Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of 2013, My Edition


Rather than do a top 10 list I'm just going to list some of the stuff that I enjoyed this year.

First, video games.
  • State of Decay is one of the best videogames I've ever played. I have never in my nearly 30 years(holy shit) of playing video games ever played a story-based game more than once. I played SoD three times, even drawing out the missions so the game lasted longer. Now there's a downloadable content that only partially changed the game, but I'm back at it. If you ever wanted to BE in the world of the Walking Dead, to try to survive in that environment then you will love this game.
  • Battlefield 4 - A game so incredibly-buggy that it's hard to believe I'd put it on the list, but it really has so much incredible stuff to it that you still play it. Environments that are hugely destructive, including bringing down an entire skyscraper in Shanghai, to islands that are a paradise one minute and then a massive tropical storm rolls in and you're fighting in giant waves that was once a calm ocean.

Next, movies: 

I don't know why The End occurs in three of the movies I name. I just don't.

  • John Dies At The End
  • The World's End
  • This Is The End
  • American Hustle
  • Now You See Me
  • Pacific Rim
  • The Conjuring
  • In Time
 Music. The songs I listened to a lot this year. Some of these may surprise you. With Youtube links where applicable.
Ways to Go by Grouplove - bizarre video though...

 Hold On(We're Going Home) by Drake - I don't even know who he is, but this song really stuck in my head

Get Lucky by Daft Punk - talk about catchy...

Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails - I know a lot of NIN fans who hated this album. While I didn't love it, it did have some good songs. From Came Back Haunted to All Time Low to Satellite, it's got some good ones.

 Hate Department made a come back this year with New Ghost. Has some really good songs, but my favorite is probably Broken Rule. Sorry, no link but you can check them out here.

The Books:
Never Go Back by Lee Child - I've made no secret of my insane love of these books. Have been reading them since before nobody knew who Jack Reacher was. They always seem to come out every year in my birthday month, so I just consider them a personal bday present from Mr. Child. It's great that he does one every year. Reliable author, unlike that douchebag George R. R. Martin, who clearly is never going to finish that series.

Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - You like fantasy? Like, really really well-written fantasy? This is book two, so do yourself a favor and get the first and this one. I'm a little worried that he's only putting them out like once every 3 years, but they are worth the fucking wait. Phenomenal series.

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie - I probably never mentioned, but this author is like my rainy-day author. I devoured his first trilogy, which is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series(The First Law trilogy)--I even emailed him at the time. He was a no-name author and also UK film editor--he emailed me back, was very nice. Now he's hit it pretty big, with most of his stuff getting picked up for movies/TV/big publishing houses. Anyway, he had three more books come out set in that world and I just bought them and set them aside for when I was feeling particularly shitty. And man, does Best Served Cold hit it right. How he takes a ton of mostly despicable characters and gets you rooting for them...it's pretty amazing. You can read Best Served Cold having never read any of his other books and you won't be lost. Get it. FAST read, too.

There ya go. Probably missing some stuff. But I don't really keep good track of this stuff...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas



The FOC2 Blu arrived a day ahead of schedule.  Looks good. I'm going to start letting web sites know, but apparently many of them have already found out...they're all emailing me to request comp copies.

It just can't happen. These things aren't particularly cheap, so I didn't order a ton of them. If I sent one to every web site that asked I'd give away a third of what I've got. Then even if we sold them out I wouldn't make any money.

Gotta figure out how to tell them that without them calling me a douchebag.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

UPDATE:
What did I watch, Christmas-wise? Christmas Vacation(still great) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang(still great). Got Night of the Comet on Blu from the wife, which I'm psyched to watch in hi-def. Perfect timing, as it's set near New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time Flies



Man, two weeks since I did a post? I'm not even sure where time's going.

The FOC2 Blu is off to the printers, and they claim they'll be delivered to me on December 20th. A number of people have already pre-ordered them, which is cool.

Went back to the GOH Blu to do final touchups. Spiced up the opening menu a little bit more, and it's probably the best opening menu I've done yet. Also threw in "The Box" thing Luke and I did as an easter egg. I think we'll have these run in early January.

My plan is to just do as many of my movies on my own as I can. Get them streaming in a lot of places also, so it's easier to find my films and yet I'll be in control of how much it costs, and can clearly see where we're making money.

--

Went out to a buddy's shoot on his web series. He had a big day of green screen work, and since there's a great chance I'll be helping him out on VFX, he wanted me to over-see and make sure he wasn't screwing anything up.

Went out and did that all day. It snowed for a bit. Also turned out to be like 2 miles from Luke's house, so I swung by there afterward and we watched some flicks. Or, tried to.

We put on Parker. It was pretty bad. Payback is a much better film featuring that character. I turned it off like 30 minutes in.

Went to Nightmares. A 1980s movie that I vaguely remember when I was a kid. It's all over the place, and pretty boring. There's some nudity, so I guess you can see why I liked it when I was 12. I turned it off after like 20 minutes.

Turned on Europa Report. Might not have been in the mood, but I was bored and a little confused. Turned it off after 15 minutes. We were all getting a little frustrated.

Turned on Lovelace, which is the story of porn star Linda Lovelace. It was actually pretty good. We watched the whole thing. Amanda Seyfried naked didn't hurt.

--

Christmas is barreling toward me. Haven't done much shopping. Gotta get out and get some stuff I guess. Got my wife's gift, so I guess that's the most important one, right?

My granddad died last night. I only note it for my reference. He was 94, and really not enjoying life at all. Very confused, frail. Not at all how he was through life--he was a Navy man, and pretty tough. He scared me and my brother often when we got out of line.

Here's a picture of him, my brother and I from 1974 in Boca Raton Florida. He and my grandma are the reason I've been a dolphins fan since I was little.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Beatings Continue(Until Morale Improves)


Still working on the FOC2 blu but I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In preparation I've been updating my company's dvd store page. It's always sort of looked like dogshit because I'm not a graphic designer nor am I a web designer. It's simple and functional, and we still sell stuff occasionally through it.

My new update's not going to knock anybody's socks off. For Christ's sake I still use notepad to program them. Why I don't break down and take a look at Dreamweaver(which I own)...I guess because I don't wanna learn any more programs...

