Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stuck, But Moving

So, the Vamp script. I was at page 51 on January 19th(see, this blog IS good for something), and know what page I'm on now? Yep. 51.

In my defense, I was at the top of page 51 then and I'm now at the middle of page 51. That's what we call progress.

There is light, though. I did some research on buying breakaway glass and came across these guys. Seemed to have some decent prices, but I needed a quote on a full-sized sheet of glass.

I sent an email and got a quick response. Guy said it would be very expensive, especially the shipping, as the stuff is very fragile. But he said perhaps I should think about creating something like this with smaller pieces of glass and balsa wood:

And you know, it's a good idea. Hell, might even look more spectacular when someone leaps through it. We could probably make it for around $400. Not a small amount considering I wanna shoot the entire movie for 5K, but if we shoot two or three cameras for the stunt we can probably get away with just one.

So that frees me up to continue writing what I want. SOMETHING is hurtling through that goddamn window, I can tell you that.

You might then ask, why am I over here writing this blog rather than the script? And I'd answer either A) Shut up or B) Good question.

UPDATE: Hey, wanna see a more comprehensible scene from GOH with music? Here ya go! But man do I hate forgetting to change the pixel aspect ratio on the default export...that's why you got that annoying flicker. The music's good enough to make you see past it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Weekend

Am excited. Right now, my composer is uploading the entire musical score for GOH to my dropbox. Can't wait to get it all and lay it in, check it out. It's the closest it gets to Christmas as a kid for me.

Watched Chillerama last night. It's an anthology of horror stories from Adam Green, Adam Rifkin, Joe Lynch and Tim Sullivan. It's set at a drive-in and most of the movie is the movies being shown at the drive-in, while there's a thru-story taking place at the drive-in itself.

I actually thought it was a lot of fun. Sort of like a Troma movie, but better acted. The weak link is the Tim Sullivan part, which is supposed to be a knock-off of a musical, but is really poorly written and directed. I mean, Tim...when someone breaks into song, you don't lock the fucking camera down for EVERY shot. Go back and watch West Side Story, for fuck's sake.

But there's a lot of fun to be had in some of the other ones. It's streamable on Netflix, so if you're bored and wanna kill 95 minutes, give it a shot.

Went to see The Grey today. I heard it was good, so I had high hopes for it. It doesn't disappoint, but let me warn you if you're a weepy sap or a woman: It's a SAD movie. People die. My wife HATED the movie. She cried during the whole thing. Said she almost walked out in a couple of places.

But it's a very good movie and affirms once again: You don't fuck with Liam Neeson regardless of whether you're man or animal.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Diet. Glass Problem. Lens. GOH.

So, have decided to go back on the diet. I could feel myself getting bigger. To recap, there was a time I got to 230 pounds. I'm 6'0. I lost 40 of those pounds in about 3 months. Stayed pretty good for about 3 years.

I just stepped on a scale. Was 209. That's not gonna work for me. So, back to the shake diet. I'm 206.5 now after 2 days. Will keep you updated, because I know it's riveting for you.

Re: Vamp script. Am at a standstill. The problem is that I know what I WANT to happen, but I don't think I can shoot it on a no-budget script. I have something jumping through a sliding-glass door, then trashing a house as it pursues someone.

I have no idea how to do that with no money. It's a problem.

Got a new lens! I think my kit is complete! It's a Rokinon 35mm 1.4 lens. It went on a lightning deal at Amazon for $375. Never heard of the brand, but all the reviews say it's phenomenal for video shooting. It's not so good for stills, as you have to adjust everything manually(the camera doesn't even know a lens is on), but that's fine by me.

But it also doesn't fit through the hole in my matte box...but lemme tell ya, I can shoot in the freakin' dark with this bad boy! It's awesome. And we shot the majority of GOH with a 35mm lens, so I know it's probably the one I'd use the most. (but then again, not sure if the 35mm lens on the t2i equates to the 35mm on the Red...man, it's complicated)

GOH: Holy shit. I just want to take a minute to pat my own back. I am doing SURGERY on this audio. I am looking at the spectrogram and actually excising specific pieces of noise from my wav forms. It is time-consuming as all-get out, but it's amazing. This audio would have been unusable 5 years ago.

Saw The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Fincher version. I think I'm just all TGWTDT'd out. Too much, after reading the books and seeing the original. It's okay, but there was some iffy stuff to it, and I think the original is better.

