Sunday, February 28, 2016

Some Scripts Are Hard

A long time ago I started a script that I knew was going to be difficult to write. This was about...6-8 years ago. You might remember me joking about calling it Autasm.

There are a lot of pieces of it that are uncomfortably-close to me in it. Don't get me wrong--most of my scripts have little bits and pieces. All characters a writer creates have these little things. But they also have plenty of stuff that's just made up, or taken from people they know.

But in this script it will be very hard to deny that much of this comes straight from me.

Anyway, I've been chipping away at it here and there and finally...I'm down to about the last 20-25 pages of it. I know how it all ends. My only concern now is that I'm basically at the big denouement, and I feel like 20 pages of that with a few pages to wrap it up is too much. Essentially that's 20-25 pages for two scenes.

Feels wrong.  So I'm going to write what I have planned, but I think it's going to come in about ten pages short.

Then I'll have to figure out what to do.

But hey, at that point it will be at the re-writing stage and not really the WRITING stage.

---

Saw The Revenant. I liked it well enough. Beautiful cinematography but man, we get it. You shot a LOT of amazing scenery, clouds and mountains and shit. If your movie is over 2 hours long, though, CUT SOME OF THAT SHIT.

Saw The Witch. Again, okay. Nowhere near as great as people are claiming. And I saw an interview with the DP who's talking about how much "natural light" they used. THAT, my friends, is laughable. All the night scenes have a SUPER bright moon casting its glow from about fifty feet high.

I don't bust anybody's balls on that, though, until they start bullshitting me with the "natural light" crap.

--------

Tomorrow night, if I don't hear from that one filmmaker, I put the pedal to the metal on my next T-tory short. Planning to shoot it in April. Would like to get both shot in April. I'd have a rough copy of both of those to insert into the full flick and could get it to Chad in May so he could start working on it.

Get it back by June in time to premiere then or July at the latest.

That's the current plan.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Insanely cool

You know, nothing about going on a cruise sounds particularly inviting. The possibility of getting a virus that confines me to my tiny cramped room with the vomit shits? Power going out leaving us all huddled and pooping into trash bags? Overpriced everything?

For less money than a cruise I can go to an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas for a week.

About the only thing that draws me to one is that I have a script idea I've been sitting on that takes place on a cruise ship, and my entire experience with them is from watching the Love Boat when I was a kid.

So that was the only reason to go on a cruise.

Until now.

This seems insanely cool. I'd do this over and over for the entire trip. The video is embedded below, but just in case it gets removed here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/cbFtr0wX4ew

Friday, February 19, 2016

Speaking of AE

I'm working on tidying up my shorts for T-tory so they're all ready to be inserted into the movie where they go.

And I'm pretty proud of this subtle effect I did. See, this is the original shot where our guy walks up and sees a sewer pipe sticking out of the ground. Originally he just found a massive hole in the ground, but after some tests it appeared that that was going to be a lot of work to make look realistic, and we found this actual sewer pipe in the woods...

This is what it looks like: (Make sure you do at least 480P and full screen or you won't see it right)

NOTE: WHY THE FUCK DOES BLOGGER REMOVE MY EMBEDDED YOUTUBE LINKS? It happens every once in a while for no explicable reason.

And in case it disappears again, here's the direct link:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZG9y36vv05A

See the problem? It's sealed. Also, I wanted bits of ash and flaky stuff to be floating out. So after some work, including compositing a still image I found on the internet of an open manhole onto its top, and then have to re-build the foreground objects on top of it, I came up with this. It's a custom particle build that just used negative gravity to make things go up instead of down.
And in case it disappears again, here's the direct link:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/yceXcV1U8ZE 

It's not bad, but it might be TOO subtle. Not sure the particles even register. So I went in and messed around with something called CC snowflakes. Man, in the old days you had to create snow from scratch with custom particles and tweaking the settings, but not anymore.
So this is snow, but slowed down quite a bit, enlarged, and then flipped 180 degrees so the snow falls up. (you can't affect gravity with the snowflakes, only the speed of them and it won't go negative)

And in case it disappears again, here's the direct link:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/riTKi22o38k

I like it. It actually took a lot more work. That's 11 different foreground masks, all keyframed individually because everything is in a different plane of 3D space and the perspective changes a bit.

