Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carn-Evil


Took the wife and kid to the carnival tonight. Weather was cool so it looked like a good night for it. Fuckin' thing was packed though.

Did the Ferris Wheel, pictured here.
The wife took the kid on the Tea Cup thing, so I took him on the Scrambler. I have video but it's upside-fucking down. Here's a selfie I took right before it started.
Anyway. Man, the carnival's gotten more expensive. By the time we ate, went on rides, then got some sodas, played a game(I won my kid the TMNT doll he wanted by throwing a ball through a tiny hole--yeah, I'm fuckin' coordinated, bitches. It took me the third of three balls to do it, but hey), and got a $5 funnel cake I was like $100 down.

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Did I tell you I had a ridiculous idea for a script? Like, stupid dumb. It's really just the title, and it's basically the dumb-equivalent of coming up with the title for Sharknado, and trying to figure out how to write the script.

I don't wanna tell you the title, since that would blow it. But I may try to write it and see if I can't get Asylum or somebody interested in it.

I figure I'll use Bill Cunningham's rules for writing a Syfy movie that he posted here years ago. Sure, the information is seven years old but I doubt they've changed that much. Hell, if I'd ever watched one I'd know but for the most part they seem terrible.

---

Tried to watch Mr. Jones. Pretty bad. It tries to be found footage but doesn't seem to understand how that works.

Like, dude picks up the camera and starts shooting so we see the camera's POV but then somehow it cuts back and forth between another camera looking right at him...where's that angle from? Like, is the guy constantly turning it back and forth between him and what he's looking at and we're just cutting between them?

Dunno. Makes little sense. I went and read some reviews to see if I should keep watching, and the reviews pretty much say no.

Jumped to All Cheerleaders Die since Netflix just got it. It's not great, but it's more entertaining than most Lucky McKee movies. And it does have some hot chicks, so there's that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

And I Thought July Was Gonna Be Slow

 What does this pic have to do with anything here? Nothing. But I like it.

In the blog area. I only had like three entries in the first three weeks.

Anyway, let me first say that I've started watching the Fargo TV series--am almost to the end and it is a phenomenal show. Great acting, great writing, and all I can tell you is--there's some despicable people in this show, and yet I'm kind of hoping none of them have to die by the end. Pretty sure a lot of them are though...

--

Did a rough shoot breakdown. No way can I shoot all the scenes in the woods in one day. So, two days in the woods. Not fun, but necessary to get the best end result.

Here's some pics of the woods from the first location scout.



Now that I have the script broken down into scenes I have to go back out there and nail down where each location in the script takes place so I can figure out whether it really is feasible to shoot in order, and how long it will take to move from one scene to the next.

So that means another trip out there. But hey, I may be able to shoot a few shots for the flick while I'm out there(some of the scenic shots, the opening shot, etc)

I want to take a better look at the lenses my brother has. He has two nice, L lenses for the Canon 5D he has, so I just want to get an idea for what each looks like. For the record and my future sanity, he has:
F4 70-200mm
F4 17-40mm
F4 Kit lens 18-135mm

None of them are particularly fast glass, but I have an F1.4 35mm that I like a lot and an F2.8 11-16mm(which is gonna save my bacon on the inside-the-tent scene)

----

Have an actor in mind for the male role--never worked with him before but I'd met him. So I emailed him, got his phone number and called him. He sounded cool with it. Sent him the script, didn't hear back. Hit him up, he said he hadn't gotten it.

Sent it to him directly through FB and he got it. Got a message, do I have time to talk about it on the phone.

That's never a good sign, if you ask me. What I'm looking for is "Yeah man, let's do this, just give me the details on when/where!" Dunno what he wants to talk about, but if I sense anything less than enthusiasm I'll withdraw the offer and go to the next guy in line.

Have sent sides to a couple of female actresses who I've never worked with. If I see some of what I'm looking for in either, I'll cast the best and we'll work it out. If I have to terrorize the actress on set to get what I need, I'm not going to be above that on this one.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

80's Schmaltz


With the wife/kid away for the week at the beach I normally put in some old favorites and watch them cranked up.

For some reason though I couldn't really settle on anything. So I went through my Netflix queue to see what was on there. Fright Night was calling to me, but if I watch Fright Night then I get no work done. I turn from the computer and watch.

But there was something in the list called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Looked pretty crappy, but hey, 80's. I put it on. Yeah, it's pretty crappy. Sort of like Grease for the 80's, but it's funny that right after that I thought--Man, I haven't seen the movie "Perfect" in a long time.

My brother and I used to watch it all the time. I'm sure it was a shitty movie but it was on all the time and Jamie Lee Curtis wore a tight leotard so that was enough for high school boys back then.
 Yeah, this.

