Saturday, December 31, 2011

Exploring Options

So I broke into an abandoned house on Douglass Street and stole a Glock from a drug dealer. I took the gun to midtown where I kidnapped a doctor and forced him at gunpoint to write me a prescription for an antibiotic. Then I wrote this post on Reddit.
I'm trying to design a partnership for three pictures which makes sense for four people. Ha! Like making movies makes any sense... Robbing drug dealers in Gowanus is more remunerative, and less dangerous.

Friday, December 30, 2011

How much does it cost to be me?

My rent is 983 a month ($11676)
My utilities are a variety of things -- lets say $50/month including Internet ($600)
My office is 275 a month ($3300)
Can I get a daily stipend? How about per diem? Ha! Seriously, how about $20/day? ($7300)
That's a total of $22,876 a year. Plus taxes. I have plenty o'plans for the use of more money mind you. But that's what I figure my minimum is.
I'm just writing down random words and number here you realize. Nothing to see here. Nothing to understand.

A movie, I've just calculated, thuslike, brings in seemingly on average about 20,000. Just a few years ago I was sayin' that it brought in 24K (and saying it with an honest face). But let's hope these numbers hold and only get better.

Withstanding Ambien Walrus Attack

If you like "storm at sea" porn you'll love this video.
Mr. Kangas has scores to listen to while screenwriting.
Another advantage of our new location is that the building across the street is clearly the most zombie-proof of all New York buildings.
Actually, no kidding:

As a vital communications link, the building was designed to resist nuclear blast and fallout and be self-sufficient for two weeks in wartime conditions.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wireless Conflict and Effects

The Apple AirPort Extreme card has a couple strikes against it. Firstly, it costs about 2.8 gazillion dollars. Or at least forty dollars.
Second-like, it's a major-league pain-in-the-tuchus to install.
Draper's Lamia.

So I went and ordered a USB wireless for the Mac Pro (and for my PC desktop) because I thought at our new place we'd only have wireless. Turns out we have hard-wired right in the wall behind (my) computers. Maduka brought in our router, Blair's gonna bring in his wireless, and it'll all be super sweet.
William Martell on making sure there's conflict in every scene. Oh man I couldn't agree more. When you have a scene without conflict the movie just dies. I think horror movies are especially guilty of that because there's that opening set of scenes where the teenagers are headed into the woods and they're all laughing and happy because the filmmakers want to show us how things were good before they got very very bad because of the man with the ax.
The Stylizer plug in for Final Cut from Luca Visual FX looks kinda cool.

Easier to Destroy It

It sure was easier to destroy Theatresource than it was to build it in the first place. All it took was the Board of Directors deciding they didn't want to have a theater anymore.
What used to be "DigitalSource" -- our studio and office for about eight years. 
The irony is that personally this has worked out pretty well. I have a new set of partners and we have a great new space. But no more theater.
Most of the lights are down but the grid is still in the air. Of course, a theater being dismantled doesn't look substantially different than a theater being striked between shows.
I stopped by today -- probably for the last time.
The irony here is that the theater from the outside actually looks warmer and more inviting now than it has in the past few years just because there's less stuff actually in the window.
If only the landlord had been willing to rent to someone else, a new organization would have picked up the rent and moved right in. It's too bad. This Board is just made of spectacularly destructive people. They took out Theatresource at 177 MacDougal Street in what, three months?

Goodbye theater!

The Black Freighter

So my buddy Danny Thompson* posts a Marianne Faithful video on Facebook of her singing "Pirate Jenny".

I've never really dug Kurt Weill (I almost spelled it "Kurt Veille"). I mean, Mack the Knife is fun and so forth. But I'm listening to this song and I'm thinking okay, I really know this song. But... different. Which shouldn't surprise me 'cause it's a famous song and maybe I just don't remember it exactly. But it's kind of strange as I felt I knew it very well from a long time ago.
And looking it up on Wikipedia I discover that it was covered by Steeleye Span under the name "The Black Freighter".
Ah. My sister took it upon herself to put music in my head wee head at the time (meaning the 1970's). So there are some funny albums that ring around in my brain. There's Donovan's "Mellow Yellow" which, quite rightly, I listened to as an elementary-school child. There's some non-canonical Cat Stevens which she bought for me at some point. And there's this Steeleye Span record.