I'll probably tweak it a bit more, but it's not bad, especially considering how difficult it is working with that foreground fence.

-------

My kid got detention today. Hashtag so proud.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Insane Free Premiere CC Presets...

Remember when I mentioned that Deadpool was edited on Premiere? Well, the dude who edited it let out a link to a BUNCH of presets they used on the movie...FOR FREE.

WTF?

I know, you can get them here(there's 2 links to 2 different zip files) http://vashivisuals.com/deadpool-premiere-pro-presets/

It's funny that one of them is something I've done for a while--whenever I'm trying to add realistic motion to a camera shot, I've tracked an actual random camera shot then used that tracking data on whatever shot I need.

It's definitely more realistic than just doing "wiggle" stuff in AE. I'm talking vague because I know about 1% of you are going to know what I'm talking about.

Way back on GOH I need the camera to shake every time the "Servant" walked--I tried the wiggle and it just never looked right. So I put a camera on the ground and we stomped near it a couple of times. I then motion tracked those shots and applied it to the movie. Looked much better.

----------

Went out for a steak for a late Valentine's Day with the wife. I haven't had real food in 2 weeks so it was pretty great. Afterward, since I was already cheating, we swung by the 7-11 because it's been that long since I had a Slurpee.

The Slurpee Gods were not pleased. Every one worked except the Cola--the one I wanted.

We watched Trainwreck. It's...okay. Certainly not as good as everybody says, and man did it feel long.

Watched Final Girls the other night with Luke and my brother. Surprisingly good. Not top ten, like everybody else but still a lot of fun.

-----

Just sent that serial killer--you know, the one caught with my movie--a letter. I've confirmed this time exactly where he is. We'll see what he says. I'm not sure if they'll let me interview him. It'd be a 4 hour trip each way, but probably worth it

------

Dan--the filmmaker whose story I like for T-tory--gave me a call. Went over a couple of ideas, asked some questions. I think he's ready to write it, so I told him to get on it.

Haven't heard from the other guy. Coincidentally, I broke down my script. Had to learn a newer version of MM Scheduler. It's...weird. I'll probably get used to it.

Either way, I have a complete prop list, and a shooting script of sorts--since it's found footage there really isn't much of that. We really need a lot of time for blocking and rehearsing, so we can get whole takes right on the first or second try.

-------
See how I tricked ya to keep reading? BEWBS.
There's a guy who interviewed me about 5 years ago--he's local. Anyway, a couple of years back he started trying to shoot stuff at the local community college. Little mini-scenes and stuff, just trying to learn it. He'd send me links and I'd give him my thoughts.

They were pretty bad. Like, not even understanding how eyelines work at all. And because they were using the college's cameras, they were sort of set where they were set. So he'd have a weird 3 shot, followed by a close up from the same side as the wide. It was UGLY.

Anyway, he recently hit me up and this is what he sent me: Titled Panicing over next shoot

> Hi K:
>
> I just found out one of my actors NAME HERE in my next project was
> in a couple of your films. I haven't met him yet, but great guy from
> what I can tell by email.
>
> I'm panicking a bit on the project itself and would love your feedback
> on stuff. The shoot is March 12-14 but the cast is really strong and
> I'm scared the result will be crappy. I'm paying the actors
> practically nothing and am hoping for lots of volunteers to help as
> crew.
>
> My main panic is that the shots won't be done in the time I have the
> location for and that the set dressing will look crappy. The set
> designer I know wants $1000/day or $125/hr, which seems pretty high to
> me.
>
> Have you ever had these feelings?

