Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weird Happenings


My week has gone wonky. Monday, for some reason, I went to bed at 9am as normal, and didn't wake up until my wife opened the bedroom door and said, "Kev, you okay?"

And I'm like, "Sure, why?" and she said, "Because it's 7pm and you're still in bed."

I was a little confused. But I got up and got to work.

Only problem was, I couldn't go back to sleep Tuesday, so I went to a movie. Saw Act of Valor. Man, that is not a good movie. Some horrible acting coupled with a horrible screenplay. Some cool action scenes, but pretty terrible with my newest HUGE pet peeve in movies.

OUT OF FOCUS SHOTS DO NOT BELONG IN YOUR MOVIE

It's like, how lazy are cinematographers and directors now that they consider this distracting practice to be part of their "style"? I've seen the same shit in Contraband, Safehouse, and now this flick.

You know what? In the old days if you lost focus, you redid the take. I'm not even talking about SOFT FOCUS, which these movies have plenty of. (no idea how they pass QC)

Why don't we just start considering not white-balancing part of our style? And bad composition? And bad acting? Part of my style, man. Fucking further degradation of the art of filmmaking. Way to go, new generation. You're really pushing the bounds.

Hope you all enjoy your free out-of-focus movies.

Came home, fell asleep for 3 hours, then back up...

...back to GOH. I have this 90 second scene with AMAZINGLY-BAD audio. Last night I spent three hours using every trick in the book to make it acceptable. I have no idea how it's going to sound in a movie theater.

Then I went to sleep at like 7am and slept until 4pm. My schedule is all messed up. I had a dream that I went to a class reunion(which I have never done). The whole thing was a weird disaster but for some reason Jill Schoelen was there. She said she was in one of my classes.

I have no idea why my psyche would have chosen her out of all the b-list celebrities to include in my dream(I'm not that big a fan of hers...)

I'm prepping to go work some more on the movie. By prepping, I mean, trying to talk myself into it. I'm actually more interested in working on the trailer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Doin's(Picture-Palooza)



Went over to Luke's house and did all of the final foley I'm going to do besides the tiny scene in Baltimore that I have to go back and get some sounds for.

Can't tell you how little I wanted to do it. I am so exhausted of this whole process.

Came home, cut it all up into its pieces, and now have to recreate those scenes from scratch audio-wise. Fun.

But more important right now is that Chad has delivered 100% of the music for the movie. It's an hour forty-two minutes of music...holy shit...wall to wall music! So sweet! Some might call it overkill...I call it improvement.

AND he's said that he wants to do an end-credit suite. I had told him don't worry about, but apparently he wants to do it. So that's coming, but since I haven't done the end credits yet I can't tell him how long it should be. I just said make it between 3 and 4 minutes long and I'll make the end credits that long.

Anyway, he delivered it and I need to go through it all and give him my notes so he can make changes. There's not a lot I don't dig, so it should be easy.

Then he'll get me the new versions, and I'll put it all in.

Hey, remember I mentioned the surgery on sound. Here's an example. They're both spectograms of the exact same section of audio, but cleaned up. See that big line of noise through it(about the lower middle of the pic)? I got rid of it. I cleaned up a lot of the hiss, which is the hazy stuff at the top of the pic.




You may wonder, if you're in the audio biz, why my left and right channels aren't identical. What I like to do is record two channels but always do one higher than the other. See, sometimes you'll get a noise that's too loud(someone SCREAMS or there's a GUNSHOT), and it'll peak your audio on the high one.

But it should be okay on the other one, and for that take I'll use the lower audio. I simply use a FILL LEFT or FILL RIGHT when bring it into Premiere. I wouldn't have to do this if I had an awesome audio guy with a compressor/limiter, but I don't.

Riveting stuff for you non-tech guys, I know.

Anyway, it appears that April 26th(Thursday) will be the premiere of the flick, at the Landmark Theater in Baltimore. I have the contract here and will be turning it in on Monday.

