Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fuckin' Actor

Let me see if I can preface this.

I fuckin' kill myself to make movies. Fuckin' kill myself. I work harder than ANYBODY I know to make a movie as good as it can be. The physical and mental tolls it takes are really the reason why making movies is a young man's game.

I fuckin' pay my actors. The majority of actual cast get a paycheck, and--with one exception--if I tell you an amount I'm going to pay, you get that amount. (and that actor was also a producer who was aware we might run out of money before the end)

Know who doesn't get paid? Me.

Then I put together a premiere. It's another godforsaken amount of work on top of the movie. Finding the locale, renting it, making sure the movie's going to look good on a theater screen and sound okay. Finding the location for the afterparty, dealing with that.

I have VERY FEW comp seats at the premiere. I let the lucky few know they have comp seats, that there are no more, and to please not brag about their comp seats as not everybody got them.

Today, an actor who didn't get a comp seat posts on FB that he just bought his ticket and is excited to see the film. Cool.

So ANOTHER actor, a douche bag who got a free ticket, posts right under there "But actors get a COMP ticket, don't they?" and then tags me in the post. He calls me out in public.

I am pretty fuckin' livid, in case you didn't get that from how many fuckin' fucks are in this post. I don't bother with the high road anymore. I put "We had the choice to either do a premiere with very limited comp seating or do no premiere at all. Which one did you prefer, . You're welcome to give him your ticket", and then I put the name of a character he plays in commercials that he doesn't like to publicize.

He replies that he doesn't know who that was, then sends me a private message to please remove that as he as an NDR with the company(yeah right).

Man, fuck that guy. Wasn't gonna ever work with him again, but if there had ever been the slightest's funny, was just talking to another filmmaker who was thinking about hiring the guy and we totally talked him out it. Now I feel even more justified.


Went to the theater and tested the screener for the premiere on Thursday night. The screener has a few minor issues, but at this point I'll live with it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back...To The Torture!

Back from VA Beach convention. Was a lot of fun, and I'm composing the blog story now, but anyway...

...back to the torture of prepping the movie for the premiere on Thursday. The theater wants the movie as least 48 hours in advance for a test run, but that's becoming doubtful.

You see, I went ahead and watched the newest version of the Blu Ray I just burned.

First, one short scene goes out of sync...I went back and mix it's in sync, the remastered mix that I got back from the sound guy, it's out. I'm not sure why. I can fix it in a duct-tape sort of manner without going back to him, but that's not all...

One of those scenes where I patched a seam...somehow in the export there's a stray frame. A flicker. But it's there.

There's 2 moments in the movie that have a tiny bit of digital noise--I've never seen anything like it in Premiere. I'm pretty certain it's corrupted, and I will need to reinstall as soon as I get this thing ironed out.

The end credits don't play. They don't even appear to be on the Blu Ray, though they are definitely in the Encore project. It also didn't include my 2nd track of audio(I put my original mix on the Blu Ray just in case I decide I didn't like the remix).

So, I'm back to fixing in a mad panic, and hoping the exports don't fail. This is becoming...worrisome...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

VA Beach

Going to VA Beach this weekend. Long story, will talk about it later.

Back to writing. Page 72 of vamp script. We're around page 30 on bunker. Still arguing over some little things, but we'll still what happens.

Our fridge broke. Had to buy a new one. Lost a lot of food. Riveting story, I know.

Blog Post of the Year, for sure.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The State of Suck not only a USB 3.0 card but a GE Force card with 3gb of onboard memory.

Praying the exports work okay. Technically I have a decent export of the first half of the movie, though I haven't watched it on Blu-Ray yet. It's a 1-pass VBR. Would prefer a 2-pass VBR, more on that later.

The video card is--I shit you not--12 inches long. I have to break out some plastic pieces from inside my computer AND remove 3 of the hard drives just to put the card in, then reassemble the computer.

I had to mark all the cables/hard drives--if I put them back in the wrong order Premiere will get confused as to where the files are, and there's nothing as scary as re-Linking thousands of files.

