Thursday, December 31, 2015

Final Post of 2015

I'm so busy with these videos to do anything. Spending all my time jumping between AE/Premiere/Photoshop.

And the mandate on the banquet video is that it not be "too good".

See, the joke is that the company sees how much money that's being made in big movies, so they wanna substitute dolls in, and cash in(somehow).

So we went through and picked some iconic scenes from big movies, and now I have to put the dolls in. If you know anything you know that the right way to do it is to try to wipe out the original subject completely from every frame, then insert the new subject.

I don't have that kind of time. It would also be "too good".

What I'm doing instead of simply trying to lay the doll on top of the movie layer and keyframe to it stays always in front of the person.

But this all leads to some interesting exercises like this: We're going to do the "Heeere's Johhny" scene from the Shining, but we want it to be a doll's face looking through the busted door.

What this means is that I can't ever show Jack's face in the previous shots because you'll see it's not a doll. So I'm having to RE-EDIT Kubrick so somehow Jack chops down the door without you ever seeing his face.

It was tough, and one of the cheats isn't great but I was able to do it. When I get back from LA I'll post the whole video, because I'm supposed to do as many as I can in this time-frame, and many of them do involve me clean-plating a shot with no clean plate, ie, wiping out the subject so I can stick a doll on top. I'm having to do this when the shape of the doll wouldn't cover the original subject due to either size or shape difference.

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Anywho, don't have New Year's Eve plans, but that's good. I kinda hate NYE. Sort of always have.

I think we're going to go to dinner--just me and the woman--then come home and hang out.

I've got like 5 movies to watch before I do my semi-decade horror movie countdown for the year. I'm not so excited about that much, and if I see another list with that fucking over-rated It Follows on it then I may puke.

So Happy New Year's, those who enjoy it. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hateful Eight

No spoilers, cuz you know that ain't me.

I got out tonight to see it. Saw the last showing, figured it wouldn't be that busy but it was mostly full.

All in all I liked it. It had Kurt Russell trapped in the snow. It has unused music from the Thing. There are other obvious Thing references in it.

But like all Tarantino movies it could stand to lose 25 minutes. I don't know what his obsession with chapter break title cards is. And man does he still think every conversation he writes is genius.

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Deep in editing. Turns out that not only am I making the regular video PLUS the special banquet video, there's a THIRD. The first two need to be up ASAP but they only just got me the visual elements.

The other I am shooting on Wednesday, then gotta come home and get to work. While I'm there I'll be getting the narration for the first video, plus some other video for the banquet video. So Wednesday's a big day for work.

Know what it means though? BIG paycheck in January. Would be great except I'll be paying off a ton of shit from November/Decemeber/January.

All that and my TV is going fast. There was one white dead pixel, that quickly turned into 1 white pixel 2 black pixels. Then 2 white, 1 fuzzy blinking white, and 3 black pixels.

Now, weeks later it's about 25 black pixels and 4 white.

So probably gonna have to buy a new TV. Awesome. (cuz you know I'm not getting anything less than 65 inch, and passive 3D would be nice)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Not Gonna Be The Biggest Blog Year

I hadn't noticed the blog count per year until just now. It shows me how many posts I've done each year, and apparently in 2006 I blogged a bunch.

136 times. That's like once every 2.7 days or so.

This being my 85th post of the year now officially beats out last year by one and the previous year by a bunch, but I got over 100 in 2012 so it doesn't look like I'm getting anywhere near that.

Did not get much Xmas viewing done. Got to watch Die Hard 2. Still fun, but that moment where they throw like 12 grenades into the plane with McClane?

I would have edited the fuck out of that scene, because as is the grenades roll in, then they roll in some more, then he straps himself into a chair as more roll in, then he finally ejects.

What kind of timer were these grenades set to? Would have had to be like 10 seconds or more.

I'd have edited it so John decides to get into the chair when he hears the dude outside say "How many grenades you got? Three apiece!" Then the grenades bounce in as he's strapping himself in, and then he ejects as they explode.

And I never realized that Meat, Robert Patrick, and John Leguziamo are all henchmen in the flick.

Anyway, playing Love Actually in the background on Netflix while I work. Definitely one of my favorites, which will surprise most people who know me.

PS Merry Fucking Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Star Disappointment

 Lotta butt shots in my blog lately. Dunno what that's all about, cuz I'm a boob man.

But anyway.

Finally got to see the Wars. Went to imax, the first show in the morning. Got there early so we got the seats we wanted. Wasn't that crowded at first, but by the time it started it was packed. On a Monday morning.

There will be no spoilers here, so don't sweat it.

I will say this. It was entertaining enough as it went on, but more and more little things began to bug me as it went on. In particular, one of the characters is GREAT at literally everything they do in the movie, and completely without justification why.

I came home and found out there's not only a term for this, but there's a big argument online about it. The sad part is, I agree with that douche Max Landis. That's the worst part of the whole thing.

But he's right, for once.

So the movie's okay. MILES better than the prequels but disappointing nonetheless. And the bad guy's pretty cool right up until he takes off his helmet and you see what a goofy doofus he looks like.

One thing nobody's pointed out, but I couldn't stop thinking, is that the  main girl is like Keira Knightley's sister. I couldn't stop seeing it every time it went to you. If they're not related, I need to see proof.

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On page 10 of the T-tory new short. Part of me wishes I didn't have to shoot it found footage, but it would simply take too much time/work to shoot it normal.

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Still gotta watch some Xmas movies, but I have so much editing work to do. They just hit me with all the images for me to make this video with--since I didn't go out and shoot video, I'm going to make a Ken Burns type slideshow and we'll put narration over it.

THEN on Monday we finally came up with an idea for the January presentation video, and the bad news is it's gonna be AFX intensive. We're basically going to take some of the most iconic shots in movies, and I'm going to put dolls into them in place of some of the actors.

I told them given how little time I've been given it's not gonna be perfect. Especially since we still haven't settled on WHICH movies we're going to do. I'm definitely going to do a parody of the new SW trailer.

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I dunno, I don't think I've ever been this broke in December before. I've had some bad Xmas'es before, but this is BRUTAL.

I'll be getting a big check in January, but that doesn't really help me right now.

I'm about 90% sure I'll be applying for a job at Discovery in the next couple of months. Jesus, driving to Silver Spring every day will probably finally make me eat my gun.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Who's The Worst?

Did I mention how great Fallout 4 is? Man, complex game. I'm now about to break the 5 day mark. That's 5 actual days of playing it. Hell, what could I get accomplished on anything else in only 5 days anyway?

Watched You're The Worst season 1. It's only like 10 episodes--an FX series. Pretty good. Will definitely check out season 2.

Gotta watch some Xmas movies. Saw Die Hard and Gremlins last year so this year it's Die Hard 2 time, then maybe Scrooged.

Bill Murray's Xmas special on Netflix is fucking terrible. The wife and I watched about 25 minutes of it before we turned it off.

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Went back to the T-tory wrap. Working on putting in the eye on the creature. I'd explain it but fuck is that boring.

Still haven't done shit for Xmas. If there's anybody who's LESS into the Xmas spirit, I don't know who that could be.

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It's painful that I haven't seen the new Star Wars yet. Gonna get to it soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why It Then With The Man If Too Much

I'm tired. There's always too much shit to do.

Not the least of which is Fallout 4. Holy fuck is that game good. My TV schedule's been slacking because of how much time I'm putting into the game.

