Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another Christmas Gone...


Part of me is really pretty tired of Christmas. Just part of me. It's weary of the same routine every year.

Another part of me enjoys not taking the kid to school, getting to see family and whatnot.

Another part of me is irritated that I never get to watch all the Xmas movies I want to get to. I fully intended to watch Die Hard, The Ref, and Christmas Vacation--three of my favorites. I didn't watch a single one of those.

The other night I got on a Xmas horror kick, so I watched:

  • Silent Night, Deadly Night - Always fun. 
  • Home For the Holidays(1972) - featuring a very young Sally Fields and the mom from Arrested Development. It's not a great movie.
  • The Children(2008) - I think I had seen this before a long time ago, but then again perhaps this was just familiar as a remake. Not bad.
  • Red Xmas - This is not very good. It's on Netflix. 
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night - also called Death House. Features a young Mary Woronov. Pretty mediocre.
  • Bad Santa 2 - not horror, but I've been saving it on my Netflix cue for months so I could see it at Xmas. I liked the first one, and this is more of that, so it was fun.
Today, went over to my parents' house first to see my sisters who were in town from Wisconsin. Hung out for a while, then headed to the inlaws for dinner(cuz my Mom didn't make turkey for the first time in years.).

Fairly uneventful gifts, since the wife and I gave each other a trip to Cancun this year, and had agreed not to get each other anything. (we still did, but nothing big)

From the parents and inlaws and whatnot, got a lot of Amazon gift certificates(they're the BEST), a couple of Burger King certificates(also great), and a 7-11 certificate. Do these people know me, or what?

-------------


Continuing my work on the video for the banquet. Slow going, and it looks more and more like we're gonna come up short...which will lead me to try to wing it and come up with other ideas.

I've worked every day on it since Wednesday. Christmas Eve alone I worked from 2pm-5pm, went to the inlaws, then came back and worked on it from 9pm-3am).

Today(Christmas) was the shortest. I started work at about 11pm and will work on it until about 6am. It's not a full 7 hours, cuz I played an hour of video games, then the 15 minutes it takes to write this blog and check my emails.

Hard to believe another year's gone by and that list of screenplays I've started but not finished didn't shrink by a single one. I've put off writing for a while, with all the editing I've done, so when January rolls around I really want to get back into it.

Of course, Ttory 2 looms, so I'll be doing the finishing touches on that, and keeping an eye on the weather cuz the 2nd I get a decent weekend, we're going out to shoot the final segment.

More and more though, I'm thinking about releasing it in October. It's probably safest, though it delays me getting any of my money back until January of 2019. (That's when I get paid for October 2018 earnings)

Anyway. Back to work. Here's another pic.


UPDATE:

Forgot, in one of my fantasy football leagues, I made it to the superbowl. (it's the 3rd time in 5 years)

I just checked, cuz I was expected to lose according to estimates, but lookit that! (I'm Nevin)


If you wanna know what a superbowl team looks like, here ya go:
(Note, Blake Bortles was a late pickup because Alex Smith was sucking for a while)

Also of note, I lost the first 3 weeks in a row, so I figured my team was gonna suck for the rest of the year. This is the 2nd time in those five years that I won the superbowl. Too bad it's a free league.

Bragging rights though!




Friday, December 22, 2017

The Bad Blogging Continues


December looks to be my worst month of blogging in a long time, and it's not gonna change.

Part of the blame falls on the new car I bought, that I then had to take back to have fixed FOUR times in three weeks since I bought it. Knock on wood, they may have found the issue. I've had the car now for a whole week without the light coming on.

The rest of the blame is now the freelance work I get smashed with at the last minute every year.

I went in and shot the videos they put online for the auction, then came home and edited for about 20 of 26 hours to get them up ASAP since the auction is January 6th. I won't complain--the paycheck in January is always nice.

Then I started the After Effects-intensive banquet video that needs to be done by the time I leave on January 4th for L.A. It's going to be pretty challenging to meet that deadline without giving up my holidays completely.

But again...money. I do have a car payment now...

My lawyer got me a check today for the accident that caused this whole car debacle in the first place. Not a bad little sum for the hassle and injury.

There's some weird family shit going on that I could probably talk about in vagaries(is that how that word is spelled?) but not sure if I should. Maybe soon.

Haven't been watching a ton of Christmas stuff yet. Saw a fun bad movie called Elves the other night at Zig's. We'd seen the new Wars movie, and I am not a fan. The weirdest part is how rabid the people who like it are about how MISTAKEN you are to not love it.

Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll detail the reasons I didn't like it. Besides it having a bad script, giving all of SW the middle finger, and treating Luke like a petulant little baby, as if the writer had only seen the first movie and neglected to see how Luke was becoming a badass in Jedi.

Anyway...am prolly gonna try to watch Die Hard and Vacation. Been a couple of years for the Ref, which is one of my favorites. Just not sure how much time I've got to watch stuff.

Here, watch this.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Car Probs Continue



Ever buy a car so you don't have to worry about car problems, but then the car has to go in for service 4 times in the 18 days since you bought it?

Yeah, me too!

At the instant I'm writing this, my car is BACK in the shop and I'm carless for the fourth time in 18 days since I bought it. I actually picked it up last night, and only got 5 miles away from the dealer before the check engine light came back on.

I am SUPER out of patience about this. I have a lot of stuff to do, and ain't got time for this...

So that's one of the reason I haven't posted much in blogland. I haven't done much on the movie either.

I did go out and shoot some drone footage in the snow, and during a sunset when I was down Ttory's way. Mostly just for fun.

Wanna see?

This is on my road from different angles:
https://youtu.be/zDC-GhViH2o?t=2m32s

It's neat that all that snow barely gets on the drone as a result of the propellers going so fast. Biggest issue was all the snow that gets on my Kindle Fire(which is what I use to see what the drone sees).

Would like to make it back to that asylum I visited a month or so back, but it looks like we're leaving for L.A. on January 4th, so I have even less time than I thought to do the video for the banquet...


Thursday, December 07, 2017

Missing Imaginary Places



I've been a gamer for almost my entire life. I'm sure many kids nowadays can say that, but I'm a 47 year old guy.

I remember when my parents brought home a little box that they plugged into the wooden-console television set, and suddenly we could play a game of pong on the TV screen.

After that was the amazing Atari 2600, with its Pitfall and Space Invaders and Breakout and more.

My school got the new Apple IIE, and I got my first taste of text adventure games. Oregon Trail. Adventure.

I followed that up with my favorite machine of all time--the Atari 800XL. Sure it had the regular games like Miner 2049er, Shamus, Donkey Kong, Lode Runner...but it was the Infocom adventure games that I loved the most. Zork I, II and III. Planetfall. Stationfall. Deadline. Cutthroats. I loved these games so much that I learned to program so that I could make them.

There was a time in college when I didn't game THAT much. I was still playing games on the Atari 800XL, but many of the text-based adventure gave way to games like Alternate Reality and The Bard's Tale(that we played on my buddy's Commodore 64). I played a fascinating game called M.U.L.E. for more hours than I'd like to admit, and got my roommates hooked on it too.

I got a Dreamcast some time after that. Soul Caliber. Crazy Taxi. Shenmue. And my first taste of a Resident Evil game in Codename Veronica. (the first game that ever actually scared me)

Years later came the Xbox, and my first taste of true addiction in the Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind game. Also my first taste of online play as I met a group of people who I am still friends with online to this day, twenty years later. One of them even passed away a few years back, which left a very
strange feeling. Losing someone you feel is a friend, a person you've talked to for many nights and yet never met...there's really nothing quite like it.