Put it all back together, turn it on, install the drivers--it all appears to be working good.

Open Premiere to where I was and export the second section of the movie, sans credits which haven't been rendered yet...and it works...

So technically I have 2 halves of the movie that MAY be okay. They are cut at a section where the movie goes black and the sound goes out, so to have the Blu-Ray pause there when it plays will not interrupt the movie.

Maybe I'm okay.

Then I push my luck. I go BACK to the timeline where the color-correction was done and try to export one big version of the movie at its highest quality, 2-pass VBR.

Tells me it'll take 30 hours. That's a long time, but okay.

At some point about 4 hours later, it just freezes. It doesn't freeze my computer, mind you. The encoder just stops. If you look at the Task Manager, it says it's fine. Doesn't say "Not Responding". Windows thinks the program is still working, even though it's doing NOTHING.

I leave it for another hour just in case. Doesn't advance even a frame.

I try like 20 other workarounds, and they all fail.

What I believe happened is that either Premiere or Windows 7 became corrupted after that big crash and memory dump. When I get a copy of this out, I'm gonna reinstall Premiere and see what happens.

Right now, I'm paranoid I'll blow up the whole thing. Nobody online seems to have any answers, though this is not an uncommon problem.

Man, a year and a half of Premiere bliss has now come to this...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kill Me. Please...Kill Me...

So...the computer render keeps going for like 15 hours, and then with like 40 minutes remaining it crashes.

Frustrating does not encapsulate the feeling right now. It really does appear to be a video card issue, so I guess I'm gonna have to get Luke to bite the bullet and get a new card. The cheapest recommended one is $500. About half the cost of my entire computer...

Fuck. So now I'm gonna have to wait til that comes in. Which means I'll be losing sleep for at least a couple of days...

I really don't need this going into the end stretch here, ya know?

Also, we went up to the theater having the premiere and took a look at it(and watch the pretty crappy Wrath of the Titans)...and now I'm even more jittery. The big theater(which is where ours will be held) has what's essentially an IMAX screen. It's regular height, but it goes from one side of the room to the other. So if you're anywhere in front of about the middle row, you will have to actually turn your head to see one side of the screen to the other...

So...every little detail is clearly gonna be seen. So much for "Nobody'll notice THAT"...

Hey, you know what sounds good? Shooting NO movies this year...

Monday, April 09, 2012

San Francisco, Part 3

So, early morning on Saturday. Got dressed up in a suit and went down for some on-the-job training.

The short version is this is just something I'm doing for a buddy's company that will require me maybe 25 days a year. I'll be handling computer shit for them, sometimes it will take me out of town, other times not so much.

Won't interfere with my moviemaking.

The on-the-job training was fairly easy but stressful given that it's a time-sensitive thing. So it was nearly impossible to ask questions while it was going on.

We worked until about 7:30pm, then we were good to take off until the next morning at 7:30am again. Luke and Nelly wanted to go get a bite to eat, and since I'd eaten Subway about four time already, I was ready for a change.

We went to Mel's diner, a replica of the diner from American Graffiti. It was pretty good, or I was pretty hungry. Had a burger and fries.

Back in my room I caught up on some TV shows, checked my internet. I was pretty tired.

Or so I thought.

At 11pm I took another blue pill. Nothing. At midnight I was wondering why I wasn't nodding off. I played some iphone Scrabble against my mom, who kept playing a turn. I downloaded some new apps(a pinball game, the panorama program, anything else that caught my eye and was free or only $.99)...

At 1am I knew I was in trouble. If you're awake 2 hours after taking the pill then you are not gonna go down.

Tossed and turned most of the night. Last time I checked the clock it was 3:15am.

Woke up at 7am and felt like my head was stuffed with cotton. Barely four hours of sleep.

More on the job training, but day 2 went smoother since I was a little more used to their system. But by the time we wrapped up and I helped them load, it was like 10pm.

