Thursday, October 31, 2013


We actually rehearsed a setlist last night.

I know, right?

Lily used the fretless through her Alembic preamp. Greg's guitar went through the other Neve 1272 channel. Ethan put no compression on the bass side of the Stick (and, honestly, I think I removed all the compression on his channel too.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Handcuffs of the Present

So I'm walking down the street and I casually look in a window and see this.
I saw the orange one first.
They only had the two of 'em. And they were $15 a piece and I couldn't talk 'em down.
Somebody's gonna need to modify them or put some sort of thingy in-between them.
They knew I was desperate. They knew I'd do anything. But now we have the handcuffs of the future.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Handcuffs of the Future

We need handcuffs. But you know, from the future. There are these nice-looking things. I don't think they actually exist.
Much breathless reportage occured when someone filed for this patent on cuffs which could administer electric shocks or drugs.

Here are the images for our police badge. I forget which one we got.
We got this dark one.
We need at least one control panel which goes on a wall.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ecig in the Movies

Matthew Trumbull occludes Sarah-Doe Osborne while Tarantino Smith looks on.
My eldest brother, Dave, custom mixed this nicotine-free haze stuff for this e-cig he lent us for the movie.
Matthew Trumbull took to it right away. It's amazing how, without any flavoring added, I can't smell this thing at all. I mean, I can smell our regular theatrical hazer.* But not this stuff.

Right now I have three lights rigged to the front of the camera. This movie is supposed to be entirely the camera inside the robot and security cameras. I'm not really shooting the whole thing that way. But I am shooting the movie much more "flat" than I usually do (see the above image). That may very well take to color correction better. We'll see.

*I may be wrong about that.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Today was the first day of our "delinquents".
The brilliant Matthew Trumbull as Teevo, the lovely and talented Sarah-Doe Osborne in her first non-android role in one of our movies. I swear she's better and more beautiful in each of our movies. And the unnecessarily handsome Tarantino Smith loses at cards to the pretty girl.

Matthew Trumbull as a troublemaker

You can get lost in Sarah-Doe's eyes, which is how she beets you at cards.

The fantastic Tarantino Smith knows he's being had.
Our own Don Arrup who's worked with me since Hamlet (he played Polonius) is awesome as Blink.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day uh... something.

Sarah Schoofs and Kate Britton are menaced by a robot. It's all about the front-light.

This hadn't even occurred to me.
This picture of Sarah winking with a mouth full of blood just cracks me up.
Kate Britton after the nanobot apocalypse (note to self: name a movie this) drips blood on the floor.
I've got a robot who confiscates the illegal drug "fleck". And yes, "fleck" is from a Warhammer 40,000 book. And that's the Queen of Mars who rolled in today and made fleck for us.
Virginia Logan has a cg robot stomp by her in this plate.

Sarah Schoofs drips a lot of blood. Also, the nanobots drip grey yuk out of her nose.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


SCUBA, up in here Northeastern parts of the US, is a seasonal activity. We are no entering the cold dark Winter months where wetsuits cannot be used and all the hard-core divers go southward to dive.
In order for me to dive up 'round here over the next few months I would need to get dry suit certified. And that's just not gonna happen because I just missed the last dry suit course at my local dive shop (LDS).

Even if I'd had scads of extra cash to take the course I had another problem -- my recently discovered allergy to Neoprene. And that needs to get fixed before learning to use a dry suit, but the open water part of learning a dry suit has a wintertime window which is closing rapidly. The quarry at Dutch Springs goes on very limited time and then closes for much of the Winter.
So my only option to actually go diving (that I know of) is some Jersey charters which dive wrecks out in the Atlantic. These dives go upward of 100' salt water and it ain't warm there. And if I'm not dry-suit certified then I can't go on them.
So uh. I'm kinda "grounded" (heh) for the winter. 
It seems that if I wear an underlayer of a spandex - type stuff that I can wear Neoprene over it. I'll have to keep testing it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scuba dooba doo

So. I'm definitely allergic to Neoprene. Bleh.
I have a horrible rash from my hood. I only wore it for a few minutes yesterday, but it totally verbonked me.
I wore regular cotton socks beneath my booties and that maybe sort of worked though. But really in the long-term I think I'm going to have to get Thermocline stuff to keep my skin away from the Neoprene.
There are vastly worse things in the world than an allergy to Neoprene. And facing reality I'll need a drysuit in order to dive in the Northeast anyway. I'll still need a Thermocline hood, but that's a reasonably-priced thing to get.

I cannot fathom (heh) why so much SCUBA stuff is black. I mean, the reason is because divers think it looks cool. It is way not safe. I seriously want a bright yellow diamond-pattern drysuit like a harlequin. I'll probably just end up with a Coast Guard rescue swimmer - type suit though. That will be in the future, when I have some large amount of cash.
That time is coming, right?
This is a pdf to an instruction manual on the Frenzel Technique which is, as far as I can understand, a simply insane means to equalize the pressure in your ears.