Wanna see Haywire, but I think I'm gonna rewatch The Thing tonight instead. Been a year of so since I watched it, and it IS tied for my favorite movie of all time. Just feels right, especially given the similarities to the script Luke and I are writing for the next thing(the one we'll shoot on the Red).

Thursday, January 19, 2012


So I saw a tweet by a guy named Stu about this pretty cheap rig for a DSLR that came with a matte box and a follow focus.

I don't have much experience with rigs, as I have a super-cheap one that I have used for years. It's just a shoulder one that can be adjusted and you can pretty much screw on a million things. (I did one shoot with my DSLR strapped to the top, a Xoom recorder screwed to the front, and a shotgun mic gaff-taped to the side...the whole thing looked more like a weapon than a camera)...

Anyway, the rig was like $300. I went ahead and got an LCD viewfinder because it was also cheap and I don't have one. If you wanna see exactly, they are here:

These are my quickie spur of the moment thoughts after putting it together. I haven't used it on a shoot, so I may do an updated one after I do.

Okay, so...put the viewfinder on first. Seems okay. I like the 3X magnification, but I gotta admit I was a little hesitant to stick the piece to my camera so the viewfinder can attach. The box assures me it can be removed, and any residue removed with detergent.

Turned to the rig. It comes in 3 boxes--the actual rig, the follow focus, and the matte box. There are no instructions. You, my man, are using the pictures on the box to figure it out. It's not terribly hard, but would have helped...

The matte box is plastic, so feels a little cheap but it looks to do the job. The rig is more sturdy, with aluminum pipes. The follow focus is nice, but it has 2 extra knobs in a bag and some sort of adjustable blue thing coming off of it--I don't know what to do with either of these. I think the blue thing is something to mark focus with, but...?

Problem #1: My Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens doesn't fit through the matte box from the back(where the camera is). So I have to remove it from the camera, insert it through the matte box hole from the front and click it onto the camera, which meant I had to unscrew the camera mount thing to adjust it.

Granted, all of my other lenses fit through the hole, so perhaps it's no big deal. Still, the hole could have just been bigger...

I tried the follow focus and it seemed to slip a little as I turned it. That would be partly because there were no instructions but probably moreso because I'm retarded. There's a ring you have to slip onto your lens which notches in with the turn wheel of the follow focus. THEN it turned nicely. But I noted that every time I change a lens I will have to remove that ring and put it on the new lens.

Got the whole thing together with my camera on it and picked it up. Feels heavy. The shoulder support doesn't really give much help, as the whole thing is front heavy. Seems like if the crossbar was wider it would help. The cross bar is only about 12 inches across, so it feels like my hands are too close. I can probably buy a new crossbar--everything comes apart on this, which is nice.

I guess the best thing about the rig is this: It LOOKS professional. It certainly gives the whole thing a very "Hey, this guy must know what he's doing" look, which can be helpful in getting people to take you seriously.

So...dunno. It's not bad, but the jury's still out. I'm sure if you spend 1K on a rig it will be much nicer, but it's not bad for only $300 and will make a nice addition to my DSLR moviemaking kit that I've been constructing.

While I'm at it, did I ever tell you about the best-kept secret in the whole wide world?

Back up briefly: When we shot Bounty, we used these cool LED lights that went on the top of the camera. You could dim them up and down, and it really brightened the scene for us when we were running and gunning. Those lights were $1500 apiece.

Now, look at this:

I bought one of these, figuring it was too good to be true. For once, it is not. It uses regular AA batteries, but also takes a number of other kinds(like my Panasonic DVX batteries!). It comes with 2 faceplates, one a daylight filter and the other a tungsten filter. It's DIMMABLE.

And it's $40 fucking bucks.

I lent it to a buddy and he couldn't believe how bright it was. He bought five after that. I now have two. I use them for fill lights, sometimes a back light. They are great. Built more cheaply than the $1500 one(these are plastic), but WELL worth the $40.

You're welcome. See, it took me 6 years, but I've finally passed on a bit of useful information.

Holy shit, let's calm down

Man, am I fuckin' sick of the SOPA whining. Really.

#1: Anyone who says it could mean the "end of the internet" is fucking retarded. It's crazy hyperbole meant to incite the people who think they can't live without the internet.