Everybody wanted to go out to get a bite to eat, so I went with the group back to Mel's diner. Nothing else was open at that time of night on a Sunday night. Everybody but Luke went because he wanted to watch the Game of Thrones premiere.

This is us at the table with the panorama thing. It really doesn't work well moving it in a circle by yourself.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


So, I'm editing and all of a sudden my computer screen flickers and I get...the Blue Screen of Death.

Yes, in Windows 7. It says there's been a major crash and it would do a memory dump. If this is the first time it's happened, blah blah.

Okay, the computer reboots itself and all seems fine. I've had a couple of minor hiccups like this before.

Back to editing. Working fine for a while. Doing some stuff. Going back and forth between pieces of the movie, but then when I go back to load the entire movie I get a Premiere "This file is either damaged or corrupted".

That shit ain't right. I've never seen that on CS5 before. I've seen it on CS3, which is a good thing, because now I save new copies of my work copies ALL the time. So I just lose 15 minutes of work, which at this point is just audio keyframes on the music. No biggie.

Then Premiere crashes inexplicably. Weird. Back to working. Goes okay and then DISASTER.

Every time I try to scrub through the timeline at a certain point I get a "NVIDIA OpenGL has lost connection with the display driver" and the program must be shut down. Error Code: 3

I reboot the computer and reload the movie. Same error at that point in the timeline, crashing Premiere.

Research online shows me DICK. The best advice is to look for a newer driver and install that. So I get one and install it, takes about an hour(you're recommended to uninstall all NVIDIA drivers first, restart, then install the new stuff).

Back to Premiere, and CRASH. I'm a little panicky at this point, as I am getting closer to the movie premiere, and about the only thing I'm thinking now is that I have to go buy an expensive video card and replace this one.

Well, I dicked around a little. Loaded another project, played through the timeline, deleted some rendered previews, then reloaded the movie project again.

Instead of trying to play the timeline, I tried a pre-render of the bad portion. It worked fine. I then played through it. It worked!

So I finished going through the entire movie and doing a pre-mix on the audio. Now I'm exporting the Blu-Ray video. I will then export a tiny-sized version of that with two separate audio tracks: 1) Music 2) Everything else

My audio guy will mix all that shit together with ProTools so it sounds good at the theater. Now, I didn't get to do as much color correction as I wanted, but at this point I just wanna have a decent Blu Ray for the premiere.

Blu-Ray render is estimated to take 17 hours. Super. Hope it doesn't crash. (Fingers crossed)

Update: It's been an hour, and the estimated time has now gone to 17 hours 37 minutes(6% done).

Update 2: It crashed sometime during the night with an "Unknown Error". Very helpful. Tried to export it in 2 pieces, it crashed. This is becoming a major problem. So now I'm exporting it in 10 minute sections. Assuming I get that done(it's done 4 parts so far), I will make a new project, import all the new pieces which will have ZERO effects on them, and try to export a Blu-Ray.

I'm not sure what I'll do if that fails, but it could involve me blowing my brains out.

Also, headed back into the Vamp script. Man, I gotta finish this fucker. On page 68. Gotta make some decisions. Also gotta find a sewer to shoot in.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


A movie for this long is not good for you.

I just told my computer "I'm going to fuck your face", and it took me a moment to even realize I was talking to my computer.

God...must get free of this movie...keep telling myself it'll be worth it.

Not sure how, but maybe if I repeat it enough I will believe it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

San Francisco, Part 2

Had to get up Friday early. Had some quick work to do, then we would be free until 5pm.

The area didn't look all that...great. I hear all sorts of stories about how awesome SF is, but in this area I just didn't see it.

I DID see a movie theater that shows all that cool shit, you know, the stuff when you hear "Playing in select cities"? Yeah, this was one of them.

They had The Raid, which I heard a lot of good things about and wanted to see. I figure, fuck it. I can wander around like a tourist on my hurt foot and not enjoy myself, or I can do what I want and go see a movie.

Saw the movie. It's pretty good. Got some great action scenes and some excellent martial arts fights.