Shoot the Robot Day

Jeff Wills came by, and he totally brought bagels. Because of his intrinsic awesomeness.
You're asking "Hey, isn't that the robot hand Brian Schiavo made for Angela Funk in Clonehunter?" The answer is yes. Yes it is.

Our location has some interesting geography which we'll have to use in order to shoot the picture.
 Jeff and I both wore our "Kill 'Em All!" t-shirts because we were dorking out anyway.
Jeff's physicality is perfect for this character, isn't he?
This is not color-corrected. I really can't imagine what sort of cc we'd want to do to this image? Desaturate it very slightly? I don't know. I think this just might be how the movie looks. 5300K color balance on the GH3.
Blind in one eye is worth the look of the awesome backlighting of the right eye.
 We're all adults here (or not). We know that I invited Jeff over to play robots with me.
The last thing you will ever see.
It may end up being better to put a radio inside the helmet so that it's easier to talk to the actor inside. That's a thing we learned today.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Scuba calculators. Because, you know, scuba calculators.

Diveboard is a thing. Like Scuba Earth is a thing. For logging dives online.
Subsurface is an open-source multi-platform scuba logging application.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I think we just recorded a new album. I mean. Maybe? There are certainly some interesting things here. Click through for the bunnylick album.

We recorded things the same way we've been doing the last few weeks. Ethan changed to a more baritone set of strings on his Stick. Lou was tired. Greg and I used the same setups we've been using for nigh on a year now (although I'll admit I went into the low-gain input on the Marshall but with my guitar turned up all the way.)

Generally I've decided that the drum sound on Abbey Road would satisfy me for the rest of my life. If I could just get that one drum sound, I'd be more than happy.

Except for An Obsequious Terrapin Commands the River we have very little reverb added on any of the sounds on these mixes. Lou is not happy with the ride cymbal we have available so he's been favoring the hi-hats. Oh and this is the Shechter bass though the preamp... the er... the bass preamp we've been using. I'm very happy with the sound of the LA-2 emulation I've been using.

Production Based on Post-Production

I got the pleasure yesterday of hearing two actors talking about how great the script was. The script we're shooing, presently titled Dead Residents, was writ by the muse who directs the hand of Steven J Niles.
The script moves. And the characters are all specific and different. It's pretty awesome. And I'm digging how it looks.
I've also been really enjoying the 4-hour shoot days. I would like to keep us down to 4-hour shoot days. What does that mean? Well it means I'm lazy. But also:
We have to increase the number of shoot days.
The other thing is that we have some very hard deadlines for this picture.
But if we shoot the movie based on our post-production bottlenecks, we can do production and post at the same time. For practical purposes this means we shoot in such a way that entire acts in post can be edited. Which means we need to be sure to unload series of scenes which all go together.
I think this means we should immediately shoot:
  • all the scenes which have composites
  • all the scenes for the first act
So that's what I'm going to schedule.  A shooting schedule based on post-production needs, making sure post has the footage they need in order to work concurrently on the movie. This means we can actually be shooting picture right up until we need to make delivery. I mean, not right up until we need to make delivery. But, or our purposes, pretty darn close.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Today we had Sarah Schoofs and Kate Britton on set. We were helped by Jim Boyett. Maya Graffagna designed costumes. On this day she did Sarah's costume, Kate brought her own.
We shot a very short day, as we have for all three of the first days of shooting this picture. I like shooting a short day. Can we double the length of this shoot but only do short days?
Sarah Schoofs and Kate Britton. 
These parts (Vinnie and Cheyenne) were originally written by the brilliant Steven J. Niles for a man and a woman. Something happened when I cast Vinnie and Cheyenne. And something happened where they don't even have a bedroom anymore but have to live in the basement. 
I hadn't even met the awesome Sarah Schoofs (Cheyenne) before today. We cast her based on Mandira's recommendation (which is totally the way to do it). 
Kate didn't have time to find a costume so she just wore what she was wearing today. 

My brother David lent us the electronic cigarette we have here (in Kate's hands). He custom - filled it with a vegetable glycerin so there's no nicotine and it just blows some pretty white smoke.

We're starting to really like the look of the GH3. I've got it set to a 5300K color balance and it just looks... well it looks like this. Even un-color corrected it just has this sweet unsaturated look. The mids in the lighting get punched up a bit -- which has meant that we haven't been as concerned about key light as we typically would. This continually surprises us. But in a good way.
I suspect that for a lot of DP's the "finished" look of the GH3 would be frustrating as it doesn't take to color-correction as easy as a flat, low-contrast image would. But I kind of like making a decision about how things are going to look right there on set.
Man, those engineers at Panasonic do know how to make skin tones work, don't they?

The Queen of Mars reminded me to take mug shots. We totally need to do that with every character on every movie. There are so many reasons to do that -- including having a reference for makeup.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dead Residents Day 2

My plan to front load the shooting of this movie with very simple days is working so far. Today was the Don Arrup day where we get to kill him (we've killed Don Arrup a lot in our lives. We even got to whack him as Polonius. ;-)
The nanobots in your brain are getting hungry.
 The set was built by Marcie Kintish. I'm not entirely sure what Don is wearing -- it may be pieces of a Prometheus Trap costume. Although it might be from Alien Uprising. I suppose I should have asked.
Everyone looks awesome on night-vision cameras, right?
Oh. Darn-it-all. I forgot to take "mug shots" of Don's character, Blink. Dang nab it. We absolutely have to remember to do that for each character. Somebody remind me next time.