But Christ is designing intricate nested tables a pain in the fucking ass in html.

This is sort of a preview(I'm working on it) of the larger image for when they click on the FOC2 blu thumbnail:
http://kangaskahnfilms.com/v-web/productpage/images/foc2-blu-more.jpg

Also, I believe the plan to self-distribute GOH is going into effect. I'll release half of the movie in chapters, the way we wrote it. Here's a preview of that page, on which you can actually already see a full 10 minutes of the film. (Don't spread these links please)
http://www.kangaskahnfilms.com/gohedon/chapter-index.htm

I think we'll do the new commentary on Friday for FOC2.

Pretty messed up news about Paul Walker. Seemed like a nice, down to earth guy. I can think of about 1000 other actors I'd rather have seen go like that.

Anyway, there's your update. Super exciting!



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Back From New York


Stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. It's decent, but not as nice as everybody would have you believe. It's an old hotel, but the staff was all pretty nice.

Worked an auction. My eyes were killing me, so it was tough staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Highlight was seeing a doll sell for $200K. For real.

video
But after the first day's auction we went to get something to eat and look--snow in New York. The first night, I should mention, my brother and I went to find a local pizza place because John Stewart kept talking about how great New York pizza is.  We found one, ate there. It was good, but I still like the place near me better.

Anyway, back now. Figured it's finally time to break down and watch the master FOC2 Blu that I burned so I can finally approve it and send it off to the burners.

Did it tonight. It looks good, but you gotta understand that it's got some issues...many pans in the movie seem to stutter slightly, and I figured out why. It's due to the fact that we shot PA on the Panasonic DVX-100B. When that format is pulled into the computer it duplicates a frame to turn the 24frames into 30frames for video.

Not much I can do about it now. It's in the original DVD, but it's just that the picture is so much bigger now on Blu that it's more noticeable.

I gotta tell you though, I feel like we should do a new commentary. The other commentaries aren't going to line up exactly, as this movie has been changed slightly even from the final copy.

I also should really re-render the final credits in hi-def, as they look like shit. I re-did the opening credits in true hi-def, but the problem with the end creds here is that the plug-in I used to do them originally doesn't work on the new Adobe.

There's a couple of other little things that I don't think most people will notice. Anyway, will decide what to do shortly. If I can get Zig and Luke to do a commentary in the next 10 days then maybe I'll put it on. Otherwise, I'm gonna send it off next week.

Weird as shit revisiting this movie every time. I can vividly remember shooting it. Every goddamn day.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Week From Hell


Throat started feeling scratchy. Got a cough.

Jared wanted me to come out on Friday for a meeting about this project they want to work on--they were having a few filmmakers out to talk to. I figured hey, while I'm there I can get some of the footage I need to make this trailer for them.

I spent all of Thursday night going through the rough of the film that I have and clipping the video/audio sections I think I'll need for this trailer. Took a while. Cleared off a couple of 16gb thumb drives, hoping I could fit the clips on there that I'd need.

Made the haul out to Bel Air--a solid hour trip out. No traffic so that was nice. I get there and the producer of the film as well as the director are there trying to supervise an edit. That means they're on the main edit bay.

I sit down at another computer and start finding the clips I need, using the .mpg I generated from the clips the previous night. It's SLOW. The computer is a piece of shit MAC, first of all. Every time you click to make it do something, it takes like 2 seconds to get going. Clearly my edit machine has spoiled me.

Second, they shot in 5K. So these clips are GIANT. The first clip I was going to pull was like 4gigs, and it was tiny. I spend a few hours going through, figuring I better pull all the clips onto the timeline and then export them as smaller hi-res clips('cause nobody needs a 5K trailer).

I got there at like 1pm and pretty much get nothing accomplished. I try to export about 4 minutes worth of clips and it tells me it's going to take 8 hours to render. That's a FAIL.

The director/producer say they're going out to get dinner around 6pm. So I duck into the edit bay to get on that computer, which they say is faster. It is, but it's still a POS MAC.

I continue finding/trimming clips. But then Danny and Sharif come in and wanna show me the rough edit of what we shot way back here.

I take a look. It's got funny stuff but it also has some weird edit choices. Some shit that doesn't work at all, and this is apparently like a 5th pass. Like, the thing opens up with a wide shot, craning and panning toward some guys walking over. Then they cut to a close up of the dudes. It doesn't work. Very disorienting.

I know we shot a medium to bridge the shots, so I don't know why they didn't use it. If they don't want the additional shot, I tell them they should dissolve between the wide and the close up to ease the transition. Danny, the editor, says "I don't like dissolves."

Now he's a nice guy. I like him. But that is seriously the stupidest thing an editor could say. You use every tool you have to make what you're working on the best it can be.

And the serious thing is, he's editing the movie that I'm cutting a trailer from, and it needs dissolves like a fish needs water. The movie is bloated and slow, and has a number of scenes that should be montages, but they're all missing dissolves. I thought he just hadn't put them in yet(which is weird, since it's just a click and drag of a button), but apparently he just doesn't wanna put them in.

I don't really know how to broach the subject to Jared. If Danny's their main editor then they have a big problem.

Anyway, I break for dinner(Subway) and come back to find out that there's like 25 people there, and they've started drinking before this meeting. It's like a party or something. Then we have the meeting, which is cool and the project interests me, but who knows if I have time--and their deadline is March.

I head back to the edit room to continue. I don't want to be there all night. The people out in the office continue drinking, and get loud and boisterous. Some of them wander into the edit room to talk very loudly, even though it's pretty clear I'm working.

I finally get it all put together, and try to figure out the best format to export a high-quality version of the clips that I can use easily. I know Mac likes the Pro-Res, but PC doesn't. I decide to try a high quality .mp4, but I'm getting some weird specifications--they're using Adobe CC, which I haven't used, so I'm not sure whether it's going to render as nice as I need.

Either way, it's going to take 8 hours. I tell them to dropbox the file to me when it's done. I leave at like 12:30am, so it was nearly 12 hours.

