Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Way It’s Supposed To Be: The Kind Human Spirit

I received another e-mail from another professional today, only this time it was different. Instead of going out of his way to degrade and tear down the work of another, this person acknowledged the fact that he would need pay, but also gave me reason why. He was not condescending; instead, he was respectful and professional.

In light of yet another person defining what I should do and how I should do it, this was a gentle reminder that not all is lost. I am a very patient person, and I take a great deal with little or no thought. Yet, sometimes, the shock of how truly horrible people are and have become to one another really takes its toll. I can’t help that I have higher standards.

It’s amazing how such a thing will be followed by a flicker of positive light. Try to remember that in your journey, and walk a path of your own whimsy. The dragonflies have visited me several times this week…

Another interested party e-mailed me with their interest. A student…that brings to mind another point: where do these people begin? Who offers them a beginning? Under my command, many have begun, and they learned and I learned and we created something that, despite ridicule or lack of enthusiasm, was different than all the rest. We had fun! I can give that to people, instead of some jerk tearing them down, just because he lacks the ability to dream.

I know now, because of these things, that my cast and crew will be strong, and unique. I hope I can treat them well, and I want nothing but the best for them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Advice to Filmmakers and Artists Everywhere

Fuck conformity, and fuck those who are pathetic enough to follow it! That will be our theme for this evening...

The world, this country and its people, and popular media are stale. There are very few, if any, innovators out there doing anything of significance. Nothing and no one really stands out amongst all the others. Trent Reznor reinvented just as Reggio reinvented just as Riotgrrl reinvented just as Cream reinvented just as Devo reinvented and so on. Where is the drive for innovation? I can tell you, but it's not pretty. It has been swallowed by technological excess and apathy, and the lazy conformist pseudo-ego, pseudo-expert and their fucking audacity.

On a side note, I have to say that I don't really care. It's been a long winding road through my life dealing with small and useless minds. Grade school - picked on and misunderstood, high school - picked on and misunderstood, college - the same...but where are they now? If any of them have left Claremore, or Oklahoma for that matter and of their own accord (instead of something lame like a job or their parent's job), I would be shocked. I grew out of my box, placed so neat and pretty for everyone to adore. I adopted my own thoughts, my choices, my ethics and my behaviour.

All of this is for the benefit of you, the would-be filmmaker or artist. Learn to use the phrase, "fuck you", generously!

I am slightly pissed, not at what was said or who said it, but by the mere fact that people are actually this fucking stupid! It really doesn't give me very much hope these days.

Here are examples of actual stupidity, in response to my ads for film crew, where I have stated distinctly that it is a nonpaying gig:

Guy, have the basic decency to offer at least $50 a
day for people's expenses.

If you want someone's references, then offer your own,
or at least post some of your work.

Crap like this is what's making it so hard to find
people willing to work on independent projects!

...and then today...

You cannot break the rules unless you know them.
You don't. Gook luck discovering how not to make a film.

These are actual buffoons who are working in the "industry", or at least the latter of the two idiots is doing work. Even if I had a bigger budget and I could afford to hire these people, I wouldn't want such belligerent assholes anywhere near my set, would you? Let me define it for you, the would-be or already struggling artist:

There are no rules.

There are no set parameters.

When someone tells you it has to be done this exact way, walk the other direction.

If someone is so easily moved to offer their negativity, walk the other direction.

Perseverance, patience, and more perseverance.

Create, first and foremost.

Follow no one, save for yourself.

Listen with an open mind, make your own decisions, and follow your choices.

Critics don't make films.

Someone who is eager to tear you down is someone who lingers near the tail of your shadow.

Leave ego at home, and expect the same in your cast and crew.

You don't need a million dollars to make a film; sometimes, all you need is eleven bucks!

There are walkers, and there are talkers...

This is my advice to you. I move forward in different directions everyday, while the two conformists above move in only one direction. I have a number of people who are willing to work for free, if only for credit and experience. I have a person who wants to teach on my set as she performs her tasks. How awesome is that! Teaching and positivity instead of an opinionated prick with his mouth open and saying nothing. It is important to have ethics. I have respect for people I work with, and I have received the same. I have worked with some outstanding people, and I cherish them. I feel sorry for the people who work with the gentlemen mentioned above.

I am very honored by the positive responses I have received to my casting and crew calls; the good has outweighed the bad, and that is all anyone can ask for!

Flaming Blue Sand and a Trumpet

I now have the title and the bill of sale for Cooper, my first Beetle, in my possession! I have waited and researched a long time for this moment, and I cannot convey my excitement! I have big plans for him in the end, but for now, I have to get him running.

