Thursday, June 28, 2012

My "relaxing" weekend at the beach...

We left on Sunday about 3pm. We got to the Bay Bridge at like 3:30pm.

And we sat there. I have never sat within a hundred yards of the bridge, and NEVER moved before. Turns out there was a truck busted down, and nobody was telling anybody, so everybody in my lane was just sitting there.

There was like 10 full lanes, so there wasn't really anywhere to go. No cops either. Finally a tow truck made it through, couldn't get in front of the truck, then it PUSHED the truck through the tollbooth. Funny enough, the broken-down truck still had pay the toll as it was pushed through.

We didn't get through the toll until after 5pm. I'm not joking. It took 90 minutes or so to go 1/8th of a mile.


We get to the house. Walk up to the enclosed porch. My wife grabs the porch door and opens it--and it FALLS OFF. The side of the door where the screws are in has dry-rotted out. It's barely attached by the bottom four or so screws, but you can't close it.

Yeah, it's an old door, but still...

Also on the inside they had a roof leak. They were told by the neighbor, who they left money with, that it was fixed. It was not. The ceiling inside has gaping holes and you can see where it's been stained when it leaked. Looks great. 

We go out to eat at Grotto's then decide to catch Brave at the movies. Logan's up for it. Costs us $36 for two adults and one child, 'cause it's in 3D. Jesus.

Did I mention we always eat at the Roadhouse restaurant down there? Great food, been eating there for like 15 years. Got a gift certificate for Christmas, and the wife didn't use it when she was at the beach three weeks ago.

As we drive by it, I do a double-take. I think I must be looking at the wrong building. Because Roadhouse is gone and it's an ugly yellow restaurant called Old Bay now. I point at it and the wife can't believe it. She was just much for our gift certificate...

Movie's okay. A bit unoriginal with some good visuals, but the wife and kid liked it. Had some talky girls behind me at the beginning who I had to tell off. Surprisingly, didn't hear a peep out of them after that. (normally you get the people who want to "test" you by whispering to see if you're going to yell at them again)

We go back to the house. Hunt for a free movie On Demand to watch for a little while. I talk the wife into Body Double. She falls asleep about an hour in.

Did I tell you no wi-fi? I haven't been there in a year, and in the past I just surfed on a neighbor's unsecured hotspot. Well, it's been secured. Tried some of the regular passwords, but no go. If I wanna go on the internet, it's just me and my iphone.

Day 2--I wake up to find the wife has bought a replacement door.  Uh oh. Well, the door's the same size but the porch is old and probably wasn't built right. Know what that means? The doorWAY isn't square. In either dimension.

What I mean is, not only would you see the edges if you put the rectangular door in and looked straight on, but if you then looked at the door edge that opens after you closed the door, the top part hits the door frame but there's still an inch of room at the bottom of the door where it doesn't touch.

So I gotta fix this, and all without proper tools. My wife bought an electric drill. Other than that, I got a hammer and some screwdrivers.

Anyway, I hang the door. The wife delays me by constantly asking questions and not understanding how I'm gonna do it. I tell her to just go away, I don't wanna sit around explaining why I need to do this and that--it'll take twice as long.

The door's up after about three hours, but I need wood to build up part of the frame. We have to put a brick outside the door to keep it shut until she can go back out and get more wood the next day. But at least the bugs and shit won't come in the porch now.

We go down to the boardwalk and get something to eat, walk around, let the kid play at the arcades. Did I tell you how much it costs to play Pac Man or Galaga? Four(4) quarters for one game! WTF?

We pickup a couple of movies at a Redbox and go back and watch them. Man on a Ledge. It's okay, but super predictable. Hey, if you cast William Sandler as a valet, I'm not gonna believe he's a fuckin' valet okay? 

Next day the woman brings home some wood and I get back to work. I'm having to cut wood with a screwdriver and hammer. Yeah, pound a notch in, move over a little, pound another notch, until I have a line across the wood. Flip, repeat until I can snap it.

It takes me about four hours, but I get the door done with handle and it shuts nice, hardly any gap in the door at the top or bottom. A fine job.

