Wednesday, December 02, 2020

I Am A Zombie

 


 Haven't been sleeping great. Like five hours a night. 

So I woke up relatively early yesterday and was like, Guess I'll go get something done today.

I need to get some new eyeglasses. The ones I have now are like 6 years old and have a small scratch. We get free glasses every year, but most years I'm too lazy to go get a pair. (cuz I have to get my prescription renewed blah blah)

Anyway, go to the store for them and they want to take your temperature before you go back to the eyeglass area. The girl points the temperature gun at my forehead and is like, "Just gotta make sure you don't have a fever...okay, so your temperature is...95.1, you might be dead."

We laugh, but I'm thinking...I have never heard of having a low temperature unless you're cold, and I wasn't cold at all.

I didn't get glasses though--I'll get them later, maybe I'll tell you that story--but I go home and try our home temperature gun. It says 94.7.

Obviously I looked that shit up and you don't want to see a list of possible causes of low body temperature. It's not great. Your best case scenario is stress. Worst case is diabetes or cancer. So I'm hoping it's just stress.

Later that night I checked again and it said 97.1, so at least I was closer to normal.

 Did I tell you that I finished the music video? Can't remember. Least that's off my plate.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Must Get These Done AKA To Do List

 


 First off, I'm back on the 80's sex comedy jag. This week I noticed that Porky's 1-3 are on Prime for free so I was like, fuck it, let's do this.

 I've seen part 1 in the past ten years, so no surprises there. It's still fun but nowhere near as racey as it was back in the day.

Part 2, which I think I've seen, didn't seem too familiar to me. Not as fun, but still okay.

For some strange reason, as soon as part 3 starts(titled Porky's Revenge), I started remembering it. It starts at graduation when Pee Wee dreams that he sees this hot Swedish student's boob pop out--you can see her above. She was a Playboy model back in the 80's.

Then the movie continues, and man, it came back so fast. I must have seen this quite a few times when I was a teen to remember it so well. It's pretty fun, which is weird because Bob Clark didn't have anything to do with the writing or directing.

Hopped over to something called Gas Pump Girls. This is pretty bad, but still cheesy fun if you're looking for it. My favorite part is near the beginning when this girl sits down alone at a gas station and breaks into a full-on song number. I'm thinking, "Oh, it's a musical."

It was not. That was literally the only time anyone sings in it.

Then hit State Park, which is okay. Has the girl from NOES part 2 in it.

Not sure what else is up on tap. Hope Amazon keeps getting these on there for free.

-----------

TO DO LIST - this is for me so I can try to keep track of what I'm supposed to be doing.

--Finish the book adaptation of the vampire script. It's basically done, but I'm just going through again and touching it up. Mebbe I'll let a couple of friends take a look and see if they think it's okay.

--Finish that Halloween story I started. I know now what happens in the end, just gotta get it down, get happy with it, and get it out. It's funny, the Malf gave me the title for it. He said it was one he was saving for it he came up with a story to fit it, but I could have it because it fit mine better.

--Revise that other weird story and send it out to somewhere to see if I can get it published.

--Get serious about doing the Ttory 3 script, of which I have about ten pages of notes so far. Not that I think it will ever get shot, but because it occupies my mind. 

-- Finish the Sharknado script. It's not Sharknado, but it's a pretty ludicrous premise like that. I don't want to put it out there. It's a little more than halfway done.

--Finish that goddamn Halloween script that I've been working on for over 10 years. It's actually the origin story of Smiling Jack, though it was never intended to be. You'll see what I mean if you ever read it.

--Finish the "Autasm" screenplay that I've been working on for 15 years, and fuck it, maybe turn it into a book.

--Turn the screenplay that I was going to shoot as a movie last year into a novel or novella. Hell, might as well take that scarecrow screenplay I wrote and turn that into a novella too. I'd hate for nobody to ever see what I wrote, and it's too big budget for me to ever shoot.

--Get serious about the other two books I started. One is a sort of time-travel thing--but in a way that I've never seen done--and the other is a sort of Under The Dome/Darkness At The Edge of Town kinda thing.

--Maybe work on that superhero screenplay that dances in my mind on occasion. I wrote the opening years ago, and every once in a while I think of new scenes. Doesn't have an antagonist yet, which is the main problem.

I'll probably add more, but that's off the top of my head. I got the music video done--they're going to release it on December 20th. I'll post a link when it's up.

 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Haven't Told A Story In A While

 


 So I don't know if I ever told this story on this blog. It's not like it has a big finish or anything, but I remembered it today and thought I should get it down for myself.