That game that brought us all together was Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. I still own it, and will never sell it. The memories of playing that game will stay with me forever, and whether you think that's cool or sad depends on whether you're a gamer or not. In particular I'll never forget one lonely New Year's Eve when a bunch of us got together online to play the game until the sun came up the next day.

After a while though came Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, one of the greatest shooters to ever grace a console. I was still playing it on the original Xbox when the Xbox 360 came out, and they released a new version that you had to buy for full price to play on the 360, even if you'd bought it on the Xbox. I gladly did, and continued playing the game, and it was even better on the 360.

More Battlefield games followed, and more Elder Scrolls(Oblivion sucked many, many hours from me, and then Skyrim was even more), and then Fallout 3.

Of course I got the Xbox One when it came out. Battlefield 4 was a disaster at launch, but after a few months was fixed and was the best Battlefield game since Bad Company 1. Fallout 4 was amazing. Dying Light and State of Decay were simply glorious, and set new standards for how great zombie games could be. The remastered Skyrim took more hours from me than the original play of it did.

The above isn't what I set out to talk about, but sometimes when the fingers get going, I digress.

The phenomenon I meant to talk about doesn't apply to the single-player, non-online games. The phenomenon is what happens when a game you've been playing online for literally years suddenly goes dark. The servers all go down. You cannot play the game anymore. You cannot visit the places you've been spending hours and hours in.

I'm not kidding. I can vividly remember the maps from Wolfenstein. The Barn. The Chateau. The Village.

The Battlefield 2 maps. Deadly Pass. Backstab. A Bridge Too Far.

It's strange that you can miss a place that doesn't actually exist, but you can. I've never heard any other gamers talk about it, but when I've mentioned it to some, they nod and get a far-away look in their eyes. They remember those games, whatever those games are for them.

I think if you've ever read a great book then maybe you can identify a little. It's similar to the feeling you get knowing you can never read that book again for the first time. Never have that feeling you got, discovering its secrets.

It's a bit of that, and just the nostalgia of a place you knew every nook and cranny of, whether it was real or not.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Holy shit, 10 Days Since An Update?


Man, been a busy couple of weeks. See, my wife's truck was acting up...she's had windows that won't go up anymore, and you can't even push them up. At one time we had been able to push them up and--I shit you shot--tape them up with packing tape so they stayed up and rain wouldn't come in.

Now there's a garbage bag taped over the one. Super ghetto.

Then I think I mentioned how the electrical system is all fucked. I had to disconnect her battery after midnight at one point because the alarm would just randomly go on and off. Now as she's driving it's like a poltergeist--locks clicking on and off, the lights flashing.

She started looking for a new truck, and since my piece of shit is ready to die, so did I. See, November's supposedly the best month to get a new car.

I'll skip the long boring parts of the story about doing research on what cars I looked at and liked, what's in my price range, etc.

My wife bought a newer model of her same truck. It's nice. She paid quite a bit for it though. Her car payments are UGLY.

I went to a place and looked at a Dodge Avenger, but was suspicious of a few things on it.

Went to another place with the intention to look at a Sonata(since when did Hyundai start making okay cars?), but saw a Chevy Malibu I liked. I drove it, and was like--screw the Sonata. I told the salesman there if he could knock off $400 from their price, I'd buy it on the spot.

(you may think that's just bad bargaining, but the price they had the car at was already under NADA price)

And here's the weird part...the manager said he'd only knock off $87. That basically made is an even $100 increment.

I told them I'd walk if they couldn't do better. They said sorry. So I started walking out, expecting them to stop me.

They didn't.

I went to a couple of other places and looked at other cars, but didn't like any of them as much as the Malibu. All the other Malibu's that I looked at were almost $2000 more for the same car. This was the day before Thanksgiving.

Took a day for Thanksgiving. Smallest one ever. My brother's family didn't come to my parents's house because they're still hurting over my nephew's death, and they felt like they would have a hard time doing the traditional thing without him.

It was literally my parents, me and my brother Mike. It was super quiet.

Then went to my in-laws, and they only have like 8 people there. A lot of them have died off, or are very sick in their old age, so it's nowhere near as big as it used to be.

Bonus picture for long post!

Anyway, came home early and went back to the online research. Can't find another Malibu for anywhere near what this one was, so I'm beginning to think I should have bought it. I call my dad and tell him--let's go see if they still have it tomorrow(Black Friday), and if they do I'll get it.

He's like, well, if we're gonna do it, let's get there when they open. No sense taking the chance that they'll sell it before we get there.

That's what we do. We're there when they open. Car's still there. I buy it.

So now after 15 years, I have a new car. (well, it's 2014, but it's new to me)

Same day I bought it, the check engine light comes on. I'm like...seriously? (keep in mind, one of the reasons I like this car is because it's got SUPER high reliability ratings)

On Saturday morning I take it back, but nobody is there who can service it--the sales guy, who's very nice by the way, tells me to bring it back Monday morning first thing.  I do. Long story short(too late), they clean a sensor and it's back to normal, but they say that if the code comes back I may have to take it to the actual Chevy dealer in Dundalk. (it's all covered under warranty though)

But now I got a car payment again, which I certainly haven't missed having.

-----

Hey, did I mention that I got the Ttory 2 poster back from the guy? Man, it's freaking sweet. I may tweak it a bit, and when I'm ready to reveal it to the world I'll post the different versions and see if I can get some of you lurkers to vote on which one you think is best.

On the movie front, I went in and did all the subtle blurring in that one scene. It was a LOT of work. Frame by frame tracking of three different people in the frame(the camera was hand-held, and there were foreground objects the whole time, so no way was AE's tracker gonna do it). Then one I had a tracker, I had to frame by frame mask the faces(the foreground objects moved, so the masks have to change,)

It definitely looks better now, but I may further try some effects. The good news is that now that I have the tracker and the masks, the hard part is done. I can simply mess around with different things to see what works or what doesn't.

---

On the fucked up front, did you know I've put two of the Making Of's from my films up on A-zon with new footage? I put up the first FOC Making of as a test case, and literally have not gotten ONE minute logged.

I'm thinking...that can't be right. I know SOMEONE has looked at it. I then ASKED someone to watch a couple of minutes to see if it got logged.

It did not.

I contact A-zon and tell them that there's something wrong with their system. After 3 days they get back to me and tell me that they now know this is an issue and are working on it.

So I'm left to wonder...how are they going to figure out how many minutes were watched? Will it be accurate? Are ANY of my movies accurate? Maybe October WASN'T the worst month ever, maybe they just aren't recording the numbers right.

How does one audit them?

It's insane. But either way, I put the Making of GOH up there with a super exploitative poster I threw together in like a half hour. See, look:
You can get to them both here:
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=kevin+kangas

I put all the Making Of supplements from the Blu Ray together, and started with the strip club scene. I figure that might get some people to watch it, right? Boobies!

On the book front, it appears that once you start selling books, you start selling more books. I've sold 27 books this month. 27 Halloween books in the month of November. How weird.

But I'm not complaining. Passive money, ya know? I've done the work already.

Anyway, December's about to be here so I'm gonna get slammed with actual paying work. The auction video, the banquet video, then prepping to leave the first week of January to Los Angeles for the big auction.

All that means a big check in January, though, so that's cool. I'm gonna have my first car payment that month...