We head to get some food, let the kid roam the beach for a couple of minutes,  and then leave. I averaged about four hours of sleep a night because the bed feels stiff to me(I sleep on a waterbed, so any regular bed kills my back).

Came back today in time to go to the doctor's about my foot pain. I've been limping for 3 months. Will get into it later. Fuck, this is a long entry. Here's a picture of something that made me laugh down there.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Going to the beach for a couple of days. Not that much of a vacation since the kid's going, but I haven't been there in a year or so.

Saw the weekend box office report. Funny, I thought I was the only one not interested in seeing that Abe Lincoln vampire hunter thing, but apparently it was only the audiences I saw the trailer with that WANTED to see the movie.

But really, with the utter domination of kid's movies, it seems like that's the movie-making market to be in...

Anyway, see ya in a couple.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tids and Bits

So, took a look at the FOC2 Blu in depth. I've messed up a few menu things. Like, if you go into the Extras menu and start watching an extra, if you hit menu to back out it goes all the way back to the main menu. Whoops. Also, if you go to the deleted scenes, there's no way to go back to the extras menu.

Also, the movie sort of looks like shit. Not exactly sure why, especially when the Making Of footage looks pretty good. I hope it's not a problem with the rendered compositions, 'cause if so, I can't fix it without ACTUALLY re-editing the entire movie with the original files.

Meanwhile, the credits(opening and closing) flicker a fuckload. So I go back to the original FOC2 computer and figure I'll just re-render the composition at a larger size from the original After Effects file. But I'm missing pictures. Gotta hunt them down. And I have to fix stuff that for some reason I didn't notice before.


Also, did you see this contest? I'm just bored enough to enter it, and I didn't even like the other movies.

Kicker is, it can only be 24 seconds long and you can't use ANY extra files. No sound files, no text cards, nothing. Just the video they give you. And also, it's a Chrysler thing so you have to work their car into a couple of shots.

I'm not kidding, there's more video of the Chrysler car than of Batman. It's a little sad. I have a version of my trailer done, but the Chrysler's only in one shot. They say it's 20% of your grade, so I probably fail there. Will post a link when it goes live, 'cause I'll need votes as part of the process.

Hey, made this. What ya gotta know is that Richard is neurotically afraid of everything.  In the woods he complained about ticks and snakes and everything else, even though it was November. So Jared did a voiceover on set right after a take.

Richard was a good sport, and got in on it too, so I've laid it in to the video. If the embed doesn't work, here's the direct link:

Monday, June 11, 2012

WTF Am I Doing Now?

What's happening lately? Well, along with various other things I've been doing is finishing up color-correcting FOC2 so I can get it up Itunes.

Technically I did that. Then I thought--well, I'd like to do a blow up to 720P and put it on a Blu-Ray to see what that looks like. See, I can get it up on Itunes as regular or hi-def, but I don't know how excited people will be to watch it regular def, though they should be fine since odds are they're gonna be watching it on their phone or their watch or the inside of their know, whatever the next mini-super-tech device is.

So I went ahead and blew it up to the 1280X720. Then I thought--fuck, am I gonna waste an entire Blu-Ray on just the movie? I got all these extras I made. I might as well blow them up to size too, 'cuz fuck it, I got 28 gigs of space on this Blu.

So I did that. Then I thought--man, I got 3 commentary tracks. Let's put them on. And a dedicated music track.

And then I said, well, I need some menus but have never really used Encore to do anything but make auto-play dvds and Blu-rays. Let's learn how to do that!

So I did that on Saturday. It's not as easy as I thought, because there's some real counter-intuitive things going on in that program, and also weird glitches that are unexplainable. Like, I made a quick motion transition between hitting the Extras button and the Extras menu.

But when I tested it the transition played, then looped forever. I stuck a separate transition in and it worked fine. Both were the same exact KIND of video and almost identical length.

Eventually I finished. It's got a motion menu opener(not my best work), a Chapter menu, an Extras menu, a Deleted Scenes menu. Nice pretty graphics(not the standard Encore Library shit--I got pictures of Shivers' axe for the icons).

