Friday, August 31, 2012

Don Dohler

"If we take the nudity out it'll cut our distribution by 70%."
This documentary is brilliant.  Actually, the question in Blood, Boobs, and Beast "What's it shot on, is there any nudity?" doesn't come up anymore. Nobody cares what a movie is shot on because all the formats look the same. And nudity is so cheap (and free on the Internet) that it just doesn't help sales.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Translated Man

I just finished The Translated Man by Chris Braak. It's a self-published sci-fi novel in the China Mieville - type of exceedingly gothic world. Although I think it's vastly more interesting than China Mieville's works in that it has a plot that goes through it. ;-)

I never cease to be amazed by the high quality of work by self-published authors. Sometimes I'm surprised by the low quality of work by published authors. Even when it comes to things like typos, the editing on some big-publisher titles can be squirrely.
One funny thing about The Translated Man is that it's a book about a somewhat different world than ours, but not entirely different. And the very first thing about the book (or at least the version I got) was that it starts on page two. That's right, it starts on the left page. Which is somewhat awesome because maybe in the world of Trowth books actually do start on page two.
The second thing I found amusing was that there are double-spaces after periods, which in our world we only do when typing, not when typesetting. But again, maybe that's how they do things in Trowth.
I really enjoyed the book. It's very well written (and edited). For me there's maybe too many things in it. Too many names, too many creatures, that sort of thing. But maybe that's not true for most people. And the plot doesn't get bogged down in too much much. After all, you follow the equivalent of a Blade Runner whose job it is to hunt down heretics who practice illegal math. Which is more exciting than it sounds.
Like a dope though I bought the wrong version of the book. I should have gotten The Translated Man And Other Stories. Like this one:


So I ordered this version and also another book in the same series, Mister Stitch.
  I really can't say too much about how cool this book was. Just can't.

Wired

The always-brilliant Nat Cassidy sent me this (somewhat spoiler-y) article on seeing microphone cables on costumes in Breaking Bad.
Drinking in Ireland is more difficult than you'd think.
Threat Quality Press.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

While Waiting For Renders I Blog

On the other side of things there's the red-band trailer ("R"-rated) for Neon Flesh.

And Branded, a They Live-type picture. Posting YouTube videos using the HTML using Chrome is... a pain. I almost think it's not worth it to get business cards. But a big counter card for the door to the studio sounds like a great idea. Nizu has some tutorial videos on Blender asset management. You think that stuff is boring but it is CRITICALLY important to do right. Everybody in my shop wants a different jacket. Oddly, I'm the only one who wants the expensive one. Is everybody trying to be nice to me by selecting cheap jackets? Ha! You don't know the people in my shop then! ;-) There's this nice slick women's windbreaker-y thing.
We're ordering jackets from okuniform. Their place is actually right around the corner from our office.
Plus this quilted jacket.
You know, it is entirely possible that it's Apple's own 3-way color corrector that's giving us trouble. We don't seem to have the problem when we use Colorista instead. Hmm... looks like I'll be re-rendering the entire movie. Again.

Fuzzy and licky body parts

A good boss is worth more than 1.75 workers.
Ear.
 Indo-European language. Nah, I don't get it either.
Tongue.

Friday, August 24, 2012

This is How the Story Ends

Tom was afraid of a plot point and jumped in my lap. Luckily, Rebecca was on hand to take a picture.
But she didn't send it to me until today.
I've had cats that weigh more than Tom does.
Am I finished with rendering animations for The Prometheus Trap? I hesitate to say "yes" but I think I may be.
I have to build the end sequence in the edit. And there's a lot of mixing to do. Plus, also, too -- credits.

Whattup with the Whattup

Dan Harmon on what he tells new writers in his writer's room:
Please help me make this the best show it possibly can be. Please give everything you have to it. I promise when you bleed, it will mix with my blood. I can't guarantee you'll be directly rewarded for it by the system, but I promise you it's the right thing to do. And please come to Comic Con and stand in the audience and listen to what they do when the actors come on stage. That is our God, that is the thing for which we'll be suffering.
Brooklyn Bunny. Because, you know, Brooklyn Bunny.
Hey, remember how Finn blows the Hercules gun out of the airlock? How is there an atmosphere in the cargo bay for him to blow the gun out with? We go to a lot of trouble to establish that there's no atmosphere in there. But he's not even wearing his helmet. This is entirely my fault, not anybody else's.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It doesn't get less weird from here

Sometimes.
More rendering for me today. I gotta get back at it.
I've pointed out that I have a tumblr, right? It exists almost solely to reblog stuff my cousins put up.
Color correction basics from Adobe.
Via.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Baggit

Best lookin' laptop bag evah.
My sister finished her laptop tote. Before you ask, she won't make you one.