Haven't gotten anything yet. I hope they're not in a hurry, because I'm going away to New York on Friday and won't be back until Sunday evening.

The next night after the edit, I went to the premiere of the movie I was helping Zig out on. Went okay. Some missing sound FX, but I think most people were pleasantly surprised that it was watchable.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Problem


Went over Zig's today and spent another 11 hours editing a movie I had nothing to do with, unpaid. Zig bought me Chik Fil A though, so there's that.

Anyway, hopefully it's good to go. I left it rendering for 13 hours, and hopefully there's no errors cuz I'm not going back.

So, my problem: I watch too much TV. Too damn much. How much? Well, I have decided to shame myself by posting every TV show I watch regularly right here, right now. In no order.

The Walking Dead/Talking Dead
The Daily Show/Colbert
Family Guy
Homeland
Boardwalk Empire
Hello Ladies
Shark Tank
Undercover Boss
Cops(yeah, there are new ones on Spike TV)
Finding Bigfoot
How I Met Your Mother
Big Bang Theory
Comic Book Men
Tosh.0
Pawn Stars
Gator Boys
 Castle
Parenthood
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Sons of Anarchy
Justified
River Monsters
The League
Face Off
Supernatural
Hell On Wheels
Swamp People
Shipping Wars
Scandal
American Horror Story
Brooklyn Nine Nine
Sons of Anarchy
Agents of Shield
Ripper Street
Arrow
Saturday Night Live
The Following

Okay, so that's most of them. Some, that are on break, I might have forgotten. But holy shit, that's crazy, right? I don't want to add up how many viewing hours per week that is, but it's got to be off the charts...

Sure, many of them are ones I can play in the background while I work on the computer, but still...

Help!

In other news, I got a rough edit of the flick they want me to cut a trailer for. It's a pretty crappy movie. Really, really bad script. Like, written by a first-timer kind of bad. Really shitty cinematography considering the DP who allegedly shot it(he was a DP on a non-found-footage horror movie that came out and made a fortune a few years back, and just recently had a sequel).

There are very, very few good shots, so this is going to be a challenging trailer to make. Like, you'd hope that even on a shitty movie there would be some cool visuals you could try to sell the flick with.

Nope. Am mulling it over.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Woah, week with no posts?


I'm slacking. Is it because I have a ton of stuff to do? Yep.

Here's the draft I started a few days back and never finished:

Couple days left til Halloween. Feeling the pressure to watch all the horror movies I can.

Found all of these on Netflix:
VHS2 - Better than the first, but the connective storyline is crap again. How much freakin' money did Jason Eisener's one cost? Good god it's pretty apeshit.
American Mary - Not bad, but a bit pointless. Seems to meander a bit. The girl from Ginger Snaps looks great though, as well as the cinematography.
Ghoulies -Terrible.
 
Anyway, what's been going on?

First off, Zig called me and said he had a hard drive go down on the computer he's editing a movie on. It's pretty much been done but the director just scheduled the premiere recently, without seeing the finished movie. Long story.

Anyway, went over there to see how screwed he is. Big time. Hardware breakdown, so it's unrecoverable(short of sending it out to a recovery company that costs a lot of money). He called the director, who brought him the backup drive of footage, but many of the fixes I did on the flick are gone, saved on that hard drive.

Am going back over on Sunday to redo them and see if they can't get a screener of the movie burned for the premiere.

Today I shot some video for the auction company's big New York auction in a few weeks. Have to edit it all together this weekend.

Also got a call from the DP of my last two flicks. He helped shoot a new flick with some decent names in the cast, and is doing the post on it(editing and whatnot). He's like "Hey, you wanna cut a trailer of this flick for us?"

It's actually got Lance Effin H, from Aliens, in it so I was like "Maybe...", and then he's like, "We can pay you", and I was like "I'm in."

Only sucky part is I have to do it at their studio out in bumfuck. It's like an hour away from me, and $8 in tolls through Maryland's shitty new over-priced toll fees.

They're going to upload the movie to me so I can watch it and get some ideas, then I'll go out there ready to do some cutting. If it takes some time I may do a loose edit and then export all the clips, take them to my house and really get to work on it.

Finally got through the FOC2 flick with my final changes. Have exported and am praying there are no problems when I burn a blu and watch it, and that it looks good. Then I can get them printed up, cuz Erik delivered the final cover.

Oh, and did I mention Battlefield 4 came out? It's pretty cool, with a lot of buggy glitches though. But I've spent a lot of time on it already.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Ain't For The Old UPDATED


Pumpkin party went okay. It was cold, and had to deal with the father-in-law following us around and telling crazy stories.

Look how happy Stewie was to be carving a pumpkin:




I tried to use a template and failed, turned the pumpkin and tried again, failed, and finally turned it to another side and just did the pumpkin I always carve. It's on the right here. The kids had already taken their pumpkins and gone home by the time I took pics, so it's just the last couple left.

Zig and Anne get the loser prizes for showing up and not carving a pumpkin, even though they both had them. We'll see if they get invited back next year...

Here's some video I took. Nothing like trying to keep focus with a DSLR at night in the dark.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRT379Yq9_c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpH4vXfcgw4

And here's a pic of the kids with pumpkins from my wife's camera:


Anyway, had to work early in the morning. Kept my sunglasses on the whole time but got through it.


Came home and laid down, figuring the wife would come home and wake me up, and we'd get ready to go out. Only, I woke up and it was dark out. I walk out and it's already 7:30pm and the wife is sleeping on the couch.

We chat it over and decide, for the first time since we've been together, to skip going out for the Halloween weekend. That's right, for the first time in like twenty years I'm not going out in costume and getting drunk. Yep, another sign of getting old.

We went out to dinner and came home. I made her watch Halloween III which she's never seen. Not sure she liked it. Looks great on Blu though.