On the Bounty front I spent a little more time working on that god-forsaken SRT file when I thought--there's GOTTA be a way to automate this. I looked once before and didn't find anything, but that was at the beginning of the year.

First thing I find makes me wanna kill myself. There's a company that will do English subs for $1/minute. My flick is like 78 minutes without end credits(because I don't need subs for the end credits)...

Will they do good work? Fuck it, it's only $78...I do it. The file's excellent. Some spelling mistakes with names, and a few mis-typed words that was mostly my fault because the audio at times isn't great.

I fix it all, and now I have an SRT file.

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I have bought like 3 Xmas gifts. No time, no money, no ideas on what's good and I long ago gave up on buying stupid shit just so I can have SOME gift for people. If I can't find something cool, you just don't get anything this year.

Fucking Christmas.

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Ha! I have another blog! I have like 10 of them now!
http://crazyblastads.blogspot.com/

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Andrew and I agree that Jessica Jones on Netflix is pretty crappy. It's a shame because the comic book was great, and the talent they have on the show is pretty great. But they took a relatively short storyline in the comics and stretched it the fuck out into the first season, and it feels every bit of it.

I watched 10 of the 12 episodes, but it feels like I watched about 100 episodes. Not sure if I'll bother finish it. I got a lot of other stuff to watch before then.

Red Oaks on Amazon is pretty entertaining. Still greatly enjoying the Goldbergs. Have to catch up on the Flash because apparently there's a Xmas episode and I won't watch that after the holidays so...
Going to the Ice thing today. We've done it every year for the past two years, and this year they're doing the Rankin and Bass Rudolph/Santa stuff. Should be cool.

Dunno what's going on with T-tory. Have heard nothing from the guy who was supposed to do a segment. There was talk of ANOTHER local filmmaker wanting to take a whack at a segment. So I'd said send me a script.

Got nothing.

So I'm writing another segment now. Sort of wish I'd done it already--with this weather I'd have loved to shoot it. The nights are cool and perfect for shooting with this unseasonably warm weather.


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Hard Drive Showdown

Andrew mentioned on Twitter that he had a lot of hard drives, and I took that as a personal challenge to my manhood. I bet him that I had more. Then he bet me HE had more.

It was ON!

I have never counted my hard drives before. I only know that I have tons. Now, it's almost like partially cheating because I've been editing since 1998 and have kept all of those hard drives that haven't failed.

So I have a couple hard drives that are only like 500MBs apiece, along with a buttload of others right up to 3TB.

So I did a count--it comes to 42, not counting the various hard drives that are in my 4 working computers. Add those in and it's probably around 52.

Here's a picture of the top of my editing computer, and I picked an angle where you can see a small portion of the hard drives cluttering up everywhere.

There's 15 hard drives in this picture alone, and these are all hard drives I use fairly frequently. I used Iomega for quite a while(they're the silver metal container ones), but they sort of went away so I started buying these My Book Essential by WD.

The newer ones I'm getting are the Seagates, but then I picked up ones of these:
You just plug any SATA drive into that and it's so easy to switch out it's great. I actually got two of them--you can technically get one that has two slots, but I thought accessing both of them at the same time might create a bottleneck on the one USB cable.

They're only like $25 on Amazon. (I put the link on the picture if you wanna go check it out)

Anyway, we're waiting to see what number Andrew comes back with. I actually wouldn't be shocked if he had more Terabytes than I do while having less hard drives, but we can play that game next!

PS: Rendering half of HH with color-correction and de-noising took nearly 24 hours. That's fucking insane--I mean, sure it's also resizing it up from 720X480 to 1280X720--but this isn't 4K or anything...

Got a render of it just color-corrected AND de-noised. Hell, I can probably put BOTH on the blu ray and just let the viewer choose. Now I have to decide, since I have all the separate audio tracks, whether I want to do a new mix on the audio.

I SHOULD...but fuck, I hate audio, and I'm really not great at it anyway...


Thursday, December 03, 2015

HH Work

Not feeling the holiday spirit at all. Haven't bought a single present. Honestly, feeling pretty uninspired this year. Haven't seen a lot of stuff I think would excite people, and even if I did I really don't have the money.

That buddy I did work for on his zombie movie asked me to take a look at one of his scenes with bad CGI zombie eyes. I agreed they were bad. Said maybe I'd take a look. He gave me the footage.

The big problem is that he wore contact lenses in the scene. They don't look TERRIBLE--frankly, they look better than the CGI version his friend did over them. But I don't blame the friend. I can't do any better now.

The trick to making zombie eyes look good--for me at least--is that you need to find a nice milky texture(don't just use a layer of white), and then use a matte that's frame-by-frame tracked to the eyes. Lastly, drop that opacity on the milky layer to like 75% or so. It will go over the actual eyes, so it not only has depth but it adds the realism of an actual pupil under there.(sort of the way the eyes cloud over in death)

But because he wore contacts that already give it a zombie look, I can't drop the opacity of the layer. This is about as low as I can go, and it still looks kinda shitty. And this took like 8 hours. This is only one of like 5 shots.


So I don't think I'm going to do any more, even though he likes this.

Decided to go back and continue work on the color-corrected HH. I'm pretty close to done on the picture front. Not sure I'm going to do anything on the audio front, but maybe.

I went ahead and tried to export a copy of the color corrected version--it went for like 12 hours, then just froze at 69%. (giggity)

Weird part is that it acted like it was doing something, but I gave it another 2 hours and it didn't budge. I canceled the render, and it all went back, so it's not like Premiere froze.

I broke it into 2 parts, exported them separately and it worked.

Then I went in and applied some de-noising. Set it to export half the movie. That was 6.5 hours ago and it's at 24% of the FIRST PASS(it's set for the 2 pass VBR, the highest quality version). So it'll be interesting to see if it's still going in the morning.

I actually couldn't find a nice copy of the HH title screen, so I went and dug into the old boxes and went through EVERY old hard drive I could find. Found a lot of old stuff I haven't seen in a while, which is weird because I thought I dumped all this shit onto other hard drives.

Like all these bts videos from FOC2:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOR6v1Wb58YkDLhmAVR3tqvKJRvyNfDSv

Buncha other stuff. Found original copies of every scene from the first FOC, so I guess when those rights come back to me I can color-correct that and put out a new copy. Ya know, if I'm still alive.

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I have to tell you that I'm terrified that I'm going to have to do another T-tory segment. Even if technically the movie could be long enough, I'm not sure it's got enough scare in it.

But going out into the woods at night in the middle of winter? Does that sound like fun to anybody over the age of 25? I mean, in college it would have been loads of fun. Now it just sounds like cold agony...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fuckin' Hate People

That's a great meme. You can just hear him saying that, can't you?

Anyway, the list of irritants continues, along with me coughing 24-7. My lungs hurt and my head hurts, and the only thing I want is Slurpees followed by hot showers. That's it.

But what I'm thinking is just another reason why I fucking hate the upcoming generations. And it is this:

Why do they keep hailing as genius shit that limits their abilities? What do I mean?

Well, Facebook's cool. "I like being able to post my thoughts." NEW GENERATION: Know what would be cooler? If I had to limit it to only 140 characters! GENIUS! Hence Twitter.

"Youtube's great!" NEW GENERATION: Know what would be cooler? If those video's couldn't be longer than 7 seconds. GENIUS! Hence Vine.

