Saturday, December 31, 2005

A little New Year's Fun

You might ask, what am I doing at home at 10:32pm on New Year's Eve. Well, I'm married with a two year old kid, and a hard drive crash of epic proportions. That should be enough of a reason right there.

So I'm going through about 3,000 wav files with no names, listening to each and giving it a name after I figure out what it was before it got deleted. I figure this might be a fun little game. I'm going to post some of them for you to listen to. If you think you know what the movie is that it came from ONLY POST THE INITIALS of the film in the post.

That way it won't be a total giveaway to others if they read them. So let's see if I can get this html to work. There's about 14 different sounds.

Wav1
Wav2
Wav3
Wav4
Wav5
Wav6
Wav7
Wav8
Wav9
Wav14
Wav10
Wav11
Wav12
Wav13

Have fun, and happy new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

So cleanmgr sucks...

After like 6 years of adding and deleting files, and finally organizing my hard drive I figured I should defragment my hard drive. It's something they say you should do every couple of months or so.

But Windows 2000 has no defragment. Windows help tells me to use cleanmgr. I do. The program opens, analyzes my hard drive, then asks me to check some boxes. One is to compress seldom-used files to save room.

When you check it it says: WILL NOT DELETE ANY FILES and is "completely safe".

So I hit OK. I go eat dinner and when I come back...there are now 5 items on my desktop. There used to be like 30. I check windows explorer to see how much room got freed up on my hard drive that only had about 1 gig free.

There are now 55 gigs free. I notice missing folders everwhere. Somehow this horrid program has deleted 54 gigs of stuff.

I have an article for Fangoria magazine that's due next week--it was four pages and Tony Timpone, the editor of Fango had called me up to make sure I could do it by the deadline. That article, and most of my other docs(including the new scene breakdowns and shooting schedule for FOC2) are GONE.

I rarely panic. But inside I was freaking out. All the digital photos I had taken in the past year were gone--including pics of my kid, of my brother-in-laws wedding, of EVERYTHING--gone.

Windows pops up an error telling me that crucial windows files are missing and please insert the windows install disk. Yes, that's right, this program has deleted necessary Windows files among its random deletions.

CUT TO:

Me at the store buying a search and recovery program to attempt to salvage what's still on the hard drive. It managed to find 169,000 files but it doesn't find any names--so I have to individually go through those 169,000 files to figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad.

So that's where I'm at now. I managed to find the Fango article and the FOC2 stuff, so that's good. Will be going through those for weeks.

Moral of the story: Don't run cleanmgr no matter how safe it says it is.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Gonna Be A Brief Gap

I've had a major computer disaster--the biggest I've ever had. Will take me a couple of days before I'm back online regularly.

Hit me back on Friday and I should be on track again.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Freakin' Christmas

I'll tell you about my Christmas tomorrow maybe. For right now, let me give you guys a little Christmas present. A picture I stumbled on while I was cleaning the old hard drive.

It's from the warp party for FOC--bet you wish you'd been there. That's Jacky lying back on the pool table. Lauren's the other girl doing...ummm...whatever it is she's doing. Enjoy.




Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Expectation Versus Reality

This is something I've experienced and thought on at great lengths, and I still don't really have an answer.

The thing is this: How do I, as a low-budget filmmaker, deal with the sometimes unreasonable expectations of my audience? I know that's not too clear, but here's what I mean:

My first film cost $23,000--that's the total budget. We shot it for $11,000 and it took me another year just to raise the remaining money so we could get the film developed and transferred to BetaSP to edit. MTI Home Video picked it up, packaged it with a slick dvd cover that featured a scene not actually IN my movie, and described it generally as a slasher film--which it isn't.

So a lot of people who picked it up at the store because they wanted THAT type of movie--those people were disappointed to find what is essentially a character study about a serial killer who discovers he's been targeted by another serial killer.

Now my new film, FOC, has been slickly packaged by Lion's Gate. Its budget is also very small. Lion's Gate has placed multiple full-page ads in the retailer trades and apparently put together a pretty nice trailer(haven't seen it yet). Then they put that trailer for it on the dvd release of Saw 2--their biggest release yet. In general they seem poised to make FOC one of their biggest direct-to-dvd releases of the past year.

I imagine people picking up Saw 2, watching it and enjoying it, and then renting FOC because they saw the trailer. And the majority is going to be disappointed. There's no way my flick, shot for about 3% of the budget of Saw 2, can compare.

As opposed to if they had just heard there was this cool low-budget movie about killer clowns that maybe they should check out. They'd go in with lower expectations and probably enjoy it more.

