Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Star Wars Original Trilogy

What does Erin Grey have to do with Star Wars. Not a damn thing.

Haven't seen any of the original Star Wars movies in over 20 years. I gave them up when Lucas decided to be an ass and change them. I could live with the fact that he wanted to do that, but the fact that he denied us the choice of seeing it the way we fell in love with it...that's not okay.

Anyway...downloaded the Despecialized Editions, which are basically the original versions. Don't feel bad about it at all for two reasons: 1) Lucas has gotten a TON of my money from me if you only counted the Star Wars figures my brother and I collected when we were young and 2) I owned these movies on VHS. Probably still do, somewhere in a box.

Decided to watch the first movie with my kid, who's never seen any of them(and won't see the "episode" movies if I have anything to say about it, and I think you know I do). Here are my thoughts:

He was pretty bored for the first half hour of the movie or so. Not sure he got what was going on. I tried to clue him in to what was happening.

He wasn't very happy when Luke's relatives died. He gets hung up on people dying. Starts smacking his leg.

His interest perked up at the cantina scene. I'm like "Hey, lotta cool aliens, huh bud?" And of course he says "They're playing music." So he's not really interested in the aliens, just their music. Shoulda figured.

How did I never notice that the only fat fighter pilot in the rebel alliance is named "Porkins"? Is his first name Fatty?

He was really concerned that the "old man died". Kept wanting him to come back. I convinced him that he was a really powerful ghost now. Sorta accurate, right?

Here's some funny stuff he said that sounds inappropriate at face value:

  • They gotta get rid of that black guy for good.(regarding Darth Vader)
  • They should chop that black guy with the life saver. (regarding Darth, and light sabers)
  • They gotta get it in the hole. (about the shot at the end to destroy the death star)

Later, he told his mom about the movie. Darth Vader flew away in his spaceship after Han shot him. My wife says "That's not how I remember it!" I ask her what she's talking about. She says(and mimes pulling a mask off her face): "What about "Luke I am your father". I'm speechless. I'm like, way to blow the biggest spoiler in the history of spoilers. She's like, "What?" I'm like, that's the sequel.

Hopefully he didn't understand it.

Watched the other two flicks over the next 3 nights. He seemed to enjoy them. At the end of Empire he got concerned when Luke got his hand cut off and wanted to know if he'd "get it fixed".

Then after Luke got his hand fixed and the movie was ending he was very concerned with Han being frozen. Clearly not happy that's the way the movie was going to end.

We watched Jedi then, and he was pretty happy with it all at the end. The dying's not so bad when everybody comes back as a "powerful ghost".

My personal thoughts on them are strange. I sort of enjoyed the flicks, but it's very hard to find that love that I had of them oh so long ago. Also, caught tons of little "problems" that you'd never notice if you hadn't made movies.

It's true that making movies ruins movie watching to an extent.


Date night with the wife. Went to the cheap theater to see Daddy's Home. Hadn't heard much good about it, but the wife wanted a comedy and that's the only one I'd be willing to see that's out now.

Honestly it wasn't terrible. Not hysterical or anything, but there was a couple of parts that I laughed out loud at. Not as bad as the 30% or so on Rotten Tomatoes. It's much better than that terrible cop movie Ferrell and Wahlberg made before.

The best news was the the theater was entirely empty but for us. THAT'S sweet. In our younger days I'd have gotten some action.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Dark Woods Is Scary

So we went out to the woods as daylight faded. I found a location that I liked for the actual shoot coming up. We cleared out some area for the fire so we could test just what the footage would look like.

See, I'm shooting on my old HD Canon DV cameras. They're still very nice cameras(one of them still sells for over $1000 and it's like 6 years old). But they perform pretty well under low light conditions and have autofocus.

I thought about trying to fake use them, and then just shoot the whole thing with a DSLR but it just seems like it'll be too tough.

Anyway, then we waited for dark and shot some time lapse stuff with our actual DSLRs. Here's my brother's: 

 Here's mine:

See how his is better. He's been doing it for longer. That's literally my first time lapse. He's actually done some very cool ones in the past. Check this one out:

Dude's getting good, right?