Theatresource is still stupid

So, Drew, I've noticed you haven't gone on through the remaining stages of grief over the loss of Theatresource. You're stuck at anger.
That's because those asswipes who closed it piss me off.
Don't hold back, tell me how you really feel.
I wasn't as royally ticked off at first.
Then what happened?
I thought of B.
B? Who's B?
Well, you wouldn't know him although he was volunteering for a couple years. He came in more than once a week and he did a lot of work. He put in a whole bunch of work on those "cleanup days" where the Board lied and pretended we were cleaning up to make the landlord happier with us when really we were just doing it so they could get out of the lease.
Did the Board really know?
Well, it's not like new information had actually come to light which made those idiots come to the stupid decision to close the theater. That being said, Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice.
Uh. OK. I guess we could go either way there. But what about B? What about that makes you so irked?
Those jerks just took a dump on him. He'd worked freakin' hard and did nothing but make time for Theatresource and the Board of Directors did nothing to try to stay open (they did not even inform their Advisory Board) and basically said "F you" to B.
So, seriously, that's why you're still pissed off? 
12 years of hard work and six morons who didn't even come into the place very much just closed it down. And they're either so phenomenally stupid that they didn't understand that financially Theatresource was actually in better shape than it had been in years, or so lazy they just didn't feel like running it anymore and were too arrogant to let anybody else come in and be a new Board, or they're just douche canoes. Probably some combination of those things.
Who the hell is on the Board of Directors? They're not even listed on the website anymore. And the comments are all spam.
Yeah. There you go.
At least you get to pay now to submit your plays to Estrogenius. 
I can tell you who the Board of Directors of the 501c(3) were at least. When they decided to close Theatresource at 177 MacDougal Street. Courtney Birnbaum, Andrew Frank, Eric Laufer, Matthew Quint, Melissa Riker, Doug Silver, and Jennifer Thatcher*.
So you're not really interested in working with those people anymore.
Why would I work with asses who destroyed my theater?
Ah. Good point. I'll have another beer then.
The grape vodka makes for very good shots.

*Although Jennifer Thatcher signed her name on some emails as being a member of the Board, she probably wasn't. And the Board hadn't filed their paperwork with the State so New York has no record of the then-current members of the Board.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Your Goings-On This Weekend

Dolf Veenvliet has a new project where you can design your own cross pendant online and have it made in sterling silver. It's called Shapewright.

Groove to Colors in Movie Posters Since 1914. Spoiler: there's a lot more blue now.

I'm incapable of not blogging with pictures of my sister's cat Pippin. Here he is overseeing my sister's work making a computer bag from batik fabric. Which will be awesome.
Pippin has his own collection of pens and pencils he keeps under your desk.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Barriers to Somewhere You Don't Want To Be

I disagree with almost everything in the New York Times "Room For Debate" How Can Women Gain Influence in Hollywood.

To start with, as you might imagine my ideological bent considering what I do, I just don't care about "Hollywood". Like the old slogan for Film Threat: If you don't like movies, make your own.

So I certainly don't care about anybody gaining influence in Hollywood.

If you're waiting for someone to give you permission and a lot of money to make movies, then you aren't a filmmaker -- you're a waiter. Bring me my coffee.
I'm irritated. You're going to need this bunny.
There is something very close to zero barrier to entry to making a feature film. You can do it with an iPhone and a laptop (although, please, for the love of all that's holy, rent a nice microphone and a recorder if you're going to do that.)
"Leadership is required to recognize that “When Harry Met Sally,” "Bridesmaids" and "Lost in Translation" are not outliers, but clear indicators of vast communities of underserved audiences."
If that's true, why can't indys make those movies? Because I'll tell ya, those three movies were cheap to make. If someone could make a living drafting off of, sheesh, "Lost in Translation", believe me they would. The Asylum would be making "Bridal Party II" right now.

And, you know, for all intents and purposes and as far as you're concerned, I'm some sort of communist. I make fun of the theoretical existence of the "free market" all the time. But the fact is that every third Thursday of the month there's a massive free market experiment that happens where the actual video rental habits of Americans is used to determine what Americans want to see movie-wise.