Way back in 1994--I know, right?--I had met this guy named Rick who wanted to be an actor. I wanted to direct something. Rick had been doing little extra things and was currently working on a flick being shot locally that starred Winona Ryder and Lukas Haas(the kid from Witness).

A funny aside is the unknowns in the movie like John C. Reilly(who plays a cop) and Skeet Ulrich. Catherine Keener's also in it.

This is the flick, if ya wanna see its stats on imdb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115742

Well, Rick's like "Why don't you come with me to set today? You can see how one of these things looks to shoot, maybe network a little."

I was hesitant, but said yes. We head to the set, which was at some college or private school campus in Annapolis. I'm hanging there with him when someone from casting comes over to pick out which extras she wants for the next scene.

And she points at a couple of people, keeps coming down, points at Rick, and then she points at me. "Do you have clothes?" I'm like...uh, no. She's like "Go over to wardrobe and have them put you in something."

I want to argue that I'm not an extra and don't want to be. But Rick's smiling that shit-eating grin, so I just shake my head and go get some bullshit fake prep school uniform on over top my clothes.

And just like that--we're in the first scene. It's a wide establishing of all the college kids filing into the school. This is a sizeable production. There are hundreds of extras. The A.D. barks out orders about not looking toward the camera, just act natural. Ready for take one. Background action GO.

We start moving toward the door. We're just supposed to file through and we can say whatever we want to each other. Rick's behind me.

I get to the door and Rick SHOVES me from behind. I stumble and catch myself at the door. I refrain from turning around--the camera is out there somewhere--and get inside before I wheel on him. "What the fuck, man?"

He laughs. "Don't worry about it, man." And he was right. Face it, that's the kind of shit kids do to each other.

They shot many takes, and then they had a walking scene with Lukas Haas and some other actors.  Somehow we get picked to be some of the students walking or standing around during this. Lukas comes out early and is chatting with extras. Seems like a nice kid.

I don't remember much about that scene other than that. We broke for lunch, which is the first time I ever found out that certain people get their meals first, then other certain people, then the extras.

After lunch we were to shoot a lunch scene with Lukas, Wiley Wiggins and someone else. They set up the whole scene, putting down dolly track and setting up lights. They begin placing extras, and I'm mortified to have the A.D. pull me over RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA.

He's like "Okay, you're going to start here and when we call action, you just walk across there to that guy, and pretend to talk to him."

I want to run and hide. I'm not an actor. I don't want to be in front of the camera. I see Rick laughing at my predicament from where he's been placed. He's the actor, why isn't he over here?

They call action and I do it, feeling so self conscious it's insane. Then I go over and pretend to talk to a guy who's pretending to talk to me. You feel like a fucking idiot.

We did two takes and then broke for another shot in the scene. Rick comes over to me. "Dude...that was hysterical." I'm like, what?

He says, "As soon as they called Action, your face just flushed red." I had felt it but wasn't sure it was visible. Super.

The next shot they wanted me in that background too. Apparently I was great as an extra. They put me with that same extra from before, and again we had to do the fake talking. The thing is, a lot of extras just move their mouth as if they're chewing. I guess because they figure it'll be fine, it'll read as talking.

But not me. Fuck it, I'm going to mouth words. So I start doing that when they call action, and nodding, and doing regular shit you'd do. And the jackass opposite me starts doing exactly what I'm doing. Like he's a fucking mime.

I'm thinking, "I'm not even a real extra, and this idiot is copying off of me..."

That's really the last memory I have of the shoot other than they ran late and asked a bunch of us if we'd stay very late. They said we'd get paid more, so we ended up being there from like 9am until like 1am. I think I got a check a few months later for about $150.

Thus ended my first real experience on a movie set.

 

 

 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Wow...Legendarily Bad Thanksgiving

 


 I will never not love Bo. One of the most beautiful faces to ever grace the screen, and that body...

Anyway.

Another suck week. Let me make you feel better about your life.

That music video. We shot it in two distinct sections: Them walking around/standing around singing in moody night lighting, no instruments. That would be patched in with them actually playing the instruments on green screen, which I would take out and add a time-lapse background with some lens flares and shit.

I did the basic edit without touching the green screen stuff. They like. It looks pretty good.

The green screen stuff takes a lot of time because we had three slightly different-colored green screen sheets, and none of them butted perfect, and there were occasional creases. Then on some angles down, I caught some cement ground. All that means I have to frame by frame mask out the bad sections in any clip I want to use, keyframing the mask as the player moves. Some of this means intricately masking around the head of a guitar with its six tuning keys, hundreds of times per clip.

Anyway, I sent them a few parts of it and they really liked it. It looked decent but certainly very colorful and fantastique, but again, they liked it.