"I like posting pictures to Pinterest and Facebook." NEW GENERATION: Know what would be cooler? If I could only upload photos taken on my phone, and only through an app on my phone. GENIUS! Hence Instagram.

How the fuck is all that genius? It would be like the dude who invented the car suddenly saying--Hey, know what would be cooler? If the steering wheel only turned left. GENIUS!

WTF?

Friday, November 27, 2015

2 Weeks Since Last Post? Must be Fallout 4

Went to NY for an auction. It was okay.

Did I tell you what the hotel wanted to charge for wired internet access? Let me just show you--you won't believe it. This is for TWO DAYS.
That is some insane shit there. I guess they talked them down quite a bit, but let's face it--we've been charged $2500 for two days of internet before, and THAT'S fucking insane.


Came back and felt like I was getting sick.

And yeah, boy, did that happen.

Coughing pretty bad. Almost didn't go to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. Went, but didn't get too close to anybody, and washed my hands constantly.

Then today I got up and coughed so hard that I threw up. I haven't been to the doctor for a cough in 30 years, but today I went. Bronchitis.

Not sure I ever had that before. They gave me some stuff. Some cough medicine with codiene that I took, and that knocked me out.

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Oh, bonus for when I got back from NY. My wife tells me I can't use the bathroom at all, or any running water. Our main water line is blocked. We have to have roto-rooter come out, it's that seroius. My dad even came over to take a look and concurred.

Know what that costs? $499, the second they bring in that big metal clearing thing. That's the minimum.

They did clear it, but still...

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This is a pretty accurate article on lies distributors tell.
http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/film-distributors/

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We shot the pickup stuff for the wraparound. The FX did look better. Still have some issues but it's workable.

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Am really feeling like I wanna get back on the writing bandwagon and finish some of these goddamn scripts I've been writing for years. They are--and the purpose of this is to shame and remind myself:
That ridiculous-premise one that sounds like an Asylum movie
The Creepers one
Trailer Park One
Night of the Cs
"Backyard"--I started this one nearly nine years ago, not sure I'll ever finish it
The other found footage one

Now, these are the main ones, but I've got a bunch of new ideas including a "superhero" one. Given that I owned a comic store for 17 years, I'd get the question a lot about why don't I write a superhero movie but I simply never had an idea that interested me.

I do now, but only the beginnings of it. Not sure where it would go, but MAN is it an opening...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Location Scouting/Too Much Shit To Do


Yay, more woods!

The guy who's going to do a T-tory segment called me and said Hey, let's get together for a meeting. I was like, okay. It turned into, Hey, let's go look at this location and see if this cross is still out there.

According to the internet, it was.




So we went out there. Had to hike around a bit, up some some steep hills. Lotta cool scenery though, and yes, the cross is still there.

Also, this pit of hell:

No idea where it leads. We didn't go in there. The location looks to work though. He wants me to shoot it, and I'm afraid I have to because otherwise I can't guarantee it'll look good.

I'm putting my foot down though on that it can't be more than 3 shooting days. The shoot out in the woods shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. All the other stuff is interiors.


This is a cool tunnel. Apparently the train still runs here.

The weird thing is how many other people were wandering around here, even in the dark. I think that'll be the worse part of the shoot--trying to control other looky-loos while we're shooting. The place is supposed to look desolate.

Perkins, the guy in the photo, who's doing the segment seems to want to work with me on other stuff. Says he knows some money people. This is the third time he's said "We should really work together". I'm all for it. He's a cool guy I've known for years who has MASSIVE connections with everything and everyone.

Only problem is that I think he wants to work on getting his script set up first, and I'm not sure where I fit in there. It doesn't sound like something I'd want to direct. Don't know--am trying to stay focused on T-Tory. Gotta get it done, and done well.

Got some paid work--shot a video, am editing it. Then got the wrap pickup to prep for today, then shoot tomorrow.

All that, and mutherfucking Fallout 4 came out! Am playing it sparingly between working.

Still sweating a 5th segment. Should I write it? I feel like I'm sort of committing the second I put words on the page.

If I'm rambling it's the oxy.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Rough Cut Done on T-Tory

And the bad news is, it's 23 minutes long. The super-loose, more or less assembly edit, is only 23 minutes long.  I was hoping that would be the final length.

Ugh.

Dunno, we're talking to someone else about doing a segment. My big thing is that I need it to be GOOD.

How do I ensure that? By approving the script and probably being DP. And if I'm going to be DP on something, I'd just as soon write it myself.

So it's all a big fucking trap.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Post-Halloween Blues

I gotta admit, the blues started setting in nearly a week before Halloween. I started already feeling like it was over...wtf is that? I can't enjoy shit while they're happening because I'm already thinking it's all over.

Looking back though, it was a pretty great Halloween. Granted, I didn't get to do nearly as much stuff as I wanted, but here's what DID happen...

  • Put out a book, like an actual book. People seem to dig it. I'll never make any significant money from it given the criminal royalty rate, but all in all I'm very happy with it.
  • Got featured on the COVER of a newspaper for the release of the book.
  • Watched a bunch of Halloween-themed movies and shows. Brooklyn 9-9 continues to KILL it in the funny department. Only actual Halloween movie I watched was part 6--it's on Netflix, so I played it in the background. Sucky movie, man.
  • Went out with the wife two nights in a row. First night to the local premiere, and got to see Return of The Living Dead on the big scren, followed by the T-tory teaser I made. More on that later. Anyway, next night the wife and I hit that bar we normally go to on Halloween weekend. Saw a cool band, danced a bit. Got pretty drunk. Threw up a bit. BUT, got laid two nights in a row. Ask any married dude who's been married for more than 5 years--you'll see what an achievement that is. :)
  • Took the kid out Trick or Treating. Got some pics, got some video. How many kids have their dad's taking 4K video of them trick or treating? Here's what he looked like:
  • Anyway, re the teaser we showed. Lot of people came up and asked about--seemed impressed. A guy who NEVER talks to me suddenly was real interested in chatting with me about what I was doing and how I was doing it. Most said it was the best trailer of the bunch they played. One person threw the backhanded compliment that "It looked like a real movie, like you'd see in a theater."

Here it is if you haven't checked it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFHtcbxvAA

Anyway, back to editing the wrap. Will be shooting a pickup for it on Friday the 13th. Will have a rough cut before then so I know exactly what I need.

And I should have a good idea of whether it all comes out too short, thus forcing me to go shoot another one.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Cusp of Halloween

Made it through the horrible procedure. Fuck doing that again. They're like "See ya in 5 years."

Yeah right.

Trying to play catch up on Halloween. Went on a pumpkin-trail walk with Zig, my brother and Anne. It was better this year than last year--more pumpkins, shorter trail. We also got there early enough that it wasn't pitch black so we could get some pics without long exposures.

Went back and watched Something Wicked This Way Comes. Dated, but better than I remember back in the day.

Got home and watched Tales of Halloween, a new anthology featuring some decent names in horror. It's hit or miss, as all anthology features are. On the whole I wouldn't say any of them were bad though. It was mediocre to decent.

I think I like Bousman's best, which is weird because it features goofy sound effects, but I thought it worked on two levels which was rare.

Then hitting some TV shows--the hard part of saving shows up is that I gotta find out if any of them have Halloween episodes, because if they do then I have to watch those.

Only one I found this year is Brooklyn 9-9, which has had one every year. Every year it's great too. Honestly, the show's fucking great. Cracks me up every episode.