Last night was interesting considering the stale minds I am encountering this evening. Instead of the idiot who tells me what I can't and will not do, I found last night peaceful and stimulating...Fae's coworkers and a bonfire on the beach...nothing but sand and water and lighter fluid...acoustic guitars and drums, and in the distance, a trumpet! No one was harsh, rude or intrusive. I lit up a pipe, with a cap on my head. As I pointed out, in Oklahoma, a cop would have already accosted me with the question of "what are you smoking?" Pipe tobacco, dumb ass! The kids were alright. No beer or shouts from the devil or anything like that, but I found it easy to hang. They did like their fire, though. Ya can't beat a good fire! A blast of fluid sprays onto the sand, and we gaze at the flickering blue bursts across the sand. And the trumpet plays.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Composers, the Rain and the Harsh Reality of Laziness

I've been receiving a great deal of response [to the crew call] from composers of all types and locations. I have firmly decided that Fae, in addition to other duties and as partial composer herself, will be the Music Supervisor of the film. Despite this decision, I am still open to listening to these composers that take the time to send me a link to their work, and I have to say, the result is pure disappointment!

I have a pet peeve about the filmmaking community at large and the "industry", as it were, and that pet peeve is mediocrity and conformity. That is why Oklahoma's film scene is lackluster and that is why our current state of film is so lame; we set standards and we abide by standards in a process that, being an act of creativity, has no boundaries! No one is coloring outside the lines anymore (which is the reason, in both film and music, that I have reverted to the past). Do you realize how many people have told me, "you can't do that!" or "you can't make a film if you think like that", to which I replied, "I have, and I am, and I will continue to do so!" These are not merely rants of my discontent, they are my advice to you.

That brings me back to my point regarding composers: why are they adhering to the textbook rules of stale and unimaginative regurgitation? Where is the Spike Jones of the film score world, where are the John Williams' and John Barry's, where is the ZZ Top's of instrumental composing? I ask you this, because...I aim to misbehave! Forget what people expect, do the unexpected, dammit!

The rain has wiped out another weekend of early morning footage potential. I wasn't really dead set on waking up at the same time I wake up to go to work, but we make these sacrifices for our art, right? The reason a weekend is needed and such an early rise is needed, is that there are less cars on the road where we are shooting; a necessity for guerrilla filmmaking tactics. I hope that next weekend is more favorable, or perhaps sometime this week...I dunno, but I realized that I am not one of those sixteen hour day directors, and even though I can and have shot a film until 4am, pushed the boundaries of human exhaustion and plunged head-first into uncharted waters, I know that I am really an armchair visionary, a relaxed filmmaking addict that is cool and collected rather than being frenetic and anal about everything. Yeah...that's me. What's the rush, when you don't have to be rushed? I hate fucking deadlines, man!

I am awake and running. I have dreams of submarines, sailing, EV vehicles and I am finally acquiring Cooper in a couple of weeks. I am nearly broke, but not quite so, and I have nothing but optimism for the future. The Fest, "WTFM", "Solid" and "Asphalt Canvas" are all on my plate and I feel blessed, in a non-Christian way, and excited. The future is bright, my friends...cheers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NOTICE: Casting/Crew Call

I have been receiving many positive responses to my posts, and I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, but I have to put a warning out to the opinionated and unaccomplished: don't waste your time telling me my methods are crap when you don't know what my methods are, or tell me I am the "downfall" of the indie film scene, simply because it is a nonpaying gig. You will be deleted, or added to my spam filter. As much as I would like to be the downfall of the indie film scene, I can only hope. There are nonpaying gigs out there for a reason...that is why you have "paying", and "nonpaying".

Please, conform on your own time and let the rest of us work. Thank you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

8mm Clouds and Sea on the Salty Sands of Shilshole Bay

Indecisive morning came, with Patti and Fae and not enough sleep. I didn't make my goal of early morning shots with the Sankyo, and I was unsure if I could venture out with this plague of fatigue. Fortunately, we did venture out, to Green Bean for coffee replenishment (we buy our bags of coffee there, as much as possible...we have not supported Starbucks in over a year!), and on to the coast and Puget Sound. The clouds in Bothell did not follow, but I began my cloud study despite the lack of optimal clouds; 8mm, at 12 frames per second for increased speed when played back at the normal 16 fps. Not as much variance, like the 9 fps versus the normal 18 fps of Super 8, but I'll take it. This was my first 8mm footage - ever! I used my Cokin red filter, without the holder, held in place by hand in front of the lens. Then the sea caught my attention...waves crashing, in some orgasmic communique with the earth, and my lens turned downward from the sky. This time, I changed speed toward the other direction; 48 and 24 fps... slow motion. These waves, in caressing strokes, will project a graceful flick of water onto the beach, with the velvet touch of a brush stroke. For today, 25 feet are spent...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Intrinsic Beauty of 8-Track Tapes

People think I am against technology or that I am anti-modern or some shit like that, but that is the simpleton mind of the mediocre individual, although 'individual' is giving too much credit in this day and age. That is why that idiot told me I was wasting my time with Super 8 film when "digital can give me the crappy look of film". I've been getting strange looks again, as I begin to search for 8-track tapes and players for my 74 Beetle.