So when I get an inevitable "Your movie sucked" emails, it's very tempting to say "Hey, if you had any idea of what my budget was you'd think different." (And don't ge t me wrong--to my surprise I actually get more positive emails than negative)

But it makes me wonder if perhaps winning the lottery in terms of filmmaking--which is getting your film picked up by a big distributor--isn't setting up unreasonable expectations with the people who are going to watch your flick.

And should I even care?

New York Trip

So a couple of weeks ago my very rich friend Ed called me and said he had the use of a stretch humvee for a day, and he and his girl(also my friend) Beth were gonna take it to New York for the day. Did I wanna go?

After the logistical battle of getting a babysitter for that day and the next, my wife and I said sure. She loves New York at Christmas. I kinda enjoy it, but it tenses me up. All those people.

So yesterday we went. There was 8 of us total. On the way Ed said to me: "Geeze, helluva day I picked huh? I almost called it off." I had no idea what he was talking about. He then explained that the city was all but shut down, the subway and buses weren't running. He wasn't even sure we were gonna get into the city.

A word about the stretch hummer. The word is NIIIIIIICE. Definitely the way to go.

We got to New York and found that what we feared had not happened. The exact opposite had happened: There was almost NO traffice on the bridges into the city. Beth, who is originally from New York, said it was eery how dead it was.

Into the city was the same. I'm used to the packed streets, wall to wall cars, having to shove and be shoved as you walk. But it was great. Plenty of room--our first stop was central park so we could take a horse-drawn carriage ride. There was no wait. (I've waited 45 minutes before to get an unoccupied one)

After the ride we walked across the street to FAO Schwartz, the toy store. Here's a couple of pics--you can click on them for the bigger version. Yes, those are people dancing on the big keyboard just like in "Big".





We wandered around some more, doing the tourist thing. Stopped off at the Trump building where they film all those final scenes of "The Apprentice". Had some cool lighting, which I shot:


Got a hot chocolate there. Then we went to dinner at Galagher's Steak House. No wait at all for our party of 8. Mondo expensive. Filet Mignon was $38, and that came with NOTHING. After New York state/city/entertainment tax it would be like $52. Then order your $8 fries and your $2.50 soda.

But it was very good. Then meal for the 8 of us was like $700. Ed pulled out his platinum American Express card and told us it was his treat. Man, it must be nice to be rich.

Had to hit Rockefeller Center to see the tree now that it was dark out. Here's some more pics.




We were gonna bolt home--it was getting late, but a couple of us decided that since it wasn't busy we ought to check out the "Top of the Rock". No, not Alcatraz. It's apparently the new tallest building in New York with a better view than the Empire State Building.

So we went there--no wait again--took the elevator up. It shoots like 70 floors straight up in like 40 seconds. The ceiling was see-through so you could watch the roof approach you at high speed. My ears popped twice on the ride up.

True to its word it had a stellar view of the city. Here's some of those pics. People love pics!







Okay, it was cold up there. We high-tailed it back to the limo and then on to home. Didn't get back until about 1am. Just in case you thought I was lying, here's the limo and our driver, Chris, as he's dropping us off.



So that was it. A good trip. The moral of the story: Screw them New Yorkers--keep up the strike! New York is much more fun when there's a strike going on.

Monday, December 19, 2005

FOC/VB Update

New edition of VB Weekly came out today. Instead of the 2-page spread, they've got a 1 page ad for FOC in this week's--with the correct running time of 106 minutes.

For those who would like to see it, click here:

VB WEEKLY ONLINE EDITION

Click on the magazine and it will take you to the online edition where you can flip pages until you see the ad. Pretty handy format.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Again with the chapping of the ass...

Under the category of: Are you kidding me?

Shower curtain rods. You know, they're collapsible so you spread them depending on how wide your shower is.

But let's say you have to actually slide your shower curtain one way or the other. The rings are always catching on one of the lips of the collapsible sections. Pull hard enough and you'll rip the shower curtain. Meanwhile you're splashing water out of the shower trying to mess around with it.

You're telling me that in this day and age--when we can put freakin' men on the moon--we can't make a collapsible shower curtain rod that's smooth enough that the rings can slide back and forth effortlessly?

If we can't, how about we contact the Japanese? I know for a fact that they can get it done. They've got robots that can walk, can jump, can act lke us, and they have hands so strong they can crush steel, yet are so sensitive they can pick up an egg without crushing it.

I KNOW they could make a shower curtain that wouldn't irk me five minutes after I've woken up and am trying to take a relaxing shower. I know it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lions Gate Becomes Lionsgate

Yeah, so they changed their name. I've read the reasons, but it all sounds kinda goofy to me. Whatever. Doesn't really affect me.