Strangely, my elementary and middle-school years were devoid of The Beatles. And certainly absent was anything which even remotely resembled hard rock. And that was mostly due to my sister's taste. My older brothers were old enough to be mostly out of the house by the time I came along so other than some classical music their influence on me as a youngin' wasn't nearly so great.
So anyway, yes. I used to listen to the song a lot. But it was called something different.
I do think the chorus melody is squandered. There should have been at least one double-chorus. So say I.

*Not, incidentally, Danny Thompson. Why had I never noticed that before?

Complaining Day

This dang cold is really irritating. I've had it since the 11th. I've gone to the doctor (said he couldn't do anything.) And now I'm just irked. So here is me, complaining to the world, that I have a cold.
Here's the funniest conversation from yesterday:
Blair: I don't want to do any more work.
Drew: Neither do I. But unfortunately I promised a movie to be delivered in the middle of next month.
Blair: Did you shoot it yet?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Machine Churns Slowly

I can't really stomach paying over four thousand dollars for a video card. I mean, what the what? Update: this is the link.

And other than that I'm not really getting a whole bunch of work done and I really haven't gotten much work done since we moved. But we will. We have to. I just have this stupid cold which won't go away.
Of course, moving in has been hard work. We only just got power over to that workstation (where the music keyboard is... for now) over my right shoulder.
You'll note the bottle of vodka waiting there in case of hard times.
Oh, but there's actually a story to that workstation. I was walking to work and there on the corner of Reade and Church someone was throwing away a lot of office furniture. Most of it was/is pretty unusable. But the desk looked pretty good so I went and got a cart and a tape measure and sure enough, it's pretty good. There's a couple little drawers and a keyboard/mouse tray. 

Muslim DSLR's

First Blair gets his arm chopped off, then a giant robot kills him, in Solar Vengeance.
Our main man Blair Johnson is DP on this groovy documentary "The Muslims are Coming".

Philip Bloom's camera shootout includes a hacked GH2. I believe the "correct" answer for the stills is:

1 5D
2 NEX5
3 AF100
4 C300
5 D7000
6 F3 AB
7 F3 S-Log
8 FS100
9 GH2
10 7D

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Attack the Block

And there be spoilers here. Although really if you're reading this blog and haven't already seen any movie I talk about then you're only here for the pictures of naked people and cats.
You're welcome.
I thought Attack the Block was almost really good. There were a number of very nice and awesome things about it, but I felt let down by the characters. Of course, the fact that they spoke with such heavy working - class London accents made it so I couldn't understand most of what they said, so that might have a bunch to do with it.
But after the first 30 seconds I had a list of who was going to die because, lets face it, they should die. And they didn't die.
That's the sort of thing which would drive my sister nuts.
Indeed the head - count for it being a horror movie was pretty darn low.

The creatures were spectacular in a low-budget way. First of all, they (mostly) weren't CG. They're guy-in-a-suit with hand extensions. And the idea of making them blind but with glow-in-the-dark teeth is quite awesome.
If I were to re-make it it'd either have to be about a drug dealer who refuses to mug some girl, or it would be about a drug dealer who's in trouble with another drug dealer from the very beginning (when there's a shoot-out natch.)

Monday, December 26, 2011


I've probably made considerable noise of late considering on the fact that we absolutely must shoot and post a minimum of three pictures this year. Perhaps four. Well heck, if I'm dreamin' we should do five but them dreams ain't worth the hyper-paper they is written on.
What I have so far is Dragon Girl, then Joe Chapman's picture Alien Exorcism. After that we have picture called either "Alien Revenge" or "Alien Treasure" depending on the draft we're reading (written by Bruce Frigeri).
Before all that comes to pass, o'course, we must finish Android Insurrection. I have plans to do that in three weeks. Don't know if we'll make it. I expect we'll have a finished cut, tho' we'll want to clean up some visual effects before delivery.
The first thing I won't be makin' a deciding on is what to do with this whole Apple Final Cut Pro debacleation. We'll edit at least one more picture in FCP (that'd be Dragon Girl). And if things ain't be worked out by comes summertime, we'll maybe find ourselves on the side of the fence where Premiere doth grow all pretty and gentle-like.
Yes, I've been re-watching all of Firefly.


