Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Key Art

Why am I blogging a poster of this Dredd?

Because I AM! That's why.
As far as you know.
Actually, it's quite a spectacular piece of key art.

Key Kapow

Bill Cunningham does "The Case for Wide-Screen Key Art".
I'm glad I'm not involved in art. Indeed, it seems I'm barely involved in the movie-making process at all.

Kapow is a time-clock program. It seems pretty cool.

Tuning, Gluing

I'm a tad sick and tired of my Les Paul sounding out of tune. I know I seem like an infomercial but honestly, why doesn't everyone use the Earvana compensated nut system?
Confusingly there's a couple different kinds of nuts they have for the Les Paul. But I think that for all practical purposes the drop-in shelf nut is the one you want.
I mean good grief. That G# on the 3rd string always sounds terrible on a regular guitar. And if that doesn't suck the D chord (you know, that first D chord you learn) sounds like an out-of-tune mess. But with the Earvana I'm not cringing all the time.
Last time I brought in my Les Paul to Matt at 30th Street Guitars he didn't want to put the Earvana nut on. Instead he put a tiny sliver of bone on the nut where the G string touches. And yeah, that cleans up the intonation on that string a bit. But the problem is that B string also has issues. So this time I'm just gonna insist. I know it will decrease the value of the instrument. But I don't care. I don't have the guitar as an investment. I have it because I want to play it. Loud. And, hopefully, in-tune.
 Cytomic makes a well-reviewed SSL-style limiter called The Glue.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rendering Robots

Annalisa Loeffler takes on the cleaner 'bot in Dead Residents.
Ian Hubert has been compositing robots like a genius.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Strange Works

Strangewerks Films movie Lifeform has quite a bit of crossover to Pandora Machine movies. Indeed the star of Lifeform, Virginia Logan, is the star of our new movie Dead Residents.
Brian Schiavo talks about animating the creature. Our own Nathan Taylor worked on the rigging of the monster.
Maduka Steady as the evil robot Argus in 1202 (stills for key art).

Friday, January 24, 2014


Playing Tool's 46 and 2.

Excuse me, I need to go practice now.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Andrew Bellware Interview

Tomorrow night, Wednesday January 22nd, I'll be interviewed on Nerdgasm with Johnny Horror. Live stream is here. The show is from 10pm to 11:30pm US Eastern Time. There will be a bunch of other filmmakers. It'll be cool.

Interview, Live

Tomorrow night, Wednesday January 22nd, I'll be interviewed on Nerdgasm with Johnny Horror. Live stream is here. The show is from 10pm to 11:30pm US Eastern Time. There will be a bunch of other filmmakers. It'll be cool.

FCP, Carrara, Vocalign

Oh look. For $150 (or even $50) you can actually fix FCPX so that it's usable in a professional environment. X2ProAudioConvert will make AAF files out of the FCPX timeline.
This is actually a big freakin' deal.
The OMF export issue was the number one problem with FCP X.
Now that doesn't mean there aren't other problems when editing and delivering a feature film. For one I'm worried about the way FCP X handles assets.

Carrara to Blender is not the easiest thing in the world.
You need this Python script.
Thea is another render engine. I don't understand render engines.
Video Copilot Metropolitan.
Synchro Arts makes Vocalign. If I get really frustrated with syncing ADR dialog I might just buy it.

Latest Tracklist

Here's the latest version of the Diatomaceous Earth tracklist.

1. Greg's New Song (The Undeniable Accuracy of Evaporation)
Not an actual comment on our band, just funny.
This is just the latest version of the set list. It's not definitive. It's just what we have right now. As far as I know.

Yeah, "COI-O3" says "Soyuz"

John Bruno on the high cost of free.
Talking to a producer/line-producer I just heard of another way saving money is more expensive: if you have a production which is reliant on tax credits for financing and you think if you go for a cheaper rental (where you have to pay in cash) it can end of costing you considerably over a rental (where you pay by check.)
Here's a great article from Don't Shoot the Costumer on shooting sex scenes. She lists a lot of cool products one can use to "cover up" with. If you're doing nudity and you want tools to make not-nude seem nude, or nude to be non-explicit nude it's a great article to check out.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Joshua James

Hey, dig this: Joshua James (who wrote Alien Uprising) wrote the new Claude Van Damme movie Pound of Flesh.