Also watched Extraterrestrial, the Vicious Brothers flick. It's okay. Doesn't bring anything new to the table, but considering that it almost lost me from the get-go...

See, college kids off to a cabin in the woods. On the way, one of them pulls out a gun and starts shooting in the air outside his car as they drive. A cop immediately pulls them over, says "That's the stupidest thing I've ever seen someone do."

He asks a couple of questions, then LETS THEM OFF WITH A WARNING. Without even checking to see if the gun is registered or if the guy firing it is a fucking wanted felon.

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On the T-tory front, got the teaser done. I think it's pretty good. Certainly for a week's work, not bad.

Now I'm syncing more of the footage, and editing bits and pieces. I'm at the hacking stage--finding best takes, chopping them, putting them where I want. No finesse, just finding the shape of it.

Am planning on shooting the pickups on Nov. 13th. Should give Mark enough time to make the FX good, and hopefully I'll have a rough cut of this so I'll know if there's anything else I should pickup while I'm over there.

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Don't know what it is about the final week leading to Halloween, but I get sort of sad because it's like Halloween is already over. It's weird.




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Teaser

Working like a dog on the teaser. Have a rough rough of it. There's definitely some cool parts, but the jury-rigged build up is a little wonky. Probably nobody but me notices it, but I'm gonna tweak it some more, maybe even change it up.

It's actually like a minute forty, because of the lead-in where I let the wrap-around characters talk a bit to set up the whole thing. I've tightened it quite a bit, cutting stuff out but it still runs a good 40 seconds before I get into the quick-cuts and the other footage.

I also found a cool little piece of music I might try to license from one of those stock audio/video places that plays a little better than mine(with some tweaking to my vids).

And hey, remember when I patted myself on the back for how amazing I was? Well I am starting to notice a little bit of the noise in some shots downstairs. I'm betting it's when I went from 2000iso to 4000 iso. It's still not too bad. Probably won't even de-noise it. Gotta see what it looks like after it gets rendered.

But either way, not quite as spotless as I first thought.

Still a little sick, but I guess I'm going ahead with the fucking c-ostomy. So the worst 48 hours of my life begin at 11am today. Starvation followed by horrible drink followed by runs to the bathroom, then more horrible drink, then probably next to no sleep and the VIOLATION.

I did not watch BTTF today, much as I wanted to. Doesn't feel right given how much Halloween movie-watching I'm missing. I watched The Stranger--it was okay, but didn't make much sense. (They supposed to be vampires? Then why does the "bad" vampire burn in sunlight even though he has a hoodie and a ton of clothes on, but the "good" vampire doesn't burn cuz he's wearing a fireman's outfit, complete with a see-through face-plate?)

Stacked weekend--wife's pumpkin party Friday night(how am I gonna feel at this after the procedure at 11am?), then Saturday I'm gonna try to hit Zig's for the pumpkin trail and maybe some Halloween movies afterward.

UPDATE:
The Halloween book--did you think I was kidding about the big royalty numbers? Here's a screencap to illustrate the point. Yes, it would be nice if people used C-space to get the book, but nobody's gonna.

Who wants to sign up for a whole new account, enter all that info and whatnot, when they can just do it at A-zon?
See why I'm not selling it in Europe? The price I'd have to charge to make like five bucks is ridiculous...

Wish I had more time to send some .pdf review copies(with watermark) to some web sites, but I've got my hands full right now. Also, haven't heard from that asshat with the bookstore--talked to two people who have met him and they both say he's a dick.

I don't understand how business people can turn down free advertising--and even better--I'd be BRINGING CUSTOMERS TO THEIR STORE. Paying customers who don't know you exist...and you're not interested? I give the guy a year in business.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Back


Got back from Phoenix. Wasn't fun. Didn't eat well, didn't sleep well. We were on a resort, so the only food to eat was THERE, and it was fucking expensive. Like, my per diem doesn't cover shit that expensive. Also, it wasn't very good so even though I could have afforded it, didn't want to.

So Sunday I ate this: 2 packs of peanut butter crackers. 1 pack of Doritos. A Snickers bar. Handful of iced animal crackers. That's it.

I slept a couple of hours Saturday night, getting up on Sunday at 7:30am. The next time I went to sleep was for three hours on Monday at 4pm. Taking time-zone change into it, I went almost 30 hours without any sleep. It was brutal, but not much choice with us going to the airport at 4:30am Monday morning.

I'm sick too, so I postponed the c-oscopy to Friday. Hopefully I'm better by then.

Got back to looking at the T-tory footage because my buddy wants a teaser to play in front of his movie premiere. Exported some clips to use from Jack and Siren and the other dude's short, then dragged in everything from my wrap-around.

FINALLY got to look at some of the other footage. Let me just say that I am mutherfucking impressive.

Maybe you don't know shit about DSLR's. But if you do, take this shit into account:
I was on my little shoulder-mounted rig for 99% of the shoot.
Every lens used was a rental so I was not used to them.
The lenses were 1.2, 1.4 and 2.0(this was 100mm)
I didn't use the monitor for most of the shoot, just the tiny LCD screen on the camera. The camera I'd never touched until the day before the shoot.

And after all that, my focus is fucking gorgeous for most of this thing. I mean, the actress crosses the room and I keep her solid the whole way. I have no idea how I did it, to be honest. I was shooting wide open because all the lights were off.

And I was worried the picture would be muddy and ugly on account of us lighting the room with 1) A candle 2) 2 glowsticks and 3&4) My 2 little LED lights I put on the camera typically.

But the picture is sweet. For most of the shots it's not only pretty consistent but it's buyable as night with no power. It's slightly grainy, like I said, but not in a bad way.

I looked at most of the footage and as is I only see 2 shots I really wanna do again. One has mismatched eyelines because I had an actor cross the axis and didn't compensate, so he's looking frame left when he should be looking frame right. Good news is, he's local so it's no problem.

Another problem has a slightly soft-focus shot of the stick in the door. Not sure why I blew that, cuz neither me nor the stick are moving.

There's another shot where I technically jump the line but because both actors are in the shot it's not that big a deal. I know why I did it--it's a shot where the guy's outside the sliding glass door, and the girl's inside. I couldn't get to where I wanted without seeing my reflection in the glass(which was a big problem all night for every shot from outside)--I don't think the audience will get confused.


(as an aside, the audience may get awful pissed at me because the lead actress doesn't get naked; she wears this super tight low-cut shirt that shows how STACKED she is, so they're going to be pretty frustrated...)

All this isn't to say the edit won't be challenging. There's some actor inconsistency in a few actions but I think I shot enough coverage to make it work.

My #1 thing right now is to figure out the angle I'm going to take with the teaser. Only want it to be like 40 seconds long or so. Don't want to give away anything. Just tease 'em.

Going through my sound library to get some ideas, laying down some beds and testing.

Oh, and also completely missing mutherfucking Halloween. Is there any way we can just start celebrating it in September? I NEED MORE TIME.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finally...the wrap...

Well, the Star Wars Battlefront beta is over. Fun game. Really brings back the SW geek in me that died a long time ago, 'round the same time Lucas changed the original movies and then put out those steaming piles of shit that were the prequels.

Spent all day cutting more audio into individual clips. Lot of work, that. Then dragged in the rest of day 1's video. Takes place at night, so I was worried. All in all it looks pretty fucking good. I applied a quick color grade just to see how close to what I want I can get, and right away it's looking believable before I even tweak it.