Cats for Gold. That's right, turn your boring old gold into nice shiny new cats.
I finally figured out what I want for Christmas. An Arri L7-C. Gimme. C'mon -- it's like a fully color-timable 1K fresnel. Fully dimmable. Under three thousand bucks. Gimme six of 'em and I'll have a non-stop rock-out party. I could light any feature with that. Even exteriors in the woods at night.
Think of how much money you'll save on not having to replace lamps. Or those trips to the infirmary when you burn your hand from touching the barn doors. You can run four of 'em on a 10-amp circuit. You could put four of them on a cheap power strip!
Tell me I can shoot 2.8 at 1600 ISO and I can shoot anything with those.
Of course the joke will be we'll still have some of those 40-watt chicklet lights too.
Man, I can't wait 'till the price of LED systems plummet.
Is it just me, or did you use to be able to get onto Disapora with your Facebook account? Uh. I don't see that option anymore.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Desks Apocalypse

Laiva desk from Ikea is only $20.
But it's a bit too tall, the HealthyComputing says that these are the ideal heights:
Writing: 28-30 inches

Mousing: 27-29 inches

Typing: 26-28 inches

The Laiva could be cut down. That would be the cheapest way to get a couple new desks. I'm gonna guess we should be at 27 inches. I wish my parents had a tape measure. How can they not have a tape measure? Oh, I know -- my dad always keeps his in the car. Anyway, their desks are at a pretty cool height.

Tell me Law & Order: Baldur's Gate wouldn't be awesome.


The cats actually cuddle.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anarchy and Mayhem

Do they even know it's Christmas? Do they know there is an explicit rule about "no paws on the table"? Where is the force of the State?

I was actually hoping to get a picture of him lying like a bear (cat) rug. But Winston lifted his head oh-so-slightly just as I clicked the shutter.

Shenanigans! I say! His eyes always glow in photographs. They're usually shut in real life.

Hunt for Red October

I do love doodling in math class.

Man I love the movie Hunt for Red October.
When I was maybe 23 years old I worked as a sound operator at the New York Shakespeare Festival and the director of this Macbeth (starring Raul Julia) was Richard Jordan. The sound designer on the show took off before the show opened and more work needed to be done so Richard Jordan called me in and worked with me directly for an afternoon to finish designing the show.
You have to realize that I was absolutely the lowest of the bottom-feeding proles on the show. Absolutely the lowest dog on the crew. There was nobody less experienced (by like 10 years) than me. And he treated me like a equal and a professional. I mean, I remember that at the time. I thought to my self "wow, he so doesn't have to be this much a gentleman to me". And, you know, I'm a communist. I think that everyone should be treated equally yet I was still impressed. He asked me about my background and I told him about my composing and such. I brought every bit of my top game to that show (you know, as much as a 24-year-old has).
I had no idea who he was until after the show opened. I can't tell you how many times I saw Logan's Run when I was young.
At the opening night party for the show I ran into him and he said hello and introduced me to some movie producer who was his guest -- introducing me as a "composer", which was waaaaay out of my pay grade and really impressed me even at the time because, I mean, he knew I was the lowest-level guy in the entire freakin' room. And he treated and introduced me as an artist not just a bottom-feeding prole. So, that really touched me.
Plus, he told me a great story about the cool guns they used...


This bunny has a bad attitude.
But these are some very sketchy bunnies (via Harry Connolly).
Do you need a groovy BNB when you're in New York? Stay with our own Alana in fabulous Jersey City!
Ergonomics guide from Cornell. We need a couple new computer desks.
Phillip Bloom reviews the Canon C300.

More of What I Must Put Up With

The cats have taken turns conquering my coat on the sofa. "I shall dwell in the flesh of my enemies!" says Winston, not realizing that the fabric is all man-made. Or, maybe he did realize that...

