Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oh That I Would...

This plot generator tried to make a noir story for me.
This is a leather choker. Or a bracelet. You decide.
The Microsoft Band is two hundred bucks. It might tell you things.
Googling myself I found a number of books which mentioned me in some way. There are these books that list theater productions. I've probably designed several hundred shows but obviously they don't all show up in these kinds of books. Still, Ernest Abuba and Don Arrup. You can't go wrong.
So, I have this rack o'gear. This is (pretty much) everything turned on:
Things not turned on include a tube amp or two. But keyboards and psychedelic lights ARE on...
How much does that draw? Barely 120 Watts.
"But Ma, I'm tryin' to get to 120!"
The purpose of this was to determine my need for a UPS. But do I really need a UPS? I used to keep them on my gear almost religiously. Are they important really? (Would they have saved my last two computers? If so it ain't this rack which needs a UPS, it's my studio.)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

For Me, Your Bear is Pretty

Among things going though my head are Bei Mir Bistu Shein. Interesting things about the history of this song. Composed by Jews, performed by African Americans, made into a hit by the then-unknown Andrews Sisters, popular in the Soviet Union AND Nazi Germany. This particular artist, doing the "original" Yiddish version, does some phrasing things which I feel are really quite special. Probably this is Katica Illényi. This all started because of watching A Christmas Story, looking up something about Jean Shepard, and finding the parody version of "The Bear Missed the Train" which, as a parody, still cracks me up.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen s1 ep05

Here I introduce the mixing board (very introductory) to the reluctant sound designer.


Ooh. The name of this series really should be "The Reluctant Sound Designer" shouldn't it?

Monday, December 15, 2014

That's all I got

Via John August Marco Arment's podcast guide, Dan Benjamin's podcast guide.
A wooden keyboard for your Chiclet-style keyboard.
As much as I made fun of font nerdery, the Typeset in the Future blog is pretty darn sweet.
Here's a free version of the Eurostile extended bold.
Weller's Words of Wisdom is a great blog on prop and art techniques.
Eric Ian Steele on the best screenwriting books.

Screening

So we have a screening of the movie and I just can't sit through it without the excruciating pain of seeing every single mistake.
That's right. It's all about me.
There's a whole act which needs a pass on the audio to smooth dialog transitions. Meaning that every time somebody speaks, the background hiss jumps up. Then it cuts off when they're done. It's entirely my fault and I don't know how it got through.
Then there are some render errors. Final Cut Pro does not always appreciate multiple layers of video being composted atop one another. We go to great lengths to avoid this by making lots of pre-renders but somehow there were a handful of shots which had that strange "overwhite" look where the bright patches in the frame actually go black because they're so bright.
And also a couple boom shadows which I had at one time dealt with by putting a "tunnelvision" effect on the robot's point-of-view. My guess is that we lost that effect when we put the movie in 3:1 aspect ratio but then when we pulled back out to 2.35:1 I didn't put the effect back on.
So I spent Sunday re-editing dialog and re-rendering picture to send out again.
My distributor's exact words when I told him I was sending him yet another version of the movie were "You're killing me."

I said "I know, I'm killing myself too."
Of course we didn't just have rendering errors. The dumb DVD took a dive in the middle of the movie. Luckily we got it started again off a computer (which is what we should have done in the first place.) I told people that if the DVD doesn't work we all have to go and act out the entire movie for the audience.
Apple killed DVD Studio Pro. Adobe has abandoned Encore. Honestly I don't know how professional houses make DVD's anymore. I am hoping that I never have to make one in-house ever again.
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That said, dramatically the movie almost works (this is the director talking). There's always a problem in these small indy pictures where one misses a bit of the action, the impacts, that sort of thing. And I feel like we still missed some of those. But not all of them. Some of those moments we got right. Even though we had to shoot a lot of this picture where different angles of the same scene were not shot on the same day. Or month.
The movie is very well acted. It gets laughs where it's supposed to. And I think the story makes sense. The music is great. I dig the costumes. It looks different from our previous pictures. Steve Niles banged it out of the park on his end. And we have a couple good cg robots.
This movie is the least excruciating picture of ours for me to watch. Faint praise is all I've got for myself. But it's a step in the right direction.
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I got the latest picture to UPS today. Hopefully it's the last version. It's been more than a year since we had shot the movie. That's a long time for us.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Type and Such