So I went through and did every green screen clip we were using. Added the effects to each. Ended up with a 369 layer project for a three minute clip. Most layers I've ever had in ANY project.

I export it and replace them in the footage, export it and say--here's the rough, lemme know what you think.

Well, they came back with the inexplicably frustrating "It seems like two videos. The night shots of us walking around are dark and moody, and the other green screen stuff looks like a totally different video."

I'm like...yeah, that's why we shot it on green screen. It's the "band playing" section. I've seen plenty of music videos where there's a storyline shot with pro cameras and lighting, but they occasionally cut back to shitty handheld video of the band playing in a bar. Nobody's ever confused by that.

They're like...some of the lighting is too colorful, like Trolls 2. Now, I laugh a bit at that because sure, I can see that. The colors are similar. The thing is, THE VERY FIRST CLIPS I SENT THEM WAY BACK IN THE BEGINNING WAS OF THOSE EXACT ONES THEY'RE POINTING AT, and they had said before that those shots "looked very cool".

Anyway, I'm ready to be done with this. It's like every meme you've ever seen involving video/creative producers dealing with clients and their inability to articulate exactly what they want.

I say...how about if I take out most of the color and tint the lights so they look like the lighting in the walking around clips. They say that might work.

I go do it. I send them a sample. They like. I go through and do it to all the clips. To me it looks muddy now, and dull. I tell them, but also tell them I'm not going back. The color version isn't going to happen now. Best I can do is throw in a few white lights to break up the monotony.

That's where we're at now.

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


That made me laugh out loud for real when I saw it one morning.

Thanksgiving. Normally I go to my parents house for early dinner then to the in-laws for later dinner. It's always a pain because no matter what time they say dinner is at the in-laws, it's always late because my brother in law and family show up whenever they want. Wouldn't be a problem except THEY WON'T EAT UNTIL HE SHOWS.

Everybody has to wait for their incessant tardiness. I've been pretty vocal about my displeasure in the past.

Anyway, this year my mom wasn't doing anything because nobody wanted to get together because of the 'Vid. So my wife calls because she's out with her brother and wife, and she asks me "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" I say, just going to your mom's house. Then I say very pointedly: "What time are we eating?"

She gets them to pin down 5:00pm, and tells them to aim for 4:30pm.

The day of, I head over after her at 4:30pm with the kid. Watch a little of the game as we wait. Sure enough, they didn't show up until 5:30pm. Insane.

But I don't say anything. I know, send me the Nobel. However, someone says something and the brother says, "Well, we don't have clocks at my house." Sort of like a joke that I'm not laughing at.

Then a moment later my father-in-law says to me, "I thought we were eating at five o'clock..."

And I can't help it...I say, but with a smile on my face, "Welcome to the family holidays, where they set a time for dinner, but some people never show up on time."

BOOM. I hear someone shout in the kitchen, and as I move that way I see my brother-in-law storm out of the house shouting something angrily. He's talking about just leaving, so is his wife. My wife's pissed--she starts yelling about how she wasted all this time working on this big dinner, and it might be the last dinner we'll have with both of her parents(they're health is not great), and she reiterates that point twice, which I sort of feel is insensitive to her parents...

I don't care. I get my food and start eating. The atmosphere is pretty frosty because the brother's wife came back in and got her food. Everyone else got their food(except for the brother, who was still outside) and sat down, and there commenced some uncomfortable silent eating. Seven people in one room, just the sounds of chewing for five minutes.

Turkey was good.

(there was another reason for the blow up involving masks but it's a boring aside)

 BUT--my mom texts me and says that my brother who lives with her while he and his gf  look for a house to buy, cursed at her and stormed out of the house, so she's not having Thanksgiving any more. Great.

My brother tells the tale: He was told he'd be fixing the turkey, so he looked up how to do it and whatnot. (he was a chef at a restaurant, but cooking turkey is a little different than restaurant cooking) He asked my mom how long it should be in and she said no longer than 3.5 hours.

So he figured he'd come down at 1:30 and put it in, it would be ready by 5pm. He did that and said that my mom had put the turkey in already. He couldn't do any of the cooking stuff he'd planned on. He asked her why she did that. He said she didn't reply. He said he asked her again and she just stared at her ipad.

He said he was pissed she was acting like a little baby so he said "Well fuck you then," and went, grabbed his camera and went across the bridge to shoot some night photography.