Also in the past couple of days I put away:

  • The Collection - mediocre. Suffers from the same unbelievable stuff the first one did, but it had some cool stuff to it.
  • Bay of Blood - Don't think I ever caught this Bava one, but it's not one of his better ones IMO. The dude was D.O.P., which I'm not sure was the norm, and he is just insane with the zooms. Zoom in as a guy pays for gas, then zoom back out as he drives off. Pretty pointless. That shit ain't making the scene any more exciting, Mario buddy.
  • My Amityville Horror - Couldn't get past the 15 minute mark. BORING.
  • Maniac remake - not bad. Pretty sleazy, well done, but ultimately not the kind of horror I'm into. However, there's one spectacular shot toward the end that I have no idea how they did. Gotta be some sort of CGI trick, but it's awesome.
  • Grave Encounters 2 - more of the same as GE1, but it's not bad. If you like found footage, there's definitely worse out there.
  • The Last Man - not horror, but I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic movies. It was okay. More of a character study/drama than anything, but Jeri Ryan is pretty hot(pre-Star Trek).
  • Tank - Was on Netflix and I vaguely remember seeing it. Still a pretty fun flick.
A local theater has a 35mm print of Evil Dead 2 to show on Monday, so am thinking about going.

Also, I have been amazingly lax about that Halloween script I started last year. Tis the season to write it. Soon as Xmas gets here I am done doing Halloween things, and my writing process stops on them.

I cranked out ten pages, but the last two don't feel right. I think I'm going in the wrong direction. May have to back it up a bit.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Angry Eye

So last weekend I woke up and my eye was being shredded with glass. That's what it felt like. I couldn't even open it, it was watering so bad.

It was agony. I texted my doctor and asked him what to do. He said wash it with warm water and go to the emergency room if it was real bad.

It was real bad, but not as bad as a bill from the emergency room, even with insurance. I started hitting it with the steroid drops I had when this happened to my other eye, and it got a little better.

Then it got worse. So finally on Monday I made an emergency appointment with a new eye doctor. Went in.

The lady doctor, who's pretty hot, took and look and winced. That's always a good sign, right? She says "Man, that's one angry eye, huh?" I said yeah. I could barely keep it open long enough for her to look at it.

She tells me it's uveitis. That's what I had. It's what I had last time, and apparently it's what I'll have again as it's a great perk of my disease.

She says I should have gone to the emergency room. She tries to dilate my eyes--three times--and nothing's doing. She asks if the muscles of my eye hurt and I say HELL YES. Like behind my eye. She says it's because the eye is trying to dilate but the pupil(or whatever part she said) that is trying to dilate is stuck to my eye with white blood cells. So the muscles keep trying but nothing's happening, which is causing the ache.

She prescribes me super steroid drops. I have to take them--get this--once an hour. Even when I'm sleeping. I have to set an alarm and get up every hour to put a drop in. She wants me to come back the next day.

This is what my eye looked like that night.
Anyway, went back and it's better she says(but my vision is even worse in that eye). I have to go back today(Friday) for a follow up. They let me do the drops 1-per-hour but I can actually sleep now. It really really feels like Chinese Water torture.

At least my vision seems to be the slightest bit better. But I have an auction tomorrow--looks like I'm going to be one-eyed trying to work the computer.

Erik delivered the FOC2 one-sheet cover. I'll put it up soon. Here's sort of the evolution of the cover though.

This is a comparison with the original one-sheet versus the new, final cover.

Anyway, pumpkin party tonight. Most of the family isn't coming like they normally do--previous plans. My brother normally is the pumpkin dude, so I might have to carve a pumpkin tonight.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Prince of Scriptness


Went over and watched the new UFC fights tonight. After that we watched the new Prince of Darkness blu ray from Shout Factory. It's one of my favorite Carpenter movies and, as expected, looks gorgeous in another Shout Factory triumph. The sound has also never sounded better.

In between those two, however, we found something cool.

I never enter script contests anymore, because I usually am writing down to my budget level, which typically doesn't translate into a competition-winning script. But there's a contest called Just Fucking Entertain Me only the F-word is not spelled out. (I omit it so a search won't find me)

Anyway, I had mentioned the competition to my writing buddy Luke and said I bet the "bunker" script we did might do well in that contest. Heck, if we can place high enough then maybe we can get somebody to come in and put in the missing money so we can finally shoot it.

Well apparently they recently announced quarterfinalists. The blog said they got nearly 3000 entries, but guess who made the top 50? Yeah, it's kind of cool. You can see us on this list:
http://www.justeffing.com/2013-competition-winners/

Fingers crossed, maybe we'll make the semi-finalist list...

On the bad news, my eye completely blew up this weekend. Felt like glass was in it. The steroid drops I had from last time helped yesterday, but today they did nothing. I was in agony for about 4 hours. Made an appointment with an optometrist.

Also on Friday saw Escape Plan with Stallone and Schwarzenneggar. Pretty fun movie. Much more fun than it should have been, and Arnold actually looked pretty good.

Gotta start putting away some more horror flicks. We watched Joy Ride at Zig's Friday night, and you wouldn't believe it but one of the alternate "endings" is actually like an alternate third. It's like an hour of different material. I'm not sure why they had to go back and reshoot/re-write that much of the movie, but it's insane...

Still a pretty entertaining movie, and an early JJ ABrams script a lot of people don't know about.

Also, saw this online and it's pretty funny:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTXfAtckS3g&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Every Month

Me and some Dolphin cheerleaders during my trip to Florida.

Every month I sell between 1-10 copies of FOC2 between my web site and Amazon. I think the average is like 3, plus some streaming views through Amazon.

Not a lot of money but it adds up in the end. Direct deposit every month.

Every month EXCEPT October. I don't know what it is, but the month I'd expect to sell more is the month I never sell any. Every year, October has a big zero in the column. It's weird...

Anyway, been watching some of my favorite Halloween episodes of TV shows, as well as some others that were recommended on sites.

Watched Quantum Leap "The Boogieman" episode, which I distinctly remember first seeing on TV with my mom as I sat with a TV tray in front of me working on my latest text adventure game for the Atari.

Watched The Office episodes. Watched The Freaks and Geeks episode. Am saving the Buffy ones for when it's closer.

Wanna see something cool? Erik's been working on the modified cover for the FOC2 blu ray and sent me this. Pretty bad ass, I think. He didn't want me to show anybody yet, so we'll just keep it between us.