Rules for creating UI's. I'm totally down with being against this whole "flat" interface design too. Why do operating systems have to keep changing so much? No reason, it's just the fashion of the day.
Beautiful web type.
Proxima Nova is a sans serif typeface.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

sdttss s1 ep03

That's right, it's the third episode of Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen.


(Click through to embiggen.)

Shout-outs to Ien DeNio and Kia Rogers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

SDTTFSS series 1 episode 1

    The first episode of Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Screen and Stage wherein we answer the question of what to do when you need sound to come from somewhere on the stage. Ien DeNio was essentially the knowledge base around this episode. Here are the notes for the episode (these were my notes that I was working from in raw, unedited format.)





    Question:
  1. There's a phone ring or computer sound that's supposed to be coming from the stage. It sounds dumb coming from the speakers overhead. What can I do on an unlimited budget, and what can I do to fake it?


The right (old-fashioned) way:
IFB and squawk box

The more recent hack is to use a baby monitor.
Ien’s favorite baby monitor to mod is the Sony NTM-910

Yea, the black wire was just something I had lying around.. a crap speaker 1/8" input jack or something.. so I hacked it off, pulled the red and white lines that went to the little microphone and connected them up. I didn't even solder this one... its just wrapped and taped
2014-11-18 (2).jpg
2014-11-18 (1).jpg
2014-11-18.jpg
Photo on 3-6-14 at 12.39 PM.jpg
Also: walkie-talkies can be used.


Note that like all wireless things you can have trouble with taxicabs and other radio interference.


“It works best, I've found, if you throw up a dedicated wireless connection sans internet, connect the phone and computer to that.”

Ochen

Ochen priyatna, Andrei.

I am experimenting with Open Broadcaster Software. We'll see how it goes. The goal is to make a series of videos called "Sound Design Tips and Tricks for Stage and Screen". Unless someone comes up with a better title.



The Things in My Browser

Wade Kwan on designing restaurant websites.
A review of an Andre Norton book, Search for the Star Stones. That's one of her space-cat books. I've never seen an actual review for one.

Women in Refrigerators.
Doing multi-cam edits in Premiere Pro. It's actually fairly elegant.
OpenROV is an underwater robot with camera. Nine hundred bucks.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Composers Wanted

At the New Dramatists.
"New Dramatists is looking for composers to apply for our Composer-Librettist Studio to be held in NYC January 28 through February 13, 2015."

Monday, November 10, 2014

On Theatresource


This conversation happened regarding the Theatresource space at 177 MacDougal Street.

We: The space is fallow. The landlord is apparently using the old rehearsal room as an office but otherwise the place is empty.
They: I [heard a rumor] that the landlord was [recently] calling around to some producers to see if they wanted to rent the space.
That's funny, because when I asked about that before Theatresource closed they said no.
Well, apparently they changed their minds.
It's worth doing. I mean, it is, after all, a theater.
It would not be easy to make that a theater again.
Why not?
They took down the grid.
Putting up a new grid isn't that hard. That grid went up in one day.


I'm just saying it isn't a turn-key operation.
It wasn't a turn-key operation even when we were producing plays there.
[Raucous laughter.]

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Sean Mac Zipoy

Sean Williams on Mac Rogers:
This seeming ambiguity leads people to be suspicious about Mac as a person.
Ha! Yes.

Also, Lanie Zipoy is starting a short film festival. Without entrance fees. I know, right? The DAMN Film Series.  Enter early. Enter often.