So I said this:

>Sure, panic is normal. Terror too. :)
>The #1 thing you need to do is BE PREPARED. Have a shooting script AND a shot list--the shot
>list will tell you what order you shoot your shots in, so you don't stand around going "What 
>should I shoot next...?" I normally draw a top-down diagram of the location like a square box, and
> I put a letter on each side, like A will be up top, B will be on the right, C on bottom, D on left. 
>Then figure out what direction each shot is in(how many "A" shots you have), then break the 
>shot list down so you shoot as many of the A's as you can, then B's, etc. This means much less 
>time moving lights/cameras, etc.
>
> VISUALIZE it all ahead of time.
> And yeah, NAME is pretty cool. He's just very "hollywood". Says a lot of stuff he probably
> doesn't mean. All super-nice stuff. :)
>$1K a day to set design? Is he/she bringing a lot of props and set dressing for that, or just 
>showing up? I've never paid a set designer. Technically I'd like one, but wouldn't CONSIDER
>that. Fuck, you don't pay a cameraman $1K/day around here so who the fuck that person thinks 
>he/she is...crazy...
>
> Good luck!

I didn't hear back from him for a while. Then he just got back to me today with this:

> Hi K:
>
> As I told you, I'm shooting a SAG approved project March 12 and 13 (a
> script I wrote) and my sound guy just dropped out today. This problem
> is that he was really good. Do you know someone who can help? Some
> scenes need lavs and some need 2 booms. I was going to pay him $75/day
> (which I know is nothing compared to what they get professionally) but
> am willing to haggle. How much should I expect to pay?
>
> Thanks for any hints.
>
> It's just one thing after another.

I won't comment other than to show my response:

>2 booms? You shouldn't ever need 2 booms...(unless you're shooting multiple cameras where
> multiple people aren't right next to each other, and if you're doing that then why the fuck are you
>doing that?)
>Besides, paying 1 guy...how's he gonna boom 2 booms? You got a boom guy separate?
>I don't have anybody for sound who would do it--my last couple of shoots I just lav'd 
>everybody because I never had more than 2 people in a scene, then just foley'd any sounds that 
>weren't good.
>
>Most sound guys are a minimum $150/day, and then you'd need boom guys--they won't boom 
>and do sound..
>
>And I feel ya--yeah, making movies ain't easy, and with very little upside. I don't encourage 
>people to do it for that very reason--I only do it because I'm compelled to...

So, there's that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fugue State


Past couple of days sorta just went by. Day to day it normally take me like ten seconds to figure out what day of the week it is.

Did another pass on my new T-tory script and passed it on to Zig. I think it's pretty entertaining--folks who get scared will probably get scared by this one.

BUT WAIT--

I was waiting for those other guys, right? Update on that:
1) Was the guy whose idea I definitely like, and I'll be on set the whole time to make sure it's all usable. I talked to him in early January and he said he would work on the script. I've texted him a couple times, says he's working on it.

Today he sends me a 2-page treatment. It took him a month to do a 2-page treatment? When will I get the script, September? So this worries me. I texted him and said he needed to get off of his ass because he needs two months of prep for the shot list/shooting script/FX work/casting and everything else. That means, if he were done today, he'd be shooting early April. That's what needs to happen, but he's not done today.

2) The other guy who we thought was out because of lack of communication--he's back in. He said. At least, he told Mark that a couple of weeks ago. But STILL we have no final script. Worrisome.

3) The third was another guy who's local and has done a movie that has a hardcore following, so it would be nice to have him in. But he turned in the script today and it's fucking terrible. Like, first-time writer terrible. Missing punctuation, and ALL OF THE ACTION IS IN CAPS. ALL OF IT. LIKE: HE WALKS OVER TO THE TABLE AND TAKES A DRINK

Just like that, with no period at the end.

4) The other filmmaker who does a lot of gore/boobs--his script's not terrible but it's pretty uninspiring. Predictable with one of those trick endings pretty much everybody will see coming.

It all leads to...

5) Me. I don't REALLY want to do another segment. But when the choices are to put a severely-inferior piece in the movie or to do my own I feel like I don't have a choice.

Deadline for these people to turn me in something decent is the end of the month. That's when I just say fuck it and start breaking my script down and looking at the logistics of it. Once I start doing that, I'm all in.

PS: I had time to make this. I only did it because of the funny Bernie/Hillary Matrix one.

via GIPHY


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Weird Dream

Just putting it down so I don't forget.

In my dream I woke up and I was in my house, except I had a screening room that fit like 100 seats with a big screen. Which is absurd given the size of my house.

More absurd was that there was a lot of people there, because apparently I had a screening of Bounty. I started taking questions, answered some, then some guy raises his hand and I realize it's Rick(from HH). Who I haven't talked to in like 10 years.