#2: That's the other thing. It's just the fucking internet. The world operated fine without it for a lotta years. Know what would happen if it(meaning, sites that might be targeted) actually went down? I'd get a lot more work done, that's for starters. Jesus, you wouldn't be able to check Facebook and Twitter or Youtube or Youporn, but guess what? Everything else would be fine.

Paypal would still work. You could still access your bank account and your other crap. You'd have a problem downloading illegal movies and music, sure. Hey, waitaminute...

#3: Also brings up the new whine: Copyrights can be renewed! Oh God! How will we ever make any mash-ups using existing characters? How will we make stories or movies or anything when we can't do that? You mean...wait...we'll have to CREATE our own? Holy fuck, that's not possible. I don't know how to create something new...I'm entitled to use something that someone else created, because if I can't...the free world is in danger!



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

hahahaha, people are stupid

This cracks me up:
The Artist

It reminds me of the time I went to see Brotherhood of the Wolf. The movie started, the subtitles came up(because it's French), and there was a huge groan and like 25 people stood up and left.

Anyway, on page 51 of the vamp script. Not much movement on it, as I've been working on GOH. Got the last 2 people I need for looping, and am inserting it.

BUT...you know...I was gonna go into some other complicated sound stuff I'm doing, but it's boring. I'll skip it. Suffice to say it's very time consuming.

My composer says he'll have the score done this week. Crazy! Am excited. I figure it'll probably be like 85% exactly what I want, and I'll have him change a little bit here and there.

Then I'll do a rough mix, and get it to my guy who will do a final mix. I guess I should really start looking to lock in a date for the premiere(and a venue).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Over Half-way There

Up to page 48 on the vamp script. I'm aiming for 80-90 pages. The shorter it is, the more time per page I can spend. I wouldn't mind if the final version is 80 minutes long, and credits will add a couple of minutes.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm gonna make the main guy more likeable. I think he's gonna have to take charge at some point, because--like I said earlier--the side characters have kind of become the stars.

Saw Contraband the other day. Man, I don't know why I spent so much time trying to get crisp focus on my movie GOH...there are so many soft focus issues in this movie that it's staggering. I think they thought it was artistic or something, but to me it's just lazy.

Remember when you had to compose your shots and block them out, and a focus puller had to hit his marks and shit? Not anymore, filmmakers. Just roll, and pan to whoever's talking, and get what you get, and cut, PRINT. Hey, wait, it's all digital, you don't have to do that anymore. Cut, DUMP the footage, I guess.

Also, the movie strains credulity even more than MI4...and that's bad, because the MI4 world is a pretty fantastic super-spy world, where Contraband is supposed to be more realistic. And it sort of under-utilizes Ben Foster, who I think is a pretty great actor.

Watched a low-budget local flick. It wasn't very good. Seemed a step backward for this filmmaker. A big step backward. Not sure why. There were a lot of rudimentary filmmaking rules that were broken, and the sound was atrocious. (I think they used on-camera mics...I'm not kidding)

Anyway, am starting to draw up a budget for what the Red movie would cost if we shot it in Tennessee VS. Maryland. We can almost assuredly get a better deal on a warehouse or vacant department store to build our set in, and everything else is cheaper there.

In the end, it might be cheaper, and Lance also appears to have moved there(which could help us secure him).

I'm also wondering about how much a real casting director would cost, as it's much easier to get the talent we're looking at if we hire one.

I'm thinking about a lot of stuff. Did I also tell you that I come up with my best dialogue and ideas in the shower? I'm not kidding. The longer shower I take, the more good stuff I come up with. I then have to towel myself off, jump in some clothes and race downstairs to type it in lest I forget it...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back To Back Post!

Forgot about this. But what the fuck is going on with kids today?

Not the normal thing. I mean their homework.

My kid is in the third grade. He's also autistic, but he's in regular class. Let's ignore that for now though.

He brings home a lot of homework and I help him sometimes. But I am AMAZED that some of this shit is third grade. Does this sound like third grade?

One question asked: Choose the word that fits in both sentences. Charlie had to _________ his way through the dense jungle. They used a _____________ to make the sword and armor.

So first off: Nobody FORGES their way through a forest. My second point will be better illustrated in this next question, same thing:

The oil company _________________ the petroleum into gasoline. She came from a very _____________ family.

Okay, now how the fuck does a third grader know that petroleum is refined into gasoline? And then they also should know what refined means in regards to family lineage? And on the previous question, they need to know how armor and swords are made to understand that question.

Really? Third grade?

