Thursday, May 26, 2005


TRB, the Tony Romanello Band, broke up...their last show was at Mayfest. I feel a great loss...not only was this band one of the best in Tulsa, they were one of the best bands I have ever encountered. I wish them well, wherever their journey lies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"The Lightswitch Fades" screens in Indianapolis

As much as I have tried, with much frustration, to submit and share my cinematic visions with the world, it has become clear that, even in allegedly 'open-minded' circles, there is a degree of pretentiousness. Yet, you keep trying. That is all you can do. Along the way, you eventually find someone, or a group of people that shares similar ideas and that is when you have found your place!

Alfred Eaker, an Indianapolis filmmaker, is a visionary. He is a part of the Alternative Film Series at the Dorman Street Saloon, one of the city's oldest taverns. Alfred was very eager to receive my first two films, after I sent him the links to "Adam and Yvette" and "The Lightswitch Fades" on Undergroundfilm.Org. He watched them and then requested them. So, I obliged. It is definitely a great feeling to see someone enthusiastic about something you created, and that means so much to you.

"The Lightswitch Fades" screened on May 7th.

Here is an excerpt of the e-mail I was sent:

..we showed 'lightswitch fades' last saturday
good turnout and good reception to both yours and
peter john ross' film.
of course we're making ground with this, but not
indy monthly will be doing a feature article in june
i sent them info on all the films we've shown,
including yours, along with jpegs, bios, etc
i have no idea whta films they will write about or
what the article is going to be like but it's a dent
i have pretty much the schedule up to july but after
thta (in august) i'm planning on showing adam and

re; reaction to lightswitch, one person commented
that it was existential poetic horror which i think
is pretty dead on

we discuss the films after showing each and overall
ther eaction wa spositive
of course there's always one or two who don't like
the film(s) and last saturday's showing was no

and lightswitch had one critic that didnt agree with
the two stronger, positive feedbacks

i personally feel both films have a certain milieu
that's all their own.
definitely an ateurish thing going on

i'll keep you posted on adam date and please keep me
posted on developments


Monday, May 23, 2005

Hard Choices Ahead

As I sit here writing, battling a cold, I am faced with an idea that has become a recent reality. Solid has a great potential. The script is unique and in-depth, the characters are wonderful and the style stand on its own. The dilemma is simple: do I have the right people for the job? I need people who can immerse themselves into the characters they have been given. I need that commitment. I am still reviewing the footage, and even after I am done, I will review it again, yet one thing remains clear...the shoot was sloppy. On my end, there was not adequate rehearsal time, a point that will change for the future. My concern, however, is my star. Although, it is his natural state that lured me to his presence, his aloof manner limited the accuracy of his lines, especially since he did not rehearse, nor could he find his script. I must take the appropriate measures on my end to insure proper rehearsal, and I must discuss the matter with Matthew if we are to continue. The haphazardness of the shoot creates many frustrations in syncing the performance with the unavoidable voice-over that must take place. These are the tribulations of the director's chair.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Kodachrome 40

I have, as of yesterday, discovered that Kodak has chosen to discontinue the most amazing Super 8 film stock in its line, Kodachrome 40. This is a devastating blow to the process of Solid, since it was, as it always is, my choice film stock. This is yet another obstacle to overcome. Godspeed to us all!

"Solid" makes it into the Finals!!!

As of today, "Solid" is one of ten finalists for the 2005 Guerilla Filmmaking Grant. The final, completed script will be sent within the next twenty-one days. From there, the winner will be chosen and announced in early July. This is a very sucessful moment for us. You can view the results yourself by clicking here.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Episode III

This is the end. You do realize that this is it! I have waited and lamented this day for a long time. Lucas is stellar!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Am I blue?

Monday, May 2nd - film is delivered to the local Wal-Mart to be sent for developing. Why waste time and money at Corporate Greed Headquarters? It is almost half!

Sunday, May 8th - A phone film is ready!

Monday, May 9th
- I pick up the film, eleven rolls, and head for home and my projector. The developing costs me $58.25, instead of the $99 I would have paid just for the processing minus the shipping and handling.