Meydl absolutely loves the little wrist-strap on the camera. Unfortunately she loves it too close for focus. Her butt is in focus at least.

Meydl hath also conquered the wilde-coat. She didn't do it without me shaking the camera though. It was fear. Fear of the great beast which made me shake so.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A wealthy scoundrel seduced and betrayed me.

Every once in a while I watch the movie Ronin just to remember how awesome it is. I love the way it's shot and I love the performances in it. And that's despite some kinda big flaws in the picture. I mean, wait, what's that about Russians and ice skating? That's really just to lead up to the literal and figurative (ahem) denouement -- I mean snipers and ballet dancers, what's there not to like?
The voiceover at the end -- the news reports -- they're pretty dumb. But you know you can't have everything.
Man, every moment is played so well. And listening to the director's commentary I learned all about four-wheel-drift.
My big question is Jean Reno's character. If he's the last one standing, then he's the Ronin. I mean the whole point is that [look, if you're going to get "spoiled" by my talking about the ending then you've stumbled on this blog by accident] DeNiro is not a Ronin. Right? And what was his motivation for all of the last act? Why was he sticking with DeNiro in order to get that case?
It certainly seems like there's a story there. Jean Reno is clearly not ex-military. One would presume that a native French speaker hearing "rendezvous point" would know that's a military term in English.
It's terrifically well written. But it's the shots and the performances that blow me away the most.

This is what I have to put up with.

Meydl will typically sleep on her back. Winston on his belly. Lookit Medyl's sproingy feet.

Look, I can't help myself. Waking up cats is hilarious. I know history will judge me badly. But I can't stop myself.

Harassing cats. It's what I do. I figure that my punishment in the eternal hereafter will be that cats will walk on my head when I try to sleep. Hey, wait a minute...

You shoulda seen the OTHER guy

The only reason this is funny is because nobody actually got hurt or even, for that matter, felt any pain.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


We should probably make a mockbuster of Prometheus. Oh wait, we are making one.

The trick is remaining friends with Joe Chapman as I hound him to finish his Alien Exorcism picture. Because I'm going to be one giant pain in the butt. Because that picture is going to be awesome and I want to see it. I want to see it now!
You know what we need? Spacesuits. And lots of 'em. I want helmets that fog up like crazy. Do we like spherical helmets? Or would we dig some that are like three plates of glass? Anybody?
We finally (mostly) assembled the Whisperroom (which we now simply call the Tardis). And I think everyone is in agreement that the desks we have are just exactly too large. When we get slightly smaller ones we'll be able to fit five people in our studio without feeling any more on top of one another than we ever did before.
Irony 1: I actually pay $25/month less at the new studio than I did at Theatresource.
Irony 2: The commute is so much shorter that I've blown through my stop going home twice now. I'm going to get a lot less reading done.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Digs

We've moved into our new place. We're renting office space from Michael Mailer Films. We found the space on Loose Cubes.
Here's a pretty appalling picture of Maduka and me waving at the camera. I look fairly deranged. Maduka is fairly blase.
Amazon sent me the wrong adapter for my phone. But I just discovered that J&R is only 4 blocks from our new office.
We need another desk. Like 4' x 4'. And we need a throw rug. Oh, and we need this movie we're working on to get finished.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harlem Rage

Our boy Tom Rowen wrote and directed this. Stars our own David Ian Lee (the man with America in his blood) and the continually more frightening each and every day Maduka Steady as the badass.
This picture looks nice boy.
Who shot it?
This should be a feature.


Well, it's official. Those morons on the Board of Directors of Theatresource killed the place. They didn't lift a finger to keep it going, nor would they get out of the way to let people in who would work to keep it going.

My piece of business advice? Don't hire any of these people unless you want your organization destroyed.

Courtney Birnbaum - Andrew Frank - Eric Laufer - Matt Quint - Melissa Riker - Doug Silver

Make it Loud

More from the 2nd-to-last night of Theatresource.
Picture taken by Maduka Steady with the exposure too low but rescued by bringing the image in from RAW. Lily Kenner (back to us), Dave Wolfe, Andrew Bellware, and Greg Bartus.