Went to Medieval Times today for my brother-in-law's birthday. My server was one of my actors who's been in two of my flicks. Pretty funny. It was a good time though, and our knight won the whole thing. (you know, they predetermine it randomly, but the only other 2 times I've been to one, my knight died like a bitch)

Here's my kid with a pic of the knight afterwards. He LOVED it, was even doing the flappy arms thing which he doesn't do too much. We got him a sword and shield.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shoot Me Now, Part 2


So. GOH audio work continues. I went out to a buddy's premiere of his movie, and while I was there forced him to do his 1 line of dialogue over again for my looping.

Teach me to give my filmmaking buddies cameos with lines.

Anyway, still have some foley effects to go do, then gotta insert them. Gotta make a last pass through, either correcting everything or at least noting what needs correcting on a piece of paper.

There's tons of little stuff you have to do when you're a one-man show. Like, tonight, I worked on the scene where a guy gets his head stomped on. I had to layer in about 10 audio tracks of various bone breaking/cracking/oozing sound, then as the guy walks away I made it so you can still hear like there's stuff on the bottom of the boot he stomped with.

Then, the foley footsteps have to gradually trail off, so you have to keyframe the volume down.

This shit is EVERYWHERE. There are people who get PAID very well to do this. Fuck.

When I'm done this pass I will show it to Luke and Zig to get their comments, and do my FINAL pass on the flick. It appears we'll be premiering it on April 26th.

All this means is that I'm STILL having spend time on this movie, when I really need to be finishing the Vamp script and working on the "Bunker" script, and there's tons of testing I need to be doing for both movies.

The vamp movie I'll be shooting on my new low budget kit--so I need to practice with it to get super comfortable using it.

The bunker flick will be using some things I'm not an expert at, for instance green screen and digital smoke (I mean, can it look real? Or do I need a bunch of actual smoke machines for this outside scene?), as well as digital fire.

I should be doing tests. Double fuck.

Update: I'm 196 pounds, page 63 of the vamp script. Sort of at a standstill, as I don't know the ending of the movie. That's a problem. May pass it to Luke to see if he has any ideas.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pull Me Back


What is it with me wanting to end every screenplay these days with unhappiness?

I'm at a point in the vamp script where I can either flush this guy's life down the toilet(by killing his wife) or let him rescue her. And damn if I don't want to kill the wife.

I can't tell if it's misogyny(because I'm ALWAYS killing women in my scripts) or a type of schadenfreude. I mean, you have to have a bit of that anyway, because without adversity for your characters you're left with a boring story.

I used to do it all the time. I liked my characters so much I would just put them up against bad guys and they'd always win. Like, easy.

That was when I was like 15 though. (Did I tell you my mom found a box of my old short stories and gave them to me? I should type one of them up for you guys to laugh at. They're all handwritten on lined paper, other than the last few where my grandmom gave me her ancient typewriter...man, THEN I felt like a writer, pecking away at that thing)

Anyway...pull me back from the edge. This is supposed to be a fun movie, and as we all know they got Star back and turned Michael human again; Charlie turned Amy back from being a vamp and lived happily ever after(at least, until the sequel) and Peter Vincent got his TV show back...

Happy. Think happy. But don't mistake me--this movie's got some GORE. I dunno how I'm gonna get Jason and Kaleigh to do the FX in this as cheap as I need them, 'cause there is some CRAZY shit in this thing...I will have to beg them.

Weight: 198 Vamp script: 63

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's V-Day


The wife and I went out last night instead of tonight. Took her to Longhorn steakhouse, the new one near the mall. Haven't been to one in quite a while. The wait was like 30 minutes, but it was freakin' great.

Totally cheated on the diet...I was 199 yesterday, back to 200 today. Not bad considering how much I ate...

I've been kinda doing shit the past couple of days. Chad's sent me a few more pieces to the GOH score, and he sent me the first piece that I think totally missed the mark. But out of like 28 pieces, 1 miss isn't bad, especially considering how out-of-the-park he's hit some of the others.