Watching it now. Man, it doesn't even look familiar...I don't remember anything about Travolta having a reporter job...

Wow, I may be blurring this movie together with Staying Alive in my mind. Parts of this are the movie I was thinking, but parts are not.

Also of note, Jamie Lee Curtis was 30 when she shot this and Marilu Henner was only 3 years younger at the time. You wouldn't know it...Jamie seems 10 years younger.

And if Jamie got paid $5 per pelvic thrust in this movie, her total salary would have been about 2 million dollars. There are some awkwardly long exercise sequences full of nothing but pelvic thrusting.

---

Also got a call from Cutting. He was cruising through my city and wanted to see if I wanted to meet for a quick dinner at Chik Fil A. I said sure, met him.

I also took the "mask" he'll be wearing in this short to see what size I have to make the neck opening. It fit pretty well but he's got a long head--his hair sort of stuck out of it. We'll need to make sure that stays down and possible shift the mask up a bit.

I took a picture but don't wanna put it up yet.

He also showed me the 4 foot slider he's got in case we wanted to use it. I'm not sure it's long enough to do some of the moves I want.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rolling Shutter Fix

Yeah, so Comic-Con is going on now. Personally I think I'm tired of hearing so much stuff about movies that are far off. I'm pretty much done with trailers too.

My new rule: If I'm interested in seeing the movie, there's no need to see a trailer for it. I'd rather go in blind.

Anyway, filmmaker stuff is here so you can stop reading if you're not one of them.

As I said we'll be shooting on a DSLR for this short--the Canon 5D(or two of them to be more precise). This camera, like many of the DSLRs, has a peculiar problem known as the rolling shutter effect, also called the jello effect.

There are ways to minimize it when shooting, but it's unavoidable in some shots. I stumbled upon this video that shows a pretty ingenious way to get rid of it after the fact. (there are some filters and things you can buy, but many of them don't work and the ones that do seem to be pretty expensive)

This looks to be a little time-consuming to do, but worth it if you only have a couple of shots that are bad.
https://vimeo.com/10130633

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Also of note, a FB website forwarded to me by a fan of HH. Check it out, sounds like someone's ripping off my movie even worse than Dexter did.
https://www.facebook.com/thekillerstheory/info

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Watched Willow Creek last night. What a giant piece of shit. It's--and I'm not exaggerating--80 minutes of two people talking, followed by 60 seconds of them being taken by something you never see. It's a Bigfoot movie WITHOUT ONE FRAME OF BIGFOOT. Fuckin' stupid.

Tonight, I finally watched Witness For the Prosecution, which is a movie that's been on my Netflix queue for a while. Based on an Agatha Christie story, directed by Billy Wilder. Pretty good, though it takes a little while to start.

Following it up with Witness. Two movies, two witnesses! I haven't seen this flick in like 10 years. Had it on laserdisc(which was the last time I watched it)

Interesting factoid--Harrison Ford was my age when this movie came out(so he was probably a year younger than I when it was shot). Fuck, I'm getting old.

---
Last thing: It's funny to watch the Night of the Clowns(the title of the Clowns flick I was gonna shoot this year, but now ain't) climb the imdb charts. It's now the highest ranked of all my movies except for the first FOC on the Moviemeter.

A movie that's not gonna get done this year is ranked higher than my other existing flicks. All on the strength of the interest in scary clowns.

Shame--I feel like shooting that movie is a home run in the get-distribution-with-money game.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Woke Up Today

Looking like this. Must have slept on a wrinkle or something. I could dig this look though.


Finally watching my Time Bandits Blu Ray. Bought it a long time ago, never watched it. I haven't seen this flick since 1981(when I was 10 or 11, for the record). Don't remember much.

They didn't clean this pic up much, I'll tell you that. A major scratch in like 5 frames near the beginning, then lots of white pops in dark scenes, tiny scratches in the film. All shit that could be fixed pretty easy.

So I'm trying to figure out how to shoot this short cheap. Like $1100 cheap. The contract says none of us can spend more than that. Sure, I could just lie, but since I'm funding the whole thing I'd just as soon keep it cheap.

And money just disappears like nothing. For instance, I gotta buy a tent. Needs to be able to fit 3 people(and one of them is the cameraman with rig). I think this is the cheapest I've found that might fit the bill.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CSA6QPS/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=16R6ILARZATM&coliid=I1YQHE8Y6TUG9V

I THINK it will work, but who knows? It's 4 feet tall. And before you ask, why not just borrow one? We're gonna have to cut some holes in it.