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Crazy Neighbors



I have posted about some of the craziness with my neighbors in the past. A quick search pops these other posts of mine up if you're bored:

http://maykillyou.blogspot.com/2007/05/desperate-housewives-my-neighborhood.html

http://maykillyou.blogspot.com/2011/05/goin-ons.html

http://maykillyou.blogspot.com/2007/06/desperate-housewives-my-neighborhood.html

Anyway...my long-time neighbor to our left...not sure if I mentioned him before. He gets pretty crazy drunk a lot. Knocks on our door when he's drunk and babbles crazy shit.

Few years back his wife all of a sudden left in her car with their kids. My neighbor tells me that his wife's mother is sick, and she's going away to take care of her for a while. But she never comes back. The story changes to his wife got a job in Pennsylvania, so they're just going to live apart for a while.

Yeah, they're divorced now.

Anyway. He recently started hooking up with some other girl. She's apparently recently divorced from her husband, but they still have a thing. At one point her husband came over at about 4am in his truck, pounded on my neighbor's door. (I feel like I blogged about this, but can't find the post)

Then this girl moved in with my neighbor, but a few weeks later he threw all her shit out on the porch and told her to leave.

But now they're back together again. Sorta.

Two nights ago my neighbor knocks on our door. He's like, "Did you see somebody come by my house yesterday?" I didn't. He says a bunch of stuff is missing from his house.

Then last night I walk out the door to get a slurpee and the girl is across the street. She sees me and rushes over. "Hey, can you drive me to my house?"

I'm a little confused, and of course, I really want nothing to do with any of this shit. She says, "He went crazy, threw me and my TV out." I look, and can see a flat screen TV laying in the yard.

"Where do you live?" I ask her. She tells me "right up the street".

I say fine. We drive up the road a bit and she's like "Make a left at the light", and I realize, this is not going to be right up the street. Then she gets a call. It's one of her friends, who has already come to pick her up. She's like "Take me back, my place is pretty far away anyway."

I pull a fucking U-turn right there in the middle of the road and take her back. She's like "You're such a sweetheart", and I'm thinking that if this happens again I'm gonna murder her. Her friend is waiting in front of my house as I pull up.

Haven't heard from my neighbor since, but I can tell you that he's gonna hear it from me. I don't mind if he wants to fuck crazy chicks, as long as he keeps me out of this shit.

All that and the fucking slurpee machine wasn't working when I got there.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Dumb Stuff

Man, I gotta compose these posts first, because when I put up the pictures...sometimes I get...distracted. Mesmerized.

Anyway, my wife LOVES stupid shit.

I can't post this on FB, cuz she'd see it. Technically she's on there, though you wouldn't know it because I made her account and gave her a fake name on account of some of my "fans" on FB who decide that because I'm "friends" with them, they should be friends with all of my relatives too.

So we're on the blog for this.

I'm a 110% functionality over form. I don't give a shit what ANYTHING looks like as long as it does its job. That pot holder keep me from burning my hand? I don't care if it has a picture of a giant cock on it.

My wife is the opposite. "Oh my gosh, that pot holder is SO pretty, let me get it!" and then the fucking thing doesn't work AT ALL.

Case in point. Our kitchen trash can. We used to have one of those rotating-top ones, you know. You put a piece of trash on it and it swivels so the trash drops in. Worked PERFECT.

But she saw this AMAZING trash can that has a sensor so we you wave in front of it or put trash near it, the top pops open and stays open for like 5 seconds and then shuts again.

Let's say you're peeling carrots or a banana, or anything that requires that trash can to be open for more than 5 seconds. You are fucked. You are waving at this thing multiple times.

And then changing it? You gotta pull the top off(and when you do that, the sensor pops open the lid, making it all the more annoying)--then you have to pull the entire interior trash can out just to get to the trash bag for removal.

It's a piece of shit.

How about the bathroom? Used to be a spray can in there for when smells got bad. Now we have an automatic THING that sits on the back of the toilet and randomly SPITS odor things at you. So you're peeing in the middle of the night and all of a sudden--HISS!--this thing spits at you, startling you.

OR, you're taking a shit, and it decides that's a great time to spray you in the back. Awesome.

The ultimate example of this was when we got out new oven a couple of years ago. I didn't know until we had a pumpkin party, but she had put a big mat on the bottom of the oven. To catch grease or something, but it looked mostly decorative to me.

Problem was, we turned on the oven and it wouldn't heat. Couldn't figure it out at all until I looked inside and saw that she'd covered the vents on the bottom of the oven. SHOCKING that it wouldn't work.

Man, this blog post really broke some ground, didn't it? That's gonna be like 5 minutes you'll never get back.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wrap 99% Edited


Took a little break from the movie last week. Then this past weekend I hit the wrap again. Added in the foley and looping and video that we picked up a while back that I'd neglected in my prep for the Fountain segment.

Went through the whole wrap and tweaked it, fixed some little spots that were bothering me. Pretty much the only things not done are the two VFX shots we're working on. Otherwise it plays through pretty well.

Now I'm working on the opening and closing credits of the film. Rendering the opening flare takes like 2 hours, and it's like a 10 second shot.

Also working on some other shit.

Hey, did I mention the final tally of books sold in October? 63. That's pretty good. Did over 30 books in September, so nearly 100 books in two months, and the weird part is that I've sold 13 in November...even though the holiday is behind us...

The movie's continue to be SUPER slow lately. October was, by far, the worst month of streaming I've ever had. No idea why.

Man, this year has flown by. Thanksgiving next week, Xmas right around the corner...

And fuck the cold weather. I've already had enough of it.  When's spring?

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

To Boldly Go Where We're Not Allowed



Turns out we were lucky that actress forced me to cancel. An unexpected rain moved in the entire weekend, so it would have screwed me anyway.

Had a relaxed weekend. Watched some decent UFC fights. Saw Thor. (it's a lot of fun)

Then, since we had the camera rental anyway, me and my brother Mike decided to go out to an abandoned asylum I had just found out about. I took my drone.

We head with a rough idea of where it is, but not sure where we're going to park; the place is supposedly guarded, so you have to park on a side road and walk in through woods.

I drove--and we pulled to the side of a road and got out, started walking towards where we thought it was. Immediately three people come out of the woods where we're going. Some guy and two attractive girls.

He yells to us--tells us not to park there, cuz the guards will drive by, see the car, and know somebody's on the grounds. He tells us where to park--down the hill where they're going.

I drive us down there, and we meet the guy. He takes girls into decaying places and shoots nudes and partial nudes with them. He's actually super talented too. Has some great shots. He gives us some instructions on the best way to go about not getting caught. It was a real lucky run-in.

Mike and I head in, and I realize from Google maps that this place is like less than 3 miles away from that big bad agency that spies on us. So no way am I flying a drone there.

Moving through the woods is a path, and just to get the mood set quickly for visitors, there are asbestos masks hung along the trail, leading the way.

(I took this pic on the way back, and we ended up on a different trail that didn't have as many masks--next time I go I'll get a shot of the bunch of them hanging along the trail.)

We cross through a creepy one-story building that's the best way to stay off the main road and make your way to the big building.


In that creepy building is all sorts of creepy stuff. Broken piano. Adult-sized cribs. Weird restraining chair. Lotta graffiti, some of it very good.

Like this one:


And like this mushroom with grass growing near it.

Here's a few pics of other stuff there.



That last one is me, getting ready to go in. I took my steel baton. Ya know, to clear spiderwebs.

We hustled across the road and I heard the big golf cart that the guards drive. It passes our road farther down, not turning in. We make it to the main building. This is the back side of it.