Worse yet, questions I had to look up to answer. That's right, I have a near-genius IQ, and I'm looking up third grade questions.

Could you tell me honestly--no searching on the internet--are all rhombuses parallelograms? And vice versa? What about a square? Is that a rhombus AND a parallelogram, or just a parallelogram?

Now, I'm willing to say it's just a poor reflection on me, because I DID get a D in geometry. But that was in 6th grade. Does this look like third grade homework to you?


It's 9:30am. I Am Writing. Explain.

Dunno. It's weird. My sleep schedule is all over the place. I dozed off for two hours last night, so now I'm up.

And writing the vamp script. It's pretty cool, because you know how there are some great characters out there in movies/TV that you really don't give a shit if they're doing anything, they're just entertaining to listen to? You LIKE them so much you could just watch them shoot the shit?

Like, for me, an example is Kirk/Spock/McCoy on Star Trek. These guys had some funny conversations, even when it wasn't integral to the plot. You could just tell they liked each other, and the dialogue was so well written(and the characters so fleshed out) that they were a joy to watch.

Not to blow my own horn, but these three guys(and the fourth about to join them--but I've written some scenes with him)--they strike me like that. They are coming up with their own lines, stuff that makes me laugh out loud. And it's not like I sat there and thought, "What can this guy say that's clever?"('cause believe me, I BEEN there)

A few times these guys are talking in my head faster than I can type, and I'm a fast typist. This is writing when it's good.

On the other hand, I somehow forgot how to spell the word TWELFTH. I sat and looked at TWELTH for like 60 seconds, and finally had to spell-check it. Fuck, getting old sucks.

*Also ended up watching, over the past 2 weeks, the entire original Battlestar Galactica series on Netflix. Man, forgot how much that show meant to me when I was growing up. My brother and I worshipped that series.

And it's still pretty well-written. Donald P. Bellisario wrote a bunch of episodes(he's one of the golden gods of television--he's done so many of the greatest shows ever on TV that if you don't know who he is, you probably are under 20 years old), and even directed one or two.

When the new version was on Sci-Fi, I watched it and assumed they had RADICALLY changed the original. Not just the female Starbuck, but this whole Cylons that look like humans thing.

Well, it's amazing how much of the new show borrowed from the old. WAY more than I thought, from outright storylines to the fact that they DO mention Cylons might be able to look like humans.

* Got an awesome new lens for my Canon T2i--shoots some GREAT video. It's a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. My uber-cheap movie kit continues to grow. I think I'm one more lens away from having everything I need to shoot a good-looking DSLR movie for peanuts.

So maybe there's an outside chance of me shooting 2 movies this year, one on the Red, and one on my DSLR.

* Saw MI4 at the theater. It's fun. Massive plot holes, but fun nonetheless. And yes, the Dubai building sequence is just as ridiculously-great as you have heard. My hands were sweating during that sequence, no shit.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Thing I Was Working On

So, this may be boring to you if you don't know anything about the antique doll business or don't know Luke/Nelly.

But you get bored, hang in there. The parodies come faster and better as you get in.

The link to video gold!

Also note: See why you don't zoom with a kit lens. (that flicker you see is because I didn't have a decent fixed aperture zoom lens on day 1--got one for day 2 though)

Also, look, they've now crammed my first movie into a foursome! Bought this from FYE. All four movies for the bargain price of $5.97!

Vamp script: Up to page 41...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

End Of The World

I know, some people are saying 2012 is the end of all. I hope so.

And now, I even suspect it. Why? Did you see that Rob Schneider has his own show coming on a major network? And it's even called Rob!

It looks terrible, but the fact that it exists is proof enough of our imminent doom.

Also: Fuck the Devil Inside right in the face. $34.5 million? Even though it has a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes? What are you people thinking? You were warned. It will be on every list of Worst Movies of 2012, I guarantee it.

Makes me think I gotta go do an exorcism movie, 'cause fuck if people won't go see it no matter how shitty it is.

Hey, remember how I was excited 'cause this one character has exploded into my script with some life of his own? Well, same script, ANOTHER character is doing the same thing. These could be two of the greatest characters I have every created...and they're in the same script!

Makes me think the vampire script(which is the one they're in, currently on page 34--UPDATE--scratch that, now page 39--5 pages tonight!) should be what I attempt to do this year for cheap, while we're trying to get the other flick off the ground(with known actors).