It got dark. We lit a fire, pulled out some lanterns(like the actors will have) and the camera. I climbed into a clown suit and we shot some video.

It's dark. But I mean, nothing you can't see, and it fits the actual piece. The clown suit isn't so dark that it's unworkable.

We also shot this promo still which I'll use eventually.

You feel kinda dumb standing around the woods in a clown suit and one clown shoe, I can tell ya that.

So we put out the fire, gathered all our shit in the pitch-black dark, and then started down the trail toward home.

Only, you take all these twists and turns in the daylight, and then at night you come to a fork and you're like...was THIS the turn, or is it the next one? It's kinda scary.

We found our way out though, grabbed a pizza, and then went to Mike's to watch Matinee. I'd rented it from Amazon a while ago and hadn't watched it. Really had forgotten a lot about it. Movie really deserves a blu ray release. Lot of fun.

Anyway, that one actor's out because he's union and gives a shit. Now I have two roles to fill, and we're not even a month out. I'm sweating one of the roles more because when I cast her, I have to get her to the FX guy's house fast to have her head cast.

Still working on that complicated FX shot at the end, plus trying to come up with the clown's look with my brother.

Also liasing with the other director about his project and trying to help out on that. LOT to do, and time's wasting...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Testing Today

So today I go out to find our exact location in the woods to shoot.

Then we're going to wait until dark and light a campfire like in the script, and do some tests to see just how the camera(and an iphone) react under those conditions. See how the clown suit looks, because it's dark blue.

If it comes off too dark, I'll have to recast the clown so we can use one of the lighter suits.

I also thought about a cool promo pic we can shoot while we're out there.

Then for fun we're just gonna shoot Mike's gun at something in slow motion at night, see what that looks like.


List of things still to do:
--Figure out the clown's makeup. My brother's been working on some designs, but it's hard to commit since we're not even positive which costume we'll be using.
--Cast two(maybe three) parts. I've asked a guy to play one of the parts and I think he'll take it. Then we still need the girl who's gonna flash her boobies, and another guy. I had asked one guy but now he's asking about SAG and shit, so I think he's out. The girl is more important right now because I gotta get her to Mark for a head cast.
--Figure the car sitch. Need a certain kind of car for the opening scene--it's very short, about a page
--Still working on figuring out that special effect at the end
--Take my tripod to Mark's so he can cast the legs.
--Gotta figure out how many sleeping bags I can get my hands on. I ain't buying a bunch for just two nights. I know my kid's got one. I bet my brother has two or three. Two more and I think I'm good. I need 6 total.


Remember that new Bounty trailer I put up last week? Did some pimping on it, and it's at almost 3500 views...that's pretty awesome for such a short time.


Remember when I said I sent a new letter to that HH serial killer? Got a letter back from him. Weird dude. Wants to meet me. Didn't answer any of my actual questions. He's unsure about an interview. I can tell ya I don't wanna drive 8 hours(4 up/4 back) just to meet him.

Weirdly, just got contacted by someone at the D Channel(same guys who licensed a clip from HH for a show), and there's a NEW show that wants to use a clip. They want it for free. I reply, nope. $100 gets ya a clip.

They said okay. So, sweet! I can retire now.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Back From Florida

Went out for an auction. Short time, which is nice--flew out Friday, set up, auction Saturday and Sunday, back by noon on Monday.

Florida was nice. Warm, nice weather. Right on the beach, and the hotel was a resort. The bathtub in my room, no joke, could have fit 4 people.

This was the view from my balcony:

 This is down by the three pools:

Had a pretty hairy moment when the camera went down. It's been giving us issues--they don't treat it all that well in the packing/shipping department, so it's taken a beating over the years. Has been glitchy on occasion.

This time it just died. Wouldn't power on at all.

Luckily I'd brought a backup--a web cam--but while the auction's going on I gotta plug it in, attempt to transfer the lav audio to the laptop, all without missing the beat as the auctioneer's calling out numbers and bids, and I'm adjusting them on the laptop.

It was pretty hectic there for a little while.

Anyway, now that I'm back I gotta dive back headfirst into T-tory. Need to get everything together to shoot mine and then the other guy's back to back before May(or possibly the first 2 weeks of May).

