Friday, June 29, 2018

The Most Important Blog Ever

Just kidding. Nothing special about this blog, but I'm running out of titles for my blogs. That's what happens when you doing a fairly regular blog for--it's hard to believe--13 years. Hard to believe it, especially when you consider I have another 6 or 7 blogs also, which I don't update near as regular as this.

I have a pretty close to done version of The Fountain segment for ttory2. Sent a link to the composer so he can start getting ideas.

I had showed it a couple of times to Zig, and to a couple of other people, looking to see if they noticed any of the glaring(to me) continuity errors. For the most part they didn't. But there's a background that Stewie noticed that I noticed for sure, and feel like people might catch it.

So I spent, no shit, eight hours on what amounts to 9 seconds of screen time to remove and replace that background.

Normally it might not take that long, but it's a medium close-up. Hell, I was going to just describe it but I'll upload a video in just a second to show you.

But here's the problem:
You see that building outside the window? Shouldn't be there. The exterior we shot doesn't match this interior because, well, they're different locations...

So here's what I did:

The reason it took so long is because he's moving. So I have to mask his head and move the mask frame by frame. And because his head is turning too, the shape is changing constantly. So I have about 50 nodes, and I have to move each of them to follow him.

I tend to keyframe every 3 frames or so, then go back in between and adjust the points that aren't following close enough. It's VERY time consuming.

But I think it came out nicely. It helps that the background behind him is bright and so is the scene I used, so it matched well.


So here's my current idea that I'm contemplating. I don't know whether it's a good idea financially, but it appeals to the creator in me.

After we debut the movie, the question always moves to am I going to make physical copies? People do still like them, and I still do also.

Problem is, dvd still outsells blu ray. It boggles my mind. It's like after dvds came out, if you heard someone say "I still like VHS better." No, it looks like shit compared to dvd, and dvd looks like shit compared to blu ray.

But I was thinking...I could add some extra bonus to a blu ray. What if I put ttory 1 AND 2 on a blu ray with the making ofs and commentaries?


What if, just for fun, I put "VHS" versions of the movies on there also? I can degrade them in a way that makes them look like real VHS--not with those shitty filters, I've found some proper techniques that really look amazing. So you can watch these movies and pretend you're back in high school and you just rented some crappy B-movie horror flicks like we used to love to do.


What if I put 3D versions of both films on the blu also? Yeah, I can fit it all. It'll be tight, but I can get them on there. It will be the red/blue 3D, not the other one. This would obviously be more of a novelty, and I won't be able to put glasses in with them--the buyer would have to have them.

But that's a lot of shit to have on a blu ray, so maybe I'd get more sales. I probably would print 300-500 copies. I wouldn't be giving them free to any cast/crew, I can tell u that. I would sell them for cost to them if they want.

These are things I'm mulling over. I'm still mulling over doing a GOH dvd. Hell, I made it already. If I had an extra $500 I'd just print some up now, but I won't have that money 'til I start getting some Ttory 2 recouped...

And that's scaring the shit out of me, honestly.  A-zon's new pay scheme is going to kill me. If we don't hit the bonus, I AM going to lose money. I jammed some numbers, and if we did the same exact numbers we did on ttory1(roughly 5 million minutes) and we didn't get the bonus, I'd earn $5K. That's half of what I spent on ttory2.

That would hurt, and I can assure you that it would be the last movie I made unless someone came and gave me money to shoot something else, with at least SOME crew.

These are the things that try to keep me up at night.

ALSO: Realized I forgot to include two actors in the credits. Their parts are minor, but still, I never forget I had to add them to the front and back credits in After Effects. Then I reopened Premiere and told it to re-render the sequence, and it keeps crashing. Unknown Error.

Fucking Premiere, man. I have to do a workaround to make it render that section. Fuckin' A, man.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Done. But For One Shot.

The day I shot the last pickups was HOT. I went across the bridge to the fountain spot. Bugs galore in the heat. I flew the drone a couple of times, but not sure if I can really use the shots because when I arrived at the location, the fountain had tilted a bit.

Then I set about getting the fountain out. It HAD three strings tied to it, with the main one being on our side of the pool it was in. But when I got there, that string and the stick it was tied to were gone.

The string on the other side had shifted so it would be even harder to get to. I thought, "Hey, I'll use this side string and just pull--that other string will either break or the sticks I loosely tied it to will break."

I pulled the side string and IT broke. The fountain--and my tripod underneath it--were now being held by one string. On the other side of this nasty pool.

I jumped the side spot, then had to creep over thorns and bee-infested flowers to get to the string. I cut it off the tree and clambered back around to the good side of the pool. Pulled the whole thing over and out. It's slimy and covered with green shit.

Anyway. Headed back across the bridge to a spot in the Ttory woods. I needed to foley the big final scene of the movie. By myself. The location I need to use is either down a 70 degree hill, or you can walk quite a ways down the path, push your way through trees and stuff--takes a good 15 minutes of walking.

I elect to go down the hill--took 10 seconds but is not un-dangerous.

Foley'd the scene. Whatever I got, I'm using.

Head to snag the camera at my parents' house. Tried to set up the window suction mount with the camera, but it won't fit on the window because of the weird slope and minimal room between the dash.

Great. I grab Ali and figure--fuck it, I'll hold the camera on my leg with a mini-tripod, watching the monitor and try to drive. Perfectly safe.

Except, the monitor cable is on the side of the steering wheel, and keeps going off anytime I move.

So I end up driving, but tilting my head over to the left so I could see the LCD on the back of the camera(it's not foldout). It's an ugly shot, but oh well--you can definitely tell she's in the front seat.

We grab pizza and go to my parents. Eat, talk. Get some audio looped. (just two lines) Wait for dark.