I talked to him, and he's going to change it. No biggie.

On the Vamp script front...so I've got this scene where my heroes head into a sewer, which is where they think the vamps are hanging out during the day. In my mind it's like the "Them" or the Blob remake sewers. No, I don't technically have access to this location, but I'll try to figure that out later. (I don't even know who I'd call from my county to ask "Hey, do you have any big sewer systems we can shoot a movie in?")

What I'm trying to figure out right now is, How Sewers Work.

You know, every movie I've seen where people go into a sewer system, the sewer system leads out to a grate near a lake or river. As far as I can tell right now, this doesn't happen any more. It seems like they all go to treatment plants.

This doesn't work for me, storywise.

Anyway, on "Bunker"(the VERY temporary script title for the one I'm writing with Luke), Luke's really in love with something I am not in love with. Like I said, it starts slower than it should. There's a lot of frenetic action, but there's a dying character and Luke's written some dialogue between a main character and the dying one.

It does nothing but slow shit down. It should take place AFTER all the action, not during it. I told him I was gonna move it all to later and trim it, but he wants it in there.

Technically I could leave it and then cut it out in editing, but I couldn't cut it and MOVE it in editing because the background action wouldn't match. And I don't want to lose it, just move it.

One of those things. Co-writing can be hard when you know YOU'RE right all the time, and you just have to convince the other guy. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Research...it's Fun.


Not normally.

But last night I sat down with Luke and we did some research on the new script we're writing. We watched John Carpenter's The Thing.

Now, our script is nothing like that other than it involves a group of people trapped in one place. But the script is great at certain things we wanted to examine: Character development, breeding paranoia, and weaving in a lot of small clues as to what's going on that you don't recognize until you take a look back at it.

I've seen the movie like thirty times anyway. It's tied for my all-time favorite movie. But I never really sat down and tried to examine it. To go through it scene by scene saying, "Okay, this person and this person are Things right now...why are they doing what they're doing?"

It's pretty interesting. There's a few happenings in the movie that can't be definitively explained, but it doesn't hurt the movie at all.

And let me say again...how can special effects that were done thirty years ago STILL be superior to stuff being done today? The entire Norris Things out scene is fucking phenomenal.

While doing some research I stumbled upon the fact that there are DELETED scenes to this goddamn movie that have never seen the light of day on dvd. Somebody even has a few pictures over here.

Why are these not available? What the hell?

Anyway, Luke gave me the first 11 pages of the script, and now I'm going through to tighten and fix stuff. It's moving too slow for my liking, but I can fix that.

Then I'm going to do like 10 pages and pass it to him to see what he says. We'll do this sort of thing until it's done, and then I'll do some additional passes. The script will NOT be longer than 90 pages.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Since I Found 'Em

Here's some other art of my brother's. He did them way back like around 1994 when he used to airbrush a lot.

This was one side of a sweat shirt he did for me. I still have it in my closet, but I never wear it because then it would have to be washed...

The top left is a pic of Wolverine from an interesting two-issue comic series Havoc & Wolverine, then the next is from Sin City, and the one on the bottom is a Simon Bisley Aliens pic he redid.

A mixed media he did of Ghost Rider 2099, a very cool comic book for like 4 issues.
I own the original of this.
Obviously, the Crow.
One of my favorite Alien pieces he did. Very Geiger-ish.

This was from a little-read but well done comic miniseries called
Aliens: Stronghold.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Something New


You what I never do? I never post my screenplays online if I haven't made the movie of them. The only time I've done that is for "Pulse", which would cost like 100 million to make...so the chance of me making that movie is nil.

You can find that here. It's not the greatest, but it moves fast. I finished it somewhere around 1995, and honestly, it's more comic book than movie. That's in text format.