We went inside. The place is supposedly haunted. I didn't get that vibe, but it's certainly creepy. And something weird happened when we first got on the premises.

I was having a VERY hard time focusing crisply with the camera. This is the same camera and lens I've shot a TON of Ttory 1 and 2 on, and I've never had issues.  I mentioned it to Mike.

He ends up using his camera while I shoot with the rented one, and he gets the same problem with a lens of his. He thinks his lens is broke. But then he uses Live View rather than the viewfinder, and he can see that it focuses fine.

I do the same thing, and yeah, it's fine. So for some reason both camera's viewfinders showed things blurry when they weren't. Pretty odd.

One of the rooms I found had VERY IMPORTANT information about my past. I was very happy to find this out, and will let my parents know I found this out when next I see them.


This is bottom floor:

We were looking for the morgue, but couldn't find it. It was weird, we thought we scoured every floor, but the layout is weird.

It started getting dark FAST. And lemme tell ya, if you think it's creepy during the day, you are gonna LOVE the night...

We saw this cool graffiti on our way out:


We realize we didn't take a great look at WHERE we came in from. We know what direction, but we can't find the exact entrance to the woods that we took. So we take another trail, and eventually find our way out of there.

It was cool. I think we'll go back and explore some more, find that morgue, and there's also apparently a mass grave that may actually have some bodies starting to show up due to ground erosion and not-too-deep burials.

This was me getting ready to head into the darkness when we first got there.


Anyway, I figure this weekend I'll start taking a serious look at finishing all of the pieces of Ttory 2 that I have done. Starting with the main story.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Fuck ALL that shit...



Called the whole shoot off. Feels pretty good, actually.

See, did I mention that one actress who auditioned for TWO segments(not including this one) and that I cast in this segment based on those two auditions--she's gone MIA. Couple weeks ago I'd asked if she was available for this coming weekend, and she said yes.

We've heard nothing since.

Zig thought she'd responded to his original emails when I put him on the job, but she hadn't.

I tried today to recast the role at the last minute, but couldn't get someone. Good news for my brother, cuz he's got a free camera for the weekend to go out and shoot whatever he wants. Better news for me, cuz I guess I can go see Thor this weekend, plus there's a PPV UFC fight I was gonna have to miss.

I'm gonna stop sweating this segment, as it's clearly cursed. I'll shoot it in the spring, you know? Meanwhile I'll work on the putting together the rest of the flick. People ask me--"So when's it gonna come out?"

And I have to reply, "I have no fucking idea."

-----

Went out to a party with the wife last night. Lotta young people there. I put together a last minute costume--grabbed one of the many vintage clown outfits I have, and because I didn't want to put on greasepaint--I just grabbed a latex mask we used in GOH.

And let me tell you--this thing TERRIFIED people. Kids didn't wanna come into my yard. My wife didn't want to look at me.

I wish I had someone qualified to take a picture with a real camera so you could see it well, but here's two pics of it from a shitty iphone:

The first pic is from the party. The 2nd pic is at my house beforehand, and before I actually put on the big red clown shoes, which made walking around pretty tough.

This is most of the people at the party toward the end. You can sorta see me there in the back.
But seriously, if I figure out a story to do with my S&M Clown, I may totally do it. Why not?

Meanwhile, I successfully did the 31 day challenge. Here they are, with some small commentary after each.
1) Cult of Chucky - Decent fun, but you gotta see the previous one or you'll be pretty lost
2) Prom Night 2 - A fun 80's horror flick. Had never seen it.
3) Hell House llc - not bad for found footage. Had some cool parts, and bonus for being set near Halloween.
4) Don't Kill It - Pretty so so
5) Young Frankenstein - Man, I forgot how hot Terri Garr was...and did she just stop acting?
6) Little Evil - Didn't impress me. Not funny or scary for the most part
7) Demonic - Pretty by-the-book horror flick
8) Rec 4 - decent if predictable for the most part. Doesn't end like the "finale" of the series that it claims to be.
9) The Reaping - funny, I'd never seen this. It was okay. Had Charlie Brewster from Fright Night in it.
10) Old 37 - Pretty run of the mill with a terrible ending
11) The Barn - I don't wanna bag on this too much, cuz these guys are basically in my realm of budget, but I don't get what all the acclaim is about. The script is BAD, man, which I could forgive if it had a lot of good gore, but it doesn't. The pumpkin guy looks cool and the miner is okay, but the      scarecrow is really bad. Dunno.
12) Friday the 13th Part 4 - Still fun.
13) The Babysitter - This was one weird movie, but I liked it. Funny, quirky horror flick.
14) We Are Still Here - Decent little haunted house movie with some familiar faces.
15) Saw 2 - haven't seen it in a long time. Still pretty entertaining.
16) Happy Death Day - Mediocre, but not bad.
17) Pumpkinhead - one of my favorites
18) The Bat -- so so, little goofy with how it's aged
19) Death Spa - Fun, ridiculous 80's movie. (it was technically released in 1990)
20) Dark Places - Turns out, not so much a horror film. Not very interesting either.
21) Boys In The Trees - Boring. Set on Halloween, so I was hoping it would be good. Gave up at the halfway mark. Still counting it.
22) 1922 - I don't remember this story--can't remember if I read it or not. But I enjoyed the Netflix original adaptation.
23) Residue - Some new movie on Netflix. Not good.
24) Halloweed - So dumb, but somehow has a ridiculous charm anyway. I wasn't even stoned, but if I had been it probably would have been a lot of fun.
25) The Incubus - Mildly interesting little 80's flick. Not great, but probably would have really liked it had I seen it when I was 11.
26) Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 - You may find this hard to believe, but I've never seen this flick. I'm not much of a fan of the first film so I never gave this a shot. It's not terrible, but is too goofy for my tastes on the whole. And this Leatherface sucks compared to Gunnar's...
27) Saw 3D The Final Chapter - I'd just said I hadn't seen this, and it's on Netflix so I figured what the hell? It's okay, though I was a little lost because I can't remember the convoluted mess of the storyline after 2. But of note--the director of this one is the editor of every Saw movie EVER.
28) The Rezort - Been in my queue for a while, finally got around to checking it out. It's okay, but you know how some people are like "I'm so sick of the  zombie genre?" Well, I'm not, but I am getting tired of the subset of that, which is people running from point A to point B while being chased by zombies.  Obviously it can be done well--Train to Busan just did it, but for the most part it's getting old...
29) Cabin Fever 2 - Still fun. And hard to believe it's a Ti West movie, because stuff actually HAPPENS in this movie! Hell, more happens in the first 5 minutes of this movie than in ALL his other movies combined...
30) Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein - Loved this as a kid. Still enjoy it.
31) Halloween - I really wish I had time to watch part 2 right after it, but I crammed this in at 2:30am Halloween night. It's one of those movies I wish I could go back and see for the first time again.

Anyway, relaxing. I'm gonna finally get around to cleaning up all my equipment that's been lying around. I have to figure a place to store this Fountain, and some of my other props...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

You Must Like Reading Depressive Stuff


Or maybe you read this and are like, "Thank CROM I'm not him!"

Either way, glad I could be here for you.

Am back from the Arizona trip. We were on a skeleton crew, but it turns out the auction wasn't too bad. Not that many lots, so we finished reasonably both days. The worst parts were this HORRENDOUS woman who brought her dog--claiming it's a service dog, when she clearly didn't need it.

What's so bad about that? Well, she was like 4 doors down from me apparently, as I could hear her dog barking at night when it heard someone walking in the hallway.