Then I need my FX guy to make me a non-hero knife so my bad guy can slash at my actor/actress safely. This is the actual hero knife:
Just one of my many knives. I figured I've never put it in a movie yet, so why not? It's big(about a foot long) and pretty menacing. But it won't be that cheap to replicate cuz it's pretty detailed.

Then the various effects. The FX guy's doing it all for cost since he's one of the other filmmakers(and one of the creators of the anthology). But still...I got a guy whose hand gets cut off, which will call for a fake hand(cast) plus a stump that pumps blood.

Bottom line is, I did a quick barebones budget and I hit $1100 real quick.

I figure I may buy two things just to help me on this one, and not count them into the budget. They are:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003QKBVYK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=16R6ILARZATM&coliid=I1SNJ0CAWBDYH&psc=1

and this:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HWMG44U/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=16R6ILARZATM&coliid=I27FBBVIS3XC2R

Now, I plan on booming the sound like usual but I figure if I mike the main guy up with this lav mic as a backup then I'll probably get pretty good sound on his dialogue(and also maybe the girl, since when they talk they're usually pretty close together).

It could save me the time of having to do some wild sound takes after any iffy sound takes.

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Did I tell you I went to see the Bacon Brothers in concert the other night? My mom bought tickets for me, the wife and my brother and his wife. This is the 2nd time I've seen them in concert. They were good once again.

Every time though I really wish I could bring my Tremors Blu Ray and get Kevin to sign it. But they disappear right after the concert, so it just wouldn't happen.

Here's a video of a quick portion where they first came out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfVr-WZlp2Y
---

Hey, remember the STC convention? Here's a little video with the Fright Night cast answering questions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk9UPM8cv6M





Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More Musings



I spend a lot of time wondering about why I don't love as many movies as I used to. I've come to various conclusions, but now I'm wondering if it's just this:

Maybe I've just seen too much, so it's too hard to surprise me. I see most plot twists coming from a mile away.

(as an aside I remember worrying that maybe learning all about how to make movies would maybe ruin movies for me and I'm pretty sure that, to an extent, it did.)


The whole thing frequently leads me to being frustrated as I write--frustrated that what I'm writing doesn't have enough twists and turns to surprise me. But knowing that hey...pretty much nobody surprises me anymore.

So I guess I should just keep trying to make movies and surprise people who haven't seen as much as I have.


---

Something else that frustrates me: Filmmakers getting notoriety and acclaim just because they can shock you.


I mean, I hadn't ever seen a baby getting fucked until Serbian Film, but I got news for you...it's easy to shock people. Put stuff together like things you've never seen fucked or eaten, or add shit. Literal shit. Mix that stuff up together and it's bound to be shocking.

Like spur of the moment if I wanna shock people in my movie, how about a scene where a baby gets fucked then eaten, and I'll have someone in the movie call it a Bukaki Baby Pie.

There, I came up with something. I'm gonna trademark it.

---
Finished the first draft on the shooting script for the short. Man, shooting the main bulk of it in one day is gonna be a bitch. I had told myself going in that I would try to shoot for less--that is, shoot more masters with very few punch-ins but I fucking hate that kind of filmmaking.

So I didn't really do that. The good news is that we'll have two cameras and I'll be using them for the small dialogue scenes.

The bad news is I also put in a couple of crane shots and a good number of dolly shots. Now, executing such things when you don't have a remote-controlled focus puller is going to be tough.

Also tough is the fact that we're shooting with DSLRs, and when we shoot with any lens longer than maybe a 28mm the depth of field is going to be very shallow. Normally you'd stop the lens down as far as you can to get a greater depth of field, but even in the day these woods are covered by trees so we don't have a ton of light.

And I don't want to go higher than an 800ISO. I hear 1200 is still decent but I don't want to take the chance of seeing any noise.

The other thing is the special FX. I don't plan on doing any CGI blood and FX always takes significant time...

I'm going to do a detailed walk-through on paper...like a breakdown on exactly how long I think each shot/scene will take and see what it looks like. I wanna shoot it pretty linear, which isn't normal, but I think it will work out best for this.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Texas, Again(San Antonio Edition)

Man, I am slacking on the blogs...only two so far this month? This could go down as my worst month ever. But you never complain, so...

This week I went to Texas for an auction. Never been to San Antonio. Been to Dallas, Houston, and Austin. I have greatly loved Texas every time I've been there. The friendly people. The warm weather. The wide open spaces and prices on things that don't make you wince every time you pay for something.

Anyway, on the flight out one of the other guys had never flown before. He was scared of flying. So he got a prescription of Ativan so he'd be out. This is the pic I got before we took off, but he was already a little loopy. That's, from left to right, Jamie(who was a dead girl in GOH), Josh, and Angel.


