nest,
Total Film,
Troll In The Corner,
Video Copilot,
Vulture Blog,
Watcher's Watch,

And from the comments:
Plus also:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Outstanding Stage Manager

Who won the Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Stage Manager in 2011?
Laura Schlachtmeyer with her 2011 Outstanding Stage Manager Award
Why it was Laura Schlachtmeyer! Nominated for two (!) shows she was an amazing recipient who had to follow three actors: Greg Bodine, Nat Cassidy, and Rob Neill giving her props before they called her up.
Then it was all red carpet treatment for the Queen of Mars.

At least she didn't name and publish the post.

My brother Dave says we remind him of "It's a Beautiful Day".
We have a lot of thanks to give out for this show.
Ron Sharpe of Tale of Two Cities
Scott Hirshon, my old childhood friend, for the loan of recording gear.
Vincent Marano, without whom we wouldn't be playing tonight.
I should not leave my blog edit window open when my sister is here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

There's really not a lot to say about this

Biggest Brother

Here's mah bigger brother David. He's all retired now.
I really like this picture. Taken at magic hour at my parent's in Princeton. I realize his eyes are dark. And yes, that is his travel coffee mug to scale.
But I think we've persuaded him to keep his hair (this) long rather than getting a buzz cut just 'cause it looks so nice.

Speaking of Computers

Or: Drew was wrong.

My parents had the worst Internet connection of anyone I knew. "Had". My eldest brother Dave, with whom I've been wrong before, bought our dad a new router for his birthday. I said that "no way is that going to work."
Well, it worked smashingly. YouTube videos come right up. You can surf anywhere and do anything at any time.
I have no idea. I guess that really was the bottleneck. Oddly, my dad's computer was actually hard-wired into the router and still was slow as molasses.
In furtherance of the demonstration of my ignorance:
Video cards confuse me to no end. The numbering and nomenclature of the things just... well it seems random and insane.
Find the Best has a comparison chart of graphics cards. Tom's Hardware, of course, probably has the definitive comparison.
The thing about Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul is that nobody cares about your soul. It has no value whatsoever. Which is actually more than your movie is worth. Ha! The only examples of movies which make a little bit of money are documentaries that hit up some under-served demographic.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Post 2500

Erf. So I'm at my home with all my siblings and they insisted on watching our new movie. Of course, nobody can understand the movie. And ergads. The mix has what we might call problems.
This is from the DVD I just got from Amazon.
I don't know exactly what's wrong. At first I thought the surrounds were up way too loud. But it's only a stereo mix.
So now I'm thinking that we're hearing both the main stereo mix and the M&E mix at the same time. I've heard that sound in my life. And this is what that sounds like.
That means the dialog is about 6dB quieter than it ought to be.


Ooh. I get it. After Amelia finds her brother she goes stomping off alone to fight Sebastian. She fails, her dragon is killed, and then her brother catches up to her in the abandoned place and they get together with Gregor and Zemia and Miranda and agree that the GZM contingent (with Watson) will lead the mass of black dragons off while Joe kills Sebastian.
Showers are wonderful things for thinking straight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I don't know what's going on anymore.

Our last movie had no nudity in it. And what looks to be our next script is almost "YA" in its sensibilities -- not only is there no nudity, but there's no cursing!
We gotta do an erotic dragon movie at some point.
Hey check out the .pdf of the Employee Rights you need to have posted at your workplace!
You know what rights you don't have as an employee? Free speech. Yeah, I know, right? Just make sure you say "My boss is a butt much and we should organize a union" and you'll be fine.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Dragon Movie

Does the dragon juice actually bring people back to life? I expect that it does. Right now it's a tad complex as we established in an earlier draft that is true but only for Amelia, Sebastian, and Joe. I suspect that we just make it that dragon blood has restorative powers.
The structure is bonked. It feels wrong and when ya beat it out it's fairly obvious that the "moment of death" is in the wrong place. This is fixable.
There are a LOT of visual effects shots. Hoo boy.
Anyway, the latest version of the screenplay is always here.

Anti Aircraft Battery

So I tell Joe Chapman that we need a special massive crossbow for this dragon movie we're working on and he sends me this design for an anti-aircraft battery. Because, somehow, that's what we needed. Ahem.