The other bad thing was seeing all my friends posting the pics of the fun Halloween times they were having, and I'm stuck in a fucking hotel room in Arizona with 90 degree weather. It's hard to know whether THAT'S what has me in such a shitty, un-Halloween mood, or this:

I'm desperately trying to get the details done for this shoot we're supposed to do on Saturday. So Zig's helping me out trying to organize the actors, and this fucking model is THE WORST.

Her communication skills are nil. We ask questions, she gives vague, weird answers. I want to know what bus station she'd be leaving from in New York(so I can price tickets).  She says:
"prob taking greyhound the night before. idk where the shoot is.  "
Notice how that doesn't help me AT ALL? So we explain to her that we're trying to figure what bus will work best, because no bus goes to the shoot location. She comes back with this:
i already mentioned i was in nyc area.... so port authority. i can get it myself.   plus this isnt my legal name..what town is the shoot in. i could greyhound or amtrak.

Now, Port Authority isn't the only bus station in New York--I booked an actress from New York for the wrap on Ttory 1, and there was a couple places to choose. But more on that!

Zig finds some different bus schedules, and I figure she can come in at 3:20pm--we'll drive her to set so she'll work from like 5pm until about 1am, then back to the bus station by 2:30am and on her way home.

She hits me up in a FB message to say that's too much to do in one day. She says she's an hour from New York, then 3 hours to us, then work for 8 hours, then that drive back. First off, I get it's sort of a long time but you're on a BUS for like 7 of those hours. You can sleep if you want.

But second--you're AN HOUR from NY? Above you say you're IN New York. Which is it?

Now I'm gonna have to put her up somewhere. All of a sudden this girl went from being $400 a day to $400 a day plus a round-trip bus ticket, plus a motel plus an uber back to the bus station.

Honestly man, this segment is so fucking demoralizing at this point that I'm PRAYING for rain so I can cancel it. I'll gladly eat the cost of the camera rental that's already on its way.

------

Have watched 30 Halloween/horror movies as of today. One more and I've done the "challenge". Hasn't helped me keep the mood though, I can tell you that.

Maybe another picture?




Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Be (Very) Careful What You Wish For


On Monday I called the country store. They said, "Sure, come on out and shoot whatever you want when we're closed." Check.

I called Bill and said, "Hey, you mind if we shoot on your property again? We'll be bringing a naked girl this time around." He said, "Sure, come on out."

One of the models said she couldn't do it, but she wasn't my first choice anyway. I also talked to the guy who wrote the segment and he said he'd reach out to some people.

So I postponed the decision to Tuesday.

This evening, my #1 choice said she was in. All the big hurdles are gone. Good thing last night I started working on the actual "fountain" in question. Painted it with the first coat. Worked on the statue, adding some weird tentacle things, and painting it.

Now I have to paint it with some stuff that will make the paint crack and look old. Am working on some other props("Missing" flyers, plus some newspaper stuff.

I wasn't going to rent a camera for this one. I was going to use my GH4, but fuck it--now that I've got my #1 choice, I'm gonna get the same camera we've shot all the other segments with. It's much better in low light, and the scene with the naked girl is outside at night, and this time I can't pretend shit is lit with flashlights(none of the actors will have a flashlight).

I'm gonna get back into town Monday night, and need to be ready to shoot on Saturday morning. I'm trying to figure out how I want to shoot the first scene, which is another exciting "two people in a car talking" scene.

It's not a long scene, but I don't REALLY want to shoot it the same way I did Smiling Jack(which was over the shoulder from the back seat). It looked okay, and is SUPER easy to do but...I don't like repeating myself.

But hooking up the car mount to shoot in through the windows takes serious prep time, and if the road is bumpy then you get a ton of vibration anyway. I even thought about maybe driving alongside the actors(on the wrong side of the road) to get the shot, but that sounds dangerous, right?

We'll see. I still haven't so much as opened the Halloween script I've been working on for like 10 years. REALLY want to. I'm taking it to Arizona with me, but it's really hard to get into the writing groove when I'm away on a job.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Big Day Today. Suck Week Ahead.



Today I decide whether the Fountain segment gets put on indefinite hold, or whether we move forward.

If I can't get BOTH of the following done today, I'm calling it:
Have a committed actress for the naked role. I'm talking to 3 of them right now. The one I really want in the pic is turning out to be really high maintenance.

I sent her a FB message saying I was looking to hire her and could she email me at my email address(which I gave her).

Instead, she replies "Where are you based at?"

So I reply to her. She says "Ok."

That's it. I wait. Later on that night she sends me another FB message that says "So what's the gig?"

I describe it in detail.  She then says, "How much dialogue is there? If there's a lot, I'm not interested."

I'm like...holy shit. That is the OPPOSITE of most actors.

I send her the script and say, "It's not a lot, but take a look and see. Let me know." That was two days ago.

Another model/actress has stuff scheduled for that weekend in PA. She says she still may be able to make it work, but she responds, "When exactly would I have to be on set?", and LITERALLY in my email that's quoted below her response is the exact times I'd need her.

Reading comprehension. A lost art.

The other thing I have to secure is a country store I can shoot the exterior of. I have ONE candidate left. I'm going to call them and see if they care if we shoot outside their store. If they say we can't, then I'm done.

------

Suck week ahead. I have to go to Arizona for work. The flight leaves at 7am on Friday, so I gotta be at the airport at like 5:30am. We're going to land at 9am Arizona time, so we get to sit around for at least 3 hours before we can get into our rooms.

Then on the flight back we make a stop in Buffalo. We don't have to get off the plane, but still--it's going to add time on to the 5 hour flight.

So I'll be stuck in the hotel room on HALLOWEEN WEEKEND. Won't get back until Monday night. I don't know what we'll do on Halloween(Tuesday night), but if the Fountain IS a go, I'll have plenty to do in prep.

----

So far I'm at 22 movies in 23 days(and we're on day 23, so if I watch a horror movie today then I'm right on track).

I really wanna show my kid the Lost Boys, but even though he's physically 14 years old, he's not really mentally there.



Did I mention that I sold 22 books last month, and I'm up to 35 this month? Don't get crazy though--that 35 books(a mix of mostly paperback but a few kindle) has only netted me about $120.

Am-zon really takes a ton of your dough. No wonder the head of it is one of the richest men in America...

Still don't understand people, or maybe it's Am-zon's search engine. I lowered the book to $29.95 and got no order in a week. Then I raised it to $49.95, which is really outgrageous--and sold one that day.

It ought to be the opposite, right? You lower the price, and maybe Am-zon puts it on a couple of lists as "Save X amount of money!" But instead, you raise the price and somehow it gets thrown into searches better?

The price hike also let me sell one on eBay(at the regular price of $29.95--someone prolly saw it on Am-zon, then searched on eBay to see if it was cheaper, and voila! Sale.

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Flies By Again


As always, this month just flies by. Never enough time to just do the fun things for Halloween. And I still have that one Halloween screenplay I've been working on for like 10 years that I'd love to complete. Just. No. Time.

My brother and I went out last Sunday and shot the pickups and the foley. It was super humid--in October no less. We got what we could. For better or worse, it's all I'm doing for this. I will now work with what I have to make it the least-embarrassing I can make it, but I'm not going back out there for any more Pumpkin Trail hijinks.

Then this week I had an auction to work, and then a video to shoot/edit/upload(which I just finished)

Next week I go away to Arizona on Halloween weekend, which bums me out, but bums my wife out even more. At this point in our life we really only go out drinking and dancing on two occasions a year--Halloween and New Year's, and New Year's is never a lock.