Monday, November 03, 2014

Mozz and Josh

H/T Mozz Mendez, this trailer for Ex Machina looks a lot like what we're trying to do all the time.

Josh James' royalty-free plays is, in it self, free this week:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We Are Not Good People

I just finished reading Jeff Somers We Are Not Good People. It is an absurdly well-written book. He wrote the Electric Church series which is also terrifically good.

I prefer my Jeff Somers in long-form (like novels) because there's this particular rhythm he develops, using a specialized language in the voice of the narrator. And you want to sort of get into that rhythm and sit there for the length of a novel.

I am, unfortunately, a bit too stupid to really understand what I'm supposed to be doing. I started reading We Are Not Good People and found that I'd already read it. Or, somehow, I'd already read the first half. I have no idea how that happened. I believe it may involve witchcraft of some kind.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cat Scratch Fincher

So I was gonna write a non-spoilery review of Gone Girl about how it's really an HBO series packed into a feature film because of the weird episodic structure which doesn't really obey any sort of normal act structure.
Then I was going to write about how the cat in the movie was a cat from some romantic comedy thrown accidentally into a thriller picture and nobody really knew what to do with the cat once it had seemed like a freaking plot point to feed the damn floppy thing.
But that's not what I'm going to write about. No.
Instead I'm going to write about the gratuitous thigh scratching.
Look, I have to sit though tiresome essays like this one. Ooh. Fincher doesn't use closeups when he doesn't have to. Oh yeah? Then explain the thigh scratch to me.
Maybe the whole thing was a goof. Maybe the cat was really Jonesey from Alien. Maybe it's Fincher's apology for ruining the Alien franchise.
Also, this movie just wasn't directed at all. Everything about Gone Girl was on the writer. As a movie it didn't really need a director. Any competent cinematographer with a competent AD could have got all the shots they needed and then sent them to editorial.
But that's not the point. The point is that we cut to the closeup of a thigh. Being scratched.
Why?
That closeup actually makes me angry. I should go lie down.


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Exploitation

Exploitation is an odd word because it means both to "use" and to "abuse".

I'm not entirely sure where the line is between the two. One issue is that "exploitation" is actually contractual language. There's the right and obligation to exploit one's image in a motion picture (for instance). The exploitation in all forms throughout the universe (they apparently added "universe" what with satellite transmissions) known and unknown is exactly what you're doing when distributing a motion picture.
In some sort of Marxist universe there'd be a clear idea of the surplus value of labor which one could at some point actually measure. I'm not sure what that is.
So what I don't know is, at what point are you "exploiting" someone, and at what point are you not?
I have a feeling that CG animators and sound mixers are the ones who get exploited the most...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just a buncha tabs from my browser

It turns out that black loose clothes are the best to wear when you're trying to stay cool.


Ha! My inclination is to believe the director fixed some problems with this musical. The writer(s), shockingly, didn't think so.
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Reviews of the best altimeter watches of 2014.
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An XML - to FCP X translator (so you can get FCP 7 projects into FCP X) is ten bucks.
Apparently it will also get projects into Adobe Premiere.
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To get OMF's out of FCP X you'll need another translator which is either sixty bucks or a hundred fifty. I haven't figured out the difference between the two versions.
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Apparently the only way to scuba dive in Atlanta GA is to go to the aquarium and swim with whale sharks. They won't let you use any of your own gear except for a mask. I'm presuming this is because they're worried about where your gear has been.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Innovative Theater Awards

I really love the NYIT Awards. The thing, to me, about them is that they have a real "home town" feel in a place (New York City) which can frequently feel cold and brutal. Especially the theater scene.
Plus a lot of my friends won. Which is also awesome. Even more were nominated. Also awesome.
I'm just straight-up stealing these pictures from Facebook. I don't know who took them. I'd love to credit whomever.
Director DeLisa White
 Actually, I think the NYIT website hasn't actually posted the winners for 2014. But Backstage has an article on it.
Lighting designer Kia Rogers. 
Two thousand productions. The awards are based on two thousand productions. Thousand.
A list of the winners.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All The Things Going On

So you're supposed to live 8 minutes longer for every minute you exercise. But won't I be 8 times more miserable during that time I am alive?
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I can't parse my statements from Amazon Digital Services. They sent a check for $15.45 and another check for $10.49. I think that means I make more money as an author than as a musician. I'm not sure.