At this point I have to figure out what is too complicated about the upcoming Tyrannosaurus Mouse concert. Because honestly, rather than dealing with technical issues I ought to be practicing guitar.
The following are strictly my own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of anybody else in the band. I'm just thinking out loud here.
A still of the Tyrannosaurus Mouse psychedelic video.
  • YES Video projection is all but a no-brainer. Meaning we can do it. The video isn't synced to anything. 
  • NO Recording. This is actually fairly a big pain to deal with. I would love to dump trying to make a recording. We could do a recording at Ethan's house instead. I suspect I'm the only one who has this opinion.
  • YES Audio playback. We have to use Qlab. Firstwise we have the wonderful announcement. Also there are some places where we could, er, have a guitar part just come in from Qlab. That is, if I learn to play the guitar leads in those places.
  • NO Footswitch triggering of audio playback. I would love to have a USB footswitch in order to trigger Qlab. There aren't a lot of USB foot switches out there with software for Macs. There are options to take a regular sustain-pedal - type switch and turn them into MIDI (for which you'd have to have a MIDI interface, which I do, but don't want to deal with). Actually, there are a number of options like USB to 1/8" jack interfaces although it does end up being a tad Franken-cable-y when you do so. I think we might just have someone else trigger the "GO" button on Qlab this time. No fancy-pants triggering. That's my vote for this particular show.
  • YES Costumes. That seems to be mostly taken care of. Arie is the only one for whom we do not yet have a jacket but I hope to solve that over this weekend. And of course Lou can't wear a jacket while playing so I'm going to try to get him into a nice 19th-Century vest we had on Solar Vengeance.


William Martell points out that 53 out of 100,000 screenplays get produced. I suspect that both those numbers are a bit low if you include television, foreign sales, and foreign writers but you get the idea.

Ooh! "Night Blood of the Naked Mutilators" would be an even better title!

Anyway, I think I may have already mentioned "Blood of the Naked Mutilators" as being an awesome title because I think Bill has used it as an example of a lousy title before. ;-)

The Hulk on 3-act structure.
I tend to try to work using the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet. And honestly it's more intuitive to think of that as a 4-act structure (although Blake broke it down into three acts.) The Hulk advocates a 5-act structure. Tentatively I'd agree. But I usually think of that 5th act in giant blockbusters. For simple little horror pictures the 5th act is not necessarily there.
It's not that I have any real analysis to defend my position with. It's just the way I tend to think about it.
I'd never even heard of VuDu. But apparently it's bigger than Amazon's streaming service. And it's scaring Netflix. Netflix is so bad for indy producers that I'm not terribly concerned if anyone is scaring them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Email Wages and Watches

Alex Epstein mentions the "one point per email" thing. Some people can seriously only handle you making one point in an email. They can only respond to one point. I'm not one of those people. That being said, I try to only hit those kinds of people (if I can identify them) with only one point in an email. It's just one of the multitudinous ways in which all of mankind is different. Ahh... the Xanax is kicking in...
Here are wage-and-hour resources for employers. I can't fathom why any commercial employer would want to have a lower minimum wage. Every employer I know of needs people to have money to buy whatever they're selling. So, uh, yeah. The Quaaludes are just now kicking in...
Mitchell, who is the king of the new and the cool, has a couple of these LunaTik watches. Mmm... the opium is kicking in...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There seem to be a number of websites dedicated to DVD covers.

Battle New York, Day 2 2011 Ws DVD Front cover
Battle New York, Day 2 2011 Ws DVD Front cover

I guess they scan covers and upload them. I guess people collect the images. Or. Something.

Anyway, I haven't actually got my copy of the movie yet.

A Dark Day Indeed

Rebecca Kush went to get chocolate today. Only to find this:

The horrors. Varsano's is closed today.
I have to wait like 20 hours just to get some chocolate.
Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I'm not sure how I'll make it overnight, but I'll manage. Somehow.