That is, Blockbuster has to decide what videos it will buy.*

Now let's get real. They really don't care about the ideology of what sorts of genres they're selling. And yet still if they have a choice between buying some low-budget crappy romantic comedy and some low-budget zombie picture they will choose the one which people will rent more. And guess which one of those people will rent more? Think about which movie you'd rather see tonight. Take your time.

And "leadership is required"? You know what? No. Leadership is not required. If you can get off your ass and make a movie rather than whining that the big six studios aren't making the kinds of theatrically-released feature films you want to see then leadership is not required. You just have to make that movie. Without whining about it.
"Although women are more than 50 percent of the filmgoing public, predominantly male decision makers focus on making movies for boys and men, while systematically failing to support stories for women and girls."
What the hell are stories for women and girls? And why do we think that female filmmakers will make them?
"Hollywood is one of the only industries that does not take the female consumer seriously."
Well, I gotta say that if that's true it sounds like an opening for the 7th studio to come in and soak up all that money. See? There is actually a point to capitalist theory. If there's this great untapped market, I say you spend your money to finance the entity that will lose 100% of its investment take over the entire system.
Oh. But wait. You don't actually believe that enough to put up your own money.
"I am hopeful that the excess of leisure options will dictate that we all reduce our impulse buys and move toward informed choice of what we actually desire."
Oh I get it. I don't actually want to see the post-apocalyptic robot movie. I actually desire some other thing made by women but I just don't know what that thing is because I'm just sooooo impulsive.

Bite me.

And that's not even to say "Why can't women make post-apocalyptic robots movies?" Because they can. And do.
"Young women should believe successful directing careers are within their reach."
Wait, what? "Within their reach?" Do you have any idea how few directing job are out there? You know what careers are within your reach? Doctor. Financial Planner. Engineer.

Director? Not so much.

You're asking yourself "How few jobs are there out there as feature film directors?"
"According to the latest Celluloid Ceiling study, women accounted for only 18 percent of the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2011."
Wait. Seriously? You're talking about 250 gigs out there? We have a population of 300 million people in the US and you're worried about what might be a thousand jobs? Yeah. No.
"As a culture, we should embrace women in command. We should accept their eccentric behavior, and at times, the tantrums that come along with the extreme pressures of producing great work."
No. No we shouldn't. Tantrums come along with being an ass, not the "extreme pressures of producing great work".

I'm way not a fan of hierarchical structures (even though I'm at the head of one). But even where a hierarchy has practical advantages I'm way not a fan of ideologically celebrating them. They're stupid.

If you want to make a movie then make one. Stop not making a movie. It takes a phenomenal amount of work to make a movie -- get over it. And your first few movies will likely suck. So make some more until they don't suck anymore. (In my case that's "make a lot more until they don't suck anymore"). But just make 'em. Don't whine that someone else isn't hiring you. 

*Note that Blockbuster has hundreds of stores. They're still a decent sale.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Day in the Life

A hundred drops in 90 days. I rolled to the bottom of Hill 623 only to find my Sergeant kicking the alien equivalent of a jeep over and over again. There were a half-dozen aliens lined up on their knees with their long hands clasped around their heads.
I ask the sarge what's wrong and he just keeps kicking the jeep over and over again while the aliens look at one another. Sarge just starts yelling in Spanish, which I can't understand.
One of the aliens looks at me and I look back. The alien says "Do you say 'he says' or 'he said'?"
I tell him that the sergeant is still yelling at the jeep, so probably "he says" is correct.
"He says he does not like the matriarch of..." The alien breaks off in confusion. "I'm not sure if he's talking about the vehicle, me, or you."
"All three of us, I'd guess."
The sergeant starts to smash the windows on the side of the jeep with the butt of his flechette rifle. The metal-laced safety glass splinters but doesn't really do anything that satisfying, which only makes him angrier with it.

