Monday, September 30, 2013


This was the costume we'd originally wanted Michael Shattner to wear in Prometheus Trap.

Who's This? : The Grumpies EP12 from GrumpyFILMS inc on Vimeo.
That boa would have gone great with a space helmet.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


So this Dead Residents movie opens inside a spinner. Yeah, I know, the script doesn't explicitly say the police car is a spinner, but we all know better don't we?
The script, again a brilliant screenplay by Steven J. Niles, is written as a POV tale of woe and hardship as a police officer and her Robocop-esque partner try to track down a terrorist who unleashes a zombie virus in an apartment building. Which is as awesome as it sounds.
In fact, the idea is that the movie is told in flashbacks from the robot's onboard camera. Which is a stunning idea. And sometimes stunningly difficult to figure out how we're going to shoot (we see the robot looking at himself in a mirror... I'm still working on that.)

But remember, we just need to see a POV from the front passenger seat. We need a mirror outside of the car and we need some kind of panel on the dashboard. Most of the complex details in the interior of the Blade Runner spinner are on the side panels and in the center console.
The big piece of the actual car that we see in Blade Runner is the flatscreen display on Adama's side of the car. That center monitor is interestingly situated such that the driver and passenger can't actually see it, but it photographs great doesn't it?
And interestingly real police cars have a computer typically mounted in the center console nowadays (but, you know, made so that the people in the front can swing it around to look at.)
In any case, the vehicle is stationary for the entire shot inside it. And I was going to have someone stand there with a hose so the "rain" obscures the visibility through the windshield but some gianormous light would punch through and make some interesting patterns on the face in the car.
So what we're staring down the throat of here is to shoot in a car or van with a hose or two on the windows and maybe our blue police light flashing. Uh. Anybody know where our blue police light is?
And so that means we want to put a flat screen monitor on the dash with some sort of display running on it. The display would be what the vehicle would see when it's stopped. Could we put the display on in post? Well yeah but I really don't want to motion-track a handheld shot with camera which has a rolling shutter and I super don't want to have to rotoscope the image if anyone should pass in front of it.

Amazonian Mouse

The new Tyrannosaurus Mouse Album is available now on Amazon:
It's also on CreateSpace. I don't know how much the record is. The price does change around a bit.

Bite Celtx Mouse

Makeup FX: bite marks.

You know what I wish Celtx would do?
  • Merge characters (because you frequently get "duplicates" of characters, some of whom show up in some scenes and not others)
  • Print a day's sides based on the schedule (because, you know, that would make life easier).
Right now we are in fact using Celtx to schedule feature films. I'm sure we're the only ones out there doing that. We scheduled our last movie (and I think we didn't miss any scenes) and we're scheduling our next picture too. We. Shall. See.

New York Sea Gypsies, not the world's most politically-correct name for a dive organization, do dives through the winter off of New Jersey.

Are you aware that the Tyrannosaurus Mouse album is out now? You'll be able to buy it on Amazon.

Wait, no. You can buy it on Amazon now.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We Are What We Are

Jim Mickle's new movie, We Are What We Are, is doing a theatrical release in NYC and LA.
It's a beautiful film. Yes, I get to brag that I saw an early version of it at a private screening.

New Armor

Our armor from Nightmare Armor Studios is ready.
We get two helmets with the armor.

I'm curious as to whether we'll put lights inside the eye-pieces.

There are a couple shots where the robot turns and looks in a mirror. Yeah. I know. I'm hoping we can fit a camera inside the helmet and puppet the thing.

We've been running with the "cyberpunk C3PO" idea for a while. But this is actually a standard suit of armor from Nightmare.

Scheduling Residents

You just love looking at schedules for movies.

Here's our scheduled character days for Dead Residents. 9 days on. I was surprised as anyone that Hawkins actually has two days off.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4


Day 5


Day 6


Day 7


Day 8


Day 9

Monday, September 23, 2013


I love these somewhat effeminate yet vicious robots.