Friday, January 17, 2014


The general feeling about film festivals in the genre world I live in is that they're a waste of money and time. There's only a handful of festivals where anybody ever makes any deals (Sundance, Tribeca?, Toronto, Cannes) and between
  1. how difficult they are to get into and 
  2. how low is the likelihood of getting distribution out of them, 
they're just not worth it.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a fairly well known art-house movie producer. His opinion of film festivals is, to put it charitably, as bad as mine. Fact is he has more contempt for them than I do. By and large he just doesn't bother with them anymore.
And that's for arthouse movies. I mean good grief.
So anyway, don't hold your breath waiting for film festivals to be in the Pandora Machine business model.
I'm not really sure how film festivals are relevant to most of the film industry. I suppose I shouldn't worry about it as we can't get our movies even into genre-specific festivals.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Three that Made Us Free

Nerdgasm. David Campfield's internet talk show. Check it out. I'm gonna be on in a couple weeks.
Here's a whole thing on the Bats and the Flea Theater.
Every once in a while an article or such comes out ducking around the concept of the inherent value of actors or writers. Which is a fascinating economic theory but I feel like they never just go there. In the meantime we use arbitrary valuations of labor which is why a teacher makes little money and a banker makes much. At least in the West we use arbitrary valuations and then don't talk about them.
Is there an inherent value to labor? Is it based all or in part of the profit from that labor? Does the market of that labor come into play in finding the value? 
Bauhaus theater.

Also. Light ring which goes around a lens. Two hundred bucks. Explain how I don't need this.

Music for Dragon Reign

Dude, have you seen the behind-the-scenes video about the composing of the score of Dragon Reign by the Hurry Brothers?

V-Blog Episode 1 from Hurry Hurry on Vimeo.
Click through to embiggen.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Twin Fuzz Case

When I was a teenager my dad bought be a Fender Twin Reverb. My parents also got me my Hagstrom electric guitar.
In my advanced age I have finally come to understand that out of all the guitar players in the world I cannot make a Fender Twin sound good.
I did end up buying an MXR Distortion+ from a kid in high school.
Ultimately this was also a mistake. Basically I ended up with a guitar sound which was the Hagstrom (with flat-wound strings) fighting the Fender which was fighting the MXR.

I've since been indoctrinated into the religion that the P-90 single-coil electric guitar pickup is the One True guitar pickup. Also, that the Deluxe, the Bassman (and consequently the Marshall JTM-45), and similar amps are the right amps for me.
And that all distortion should be got and had by the guitar amp itself.
These are the words of wisdom I have revealed in the great prophecy (and over the course of the last couple albums I made).
But if, and only if, I wanted a distortion pedal to make life easier when playing live, I'd probably want a Mojo Effects Iron Bell.
Of all the distortion pedals I've heard via the YouTubes, it's the one which offendeth my delicate sensibilities the least.
I mean really, it sounds pretty good. And it is more of a "muff" than an overdriven amplifier emulator. So there's that.
But another thing is that I've learned from playing with City Samanas (and now Diatomaceous Earth) that when playing with this band I really should not play overdriven. I should play a clean guitar. So I don't know. Will there be a time when I need a bit of fuzz with Diatomaceous Earth?
A look at this case. I forget if this is number 2 or number 4. 

Before the Christmas break, somebody (I can't fathom that it was me but maybe I was drunk) actually packed this case pretty well. So I took a picture in hopes that it can happen again one day.

Don't Name the New Song!

This is what happens when Lou isn't at practice to keep us under control.