UPDATE: Pretty funny--as soon as I post this blog I get an order through the web site. Coincidence...OR NOT?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October's Here

Michael Whelan's Elric

Jesus, almost halfway in and I haven't really even started the horror movie watching.

So tonight I gave Curse of Chucky and Apollo 18 a chance. Curse of Chucky's not half bad. Second best Chucky movie if you ask me. They went sort of old school--lot of suspense, with Chucky doing a lot of creeepy things before you actually see him run around.

Didn't particularly dig the way they made the doll a little more round-faced, but the actual animatronic they used is probably even better than the one used in the first movie.

Apollo 18's pretty meh. Truth to tell, I'm watching it while I write this. It's barely keeping my attention.

But it did remind me that I used to love a book cover of my dad's. He had a box of sci-fi/fantasy books that I used to read when I was like 9 or 10. The book cover had some astronauts on a planet/moon, and they were looking at a skeleton in a space suit. It was a cool fucking cover that I just loved to stare at.

I went google looking for it. I found this, but I don't think this is it(though this is also a book my dad had).
I'll keep looking. There's a chance my dad still has the book.

But I stumbled across this web site, which is pretty funny. It's like those movie title posters where they give you what the movie SHOULD be called. This is what the fantasy books should be called, and you won't get it unless you've read most of these(which I have).

http://mightygodking.com/2008/10/20/mgk-versus-his-adolescent-reading-habits/

Also saw lots of other book covers, like the Michael Whelan Elric image above. Whelan was pretty much the king of fantasy covers for books when I was growing up. The best were always him and Frazetta.

This was the exact edition of this book that I had--loved that series, even if it was a bit depressing.


Didn't like the book nearly as much as the cover
Awesome.

Man, seeing these images takes me back to my D&D days, and the days of playing
any kind of sword & sorcery game I could on the Atari or Commodore computer...

Anyway, gotta start watching some more horror flicks! I've gotten no response from the lady whose kid was supposed to send me an audition, so that's looking like a no-go.

I don't wanna talk about the FOC2 blu ray that has turned out to be a monumental amount of work. Monumental.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Back From Vacation

Into this amazingly-shitty weather. Rainy and cold. I left Florida for this?
This is what I left...

btw: Never saw a ghost, though the hotel's hall was so long that it looked like a mirror you were walking toward. Here's a pic:

And here's the stadium when we arrived. It was so godawful hot I was half glad when we missed that last kick and it didn't go to overtime...


And finally, here's the view from the restaurant we ate at three times while we were there. Might be the best fish I ever had.

Anyway, am back.

Still no audition video from the kid. Not looking good on the short front. Hell, sounds like a lot of work anyway. I'm not completely disappointed.

Back to the FOC2 blu. I can show you this image, which Erik sent. He's working on an updated blu cover, I think I mentioned, and this was a little teaser he sent.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Posting while on vacation


I'm in Florida right now until Tuesday. I'm only posting right now because I'm waiting for the Lunesta to kick in.

At home work continues on the FOC2 blu. There was a minor issue that Zig--damn his soul--pointed out at his house, so I can't just say "It's fine". I gotta fix it, and to fix it right means going through every scene of the movie and re-exporting.

So that's what I was doing right before I left. Got most of the way through(I think there's like 10 scenes left), and while I'm there I'm fixing some other minor issues that nobody would notice.

Can't bring that inner half-ass out, no matter how much I try.

Weather in Florida's nice. We're  right on a boardwalk in, oddly enough, Hollywood Florida. At a haunted hotel on the haunted floor and I haven't seen a thing. I'm not a believer, so they're leaving me alone.

Tomorrow's the reason I came here--Baltimore's football team is playing Miami's football team. I'm a Miami fan, but came down with around 80 Baltimore fans. I haven't worn my jersey yet, but it comes out tomorrow. Man it will be great if Miami wins, but it's pretty much a toss up.

The movie Zig wrote/edited and I helped on some post issues just got its premiere date. Weird thing is, that's news to Zig. I don't know how you start making those kinds of plans without consulting your editor. You know, for questions like, "Hey, you done yet?" or "Hey, can you be done by this date so we can premiere this?"

Other than that, not much more to report. We're up to about 11 clown costumes we've picked up pretty cheap. We'll design clown makeups to the color schemes and possible beef up the costumes depending on the look we want.


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Crazy


Driving home tonight I almost hit a deer.

I was going like 60 in a 40mph zone. All of a sudden I see this deer strolling into my lane. I stomped the brake and swerved into the other lane since no other cars were coming. It was pretty close.

So I drove around it and all of a sudden I get a weird headache. I have the sudden feeling like I actually hit the deer and am unconscious, and the headache I have now is because I'm hurt bad, probably hit my head on the steering wheel during the collision.

It was pretty surreal. Also, right after that my check engine light came on. I have no explanation for that.

Anyway, past couple of nights have watched:
Scream 4--wanted to give it a second chance. It's still pretty bad. The script has character's making ridiculous choices all over the place, and the ending is ludicrous
My Idiot Brother -- slightly amusing, harmless, but predictable and forgettable. Nice cast.
Ffolkes -- I used to watch this as a kid, and I laughed when I saw it on Netflix streaming. It was okay, but I'm not sure how I made it through as a kid. It's pretty slow.
Cop Land - had only seen it once. It's decent, if a bit slow.
House at the End of the Street - I watched this and did a review for a buddy who asked some of his friends to do reviews for a web site. I'll post the address when it goes up.

Netflix added a bunch of stuff, so I got on tap: Aftershock, Parker, The Octagon, Forbidden World, Apollo 18, the original House on Haunted Hill and more.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Convention Weekend

Went to a convention this past weekend. It's the local one I always go to near my birthday. I treat myself to a room, head up and get wasted with people I don't see that often.

Didn't really care about any of the celebs, but I had some weird encounters. One of my fans has begun managing celebrities, and he brought two to this show. An older gentleman and a fortyish actress who's still SUPER HOT.

I'm not naming them because I don't want them to hit this shit in a search.

 Anyway, I got there and stopped by Dom's table. Said hey, he introduced me to the two celebrities. The woman heard about my flicks and wanted to see the trailers, so Dom booted them up on his laptop and showed her. She was really interested, especially the whole real-serial-killer with my movie story.