We stayed at the Hyatt. A nice place. Little weird because everybody who was on the inner side of the hotel had a glass wall overlooking the interior of the hotel. This was the view out my wall. Yes, not a window.


And oh yeah, as soon as I got to my room I turned on the TV and it's freakin' Skynet. It knew my name.


Right outside of the hotel is the River Walk. It's a very touristy area. We arrived at like noon and had the day off, so we went to lunch at a steak joint that was pretty great. We ended up eating there a second time, getting the same exact meals.

Here's some pics of the area I snapped on my run to CVS for snacks and Coke Zero.

 








They had a bunch of these horse and carriage things(the river is below street level). They were lit all gaudy with those wire LED lights.

The auction was as usual. Fairly uneventful and pretty easy this go around. The last day we got off early, so Luke and I decided to go see the new Apes movie. We get to the theater and the lady's like--it's assigned seating. She shows us what seats are sold out and what's not, and we picked. Kind of weird.

Then we go into the theater. Man, this is the way to go. EVERY seat is a recliner. Like, a fucking La-Z-Boy recliner. Holy shit. I wish I'd snapped a pic ahead of time, but after the movie it was too dark, so I walked into another theater to snap this pic. This theater was way smaller than ours, but you'll get the idea.

It didn't matter if someone was next to you because every chair had its own arm rests. Movie was very good too, so all in all it was nice.

Also, snapped a pic of this for an actor I know. If you know who he is this will make you laugh. I sent him the pic.
Now that I'm back I've got a lot of work to do for this short for the anthology. Going to break it down into a shooting script so I can figure how hard it's going to be. I was thinking I really didn't want to have to drag the dolly a half a mile back into the woods but I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to.

We'll be working super skeleton crew so I'm definitely pushing this to September. I don't wanna sweat my balls off any more than I already will(since I'll be the DP also).

Got to figure out how much the special FX will cost to do, and if it's too expensive or time-consuming then I'll start whittling some of them out.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

The STC Convention Rundown

Thought about renting a car but after loading my car and realizing I'd have to unload and repack, I said screw it and got on the road about ten AM. The trip was supposed to take 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Traffic SUCKED. Stop and go the first hour. And for no reason. No accident. Nobody pulled over by a cop. Infuriating. It took me about 4 hours to get there.

The load in was particularly easy. Walk in a door and go about 100 feet and my table was there. But it was hot, and I'm the kind of person who likes to get shit done fast, so by the time I was done I was sweating up a storm.

The dealer's room was wide open when you walked in, which was weird looking. Like, there was this big open space just through the door. On the one hand I like how there'd be no backup to get into the room like you see at some cons, but on the other hand it just looked empty on first glance.

Zig and Stewie showed up around four o'clock. I checked in while Zig sat at the table. Didn't seem to be anybody waiting in line for the show, but then again with the traffic, who knows how long it would take people to get there?

The show started at five. There weren't a lot of people but we actually sold some stuff. By the time the show
closed(which was a late 10pm) I thought if Saturday was busier it would be a pretty good show.

                                                                    My Table Setup

I go in and catch up with Dominic, who introduces me to Yaphet Kotto. Dude is funny, but SUPER crazy. More on that later.

Heather Langenkamp had called and said she'd be late. Turns out she didn't even make it to the hotel until 10:00pm.

Traffic, man. I had one friend that came and said it took him 6 hours.(he lives near me)

That night we didn't do much--I didn't want a hangover the next day. Went downstairs and chatted with a buddy named Rob who was wasted, plus some other people, then back to the room. Fell asleep around 1am.

Woke up at like 4am with a scratchy throat. It's always the calm before the storm that is a chest cold for me. I'm pissed I didn't bring any claritin with me, and worried how I'm going to feel on Saturday.

                                         The Room We Stayed In--Seen The Shining?

SATURDAY

I woke up, not feeling too bad. My throat is a little raw, but so far no congestion. The show starts, and there
seems to be people. It's not a HUGE crowd like I've seen at other places but it's early.

I'll tell you one great thing about this con--Joe and crew have gone all out with the hotel to make sure there's
little to get in the way of your good time. Know how you go to a hotel con, and they wanna charge you $8 a burger?

This con had a burger combo(burger+chips+soda) for $4, and the burger wasn't bad. Also had hot dogs, pulled pork, sandwiches, all for comparable prices.

I don't know who she is, but I'd like to.

 Beers at the bar? A bottle was $3. Seriously. I mean, that's cheaper than regular bars, much less hotel bars. So fuckin' kudos to that, man.