ABE from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.
I wish that C3P0 would bust a cap in someone's ass sometimes. That very foppish attitude can only be balanced with fine swordplay. This short, Abe, has the appropriate amount of sweet talking and physical danger. This is kind of inspiring for Dead Residents, isn't it?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Advanced Open Water

So I passed my Advanced Open Water today. The Advanced class is actually much more fun than the regular Open Water because you don't have to do the hard stressful stuff like taking off your mask. You just work on your buoyancy and compass skills basically. And you get to swim around.
Here's my dive profile for my "wreck" dive. This is not a pride-inducing profile. I actually ran low on air and had to ascend and do my safety stop with my buddy. I got down to 100lbs of pressure and had to breathe off her spare regulator during the safety stop. Plus, you notice, those last three minutes are not exactly the most, er, buoyancy - controlled safety stops. I was up and down all over the place (breathing off my buddy's regulator).
Those upward-pointing arrows are where my "ascent warnings" chirped at me from my computer. That means I was going too fast and needed to slow down. The exclamation point at the beginning of the dive is a "ceiling error" and I'll just tell ya, I don't know what that is. I should find out.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Advanced Open Water Day 1

We actually had a student go to the hospital. He popped up in the water and did the distress wave and shouted. Everyone was afraid he got decompression sickness because the story was he was feeling sick and couldn't breathe and bolted up to the surface from 70 feet. However there was a doctor at the hospital (so I heard later) who was a DAN doctor and who said that the student was not suffering from any decompression injuries. So apparently he really did just get sick. Maybe he swallowed air? I wasn't in the water when it happened. And oddly there was a Rescue Diver course being taught about 100' from where he came up. So we (sitting at a picnic table some several hundred yards away) just presumed he was part of the course when he signaled his distress.
But they sure got to him quickly.
I lost my cheap dive knife. It popped off my BCD. Maybe I'll find it tomorrow. At least it got used a few times before it jumped into the deep.
I totally lost my dive buddy on one dive. At the same place I'd lost my buddy on my last Open Water dive. Seriously, that boat is cursed.

Anyway, we're descending to the sunken boat. I'm being good and looking behind me and giving the big "okay" sign. We get to the boat wreck and... he's just gone. I go up to the instructor. I make the "buddy" signal with my two index fingers and then a "duh, I dunno" shrug. We looked up, we looked down. We looked everywhere. No luck.
So I figure I'll at least do the exercise I'm supposed to do at the sunken ship. I'm supposed to measure the length using kick cycles and figure out how tall the boat is by using my depth gauge down at the keel level and then all the way at the top. When I get down on the bottom I see something... a brand-new weight pocket. I pick it up. It's got a weight in it.
So I bring the pocket up to the deck of the wrecked boat and show it to the instructor (we're still at about 60' depth here). I figure that we should probably just leave it on the deck of the sunken boat and whomever lost it would find it.
You'll note that I'm not putting 2 and 2 together here.
The instructor and I do a little search for my dive buddy. We even look inside the wrecked ship (without entering into it). My instructor isn't terribly concerned. We give up the search. Instead we swim around and I just sort of follow him and another pair of divers and we look at some fish.
So. Who owns a new BCD and has barely ever used it? That would be my dive buddy. Whose weights were not secured properly? I'll let you guess that one. Whose weights fell out and he bobbed up to the surface, unable to descend again?
The water at the quarry is mighty murky. At least it tastes good. But yeah, you can't see a diver on the surface if you're down sixty feet. You can sorta see the sunlight.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Great Way

I loved Harry Connoliy's 20 Palaces. I tried to get him to give me his first novel to make a movie out of (he said no.) Here's a Kickstarter for his new book:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I Want

Lady Gaga's assistant does all this:

  • cleaning up after her,
  • making sure her hair looked right before she went on stage, she drank water and had tea, ate and received "special food" at every concert location, and was hopefully on time to places, such as concert venues,
  • handing Stefani's email and phone communications, luggage -- generally twenty bags -- clothes, accessories, makeup, and toiletries as the tours proceeded
  • having ice packs, tea, and a shower ready at each concert venue,
  • addressing Stefani's needs throughout the night (such as when Stefani would get tired of watching a DVD, she would wake up Ms. O'Neill to change it)
  • and just being there for her.
 I just want that. I'll even pay overtime.