Feeling the pressure...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ways The DNC is fucking Bernie Sanders

This post is for you, you know who you are. The DNC doesn't win elections? On close ones it certainly does.

Let's ignore the cases of the DNC pulling Sanders' ability to access the database that took a lawsuit to fight through.

Let's ignore all these other things right here:

Let's just take a look at two ballots for two states whose races were EXTREMELY close. Illinois and Missouri. Now I'm not SURE how Illinois sets their ballot order but I'm sure Missouri is by "random drawing".

Here are both ballots.

That is some weird luck there. Bernie is somehow LAST on the Illinois ballot, where Clinton is first, and then on Missouri's random ballot Hillary AGAIN won first! How lucky, out of 9 she got first. You know the odds aren't good on that, right?

Also, look at where Bernie is? Conveniently stuck below the only name that takes up 2 spaces, with NO space in between. That's gotta be an accident, right?

You might think the order of candidates means nothing, but you'd be wrong. There's something called first-listing bias and you can read about it here. They say it can account to up to 5% of votes, which is far more than Bernie lost by.

I'm having a hard time with the high and might Democrats that look down on the Republicans like they're so much worse, when they're just worse in a different way.

And for those who are like "Hey, I don't wanna go to war so I gotta vote Dem!". Have you SEEN Hillary's votes regarding wars? She's pretty pro-war. And hell, she's a HUGE fan of Kissinger, and constantly praises him.

So it would just be great if the Dems would start admitting they have just as big a problem as the Repubs in that their so-called lead candidate is as big a POS as Trump, and start at least working to make the playing field level.

Because I guarantee if the field were level, if the DNC and the media didn't constantly tout how unstopped and on her way to victory she is(which, as many studies point out, people vote for perceived winners, so they are influencing the weak-minded)...then Bernie would win.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

That Was Fast

Spent significant time locating assets, relinking shit, and then exporting the trailer for Bounty. Here it is, go give it a thumbs up, would you?

If you've seen the original copy that's on Youtube, it never goes full screen for some reason.

I had JUST done this blog post yesterday about it:

Then I check my email late tonight and have this(I replaced their name with COMPANY so it doesn't get hit here on the search engines):

Congratulations. The video, metadata, artwork & language assets for [Bounty] have now passed COMPANYs extensive QC (quality control) and the film is now “available” to the VOD outlet partners & territories you selected.

This means VOD outlets will be able to watch the trailer, preview the main video, read the sales pitch and film description, and review the festivals, press articles and other information you entered.

On this basis they make their SELECT or DECLINE decision about your film. COMPANY does not control the timeline in which they make this decision – it can take several weeks or longer. You will be able to track which outlets have selected your film whenever you click on the Outlets tab at the top of your film record.

If an outlet selects your film, we immediately trigger the custom transcode, metadata & image authoring and final asset delivery. On successful delivery, the outlet itself have their own QC & Approval process which can also take several weeks.

We will notify you via email when your film goes LIVE on any outlet, along with a list of Marketing Steps you should use to promote your film.

So there's that. I guess the true experiment starts now. I already have the flick waiting on Amazon for me to make it available to the public. It's been uploaded and all.

I've uploaded HH but they gave me a very weird email about it. Will post that later. Just figured I'd post this update while it's fresh on my mind.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Amazing artist

Sort of a note to myself--never heard of this Russian artist, but a friend posted a link to this article that shows a BUTTLOAD of his stuff. It's pretty amazing.

Technical Alert--this is going to be boring for 99% of you.

Remember that aggregator I was sending Bounty to? The things that make me a little leery of them still is that their web site that's been up and running for like 2 years still says it's in Beta.

I see why; I finished uploading all the Assets like a month ago. All the boxes were checked on the web site. So I finally email them to see what's next, and they DO get back to me right away. They say I'm missing a trailer for the flick.

I point out that ALL the assets, including the one checked VIDEO is checked. It says 28 out of 28 assets are provided. Doesn't say I'm missing anything.

Anywho, I upload it and a couple days later get this message:
Could you please upload a new new trailer? The one we received has non square pixels and blended frames.