My mom tells the tale(and this is a direct text from her after I asked her what happened exactly):
He was mad cause he said he was cooking the turkey and I wasn't sure he was going to get up on time so I put it in the oven.  When he got up and he asked if I was taking over I said "no".  So I thought he'd be down to peel and cook potatoes that he said he was doing and making gravy...he said he was doing but he never came down until he was dressed and ready to leave...which was a shock to us...and of course went off on me with all kinds of horrible language and he wouldn't let me say anything and he left.  So I was in the kitchen all day long for nothing and my back is killing me and my feelings have been crushed and I will not do another Thanksgiving dinner.

 So I guess it's like Rashomon, you have to figure out what really happened. But Turkey Day dinners at my mom's are probably a thing of the past.

So hey, another great 2020 week. Extra pic for an extra big blog.



 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Would be cool if everybody just stopped talking about politics

 


 Man, SOOOO many people just wanna constantly pimp their political beliefs on the social networks. I can't understand why.

Nobody's mind is being changed. The people on the right want their racist sex predator to stay in office. The people on the left want their racist sex predator to get in office because THIS WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN HISTORY.

I mean, besides the last election.

The only sane response to any of this is "Why won't either side attempt to find someone who's NOT a racist sex predator to run for president?" Hell, go one further and try to find someone who's actually a GOOD PERSON. I know it's hard in the political arena, but give it a shot. I don't give a shit what letter's after their name, D or R, long as they have some morals and want to work for the American people more than they do the corporations and their lobbyists.

My least favorite are the idiots on Twitter who tweet AT the politicians. As if that's gonna do anything but get them blocked. And why the fuck do I have to see these tweets anyway? It's like being forced to eavesdrop on a conversation you have no interest in.

----

Almost done that music video. Man, what a fuckton of work.

The cold has now arrived. My brother and I went out again this past week to try to get some meteor shots. Saw a bunch, but once again, didn't catch any good ones. (only caught one, and it was dim)

Which is nuts, cuz I took two cameras plus my brother had one, and we still didn't get shit between us.

 Haven't done a ton much of anything else. I feel like I have a lot of stuff I could be doing, but just can't get much motivation.

 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Another one gone / Crazy night shoot

 


 Have I used that picture? I can't find the post where I did, but it feels familiar. Oh well...

Another sad story commences...

I've known this guy named Leon since I was ten. My mom started taking us to get our haircut by him. He was a funny, strange guy that you could tell was gay immediately, which made the whole thing strange because my parents were super religious and didn't like homosexuals.

But my mom really liked this guy, and he cut our hair okay--well, most of the time. There was one time when I was like 12--he loved to tell this story to people at the hair salon when I'd come in--when he gave little me a haircut I didn't like and I said, "Oh man, this is a queer haircut."

I was only 12, so was only using the slang of the time, not saying that it made me look homosexual. Well, Leon could tell that, and he just laughed and laughed at the time, and laughed at it often over the years.

In high school I had a bowl haircut because my hair was so straight, so he convinced me to get a perm to try to give my hair some body. Well, the first time he used very small curlers and the results were REALLY queer. I looked like a fucking poodle.

But after that he used bigger ones and I actually got some feathering in my hair that I'd never had, but was a MUST in the 80's.

Over the years I continued to get my hair cut by him even though my brother had stopped going to him. Leon moved from hair salon to hair salon, and my mother and I followed. Eventually I just started going to his house where he'd cut my hair in his kitchen and we'd chat about stuff.

He was always my biggest cheerleader. He was blown away when he first saw HH. Wouldn't stop talking about it, how accurate it is, how you just never really knew other people or who was an actual serial killer.

He came to most of my premieres until his health started failing a few years back. He used to be a smoker, so had bad lungs, then he got fluid around his heart that was causing issues. 

A little over a year ago was the last hair cut I got by him. I got him to shave off all of my hair because it was getting pretty sparse. He was supportive as always, said I looked good with no hair. 

But he was wheezing pretty bad, and my mom--who still went to him about every month--said that every time she called she wasn't sure if he was going to be alive to answer it.

Back in April he stopped answering her calls. His answering machine was full. She told me she hadn't heard from him, so I went by in May but there was no answer when I knocked on his door. The lights were off.

We hoped he had gone to live with his cousin, who he frequently visisted, while the quarantine thing was going.

Months went by. I stopped by his house on occasion, but he was never there. (I searched for an obituary online, but there was never one)

Last week I went by his house and looked in one of the windows and it looked like there were packing boxes and stuff. I had a buddy who has some other means try to locate him, but no dice.

Finally I did the easy thing that I should have done, I called the park he lived in(sort of an elderly community). Told them I was worried about my friend, hadn't heard from him in months. Told him the name.

"Oh, Leon? He died."

Not unexpected, but still not great to hear. I asked him when. He said April or May. 