Later I checked in to my room and they gave me a free breakfast card. I don't eat breakfast so I gave it to Dom and said to give it to one of his celeb people. He gave it to the woman, and she's like "What's this?" Dom said "Kevin gave it to you."

She smiled, got up and came around the table to me and as she pulled me into a really intimate hug she whispers the following: "I don't need your free breakfast Kevin. I'm rich. And you know why I'm rich?" The whole time she's still squeezing me tightly, and man does she have a body. I shake my head, smiling.

"Cuz I'm happy and I have 3 great kids and a loving husband. But thanks." And she may have kissed me on the cheek. I feel like she did, but I'll admit I was a bit thrown by the whole thing. It was weird.

Here's what she looks like--don't know how long ago this was, but she still looks just like that.


I ran into a bunch of people I know. The dealer's room was pretty unimpressive, but there was a bigger crowd than last year. There was a rumor this would be the last year they would do it, but hopefully that's wrong.

Went out to dinner with O'brocki, one of the actors I know who's been in a couple of my films. Came back and started the drinking. Grabbed a giant cup of vodka cranberry and went to the bar, and shit got weird.

This dude is a guy I've known for years, but only through the shows. I've partied with him a couple of times. He was WASTED when we got to the bar at like 8pm. His name's Rob.

He forced us to do shots of Yukon Jack. It was called a Canadian liqueur but I'm pretty sure it's just whiskey. Wasn't a fan. We kept meeting new people. A fun girl named Pennie who Rob kept saying had double D's. She said they were actually F's, and then eventually opened her shirt so we could see some cleavage. Nice.

Coincidentally Pennie was a huge fan of FOC. She showed me a pic of her as Shivers--even had the sclera contacts and all. What was weird is how many people would come by, find out who I was, and then turn out to be fans of the film.

Then some dude showed up looking like the New Jersey version of Eminem. And somehow he ended up following me and O'brocki back to the room, where he demanded we find him some blow. Then he proceeded to rap for us, and say crazy crazy shit. Luckily, Rob took a pic of him earlier. Look at that chain...


It was way bizarre. We led him away from the room back to the bar(after refilling my drink), and then Rob started singing. Here's some video. There are more under that Youtube account.



Here's my favorite pic from the night. I don't even know who the dude was. They wanted a pic, and I was like sure. Took my glasses off and gave 'em the face.
It started winding down at like 3am. People leaving. At some point O'brocki went back to the room(I told him he could crash on my floor, since he's let me do it at other cons).

I went back to the room and he was OUT on the floor. Didn't move a fucking muscle. I checked my computer and then saw myself in the hotel mirror in this classic 1-point lighting. Figured, must be time for a self portrait.


You can't tell how wasted I am there, but it's pretty bad.

Next morning I woke up and O'Brocki was gone. I felt like shit, still buzzed, so didn't even go back into the con to say bye to Dom and friends.

Fun times though. Rob's just started posting more pics, so if I see any more crazy ones I'll add 'em.




Monday, September 23, 2013

Dark

So, the birthday is past. Watched Bloody Birthday on Netflix. Man, if you're old enough to remember who Julie Brown is(not to be confused with Downtown Julie Brown), you will enjoy a part of this movie where she gets naked, and looks phenomenal.

Anyway, my brother let me borrow his Mark II and some lenses, plus gave me my lenses back. I threw some lights up in the backyard and did some tests.

Wow. The whole thing you hear about with "you can almost shoot in the dark" is a bunch of horseshit.

I don't have a ton of lights--one kit with 4 lights in it, plus a 500watt DP. But we also have two spotlights in the back yard that do a decent job of putting light out. I figured I'd use the DP to light up some of the yard behind the swing set, and then take some of the other lights to fill whatever I needed.

On closeup we'd use a china ball, which has always saved my life going back to my first film HH. It's the indy filmmaker's best lighting tool. (cheap, and casts a nice even light)

So on my first shot, where I decided to see what 1250iso looked like, it was DARK. I was shooting with an L lens, 17-40mm as wide as it would go. I was shooting at a shutter speed of 1/50th, since your best shot at looking like a movie is always to shoot at twice the shutter speed of your frames per second.

Here's what it looked like with just the two spotlights plus the DP in the background.


Sooooo dark! So I figure, let's see what my 35mm, 1.4 lens will look like.


Ok, so now we're starting to talk. Sure, it looks 900% unmotivated. Would be nice if I could get me neighbor to turn on his back light to get me something in that big black mess.

I can fix some of this by hooking up the dimmer to that back light and bringing it down some. I can color correct(or actually shoot at the correct color temp, which I didn't do because I was in a hurry). But clearly I needed another light to hit some of that swing set, so I could stop down. At 1.4 the depth of field is TINY, and I need more.

So I took a 250watt VP and shot it from the spotlight toward the swing set, and put the camera on the mini-crane.


Now it's getting there, but it's all looking way too DIRECT. Probably because it is. So I'm gonna have to diffuse those lights a bit, but I can't really afford to lose much of the light.
Then our dinner came, so I had to put all the shit away, but I figured I better see what a normal medium close up might look like under this lighting.

Not bad, but still super unmotivated. If I take some of the tungsten color out and make it a bit whitish, it may sell as moonlight. I'll be taking it over to the edit computer to check it out.

So here's some quick looks I applied to see what it would look like. It's okay but I'm not thrilled. The light still looks unmotivated--gotta work on that. There's a lot of grain on these, even in the ones I shot at 640iso. I do have a 1K soft box I can bring out, but I have to see if the lights still work.

But we're getting to a point where I may be blowing breakers in my house to use all these lights.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Friday the 13th Marathon Plus Tests


With the Friday the 13th here I decided to try to watch every one of the movies, back to back. The only ones I've seen in the past five years are #1 and #2.

So I blazed through the first three.  A lot of them coming back to me.

Started part four, and I quickly realized I had never seen it before. Not sure how that happened. It was pretty good, as was part five. Also would like to apologize for every saying, when the remake was coming out, that "Jason doesn't run", because fuck if he doesn't in part #2 and #3.

