Monday, April 29, 2019

Time Crunches / Never Enough Money


April's almost gone. I still have no idea whether I'm going to shoot something this year or not. My choices are as follows:
1) The action horror I've paused writing until I can see the locations I know we're gonna film in. Still waiting to hear from my buddy the cop about the other location. If he can come through, then perhaps I'll give it a try. I don't think I can do it for $2K, so perhaps I'll try to crowdfund a little--if I can get an additional $2K then it looks much more doable, though still a massive amount of work for me.

2) A Ttory short. I thought about this the other day. I'm guessing--though it's mostly pure guesswork--that not everybody finishes the Ttory movies. Either they're just not their cup of tea or they don't like no-budget movies or whatever. But we win on A-zon because SO many people watch some of the movie.
           So if I make a short, perhaps I still have a shot of making similar money, and a short won't cost anywhere near what the whole flick makes. I'm not saying ALL shorts could do this, but Ttory does have some traction. Both movies did pretty well. And more importantly, I have an idea for one that I kind of like. That's always the most important thing for me--if I'm not significantly interested in the story, I'm not gonna do it--no way am I killing myself over something I'm like "It's okay."

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Now, money's always an issue. I'm not like most other no-budget filmmakers in that I don't have a regular job. I work maybe four or five days a month, plus have a bunch of shit up on eBay, plus A-zon pays me for the books and movies.

That pays my bills, in general. Doesn't leave much left over to go do other stuff.

And here's what I have to budget for right now:
Reserve a hotel at the STC show for one night. Just to go drinking with the buddy, plus JBob is gonna be there. Would be cool to meet him ahead of the other convention where we'll both be guests.
Reserve a hotel for the other convention where I'll be a guest. Get two dvds made--the GOH and Ttory 2 to have at that convention.
Get money together so I have $2K to spend on the new flick or short. (cut that in half if it's the short)
Buy some more gear for the camera I'm gonna be shooting the flick on. (the A7III)

See, I learned something new this week that I didn't know regarding digital cameras. I shot with the new camera on one of my freelance gigs, and got a little bit more grain at ISO 4000 than I thought I'd have. I mean, this camera goes to nearly 60,000 ISO before it even starts going extended. I've seen videos that show this thing in the 20,000 range with minimal grain. So why do I have grain?

Turns out, grain will be more prominent the worse your lens is. This is something I've never heard of in my years of shooting digital.

I was using my shitty telephoto lens on it, so I'll have to be careful that I'm using nice glass when shooting high ISO--which will be most of this movie either way. So definitely gotta rent some glass, plus test my brother's Canon lenses on it to see what they look like. Problem is, if I wanna use them AND the amazing autofocus on this camera then I'll have to get the more expensive lens adapter than I have. That's another $300 or so dollars right there.

Need a lot more testing. We went out the other night and shot some night stuff. Didn't get much I liked other than these two images:


I'm a little embarrassed to say how many shots it took me to get those road lines in the center of the shot. They were always SLIGHTLY off, and it was so dark. That's also the moon coming up in the bg, not the sun. I tried to color correct some of the color out of it, but that's actually the color it was so...

Time continues to accelerate every year...seems like each year just flies by worse than the year before...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sucky Taxes


Went to the local premiere. Was fun. The script was a little so-so, but I think some people will enjoy it--it's more of an all-ages western than I like. Cool seeing a lot of people I know, in the movie and at the theater.

Chatted with a couple of the actors I'd be using if I do this thing in October.

That script is coming slow. Still don't know about the locations.

I think my brother and I are going to go to the asylum at dusk, and hang out for hours at night. Light the place up and see if the guards come and bust us. Better for the two of us to get arrested than a crew of people, right?

I can do some tests while we're there. But I bet that place is gonna be pretty scary at night, because it's not exactly Disneyland during the day.

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Did the taxes. I was curious what it would be like with the new tax laws. You know, the media's telling you that everyone is going to pay a million dollars more, etc.

I'm not one to believe the BS the media--either side--is pimping. I'd heard from other friends who had done their taxes, and it seemed pretty evenly split between people who said they paid more and those who said they paid less.