But I was informed by someone who took a closer look at the ad that it says FOC is 88 minutes. I'm hoping this is a typo or mis-information.

The cut I delivered to them is 106 minutes. However, if you want to sign a deal with Lionsgate you sign away final cut right and title right. So if they want to cut your movie or change the title, they can legally.

I knew the title was safe: A rep told me over the phone how much they liked it and couldn't believe it hadn't been used before.

But the cut...I tried to make it as hard as possible for them to cut anything. There are some tricks in delivery you can do to make it difficult for them, but it's far from impossible for them to do it.

So now I'm wondering if they cut 18 minutes out of the film, and if so...what they hell they cut. Should be interesting to see. I know the ad was bought and paid for months ago, so it may just be they were taking a guess when they created the ad.

And for those interested in FOC2--check the message boards for the exclusive first look at the casting notice. It won't go out to Backstage or any of the other casting places until January.

The Best Christmas Movies

Now, I'd like to say that this list is only my opinion and isn't a statement of fact.

I'd like to say that, but I'd be lying. It IS a statement of fact. These are the best. If you disagree then what you have to do is examine your opinion and decide where you went wrong. Because you did.

So here they are! The best!

1. Christmas Vacation
2. The Ref
3. Scrooged
4. Die Hard
5. A Christmas Story
6. Love, Actually
7. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Note: The Rudolph movies(and Frosty, for that matter) aren't in the running because they were television movies. Also, if they were in the running they would take up the first three slots in the list.

The ones that almost made the list, in no order: White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Gremlins, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and John Carpenter's The Thing. (Shut up, that makes EVERY list I make--plus there's a lots of snow in it)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Winter Cleaning

Hard drive, that is. When you have 20+ hard drives and over a terabyte of storage space like I do, you have a tendancy to never delete anything because you've got so much storage space.

Also, I'm lazy so I have a tendancy to store everything under C:

So I've been spending some time organizing and deleting files. Been finding all sorts of stuff. Here's a neat picture a guy named Rob created from a screencap of Mark the first time he tried on the black contacts.

Pretty cool. I'll post some other stuff over the next couple of days until I get time to actually, you know, compose a real post.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Yes! Maryland is good at SOMETHING!

Good news!

Morgan Quitno’s annual reference book, "Crime State Rankings 2005" lists Maryland as the FOURTH MOST DANGEROUS STATE TO LIVE IN!

The things it takes into account are: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft.

So not only is the whether crappy 70% of the year, the taxes are ungodly, the politician are all pinheads, the real estate is out of control--now you find out you're probably going to get killed living here.

The hits keep on coming!

Just so you know, here's the top five most dangerous states.
1. Nevada
2. Louisiana
3. Arizona
4. Maryland
5. South Carolina

Hey Hey

Bill Cunningham at DISC/ontent was kind enough to critique Lion's Gate's poster for FOC! Check it out with the LINK here or to the right.

He's always got some interesting stuff if you're interested in the direct2video movies.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Christmas Crap

Wow, it gets more tiresome every year to shop for Christmas gifts. Not just the fight the rest of the world for parking spaces, and room to walk in the mall. Not just the long lines at the post office--hey, I'm there all year around, shouldn't I get a "regulars only" line?

It's more that I have no idea what to buy my wife anymore. (Yeah, what DO you get the woman who has everything, and by everything I mean ME)

I love those lists that pop up online--"The Best Gifts for Women!". Click on it and it's always perfume and foot massagers. She's married so she doesn't need perfume anymore, and I got her a foot massager like five years ago. Been there, done that.

She busted the nice digital camera I got her for Christmas last year(she left it on top of the car and went for a drive--it flew off and now has enough pieces to make a challenging puzzle). So I bought her a replacement last month because she whined that she really needed one. I figured...that's one Christmas present.

But she says it's not. That's right, I'm just EXPECTED to buy her a new version of anything I buy her that she destroys. How's that work?

So now I'm trying to figure out something cool to get her. Any ideas, ladies? (and by ladies, I mean you too, Stewie)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Networking

I went to what amounted to a "networking party" last night. It was put on by the Women In Film and Video of Maryland. But one of the main members was a guy. How does that work?

I'm not a big networking guy. I'm the guy who hung out in the back of the classroom by himself. I'm still that guy--maybe just a tiny bit more outgoing.