So she's pissed.

---

I had an idea that I'm not sure is good or not. See, October has been INCREDIBLY slow for my flicks this month for some reason. I figured October is usually good for horror flicks, and we put the first Ttory up again for free so I expected to see a bump.

Just the opposite. It's weird. (and hey, if you haven't posted a review for Ttory, how about it? It would help me out. One sentence is fine.)

So I was thinking...I need more movies up there. But I haven't made any more movies. Then I thought...wait a minute, most of my Making Ofs for the flicks are like mini-documentaries. The Making of for the original FOC1 is nearly an hour long.

Maybe I put some new footage in(not for length, but rather to interest people who may have already seen it) and upload it in the documentary category? I could do it with most of my Making Ofs. Would only cost me the Closed Captioning cost, and maybe not even that because the Y tube has free closed captioning.

(I say maybe not because I tried it today and it's pretty spotty--I'm gonna have to spend some time fixing it, and the question is--how much time is worth it when I could just pay $60 and get it done right the first time)

Anyway, am actively looking into it now. One more thing to do!

------
Trying to get this last Ttory 2 segment shot is a fucking nightmare. I need a desolate county store exterior that's not 3 hours away. It's impossible to find. I drove across the bridge to look at two of them that were suggested to me, but both are on main roads with lots of traffic, and both are open on Sunday.

I need the place to be closed when we shoot so I don't have to constantly stop to wait for customers to leave so we can shoot.

I've found one that's about 90 minutes away that is closed on Sunday. I'm going to call and see if they care if we come out and shoot there. If they don't, we're good there and then we just have:

The NAKED ACTRESS PROBLEM

Why is it so hard to find them nowadays? It used to not be a big deal. And fuck, I'm paying between $250-$400(depending on how perfect for the role they are) for just ONE DAY(and not even that long a day--like 8 hours).

I have filmmaker friends(not around here) that get girls to get naked on scree for NOTHING. Why is this area so much trouble?

It's gotten to the point that if I don't fix both these problems by Sunday, I'm probably just going to call the whole thing off. It'll be a bummer, because it's a good story, but technically Ttory 2 is feature length already(about 83 minutes after credits would be my guess)


Bonus pic, cuz, long post.

My brother seems to have thrown himself into his work to distract himself from the tragedy. He still says he's going to do the work for the flick.

I've been messing with some of the other effects. I've gotten one of them to a point where it's ok, but not as good as I'd like. But I'm not sure how to make it any more realistic.

----

Am trying to do the 31 movies of Halloween thing. I'm a couple behind right now, but catching up. I'll post the list the first week of November so you can see what I watched.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pumpkin Trail Rough Cut Done



Took me some serious time at the edit computer, but the rough cut's done. It's missing a few shots, and some sounds, but it's basically done.

It's got good and bad. I think the atmosphere and build-up to the thing at the end is pretty good for the most part. The "new" actor that I hadn't worked with is kinda iffy on the acting part in a couple of places.

I'm trying to look on the bright side--those people who love my flicks because of the camp factor are gonna REALLY enjoy this one.

The rough cut clocks in at a little over 20 minutes. I'll probably knock it down to around 18, which is what the page count was. I'm also doing a little creative editing in parts on this. Mostly, like on HH way back in the day, because of not having all the shots I wanted.

----

So that was what I've been doing most of my days. Editing it, marking down things I need to go out and shoot or record to finish it.

Then doing pre-pro on the final segment of the flick. Finishing the shot list. Trying to break down the schedule so it makes sense. It's a logistical nightmare, and on day one we're going to be shooting at least 13 hours for sure.

I also have to go make the main prop. Go location scouting across the bridge. Find a decent actress who doesn't mind getting nude for one scene.

Also have to go out and shoot these missing pieces of pumpkin before the leaves change. Was gonna try this past weekend, but it rained on the day I wanted. So now I'm eyeing up this coming weekend.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bad, bad, BAD couple of weeks...

At a certain point, I get that this has gotta be the most negative blog in the history of blogs.

Thing is, just when I think things can't get worse, they DO.

Not gonna go into the pumpkin trail shoot any more than I already am over on the other blog, which is here:
http://indyfilmmakeradvs.blogspot.com/

It was really miserable. And I'm not very confident that what I shot was very good, so there's a chance...and I hesitate to voice these words...that there will be a segment in an anthology that's entirely mine...that will suck.

See, problem is that the pumpkin thing in it really didn't work well. It sure seemed very campy when I shot it, so the whole time I was shooting, I was thinking, "Well, I guess I may take my older brother up on his offer to make it CGI..."

And then we got news that is still hard to process.

His 18 old son--my nephew--died. My brother found him on the sofa unconscious, called 911, and tried to give him CPR, but it didn't help and they couldn't revive him.

My mom called to tell me the news--the second I heard her voice, I could tell she'd been crying so I knew it was serious. I thought maybe her sister, who has cancer, might have died.

The shock of this whole thing is something I wasn't prepared for. We've never really had a serious death in the family other than our grandparents, but I guess we were prepared for that. They were old, so I guess it's always in the back of your mind that you're going to lose them.

I'm not sure how my brother's going to deal with this. I'm literally the worst fucking person in the world at consoling people.

Meanwhile, I got a horror convention coming up over the weekend and I'm not sure whether I'm going or not. If I don't go, I stand to lose around $400 at a time I really can't afford to eat it. Worse yet from an objective standpoint is that I now have to figure how to complete the stuff my brother was working on for Ttory 2, because I don't wanna bother him about it.

----------

They're not going to have a service until the end of October(my nephew's being cremated), so I end up going to the show.

Last year we did well, and got to pass out a lot of flyers for Ttory. I had hopes that this year would be good too.

DID. NOT. HAPPEN.

It was slow as fuck. First night we did $45. I came home that night to check my online shit and I'd almost done that in Amazon sales that day. (in other news, I sold 21 books in September, which is pretty high. Made like $76, so you can see Amazon takes a fuckton percentage)

Day 2, Saturday, is normally the good  day. It picked up, but not by much. We still hadn't covered the table, much less the hotel room, by the time we bolted out to grab a quick, cheap bite to eat with a buddy writer who came up to hang for the day. He sold a couple books at my table, which was cool.

I do this con for one of two reasons--to either make money or to see friends I only see once a year, and party with them into the night.

Neither one happened.

-----

Now I'm back, and I've been trying to sync all the audio for day 2 of the trail, because I have to do a quick cut of it to figure out what I missed on the shoot so I can go out and get it before the leaves change any more.

Also have to really put the pedal to the metal on the final segment. It has a naked woman outside, and it's only getting colder.

And after Ttory 2, I pretty much feel like maybe I'm done making films.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sleep



Oh yeah, the brownie-oxi combo worked some magic. Ten hours of sleep.

Have been doing some heavy-duty S Jack FX work. Am actually almost done them all, which is a massive accomplishment in itself.

Prepping to shoot a few pickups plus some foley with Joe and Cutting--will have them both back on same day, so makes foley easier, and some pickup shots possible

Also of note, filed under the "my luck" category, it didn't rain at all Friday, and may not rain on Saturday either. Given my track record, it will all fall NEXT weekend.

---

Still trying to figure out HOW to do the effect in the Pumpkin trail segment.

---------

The Halloween book is picking up sales as we get closer to that season.