Burned it, still got like 4 gigs left over. It plays nice. There may be some issues with the movie video--not sure if it's a factor of the blow-up or what. They're minor, and some people might not even notice.

I figured out that I should have made a BACK button for each menu so you could go to the previous menu. Live and learn. Honestly, I did not have fun designin the Blu-ray, and can't see it as being something I'm going to do often...

Now I'm deciding what to do. Did I tell you about the OTHER scarecrow script I'm working on? Yeah, I finished one a long while back and still like it a lot, but didn't get it out of my system. This one is sort of a PG-13 one--kind of like Stand By Me but with a scary scarecrow in it.

I actually started jotting down notes on it a while back(last year-ish). I can't find any mention of it in my blog search, so maybe I didn't tell you.

Maybe I'll work on that. Or my ghost script that's pretty high-concept. Or any of the other 8 or so scripts I've been working on...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I Did Not Know

Saw Prometheus, as I think I mentioned.

Anyway, talking to my brother about the name Prometheus, and I thought...where the hell is Nostromo from?

Turns out it's the title of an old Joseph Conrad novel, which sounds familiar to me. I must have heard that at one time.

What I did not know is that the novel is set in the mining town of Sulaco.

How have I not heard of that? That Cameron used the same source for the name of his ship in Aliens.

What, there were no more names in the book, Lindleof?

Friday, June 08, 2012

Dead People And Stuff

So, what have I been up to lately?

We're still working on the script, but have been having some real arguments over this puppy. There's stuff that doesn't work for me, but Luke seems to like much of it--wouldn't be a problem if he was gonna direct and edit it.

He's at the point where he actually said maybe we should go back to the drawing board on the whole thing. Dunno.

The key point, for me, is that the main character isn't very likeable. She is, admittedly so, a bit of a Liz Salander type(Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Luke came up with her and likes her, and when I point out the problem that she's not likeable, he keeps saying "Well, Salander IS".

The reason Salander works, though, is because of the following: (and I'm discounting the fact that she works for anyone who has read the book, because you can make unlikeable people likeable by allowing us to understand them through inner dialogue in a book)

Salander is shown being a victim early on. She gets our sympathy.

She is shown as being very smart with computers and other things. She gets our admiration.

She helps the guy we DO like, Blumquist(however you spell it).

Now, if we look at our version, named Cora: She is a badass. That's it. She's not likeable, and frankly she kills someone we like for a not-so-great reason. But she's basically antisocial and not funny.

So it's a problem. I originally had a scene in mind that humanized her a bit, but it never got written in and now would have to be shoe-horned in. Wouldn't really work.  Dunno.

Anyway, I had been having a hard time visualizing the set and the size and whatnot, so I decided to create it in Frame Forge, a storyboarding program I have. I spent an hour doing that and didn't think it was good enough(there are limitations to that program).

So I said fuck it, let's try to make it in 3D Max. The new version of 3D Max I've never used. Also, I haven't messed around with 3D Max in like 3 years, and was never all that versed in it anyway.

Fuck it! Right!

Man, I am not a 3D dude. Really. Shit drives me bonkers. After like 4 hours I sort of had something resembling the structure, and applied some really crappy textures. I pretty much threw in random omni lighting in each room so I could tell the difference, then I rendered the camera flying through and it's like something you'd see on the Commodore 64. So nice.

If I had less pride I'd upload it for you to laugh at. I don't think I'm gonna bother adding the details like the lighting and props and things.

Hey, dead people!

Got a buddy named Zig who enjoys watching movies of people right after they die. Like, this week he's gonna watch some movies based on Bradbury books, but if Bradbury hadn't died I'm sure we'd be watching Running Man('cause of Richard Dawson).

And I'm just not a big fan of that. I wasn't sure why, hadn't put the thought in until recently.

I think it's this: If someone dies and I immediately watch a flick of theirs, I am putting a memory to their death. I will remember and possibly associate the movie in my mind with their death.

But if I don't, there's a good chance I will totally forget the person died(unless they're a huge name/star), and it certainly won't taint the movie for me.

So that's why I don't show up for too many of those, Zig!

Saw Prometheus last night. We can talk about it after everybody's seen it.