I am tired. I have some time of relaxing before I head to the shower and make way for Borders to meet my Beautiful One for lunch. I am anxious and nervous...this footage is the first in a feature film. I believe in this script...

I return home after a nice dinner rendezvous, and I assemble my projector and begin to project the film on the same foam core board I was unable to use at the shoot. Before I elaborate on the footage thus far, I will say that before I passed out from exhaustion, I watched two and a half reels, one of which was nearly eaten by my projector!

Watching footage really brings you back to that time, the place and all its nuances. I will say that, for the most part, what little of the footage I have seen is poised, indicative of the style I want, it is framed properly and is exposed correctly. The camera(s) performed flawlessly. The imagery, thus far, seems perfect.....except, no BLUE! The one thing that was to make this part of the film so powerful, was the use of simulated night, using a blue filter. I have to impose more detail into this work, and this creates a monumental issue. I could digitally alter the scene in editing, and many people would do that, yet, that is not what empowers me...a simple computer fix? If that was the case, I would shoot digitally to begin with. It is an option nonetheless, and one that I am considering. On the other hand, I know that the scenes could be done differently and that I have a few additional options up my sleeve! I am inspecting the situation very closely.

I still have more footage to watch and I will be doing that soon. I still have a minimal amount of writing on the script, and I will be reviewing my work there as well.

This film is, excuse the pun, solid! I know that this film has the potential to go places. It could be the one, but I will not get caught up in the American sensationalism of making a movie; this is my film, and I know how I want it to look. I just have to find the right path that gets me there.

Monday, May 02, 2005

SOLID (The Next Step)

Now that we have completed our first shoot, it is a time of reflection. The film was sent out for developing. Now, I wait for the return and its subsequent viewing. This will tell me a great deal on how we will continue.

The First Day of Shooting - SOLID (Day One)

I started the day at 6 am, distilling coffee through my systems and washing it down with cereal. I felt slightly above the mark of "useless" and deemed myself fit for command! The morning tasted bitter at this early junction.

I began to assemble what I was not able to do the day before. Funny how so many other things can get in the way of what is truly important. The prop is made, simple as it is and simplified, accordingly, to the situation. The sound is checked and discovered to be a definite problem factor; create contigency for Plan B and move to next obstacle. Check, check and double-check...assemble the gear!

I have the Phoenix ready and on stand-by. She has not had the proper maintenance, but she is used to working on the fly as am I. The gear is loaded. All things checked. Launch!

I am calling Matthew, just as he is calling me. My plan was to meet him at his pad at 9 is 9:15 as I am driving away from the apartment.

He is assembling himself and his belongings when I arrive. I am talking on the phone with Corey, who is also running behind. We agree to meet at the Peoria QT after I make a supply run.

What I really need, is a freakin' Radio Shack to be open before Noon! It is Sunday, so everyone is indoors, getting their minds erased.

I go to a local department/grocery store chain that I refuse to advertise. The items on the list are: motor oil for my humble Phoenix, water, small food rations and foam core boards. I make my purchases, run for the van and begin to feed my vehicle. The hood gives way and it smashes my quart of oil! Luckily, it did not puncture the container and I top off the level, and check the other vitals on board.

The QT...I am checking the air pressure, the last systems check before we depart. A quick map check, and we make way.

The actual journey was uneventful, aside from the rain that paid periodic visits. Approaching the City, I was on the phone with Radio Shack. We diverted our journey down streets that never ended. They were very helpful, yet I could not get any sound! Defeated, I returned to my ship. Matthew had walked across the parking lot toward a Burger King in order to find a rest room; it was when I returned that I discover he had been defeated as well, since the Burger King was closed. He simply pissed somewhere outside, and I decided to not ask questions.

As I am replacing the carefully packed gear, I remember what Bret had told me about the microphone. It was his sound gear, and he had shown me the battery chamber on the mic...I rushed back inside, and I caught the guy before he had repackaged the cable I needed. I set everything up, and it worked beautifully!