----

Been putting away a LOT of TV as I work on the After Effects stuff. Here's a small sample of what I've watched:

Season 1-5 of West Wing. (I watched the first 4 seasons when it was on and just sorta stopped. I can see, with season 5, why I might have. It's TEDIOUS when it hits 5)

The Strain--first 8 episodes of this season. Pretty good.

Camp - Eps 1-5. This is a show that only aired one 10-episode season that I really liked back in 2012. It's like a modern Meatballs, and as much as I hate the memories of camp that I have, this makes me wanna go.

Big Brother - The wife and I have caught up fully after falling about 10 episodes behind a few weeks back. We've been watching this show since season 1.

Love Island - This is a UK thing that I discovered last year and loved. So addictive to watch, and perfect background. Unfortunately, I invited my wife to try this year when it started, and now SHE'S addicted, so I can't catch up. But we're up to around episode 40(of like 53). It's a reality show, and I'm pretty sure that the most popular phrases used by Brits are 1) Crack On(which means to have a good time)  2) Are you bantering?(banter appears to be frivolous talking, sometimes means flirty talk) 3) Geezers and Birds(geezers are guy, birds are girls) 4) She/he is FIT.(heard this first on the Inbetweerners, which was an amazing show with two good movies to wrap it all up)

Timeless - This is a show that went under my radar. I mean, it's a show created by the creator of The Shield and the creator of Supernatural. First couple of episodes are directed by Neil Marshall. Weird thing is that it's a fairly wholesome show, not overly violent, and actually TEACHES you some history. Even weirder is that it's pretty entertaining. I'm ten episodes in, and hope they get a season two(but I know it was on the bubble)

Live P.D. - I'm going to apologize for calling this second-rate Cops when I first saw it. It's now better than Cops--hours of entertainment, with a lot of stuff you won't see on Cops.

That's not even all of them. You may be saying, how did you have time to watch all that? Well, when I'm editing, the TV is always on in the background. So every hour I've been editing has been another hour of TV. Really blazing through it all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Postponed It To Next Weekend



Couldn't take the chance, and most of the weather reports were saying rain on Friday(and they're still saying it).

Zig picked up the pumpkins. The "big" pumpkins, of which there were supposed to be two, were not big at all. Sorta under-pumped volleyball size. Not much bigger than the other pumpkins.

I can, for sure, have gotten this exact bunch of pumpkins for less at Walmart. And now I gotta go get some bigger pumpkins anyway.

------

I can't stress how much this is stressing me. I haven't slept more than 4 hours on any night in the past seven, and most of them have been 2 hours at a time.

I gotta figure out how I'm going to do this whole main pumpkin effect.

Also have to talk myself out of half-assing the entire thing. Maybe just get lazy and shoot a master and not even do any punch-ins on some of the scenes. Would make shooting FAST...

Dunno. Just ate a big brownie AND took a hydrocodone. I WILL sleep this morning...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

I Know When I've Been Beat


So.

This is a new low.

I thought, once the wrap was done, that the hard part of Ttory 2 was past. I was positive of it.

But the Pumpkin segment has basically beaten me. (with some help, mind you)

I went out with my brother and we machete'd our way through the brush to that spot. Isn't gonna work. It's not level, and frankly not wide enough for what I need.

BUT...I found another location that's pretty sweet. Nearly perfect. It's hard to get to--but we don't need too many FX there, so that's a plus.

What SHOULD have happened this upcoming week is that Zig was gonna get the 30 or so pumpkins we need(the farmer he's getting them from quoted us a higher price than we were expecting, and then got offended when Zig tried to haggle with him...but I mean, fuck dude, we could get them just as cheap from Walmart. I know, support your local farmers and whatnot, but howsabout not gouging us on the price.?)--

--then I would need to drive them around to various people who have graciously offered to help me carve them into jack 'o' lanterns.

Tonight I was to get the "hero" FX pumpkin and its "puppet" counterpart. Mark had asked another FX guy to work on them because this guy had more experience in that sort of thing.

Well...Mark texted me that we had a big problem. The two FX pumpkins were BAD, he said.

He was under-selling it. They look like there were created by a 4th grader. I'm not exaggerating. I'll post a pic soon so you can confirm it.

So now I gotta figure out some way on my own to make this whole segment work when I either have to 1) CGI the main pumpkin or 2) Come up with something else that will work.

Also on the hurdle list--a storm's coming, and appears that it's going to rain for around 2.5 hours on Friday. I can't afford to lose ANY time that day, much less 2.5 hours. And then I don't want to be out there in the mud either; been there, done that.

Since the camera rental package would be shipping tomorrow, I have to cancel today or eat the money if the rain comes, and I can't afford to eat the money.

Now I'm scrambling to see if everybody can shoot the FOLLOWING weekend instead. Mark can't for sure--he'll be out of town. So I have to find an FX guy who can fill in for him.

But at least the delay will let me see if I can figure out a workaround on the main pumpkin issue.

Also on the problems list--money. Am pretty much gonna be out of it when I'm done this segment, and I have to shoot another segment still. That's a problem.

I'm tired, man. I'm demoralized to the max. I'm deeply envious of people like Andrew Bellware, who appear to be surrounded by talented people--actors, production designers, CGI guys--while it's nearly impossible to find talented crew near me, and in many cases, talented cast--especially talented cast who aren't raging assholes.

Is it just this state? This area? There's a ton of wanna-bes around here who don't appear to want to do the work it takes to put the best product out that they can. They just wanna point a camera at something and call themselves a director. They wanna say a few lines on camera, and call themselves an actor. They wanna edit together two clips together without even looking at all the takes, and call themselves an editor.

Frustrated. Tired. Too old and beaten to fight this fight much longer. (which, 10 years ago, is something I would have said is impossible--I don't quit; I'm too stubborn.)




Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Who Doesn't Have Enough To Do?



Okay, first off let's get this out of the way: Who are you?

This is the blog no one sees, man, so how's it getting all these views? Who are you lurkers?

Just people that like looking at funny demotivational posters with boobs on them? If so, I don't blame you, but sorry--not today!

Anyway, am like 9 days out from shooting one of the tougher days on the entire film. Am I ready? Not really. I went out and scouted locations on Sunday(did I mention that?), but still haven't found one place in particular that I need.

I saw SOMEPLACE that might work, but it was pretty deep in the brush. I wasn't wearing my crap shoes, and hadn't put on that much bug spray so I didn't want to try to explore it. Now I gotta go do it, probably Monday. Then peg exactly where each scene will take place.

I have video of a lot of decent looking trails that I think will work. We ended up winging a lot of the wrap, so I don't foresee too many problems other than that the county apparently has put up a LOT of orange tape markers along one great place. Not sure what they're doing, and I'll have to decide whether to cut them all off the trees for the shoot(which is probably illegal, but whatever!) or do a lot of CGI work.

Good odds I'll be cutting them off if they're in the shot.

But today I decided that I really have to have something new at the convention I'm going at the end of the month. Originally it was going to be the same thing as last year--pimp the new movie on Amazn, but obviously the movie's not done.

So instead we'll make the original movie free again for a month or so, and I'll sell DVDs of the first one(which I've never had at any appearance yet). I figure as an extra incentive, I'll put together a short teaser for the film.

Cuz I don't have enough on my plate, right?

Tonight I spent a ton of time fixing shots with S Jack that will end up being in the teaser. It is mind-numbing and tedious as fuck, and there's SO much of it to do. Odds are great that Jack won't return in part 3 if I end up even working on it, or at least, he won't be doing anything other than walking and not tilting his head up or down.