You can get a quick glimpse here during an out-take.



I'll probably come down on some of that super blue moon outside, and whatever the fuck that reflection is in the background will have to be removed.

One shot toward the end of the night though has a fucking tripod in it. Yes, it was that dark that you couldn't see it. And I'm moving in--handheld, so that's gonna be a bitch to remove.

But all in all I'm fucking impressing the hell out of myself with this footage. I don't think anybody but a DP is going to understand how hard it was to achieve with f-stops at 1.2 and 1.4 and NO focus puller.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Productive Couple of Days

Yeah, some of these demotivational people are getting pretty lazy. Like, they're not even trying. Funny? We don't need funny, cuz we got bewbs...

Anyway, done all I'm gonna do on the zombie movie. The swat scene is done, clocking in at over 150 layers in After Effects. I'm not sure how they ever thought they were gonna make it work without someone with some serious AE talent.

Went on to MY stuff finally. I cut the audio for the first thing we shot, which was the last scene of the movie, so all I had to do was finish syncing it to the video and then edit it.

Did that. I'm having to edit in very weird ways on the last couple of movies, having 3 separate audio tracks recorded. (His lapel, Her lapel, and the boom mic)

So when I'm putting them on the tracks I end up having 6 tracks of audio as I edit along, and sine you can only sync 1 audio clip to 1 video clip, I have to select all 3 audio tracks plus the video track to move a clip. (You can technically group them as one, but then cutting them gets wonky)

For all that, did the final scene. Looks good, and I'm happy to say the fucking focus is RIGHT THE FUCK ON. And not once was I on a tripod in the kitchen scene, and the actors were moving also. (granted, a couple of the shots go soft but I simply edited around them, which is why it boggles my goddamn mind when I see out of focus shots in movies that cost $40 million and more)

Looking forward to moving on to the rest. Really curious to see how the night scenes are--what they look like and if my focus is as good there. I suspect not, but who knows?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sucked Into The Vortex of Another Man's Movie

That's an actual vintage ad. Not a joke.

Anyway, I went out and shot the credits sequence for a buddy's movie that's premiering October 29th. I even cut them, masked out what needed to be masked out(which involved creating clean plates by cloning out what shouldn't be there), and gave them to him.

Problem is, he showed me the other clips that were playing between these credit shots and some of them are ROUGH. Like, one shot is a wide of a plane flying in and hitting a building in the inner harbor as shit is on fire and all. Beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

I ask him what's up with the shot--is it rough? He says he had a guy working on it, but the guy just did that much and hasn't responded in like a month. I tell him I'll take a pass at trying to fix it.

I spend a couple of days making it better. Can't do all that I want because I'm working from a flat movie, not the After Effects file. The plane is embedded, and as it flies in the whole screen shakes and blurs. Trying to track things as it crosses and everything goes blurry/shaky--way beyond the pay-grade and time-crunch I'm on here.

So I make the plane hit look better. As is, the plane just hit and there was an explosion. That's it. And unfortunately the dude used 100% opacity on all the explosions in the scene so they don't look too realistic.

I added a ton of particles raining down from the explosion--like 9 layers of them at different speeds and sizes. I find a hi-res shot of a plane and take off pieces, animate them as if some bigger parts survived the explosion.

There was a boat on fire in the scene. Dude made the flames too big--they don't look great. Also only did one layer. I added some more layers of smaller flames, and also a reflection in the water.

Did a bunch of other shit to the shot. It's definitely better now. Not amazing, but better.

Then there's a shot of a zombie with regular eyes. I fix that. At least that's easy.

There's a shot of some swat guys in an alley who appear to be pretending to shoot guns but they're not. So I guess I'm gonna work on that next.

Then fuck it, I'm back to my wrap. I don't have this kind of time to devote to other people's projects, even good friends.

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Hey, did ya see my book is out? Do me a HUGE favor and go leave like a 3 sentence review. Pretend you read the book and liked it. Don't say you know me.

Seriously, reviews are important. If you have something on Amazon, I'll gladly return the favor. You can do it here by clicking on the Amazon logo:
http://bit.ly/bringthehorror

Am gonna try to do a signing at a local bookstore.

Getting ready to go out of town next week for work for a few days, then back for some medical bullshit I don't wanna do.

----
I was supposed to have seen this movie already. Won't go into it. Cool that Drew Struzan still does stuff when he's interested.

Watched Wyrmwood Road of the Dead--pretty entertaining movie, I must say. Them Aussies are crazy...(and Brett was asking about where my crew was at Monstermania, you fucking losers who didn't go)

Watched Tremors 5. Not terrible. And surprisingly I thought the CGI was pretty well done for most of the movie. But still, absolutely nothing new is brought to the table.



Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Weekend at Monstermania

This is me with my buddy Dom who reps a bunch of actors. Here's one, it's Bernie from Weekend At Bernie's. (Terry Kiser)

Went up Saturday, and was met right away by friends who were WASTED. It was like 1pm.

Wandered around, wished I'd had some of my books because I could have sold 50 of them, and chatted with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a while.

It was a fairly crowded show for a MD one. Matthew Lillard had a huge line, biggest of the con. Dom and his people were so busy I didn't even get in to say hi until they closed the celebrity room.

Grabbed a bite to eat with a buddy Perkins, then came back and had a special brownie. Went downstairs and saw a little of Alan Howarth's live concert(he's another of Dom's clients). Dude was impressive--I just figured he'd play keyboards along with his music, but he started with keyboard then went in to guitar on some songs--he was jamming like a 21 year old in a band.

Seemed to have a lot of fun, and it was a packed house.

Everybody crashed early--it was me, Dom and Brett as the last ones to go to bed in a con. I think I have to start going on Friday, because everybody seems partied out by Saturday.

On Sunday I went down and chatted with Dom and his crew a bit. He's really got the coolest clients--don't think I've met any of them who are assholes. Alan was very talkative, answering all my questions about Carpenter. Told some interesting stories too involving helicopters and Carpenter.

Came home to work on that credit sequence for my buddy's movie(did I mention that?) I can't remember shit anymore.

Right after my nightmare 3 day shoot I had told a buddy I'd come over and shoot his credit sequence for him. So I did, even though I felt terrible.

We melted a zombie. It was a cool gelatin with bones inside zombie, and he had a heat gun. I thought it would take like 3 hours. It took like 8.

Then I get home and he's hoping maybe I can CUT the credit sequence. No way. No time. I tell him I'll do some of the heavy lifting(speeding up all the sequences by like 95% and removing my friends hand/heat gun from the videos by making clean plates from frames where it's not in the shot).

Gotta try to finish it this week, so I can get to the wrap. I'm going out of town to Phoenix next week, then back for something terrible. Maybe I'll talk about it, but who knows?

But hey, the book's out and they shipped me my copies like 10 days early.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Stuff. In General.

Finished the shoot. Almost killed me. Toughest 3 days I may have ever had, may have even topped that last auction I did that I said was the most miserable ever.

More on all that some other time.

The Halloween book is done, and out. This should get you there if you wanna see the options.
http://j.mp/halloween-links

The print book isn't on Amazon yet(even though it was last night) because Amazon's combining the Kindle with the print in one listing.