Our biggest hurdle on that one is the location. It's hard to find a 5000-7500 square foot empty warehouse for cheap around here, though I know it would be easy in many other states.

Could this be the first flick I shoot out of state?

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Top Ten

I know, everybody's doing their top ten movies from last year list...I like the lists, but I hate doing them because it's so very hard for me to remember what I saw this year. Time is like a blur to me.

So I'll do a little research and give you my best guess:

5) Limitless - This one kind of surprised me. Seemed a rather limited(sorry) premise, but the director really makes the most of it. Really well shot and edited, with a great performance by that hunky guy that used to be on Alias.

4) Tucker Dale Vs. Evil - You know, this movie has some great moments in the first hour that you can forgive it's rather dull last thirty minutes. But Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are great together.

3) I Saw The Devil - Man, this is a beautifully-shot movie that is just brutal to the core. But it kept me glued to the TV, as I stopped everything I was doing to watch it.

2) Insidious - This is another of those if you didn't like it, fuck off, kind of movies. You kidding me? It's actual budget was like $750K. You could not do better than this with $750K, I guarantee it. Know why? Because I couldn't do better than this with $750K, and my opinion of me is higher than my opinion of you(so nyah nyah). This movie gave me chills is many parts, and while you can see the low-budget seams start to show at the end, it's still a phenomenal movie.

Let me put it in perspective for you: It cost about the same as that huge PIECE OF SHIT "The Devil Inside". There you have it.

1) Super 8 - If you didn't like this film, then you and I don't see eye to eye in any way, and I wouldn't trust your opinion on any movie you recommend. It's that simple. This is a love-letter to every budding filmmaker, especially if you grew up in the 80's. It feels like a Spielberg film, and to those bagging on it, saying it tries to be ET but fails because of its plot holes, then I ask you: "Explain to me how a top-secret government agency of 1000 people lets four kids and their mom sneak into their sterile, secure environment at will, and then drive off in an amublance ATTACHED to said sterile environment."

Yeah, but you didn't mind that when you were fucking 12, did you? Well eat shit, that's what I say.

Wow, I know what you're saying. Your top ten is only a top five. Well, I just combed two lists of the top 100 movies of 2011 to refresh my memory, and those are the only 5 I like that I've seen. I do notice that there's a shit-ton of movies I haven't seen...well, maybe I'll amend it later.

Or not.

PS: Page 53 of that screenplay. (but I did two pages on the OTHER screenplay, my vampire one)

P.P.S.: No particular reason, but did you know Star Wars won 6 Oscars? I don't know why, but I just thought it got no award respect way back when. But it WON 6 Oscars? I had no idea. Hell, Lucas was even nominated for an Oscar for directing...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What's that?

Is that the weird deleted scene from GOH with music? Why yes, yes it is...

Will it confuse you? Probably. Is the music awesome. Definitely.

Once you see the actual movie, it should make sense to you...(this scene technically takes place before the movie begins)


Let me know if the screen is cut off on the right side. I'm trying to figure out whether I should give a shit about people whose monitors are set to less than 1280X768...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Failing Some More. Again.

Yeah, so I'm still at page 51.

On the good side, I believe the whole video I was editing is done. Just gotta show it to them and see if they need any changes, but it's nearly there.

Watched I Saw The Devil tonight. Man, that's a good movie. Quite an ordeal though. Not a feel-good movie, but it looks gorgeous and has some great acting, and excruciating gore scenes.

Went out New Year's Eve with the wife and family. Got REALLY drunk, because my brother-in-law thought he could drink beer faster than me. Man, is that a stupid thing to think.

We used to play a game in high school called Anchorman. It involved you and a couple of buddies versus the same number of people. Each team had a pitcher of beer. I can't remember what the contest was(I think it was quarters), but the bottom line is each member of the team goes head to head against the other, and whoever loses has to drink as much beer from the pitcher as they can.

Then it goes to the next person, and so on. Whatever's left in the pitcher, the last person has to drink. That person tended to have to drink about half a pitcher on average. I was always that person.

Anyway, felt like hell this morning. Threw up some.

Hey, got a new piece of music from Chad! Man, he is embarrassing me with how good his shit is.

You see they're upping the cost of a Powerball ticket? How fucking ridiculous. With the odds already astronomical, it's gonna cost you $2 per ticket?

Also, have I told you how fucking lousy the Maryland government is run? Holy shit I want out of this state so bad. Now they're talking about tacking on some more taxes to gas...it's insane.