Dream-morph to later, everybody's gone except Ganz and I. He apologizes for basically disappearing, says it was his new wife who had him eject everybody from his life. I laugh, and say that's exactly what happened with his FIRST wife--which it did.

We chit chat and I ask him if he wants to do a new commentary for HH.He says maybe. We go out in my backyard(not sure why) but it turns into a parking lot somewhere with a building. And it's windy.

I look in the air and see a plane in the distance being buffeted around and I say, "Man, I'm glad I'm not on that flight..." and then the plane starts pinwheeling around, then plummets. It's fucking terrifying to watch in the dream, but it falls below where I can see it because of the treeline, and there's an explosion.

We're both like "Holy shit!". Little shook up. Weirdly though, we go into the building because Bullet is there--from FOC2. Rick somehow knows him, even though Rick wasn't in FOC2.

Bullet's funny as always, but then I remember that my buddy Luke was supposed to come home that morning on a flight, and I'm starting to think "What if that was his plane that went down?"

Then I woke up. It's all weird.

Also, for some reason I can't walk. I'm getting massive shooting pains in my left buttock when I move that leg. I took an Oxy--nothing. I took a benzo something or other(muscle relaxer), did nothing. Finally took a tramadol that my wife had. That did the trick.

Now I can walk with a limp, but I fell back asleep for like 4 hours and when I woke up it was back to square one. Another tramadol.

Fuck.

---

Sorta the rough/not so rough cover I've been working on for the HH Blu:

Weird, the back of the cover seems awfully orange when I flatten it. Will have to fix that.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Nothing Big

So, diet starts today. I've had a slurpee every day of the past 7 days in prep for the long hard drive coming up. Not exactly sure of my weight, but I'm definitely up there. Probably 215ish is my guess(and my guesses are always pretty good). Will know after I wake up and weigh myself.

Gotta get back to 200, which is a decent place to hover. Too many late-night nachos, and two-meal days. Need the metabolism to get back up, so gotta start eating tiny bits lots of times during the day.

----

We're now on hour 28 of the new HH render. It's 77% through the 2nd VBR pass. Then I'll take that blu-ray version and export the dvd-size one from that so it doesn't have to go through the rigamarole of all the FX/color correction rendering.

---

Powered through Fargo Season 2. Gotta say--with the first season, it's probably the strongest two consecutive seasons of TV I've ever seen. Writing and directing-wise, nearly flawless. Dunno who Noah Hawley is, but he's a pretty amazing writer.

Then finished the new Homeland season. Pretty decent.

Then watched all 10 of the new Leftovers season. That was actually better than I expected. I was a little afraid Lindelof was setting up a bunch of mysteries he wasn't going to solve, but he solved them and ended the season in such a way that if there's no season 3 it's still pretty satisfying.

If you get the impression I'm trying to catch up on my TV, you got it. I'm way behind. They're stacking up.

-------

No word from those other filmmakers on the T-tory front. So, here's my plan I'm going to tell Mark when I talk to him next.

If I don't have a script from both of those guys by the end of February, I'm going to go into motion on mine. Start breaking it down, casting, everything--plan to shoot late March or early April. Once I start that plan in motion, one of those filmmakers is out.

First one to hand in his script is in, and the other guy is the loser in musical chairs.

Next anthology I'll just fucking do it all myself. The level of poser-director in MD is off the fucking charts, I'll tell you that.

---

On the writing front, I've recently had two pretty great ideas pop into my head. One which I can't remember if I mentioned--or just thought of mentioning--is this SUPER hard-boiled, violent thing. I don't have the broad strokes, but this character keeps fucking TALKING to me, man. That's always a great thing--it's the way HH was. Aric kept writing himself.

This guy is funny in a brutal, brutal way.

The other idea, to be very vague, has pieces of Ex Machina and Enemy Mine(if Enemy Mine had been any good) with some Aliens thrown in because, let's face it, Aliens is mutherfucking amazing. I have a hard time NOT writing things that are influenced by Aliens.

I keep being struck by the idea that I'm really just one great screenplay from being rich. So I should probably do something about that, right? This scraping by shit is for the birds.