On the road...Matthew is fidgety; he doesn't like the confinement of the automobile. Corey and Mark are only seventeen miles ahead of us, so we try to catch up.

An hour and a half past my original goal of twelve noon, we bank right and merge onto the old Highway 66. A few more miles and we find Lucille's.

Lucille's is an abandoned gas station, still intact. Corey and Mark are nowhere to be found. I begin setting up gear as Matthew stretched his legs. I later find that Corey and Mark stopped for food and they were another thirty minutes away.

They arrived....set-up, costume and familiarization - another thirty minutes. We finally begin to shoot.

Setting up the shots became a task; framing in such a closed space, where certain debris and clutter was less apparent, proved to be challenging. The wind was strong and prominent. The funny thing is, the wind was not our major sound problem. Less than fifty yards away was the Interstate we drove in on, and the traffic was heavy and noisy! Every passing truck made its way onto the audio track.

Corey did well, as well as someone can who does not have the opportunity to perform this way on a daily basis. His understanding of his lines and his ease under direction made his performance smooth.

Matthew did not know his lines, and he was uneasy with this new environment. It may take some time before he is comfortable in front of a camera.

In the middle of one scene, my Elmo Super 8 cam began squealing! The inner workings were grinding in a high pitch protest to my sanity and progress. Mark, equipped with a Shure mic, Bret's home-made boom pole, a minidisc recorder and headphones, alerted me to the fact that the camera was quite audible in the mix! I finished that cartridge and retired the camera. My "new" Sankyo becomes the Number One and only.

We tried to hold the script, like a cue card, above the lens of the camera and shoot in this manner. It was not successful because of the delivery. With a bad sound mix, we would have to redub, and if the performance is way off, there is no way we can mate the two together. This is one of those situations, where you do what you can in that moment. Unfortunately, I do not believe this will be a success.

Throughout our time spent, we never encountered the local Law harassment, nor did anyone stop to bother us. A few pickup trucks slowed to catch a glimpse of something they do not understand, but no one ever stopped.

I shot many different angles, including a shot of Matthew's reflection in the stainless steel top surface of one of the gas pumps; Mark's idea. We finished shooting all we could. I shot eleven cartridges of Kodachrome 40. We pack the gear. Mark and Corey leave.

Matthew had planned to be a part of a potluck dinner. He wanted to be back by Six, but instead, we left at Six. The sky fell away and left the absence of blue. Weary, we descended into Tulsa. The lights reflected the low lamplight of the day; I was awake and running since Six that morning, leaving my target destination twelve hours later, uncertain of success or failure or stalemate. Matthew was home, and I traveled for mine. I had to work the next day - fuck! Fae was still in Victoria. I arrived, leaving much of my gear in the Phoenix cargo hold. I fell into oblivion on the futon....

The Weekend

Work intervened this weekend to an inexcusable degree. On Friday, our month end quota was not met, so we were forced to work the weekend. Allow me to explain why this was catastrophic: this was the last chance I had to spend time with Fae before she left for Dallas and I had to drive her to the airport, Saturday was my prep time for the film shoot, and I had made the commitment to Corey to run the lights for his improv show. And, of course, Sunday was the film shoot. So, after arrangements were made for Fae's departure, we attempted to have some semblance of quality before she left.

We attended The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Spotlight Childrens Theater, where our friends Derick and Jes were performing as Peter and Lucy respectively. This was an excellent night, where we were entertained by a Lion named Aslan, marking a strong resemblance to David Coverdale of Whitesnake. The absurd humor continued with such lines as "Always remember to clean your sword.", and "Touch my mane!", all from the aforementioned Lion Man.

The next morning I had to my morning with my Beautiful One was ruined and she left Tulsa with the aid of her Dad. My prep time was now gone, and so the day was useless! I had agreed to help my supporting actor run the lights at his improv group's comedy show, and after that I was exhausted. I went straight home, and to bed.

The next morning would have to carry the weight of all the prep time that was ruined by my job interfering with what is truly important. be continued...