They kept turning my book down and then I called them at like 2am--they have 24 hour assistance, can ya believe that?--and I sort of went ballistic. Every time the lady said something it was one of their out-of-the-manual responses, and I'd had enough of those. I shot them down and re-iterated what I said last time I talked to a rep, which is: "You sent me the fucking proof of the book. It looks great. Nothing goes off the page. Why do you keep failing it now when all I did was lighten a couple of images?"

She finally said she'd have the techs get back to me with the exact page numbers that were failing. Guess what? They didn't come back with any pages that failed, they just passed it. No shit, Sherlock, because it's all okay.

Now if only I had some money to order some copies to sell to my friends for cheap. But I am stone cold broke after the T-tory weekend.
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Speaking of broke, I make my once-a-year pilgrimage to that horror con and I gotta figure out how to pay for my hotel room and entry in. Yeah, I'm that strapped right now.

Also, sounds like we're gonna get super-fucked with a hurricane on Sunday. Good times.

------

Anyone watching Project Greenlight? I've watched it every year since it started way back when. How is it that they keep getting such incompetent douchebags as directors?

I mean, what's more important--the show or the movie they're making? Because if it's the show, then I get it. It adds a lot of drama to put an idiot in. But I would think it's the movie, because they don't air any past seasons of Greenlight, or put them on dvd so where's the revenue?

And this guy they got now--not only has he not impressed me as a writer or director(but they all fawn over him as super-talented), but he seems completely unwilling to compromise on anything.

Making a movie is all about compromise. He seems incapable of it, and for that I hope he fails miserably.

Call me petty. If I was on that show it would be the most boring show of all time. Because I'd try for things, but I understand the fundamentals.

Like, first he really wants to shoot on film. Everybody tells him it's going to be impossible because of their budget, but he just keeps on pushing.

Then they're location scouting and he's presented with a bunch of giant mansions he can shoot in, but none of them are perfect. The producer finally says "Gun to your head, which one would you pick?" and he says "None of them."

What a fucking ass. You're being given 3 million dollars and the opportunity of a lifetime. MAKE IT WORK.

Christ man. It's demoralizing seeing assholes like this being given chances they don't deserve. It would be one thing if his footage blew you away, but it's pretty average. He's not the second coming of Fincher or anything.

Fuck.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Is There Any Way You Could Just KILL ME NOW PLEASE?


Today, first day of filming. It's currently 4am and I'm triple-backing up footage so I'll give you the run down on the nightmare that was the first day.

Zig went and got Laura. I went over to the first house to set up and get prepared. Boring shit. Laura showed up, so we started shooting. Picture looks gorgeous, and she's very cool and very natural.

We get the first location's stuff done and we're on time. We hit Chik Fil A.

It all went bad here.

Zig has gotten calls from different members of his family. He goes to take a call, and next thing I know I've lost the right-hand man for the entire shoot. Death in the family.

So I'm even more short-handed than before.

At the 2nd location it's trickier because we're shooting a night and the power is supposed to be off in the house. I put a 1K DP out back to wash the trees outside the windows. I put a 500W light coming in the deck door like a giant fucking moon. Fuck it, if you want motivated, realistic lighting then maybe you picked the wrong movie.

We shoot for about an hour and then I make a big-time rookie fuck up. I can barely see the DP light outside on a wide shot, so I go out to move it. I only have to move it like one foot, so like a dumbass I pick it up gently and move it.

A POP, and then the side of it catches fire. Yes, fire. I gotta blow it out. The light doesn't work now. I assume it's the bulb, so I replace it. The DP still doesn't power up. The fire WAS on the side near where the wires go in, so we're out the 1K.

I don't have a ton of other lights. Now I have to move the 500W to where the 1K was, then pull out a 250 that's more of a spotlight. Now my moon is super obnoxious.

We keep shooting. Stewie leaves around 11-ish(I think). Even more short-handed. At least the footage isn't terrible, but it's definitely got some noise. Luckily it looks more like grain than that colored noise that's terrible. The Mark 3 is nice. (and the lenses too)

We fall a bit behind but not much. Only, this is the easiest day so the fact that we fell behind is a bad sign, on top of bad signs.

We finish about 12:45am, and I tell my brother Mike(who is the only one still there other than Laura) to take her home--she's tired, and so is he(he worked at like 7 in the morning). But that means I have to pack and load everything myself.

So I do.

I get home about 1:30am and start dumping stuff, backing it up. Also have to do a final fix on the H book to submit to Amazon since I have no time to spare there.

Then I read FB and find out that the replacement for my FX guy(who can't do it Saturday), has to leave by 11pm or 11:30pm. Shit man, we can't fucking shoot til 8pm and I can't go out of order with this or it'll be a disaster(plus I don't have the extra shirts to replace if we go backward after the people have been fucked up).

Like, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK?

Man if I even have a thought about doing another no-budget movie, you just point me back to this fucking entry so I can come to my senses.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Okay. Go Time.

I look at that picture and realize that, yes, as much as I love Halloween, I am not ready to let go of summer. Because as much as fall brings Halloween it also brings winter, and I FUCKING HATE WINTER.

Seriously. Years ago I almost moved to California(before I was married). I can confidently tell you today that if I had no family here, I would move to Texas in a heartbeat so my winter would last maybe three weeks and it would be a pretty mild winter.

Anyway.

It's crunch time on the wrap-around. Much of the things I have worried about completing are done. I'm once again pretty prepared with the shooting script, having gone over it quite a few times to keep it fresh in my mind.

Most of the props and equipment I needed to get I have gotten. I have done tests. I really just have to load the car and then GET. IT. DONE.

I really really feel like this is it for me. The final film by the KK, and I'm not doing the whole thing so it's not really even MY film.  I'll be at about 60% of the film if we only get one more short--the flick should be about 80 minutes--9 minutes on Prowler(not mine), 13 minutes on Jack(mine), 11 minutes on Siren(mine), 12-15 minutes on the other short that's not mine, and about 24 minutes on the wrap(mine).

That means 10 minutes of credits, 5 in front and 5 in back. Yeah, padding. (but hey, I'm creating and rendering them so that's me too right?) :)

But I'm pretty exhausted of the whole thing. It's not writing or directing that's tiresome--it's the doing pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE because there's no money to pay people, and I'm not longer hanging out with a bunch of college-age kids who just think making movies is fun. People in my circle think that making movies that really don't turn much of a profit is a silly thing to do, and I'm starting to agree with them.

---

Got the book proof back. It has a few things I wanna tweak, but it looks good. I'm pleased with it.

On schedule for the October 1st release, and thinking about trying to get some book signings together with the local bookstores. Will think more on it when I have more time.

What have I been neglecting?
Finish color correcting HH and get it on Amazon.
Get Bounty up there post-haste, and finish those goddamn SRT files so I can try to get it to the aggregator.

Those are the big ones. Honestly I should just send Bounty right away to Amazon, since they'll get it up pretty fast the way FOC2 is. I wanted it to sort of all happen at the same time, but a couple people have asked about where they can see Bounty so I should really push the button on it.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Minute Shit

Went over Matt's for some last minute looks, a quick lighting test. There's still going to be a lot of last-minute figuring but that's the nature of the beast.

Found some of the equipment I was looking for(of course, in the BOTTOM crate), but still have a few other things to locate.