Learning the PADI Way

I'm in the middle of getting my "Advanced Open Water" certification from PADI. We did the pool work yesterday and we're going out to the quarry at Dutch Springs, PA this coming weekend.
As anyone will tell you, there's nothing "advanced" about the AOW certification. It's really the "Open Water II" class and is designed to be taken immediately after taking the regular Open Water class.
I can see why they do it that way though -- they want to get divers certified and not killing themselves as soon and as inexpensively as they can. So with the Open Water class they get you through three or four nights in a pool, six chapters in a book with a test at the end, and four dives in "open water".
With the open water certification you can get your dive tanks filled. You're not super-duper dangerous. You aren't supposed to go below 60 feet. But you are just barely a beginner.
And you know this. Thing is, as far as I can tell, most everyone feels clumsy and not terribly competent after getting their Open Water certification. And one's first reaction to the notion of going on to the Advanced class (at least mine, and from a couple other people who voiced similarly) is "oh I'm not ready for Advanced, I need some practice first." And as much as the instructors tell you "You can go right from Open Water to Advanced Open Water the next weekend" it's hard to believe. But it's totally true.

With the "Advanced Open Water" you start out just a bit more comfortable in the water. They're big on working your buoyancy (that's one of those words I can't ever spell on the first try) and compass skills. And you get to spend more time underwater with an instructor, which is always a good thing. For instance, my instructor said that I was a good candidate for ankle weights: so yesterday I went out and got a pair of them. They're 3.9 pounds of weights and they strap around my ankles (as you would expect ankle weights to do).
And snorkeling around the 5' deep pool at my parents' retirement place indicates that yeah, ankle weights work great for me. It's harder to move my legs -- but that's because my fins spend more time underwater. So ironically more weight = I go faster.
My goal is to go on through the Rescue Diver course. With the Open Water and Advanced Open Water I'm at less of a risk of killing myself. But with the additional training in Rescue I figure I at least won't be the problem in the water and may help from other people killing themselves.
I'm surprised at how useful a compass is underwater. The courses PADI teaches really makes an effort to introduce you to the compass and get you used to working with one. They start you off in the regular Open Water but they make you use 'em a lot in the Advanced.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You Gotta Carry That Weight

Pies in Washington DC. Dangerously Delicious pies.
Red Cross first aid and CPR classes.
The answer is 34 pounds.
The question you've all been asking yourselves is: how much weight does Drew need with a 7mm full wetsuit with hood and gloves.
34 pounds.
And, probably, ankle weights. With those 34 pounds.
Just wait 'till I get a dry suit. Then we'll really see how much weight I need.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Schedule a Dead Resident

Scheduling is such a very exciting subject for a film blog post. This is my attempt to figure out locations and sets for Dead Residents (1202).

Okay. So Mandira Chauhan broke the whole movie into 8 days (actually, she broke it into 7 days but we're going to shoot it in 9).

I don't know. Is there a way we can shoot this at Joe Chapman's place?

That we're totally shooting guerrilla at my apartment building. Better bring some flashlights.

3 INT 5th FLOOR hallway
Again, I say guerrilla style at my apartment unless anyone has a better idea

I have this idea about how this could be my apartment. I have these weird Pepsi plastic things someone's been throwing away we could use for walls. And my couch. Of course, if that apartment set at Joe's is still there, it might be better.

My bedroom. I don't know how we're going to dress this though. And I'm open to other suggestions.

Can we shoot this in Joe's office in Allentown? We need a whole mess of computer monitors. Do we think that Richmond would have a bunch of monster movie posters hanging around his place?

The only idea I have now is to use my parents' place in Princeton. It will be way too "nice" for the rest of the movie though. Maybe the Goldfinchs' are very rich and live in a run-down building? I don't know. I'm open to suggestions.

If we shoot just in the kitchen area of my apartment we might pull this off. Would I rather a completely different place? Yes I would. Can we get that? I have no idea.