The first rant I have is about individuality. I don't like having something that everyone else does, which is pretty much the way everyone else lives! Like that auto classified ad where the woman is selecting her car online, and there are all these red Mustangs driving up to her house, and she says, "that one!" like it makes a difference, and the image of all these red Mustangs reminded of Tulsa. The only thing missing was all the half-dressed teen hoochie mamas and their attitudes and Mardi Gras beads hanging from the rear view mirror. I like to have something no one else, or at least very few people have. It's so easy with antiquated technology, or anything retro that hasn't been overdone by the latest in mindless fad recycling. If we could get theses losers to recycle waste in the same manner their bored, lame asses recycle the past, we wouldn't have to worry about the environment!

My second rant is about the music scene today, none of which excites me. I often forget that I am 33...or is it 34? Whatever...the point is, it is easy to say "you're old and out of touch", but as much as I hate to break it to you, the scene just sucks! There is nothing going on right now of much value. The alt-country folk scene is probably the best we have, but there are so many damn indie bands that lack originality and they are flooding the internet. It's difficult to find anything unique, and that's why I travel back, back to where there wasn't a hundred different albums of junk, podcasts of the same song repeated live in equal parts of the same venues...or downloads. Downloads kill the idea of music. You can't touch it, or see can hear it, and yes, I too have thought of one of those mp3 players, but I hate how unnecessarily complicated modern music is. Why can't I have an album, and just that album? No media or internet data links, just music!

When my Beetle is ready, I'll climb in to my brown seats, sit back and start the engine, rest my feet on the shag carpet floor mats and reach down toward the orange carpet and pick up a tape...pop it in the deck, and shift into gear. Rush, T Rex, Nazereth, Montrose, Deep's all there and unfiltered, uncluttered by the unnecessary bullshit of a society that can't slow down. Yeah, they'll look at me funny, but they will forever remain curious about what lies behind the smile on my face. Alas, it is not for them.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Water from the Mountain" - Photos

All photos by Gary Parish.

We started the day on Western. John Nemchik was our host. Sid, was my victim...

...please note frothy Guinness beverage located next to camera bag...

...John Nemchik adding a little bounce board...

Now onto Fae, Mallory and Union, near 3rd...we are right next to the Triple Door at about 6pm. Do I know how to show a couple of ladies a good time or what?

Many thanx to Fae, Sid, Mallory, John and Gary Parish for the rawkin' photos! I will try to acquire photos from the North Bend shoot, and photos will accompany the final shoots in the next couple of weeks.

New Feature: Budget

I've spent considerable man hours away from this production due to the ebb and flow of being an emotionally-driven human being and the fact that I have felt like bloody hell! Now I am back, still tired, but working again.

I jotted a few things down today in regards to the film's budget, considering a low probable estimate of my expected bonuses and next year's tax return. I have come to the ballpark figure of $5000.

After reviewing the fact that the first trio of automobiles will be seen briefly, as with all of the vehicles besides that of the main character, I have decided that I will find volunteer vehicles instead of trying to purchase them. I have allowed $1000 for the purchase of the one vehicle, but I may try to find a loaner for this as well.

The helicopter shot is still in question, but if used, I am going to try to arrange the shot within one hour, thus cutting the cost in half.

On the other hand, I decide to purchase three hours worth of film as opposed to the two hours originally planned. The reason is that, no matter how careful you are, before you know it you've ripped through twenty cartridges for a ten minute scene. This increases my film cost from $600 to $900.

Another change doesn't effect the budget, but it is significant. Instead of reversal stock, I may choose to shoot in the three available Super 8 negative stocks. This will eliminate the need for me to edit by hand, but I think that is the best choice for this film.

The people responding to the unofficial casting call is tremendous; I will have much to choose from. I hope to have the audition in either November or December, and then begin shooting by February or March.


I decided on a new approach to the transfer of my short film projects. Recent information led me to a local transfer house here in Seattle, but they charge $300/hour. A bit pricey for a ten minute short film. So I am going to try this place in Texas called Moviestuff. They have developed a machine that allegedly performs amazing transfers at $20 per 50 foot reel. Let's do the math: a ten minute film would take about a half hour to transfer here in Seattle, so that's $150...I can do the same at Moviestuff at an estimate of $60. That saves me $90, and considering my film developing costs are about $100, then I have the film wrapped up well under $200, instead of over. Sounds like a deal to me.

They offer a free trial reel...and it just so happens that I have a couple of shorts that are entirely on reel!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Everspiraling Fun Fun Blur!

It has been some time.....let's begin.

I have been sick. As I slowly recover, I feel my energy levels rising, and the need and the want and the fire begetting sparks into new forms, and I breathe again. I have felt unproductive, because all I have felt is fatigue...dreamy-dreamy eyes falling in the rain, out of touch, out of paint and fuel; I have much to do.

So where am I at? The short, "Water from the Mountain" should be finished soon, at least principal photography. I still have pictures to post, and that will be finished soon. In the meantime, I have scouted a few locations and have rewritten a few elements of the beginning. I think I shall use the various scenes of "urban development" around us to show the defacing of the Earth, and my ocean scene at the end will be shot in Edmonds. A scene has been added to the beginning, which will take place at Snoqualmie Falls. I have opted for a different transfer house for the short film; the other is just too expensive for shorts at $300/hr, but I will still utilize them for the new feature film. I hope to have these shots complete by month's end.