Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sleep



Oh yeah, the brownie-oxi combo worked some magic. Ten hours of sleep.

Haven been doing some heavy-duty S Jack FX work. Am actually almost done them all, which is a massive accomplishment in itself.

Prepping to shoot a few pickups plus some foley with Joe and Cutting--will have them both back on same day, so makes foley easier, and some pickup shots possible

Also of note, filed under the "my luck" category, it didn't rain at all Friday, and may not rain on Saturday either. Given my track record, it will all fall NEXT weekend.

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Still trying to figure out HOW to do the effect in the Pumpkin trail segment.

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The Halloween book is picking up sales as we get closer to that season.

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Been putting away a LOT of TV as I work on the After Effects stuff. Here's a small sample of what I've watched:

Season 1-5 of West Wing. (I watched the first 4 seasons when it was on and just sorta stopped. I can see, with season 5, why I might have. It's TEDIOUS when it hits 5)

The Strain--first 8 episodes of this season. Pretty good.

Camp - Eps 1-5. This is a show that only aired one 10-episode season that I really liked back in 2012. It's like a modern Meatballs, and as much as I hate the memories of camp that I have, this makes me wanna go.

Big Brother - The wife and I have caught up fully after falling about 10 episodes behind a few weeks back. We've been watching this show since season 1.

Love Island - This is a UK thing that I discovered last year and loved. So addictive to watch, and perfect background. Unfortunately, I invited my wife to try this year when it started, and now SHE'S addicted, so I can't catch up. But we're up to around episode 40(of like 53). It's a reality show, and I'm pretty sure that the most popular phrases used by Brits are 1) Crack On(which means to have a good time)  2) Are you bantering?(banter appears to be frivolous talking, sometimes means flirty talk) 3) Geezers and Birds(geezers are guy, birds are girls) 4) She/he is FIT.(heard this first on the Inbetweerners, which was an amazing show with two good movies to wrap it all up)

Timeless - This is a show that went under my radar. I mean, it's a show created by the creator of The Shield and the creator of Supernatural. First couple of episodes are directed by Neil Marshall. Weird thing is that it's a fairly wholesome show, not overly violent, and actually TEACHES you some history. Even weirder is that it's pretty entertaining. I'm ten episodes in, and hope they get a season two(but I know it was on the bubble)

Live P.D. - I'm going to apologize for calling this second-rate Cops when I first saw it. It's now better than Cops--hours of entertainment, with a lot of stuff you won't see on Cops.

That's not even all of them. You may be saying, how did you have time to watch all that? Well, when I'm editing, the TV is always on in the background. So every hour I've been editing has been another hour of TV. Really blazing through it all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Postponed It To Next Weekend



Couldn't take the chance, and most of the weather reports were saying rain on Friday(and they're still saying it).

Zig picked up the pumpkins. The "big" pumpkins, of which there were supposed to be two, were not big at all. Sorta under-pumped volleyball size. Not much bigger than the other pumpkins.

I can, for sure, have gotten this exact bunch of pumpkins for less at Walmart. And now I gotta go get some bigger pumpkins anyway.

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I can't stress how much this is stressing me. I haven't slept more than 4 hours on any night in the past seven, and most of them have been 2 hours at a time.

I gotta figure out how I'm going to do this whole main pumpkin effect.

Also have to talk myself out of half-assing the entire thing. Maybe just get lazy and shoot a master and not even do any punch-ins on some of the scenes. Would make shooting FAST...

Dunno. Just ate a big brownie AND took a hydrocodone. I WILL sleep this morning...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I Know When I've Been Beat


So.

This is a new low.

I thought, once the wrap was done, that the hard part of Ttory 2 was past. I was positive of it.

But the Pumpkin segment has basically beaten me. (with some help, mind you)

I went out with my brother and we machete'd our way through the brush to that spot. Isn't gonna work. It's not level, and frankly not wide enough for what I need.

BUT...I found another location that's pretty sweet. Nearly perfect. It's hard to get to--but we don't need too many FX there, so that's a plus.