Monday, September 12, 2011


My experience making this album was very enlightening. I learned a lot of things. I learned -- and re-learned -- many things.
Firstwise a good, nay, a great drummer is key. Having a drummer who makes his drums sound great is important. Drums are a strange instrument. It's intuitive, for instance, to think of something like a violin as needing a better player in order to make the violin sound better. But a drummer is just hitting things with sticks. Everybody's hit things with sticks since they were two. But for whatever reason, goodness gracious, get yourself a drummer who hits things musically. It's stunningly hard to do.
But once you have a good drummer, life gets very very easy. No, really. If you're really fighting all day long with mic placement and trying to get that right sound (from an engineer's perspective), you probably have a crappy drummer. If, like us, you have a drummer who makes the drums just sing, then it's easy to get a recording down and a mix.
My old guitar teacher, Dean Powell, said to me that great - sounding records were made by "Good instruments played by good players." So this thing about drums can just be extrapolated to all the other members of the band.
Here's another thing that really works out for me. When I wonder about my guitar sound, I just look at the bass player. Ethan will clue me in to the direction I should go in. Frequently one is listening to oneself so much that one gets completely lost. "Does this sound good or not?" It's really helpful to have players say "Yeah, that's not too distorted in that part, but you could lose some of the upper mids" or whatever.
Arie, as really the best guitar player in the band, will also have a lot to offer.
I learned a long time ago that recording using great mic preamps solves a lot of your troubles. You have a problem with the way something sounds? Put it through something expensive (as Alan Douches says). And a mic preamp is a great way to start.
Indeed, when you have

  • good music being played by
  • good musicians on
  • good instruments going through a
  • good mic preamp

You're in good shape. I don't even care about the microphone at that point. You're in good shape. (Recording with a good microphone and using a good A/D converter is better though.)
With this album we were going for "traditional" rock and roll sounds. The keyboards were as exotic as distorted electric piano and Hammond organ with a Leslie. There's a reason people like those tones -- they're very usable. They mix well with the guitars.
The guitars went through very old-school amplifiers. Not too distorted. In fact, some of my favorite singing lead sounds are very not distorted. They're clean but have a nice "bloom" to them.
As always, the vocals were compressed to within an inch of their lives. Plus I put fancy-pants analog-simulated delays put on them. And don't think I didn't autotune my vocals because I sure did.
Then we went to Trax East and we didn't spend time micro-managing and fiddling with the mixes. Thankfully. We just brought up the faders on the "poor-man's Neve" Neotek console and sure enough -- 90% of the mix was there. Because of all the work getting ourselves to that place, mixing on the Neotek involved almost no EQ work and fader riding.
The other thing that made the mix process easier is that Eric's monitors are phenomenal. They are very transparent. They'll tell you exactly what needs to happen -- if the guitar is too loud or the bass is too muddy. You won't be touching the wrong fader because you're confused about whether the keyboards are making the bass too muddy or whatever -- you know what's happening in the mix.
So we mixed quietly (monitors turned down) and quickly. That was kind of awesome.
Well, can we mix our own records without going to another studio to do it? Probably. Should we? Absolutely not.


So, I signed up with Songkick. So that we could promote the Tyrannosaurus Mouse concert.
In the meantime, check out this new DAW by Harrison (yes, that Harrison.) At $159 and it works on Linux and Mac (soon to be PC) it's an excellent deal.
I would love to have my guitar amp controls be more adjustable. It's hard to do with only two hands. Now, what I really need is a babysitter -- someone to do all the guitar tech work and change all my settings and hand me guitars in-between songs. So check out the Tone in Progress 3rd Hand. This looks to me as though it could control a guitar amp -- if the amp were sitting on the floor down there with your pedals.

The Hacked GH1

So, we've shot three features on the Panasonic GH1. Two of those features were with the hacked version of the GH1 (Earthkiller and Android Insurrection) and one was unhacked (Battle: New York, Day 2).
And I'm not convinced that the hacked version is somehow better.