Lily Kenner, Andrew Bellware, Greg Bartus.

Lily Kenner, Andrew Bellware, Vincent Marano, and Greg Bartus.

Lily Kenner, David Wolfe, Andrew Bellware, and Greg Bartus. 
You read it here first. The best predictor in how well a song will do is how loud it is. Turn up those compressors -- it's gonna be a loooooong night.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Favorite Zambri Song

Here's my favorite Zambri song (so far) "Too Keep Back".

First of Us

Peggy Archer says funny things about lighting instruments.
We have, on occasion, tried to build our own "chicken coops". I can't say they've been terribly successful. Honestly, a couple cheap scoops with 300W lamps in 'em seems to do a similar thing. Those florescent lights we call "chicklets" do a somewhat outstanding job of smacking a whole lot of pretty (and uncontrolled) light on people.
The fact that I don't even own a light kit is simply absurd. Luckily I'm partners and/or friends with people who do own light kits. But have I mentioned how absurd it is we don't own one of our own?
The Last of Us. Teenage girl. Zombie-esque.

Reminds me of Jim Mickel's Stakeland too.


Over on the T-Mouse Blog are pictures of me playing with the City Samanas at their last gig at Theatresource.
That window-box is probably the best acoustically-sounding part of the entire venue. There ain't a parallel surface in the whole joint, that's for sure!
Hey, if an employee works overtime, and you don't know it, do you still have to pay overtime?

I'm getting to a really low place if I have no pictures to post with this.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And it Comes with Video

City Samanas with Andrew Bellware and Vincent Marano rocking it out.

To Do or Not To Do

Here's a kind of neat video tutorial for lighting "talking head" - type videos. And it's exactly the opposite of what we do when we light.
Us? We start with the back light. Then we fill underneath. That's the Mitchell Riggs way.
If there are any lights left we might hit the face with some, maybe get some kick light in the eyes.
Lastly make sure something fun is happening in the background. If you did it right it's probably that rim light you set up at the very beginning.
I know. It's just the opposite of what everyone else does.
Speaking of what everyone else does, here's David Ian Lee on Funny or Die. Spectacularly not safe for work.

Last City Samana Show at Theatresource

City Samanas Lily Kinner, Dave Wolfe, with Andrew Bellware on guitar and Vinnie Marano blowin' harp, City Samana Greg Bartus (partially obscured.)
 The City Samanas played their final show at Theatresource tonight. They invited me to sit in with them which was a great honor. I could only play the one song -- a 26-minute version of Dark Star. At one point Vinnie Marano found a harmonica (on the, er, floor apparently) and sat down and blew some licks with us. Luckily the harmonica was in A because otherwise... I don't know what we would have done.
These pictures are all taken by Maduka Steady.

Note that I chose the Celtic Edana JTM-45 clone for this gig. Into a Celestion Alnico Blue 12" the way God intended when she invented the Gibson Les Paul. All clean sounds that sustained for days. 

Lily, Dave, Andrew, Vinnie, Greg. 
I couldn't be playing with a nicer bunch of folks.


So why isn't everyone jumping on the Diaspora bandwagon? It's the only Facebook/Google+ that is open source for cryin' out loud.
I suppose part of it is that Facebook has, in fact, gotten easier to use with the last couple small changes it made. Especially easier is the "use Facebook as" to change to being, say, a band's administrator and such.
I have exactly two Diaspora friends. Of all my friends on Facebook only two of 'em are also on Diaspora.


So, we're going to have a regular Skype line in our office. Were's still waiting on the little interface-things for these handsets we have that have 4-conductor plugs on 3.5mm.

Please, for the love of all that's holy, don't call it and leave weird prank creepy messages on it at 7:30 in the morning. (+1 212 461 4887)
The cost was only $30 (half price for the year) plus a subscription -- $3/month unlimited to North America. And then there's some sort of discount on that. I think it was 15% if I paid for a year up front.
We're gonna need new business cards.
So that's how things are.