Well, my taxes aren't definitive because I made less this year than last, but when I analyzed the numbers we did indeed pay less as a percentage of our income than we did last year. It wasn't a staggering amount--about 4%--and part of that can be explained away as some of our income last year went into the next highest tax bracket, but didn't this year.

The long and the short of it is that I"m broke again. I don't pay the estimated tax I'm supposed to, since the penalty isn't that much and most of the time I'm not sitting on extra cash.

The tax form was a lot more complicated this year, I can tell you that. I had to answer a lot more questions about my home business than last year, and some of the deductions I got to take last year aren't available.

Oh well, at least it's done. What a fucking waste of time every year.


Tuesday, April 09, 2019

More Nothing


Because Stewie asked about it, here's what we did about the bathroom. I ordered this--it's free shipping as long as you pick up at a H Depot.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/American-Standard-Colony-32-in-x-60-in-5-Piece-Glue-Up-Alcove-Wall-Bath-Set-in-Celestial-Marble-2978BWT-369/305861021

It comes in 4 pieces. You should buy a couple of tubes of "Loc Tite Power Grab for Tub Surrounds". If we hadn't had to replace the entire faucet assembly it would be a one-day job. (the only slightly complicated part is that you need to cut holes in the side for your faucet, so you need a special drill end to do that, but if you're Stewie you could borrow it from my dad)

Here's some pics of how it looks, which I honestly couldn't care less about. The wife is going to add some trim the the edges because once you put it on OVER the tiles(which we did because it's easiest), there's a small gap at the outside edges of the tub. It's purely a cosmetic thing.

My bathroom is pretty small so I can't take a great shot of the whole thing, but the wife seems to like it and --most importantly--it doesn't leak at all, so my downstairs office is safe again.

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Busy week. Saw Shazam. DC finally gets it right.

Got an auction to work tomorrow night, but really need to get my tire plugged. (been driving around with a screw in it for three weeks)

Thursday night is a local premiere for a buddy's Western I'm going to try to make. Friday is my bro's surprise bday party, for which I was asked to do one of those video slideshows I hate doing. This one wasn't so bad because I put in all the music we both like. The funny part is that I didn't realize they were having this party in a church, so I hope the church enjoys some Depeche Mode, Kix, Duran Duran and more.

Did I mention that we have an auction in Jersey the beginning of next month? Jesus. Kill me now.


Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Ride Along



On the way to the ride along I started to get a scratchy throat. I'm thinking, what the fuck? Hope I'm not getting sick.

Got to the station and Dan(my cop buddy) and I got right out on the road. He showed me the Event Log on his car laptop--totally cracks me up to watch the cops speed down the road while trying to read their laptop...

The Event Log, what I think he called the EVL even though it should clearly be the EL, puts up shortened, one line descriptions of all the 911 calls they get. Like one was DOMWM with some other letters to denote a Domestic by a white male.

The strange part is that there's line after line of this, but can he just arrow down and then hit enter to reveal more details? NOPE.

He's gotta memorize the 4 digit code at the beginning of the line, say 1489 and clear the screen, then type EVD(Event Details) with the 4 digit code, and it all comes up.

I'm like, seriously? How have they not fixed that? He's supposed to do this shit WHILE he's driving...
(the laptops are Panasonics using Windows 7, in case you wanted to know)

We drove around for a bit, but it was quiet. So our first stop was actually Chik Fil A where he bought me dinner. Then we went back out. There was a call of a large crowd fighting and one person supposedly had a gun, so he put the lights and sirens on, and we BLAZED. It's quite a rush driving that fast, ignoring all traffic laws.

We get there and there's already like six cop cars there, a lot of people screaming at each other, screaming at the police who are trying to calm them down. Nobody seems to know the story, and Dan's kind of pissed because the scene isn't being run the way he'd run it. One lady keeps screaming shit, and they have the guy who allegedly hit a woman, then went and got a gun.

But nobody can find the gun. We stayed there for like 30 minutes, but nothing to be done, so we took off.