UPDATE: Found this cool sketch my brother did of Pulse and Rene. In case you forget, he's the guy who designed the clown makeup for Shivers in FOC.



But anyway, ran across this script I wrote around the same time. I think Pulse was my fifth finished script, and this one was my sixth. Again, it's a fast read if you're bored. It's sword and sorcery with a dash of werewolves.

It's Wolfsbane, and there's parts I like and parts I don't. (why is there always a prophecy about the hero? Damn me for falling for that cliche!) It's in Microsoft Word 97 .doc format.

I did these both originally in Scriptware, which is a long-defunct program that I used to use. The original program came on two 3.5 inch floppies. Remember those?

Anyway, check 'em out if you're bored and want to see some early stuff of mine.

Weight update: 199.5(yes, my scale displays halfs)
Vamp Script update: page 60

Monday, February 06, 2012

Un-Super Bowl


Well, that was boring. For the first time in like 15 years I didn't go to any kind of super bowl party. Not even a family get together.

Stayed home. The woman made some crab dip, so I cheated on the diet a bit. First serious bit of cheating, so I don't feel too bad. (especially after turning down free onion rings at Burger King TWICE--they're running some sort of promotion, and skipping pizza Saturday night when everybody else at the fights was eating it)

Couldn't have cared less about who won the bowl. And the commercials were pretty mediocre. I liked the Doritos one about the dog who killed the cat. Thought some of the commercials were TERRIBLE. (what was the fucking Elton John as king thing about? Wouldn't he be the Queen?)

And was I the only one who saw that car commercial about the vampires--where the car pulls up and all the vamps get hit by the light and explode, and the narrator says "Daylight at night. LED lights"--am I the only one who saw that and thought, "LED lights aren't the same color temperature as daylight...not the same light at all, why would they explode?"

Anyway, back to the grind. Am on page 58 of the vamp script.

Started watching that Showtime show Boss with Kelsey Grammar. Not like I need another show to watch, but I heard it was good.

It starts off with a doctor telling Kelsey that he has a disease, this debilitating disease that's going to destroy his mind and gradually kill him. The camera moves in on Kelsey and they use some extremely shallow depth of field to make the whole thing feel very claustrophobic.

Hey, waitaminute...yes, that's the exact opening of FOC2! Nice! I'm going to believe they saw it and liked it so much they decided to swipe it from me. Regardless of the fact that that is almost certainly not the case.

The show has a LOT of sex, some of the most erotic sex I've ever seen in a show. And there's some seriously sexy women in the show, including a regular named Kathleen Robertson.

Here's what she looks like regularly:
Kinda the sexy brainy type. Here's what happens when she goes wild though:
Yowza. Good show too. Pretty interesting.

Weight update: 201.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Developments.


Had a funny dream. Well, the first part I can't remember well but I think me and some of my friends were being chased, and I was on horseback and the horse got shot in the leg.

But the dream switched, and all of a sudden my dad--who just retired from Westinghouse (Northrup Grummond now, but always Westinghouse to me) after like 40 years--was working at the A&P.

Do they even have A&Ps anymore? I dunno. But you know the old people who stand around the Walmarts looking kind of sad, greeting people or helping you pick out fruit or whatever? He was one of those.

A guy who's SUPER smart, who was an electrical engineer and can pretty much fix anything that's invented...

The extra funny part is that, for some reason, Martin Scorcese was also working there as an office guy. I have no idea why.

And for some reason, I had to take the flat tire from my lawn mower up to the A&P to see if Marty had a replacement for it.

It all made sense in the dream.

Anyway, jumped in the shower and got struck by a pretty seriously-good script idea. Super-sellable with a good, not-yet-used title. It's just the basics, but my shower stretched to like 20 minutes as I sat there brainstorming.

Jumped out and typed some of them up.


Regardless of whether I shoot two movies or one movie or no movies this year, this is going to be a productive writing year for me.