The plan is this:
Tuesday - Have an early doctor appointment(yeah, you know it's serious when I go to the doctor) so I'm just going to make this a long day. Go get snacks/drinks and other props like beers, popcorn, rolling paper for the fake joints(I guess I'll just use oregano or basil or something).
Wednesday - The camera/lenses arrive, so I'll be testing it all day and into the night. Try to get used to it, and also set it up for the look I want.
Thursday - Someone needs to pick up the actress in Baltimore at 1:40pm. Take her to location 1. No real setup there. We'll shoot before it gets dark, then move to the 2nd location. Shoot that, probably get finished by midnight or so.
Friday - sleep during the day, get to location by 6 or so to setup, start shooting by around 7:30. I have a place I'd like to get to in the script, and I have us finishing up around 3am but you know how that goes...hopefully by 4am. I'm prepared to start half-assing if we fall behind. (meaning, instead of doing all the shots I want, we'll start shooting some scenes as only masters with maybe one or two quick inserts)
Saturday - same as Friday, but we finish up. Most of the FX are this night.

Mark texted me tonight, said he had a mold lock. Was afraid his mold was going to be broken and near unuseable. He finally got it open but I'm not sure of the status. It looked very cool in the picture, so I hope he can make it work, and work good.

I've been going back to Siren and Smiling Jack and polishing them so they're as close as they can be to done, so once I have the wrap edited I can start inserting them to get a good idea of just how short the film's gonna come in. Then maybe I can give input to Perkins on how long his short needs to be to get us to the feature length.
------
It occurs to me that I haven't put the actual cover to the book. Erik did two different versions and it turns out everybody, including me, liked this one better.

---

There's a channel called Decades that I just discovered today, and they were playing a Lost In Space marathon. I haven't seen them in like 25 years. My brother and I used to watch this show ALL the time.

I went ahead and recorded like 15 of them to the DVR and am watching them now. Man, why didn't they just eject Dr. Smith out the fucking ship at the first chance? Every big problem they run into is directly caused by him.




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

So InDesign is a Piece of Shit

This is Michael Keaton and Batman creator Bob Kane

WARNING: This post is long and detailed and involves publishing a book. You may be bored.

First off, realize that I understand that it's my fault. I get that. But here's what happened.

I started my book oh so long ago, researching and gathering stuff, still not sure exactly what the book would contain. Then I started it in InDesign CS5.

When I started I thought the book would be 6X9. I figured that if I had to resize later it would be a piece of cake, the way it is if you'd like to resize an image in photoshop it simply resamples it to the size you want.

In this case it would have to resample a bunch of pages. If I had to adjust the position of some individual items on pages, no problem.

THIS IS INCORRECT and has cost me weeks of work.

See, later I decided to go 8.5X11 so I adjusted the page size of the document in the document settings. And yeah, had to go through and move items because it leaves the items exactly where they are in that original 6X9 space.

I go through all the rigamarole of that, tweaking the book, adding, subtracting. Couple of pics I couldn't get clearance on I took out and replaced with others that I'd licensed.

I submitted to Amazon. Failure after failure on their reports, even though they all looked good in their Interior Viewer. They said that--and here's what's confusing--many of the images went too far outside of the margin AND my images didn't bleed far enough off the page.

Say what? How can my images simultaneously be too far off the margin but NOT far enough off the page?

Back and forth with Amazon's reps. One guy finally said what I wish the first 10 people had--he said basically "Hey, your book is 8.5X11 but it should actually measure 8.625X11.25."

All right. I went back to InDesign and made another mistake--I simply resized the book to those specs. Another failure. A helpful dude on the Adobe forum said don't do it that way--ad the extra measurement in the bleed and slug area.

So I did. Exported a pdf and got ready to breathe a sigh of relief. Failure. I'm like--WTF?

I take a good look at the pdf in Photoshop and discover CRAZINESS. Pages are RANDOM SIZE. One page was correct, but then the next page was like 7.63X10.55 and the next page was a different size. No rhyme or reason.

This is why Amazon's having fits. I hit the Adobe forum and post my problem and that's when I discover that you shouldn't fuck with your document's size after you set it. What kind of shitty program is that? Make your choice, cuz you're stuck with it.

You might think you could start a new document and then just copy the elements on the page to each new page. A lot of work, but better than starting over. But THIS DOESN'T WORK EITHER. Somehow the page size is inside those elements--I repeat, I didn't copy the page, just clicked on the text and/or pics inside the page, copy and paste.

I'm fucking incensed. The Adobe forum guys try to help but no suggestions work. I finally figure out my own work-around(I'm REALLY good at jury-rigging shit)--it's clunky and takes some time but I get it done, submit it to Amazon and IT'S TOO FUCKING LARGE A FILE.

Back to the drawing board. I figure a way to optimize it without losing resolution(Acrobat has an Optimize feature but it cuts the resolution in half automatically, and I can't have that for a print book).

Lo and behold I get a finished product that passes the muster. I pay the $15 to get a proof shipped to me. It's on its way.

Stewie mentioned some place called Lulu so I looked into that. My shit passes their screening right away. Their fucking web site is a little retarded(literally--clicking on pages takes like 30-180 seconds to load the next one), but I submit and order a proof. Then I notice they've fucked my cover up a bit. So I fix that and resubmit, but I think I'm getting a proof that'll have a fucked up cover.

But man do they blow Amazon out of the water on pricing. It's a shame that Amazon makes me price match other web sites cuz I could sell at the price point I wanted on Lulu.

Amazon's making me sell it for $27.95 and I get like $3.50 per book sold that way. I get around $6 if I sell it through my "e-store", but I don't even know where the fuck that is or how to create it(another thing to do).

Lulu gives me like $13 every book I sell. THAT'S an okay margin.

Bonus pic for sticking with me!


So I move to concentrate on the electronic version of the book and man, holy shit I thought the print was hard?

First, e-book readers really weren't built for books that contain a lot of pictures. They pretty much take your well-designed, laid-out and page and just say FUCK YOU, we're putting shit whereever we want. That caption under that picture? Not even on the same page as the picture any more.

You want your text centered? FUCK YOU, centering doesn't exist in our world. And .png's? You know, the best over-all format for pictures because they're lossless and hold transparency? FUCK YOUR PNG's--they take away the transparency and substitute NOISE in the background of the image.

It takes me a night of searching to figure out my best choice is to use the Amazon Kids' Book Creator since it's made for books with images. I use that and another program called Calibre to make the right kind of files.

I go to upload them to some various sites(Smashwords and Amazon, among others)--only, the epub file is like 180megs and you know the file size limits? Amazon's is like 80megs and Smashwords is--wait for it--20 megs. That's the equivalent of 4-5 decent images.

Say what? It's crazy. I think another site(Kobo) said 40megs. Soooooo generous.

Clearly the e-market is mostly for text shit. So I actually used another program to make a mobi that was like 47 megs so I can get it to Amazon.

Long story long, I am now waiting for the proofs from Lulu and Amazon. I'm aiming at October 1st--I even put it up on Amazon for pre-order so it should be up there soon. But jeez I hope the Lulu works cuz that's the link I'll be encouraging people to use.

---

And oh yeah, getting ready to shoot the big wrap-around for T-tory. We start one week from today(Thursday). I have a shit-ton to get ready.

Talked to the actress, she seems cool. I was actually high on Hydrocodone when I talked to her so I probably came off as a loon.

You see I also have some big health issues right now that are culminating in sciatica like you wouldn't believe. I could barely move yesterday. It was the most pain I've ever felt in my life and I've felt some pain.