I wish I could tell you some exciting stories, but Dan said I was apparently good luck. He said the Event Log normally showed like 4 or 5 PAGES of calls. At one point he showed me the screen and there was only TWO calls on the whole thing.

There was a call of a 14 year old "out of control"--the mom called. So we head there, and there's already five police cars waiting. Bored cops out front. Basically, any call and everybody was going because they're all so bored.

We go inside. Six cops and me, all staring at this fourteen year old girl who's crying on the stairs. Her mother who made the call outweighs her by like 100 pounds. I'm thinking, "WTF? Discipline your child. Why are you calling the police?"

But it turns out the fourteen year old was acting out because her mother had told her to clean her room--which she did--but then it turned 8 o'clock and she was still cleaning her room, and the mom told her to take a shower. The girl had said she wanted to finish cleaning her room, but the mom wanted her to TAKE A SHOWER AT 8 O'CLOCK.

So all of a sudden I just wanna shoot the mom.

The lead cop on the call gave a stern talking to the daughter, but I was on her side.

We left that call. Not much else happened. Dan showed me around the old police station, which they only use for training now. I was like, Fuck, this would be perfect for a set...

He told me this story, which was cool:
Few years back when the Ravens were in the playoffs, they had a party at the station. One side of the glass was food and a TV, other side was the desk where they'd lead people to their holding cells. Dan was working the desk.

Other cop brings in a big guy, starts filling out the paperwork. Dan leads the big guy back to his cell, but then it occurs to him that the big guy hasn't said anything and hasn't opened his mouth. Dan asks him, "Got anything in your mouth?" Guy shakes his head.

Dan says "Open your mouth". Guy barely does it. Dan says to stick out his tongue, and he barely does that. Clearly he has drugs in his mouth. Dan says "Open your mouth all the way."

The guy PUNCHES Dan in the face. Dan said he stumbled back, dazed, but got his wits back. Said he grabbed him by the head and started kneeing him in the face jujitsu style. But the guy shoved him off. Dan's trying to call for help, but the cops on the other side of the glass can't hear him and they're watching the football game.

Dan said he tried to knee the guy in the head again but missed, and put his knee through a support pole, left a big circular mark. The guy got a hold of him but Dan scrambled away, falling and hitting his head on the door frame, and he started bleeding. Finally the other cops saw, and came running, but there were napkins on the floor and the first one slipped and fell, and others fell on top.

He said it looked like the Keystone Cops or something.

Once they got him under control, the other cops thought the guy had put Dan's head through the support post because they saw his bloody forehead and the hole in the post.

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We also went to a park after dark. Dan said maybe we'd see some girls giving BJ's--said it happens all the time even though the park is closed after dark. The guy who's supposed to close the gates always forgets.

Nobody there, but Dan told me another story...

He came out there one night and saw a car. He got out and walked down, came up to the passenger's side and could see it was a girl blowing the driver. Dan cleared his throat loudly, and she jumped up, but the guy couldn't stop and blew his load all over himself and her.

Dan told her to get out of the car. He's like "What's going on?" She said, "I didn't want to, but he said he'd give me percocets to blow him!" Dan asks, "How old are you?" She tells him "Fourteen."

So Dan gets the guy out. "How old are you?" asked Dan. "Thirty one" says the guy. Dan tells him he's going to jail. Had to take him in with cum all over his shirt and stuff. Said it was disgusting.

---

Anyway, Dan says I have to come back out on another night. He apologized, as if he has any control over what crime happens.

The next day I wake up with a vicious cold. Stuffy nose and lungs, scratchy throat. Hope I didn't give it to Dan.

It's been keeping me down for the past couple of days.

Am trying to get some things brewing. Writing a bit, thinking about a lot of stuff. My concentration is a bit off, all over the place.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Nothing New To Report But...

I thought I'd add a little brightness to my day and yours with these pictures. Remember when she was the hottest woman ever? No? Then I pity you.







I'm going on a ride along tonight with a cop buddy, so if I get killed, hey...good deal.

Been probably 15 years since I went on one. Had fun on the first one, so hopefully we see some crazy shit.