Then I went back to the hotel. You know, one thing I noticed was this:

It's the snack tray in my room that says anything removed will be added to my bill within 10 seconds. I'm like...huh? How do they know you took one?

Underneath are some round things, so I figure it's an Indiana Jones kind of thing--they're weighted, and if you take one it knows by the missing weight.

So of course I'm thinking, "Man, if I had a sand bag or something I'd totally try that Indy trick..."

Later that night we had shit to do, and afterward I was tired. I once again grabbed something at Subway.

Took a blue pill again and went to sleep. Early morning the next day.

Here's a pic I took out the window at night with a new panorama app. More about that later.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

San Francisco, Part 1

Went to San Fran on Thursday morning. Scheduled to fly out of BWI into Chicago, have a 3 hour layover, then fly out to San Fran.

I stayed up, rather than go to sleep, since I had to be at the airport at 7am. I knew I'd be tired, but since I didn't have any plans for Thursday evening I figured I'd go to sleep early that night. Friday morning I had to be downstairs at 7:30am, so maybe I wouldn't need a magic pill to sleep. That's what I figured.

Airport. The plane gets there. But they delay putting people on because there's a problem with the plane. No details. We wait an hour. People who had short layovers are panicking, because they're not going to make their connection.

It's boring as balls. And to top it off, one of the guys in our party has a diabetic seizure. Falls down, starts spasming. I don't know him well, but I can't believe you wouldn't monitor yourself better...apparently he does this fairly often. I can tell you, if it happened to me once it would never happen in public again.

Just as we're about to take a bus to Dulles to catch a different flight, they say they're going to start boarding the plane.

They start loading people on--I'm the only one in my party to not get on yet as I'm in a different boarding group. I'm in the actual walkway about to get on the plane when a pilot comes out to talk to one of the tarmac guys. I hear him say, "...problem, gonna be a three hour delay".

Uh...super. They send us back out to the waiting area and unload the plane. Then we see this:

The other people in my party were still on the plane. For some reason they were allowed to stay(I think because one of them is an elderly lady).

They don't hear the announcement that "There's a problem with the plane, and it's not minor", but the airline would let us know what the exact deal was when they found out. They say if anyone wants to get on the plane, they are welcome to but they cannot say whether we'll even be taking this plane or not.

I get on the plane and meet up with Luke and the rest of the party. Luke has a T2i with him so I say fuck it, let's shoot some clean plates of the interior of the plane. Who gets to shoot clean plates of an actual empty airplane for free?

The stewardesses didn't care, but informed us not to take THEIR picture as that was against the law. No prob. Only prob is that Luke doesn't have any really nice wide lenses. Had to shoot them with the kit lens, which isn't great.

After about an hour they say we're good to go. They reload the plane and get us in the air. We have rebooked a different flight out so we can make the connection, but it's still gonna give us only 40 minutes to make the connecting flight.

In one of the largest airports in the world. Super.

Flight's cramped, but whatever. I have another brainstorm which is Hey, why not get some airplane ambients with my iphone sound recorder? You never know, right? I even recorded the takeoff and landing which, I'm sure you know, is sort of against the rules. (all electronic equipment off)

So now I have like 25 minutes of airplane interior, with takeoff/landing, and various chit chat, pilot announcements, intercom BINGS and whatnot.

You'd think I'd be able to stop thinking about making movies but you'd be wrong.

In Chicago we BARELY make the connection. After all that we get into San Fran only about 30 minutes after we were supposed to originally.

Taxi to hotel. Check into my room. Am having a hard time keeping my eyes open. Have been awake for 26 hours at that point.

This is the view out of my 35th floor window.
I'm starved though, as we had no time to get any eats in between planes and I wasn't eating plane food. I hit Subway which is right across the street, and am glad to find a 7-11 right around the corner. Couple of 2 liters of Coke Zero, some peanut butter Snickers, and I'm back to the room.

Dead tired, but for some reason can't sleep. I take a magic blue pill at 9:30pm pacific, and have the best sleep of my life. I don't think I moved from then until the alarm rang at 7am.