The show continued. It was a little slow. By the time it was over we hadn't made on Saturday what we did on Friday, and that's NEVER happened...pretty strange.

I checked out the celebrity room. We all felt bad for William Atherton(from Die Hard, Ghostbusters, Real Genius) because NOBODY was ever at his table. He was a super friendly guy, and we ALL remember him, so how come nobody wanted to stop by his table? Crazy.

Elvira had a big line, probably the biggest.

So...Yaphet. He was obsessed with a camera. All he'd talk about was the "ikegami 35". We couldn't remember what he'd said, and alternatively called it the itchi-gami, the ichi-gachi, and other variations. I finally went and looked it up. It's one of these: http://www.ikegami.co.jp/en/products/broadcast/index.html

He claimed that it shot digital and "looked just like 35mm"...which, let's face it, most of them do now. But he
also said you didn't need to edit it. It edited everything itself, in camera. Now, I don't know what he's talking
about because clearly a camera can't make those kind of choices unless it's fucking magic. I think he's just an old guy who doesn't understand that you can shoot, then stop, then shoot some more, then stop, then shoot some more, and it doesn't have any of that flashing light you used to get at the end of each take in dailies.

But he was obsessed with it. Not the craziest thing. At one point he asks how I know Dominic. I tell him I've known him for many years. That we always stay out at the cons drinking til like 3am. Yaphet says "You married?" I say yes. He says, "How you stay out all night when you have a wife?"

I tell him, "Well it's easy, because I'm the man and she's the woman, so I do what I want." Yaphet's disgusted
reply is: "Man, that's why Hilary Clinton's gonna be president!" I'm mystified. He sees this and clarifies: "You
ever hang around the airport?" I'm like "Uh...not really." He says, "You should see who's arriving at the airport all the time."

I'm still confused. So he further clarifies: "Indians. From India." I admit to him, I don't understand the connection. He puts it all together: "You say that kind of shit, the indians all vote for Hilary, and then she's
president."

I nod my head like I understand. Later he tells me about Budhism, studying under actual Yogis, and how--if I would like to die now--all I have to do is concentrate and I'll see a white pinhole light in my mind, and if I go to it then I'll die. On my own terms.

He, however, does not want to die, because we're all energy and once we die we come back and live another life, and he does not want to have to live another life because all his karma is good right now. He didn't like his parents this time around, and doesn't wanna go through that again. I ask him, probably too patronizingly but he didn't notice, whether he'd KNOW he was living it a second time, and he said most people don't realize it but he would.

Whacky.

After the show was over, we ran out to KFC to get something for dinner since it was close, and came back to get the drinking started. The vodka came out, we filled up and went downstairs. Moving around saying hey to everybody, drinking and moving.

There was karoake in the bar. It was mostly pretty terrible. Somebody mangled Sweet Child O' Mine. I remember that.
Joe collected money for breast cancer by having people stuff his bra
                                              (that he normally wears on the inside)

We talked to Brett, a big Aussie friend of Dominic's, and he had the craziest story I've ever heard. It is thus:

Last week he was in Philly at the Wizard Con. They all went out for drinks afterward. He's at the bar with some buddies drinking. Not that much. Next thing he knows, he wakes up in the hospital.

The hospital says an ambulance came by and found him passed out in the street. But it's weird--they can't tell him who called in the 911 call or anything. He has them do a blood test(and I'm not sure if he found this out days later or what), but it turns out he was roofied and robbed. He had a Rolex on, and they took his wallet too.

After talking to some cops, they say there's a rash of this going on in that city now. Brett remembers a girl walking around with a brown lunch bag, and she seemed interested in him(though he thought at the time it was an attraction kind of thing). He thinks maybe she roofied him, then talked him outside and when he passed out she and her friends robbed him.

It's nuts. Brett is not a small guy, and he's a tough Australian. That's the dude you're gonna try to roofie?

Anyway, we hung out with them for most of the night. Closed out the bar, and finally went back to the room at like 3:30. Went to sleep after I ate some animal crackers.

SUNDAY

Sunday was slow, but that's always the case. We did sell some more stuff. In the end I just sort of broke even, money wise, though I met some new people and sold some movies to people who had never seen my stuff.

 Heather Langenkamp had her hair cut, and sold it for charity
(while Freddy looks on)

The traffic home was miserable, and we even had to take a detour near Zig's. But we stopped in VA because my throat was raw, and I found heaven on earth. Yep, BK and 7-11 RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER! Insane!



The most realistic smile I've ever smiled for a picture


So all in all it was fun, not really profitable, but I had a good time and met some new and old fans. I'd probably do it again next year if they have it back(which they probably will).