Analyze This

Speaking of heavy musical analysis, did you want too much analysis of Grateful Dead's Dark Star? You know you do. So here it is.
I've been playing the song for over a year now and I had no idea that it goes to Em and D from the A and G that most of the rest of it is in. This is why I should never be allowed to play rhythm guitar.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tyrannosaurus Mouse Album Version 2.0

So now here's an interesting article on music economics. And when I say "economics" I do mean "flashbacks to that class in college with the cute TA who tried to use the Chicago band The dB's as an example but nobody knew who they were because my class was filled with losers" economics.

"In most small businesses, pricing is a percentage whacked onto the marginal cost, and the setup cost is paid for in the percentage. Your setup costs are S (recording, designing the packaging, etc.). You can’t charge the customer upfront for those so you need to whack a percentage margin onto your marginal costs. This is the cost of each additional unit after the setup costs (pressing one more record, shipping one record, etc.), which are M per unit. So your total cost is S plus (M times units), and your return is (M plus percentage) times units."
Speaking of marginal costs, I created a new master of The Tyrannosaurus Mouse Album. There may be a bit of EQ. But there's a bunch of compression emulation. And I did it. Which is not, in and of itself, a good thing. But my mastering engineer won't return my phone calls anyway, so I may as well.
Did I make it too loud overall? Probably. Sorry. It's hard not to. But at least all the songs seem to be the same relative volume now. Don't they?
Click through and tell me.
I do like this album though. I think it should just go on CDBaby.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prometheus Trap US

It looks like Prometheus Trap is coming out in the US! Hooray! November 1st release date!
I don't know those actors and the ship sure looks different. Other than that it looks about right.

Amazon Review

Today's favorite review is this review of Prometheus Trap by "Midge".

"This director & camera crew clearly did not understand the impact of bright lights targeted at the cameras & how it affects the lighting levels & quality of the imagery."
I cannot tell you how funny that quote is to me. Or how many times the name "J.J.Abrams" was spoken on set.
Other than that Midge complains about the sound quality of the dialog and the framing being too close. To which I say "oof".
Now as far as I know she saw the UK version of the movie. I haven't seen the UK version. I hope and pray that it's in 16:9 letterbox and not blown up (pan&scan) and that the mix on that DVD came from the 5.1 English masters and not from a mix of the English and the M&E masters (which would bring the effective dialog level down another 6dB and that her review is just scurrilous.

The reason is that I feel like we go to some amount of trouble to get the dialog loud and to get the camera interesting and although this is but one reviewer who might have been cranky that day the reviewer might be right and I can only guess at what things may have happened after the masters left us or I actually screwed the masters up. It's hard to tell.

Dead Residents Schedule

This schedule is not written in stone. But it is penciled in stone.

  • 12th Saturday - Day 1
  • 13th Sunday - Day 2
  • 14th Monday (Columbus Day - Day 3

  • 26th Saturday - Day 4
  • 27th Sunday - Day 5

  • 1st Friday - Day 6
  • 2nd Saturday - Day 7
  • 3rd Sunday - Day 8

Supervillain Security Solutions

Our own Brianna June Tillo sells fortresses to evil super villains.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pleasure for the Imperial

Page 85 of PADI's Adventures in Diving Manual, which is the PADI "Advanced" diver manual, has a pretty egregious typographical error.
The column heading on an "Imperial" chart is in meters. Now, through careful observation and calculation one might understand that the numbers in that column must indicate feet. But really, this is a space-shuttle crashing bad typographical error. And the book has been out since 2010. You'd think they'd hand out an errata sheet with it.
I like diving with Imperial units. There's exactly one substantial reason to like Imperial rather than Metric. That is: the safe ascent rate in SCUBA is one foot a second. Nice and easy. 1'/sec. With Metric it's like 3 meters/10 seconds or some such thing. I don't care. It's dumb and there's no way to just think it rather than looking at your dive computer. One foot per second is the speed I need to know. I prefer to work entirely in Imperial because of it.
Yeah, I wouldn't care if the pressure in the tank were in cubic litres or whatever. But depth is gonna be in feet baby. There. I said it. So be it.

Weird Celestial Depths

This is today's weirdest thing on the Internet. Rolling High: Attacks of Opportunity. I have no idea.