What SHOULD have happened this upcoming week is that Zig was gonna get the 30 or so pumpkins we need(the farmer he's getting them from quoted us a higher price than we were expecting, and then got offended when Zig tried to haggle with him...but I mean, fuck dude, we could get them just as cheap from Walmart. I know, support your local farmers and whatnot, but howsabout not gouging us on the price.?)--

--then I would need to drive them around to various people who have graciously offered to help me carve them into jack 'o' lanterns.

Tonight I was to get the "hero" FX pumpkin and its "puppet" counterpart. Mark had asked another FX guy to work on them because this guy had more experience in that sort of thing.

Well...Mark texted me that we had a big problem. The two FX pumpkins were BAD, he said.

He was under-selling it. They look like there were created by a 4th grader. I'm not exaggerating. I'll post a pic soon so you can confirm it.

So now I gotta figure out some way on my own to make this whole segment work when I either have to 1) CGI the main pumpkin or 2) Come up with something else that will work.

Also on the hurdle list--a storm's coming, and appears that it's going to rain for around 2.5 hours on Friday. I can't afford to lose ANY time that day, much less 2.5 hours. And then I don't want to be out there in the mud either; been there, done that.

Since the camera rental package would be shipping tomorrow, I have to cancel today or eat the money if the rain comes, and I can't afford to eat the money.

Now I'm scrambling to see if everybody can shoot the FOLLOWING weekend instead. Mark can't for sure--he'll be out of town. So I have to find an FX guy who can fill in for him.

But at least the delay will let me see if I can figure out a workaround on the main pumpkin issue.

Also on the problems list--money. Am pretty much gonna be out of it when I'm done this segment, and I have to shoot another segment still. That's a problem.

I'm tired, man. I'm demoralized to the max. I'm deeply envious of people like Andrew Bellware, who appear to be surrounded by talented people--actors, production designers, CGI guys--while it's nearly impossible to find talented crew near me, and in many cases, talented cast--especially talented cast who aren't raging assholes.

Is it just this state? This area? There's a ton of wanna-bes around here who don't appear to want to do the work it takes to put the best product out that they can. They just wanna point a camera at something and call themselves a director. They wanna say a few lines on camera, and call themselves an actor. They wanna edit together two clips together without even looking at all the takes, and call themselves an editor.

Frustrated. Tired. Too old and beaten to fight this fight much longer. (which, 10 years ago, is something I would have said is impossible--I don't quit; I'm too stubborn.)




Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Who Doesn't Have Enough To Do?



Okay, first off let's get this out of the way: Who are you?

This is the blog no one sees, man, so how's it getting all these views? Who are you lurkers?

Just people that like looking at funny demotivational posters with boobs on them? If so, I don't blame you, but sorry--not today!

Anyway, am like 9 days out from shooting one of the tougher days on the entire film. Am I ready? Not really. I went out and scouted locations on Sunday(did I mention that?), but still haven't found one place in particular that I need.

I saw SOMEPLACE that might work, but it was pretty deep in the brush. I wasn't wearing my crap shoes, and hadn't put on that much bug spray so I didn't want to try to explore it. Now I gotta go do it, probably Monday. Then peg exactly where each scene will take place.

I have video of a lot of decent looking trails that I think will work. We ended up winging a lot of the wrap, so I don't foresee too many problems other than that the county apparently has put up a LOT of orange tape markers along one great place. Not sure what they're doing, and I'll have to decide whether to cut them all off the trees for the shoot(which is probably illegal, but whatever!) or do a lot of CGI work.

Good odds I'll be cutting them off if they're in the shot.

But today I decided that I really have to have something new at the convention I'm going at the end of the month. Originally it was going to be the same thing as last year--pimp the new movie on Amazn, but obviously the movie's not done.

So instead we'll make the original movie free again for a month or so, and I'll sell DVDs of the first one(which I've never had at any appearance yet). I figure as an extra incentive, I'll put together a short teaser for the film.

Cuz I don't have enough on my plate, right?

Tonight I spent a ton of time fixing shots with S Jack that will end up being in the teaser. It is mind-numbing and tedious as fuck, and there's SO much of it to do. Odds are great that Jack won't return in part 3 if I end up even working on it, or at least, he won't be doing anything other than walking and not tilting his head up or down.

Though when each shot is done and fixed, I play it and it looks pretty cool.

In other news re: Ttory 2...money is getting VERY tight. I do not have the money to do the segment for October, and my freelance gig hasn't been getting me much work. Like, not even enough to pay the bills much less pull an extra grand to shoot the segment.

But hey, sold like 12 books on Amzn last month and made, no shit, like $34. It's insane how much of a cut they take. (like, one of the books was $39.99--my Halloween book--and I earned like $9.80 of that). Doesn't really seem fair, ya know?

Eh, fuck it. I need a brownie.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Not Done With Summer


Man, woke up a couple of days ago and it was fucking COOL out. Like, Fall cool.

It instantly sent me into a funk. I may LOVE Fall, but when summer changes to it, I get S.A.D.

You may think it's bullshit, but it's for real, I can tell you that. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Really, I wanna move somewhere where it's ALWAYS spring/summer. I'll come back to whereever the cold is for the holiday.

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I honestly can't remember what I've put in the blog. Had to go check.

Guess I didn't mention that I went back to the woods to shoot those last few shots from the wrap story. The shots involve a map that falls from the sky and blows down the trail.

We tied fishing string to a weight, threw it over a high branch, then attached it lightly to the map and hoisted it. When I was rolling, my brother yanked the line out of the map, and it fell from the sky. Actually worked GREAT, other than it would never fall right on the trail, even though one was SO perfect and when it was like 5 feet above the trail it just veered off.

Then we tried to blow the map down the trail. Compressed air didn't blow it very far. My brother waving his reflector worked a little better, but looks like a hurricane is hitting all the plants around it.

Got enough stuff I think I can work it. Won't be great, but whatever.

Then we shot a scene with a hitchhiker. Had the local author who wrote one of the segments do it. Other than the fact that the deserted road suddenly became grand central station the instant I pull the camera out...

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Trying to prep the pumpkin trail. Got the actors. Got the schedule. It's brutal. Almost 11 pages on day 1. Most of it has to be shot in the daylight.

And I'm thinking--I should really try to compromise. I never shoot master--punch in--inserts. I may shoot a master to help blocking, but then I get whatever shots I need, the way I've designed, in the best order to do it.

Problem is, when things start going wrong I start improvising for time.

So I was thinking...maybe I try to compromise a scene or two--go ahead and shoot master--punch in  -- insert, and maybe I'll have enough time to do exactly what I want in the other scenes.

I'm waiting on news of when we can get the pumpkins. We shoot on the morning of the 15th, so if I get them later than  the 11th...it's gonna be dicey to carve them all.

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Been working on the edits and the CGI fx.  Have actually gotten QUITE a bit done. Started the opening credits. May have found the end credit music.

Gotta get the trail done, then the Fountain, and at least then I can stop worrying about production problems. Get strapped to the edit computer so I can get an idea of when I can debut this. I actually think MAYBE I try January 1st? If not, then probably April.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Plans


So...I have made a complete list of what I need to pickup looping and foley-wise, and even a couple of shots I could use.

Going to go shoot the last shots of the flick on Sunday, then probably hang out late into the night in the woods to get some cool promo shots I can give the poster guy.

Then next weekend if Joe's available, I'll go out and shoot the foley and video I need from him. At that point, the only thing I'll be missing is Cutting on some lines(and one shot I could use, but it's not 100% necessary)

--Man, it's hard typing this up, cuz that girl and her pumpkins are just staring right at me....

Speaking of Pumpkins, I think I have it fully cast, and two of the actors are returning favorites of mine. Super excited to work with them again. The other actor is from Philly, so that's a pain in the ass for him--he's gotta come down here soon just to get his face cast, then two other nights, probably the 3rd week of September.

I still have to do some of those tests I keep putting off. I've bought many of the props for the segment.

As I get close to shooting that, though, I need to start prepping the Fountain. Double check to make sure I can get those actors, go scout some of these locations, and prep the Fountain, since I am also the set designer on this...

But hey, at least some of the pressure is off. The attempt to get this thing done by October 30th was noble, but stress-inducing.

Off to see Annabelle tomorrow. Why not?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Status: LATE



Okay, I'm gonna have to make the call today. Ttory 2 ain't getting done by October 1st.

As for what my backup releasing plan is, I don't know. I guess I'll wait and see how long it takes me to finish it.

I started to feel like more and more, quality was going to start suffering. The final two segments might be getting half-assed in my rush to production. A lot of things I should fix in the main story might not get fixed, because I gotta tell you...

...there's this new danger in my life I've never had before...

...it's the PEOPLE...their words...

See, I realized that I have definitely let some of them get to me. Not in terms of anger or anything, but there have been some times when I've been THIS close to going..."You know what? All the shit I do to try to make this movie better than the 99% of no-budget movies out there...and the people are gonna bitch anyway..."

"So why bother? Don't get down on the ground to shoot that interesting angle...just shoot it eye-level on the fucking tripod. Those douchebags are gonna hate it anyway, or better yet leave a one-star review with the words, "Gave it two minutes, didn't like it."

And that thought was sort of subliminal for a long time. It is very liminal now.

That's a dangerous place to be, and somewhere I've never been. I've always been the guy who goes the extra fucking distance to make these movies the least-bad they can be. Believe me, I have failed in many ways, but you have no idea just HOW bad those movies were before I got them to the shape they're finally in when you see them.

btw--a bit high right now, so there's that.

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Anyway, been whacking and massaging the main story of T-tory. I took a 2nd look at the Mad Gathering, and it's not QUITE the clusterfuck I thought it was. The opening scene is fucking terrible, but after that it gets better.

So I went back to the main story. Individually going through each scene and working the audio so the cuts aren't audible. Trimming here and there, trying to get some rhythm.

Did the whole thing, so now you can actually play it from front to back, and it's not that shabby on the audio.

Then started through again--picking some FX shots to mess with so at least I can partially watch something. When I'm editing I have the headphones on, so putting something on TV is just worthless.

The scene where Jack first attacks is a fucking NIGHTMARE. Jack's pumpkin head swivels this way and that, spins, leans. In a hundred ways, and I just have all this reference vid where Matt showed me the pumpkin from a bunch of different angles.

Been working on some of it, then got to the bottle break upside Jack's head. That shot is...ridiculous. We had to tape Matt all up on his head and shoulders because, well, we broke an actual bottle against his head.

But I never took a clean plate of him from that angle WITHOUT the tape, so I'm having to make that up. Then on top of that, you can see the plate we taped to the other side of his head for the bottle to break on.

And I've got no clean plate of the background to paint that thing out.

Also, the best take of Jack walking up to the guy beforehand? He's not carrying the hero knife, just the handle-only knife. So I digitally have to add a knife that moves in exactly the same manner as the way he walks with the handle. Gotta make it blur at exactly the same rate as he does when moving.

Lotta work. Lotta null objects getting motion-track data applied to them.

Things I'm most happy about:
The Midnight C exploding effect.
The knife pullout of Will.
That I was able to make most scenes work, even with the incredibly uneven sunlight killing me, plus the long speeches that Cutting couldn't nail his lines right on.
Some of the drone shots are SWEET.
I think I only blow the frame-sides once, and I knew about it on set--I couldn't get the drone on the correct side of the people because of a tree above us, so I just figured it would be okay.

--Pardon me, I'm listening to Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood for the first time in like 10 years, and it's just as fucking amazing as it used to be. I'm back in college...man...where's my fucking time machine?

Also, I think I curse a lot more in my blog when I'm high.