Though when each shot is done and fixed, I play it and it looks pretty cool.

In other news re: Ttory 2...money is getting VERY tight. I do not have the money to do the segment for October, and my freelance gig hasn't been getting me much work. Like, not even enough to pay the bills much less pull an extra grand to shoot the segment.

But hey, sold like 12 books on Amzn last month and made, no shit, like $34. It's insane how much of a cut they take. (like, one of the books was $39.99--my Halloween book--and I earned like $9.80 of that). Doesn't really seem fair, ya know?

Eh, fuck it. I need a brownie.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Not Done With Summer


Man, woke up a couple of days ago and it was fucking COOL out. Like, Fall cool.

It instantly sent me into a funk. I may LOVE Fall, but when summer changes to it, I get S.A.D.

You may think it's bullshit, but it's for real, I can tell you that. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Really, I wanna move somewhere where it's ALWAYS spring/summer. I'll come back to whereever the cold is for the holiday.

--------

I honestly can't remember what I've put in the blog. Had to go check.

Guess I didn't mention that I went back to the woods to shoot those last few shots from the wrap story. The shots involve a map that falls from the sky and blows down the trail.

We tied fishing string to a weight, threw it over a high branch, then attached it lightly to the map and hoisted it. When I was rolling, my brother yanked the line out of the map, and it fell from the sky. Actually worked GREAT, other than it would never fall right on the trail, even though one was SO perfect and when it was like 5 feet above the trail it just veered off.

Then we tried to blow the map down the trail. Compressed air didn't blow it very far. My brother waving his reflector worked a little better, but looks like a hurricane is hitting all the plants around it.

Got enough stuff I think I can work it. Won't be great, but whatever.

Then we shot a scene with a hitchhiker. Had the local author who wrote one of the segments do it. Other than the fact that the deserted road suddenly became grand central station the instant I pull the camera out...

----------

Trying to prep the pumpkin trail. Got the actors. Got the schedule. It's brutal. Almost 11 pages on day 1. Most of it has to be shot in the daylight.

And I'm thinking--I should really try to compromise. I never shoot master--punch in--inserts. I may shoot a master to help blocking, but then I get whatever shots I need, the way I've designed, in the best order to do it.

Problem is, when things start going wrong I start improvising for time.

So I was thinking...maybe I try to compromise a scene or two--go ahead and shoot master--punch in  -- insert, and maybe I'll have enough time to do exactly what I want in the other scenes.

I'm waiting on news of when we can get the pumpkins. We shoot on the morning of the 15th, so if I get them later than  the 11th...it's gonna be dicey to carve them all.

----------

Been working on the edits and the CGI fx.  Have actually gotten QUITE a bit done. Started the opening credits. May have found the end credit music.

Gotta get the trail done, then the Fountain, and at least then I can stop worrying about production problems. Get strapped to the edit computer so I can get an idea of when I can debut this. I actually think MAYBE I try January 1st? If not, then probably April.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Plans


So...I have made a complete list of what I need to pickup looping and foley-wise, and even a couple of shots I could use.

Going to go shoot the last shots of the flick on Sunday, then probably hang out late into the night in the woods to get some cool promo shots I can give the poster guy.

Then next weekend if Joe's available, I'll go out and shoot the foley and video I need from him. At that point, the only thing I'll be missing is Cutting on some lines(and one shot I could use, but it's not 100% necessary)

--Man, it's hard typing this up, cuz that girl and her pumpkins are just staring right at me....

Speaking of Pumpkins, I think I have it fully cast, and two of the actors are returning favorites of mine. Super excited to work with them again. The other actor is from Philly, so that's a pain in the ass for him--he's gotta come down here soon just to get his face cast, then two other nights, probably the 3rd week of September.

I still have to do some of those tests I keep putting off. I've bought many of the props for the segment.

As I get close to shooting that, though, I need to start prepping the Fountain. Double check to make sure I can get those actors, go scout some of these locations, and prep the Fountain, since I am also the set designer on this...

But hey, at least some of the pressure is off. The attempt to get this thing done by October 30th was noble, but stress-inducing.

Off to see Annabelle tomorrow. Why not?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Status: LATE



Okay, I'm gonna have to make the call today. Ttory 2 ain't getting done by October 1st.

As for what my backup releasing plan is, I don't know. I guess I'll wait and see how long it takes me to finish it.

I started to feel like more and more, quality was going to start suffering. The final two segments might be getting half-assed in my rush to production. A lot of things I should fix in the main story might not get fixed, because I gotta tell you...

...there's this new danger in my life I've never had before...

...it's the PEOPLE...their words...

See, I realized that I have definitely let some of them get to me. Not in terms of anger or anything, but there have been some times when I've been THIS close to going..."You know what? All the shit I do to try to make this movie better than the 99% of no-budget movies out there...and the people are gonna bitch anyway..."

"So why bother? Don't get down on the ground to shoot that interesting angle...just shoot it eye-level on the fucking tripod. Those douchebags are gonna hate it anyway, or better yet leave a one-star review with the words, "Gave it two minutes, didn't like it."

And that thought was sort of subliminal for a long time. It is very liminal now.

That's a dangerous place to be, and somewhere I've never been. I've always been the guy who goes the extra fucking distance to make these movies the least-bad they can be. Believe me, I have failed in many ways, but you have no idea just HOW bad those movies were before I got them to the shape they're finally in when you see them.

btw--a bit high right now, so there's that.

--------------

Anyway, been whacking and massaging the main story of T-tory. I took a 2nd look at the Mad Gathering, and it's not QUITE the clusterfuck I thought it was. The opening scene is fucking terrible, but after that it gets better.

So I went back to the main story. Individually going through each scene and working the audio so the cuts aren't audible. Trimming here and there, trying to get some rhythm.

Did the whole thing, so now you can actually play it from front to back, and it's not that shabby on the audio.

Then started through again--picking some FX shots to mess with so at least I can partially watch something. When I'm editing I have the headphones on, so putting something on TV is just worthless.

The scene where Jack first attacks is a fucking NIGHTMARE. Jack's pumpkin head swivels this way and that, spins, leans. In a hundred ways, and I just have all this reference vid where Matt showed me the pumpkin from a bunch of different angles.

Been working on some of it, then got to the bottle break upside Jack's head. That shot is...ridiculous. We had to tape Matt all up on his head and shoulders because, well, we broke an actual bottle against his head.

But I never took a clean plate of him from that angle WITHOUT the tape, so I'm having to make that up. Then on top of that, you can see the plate we taped to the other side of his head for the bottle to break on.

And I've got no clean plate of the background to paint that thing out.

Also, the best take of Jack walking up to the guy beforehand? He's not carrying the hero knife, just the handle-only knife. So I digitally have to add a knife that moves in exactly the same manner as the way he walks with the handle. Gotta make it blur at exactly the same rate as he does when moving.

Lotta work. Lotta null objects getting motion-track data applied to them.

Things I'm most happy about:
The Midnight C exploding effect.
The knife pullout of Will.
That I was able to make most scenes work, even with the incredibly uneven sunlight killing me, plus the long speeches that Cutting couldn't nail his lines right on.
Some of the drone shots are SWEET.
I think I only blow the frame-sides once, and I knew about it on set--I couldn't get the drone on the correct side of the people because of a tree above us, so I just figured it would be okay.

--Pardon me, I'm listening to Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood for the first time in like 10 years, and it's just as fucking amazing as it used to be. I'm back in college...man...where's my fucking time machine?

Also, I think I curse a lot more in my blog when I'm high.