And nobody ever did an obituary. I also never got a picture with him, which is crazy. In 40 years, not a picture. He'd come to the premieres, never get in a photo, and always run out when the movie was done(after congratulating me super fast). He didn't like crowds or photos, so I never pressed him.

But now I'm pretty bummed about that.

And now that my hair's grown back out to whatever it was--because the wife and kid never liked the shaved head--I need to get my hair cut and have no idea where to go.

-----------

Anyway, my brother wanted to go out last night to shoot some late night photos because of some meteor storm that was supposed to be happening.

We went out later than usual, and noticed that it was starting to get foggy, which the weather hadn't said it was going to be.

And it was a weird fog. Like, you'd go through patches so thick you couldn't see, then all of a sudden there'd be a layer of fog right above you, but clear in front. Like a fog ceiling.

We get to the place we like to shoot photos, and the fog rolls in wildly fast which is weird because I just finished re-reading The Mist. We figure, fuck it, maybe we'll get some interesting pics.

Well, we saw like 8 meteors that were awesome, but they were never in the direction we pointed the camera. That sucked. But the fog did make some neat pics that I'll post sooner or later--am busy with some video editing stuff right now.

On the way back we were driving next to some dude who was FLYING past us at like 70mph, and he hit a dead deer lying in the road. My brother swerved to get away from the guy and the bits of exploding deer that went everywhere.

Following the guy on the bay bridge, we could see something was hanging down under the front of his car. Guy just kept going, didn't even stop once we were over the bridge to see what the damage was.

We saw around 5 dead deer on the road on the way home, and then I saw another on Ritchie Hwy when I'd grabbed my car and headed home.

Here's a second pic in case that first was a dupe.



 

Saturday, November 07, 2020

New Month, Same Doldrums

 


 So I try to re-read my previous blog so I don't repost anything. I saw the thing about my wife and the JB show, which reminded me of this:

I do not know how this happened, but over the years strange things occur with me. Like, my favorite Indiana Jones movie is part three. The strange thing is that out of all three movies, part two is the one I watch the most. I don't know why, but it seems the most fun now.

Same thing in the Halloween franchise. I basically like them in order, but for some reason part 4 is the one I tend to go to on Halloween. Well, the wife came down the other night and wanted to watch a Halloween themed movie and I was like, "I'm gonna watch Halloween 4 if you want to watch it".

She hadn't seen it in like 10 years so she was like sure. It's a fun movie, she enjoys it, but somewhere toward the end she starts fooling around with me. And I'm thinking--well, part of me is thinking--you wanna fool around when there's a decent movie on but not when we're watching some boring shitshow called Hack O Lantern?

I wasn't complaining, mind you.

The actual night of Halloween was a little strange. The wife's brother came over with his family, and brought a friend of his and their kid. There's no trick or treating in their neighborhood this year so they came to ours.

The friend's kid is a NIGHTMARE. I don't know if he has ADHD or what, but he wouldn't listen to shit anybody said, and toward the end of the night I finally snapped at him. That got the guy's attention and he finally started trying to control his kid to limited effect.

My kid went out with the others to trick or treat. Normally I'd say something like "You're too old to trick or treat" but fuck it, it's a bad year. I let him go. Took some pics, tried to get some B-roll footage in case we do this Halloween anthology next year, but it's not the year to get B-roll footage. A lot of houses that usually decorate did not, and there weren't nearly as many trick or treaters as usual.

I did not get that Halloween story finished, but I got much of it done. Maybe enough that I can finish it in the off season.

-------

Took the car in to get the oil changed, and they found a bunch of stuff that needed to be done. One was the battery, which I was aware of because the car gave me the code a few weeks ago.

Well, the other night the sky was awesome so I was like fuck it, I'm going to the cemetery to shoot some pics at night. I get there, set up the camera for a time lapse, and get back in my car because it's cold and windy as shit.

I figure I better not run the radio without running the car--don't wanna run out the battery--so I turn the key. My car is dead. In the cemetery. At night.

I know, right? Horror movie stuff there.

Luckily my brother was going to meet me there about 90 minutes later, so I had to sit around for 90 minutes. It got pretty cold even in the car. The wind was so hard that it was rocking my car, so I'm kind of surprised I got decent time lapses. I was afraid my whole tripod was gonna get blown over.

------

Work continues on the video. I'm now in the greenscreen portion, which is a fuckton of work because the greenscreen wasn't great, and I was moving with the gimbal so there are portions that go off the greenscreen.

That calls for frame by frame masking, which is time consuming.

Had to take a break to shoot a paid video, which I'm editing now, then back on it. They want to release the video ASAP, but ASAP ain't gonna be soon.