It started on Saturday right at my tailbone and was agonizing but it was gone on Sunday completely. Then it moved to my left buttock on Monday--moving my left leg at all was like an electric current being shot into my spine. I actually cried out a couple of times, had to grit my teeth to keep from screaming.

Tuesday was rough, today it's all but gone again. I am hoping it will not suddenly return. I have a lot to do(also have to renew my license cuz my bday is this week and it expires) and don't have time to be incapacitated.

I'm the DP on this wrap but if this happens next week I'm not sure what I'll do.

Hey thanks for sticking with the long rant if you're still here. Here's a bonus pic--apropos because apparently this Caroline Munro top is going up for auction soon. If you really loved me you'd buy it for me.



Monday, September 07, 2015

Busiest Week Of All!

The wife took the kid and went to the beach with her parents and cousin. Know that what means? Kevvie's on the loose!

Not really. It always becomes this combo vacation/work weekend. I get a little intoxicated, watch some movies, and work like a mutherfucking madman.

Almost done the book. Like, completely. I can't tell you how much work has gone into the book and I'm sure--just like my movies--that you'll never realize by looking at the final product just HOW much has gone in.

But I'm pretty happy with it which is more than you can say for many of my movies so that's a plus. Here's a look at an early concept cover from Erik. I dig it. My biggest issue is that people might assume the cover is actually made of leather.
It'll have some changes to it I'm sure but I kinda like that it's pretty simple and tells ya everything you need to know right away. I keep looking at that nostalgic like it's spelled wrong but it's not. I wanna spell it nostalgiac.

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Next on the work front I went back to Siren. I had been thinking(ever since before we shot it) of adding a light effect to the Siren, like a beam of sunlight that shines down on her from the sky to attract men.

Wouldn't be too complicated. I figured I'd use a Levels or Curve adjustment, draw it where I wanted and feather it out pretty big. Only time consuming problem is that motion tracking of every shot she's in to make sure it stays on her.

I thought about making the beam of light go away after our hero finds her(because she wouldn't really need it anymore now that she "caught" him, right?) but didn't really like that. Then when I was done I realized it actually helps sell the later shots where the sun actually DID hit her. The shots match more now.

I actually used the new Exposure setting instead of Levels or Curves though.

Did all but the last couple of shots because those shots require me to fix some of the FX that didn't quite work because how hot it was(the actor was sweating so it was hard to make the fake skin stick).

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Wasn't all work though. Watched a bunch of movies. Braveheart was first. Man, still a great movie.

Then had a VWZ to do--that's that commentary that Zig, Luke and I do for movies that maybe we'll eventually put up online. We usually do 3 movies in one night but we did 4 this time...

We started with Midnight Madness. It was okay. I'd never seen it. Sort of wanders. I can see liking it if I'd seen it when it came out.

Then my pick of Golden Child. I remember liking it a lot. As much of those things go, it's not so great now. Not terrible, but nothing special especially if you look at the talent involved. Fun thing is Zig's recorder apparently ran out of battery 5 minutes into the movie.

But he was so...intoxicated, let's say, that he wasn't talking much anyway...

Then finally Zig's pick of Commando. Still a fun movie. Arnold's the fucking man.

And we decided just for fun to watch another, since those were all short flicks. We watched Chopping Mall. And again, a fun movie.

Now tonight I'll bookend the weekend with another Gibson flick, The Patriot. Haven't seen it in a while.

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Tomorrow my mom's having a cookout, so I'm going to go over there and do some camera/lighting tests with my brother. Try to get an idea of what this is going to look like.





Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Three Weeks Out


It's really insane and makes me panic when I look at it. I mean, the sheer mass of shit I have to get done to be able to shoot in 3 weeks...

My shooting script is done. Double checked it. Now I'm turning it into a shot list. I have to figure the logistics of picking up the actress from the bus station in Baltimore because I probably won't have time to do it.

Day 1 is easy shoot day. Then we move to Matt's and it gets complicated. Things that are worrying me:

--Lighting. I don't have a ton of it--well, I don't have a ton of it that I wouldn't have to dig out of some deep places. Good news, I have replacement bulbs for my 1K Lowel so I don't have to try to find money for those.

The thing is, I have to pump these lights pretty hard outside the windows to simulate moonlight because during the entire piece the power is out. No lights. So it's all "moonlight" from outside plus candles that the actors light plus glowsticks.

I'll be doing a lighting test this weekend to see just how hard this is going to be. Gonna be smoking it up with the fogger to help add a little substance to the blackness also. It almost makes sense because candles WILL be lit,so the smoke's coming from there. Get it?

--Transportation logistics. All the stuff won't fit in my car. It might fit in my wife's truck, but she can't drive my stickshift. I could swipe my parents minivan or my brother's truck, but I still sorta need someone to be able to pick up this actress and get her to set. She's not going to fit in with all my equipment anyway.

--FX. Will it be done it time? Will it be excellent?

--Location. I'm just worried because we're shooting at Matt's, and his parents are going to be home. Upstairs asleep. We shouldn't be TOO noisy, but if you've ever been on a movie set you know how loud crew can get. Also, the actress will be screaming on occasion.

I just hope his parents are prepared. Good news is that the screaming takes place on night 3(the last night), so once we're done, we're done.

Man, didn't think I'd miss shooting in the woods...





Friday, August 28, 2015

Full Court Press On The Book

 Coming down to the wire. And at this point, I'm not even sure how long it will take Amazon's final checkers to go through the book and approve it, so I'm going to try to hand it in early September.

Erik's working on the cover. For some reason he really wants to put my name up top near the title, which just looks egotistical to me. It's not like my name is going to sell the book, so why not just put it down at the bottom?

Have continued scouring the mags/newspapers for pics of interest to include. Not sure why, because the book currently has 692 images in it. It's packed. But that's where I found the Mark of Zorror pic above, and the funny ad below where you can buy a Sony Betamax for only $329! Act now!
Have continued updating the Halloween blog with cool little knick knacks. If you didn't check it out, here ya go. Even has a 20% off at the Spirit Store coupon.
http://halloween-tghoa.blogspot.com/
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On the T-tory wrap front I've cast both lead actors. One is the actress from NY that I wanted. She's agreed, and now the only things I have to worry about is a bus ticket to and from, and her gluten allergy.

Oh, and my current list of things to do is growing big time. So much shit to do, and I really have almost no crew on this thing. It's probably the most important part of the flick, and it turns out it's going to have to be the cheapest. That'll work out, right?

I've decided to rent a Canon Mark III with these lenses(to compliment the ones my brother has for his Mark II--and remind me to check and see if they can use the same batteries and battery attachment)--I'm getting a Canon 50mm 1.2 and the Canon 24mm 1.4 and I'll have my 70mm 1.4 Rokinon.

Do you know what that means? A LOT of blown focus. Imagine this--I'm shooting my actress from 10 feet away with the 50mm 1.2 lens. Know what my depth of field is going to be?
TINY.

And in the dark with no monitor, which is another reason I'm going for the Mark III--they say it's not only better at low-light but the display on it is supposed to be much more accurate than the II.

A little bummed that I can't shoot 4K on my GH4 but what are you gonna do?

So now I'm polishing the shooting script. I have to do a prop list. I have to get some replacement bulbs for my lights(cuz wouldn't that be awesome to get all this shit together to shoot and then I can't light the outside of this house.

Lot to get done, less than a month to do it...