Turns out my decision about replacing the Mac Pro we have was not something that needed to be made. The Mac Pro crashed and died. Doesn't seem like it wants to reboot. Like, you know, ever.
So we've replaced it with a new i7 Mini. Which I'm spending all day setting up.
With 16GB of RAM (which I, of course, had to buy from a 3rd party in order to make the price $150 rather than $300) it's a pretty fast machine. Easily the fastest Mac we've had.
It's not quite the power workhorse that the PC is: but that's mostly because the PC has a thousand dollars of video card in it for 3D rendering.
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Gun laws in Colorado? There aren't any really.
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I am still really amused by Dead Raid (1301). I have "finished" the movie many many times. I had a computer crash and quite a few notes from our distributor which necessitated a lot of "back to square one" activities like changing the aspect ratio and re-creating all the robot sounds. But I still like the movie. There's a big ensemble scene which still cracks me up.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Power consumption

Editor's note: you do not want to bother yourself by reading this blog post. 
So. These dang MacPro towers run very hot. Also, my studio now has a deal where I pay my own electric costs. As a classic model in economics, this now encourages me to reduce the amount of electricity I use.
Note that the amount of heat is directly related to the amount of electricity.
When asking about the charges per kilowatt hour, my landlord gave me this handy chart:
this month it's $0.34
in june it was $0.31
in april $0.27
Of course it's not consistent. That would make calculations too easy.
I feel fairly confident Mac Pro eats between 115 and 318 watts. is about 85kW/h to 235kW/h a month. And if we pretend that we pay thirty cents a kWh, that's somewhere between $25 and $75 a month. Probably not quite $50 on average. I'd guess about $30 on average.
Still, that's $360 a year.
Our office is number 10.
Thing is, nowadays, I could get a Mac Mini for a thousand dollars which benchmarks faster. Those are between 11 and 85 Watts. So maybe 20kWh a month? So electric cost of six bucks.
So it'll cost about $72 a year to run a new mini. Versus $360 to continue to run the old Mac Pro.
The new mini would pay for itself in about 3 years. And it would irritate us with its heat consumption vastly less. And the fact that the mini is faster means it won't even be working as hard as the Pro.
Huh.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Wetsuit Thoughts and Notes to Myself

I have an extremely light-duty wetsuit. It's basically a Lavacore 3mm rash guard. But my goal is to get a real wet suit.

Now I am dry suit certified. But a thing with drysuits is that you need to use giant-pocket fins because your feet are in boots. And dry suits are very expensive.
But there are these things called "semi-dry" wetsuits.

The Cressi Lontra comes very well reviewed except that it's not made anymore.

The Henderson Aqua Lock comes recommended. And it is very interesting in that it has micro-fleece as the liner.
Now the thing is I want a suit without boots so I can wear full-foot-fins. And yeah, my feet will get cold. But these full-foot-fins I have exhibit so much more speed and control than regular fins. So uh. So yeah.

Click me

Please click and vote. It's relatively painless. You have to be logged into Facebook but it doesn't seem to do anything harmful, it just wants to make sure votes aren't double-counted. Mission Main St Grant

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Payout!

So we got a payment from a couple sales on Friday and looking at the report I realized we'd actually gone above our arbitrary amount of money after which we start paying actors and editors and writers and stuff on the movie Android Insurrection.