Went over Zig's and watched the next two the following night. Came home and was beat, so it wasn't until Saturday that I got around to the worst of the bunch--the barely watchable Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason Goes To Hell. Jason X is okay--it's got some cool kills.

Thought about moving on to Freddy Vs. Jason, but just couldn't do it.

Anyway, got some stuff to fix the mini-crane to where I need it and did some tests. They're boring, but feel free to watch:

That's my kid in the shots. It's all uncolor-corrected and with my shittiest lenses. (My brother has my good lenses right now)

I put the remote-pan head on the crane so I could pan/tilt. I think it'll work pretty good for what I need it for. Assuming I do this short. Getting older sucks, because man, shooting anything seems like a massive undertaking.

Gonna have to psych myself into it, I think.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Secret Life Of My Dad


My dad retired a few years back. Now he pretty much looks for any excuse to do stuff.

Sure, he plays golf a lot. But any time I mention that there's any problem around my house, next day he's there to fix it.

So I mentioned that I was going to shoot this short, and was thinking about building a lightweight crane for a DSLR. I have an 8 foot cobracrane, but the damn thing is like 60 pounds and not collapsible without a ton of work.

I found this video, and it looked promising:
http://makezine.com/2012/03/30/25-diy-dslr-camera-crane/

I sent him the link. Next day he calls me, says "You want me to bring this thing over, or what?" And I'm like, you built it? In one day? Sure enough, he brings it over. We hook it up.

It works pretty good. Only things I gotta iron out are the weights shift on the bar because the bolt holding them is thinner than the hole inside, and the base where it meets the tripod could really use some reinforcements.

The thing without weights weighs like 5 pounds, but it's sturdy as hell. Also, he decided to make it 5 feet long, so I get a pretty good distance.

Have started the search for a kid actor. Have some friends volunteering their kids, saying they've done school plays and whatnot. Not sure whether I should chance it.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Another decision?


Man, it's like life is just a big fuckload of decision all the time, right? I didn't sign up for all this work.

I wanted to shoot a short for Halloween--it's probably like 12 pages and involves multiple locations, one of which is a pumpkin field. It's hard to find the shit I'd need to shoot it, so I had a thought about another one.

A pretty simple one. Creepy with not too much gore. Wrote it in two nights. I think it might be fun, and it's one location.

Now the only real hurdle is finding a kid actor who's decent. And can act into the wee hours of the morning. (we'll start shooting at dark, perhaps earlier for the interior scenes, then move outside and try to get it done in one night)

I was only going to do it for fun, upload it to the web for Halloween, but now there's that ABC2 competition(the horror movie of anthologies) where they'll put you in the movie if you win. I'd have to chop this down to 3 minutes, but I can probably do it.

Then I'll just upload the full one to Youtube or something.

Why am I going to do this? I dunno. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Decision Made

Okay, so what I'm going to do is get 300-500 of the FOC2 Blu's printed up. Wanna see a neato feature of using the company I'm using? (I'd name them, but they're not paying me, and also I don't want search engines to hit it)

They generate a 3D mockup as well as the digital proofs. They won't send them to me until I order, so I taped it on my phone, but you get the idea.




I'll put up the actual proofs so you can see them later. They're not bad considering I did them myself without my graphic guy. I know he'd do it for free, but I hate asking pro's to do shit for me for no money.

But that's his poster on the front.

Anyway, I'll get them up on Amazon soon after and then probably take down the SD version from the streaming and put up the HD. I'll also put it on some of the other non-exclusive streaming sites for pay.

I can probably get some play on some of the horror web sites, since this is not only the first time it's available in HD but also complete with extras.

What I have to do first is watch the entire Blu Ray master I burned to make sure there are no errors. But I'm all burned out right now. Soon though. I got time, since I'm not going to do it until probably the end of this month.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tonight


I would pay to see this movie right now

Couple of us got together tonight before the UFC fights and watched the new Bounty blu I threw together. In a perfect world it would have played flawless and I'd be done with it. Ready to press if we get the contract back.

Nope.

About a 3 minute segment goes out of sync. I was thinking--easy enough fix. I only have to fix it and export a new audio track and replace the one in Encore.

A ways in I notice a tiny flicker at the top of the screen in one of the "carcam" shots. Nobody else notices. I figure, fuck it.

Then partway in there's a double image on the screen in some shots. I know exactly what it is, because I fixed it wherever I saw it while I was putting the movie back together, but apparently I missed like three shots.

For some reason any rendered .avis are being displayed at the wrong pixel aspect ratio. Sometimes I'd fix a clip, and just render it out, then bring it into Premiere so the program didn't have to work so hard. (this was CS3, so it's much easier now--the programs are all linked and you can also pre-render stuff)

So this is going to call for an entire new render of the movie. After that I notice a few more carcam shots where there seems to be a gap in the top of the image. So I have to go in and magnify them by like 1 percent.

I come home after the fights and do that. I put on The Dictator while I work. It's not as bad as I heard. Mildly amusing.

Follow that up with 13 Going On 30, which I'd never seen. It's cute, and I liked the 80's music, but completely forgettable. But it put me in the mood for more 80's. Started Back To School. Forgot Robert Downey Jr. is in it...fun movie, just like I remembered otherwise.

Finally ended with The Woman In Red. Gene Wilder, who I sort of thought was dead. But he's not. Here's a recent interview to prove it, and he tells the reason he's not worked on a movie in like 20 years.

I'm going to admit something I'm a little embarrassed of. I have never seen Blazing Saddles. Might have to rectify that.

Anyway, TWIR: Man, Kelly Le Brock was hot. And you get some of her boobage in this movie, which I was unaware of.

Now for some reason, as I start this 20 hour render, I feel like I'm in the mood for Silver Streak. I don't own it though. I see the barebones Blu Ray is $15, so I'm not buying that. The review say it doesn't look great.

Oh well.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Decisions


Trying to figure out which of my flicks to bite the bullet on and get Blu's pressed for sale. FOC2 will sell the most, for sure.