I need to learn celestial navigation, don't I?

My new Suunto Vyper doesn't even register my swims in my parents' 5' deep pool.

Elephant Mixing

I believe that Wednesday's Diatomaceous Earth rehearsal was the first one where the entire band of miscreants everyone was there. We had Greg, Lily on her Schecter playing through an Alembic preamp (directly into a Tascam hi-impedance input), Ethan on his Chapman Stick going through Countryman direct boxes (one of his and one of mine) into Lindell preamps (with just a hint of EQ added to them), Lou on drums, and me (Andrew) on guitar (recording chain is an SM58 going into a Neve 1272).

I'm going to go ahead and admit that the drums are almost entirely replaced. I think those are a DW kick, and DW Edge snare, and Yamaha toms. But the overheads are Ear Trumpet Edwina microphones going into Neve 1272's. I'm not sure how much better you could record them. I think they sound great.
And, for me, I'm finally able to set the cymbals appropriately for the rest of the kit. This is partly due to the kit replacement therapy but also because I've discovered the LA-2 emulator plugins. I can't get the Fairchild emulators to do anything I want. The LA-2 and the 1176 however... those I can get to glue me some drum kits, make basses sound fantastic, etc and so forth.
Note that I'm replacing all four drums in the kit and that I simultaneously think that Lou is the best at getting less-than-par drum kits to sound fantastic. Even so, we're just not getting that million-dollar sound out of the kit at the rehearsal studio without a little help from The Box. 
I'm mixing very dry for me. For most of these mixes there's no reverb on the snare and the rest of the kit is completely dry. Um. I mean except for the kick. I usually put a kiss of reverb on the kick. The overheads are limited with one LA2 (oh, I'm sorry Ethan, I mean compressed. There. Happy now? ;-) and the rest of the kit is in another group.
I'm not using any mixing board non-linear-type emulation on this mix. When I A/B the emulators of the EMI board, the SSL board, and the Neve board against the natural 2-mix buss in Samplitude I invariably choose the less "collapsed" nature of the Samplitude 2-mix buss. So much so that if someone told me it was in and of itself an emulation of the old EMI tube board I'd be all like "Yeah, this is the only way to mix."

Green Queen Day in the Pandora Machine

You know we have almost a complete cut of Android Masquerade? We just need some plates of the Philadelphia Desert exterior and to animate some combat drones.
We don't have enough dragon action in Dragon Realm. I was afraid of that. And we have too much of boring guy talking right into camera (me).
We must shoot Dead Residents next month (well, we gotta start in September). Which means I absolutely must figure out where we're shooting all of it.

Via Stu Maschwitz, a free callsheet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Warhammer 40,000

For the longest time I've been operating under the following notion of science-fiction aesthetic paradigms. 
1960's Forbidden Planet through Star Trek -- that sort of colorful but steely look.
1970 2001 A Space Odyssey -- white and clean.  This even includes Silent Running and Dark Star.
1977 Star Wars -- white but dirty
1979 Alien -- very dirty (you can actually see the earlier all-white aesthetic on a couple sets like the interior of Mother and the cryo-bay.)
Nobody ever complains about motorcycle armor on characters. 
And then, you know, that's been that. We've been running the Alien aesthetic ever since. Or so I've been saying to myself. 
But it's not really true now is it? No. There's this Warhammer 40,000 visual aesthetic which we've been running for a while now. The Chronicles of Riddick probably has the finest execution of that look of any motion picture. 
Right now the above left look is what I'm thinking for our next movie.
And, you know, with science fiction there are always visual exceptions. I'd say that Logan's Run is more in the Forbidden Planet/Star Trek aesthetic world than in a post 2001 world.
And facing reality, The Road Warrior had an aesthetic impact which is just as big as any of those other pictures, including Star Wars. And Road Warrior sort of presages that Warhammer look, now doesn't it?
Do all Australian dogs look that feral?