I ignore him as his rant breaks into shouts "Madre madre madre!" or something like that (like I said, I don't know Spanish and he was wearing his helmet with comm off). So anyway I break out the rings we use to throw around the necks of the prisoners -- they have little transmitters on them which supposedly keep any of us from shooting at them for about 15 hours until we're off-planet. Which would be a real good trick except that even at this range the xmits aren't showing up on my grid and I'm right on freakin' top of them.
+++++
The pale green sun of this planet (X01556 — I had to look it up) made everything look like it was in a hospital. But you know, with a dirt floor and a sky instead of ceiling. I just started to wonder where my own squad was when two blue blips showed up on the HUD and it's Johnson and Russell.
"You see Ozawa or Martins?" I say to them.
Johnson, who used to be in my squad but ended up in Sarge's because they kept losing heavy weapons guys, looked at me like I was the insane one. "What the hell is Sarge...?" He just stops and doesn't know what to say.
"He's angry with the bug Jeep." I say, like it's obvious.
Russell walks over to the Sarge. I can tell he's going to open his big mouth and say something stupid.
"Sarge -- you want us to blow up this Jeep?"
The Sergeant stops yelling for a moment and stares at Russell, slack-jawed. Russell, like a buffoon, actually reaches around and grabs one of the big thermal grenades he likes to carry — like he's going to show it to the Sergeant and Sarge will say "Yeah, that's a great idea, let's do that!" Instead Sarge predictably turns back to the vehicle and starts to kick it again, and again, making big dents in the side of its ceramic armor.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pleasure for the Empire

I figure the soundtrack-arm of the Pandora Machine should be a band called "Pleasure for the Empire". So far it is me and my cousin Jaime-Jin Lewis (who was drafted, she didn't volunteer.) And this is the remix of "Sucre"
This is music for our upcoming movie Prometheus Trap. File under "difficult listening hour."

Kitteh Post

Here's my brother Dave's cat "Sugar". She just went blind a few days ago. She's fairly old, doesn't seem to be hurtin'. Just can't see anymore.

The Most Terrible Thing Ever

Can we start talking about my first world problems?
My favorite bubble tea place is closing.
Now that doesn't mean that there's another store from the same chain that's equidistant from my office. Because there is.
But my favorite Ten Ren Tea shop on Lafayette Street is closing.
I expect frequent and sincere missives of condolences for this great tragedy which is happening to me.
Here is a picture of a bunny.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Education

So, I have a political blog which mostly exists because of one political observation that I have about the radical departure of US foreign policy toward Central and South America since President Clinton's election.
And when I became interested in the science of pedagogy I ended up posting stuff about it on my politics blog because for whatever reason "education" is a topic for a freakin' political firestorm here in the United States.
So I was going to put my pedagogical theory on my political blog but then I thought no, that's dumb. So it'll go here. Under this picture of a rabbit.
This rabbit is very interested in listening to your pedagogical theory.

This is a theory. I'm using made-up numbers.

You can teach 20% of the students pretty well with the system we have now, using about the same costs and personnel.
To get similar results from the next 20% of the students, you're going to need to double your resources.
The next 20% will take another doubling of resources. (4x)
And to get the next 20% of your students in the "general population" you're going to have to double again. And those students will not do quite as well as your top 20%. (8x).
If you go for 16 times the resources we have now we can substantially alter the academic performance of the bottom 20%.

And so sayith my theory for which I have no statistical evidence. Yet.

Moar Cats

Here's moar pictures of Five.
A closeup of Five with Ed.

V gets pettings from Todd

Moar pettings by Todd for Feivel.

Hanging With Childhood Friends

This week was about hanging with childhood friends Todd and Ed. No pictures of Todd really because, well, mostly because it was his camera.
Todd's picture of me. We're south of the Irish Hunger Memorial. It's like a chess temple. My only instruction to Todd: make me look thin.

Ed's cat "Five" (which could be "Cat 5" or "V" or "Feivel", which is what I called him.) He's sleeping in a bowl on the kitchen table. 

Five hangin' with his main bud Ed. He calls this "chillaxin". 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

That Which Then Therefore

Tarantino Smith stars in Snow White Zombie (featuring live performance by Nat Cassidy and the Nines) as part of this year's Fringe Festival.
In Final Cut Pro when the sequence loops and it irritates you the "looping" checkbox is under the "View" tab. You're welcome, past self.
Clearly I need a Belstaff waxed jacket.
The S Icon Racing Jacket is probably my favorite but the Roadmaster is probably the way to go.
I usually don't like cake. But the ChocoBolo cakes are pretty good. I want one. Now.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Against Sarcasm

Or: unfinished thoughts.
+++++
So apparently I have a reputation for being sarcastic. I have what, if I were an 11-year-old, would be called "a mouth on me." This is troubling.
The thing is that sarcasm renders a fellow unable to communicate. Well, certainly unable to communicate sincerely. "That's a nice dress" gets retorted with "Bug off, jerkface." Which, you know, if you really do go around being sarcastic about the way people dress you probably should be told to bug off.