I'm mighty proud of Bounty and would like to get it out there, but I really would like to wait until the contract's done so it's all legal-like.

GOH I'd love to move forward on, but we're still waiting on offers. Probably should just say fuck it and do it.

Or should just do the FOC2 ones...but that's the Blu that's least ready. I wanna fix some issues with it and soup up the menus a bit.

Haven't heard back from that horror con that takes place in like 2 weeks. It's really weird because their guest list is shit, and since I'm not going to cost them any money I'm not sure why they wouldn't get back to me.

So if I haven't heard from them by the 1st, it's off my list and I'll go to the other con near me on Sept 28th for some drinking and fun. (mark your calendar, Zig and Stewie!)

Netflix watches:
  • The Dream Team(still fun, and sobering that Michael Keaton in this movie is 4 years younger than I am...) 
  • Daylight(because for some reason we had just mentioned this movie, and can you believe Stallone was 50 when he shot this? Man...)
  • The Dinosaur Project - Not bad, and pretty good effects for a low budget movie. The CGI dinosaurs are pretty passable for the most part.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Someone sent me this





Wanted to know if this was a scene from FOC3.

I have smartass friends.

btw: Heard a lot of good things about a BBC show called Broadchurch, so I watched the whole season. You know those UK shows--it was only 8 episodes.

Very good show. I recommend it. Pretty engrossing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fall Movies Pretty Underwhelming


Glancing at the EW list of movies coming out in the fall is really a pretty bleak thing. There's not many movies I've looking forward to a lot. Here's the ones I'm excited for:

Riddick
Insidious 2
Gravity

That's it. Then there's the ones I'll see, but my interest ranges from curious to if-I'm-bored-I'll-Catch-It:
Prisoners
Don Jon
Runner Runner
Escape Plan
Jackass Presents Bad Grampa(which has a really funny trailer)
Thor: Dark World
The Hobbit
The Monuments Men
47 Ronin

And that's it, from September to December. Three months, 12 movies I have some interest in seeing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wow...



I mentioned I was working on a Bounty Blu. What I didn't tell you was how much trouble it was.

See, remember way back when it came out on VOD and I complained that it looked like it had some weird flickering issue, and I thought it was something the distributor's lab had done?

Here's my original post on it.

Well, I later checked the uncompressed master and found out that no, it's in there. It's just not noticeable if you watch it on the computer. I'm not sure why they never came back to me and said "Hey, what the fuck's wrong with your master?" before spending a bunch of money to get it to pass QC.

Anyway, I figured what I would do is plug all the old Bounty hard drives into the new editing machine and then just export it from there. I'm sure whatever issue reared its head on the master export would be fine on the new version of CS.

Sounds easy, right?

Well first off, I forgot that I had to split Bounty into 6 parts on the older machine to edit it. And I have various files on roughly 5 hard drives. So when I try to open one of the project files, it asks me to locate like two dozen files...and some of the files are missing. Completely.

I started plugging in other hard drives, figuring maybe some of the files got scattered, but no--there's quite a few I can't find.

So I offline the ones that can't be found. And I discover a shocking thing: Every clip in every one of the Bounty projects has Frame Blend checked ON. I have no idea why. It's definitely the reason the movie looks so choppy.

There's no way in hell I selected every clip from every project file and clicked them on. It makes no sense.

But hey, quick fix, right? I select them all and Uncheck the blend. But wait! I'm missing a filter that made the image of some shots appear to be shot with a hidden camera. I try to install it on the new computer, but CS5 isn't having anything to do with it.

What I end up having to do is, on any of the shots with the effect, I export the clip to a thumb drive, take it to the old Bounty edit computer(my current internet machine), drag it into Premiere, apply the filter and export it out to the thumb drive. Then I take it back to the new computer and import it.

Takes quite some time. Like three days of working, and I'm ready to export. A couple of the exports tell me there's Offline Media, but I scrubbed through the timeline and don't see any of the red media missing screens.

Anyway, brought all six newly-exported sections together, and am now exporting a final .m4v for a Blu Ray. I'll watch it to see if there's any issues. The export's going to take 8 hours.

I also exported something else the other day--the export took 28 hours due to some of the heavy filters applied to 2K footage. My computer is literally heating the room, blowing out crazy hot air. I even opened the side of it and put a separate fan to blow into it because I don't want the hard drives frying.

Worst nightmare though: I was walking by and there was a big spider on the inside of the computer case on the bottom. What to do? If I swat and miss, it'll disappear into the computer. I can't shoot Raid into my computer...

Used a combination of compressed air and then Raided him as he came out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Movie Games



You seen the game where people list their 10 favorite movies from a year, and if you like it, they give you a year and you have to list your favorite movies from THAT year?

I did it once last week with the year 1984:
The Terminator
Nightmare On Elm Street
Temple of Doom
Night of the Comet
Gremlins
Karate Kid
Body Double
Last Starfighter
Top Secret
Romancing The Stone


Now, I lamented that it was too bad nobody gave me 1986...but I have now reconsidered. With the exception of Aliens at #1, I'm not sure how I could boil it down to 10. Look at what an incredible year 1986 was:
Aliens
Stand By Me
Top Gun
Crocodile Dundee
Night of the Creeps
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Highlander
Big Trouble In Little China
Manhunter
The Fly
Star Trek IV 
House
Critters
The Hitcher

Not to mention fun, but not great movies:
Flight of the Navigator
Karate Kid 2
Cobra
Three Amigos
Heartbreak Ridge
Back To School
The Wraith
The Golden Child
 Running Scared(recently added to my Netflix instant queue!) 
Ruthless People
Gung Ho
Tough Guys

Man, I loved that year. If you wanna play the game by any year, imdb makes it easy: http://www.imdb.com/year/

Anyway, they just added Twins to Netflix so I watched that. Hadn't seen it in like 15 years. Holy crap does Kelli Preston look awesome. Funny movie. Would have liked to follow it up with Kindergarten Cop, but it's not on Netflix

Good news is that now Netflix is recommending me "Zany 80's comedies" and other 80's stuff. So now I got some fun stuff to watch. (oh, and we watched The Stuff the other night--made me hungry for marshmallow cream...)