UPDATE: Did I mention that none of the images here are actually from any sort of Warhammer book or game or anything? That's because there's no movie or TV show or anything from Warhammer. They're just books and games. So image credits are Dredd, Dredd, Road Warrior. Hey, can you tell which was made before digital color-correction? ;-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lost Mouse

So wait. What happened?
I lost the masters to the Tyrannasaurus Mouse Album.
You? Don't you always have like four copies of everything?
Except for, apparently, these.
When you say "masters"?
I mean the 2-track stereo mixes.
Are you sure you've lost them?
I know the sub-directory they should be in. They aren't there. Nor does a search of any online or offline backups reveal the folder or any of the files.
Can you go back and re-mix the album?
We could. But lots of little things were done after we'd mixed in order to make songs better. And that would all be lost.
(Remix cat remixes.)

Now just a minute. You used the word "would" there. And I see a blue link in the text above. You have a copy, don't you? 
There's the finished album on Bandcamp.
So you're a liar.
No. That version on Bandcamp was mastered by me. Not by someone competent.
So there's compression on it. Tastefully added by you.
When you say "tastefully" you mean "irretrievably".
I guess I mean "it's the best we're going to get."
Exactly. But here's the thing: for some reason "Ice Maiden" was mastered at a much lower level so I'm going to have to add some compression to it in order to get it to sound like the rest of the album.
But on Bandcamp, the files are in .flac format -- which means they're lossless. Right?
Yes. But they're only 16-bit.
That shouldn't make a difference with one pass of compression.
You are correct, Sir.
So what did you do when you realized the only copy in the world was on Bandcamp?
I changed the price to $0 and downloaded the files, that's for sure.

Things and Stuff

There are housings and hardware to turn your smartphone into a dive computer.

The iGills works with the iPhone 3 and 4. It's $329 (plus, your iPhone).
The DivePhone is an Android/iPhone app and hardware. It's more expensive at somewhere up to $500.
I just wish the Garmin 401 were more waterproof than 1 meter. I'm thinking maybe with a drybag? Of course what I really need is this full-face mask with regulator, LED lights, and radio.

Monday, September 09, 2013

What are we looking for?

Recently I had an email asking about what sort of screenplays we were looking for. Here was the answer I gave:

The answer to what we're looking for, in general, is movies which can "draft" off of big-budget science-fiction movies. The movies to draft off of have to be

A. movies which are coming out in 12-18 months, 
B. which distributors think are going to make a lot of money
C. which have mechanical rather than organic creatures (if they have creatures) [this is just because my studio is better at robots than monsters].

Friday, September 06, 2013

Unbridled Hostility

I don't know why I thought this was as funny as I did (click through if you don't see the image above). Something to do with the unapologetic apostasy of the whole thing perhaps.Yes, that's a robot skull in the middle there. It could be worn by a human who hunts robots or, more chillingly, by a robot who hunts humans.
Actually, that makes me still think it funny.
But you know, one's audience for this sort of thing is rather limited. You really have to be a person who appreciates the irony of an ultra-macho T-shirt that brazenly admits that our present pantheon is incorrect.
40 free sci-fi fonts for your dining and dancing pleasure.
We have commissioned a suit of armor -- the Eclipse from Nightmare Armor Studios.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Rehearsal Recording

This rehearsal was Lou, Greg, Lily, and me. No Ethan, ergo, no Stick.
Now. I've been putting a lot of effort over the last year to record drums well. And you know what? I've given up. At first I was trying to do a 2-mic setup, then I moved to 3 thinking I was gonna be all avant and cool and everything. But then I got so many complaints -- and honestly, I couldn't get the toms to have that big sound without miking them individually. So we now have mics on the kick, snare, both toms, and two for overheads.

And I don't know if it's just been that I've been influenced by Dave and Lou but I'm not happy with the sound of the drum kit. Even now that there's a metal Ludwig snare it's still... meh.
So like I said, I've given up. We throw cheap mics on the kick, snare, and two toms. And they just go right into the Tascam's mic preamps. And from there they get freakin replaced in software.
The drum replacement plugins out there in the wild are... sweet. I mean they work great. They sound just like you were playing a better drum in the first place. Weirdly, too, when you insert one of those plugins on a track it cleans the track up 100%. I mean, you're not hearing any of the original kick or snare or whatever, the plugin is listening to the track and triggering a sample of appropriate dynamics and such. We used a DW Edge snare drum sample set on this recording. Lou has been telling me how great those snares are. And now we don't have to lay out a couple thousand dollars for one.