And I'm really kind of tickled to be able to start paying that "deferred" money. You know, "monkey points". Well the monkey is here and he has a banana for you. This is where the analogy breaks down. Look. Nobody's getting rich. Most of the checks I'm writing are for less than a hundred bucks.
But hey! It's something!
To be in the black like this is something, as a producer, we're really proud of. We hope there are many, many more checks to write.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Robin Kurtz: The Maiden

Why didn't I see this show with the awesome Robin Kurtz in it?


Full of IT: The Maiden: The Maiden Conceived by Chance D. Muehleck Directed and Choreographed by Melanie Armer Composed by Admiral Grey Produced by La MaMa in asso...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Those Things

Diet to Go
It's relatively cheap. Food comes well reviewed. I have to lose like 60 lbs. That's gonna take more than a year. Plus I have to get my cholesterol down. Boo.

Stock Video site. I'd love a nice HD overflight of Manhattan coming from the south west.
I could get one of these little tracker things to measure my minimal movement through the day.
Super-duty 1/2" case kits might make for a guitar amp isolation cabinet. Especially if you put ANOTHER cabinet inside one.

Lights Narrow

Check out this groovy interview with Vinnie Marano and DeLisa White.
DeLisa White is nominated for Outstanding Director; Vincent Marano is nominated for Outstanding Original Full-Length Script; and Lights Narrow is nominated for Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play.
That's Ridley Parson and James Becton in the show!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just clearing out some links

The Iron Heel is a Jack London book. Oddly, it was an inspiration for the racist's Bible -- The Turner Diaries.

The Scarlet Plague is another piece of post-apocalyptic fiction by Jack London.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Live IN the city

If you're gonna pay the high prices of living in New York City you may as well actually enjoy New York City. Even if you're flat broke there are plenty o'concerts and theater to see. I bet if you called around indy theater producers and were like "I'm flat broke. I can't afford the twenty bucks to come to your show. I'm eating mac n' cheese all week and living on my friend's floor" the producer would be all like "My show isn't totally sold out tonight, if you really want to see it I'll comp you."
Because seriously, someone begging to see your show is vastly better than a couple people who are tangentially related to one of the writer's cousins and who felt obligated to go.
Your poor broke dude just wants to the the show. I mean, who do you want in your audience anyway?
New York Public Library Lion on a day off.
It's so easy to get to the point where you never see any theater, you never experience any of the things New York can uniquely offer. You just go to those three restaurants you go to. You just walk to your subway, then you walk to work, then back again, eager to watch HBO over a plate of lo mein. I know, if there were only fewer choices it would be so much easier, wouldn't it? But alas. There aren't.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Jet Drown Relax

I dunno. There's a lot of stories out there about the perfect diet or whatever to avoid jet lag. They all seem fishy to me. But here's another one.

I still don't know what to look for when someone's drowning.
I'm taking two days off from working. Inadvertently I'd even pulled my machines off the Internet so I can't even work on them remotely.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Studio

So it seems we're moving our studio. We're moving about a block away, to 356 Broadway.
The odd-shaped space requires some special thinking to fit our workstations.

Luckily we don't need to rent a truck to move our stuff. But we are going to need to hire a couple people to carry things.
Yeah, the pretend furniture is flipped around. I didn't notice in the plan view. I may rethink this setup.
The floors are wood. We have 20amps of electrical service.


I've been playing with this software to pre-visualize. You think we should put wheels on the bottom of the WhisperRoom?
The following are other visualizations based on smaller offices than the one we're getting. Or rather the one we put a deposit on, we'll see if it's all good when they google my name. ;-)


Friday, July 25, 2014

Showcase Code

On the New York IT Awards blog is this post on the Actor's Equity Showcase Code.
"[The Showcase Code]  has helped to create a matryoshka doll of inequality in New York City theater."
Is my favorite sentence on the blogosphere today.
Here is a rabbit.
The Showcase Code is a non-negotiated code which, as a producer, you can sign. Doing so allows members of Actors Equity to work for you for (approximately) zero dollars (or basically whatever you want to pay) without the chance of them getting into trouble with their own union.
I'm not putting this in as an asterisk -- here's a very important point from the producer's point-of-view:

  1. Federal law prohibits discrimination against employees based on their membership in labor organizations. You do not get to decide on whom to hire based on whether they're Actors Equity or SEIU or AFM or not. They might have signed an agreement with one or more unions saying they wouldn't take non-union work, but you cannot decide for them. Whether you hire or fire anyone is dependent on factors other than their union status.
  2. You, the employer/producer, may insist your employees pay a collective bargaining agent. But this only applies to employers in states which do not have "Right To Work" laws. Talk to your favorite labor lawyer if you feel like doing this.*

There are a lot of restrictions on the contract though -- the number of shows you can do, the ticket prices, etc. It is made to keep the producer from making any money on a Showcase production. Which is ironic because, you know, "making money" in theater isn't a problem that any off-off Broadway theater producers have.

So we're not really concerned with the exploitation of surplus labor for Capital in the case of actors (and writers and designers and directors) in the way of off-off Broadway theater because there is no money in it. In fact, the producer is all but guaranteed to lose money while making off-off-Broadway theater. There is actually no way around it.

The fact is, though, that New York indy theater sucks.

Compared to the (this is my blog and so I will say) objectively better theater scenes in San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington DC, indy theater in New York is simply terrible. It's boring. It's no fun. There's only two exceptions to this:

  1. Theater made by my very close friends
  2. Theater that isn't produced under the Showcase Code

The first thing is self-evident, of course. But the other kind of theater in New York is what I'm discussing. There are three companies I'm thinking about. They're all producers of long-running shows and they're all non-Equity.

  • One is Sleep No More which has a fairly large cast, is very interesting, and actually pays their actors/dancers something in the $125/performance range (as I recall). The show is on an open run and actually makes the producers money. 
  • Two is Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind. This is an ongoing 2-nights a week show by the New York version of the Chicago company The Neo-Futurists. The actors in that company make something -- I don't know how much, I think several hundred dollars a years. Just enough to cover subway basically. 
  • Three is (and yes, I gag while I type this) The Wooster Group. Nowadays the Wooster Group is part of the establishment, man. But they pay around $850 or so a week? And they do a lot of theater.

I have a gazillion complaints about The Wooster Group but the fact is that all three of those companies at least try to do things that are theatrical and interesting. And most of the downtown theater does not. They do plays about two guys in black turtlenecks talking about living in Brooklyn in their 20's.
One problem with theater, as a thing to do, is that it takes quite a while to make a given piece any good. The fact that you can't do any more than 18 shows under the Showcase Code means that necessarily you haven't done the show enough to make it not suck. And you also can't make enough money in ticket sales (because of the limitation in ticket price) to keep renting whatever space you're using anyway.

Those three companies above, and every company in DC, SF, and Chicago, don't have those problems. And (as noted above) their theater scenes are objectively better and more interesting.

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*You do not feel like doing this. But the union might negotiate a contract with you wherein you agree to make sure all your employees are paying them to collectively bargain for them. And there are other restrictions and Supreme Court precedents and nonsense.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Futurama Spoilers

So we're mixing what I believe in my heart of hearts to be the last mix of Dead Raid. I'm about halfway through. I may in fact be done tomorrow.
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Reverse-engineering the Hypnotoad sound.
Somebody do me a favor and build one of these. With nylon and padding it looks to me like it could actually be built. The trick is the balaclava -- if you get the texture of that right you're golden.