So they got me on the blended. I think I mentioned way back that for some reason when I moved the project from one version of Premiere to another it actually checked every clip into frame blend mode, and I didn't notice.

But the non square pixel thing? Is there ever gonna be a day when pixel aspect ratio makes any fucking sense? They act like they need square pixels, but the actual camera we shot on had a pixel aspect ratio of 1.333.

 Yeah, I can export it to square pixels but then premiere is going to have to do some work to make it end up at the same PICTURE aspect ratio.

I dunno how it all works.  I was just commenting to a buddy about the fact that my mini-dv camera shoots footage at 1440X1080 with a pixel aspect ratio of 1.3333 but my iphone shoots at 1280X720 with a pixel aspect ratio of 1.0

The weird thing to me is that when I scale the iphone footage UP to the same size as the mini-dv THEY ARE THE EXACT SAME SIZE.

Normally shit doesn't line up so you have to zoom the smaller one out until whichever side(horizontal or vertical) is smaller gets to the edge--which would mean the larger side would lose a bit of picture.

I'm sure there's some sort of explanation that makes sense. Just not to me.

Anyway, what it amounts to is that I have to try to find the original trailer file, relocate all the assets, and export a new copy that doesn't have frame blend.

I hope this isn't all for nothing.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Casting and Conflicts and Hot Dog The Movie

You know, as many times as I've seen this movie I never realized that this scene from the movie is a literal chess event. Queen Takes Bishop.

Anyway, am trying to do all the shit involved in getting prepped to shoot not only my segment but the other filmmaker's segment. I had planned on doing April 23/24 and his on April 30/May 1st.

He told me two days ago he can't do that--would like to switch. My inclination is, sure, gives me another week. But then the lead actress for my segment tells me she can't--she's got prom. Sucks, and not just 'cause it makes me feel very old.

Trying to figure out what to do. I'm trying to get him to move his to the first week of May, which I thought I couldn't do but turns out I can now.

Have gotten some submissions. Casting is dicey. Trying to figure out who fits what role better. All without auditioning. Just using their reels--and I'll take video auditions if the people don't have reels.


A complicated end shot on my segment is giving me problems. It's a tricky, tricky compositing gag tied into a practical effect. I'm still not positive how to do it right.

I can do it, sure. But it won't look great unless I can iron out some of the logistics.

Vague enough for you?


Saw 10 Cloverfield. Liked it. But it's a peculiar movie. I can't say why it is without spoiling it, and you know I don't play that shit.

Also saw the Brothers Grimsby. It's not a great movie, not even a good movie. But if you were high and you caught it on cable I bet you'd laugh a LOT. But it also has quite a few POV segments during the action that are shot EXACTLY like the Hardcore Henry movie, and I can tell you that the gimmick grows old fast.

Won't be seeing Hardcore Henry in the theater, I can tell you that.

Afterward we went to Zig's and watched Hot Dog The Movie. I last saw this movie somewhere around 1985 when it was on cable. I was young, and it had boobies and SEX, so it was amazing to a 15 year old.

I was prompted to hunt down the dvd after watching a ski, 80's inspired episode of It's Always Sunny.

I think we all enjoyed Hot Dog. It's like 40 minutes of movie with 40 minutes of skiing, but the nostalgia factor carries it through.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Moving Forward

Didn't hear from that other filmmaker, so I let him know I'm pushing the button on my short instead. Things to do:

1) Have actor playing the bad guy--yes, a CLOWN--come over to see which of my suits fit him. I don't remember if I mentioned that in anticipation of the other movie I was hoping to get off the ground, I have bought a ton of vintage suits.

Once I know which suit will fit him, we'll work on the design of his facepaint, based so it matches the suit

2) Figure out the FX. Not only how we do the prosthetic ones, but I have a tricky compositing shot at the end that I want to see if it will work before I attempt it.

3) Start casting. Need good actors who are willing to work for nearly nothing, and long hours. No problem.

4) Nail down dates.

5) Head back to the godforsaken woods to figure out the best location to have this. We're going to need to light a campfire and have screaming people in the middle of the night, and not get police called. (or just be so deep in the woods that even if they're called they'll never find us)

These are the immediate things. I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting.