Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Plans

So...I have made a complete list of what I need to pickup looping and foley-wise, and even a couple of shots I could use.

Going to go shoot the last shots of the flick on Sunday, then probably hang out late into the night in the woods to get some cool promo shots I can give the poster guy.

Then next weekend if Joe's available, I'll go out and shoot the foley and video I need from him. At that point, the only thing I'll be missing is Cutting on some lines(and one shot I could use, but it's not 100% necessary)

--Man, it's hard typing this up, cuz that girl and her pumpkins are just staring right at me....

Speaking of Pumpkins, I think I have it fully cast, and two of the actors are returning favorites of mine. Super excited to work with them again. The other actor is from Philly, so that's a pain in the ass for him--he's gotta come down here soon just to get his face cast, then two other nights, probably the 3rd week of September.

I still have to do some of those tests I keep putting off. I've bought many of the props for the segment.

As I get close to shooting that, though, I need to start prepping the Fountain. Double check to make sure I can get those actors, go scout some of these locations, and prep the Fountain, since I am also the set designer on this...

But hey, at least some of the pressure is off. The attempt to get this thing done by October 30th was noble, but stress-inducing.

Off to see Annabelle tomorrow. Why not?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Status: LATE

Okay, I'm gonna have to make the call today. Ttory 2 ain't getting done by October 1st.

As for what my backup releasing plan is, I don't know. I guess I'll wait and see how long it takes me to finish it.

I started to feel like more and more, quality was going to start suffering. The final two segments might be getting half-assed in my rush to production. A lot of things I should fix in the main story might not get fixed, because I gotta tell you...

...there's this new danger in my life I've never had before...'s the PEOPLE...their words...

See, I realized that I have definitely let some of them get to me. Not in terms of anger or anything, but there have been some times when I've been THIS close to going..."You know what? All the shit I do to try to make this movie better than the 99% of no-budget movies out there...and the people are gonna bitch anyway..."

"So why bother? Don't get down on the ground to shoot that interesting angle...just shoot it eye-level on the fucking tripod. Those douchebags are gonna hate it anyway, or better yet leave a one-star review with the words, "Gave it two minutes, didn't like it."

And that thought was sort of subliminal for a long time. It is very liminal now.

That's a dangerous place to be, and somewhere I've never been. I've always been the guy who goes the extra fucking distance to make these movies the least-bad they can be. Believe me, I have failed in many ways, but you have no idea just HOW bad those movies were before I got them to the shape they're finally in when you see them.

btw--a bit high right now, so there's that.


Anyway, been whacking and massaging the main story of T-tory. I took a 2nd look at the Mad Gathering, and it's not QUITE the clusterfuck I thought it was. The opening scene is fucking terrible, but after that it gets better.

So I went back to the main story. Individually going through each scene and working the audio so the cuts aren't audible. Trimming here and there, trying to get some rhythm.

Did the whole thing, so now you can actually play it from front to back, and it's not that shabby on the audio.

Then started through again--picking some FX shots to mess with so at least I can partially watch something. When I'm editing I have the headphones on, so putting something on TV is just worthless.

The scene where Jack first attacks is a fucking NIGHTMARE. Jack's pumpkin head swivels this way and that, spins, leans. In a hundred ways, and I just have all this reference vid where Matt showed me the pumpkin from a bunch of different angles.

Been working on some of it, then got to the bottle break upside Jack's head. That shot is...ridiculous. We had to tape Matt all up on his head and shoulders because, well, we broke an actual bottle against his head.

But I never took a clean plate of him from that angle WITHOUT the tape, so I'm having to make that up. Then on top of that, you can see the plate we taped to the other side of his head for the bottle to break on.

And I've got no clean plate of the background to paint that thing out.

Also, the best take of Jack walking up to the guy beforehand? He's not carrying the hero knife, just the handle-only knife. So I digitally have to add a knife that moves in exactly the same manner as the way he walks with the handle. Gotta make it blur at exactly the same rate as he does when moving.

Lotta work. Lotta null objects getting motion-track data applied to them.

Things I'm most happy about:
The Midnight C exploding effect.
The knife pullout of Will.
That I was able to make most scenes work, even with the incredibly uneven sunlight killing me, plus the long speeches that Cutting couldn't nail his lines right on.
Some of the drone shots are SWEET.
I think I only blow the frame-sides once, and I knew about it on set--I couldn't get the drone on the correct side of the people because of a tree above us, so I just figured it would be okay.

--Pardon me, I'm listening to Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood for the first time in like 10 years, and it's just as fucking amazing as it used to be. I'm back in's my fucking time machine?

Also, I think I curse a lot more in my blog when I'm high.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Busy Little Blogger

After going on a long blogging break there, I'm back at it apparently.

Spent today working on the last scene I need to edit. Spoiler alert--it involves Jack killing two people, then basically daring someone to enter his "domain" and do something about it.

There's some complicated prosthetic FX along with some CGI(well, compositing basically) for instance where a blade gets pulled out from somebody's body.

I did a rough edit on the whole scene, but in order to see if some shots CAN work I had to go do the compositing work. Then, one of those shots turned out so fucking good that I went ahead and fill in Jack's eyeholes plus the top of his head. Frame by frame for like 6 seconds.

Took a while, but man is the shot sweet. The actual hit with the blade doesn't look great so that may take more work. The final shots with the dummy head and the wig looks like shit--the wig has that netting underneath, and you can pretty clearly see it. Not sure if I can fix it.

I can tell you one thing that's been adding up as I got later into the scenes--missed shots. I RARELY miss shots completely, but I'd say there's at least four pretty important shots I could have used. All but one of them was actually IN the shooting script/shot list.

Anyway, now that I had them all assembly edited, I dragged them together to see how long it is. It's almost exactly 44 minutes--but keep in mind that there's another minute or so of footage tacked on the end that I didn't shoot yet.

That's pretty close to the 45 pages that the script was, so I'm right on track for that.

Gonna make a big decision tomorrow, then get back to the Gathering segment. Also, am having difficulty finding actors for this pumpkin segment.

A Few Things to do:
Make front-end creds, which involves rendering a lot of 3D graphic stuff--lot of time rendering.
Make back-end creds.
Make a trailer.
Start figuring out what I want the poster to look like so I can prep to get it to the artist.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Another Scene Bites The Dust

Synced and edited the finale of the film. It was a little easier sound-wise, because that was the night I forgot my mics and only used the shotgun mic.

The sound's not bad either, other than that fucking barking dog and some weird beeping on occasion, like a truck backing off in the distance. (we heard it quite a bit--dunno who the fuck is backing up at 3am, but fuck them)

The scene was tricky because we shot out of order from my shot list because it was so hot the clown's makeup was running. I re-ordered on the fly to try to shoot all the clown's shots first, but he has two balloons at one point, and then one at another.

Also, I think I figured out I'd fucked something up out there, so we reshot, but the lighting on the reshots is slightly different.

I even spent a little time doing some of the compositing work. It's not finished, but a lot of it is pretty close.

Now...the final scene. (well, it's not the final scene of the movie, but I edited that a long time ago, remember?)

It has three tracks of audio to sync. I did a little bit of that too, but now I"m getting too woozy to mess with it.


Did I tell you that catastrophic news? (I feel like I have, but I talk to myself a lot so am never sure...)

Coke, in its infinite stupidity, has said it won't make Zero anymore because they've got this new version of it that's so much better and tastes JUST like regular Coke.

I heard this month they were going to stop making Zero, the good version, and was planning on buying a bunch to stock up. Well, tonight my wife came home and said the only Zero they had was the new stuff. Coke Zero Sugar, they call it--and hey, why didn't someone do any research to see that Pepsi has something like 10 years back called Pepsi Zero Sugar, and figure out that copying Pepsi is a stupid thing to do)

I freaked out. I only have like 5 two-liters left. I grabbed some bills and headed out the door. The first two Giants I went to had NONE. Zero of the Zero. I was starting to panic inside, seeing the future like it's fucking Road Warrior, only this time I'm killing people ad chasing them down in cars to get their COKE ZERO.

But I get to Shopper's Warehouse. They have like 15 two liters! I throw them in my cart, and at the front I say to the lady, "You don't have any more of these, do you?" She's like, "Maybe...let me take your cart in the back and I'll see what we have. How many do you want?"

I laugh. "All of them."

This is what she brought me:

That's what 35 two-liters of magic look like. I bought them all.

But I wasn't done.

I went to the other two Shopper's in the area and bought THEM out of theirs. This is what my car looked like. The Trunk:

The back seat:

I got about 70 total. No place to put them in my house, but I'll find room. Operation ration Coke Zero is in effect, and if I see any more two liters I'll be grabbing them.

Also, typed up a letter to Coca Cola to tell them about my super-unhappiness. The last time I wrote an actual physical letter to a company was when they canceled Quantum Leap, and I was pissed.

So that should tell you that I don't send physical letters for just anything...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

HAF and Wrap Nearly Cut

Have I used that before? I feel like I have, but still--cracks me up.

The 'H' in the title refers to High, and the rest you can probably figure out.

Anyway, have cracked the whip on myself and managed to now assembly edit the entire wrap except for two scenes. Now, these are not small scenes; one features the finale of the film that was shot on the first night, which means it's bound to be a clusterfuck, and the second scene features a Smiling Jack attack, which is mildly complicated.

So it'll probably take me a full three days to edit that. (and my edit days are like 12-14 hours at the keyboard) But on the other hand I gotta pat myself on the back for the massive amount of work I've accomplished. (and I've even done a little bit of the compositing work I needed for some shots)

And one special effect that I lucked into while tinkering on AE. But there's another effect I have no idea how to do, and have wasted about 4 hours messing around with. May have to reach out to knowledgeable friends.

Anyway, once the wrap is fully assemble-edited, my plan will be to go back to the Mad Gathering segment and fix that to the best of my ability, and figure out if I have to go shoot a couple of shots/what foley I need.

Also, still working to shoot the Pump Trail the first weekend of September, which I hear is Labor Day weekend. So gotta find some actors who are cool with it. I found one who's mostly good with it--Phil, who played Giggles in FOC2 and Satan in GOH. He's awesome.

Would like to get another actor I know from Bounty--he played Litwak. Then I have to find a black actor who's over 55 years old.

Am ordering props. Have to go do a final location scout. Am waiting to hear whether we can get the pumpkins for the segment. We need like 30, then I need to get some help carving them all into cool Jack O'Lanterns.

Still have to do tests to see how this puppet thing is going to work. (I'm being vague on purpose)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Back From Vacay...Again

My parents rented an MTV beach house for a family vacation--it was their 50th wedding anniversary and they wanted all five of us siblings, plus their families to come out.

So they spent an inordinate amount of money to get a house for a week that could fit us all in VA beach. This is what it looked like--I took my little flying toy to get some cool shots like this.

It was a fun week. There was some familial disputes--and my sisters have very young kids that really make a lot of the more fun parts of beach vacation impossible. The house has like 15 TVs, but the best one--with like 10 recliners in front of it--was set right outside the room my sister chose. And she has a newborn, so it went to sleep early.

That meant no late night movies for anybody. And they wonder why I get irked that they keep cranking out kids.

I managed to cut almost all of the audio from Ttory 2. I could really get used to cutting and editing on that porch in front of the beach, listening to the surf with a cool ocean breeze washing over me.

When we first got there I said, "I'm gonna jump off that deck into the pool!" and my mom's like "You will not! It's dangerous." And she's right about the 2nd part. The pool is deepest in the center, and that's five feet deep. The edges are less deep.

But I'm nothing if not an idiot. So the last day I snuck out, set up my camera for slow mo, and did this:

Once my brothers saw me do it, they both were kinda miffed that I hadn't told them so they could take pictures while I was doing it. So I did it again.

I reframed slightly and shot that in 4K. I haven't uploaded it yet, but I wish I hadn't reframed it. What happened was, my hand was wet when I hit the handrail on the 2nd shot. There's a moment where I grabbed on there to push off, and that hand slipped.

I'd like to have seen my face when that happened, but on my video I'd reframed to get more of the pool in so I don't think you can see it.

Luckily my other hand was still on the rail and I shoved as hard as I could. I did make it into the pool, but a little less graceful I think.


Anyway, back now editing. Am about to dive headfirst into the pumpkin segment. Lot of work to do, and I almost definitely have to shoot it the first weekend of September.

I called off the other segment for now. There was simply too much to do, and my naked actress bailed--I didn't want to devote any more time to this segment and have it adversely affect the pumpkin segment.

So what I'm thinking is this: I get the pumpkin one shot, get it all edited and scored, and if I can somehow miraculously make the October 1st date--super.

Then I'll go shoot the missing segment, edit it and put it in the movie, then re-submit it all. Then tell people there's a whole new segment in it, which might get some people to go back in and give it another look.

It's interesting that Amazon's setup will allow this kind of out-of-bounds thinking. It's sort of like releasing 6 copies of Halloween(I'm looking at you Anchor Bay), each one with a little tiny extra in it, so they make you double dip.

In this case, it's not costing anything to anybody who has Prime, other than their time.

Either way, that's my current plan. Still, WAY too much to do.
(because I forgot, I have to also have a trailer for it in order to even submit it to Amazon, so I have to make the movie AND a trailer--oh, and get a poster done too!)