Note that the above-linked performances have no value to the public -- just to us in the band as a kind of "sketchbook" of ideas. We did indeed come up with a brand new song (I believe Greg had it almost entirely in mind when walking in but we use "we" in Diatomaceous Earth.)
Click through for the flying squirrel and the track list if you don't see it.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

These are the things

I refuse to stop saying "chillax" even though I've never actually said it outloud. I simply reserve the right to say it sometime in the future.
FevStudios makes some beautiful armor pieces and cosplay props. Sad they don't do commissions because the work is pretty awesome.

NYC Performing Arts Spaces is a website which searches for, well, performing arts spaces.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Day 13 of Dead Residents

I do wish this picture were more in focus. It's hard to selfie with a DSLR. Virginia Logan makes me look much better.

Steve Deighan fights off a plague of zombies. I'm channeling my... what was that movie? Susperia?
Anne Michele and Vincent Marano play the Goldfinches. I haven't seen Vinnie almost since Theatresource went bust. It was awesome working with him again.
Mary Murphy, Steve Deighan, Vincent Marano, Anne-Michele Abbot, Virginia Logan, Sarah-Doe Osborne, and Matthew Trumbull. The walls are by Marcie Kintish. Lighting by the Marsian Queen. Note that the top of the frame will be chopped off at a 3:1 ratio in this movie.
Big day today. We shot this, our final day of principal photography on Dead Residents from noon until 9pm. Without lunch. I feel a bit jerky-terky about that but everybody just wanted to press on through (and we did have lots of snacks) so we make it sort of a "French hours" day.
We did shoot a boat-load of dialog. We actually had the writer on set! He brought a friend. We had another friend-of-a friend. And we didn't feed anybody!
Dead zombies in the hallway. Dirk Voetberg, Tarantino Smith, Khalid Low, Kate Britton, Steve Niles (the writer for crying out loud!) and Pete Torres (who we made play the robot in a number of scenes.)
Here's a great shot of Khalid showing The Martian Queen's brilliance at making bullet holes.
We also had help from Pete Torres, a buddy of Mozz Mendez who lives here in Jersey City. He became our designated sound department.
Did we shoot our storyboards? Not really. I found a better angle than what I could get from the boards and we shot our way out mostly with that.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Flying Shark Dive

So. Dude. Check out because they have some seriously sweet helicopters. Six grand or so will get you an amazing drone to attach a camera to.

Jose Prendes wrote the Asylum's Mega Shark vs. MechaShark. Here's an interview with him.
Dive the deepest lake in the world. It's in Siberia. You know you want to.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The Forsaken Gods

If I had a fantasy metal band we would play songs like "Ride the Night Worm" and "My Name is a Killing Word". The name of the band would be FORSAKEN GODS.

Here are the lyrics to the first song from our new album.

God is a robot
He takes my soul
God is a robot
Forty meters wide
God is a robot
Buried deep in the ground
God is a robot

God is a robot

With Ministers of Sound
God is a robot
Ripping Joy from your minds
God is a robot
500 poisons strong

God is a robot
He infects our flesh
A thousand tiny needles
Penetrate the sentients 

God is a robot

When he becomes aware
Death to Organics
Death to Organics!

The music itself, of course, pretty much writes itself.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Instead of Storyboarding

Instead of doing the storyboarding I'm supposed to do for Sunday's shoot, I'm writing this post.
Ian Hubert's robot from Tears of Steel is coming for you in Dead Residents.

If you want to know how real movies are made, read John J. Bruno's blog. Here he talks about color revisions in scripts.
I try to print as few versions of scripts as possible in hard copy. We don't print versions in different colors at all. We try to use file version numbers ("1202 Dead Residents v6.08" etc.) although sometimes that screws us up.
Starting on this movie I've noticed people on set are using iPads much more. There's some fancy-pants software for actors to mark up .pdf files and even read sides with you and such. I suppose I should find out what that app is.

Phillip Drawbridge is selling the 3D model of the HMS Fairborne.
Wow. I wish there were a good Carrara to Blender exporter. I'm totally buying it anyway. We'll figure it out. I wish our ship in Prometheus Trap looked this good.