In fact, two bad things have been happening. One is that the camera shuts down every once in a while with a strange "cannot write to card" message. The other problem is... weirder. We have had dramatically more difficulty pulling decent mattes from blue and green screens using the hacked version of the camera.
This is completely counter intuitive. We've been lighting blue screens much better than in the past, and we're shooting at twice the data rate. So the mattes should be easier to pull, no?
But they're not. Maduka's day job is pulling clean mattes and he's been having trouble with the new footage too.
So, uh. Why?
I have no idea.
Now, further investigation has shown that indeed the trouble with the camera ceasing to record is primarily a matter of the pulldown removal in camera. Since we use Neoscene, we can just use the pulldown removal inside Neoscene. So hopefully that won't be a problem anymore.
But the data rate? Everyone on the Interwebs says the higher data rate is better. Honestly, it's just not making any difference to us. I can't see it. I see it in people's tests they post online, I don't see it when we shoot.
So what are we doing? We're going back to the stock camera. So there.
And this brings me to my next point. The Interwebs has a lot of actual, real, and genuine experts on it. But very very few of them actually do high-production feature-film making. Indeed, arguably none of the technical experts on the web do.
What this means is that much of the advice one gets is from people who have a lot of commercial experience, or a lot of high-end (read: "expensive") feature experience. And the way those kinds of things are made is not always 100% helpful to little micro-studios like us.
For instance, I'm a big fan of the DV Rebel's Guide. It has a lot of useful stuff in it, even if at this point the dominant cameras have changed radically enough that some whole chapters have simply become archaic.
Other than the archaic stuff though, I have a couple other issues.
Look, I love Stu Maschwitz as much as the next man. But Stu, although he's worked on many high-end feature films is not a guerrilla feature film maker. He's a guerrilla filmmaker. And he's worked on a bunch of features, but not both at the same time.
What I'm saying here is that he really knows what he's talking about. But in order to make multiple features per year (which you really need to do in order to have a prayer at making a living at it) you frequently need to worry about doing things the faster way than the better way.
For instance: worrying about one's codec is focusing on really one of the last problems one has in movie production. Codecs are a big issue in the DV Rebel's Guide, and a big issue amongst the knowledgerati in the digital cinema world. But you know what? You have a whole bunch more things going wrong with your movie than the codec. Honestly we render a LOT in 8-bit too. Again, this is because rendering everything in a higher bit depth takes much more time and frequently doesn't work at all in Final Cut Pro (the computer just crashes) And doing all your color-grading in AfterEffects? That's a rich-man's way to do things. Loading an entire movie into AfterEffects is a major pain in the tuchus, no matter how you do it.
So we render in a low bit depth in Final Cut Pro. Which is exactly the "wrong" way to do it. But it works. And we can get a feature film out the door that way.
Anyway, we're abandoning the hacked GH1. I'll tell ya how that goes.

"That's like a lame sub-species of vampire."

Stacy Shirley's Monster Hunt.

It's a vampire - hunter reality TV show. Awesome.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Announcement

When we perform, we need to be announced, no?
Well we will be.
James Michael Armstrong announces the Mouse.

(Remember you can't see widgets in an RSS reader.)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tyrannosaurus Mouse Live!

That's right, Tyrannosaurus Mouse will be playing live!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
177 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10011

A Benefit for Theatresource
Tickets only $10

There's even a Facebook Event for it!

In the Future

There will be baby mammoths with jet packs.

I Don't Want To Be The Fat Mouse

We had our first rehearsal in over a year last night. Not surprisingly, we sucked. I doubt, however, that any of us think we aren't going to be good (or at least as good as we get) when we do our show on the 28th Tuesday September 27th.

We played in Ethan's living room. We were relatively quiet. Ethan played his electric upright, which has some amazing sustain. I played on a couple small amps of Ethan's. Lou has this little Tama cocktail kit which he played with those quiet drum sticks. Arie has a Korg we borrowed from Tale of Two Cities running into some software on his laptop (see post below).

We were quiet enough for me to sing without a PA. I did not, of course, sing well. But it did make sense. And we didn't have to wear earplugs.

Lou drew caricatures of us as mice. I was, unfortunately, the fat mouse. They're excellent caricatures. They're mice, playing bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums. The guitar - playing mouse is the fattest. I don't want to be the fat mouse. I could lose weight. Or I could ask Lou to draw me thinner. Guess which one I did.

This is a damp koala.
Various plans have gone in various directions. The plan to mix the entire album in one day? That one worked. The plan to bring three amplifiers (two cabinets) to Ethan's house in order to practice with exactly the same gear I'll be using for the show? Not so much.
I could get real comfortable playing at reasonable volumes though. That's especially nice.


The Delicate Cutters are cool. Their record company, Skybucket Records, is cool. I'm really enjoying this album.
I can't figure out how to intelligently record Electric Sheep. Neither, apparently, can anyone else. CamStudio seems to be my best bet. But I'm making uncompressed .avi's only to have to transcode them to ProRes files (at least I think that's what I'm going to do.)
I saw Azania Steady last week. She has an amazing voice. Plus, bonus points! She's Maduka's sister!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Banta Pudu!

From David Ian Lee, via rawrimagoat. Maybe that's the other way 'round. Anyway, this composite looks better than what they did in the movie.
I love how the ears pop up above the letterbox.
Also, man, they got the eye lines right. Ha!