The whole shindig reminded me of the Annapolis Film Fest. As small as I am I'm the biggest fish in the pond at these things. The people hear Lion's Gate and they fall over themselves to be the first to clap. Then there's pretty much a line of people who want to talk to me and ask the magic question: How did I do it?

And I can also see how dangerous it can be as a married man when attractive women think you can advance their career. See TOUCHY FEELY HOT ASIAN WANNABE CASTING DIRECTOR in the dictionary for more details.

But anyway, I'm getting more and more of those emails about "How did you do it"--averaging two or three a day. I'm gonna have to post a faq that I can just refer the emailers to. Typing the same answer really gets tiresome.

But it's becoming easy to see how frustrating it could be for someone in the big-time to have to deal with what I'm dealing with--on a scale a million times bigger--and how much self control it has to take them not to wig out.

So I think I'll cut them more slack when I see how fake that smile looks as they hear someone tell them for literally the millionth time that they LOVE their work.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brian Keene's "The Rising"

Someone who shall remain nameless recommended this book to me, and even went so far as to get me a copy. It looked like it was up my alley, being a book about zombies taking over the earth.

One man lives alone in a sort of bunker, having been separated from his child. He assumed the kid was dead until he receives a call on his almost-out-of-battery cel phone. The boy leaves a message pleading for his father to come find him; he's hiding in the attic of his step-father's house.

So the man sets out to rescue his son.

Let me tell you: This is a horrible, horrible book. Is it poorly written? No, though the editing was terrible--no less than ten spelling errors inside. Are the characters cliche or cardboard cutouts? No, though there's really no standouts.

Then why, you ask, is the book horrible?

When you write a story you inevitably set up at least one question you hope the audience(or reader) will WANT answered. This is what keeps the reader watching or turning pages. They want to know if the killer is going to kill the woman, or will he be caught in time? Will the girl and the guy get together and fall madly in love by the end?

I've already told you the dominating question in this book. Will the man get to his son in time and rescue him, or will the kid be a zombie by the time he gets there?

"The Rising" ends as the man makes it to the house and goes inside to find out if his son is still alive. From the point of view of the people outside, we HEAR gunshots and a scream.

That's where the book ends. Right there, I shook my head and thought, "What a waste of time."

You MUST answer the question you have given to the reader. They have invested their time in your story and to not answer the dominating question is a complete betrayal.

Keene didn't have to answer every question. It was pretty clear that there wasn't going to be time to have any kind of resolution to the fact that zombies are taking over the world. But that single question of the father/son was really the ONLY thing that kept me reading.

And all he did was set up a sequel. Shame on him. I won't be reading that sequel. He's an author not to be trusted. It would be the same if you went to a movie and the killer's about to kill the heroine and BLACK. Sorry, come pay more money and maybe we'll tell you what happened in the sequel.

Shame on him.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wow, spacing on that test blows...

Someone needs to format their results a little better...

I have edited it a little to make it fit better.

Results to be Proud Of...

I'm sure this is a surprise to no one. I'm not a very tolerant person.

Hey, if you don't like it then move out of my country.



The Swine

Achtung! You are 15% brainwashworthy, 45% antitolerant, and 38% blindly patriotic

Sie sind ein Schwein! You would've lived a quiet and consenting civilian life in Germany, while the Nazis stomped all over people you didn't quite care about.

You would never have directly joined the Nazis, basically because (1)
you're not so nationalistic, (2) you're not that susceptible to crazy
propaganda, and (3) you probably don't have the bloodlust. But you
would've appreciated the Party, because you liked how they cleaned out
the [insert race you dislike here].

The fact is, you demonstrate too much attachment to and pride of your
own kind, be they white & male & straight or whatever. You
absolutely would not have stood up to the Germans.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would NOT have STOOD UP to the Nazis. Sorry



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 5% on brainwashworthy
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on antitolerant
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on patriotic




Link: The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Picture

Weird. I expected comments on the picture of me that I posted last week.

I didn't know what to expect, but I expected SOMETHING.

That picture was taken about 12 years ago. I was in college. That was my apartment where I lived with two other guys. I'm sitting on the mattress I slept on--that's right, just a mattress I took from home and most of the time didn't put a sheet on.

You can't see it, but on the wall are numchucks, a machete, a survival knife, and some Miami Dolphins memorabilia.

The guy who took this picture was named T.C.--he was in a photography class and had to take some pics, so he asked me if I'd pose for one. I said sure.

He really didn't have any idea of what he was doing. He just put some lights to the side to give me a "mysterious" look. Then he told me to give my patented look.

So I did. I think he may have captured my true essence there. I was really quite the sociopath in my younger years.

Ah, the good old days...