In other news, the 3TB external HD arrived today that I talked Luke into buying. I got a lot of work I've been doing on GOH that's not backed up, so I think it's past time. Am copying stuff off now, will sleep slightly easier knowing I have a backup. My scratch drive is pretty full too, so am gonna get stuff off of it by putting it on the 3TB.

Saw Chronicle and Woman In Black in a double-feature on Friday. They were both okay. I think the people behind me liked Chronicle a LOT more than I did.

Also, once again had a douchebag lady in front of me pulling out her phone at random intervals during the movie to text something real quick. At one point I threw a handful of popcorn at her, but couldn't get the distance to her. (we were in that row with the walk-aisle in front of it, so she's like 10 feet away from me, but her phone was SO bright every time she pulled it out it was like a torch in the dark)

Woman In Black had something weird I want you to look for if you see it. On a TON of the closeups of Daniel Radcliffe, his face looked like it was digitally-smoothed like Surrogates, so it was waxy.

I'm not sure why they did it. On the mediums, it didn't appear like his face was ruddy or anything, so I'm not sure why you'd feel you have to do it.

Anyway, they're both okay but I think Chronicle could have benefitted from a twist.

SLIGHT SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE COMMERCIAL FOR CHRONICLE:

If you've seen the commercials, you know which one of the three guys decides to go bad. There's a point in the movie where they could have done an interesting reversal, and made the unpopular kid suddenly become popular, which could have caused the all-american kid to decide to go bad.

Would have been far more interesting than going down the obvious road.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Starving. Freaks N Geeks. Addiction.


I dunno, maybe I'm not starving. But if you asked if I was very, very, very hungry then I would reply YES. And then I might eat you.

Started re-watching Freaks N Geeks. Watched the whole series years back. Man, that was a great, great series. Captures the 80's so well, and features great performances by actors who would all become pretty heavy hitters.

Another show that was canceled after only one season...a travesty. (I hold this, Firefly and Profit as a few of the greatest examples of this travesty)

It's sort of the reason I haven't done jack shit the past two nights. I really wanna put some movie scores on and get back to writing, but...you know.

I gotta stop buying Blu Rays. It's like that addiction with dvds, but it's moved now. I'm hardly watching any of them, but here I am getting more and more because Amazon keeps making them cheap as balls.

Must. Stop. Hey, did I mention I got a super cheap portable dolly for my DSLR moviemaker kit? I mean...how could can it be for around $40? But fuck it, I'll give it a shot for that cheap.

Had to order a new 2 TB hard drive also. Am running out of room on the edit computer, with all the audio work I've been doing, and soon I'm gonna have new gigs of stems from my composer. (he's providing stems for all the scores, so I can raise and lower instruments individually if I want...so cool!)

Did I mention I also FINALLY got John Carpenter's The Thing poster? I don't know how it's one of my two favorite movies in the world and I didn't own it. I bought a VERY high quality reproduction(the originals are all folded and cost like $200).

It looks beautiful on my wall. To go with that I got the original short novella that the movies were all based on, which also comes with a never-before-published screen treatment by Logan's Run writer William F. Nolan.

Fuck, for being unemployed, I am spending a lot of money...I gotta cut back...

ALMOST FORGOT

In the Holy-Fuck-What-Are-They-Trying-To-Teach-Third-Graders section, here's one question from today's homework:
Tickets to the movie are $7 for students and $9 for adults. Eight people go to the movie and the bill is $66. How many of them were adults?

Are you fucking kidding me? I don't know of any way other than algebra or trial-and-error to figure that out. Like, here's how I'd do it:
x+y=8, therefore x=8-y(X is number of students and Y is number of adults)
7x+9y=66 which becomes 7(8-y) + 9y=66
56-7y+9y=66
-7y+9y=10
2y=10, y=5 which would mean x=3

Okay, so you really think a third grader can do that? I'm at a loss. I'm betting the PARENTS of most of these third graders can't do that, 'cause I've met some of them...

What the hell is going on with the school system?