There's a really good sci-fi notion in one of the Futurama features. The character Fry ends up being able to read minds. There's a group of dudes who can also read minds who find him. And the trick is that although Fry can read other people's minds they can't read his. Which makes him the perfect secret agent against some bad characters who can read minds.
But here's the kicker -- if Fry is trying to keep his power secret then he can't tell anyone about his mind-reading powers. Why? Because the bad guys who can read minds would be able to read the minds of anyone he tells about it.
Honestly that's one of the best "you can't tell anyone" devices I've ever heard. It's an actual and real reason it has to be kept quiet. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's the best "you can't tell anyone" device.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Samosa Carcosa

I've become convinced that the secret of good vegan food is that it simply needs to be better than vegetarian or omnivoric cuisine. Thing is, you throw a piece of cheese or a hunk of bacon in your food and it's instantly much better. So much omnivore cooking is just "we'll do nothing but then we throw cheese in it and everyone's happy."
To make something work without the "tricks" that are mean and cheese, you really have to know what you're doing.
A friend of mine teases me about me referring to "vegetable samosas" because in her country all samosas are vegetarian.
But that's not quite true. There are samosas filled with other stuff. Unnecessarily. The best samosas are vegetable and they are, in fact, vegan. And delicious as they involve an exciting amount of fried bread (which is also very good for you.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Minbox Wetsuit and Space

Minbox is the new hotness. It's like wetransfer.com but with larger file sizes. 
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Why aren't all wetsuits this sort of color?
We have a theoretical 156 square feet of space in our office but the plinths to the support columns knock that down to an effective 117 square feet. We're looking for a new place. There are a lot, I mean a lot of offices in NYC priced right at $950. There's a place very near to where we are which has a larger office for $550. I dunno. We'll figure out something.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Steps to Making a Movie

This is a thinking-out-loud post all about what steps need to be gone through in order to make a movie. This isn't how we make movies. Although it might be a way to make a movie.

Greenlight script.

Make 3 budgets.

  1. $40,000
  2. $240,000
  3. $1,000,000


Back in the olden days we'd have worried about how to deal with whether we'd shoot on film and what kind of format and what shooting ratio. Thankfully those days are long gone.
Still, for each of these numbers we're looking at a 20-day shoot.


  1. At budget level 1 we're shooting non-SAG.
  2. At budget level 2 we're making a SAG picture with some talent people have heard of working "scale".
  3. At budget level 3 we're shooting a SAG picture with a fairly famous actor in the genre working for a low rate or for a very short time.

Then, using the script as a calling card, try to get whomever you think would be a perfect talent for the lead. That's perfect artistically as well as perfect as far as distributors are concerned.
You'll be running with three plans to shoot the picture. If you can get the right talent and can get the money, you'll go with 3. If you can get some talent (or even the right talent) but can't get the money you go with 2. Otherwise you go with 1.

I think the key to making budgets like these work is that you have to realize that shooting the movie isn't "making" the movie. Shooting is like advanced (and expensive) pre-production. It should only cost 40-60% of the money you have. Because you must, must, must finish the movie. That is, edited, color-corrected, dialog, music, and effects.
And remember you have to be able to do reshoots and additional shooting.

So. After greenlight you start hunting for talent and money simultaneously. Think in terms of "dream" and "reality" at the same time.

That's my thoughts.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

DM4 vs DM3

I own a Suunto Vyper wristwatch-style dive computer. It's a fine little computer except for one thing: Suunto went and crippled the software for it -- seemingly to force divers into using their "movescount" social-network site. For me the most irritating thing is that it won't export DL7 files which I can then upload to Scuba Earth or DAN or whomever.
Here I am thrashing around in the pool trying to get used to a dry suit.

But there are places you can grab a copy of version 3 of the software. It ain't as pretty as version 4 but it'll export pretty much whatever you want.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

This and this

Minbox is like Wetransfer or any of those other big-file-sending applications. But it will do files larger than 2GB, which we frequently need. And that's for the free account. I've used it twice now. Seems to work. There's even an app for OSX but only for 10.7 and higher and I've been afraid to update my OS.
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I got wiped out in the May 11 Doge Crash. So sad. I has no Doge.
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Via.