Sunday, June 30, 2013

Park That

As far as I can tell there's basically only one street in lower Manhattan which has single-day alternate-side parking. That's this little patch of Harrison Street.
There's probably a handful of other places but, like all things in New York, someone else has realized this. So you probably actually have to sit in your car at 8am on a Tuesday (on the south side) in order to get a spot (meaning, you move your car for when the street cleaning machine comes and then you go right back to your spot and wait out the meter maids*).

*Yeah, I know, I can only think of the Beatles song. But what are they actually called? They used to be called "brownies" because they had brown uniforms, no? What are they called now?

9 to 15 Months

So we're looking to the future. As one does. Our sales rep says we should look 9 to 15 months into the future at other big sci-fi features coming out. You know, on the mockbuster tip.
Not that we really do mockbusters, but if we can make a movie that can draft on another title, you know we'll do it.
So looking at movies. Sci-fi movies coming out in 2014.

Jupiter Ascending.
Our Robot Overlords (which, although I have no idea what it is, certainly sounds like a Pandora Machine movie, doesn't it?)
Untitled Blade Runner Project. Let's shoot some replicants.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Edit Payroll Busses 9v

Magix, the same people who make Samplitude, have had their own video editing program for a while. Now they call it Video Pro X.
Production payroll companies.
How to take a bus from New York to DC and back again.
The BeachTek 9v rechargable battery (I'm guessing these are specifically for Lectrosonics digital receivers which are power hogs.)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tovarisch Teatro

The communists over at the Green Room Blog are demanding a union for interns. Soon there will be an armed uprising and interns around the world will o'erthrow their chains.
Are you ready? I am.
+++++

Although I don't really understand the purpose of interns. Now, let's be mightily clear here, everyone working at the Pandora Machine is uncompensated. At least monetarily. I like to think that we are at least nice to everyone.
But "interns" are nominally spectacularly un-useful. There was a saying back at the Wooster Group: "never give an intern an intern's job"; because they'd always screw it up.
Okay, so interns are less helpful than "volunteers". We ran a theater for 12 years with "volunteers" and only had the occasional and intermittent intern. At the same time interns in most organizations are typically oppressed as well as useless. So essentially everyone loses. How can this be?
Supposedly interns are supposed to be learning. Typically they're just making photocopies and answering telephones.  I don't really know that one is learning much from either the phone or the Xerox. There might be some interns -- law offices maybe? -- where interns do actually gain some small amount of insight. But uh. Not really.
The irony is that an intern's union would be likely good for employers too. Some actually organized group of interns might both make for more competent interns as well as a better experience for the interns.
What I'd really like to understand is how student unions work in Europe.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Blog, Biz, Buh

You are aware, aren't you, that there are a selection of blogs here for you to choose from, right? This blog is my "personal" blog which can have any random thought in it at all. The official blog for Pandora Machine is at blog.pandoramachine.com and has pictures from our movies and links to trailers and things. The blog for music (at least in my world) is blog.tyrannosaurusmouse.com and has links to music and such.
+++++
The nonsensical infographic we use to create a business plan. You're welcome.
In any case, I'm going to work out some things in my head now. The movie business is... well it's a simply terrible business. In this Salon article the studio business is basically one that had a 10% profit margin before the collapse of the DVD market, and now has a 6% margin.
And the interesting thing is that so goes the big studios so, in some way, goes us. Now it's true that small businesses tend to run higher profit margins than big ones -- otherwise they couldn't stay in business. But it's also true there's a lot of unpaid labor involved. Most of the unpaid labor is mine, but in our case there is quite a bit done by others. Although not paying people can work for a while it is not sustainable. At some point one needs to get paid.
"The loss of DVDs for our business had created a desperate need for a new area of growth. This was why the international market has become so important a factor in creative decisions, like casting and what movies the studios make."
This is certainly true of the micro-studio. Our domestic sales are maybe a third of our total sales. Sometimes they're as low as just a few percent of the revenue on a movie. North America is very hard to sell to.

The Asylum made 11 pictures last year.  I'm going to go and guess that their budgets are around the $100K mark. I'm sure some of their pictures come up on the quarter-million dollar price point but not all of them. But maybe that's just costs without overhead. I'm just making up numbers now. But 11 pictures. That's a real number. And they can stay in business that way.

I'm thinking 8 pictures a year for Pandora Machine. Whew. That's going to take a lot of work. We're not up to 3 right now. Maybe we should shoot for 6. But we really need to make 8.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why I Love Dick Francis

Page 137. The lead character in Smokescreen (Francis almost always writes in the first-person) meets up with a hipster in 1972 South Africa.
His flat was small but predictably full of impact. A black sack chair flopped on a pale olive carpet: khaki-coloured walls sprouted huge brass lamp brackets between large canvasses of ultra simple abstracts in brash challenging colours: a low glass-topped table stood before an imitation tiger skin sofa of a stark square construction; and an Andy Warholish imitation can of beer stood waist high in a corner. Desperately trendy, the whole thing; giving, like its incumbent, the impression that way out was where it was all at, man, and if you weren't out there as far as you could go you might as well be dead. It seemed a foregone conclusion that he smoked pot.
Naturally, he had an expensive stereo. The music he chose was less underground than could be got in London, but the mix of anarchy and self-pity came across strongly in the nasal voices. I wondered whether it was just part of the image, or whether he sincerely enjoyed it.
Apparently Francis wrote his books very closely with his wife. So who knows, maybe she's the one who put together these brilliant sentences. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BazQux Flags

So far I've only found one web reader which works for me the way Google Reader did/does. That's the weirdly-named BazQux Reader.
So in and of the coolest flags:
Cambodian Flag under Japanese occupation.
And then:
Maryland State flag actually looks better in real life than it does as a flat image.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Your Things For The Day Which Is Now

As far as I can tell there are only three PADI dive schools in New York City. I think that Pan Aqua is the most convenient one for me. The joke is that everyone does their "open water" dive at Dutch Springs PA. (And if you find that "open water" is an ironic term for a dive in a quarry, well, join the club right there buddy.)

Four words for you: Hickory Run Boulder Field.
Word on the street is that Blue Ribbon has the best collard greens. We. Shall. See.
Joe Chapman says:
Scubapro Aladdin 2G Dive Computer (although I believe he means the wrist-band version).

Also the Oceanic Vortex V16 fins (make sure to get the kind with the spring heel.)

And the Scubapro mask:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Dreams of Space

Brian Schiavo turned me onto this trailer. I thought it was for a feature. But it's for a TV show.
Which is, you know, pretty interesting.

Last night I had this vivid dream about a 70's/80's John Carpenter movie that I'd "forgotten about" (meaning it doesn't exist in real life). A crew on a long-term space voyage find a derelict ship. It's an action movie with lots of guns. I was all like "Oh man, Chance Shirley has to write the unofficial remake of this."
But then somebody woke me up after I'd only seen the first 20 or 30 minutes in my dream. So I have no idea how it ends. And before you ask; no, I can't go back to sleep and pick up a dream where I'd left off.

Hey -- does anybody know what happened to the two space helmets which were on top of the set at the shop? I know about the helmet in the office, it's the other two I can't find.