Now look, the overheads are recorded with a pair of beautiful large-diaphragm microphones going into Neve 1272 preamps. You can't get much better than that. And I'm free to make the overheads sound good rather than trying to balance the compression of the toms with the airiness of the cymbals.
But the drums themselves? Forget it. I'm done with drums. When they can be replaced this easily with drums that are always in tune, don't buzz, whose snares don't rattle constantly, that aren't affected by the humidity, and aren't creaking randomly then I'm all agog with the replacement.
Now bass. Bass we did something different with. The thing with bass is that we can hear the articulation nicely in the headphones but we lose the nice punch-in-the-chest of the low end of the instrument. Now back in the day when I was trying (foolishly, as it turns out) to record drums, I wanted the bass to be direct so that any processing to the bass didn't affect the drum sound. But now that doesn't matter. So I'm no longer on the bass DI crack pipe. It's nice to be clean.
We have this nice fretless Jazz bass which Ethan lent. And the rehearsal studio now has a beautiful tweed Fender Bassman reissue in a 4x10 (? I think) cabinet. So Lily plugs directly into that and it sounds... wonderful. I mean it sounds great. We throw a Rode NT1 on it (just draping it over the handle) and go right into a Neve 1272. It's a monster.
Halfway through rehearsal we decided to put the FatMan limiter on the bass' output of the computer which feeds the headphone mixer. This was met with much rejoicing.
I still have a pair of the Lindell preamps. And I'm still wondering what we want to do with Greg's guitar. Right now it's going from an SM58 into one of the Tascam's preamps. I've put it through the Neves and I've put it through the Lindells and so far the Tascam's have made me feel more, er, something. I have no idea.
Maybe I'll break out the Apogee Mini-me and use its preamps for guitar and for part of the Stick. Or something. I'll have to sleep on it.
Now note that this recording is just a rehearsal. This isn't for regular humans to listen to, just us. But if you want to hear what too much compression sounds like, listen to the last track -- the turbo weasel version. The bass is having a party through an LA2 emulator and most all the rest of the instruments are getting smacked real good with 1176 compression emulation. Those emulators sound sweet boy. And I like them better than the Fairchild, which actually doesn't do that much for a Drew.
One day I'm going to need a vastly more powerful laptop computer.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Things I Need

Include a Suunto Vyper dive computer.
And try to explain to me why this Whites Fusion Bullet isn't the coolest dry suit ever:

I especially like the big pockets on the thighs. I do not like having to deal with pockets on my BCD because I can't look down at that acute an angle with a regulator in my mouth and a dive mask on.
I need a T-shirt that has a robot skull on it and says:

[Robot skull with wings(?) and a knife through its head(?)]
Kill 'Em All
Let the Machine God Sort It Out

Because, you know, that would be funny as all get out. Er. To like me and maybe three of my friends. In fact, if you don't get it, I don't think I can explain it to you.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

New Helmets In Progress

 The new helmets in progress.
We had quite a few costume pieces stolen this year. It's rather disheartening. Two space helmets, a bit of motocross armor (which we can't get replacements for), a tricorn hat and a bowler hat, various other pieces.

New Helmets

Anthony Jones is some kind of beautiful genius. The three helmets we had for Prometheus Trap came to poor ends. One melted and two were stolen.
But these. Good heavens these replacements are beautiful.
 They're even more hard core than the originals.
 They're pulled from the same mold. We will have to put in new gaskets. We must honor Anthony's genius.
I don't even have a movie lined up yet for these helmets But believe you I will. I most certainly will.