++++
I've been looking for a real analysis of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel since I read it at the behest of my older brother a few years back. And boy it's hard to come by. Here's a survey of thoughts on the book. 
I gather that the political agendas of some academic departments are not served by GG&S. But the book is clearly (at least to me) written from a geographical viewpoint which discounts things like climate change and the possibility that different cultures might evolve differently even given the same resources. 
For me the big question has always been China. WTF China? Why were you guys all up on gunpowder, printing, and inventing pizza* a thousand years ago and then you came to a halt. Diamond spends very little time on this issue but the short version of his argument is that China became a single nation where Europe did not. So hierarchical decisions could be made by the Chinese government which would eradicate diversity of (say) exploration. The example he used was the... oh just read it.
+++
You know, if I didn't enjoy eating so much I'd lose weight.

*The "pizza" thing is, I believe, an urban myth.

ASCII Cat Day

Today is ASCII cat day.


    (\__/)
    (='.'=)

    Zzzzz  |\      _,,,--,,_        +-----------------------------+
           /,`.-'`'   ._  \-;;,_    | Why is there always a cat   |
          |,4-  ) )_   .;.(  `'-'   | on whatever you're editing? |
         '---''(_/._)-'(_\_) 
Here's my niece on Machu Picchu:
This needs to be an ASCII avatar but I can't find the ASCII version of it:


Sunday, August 05, 2012

To Be or Otherwise

Friends of mine moved to Portland Oregon recently. And I'll tell you the truth, it looks like heaven.
I've done quite a bit of thinking about why I'm in New York City. It's expensive. It's noisy. It's expensive. It's dirty. It's expensive.
And many of the people we work with are from all over the world: Birmingham UK, Birmingham AL, The Netherlands, Seattle, Los Angeles, Melbourne. As far as those people are concerned it just doesn't matter where we are. We could move to some pleasure palace outside of Sedona, AZ or Ashville, NC, or even Portland OR.
The biggest problem is finding actors in those places. And yes, I'm including Los Angeles. And other than LA, all those places are easier to shoot in -- people are actually happy to have you come and shoot in their bar or drug store, etc. -- but you have to import your actors.
Also we really do need to have people come into our office and do ADR and edit and suchlike. That is really helpful.
So every once in a while I do a long hard think about what we're doing and where we should be. And each time I come to the conclusion that we should be where we are doing what we do. There's a lot of things which would be easier to do in (say) Bedford Pennsylvania, but for us right now this is the place to be.
Via.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Foiled

I've been obsessed with Foyle's War. Or, possibly, "addicted".
I'm sort of lucky with my addictions in that rather than a downward spiral to hit bottom I just have to see every freakin' episode and then I'm fine. It's like if there were, say, six seasons of cocaine, and some set number of episodes of cocaine in each season. All I have to do is snort every episode of every season until I get to the end. And as long as they don't make new episodes of cocaine my analogy is completely absurd and I'm just going to stop.
The New York Times asks Is Algebra Necessary?
I have this bad feeling that the reason math is so daunting to most people is because of an internecine argument between theoretical and applied mathematicians. If you're a theoretical mathematician and this turns out to be true, you better calculate how much I'm going to smack you. Oh, you say that would be applied mathematics, don't you? You'll still get smacked.

Peregrin

Childhood friend (whose birthday is today) Ed McNamee has finished Peregrin the Aeronaut, a beautifully illustrated (by Delfino) book.
It's also a musical.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Robots, Clocks, Socks, and Filters

Fast and Furious... but with robots. OMG I want to make this movie so bad...
The big, big news for me is that I got this new clock.
Beautiful, ain't it?
I know you're jealous. You wish you could buy a clock like this for eight bucks too.
In further exciting news, I wish I had softer socks. Swiftwick socks maybe? I honestly cannot figure out their product line to save my life. The fact that they have multiple types of socks and I can't differentiate between them has made it so I didn't buy any.
Has the amount of spam in your spam filter gone nuts today? It has for me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Roscoe Sees Self

Roscoe is one of two cats staying in my apartment for a couple days. I believe Roscoe has already done a sweep of things up in high places and made sure they're earthquake-proof by smacking everything not locked down onto the floor.
Notice convenient bell-ringer on back of animal.
Roscoe decided to stare into the mirror. He's sitting on the "Pandora's box".

Roscomatique

Here I am with a cat named Roscoe. Moments before Roscoe had been placidly in my arms. Just as the picture was snapped, Roscoe decided to be everywhere. This is me avoiding the pointy parts of the otherwise very soft and loving little kitty.