Day One of Dead Residents.

This robot's eyes are on FIRE!
The reverse camera puts an image on the screen. I think this should be an album cover.
Virginia Logan in full uniform. Virginia found her pants today. (I could have probably put that a different way. ;-)

Virginia Logan gives her robot the final instructions.
 Camera set to 5300K. I think we shot the whole day at a shutter of "50" and a f2,8 at 1600 ISO. I kind of suspect that's how it'll be.

Maya Graffagna gets into the Nighmare Armor Studios armor to do some "shemping". The Queen of Mars knows where one tongue goes when doing such precise and exacting work.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weeping Baby Elephant

Full band rehearsal with Diatomaceous Earth. Lily is playing her Schecter through the Alembic preamp. The Stick is split left and right with the bass going through the Badfinger and the "melody" side going through the Philosopher King and the Organizer. I can't figure out how to make this sound like a Hammond B3. Boy, all the YouTube videos make it seem like it's easy.
So I dunno. We make a lot of music. Now we seem to be able to make waltzes. That's cool.

UPDATE: from Ethan "By the way...  that pedal is a Black Finger, not a Badfinger.  A Badfinger is a 70's band featuring a young Paul McCartney.  A Black Finger is a funky compressor made by E-H.  I believe they also made a White Finger, but I don't remember what it did.  After a 12-year Hiatus, George Clinton once released an album called "Hey, Man, Smell My Finger".

Thursday, October 10, 2013

JoeMeek 500

That's a JoeMeek 500-series preamp for $300.

You can get a power supply for two of 'em for $300. 

If you wanna go nuts, this 6-slot 500 rack by Lindell is just $329. That'll give you four extra empty spaces for other things.

So that's a thing. Ethan was interested in something in the JoeMeek line. That's a thousand bucks for two channels.

Then again, the JoeMeek 3Q is only $250, so two of 'em would be just $500.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Thermocline. No. The OTHER kind. Of Thermocline.

I'm afraid I might be slightly allergic to neoprene.
Neoprene is basically what SCUBA is made of.
Apparently neoprene allergies are actually allergies to all the other crap in the neoprene used in the manufacturing. I think I have a neoprene allergy because of a rash on my feet where the neoprene booties I have rub on them. The rash disappears right where the booties stop.
Clearly I haven't had much trouble from wetsuits, but I don't wear them 3 or 4 times a week like I do my booties.

Answers to this problem include:
Thermocline fin socks to wear inside my booties.
Fourth Element makes Thermocline wetsuits and such too. Interestingly the Thermocline stuff doesn't compress at depth the way neoprene does. That's very interesting if you have trouble with bouyancy. ;-)
I'd love to get one of their Thermocline jackets to swim with in the pool.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Location scouting.

Scene 21 Cheyenne and Vinny could be shot isolated

That sentence above is just a note I had to scribble somewhere. Now. Onto the point.

I don't know how I'm going to shoot this movie. You'd think a good director would know that by now. Hmm... maybe the issue here is "good" director...


For the main Cheyenne and Vinny scene I was thinking they'd just live in the basement or a hallway. I know. But hear me out.

This air vent is actually fantastically important to the screenplay.
 We have to shoot this sub-Rosa guerrilla style. But we can shoot here. This is what we'll call "Location Option A". There are white walls, which is a negative. But it's quiet.

Location A: You can kind of infer that we should have exposure here, but the walls are white. There are giant dead bugs on the floor. But they are, in fact, dead.

Location A: This a further away version of the shot above.
 Then there is location B. Location B has amazing looking walls. It is already lit and I don't think we'd need to do anything to it because it looks so nice. There are two downsides.
The first is that we would have to be guerrilla style for location A. But for B we'd have to shoot ninja-guerrilla style. We'd really have to be quiet and shoot quickly.
The second downside, and this is important, is that it really smells like heating oil here. I mean it stinks. And I suspect it's not that good for you. There's clearly some oil spilled somewhere around here. So we'd have to shoot quickly and limit our time here.
Location B: the Art department seems to have already been here.

Location B: You don't even want to know where this goes.
Location B: You could totally imagine Vinny sitting here, smoking a glass pipe.   
This cat is a cat. Not a location. Pay no attention to her.

So. Which location should we use? "A" will require more art. "B" smells like heating oil. Who will choose for us?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Fat Val Kilmer

They: You know who you look like? 
We: Me?
They: Pete Holmes
We: Who's that?
They: He says he's the "fat Val Kilmer." 
We: So you're calling me fat.

This was the only picture I could find of him which looked much like me though.
Me. For reference.
Val Kilmer, not looking like me, but not looking super-duper thin either.


Apollo Bio Fins. Fins. For swimming.
The Battery is a zombie indy.