Monday, September 02, 2013

An Attempt

Realizing that I live the life of a boring bachelor I thought I'd put up some shelves. Would it sound better if I said that a blonde with the body of a teenage dancer lying naked in my bed suggested I put up shelves?* Yes. That would sound better. Later I'll explain what the Japanese dominatrix suggested about my living room.
 The first one up wherein I learned that there is a brick wall behind this 1/2" sheetrock and, as far as I can tell, either no studs at all (neither the gazillion pilot holes or the stud finder could find them) or very thin strips of wood mounted to the brick which the sheet rock is attached to.
With more deranged perspective you can see that both these shelves are drilled into sheetrock and maybe have a small hold on some thin wood. The screws have damaged some of the red brick too, I'm sure.
Other than tearing out the wall and starting again, I have no idea at all how to mount these the "right" way.
In the fantasy world I inhabit: just as long as I keep significant weight off these shelves they'll serve for books and suchwise.
*Please believe that. It makes my life so much more interesting.


The mic clip on one of my Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina microphones took a complete break with reality. Actually, the brass knurled threaded piece which was glued into the clip just let go. Twice.
This means I managed to drop the same Edwina twice onto the kick drum about 5 feet below it during the same rehearsal.
Oof. And both times it hit the mic in the same place.
Such actions dented the grill. I don't really care what happened to the kick drum.
Lily suggested that I open the mic and push the grill back out from the inside. Which was very smart.
Disassembling the Edwina.
Another view of the flat-ish grille.
The microphone unscrews in a fairly intuitive manner but then once you've got all the screws undone it sort of explodes in your hands. Now note that my initial plan (before Lily set me straight) was to take a small needle nose and pull the basket back into shape. But there's pop screens built into the mic which make it easier to push the grill back from the inside.

I actually have no idea what is up with this picture.
The element itself didn't look damaged. And the recordings we did last week after this reassembly was complete didn't sound damaged. They sounded remarkably good actually.
Putting it back together required a bit of a balancing act, but it all fit nicely.
Much better.
These are very sweet microphones. I love them on many things -- drum overheads, guitars, acoustics, vocals.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Stanwickian Issue

So. I have two competing issues in the machine right now. One is that we simply must, must I tell you, shoot another movie so that we can have a trailer for the end of October/beginning of November. And then we have to have the movie done with post-production such that it'll be available by February 1st.
And I've done virtually no pre-production on that picture. I cannot fathom what the sets will look like. I don't even have a concept for costumes.
The other thing is that I have to finish post-production on this dragon movie.
This dragon picture. It went through a lot of rewrites. And now I think I've done hands down the most asinine thing I could do to any movie. It goes like this:
I wrote a movie which was structurally based on The Road Warrior. That's a good idea and everything but there were going to be way too many dragon shots in it to shoot it effectively. So Steve Niles did a page-one rewrite on it. He made the movie much better. Then Tom Rowen did another pass on it.
So we shot it. And we edited it. And we found that the movie came up very short. Too short to get distribution as a feature.
Note that I'd decided to play the evil guy myself. Nobody, I mean freakin' nobody (with the exception of Rebecca Kush) thought that was a good idea. But I did it anyway.
Now I'd had this idea that the lead character in the picture might end up with some sort of voiceover at the head and tail of the film -- just to bookend the whole thing and give us a bit of the story. But I thought about it (in the shower, where all my ideas come from) and decided it would be a bit of my character sort of setting up the world. So I shot a bit of improvised dialog and Mandira Chauhan edited it.
We were still short so I thought; why not make a bunch of interstitials in order to move the story along and give us a bit of rest between the action?
Which means, in effect, that now the story is about my character. Oof. I so did not mean for that to happen. As a "friend" of mine pointed out, I look like Falstaff. It wouldn't be so bad except that... I look like Falstaff.
Um. So that's where we are.

Time for Decongestants

  • There's actually a dive computer which is based on the iPhone. It's only $329. Called the iGi))s. Doesn't seem to work with the iPhone 5, which is understandable. 
  • There's an Italian company called Mareshop which sells scuba stuff very cheaply. The online reviews on independent sites seem to be pretty good. The biggest deal is that they seemingly ship the USB cable you need with your dive computer with the unit (and not charge an additional $75 for it.) I presume they use a 3rd-party cable rather than the manufacturer's cable. I dunno.
In any case, I'm looking at the Suunto Vyper. I would go for the Zoop except that my older brother has convinced me of the merits of night diving and the Vyper is probably better for night diving.