It's night. We go over, set up lights. My brother Mike comes out and helps. We get the few shots I need, then head into the woods a bit to loop her scream and grunts. We're done by 10:30pm.

I inserted the footage and audio into the segment. It works.

I have only one more shot to do, something for the FX. It's literally 4 seconds long, but is going to be REAL tough to get.


I got some score from Terry. It's good. He'd sent me a first draft that was REAL off, like scary off. But I temp scored that scene for him so he'd get a better idea of what I wanted,  and this time he's back on.

Hopefully he'll start getting more to me. I also expect the Pumpkin Trail complete thing soon. That means I gotta get the Fountain to him ASAP.

Coming down to the nitty gritty.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Final Trip To The Woods

Forever? Let's hope...

Got the pickup to do tomorrow. It's not a lot, and it's a good thing because I'm literally the entire crew. Nobody else was around. My brother's gonna try to step out and help me for the night stuff.

Here's how it's blocked out:

  • Go across the bridge. Shoot some drone footage of the Fountain. Will I use it? Who knows. Then I take the fountain down, pull my tripod out of the water, and head back to:
  • The woods. Foley the entire last scene by myself. This will be fun.
  • Then will meet Ali and reshoot her car scene. I have to drive and shoot at the same time. Nothing dangerous about that. I'm gonna try to mount the cam to the windshield--I have the mount, but not positive I can get a matching shot to the other side we shot like that.
  • Ali and I will take a dinner break to wait for dark.
  • At dark, we head back over for the two night shots I need of her. 
  • Then we have to go into the woods in the pitch black until we can't hear cars any more, and she has to scream and grunt. Go ahead, joke away.

Then. I. Am. Done.


Debuted the Ttory poster to a few sites. Here's the one I gave them:

I have one without the lettering, plus one that says more words.

But this is probably the poster I'll put on A-zon:

This is the one I talked about, the one the designer first gave to me. I was like..."Bad. Ass."

But worried because that's NOT the head that Jack sports in the movie. Then again, it looks cooler than our plastic mask, so more people are prone to watch the movie. And I'm all about that.

I'm also going to get a second poster made that features some of the other segments.

Still waiting on some more score. Am starting to get a little worried--the guy scoring the longest piece(plus another) has gone slightly M.I.A.-- I mean, he's responding, but isn't turning me in anything. He's only sent me one 7 minute opening piece of a 50 minute section. Then he has another 18 minute segment to do.

Stuff has to start coming in. I'm going to set a deadline of July 12st soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Good Stuff

Ben sent me a 90% done score for all of Pumpkin Trail. It's REALLY good. I'm so glad, because it's the segment I'm a little embarrassed about. Now it's not so bad.

I had some minor tweaks for Ben to do, but I can't wait to get it back and finished.

I finalized the front and end credits since I have all the names and everything's shot. Rendered them out. Exported a new version of my end logo.

Began the final pass on the trailer, inserting Fountain footage. I'm kind of digging it, even if the music is basically the BWAAAAAM Batman trailer music.

Monday's weather's looking decent for the pickups. All goes right, that'll be the last footage and last foley that I do for Ttory 2.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Fountain Edit Update

Have an assembly edit of 95% of the Fountain. Here's my main problems right now:

There are some rough cuts--the lead actor, as good as he was, was not very consistent. For instance, in one scene he hands the girl a penny. In the wide, he used his left hand. In the close up he used his right hand. There are other takes where he stands different during certain lines so it's near impossible to make it line up, especially if I didn't do any separate one-shots of the other person.

He also fucked up in that after I put the lav mic on him, I buttoned one more button on his shirt to hide the mic. For some reason--probably he was hot--he unbuttoned it. That means I can see the fucking mic on some shots. This pisses me off--he SAW me button it up. Did he think I was doing that for fun?

Some night shots have things in the background we couldn't frame out. In one shot there are blinking lights way in the distance. You wouldn't see them during the day, but at night...they're there. Those are pretty easy to take out.

Other shots there's a house and a tractor that need to come out. A little tougher, but still doable.

On the actual FX stuff...the story features a person coming out of another person, and we just couldn't get the actual moment of emerging. So I have the before, part of during, and we'll have to sell it with the audio as one person watches in horror. It's not too bad, but I have some audio work to do.

Speaking of, there's something that happens in the movie that needs an audio effect, but I have no idea WHAT audio effect to create. Like, I don't know what noise you'd hear, so how can I create it?

I need a sunset shot over the trees. I shot one last fall when we thought we were going to shoot this segment, but it doesn't fit now. All the trees are green in the footage, then we cut to a sunset over nothing but orange trees. Doesn't work. Too bad too, cuz it was a nice shot.

My lead actress' mic apparently cut out during one entire scene. It's one of the only scenes I didn't use my shotgun mic as a backup, because the camera was on a tripod and the mic is attached to my rig, which doesn't go on the tripod very well.

So I either use the lead actor's mic, which picked it up so so, or I loop her. I don't want to loop her.

That's all I remember now. More later, I'm sure.

Here's a pic of the special FX guy who filled in for Mark--his name's TJ, and he's super cool to work with.


I haven't mentioned, but the weight has been coming off, slowly but surely. I'm back under 200. I actually hard-core cheated for a week, and figured I'd have gone back up to 203. Turns out I'd lost another pound somehow, and am at 198.

At this point, I figure I'll keep at it and see if I can make it into the 180's.


Watched Pacific Rim 2 with my kid. It was decent. Better than it looked from the trailers.

Saw Solo also, by myself. It was also okay, if a little long and unnecessary. Considering it was written by Kasdan, it's a little disappointing.

Snuck out today and saw Upgrade by myself also. Jesus, I'm seeing a lot of movies by myself. It was very cool. Upgrade and Deadpool 2 are my favorites of the past few months, maybe of the year so far.