Saturday, September 29, 2007

WFTM: Shoot #3

I decided on Thursday, while en route to Greenwood, that the traffic was too heavy for me to stop near the construction on 96th in Bothell to shoot my 'destruction footage' for "Water from the Mountain". I had an appointment to keep, and though I personally hate the weight of expectation in general, and especially as associated with punctuality, I decided to maintain course and perhaps shoot some film upon my return.

This did not happen.

Although my trip was successful, I arrived early and found myself having a nice mocha at Green Bean while waiting for my appointment at the Greenwood Senior Center. After I viewed the alternate screening space for the Festival, I left for home. I decided that the light was fading too fast into the overcast to achieve the footage I required, although the mood it set would have been more desirable than the sunlight I had yesterday.

Yesterday, I left work and made way for home with a slight detour. It was the parking lot of some church, a gargantuan structure that looked more like a college campus, government office or military barracks than a traditional so-called place of worship, for what that's worth. Yet, the parking lot was rather nice!

I stepped out and assembled my gear, which I had cleaned the day before. I inserted and check the batteries, adjusted my tripod, still crackling with salt from the sea, and I began walking.

The air was ripe with the smell of mulch and dampness from the early rain. I found my first shot, and I didn't need to leave the parking lot. I was able to frame the destruction of the terrain and the natural beauty from across the road, ironically standing next to the most impressive, knotted old tree; I took footage of that next, and I will return to shoot the same tree in color, once I enter that phase of the film.

My journey found me on the sidewalk, next to the racket of motorists unable to abide by the 25 mile per hour speed limit, but then again, pedestrians are 500 points, right? I found another shot that I did not anticipate, and then another. Each time, I zoom in, focus, pull back and then frame the shot. I am still using the Sankyo Super 8 cam with a Cokin filter system, and a red filter. I am using an analog light meter and adding one f stop to compensate for the addition of the filter.

My last stop was the realization of a scenario I envisioned months earlier, even before I began writing this script. I found a perfect composition of trees in the background, and industrial mechanization in the foreground. The focus of the piece is the 'proposed land action' sign in the center of the shot. Someone had spray painted graffiti that read "Artwork" all over, with an arrow pointing in the direction of destruction. I like this contrast, and I now have it captured on film.

I check my film meter,and I am down to only a few feet of film. I need this for the last of the black and white footage; the final scene will involve Fae.

We have found a place in Bothell over the last year, learning to enjoy the quiet amidst the lack of art or the insurgence of parades dedicated to talentless reality show stars. Now we are faced with the same indifference we left in Tulsa, whereas the beautiful and serene landscape is being recklessly dozed over to create boring cubicle living for the numb and the wasted. Trees are falling, dying and serenity and quiet is being replaced by the wants of pompous assholes who don't care about the world they live in or those around them.

Aside from confrontation and all out war, I know no other recourse than my voice through film. Where are those who care? They don't seem to live in Bothell...

One More Day - Time to Get Started!

Tomorrow is the last day for entries, and my networking is finally over...for the most part. My main task will be to make those connections at the appropriate time so that all will fall into place. My task for today is to begin screening more movies.

Green Bean is excited about having us there once again, and I explained to Lisa that, in the event that we go elsewhere, Green Bean will always be involved somehow. I think that is important. Granted, I have had the task of, not necessarily censoring the films, but being aware of their content. I chose to do this, and it has been a careful balance. I do not want to disregard the integrity of anyone, especially the artist who submit, but I do believe this simply adds to the challenge. If I arrive at a roadblock, then I can find another venue for that film. So far, I have been able to oblige every perspective. I am far from being Christian, but Green Bean's Christian background and patrons are never an interference or a nuisance...a nice change from my former Oklahoma climate.

The Greenwood Senior Center is on board for Saturday afternoon on November 3rd from 12 Noon to 3pm. This is for our features and extra films unable to be shown at Green Bean during the two evenings. We might even have room for a musical performance!

I have a dance troupe that may become involved, and the musical performers are plentiful! Artwork is a little slow, but I have a few candidates in addition to what the Green Bean already has on display.

The next task is reviewing the films and making that decision. I'll have to get everyone on the same page and schedule the events so Fae can design and create the Program. I am hoping to expand on the Press involvement, and tacking up posters will be a big challenge as well.

So what happens next?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Awards and Competition

I have decided to continue one year further without competition, or the need for awards. I had hoped that money and time would be there for me to invest in the work of Neil Cluck once again; alas, it was not possible. My hopes are great and easily bent by the strain of the wind. I am indebted to Neil, and I am glad to have had his work involved in something as small as my festival. Many people do not understand my distaste for Tulsa, but Neil is both overlooked and under-appreciated by his own city.

Next year will bring change. I hope to regain this relationship with a great artist, and to move forward with the festival in a way that ties in with the Green Bean Coffee House, and yet moves forward into new horizons.

When so many of today's festivals, and even the lesser known festivals, seem to grow too large to make a difference, I pride myself on being small, and focused.

Belly Dancers, Entries and Music from Canada!

I haven't posted here in awhile, but I kind of bore easily with the internet thing, and those of you who create and work towards creation know what I mean when I say, "I don't have time to sit in front of a computer!"

So, here's the thing...for spending less time networking than I had planned, the entries have poured in and they seem to be pretty decent. Of course I have not watched all of them, but I am happy with what I have seen. I am networking with belly dancers and artisans and all kinds of fascinating people that will make this thing wonderful. I am very happy with how things look at this point.

The entries have come in from all over: Vancouver, BC, Toronto, Montreal, California, West Virginia, Mount Vernon, WA and of course, Seattle. I have too many features to show, and if I am going to show any, it will to be at another venue. That, is one of a number of new things I am working on!

We also may have music travel down from Vancouver, BC!

September 30th is the deadline, so don't miss it! See you in November...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cooper is home!

It just goes to show, that time is not wasted in waiting. Cooper has arrived!

The great majority of you may know my penchant for naming inanimate objects (my bass guitars, Gordon and Clayton, my ’90 Dodge Grand Caravan, the Phoenix…you get the idea); well, this is no exception! I named my new 1974 Volkswagen Beetle after the most notable character from the television series Twin Peaks, filmed in North Bend, Washington, which is where this car came from.

I keep very simple and distinct wants in life. I don’t aspire to own the useless excessive crap that plagues the households of America; there are a few things that are unmistakable reflections of my character.

Most people have a dream car. For most, it is a sports car, or a muscle car. Nowadays, people are actually dull enough to want an Escalade, or H2 or some other piece of shit! I can understand wanting a ’70 Cuda, a ‘69 Charger, ’57 Chevy or a ’68 Camaro. I can even understand the allure of an old Cadillac or Thunderbird, maybe a Packard or a Model A, but I can’t get excited about a car that is idolized only for its social status. That is why, in my mind, Mercedes, BMW and even Porsche are irrelevant these days; their design and engineering is wasted on the ignorant and the rich.

For me the ultimate car has always been the Beetle. Ever since I was young lad, taking a drive from my Grandma’s house in the orange-ish red Beetle of my Uncle Larry, down Dupont and back in Claremore, Oklahoma, I have been hooked! The Herbie movies did not help either! I knew then what I wanted, and over the years that fascination may have taken a back seat, I still never forgot.

As I grew, I learned more about the wonderful little car. In my life, I owned a ’68 Camaro R/S (a car I would like to revisit some day!), a ’68 Firebird, an ’86 Monte Carlo SS (another car I would like to revisit!), then slightly more boring, with the 1996 Sunfire and a 2001 Cavalier. Currently I own a 1990 Dodge Grand Caravan; she’s a mighty good ship! Yet, I never regained that truly personal automobile.

The Beetle was, and is, engineering genius. It outsold the Model T, and lasted for the entirety of its lifespan with little or no major deviation from the original design. I recently saw a book entitled “Crappy Cars”, in which the Beetle was included. Simply put, this bastard was way off base. The car was not designed for the egotistical, money-wasting and spoilt polluting motorists of the modern age; it is a car steeped in simple elegance and functionality, all of which sets it apart from any other automobile in the world! You can listen to people cry and moan all they want about the heater or the size or the lack of power, but my Beetle has only 48 horsepower, more than enough to bring the top speed to 81 mph. Why does anyone need a car that goes any faster? If I wanted to race, I would be at the track.

I am looking forward to driving Cooper. The steering is manual, as are the brakes, without any power assist. I will be able to feel the road as I shift through the gears, taking corners, and feeling the wind blow through the window.

He’s not in the best shape, but I know he’s a good ship, and he’ll sail soon enough. I have big plans for Cooper in the future, but for now, I am going to get him safely on the road. Then, my eccentric ideas for the ultimate car will slowly fall into place!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Solid", Seaspray and Sleep

After a relaxing day, I am content and feeling positive. We spent our afternoon at the beach, I was able to capture some more cloud movements on 8mm, and I saw Eraserhead for the first time. I spent the day with my favorite person and I was surrounded by the creative!


I wasn't feeling up to the early morning. The unfortunate thing is, there was no shooting this morning. That's what I love about being me; I dislike deadlines and so I don't have any! The reality is, there will be and have been those times where an early rise or other sacrifices need to be made. Why do it if you don't have to? The process should be as fun as possible, and considering I get shit for sleep half the time, no matter what time I go to bed; I'm taking the liberty to do as I feel! Fae appreciated the sentiment, too. There is nothing written or set in stone, anywhere that states you have to do anything different than what you decide. Remember, the same basic elements are a part of filmmaking: camera and light. It's the same two principles used by those stuffed shirt industry-types and those of us who still care to dream outside of the box.


I wanted to post for those who were involved. Sometimes a film project will take weeks months, years or even decades. I am fairly confident that "Solid" will not take any longer than this next year, but it is a major undertaking and one of great challenge. You have to consider the idea of people, myself in particular, who are working and creating and devoting time to loved ones and trying to relax and stay sane all at the same time. It gets difficult, to say the least. The shoot began orderly and precise, and then it became tougher until eventually, we were a rag tag fugitive fleet of dedicated late-nighters and early risers. I remember leaving work at 4pm in Claremore, piloting the Phoenix to the television studios where Derick worked, and shooting until 9pm with little or no food. You do what you can, when you can. I was filming until the last day in Tulsa. Fae was busy packing and I was wearing a sweater in 105-degree temps in some park in Broken Arrow that they're now bulldozing to make more clone housing. Now in Seattle, I have all the connections to finish the film, I just have to find 'where'. The other thing is continuity. I want this film to be the best it can be. That being said, I have to review all of the makeshift cuts and changes I had to do on the set, and make sure that the script was adhered to. Bret has all of the footage and has to dub the footage and send the footage to me. Then I begin surveying the scenes, see where I'm at, and then deliver detailed notes so he can begin the editing process. Currently, Bret is somewhere in the desert, at Burning Man.

I am excited about "Solid". Considering his schedule, I am uncertain when I will see a rough cut, and, due to the nature of our film shoots, there will be enough ADR to occupy an equal amount of time. Gary will get his hands into it as well, and I will finish the final scenes of the end chapter here. Anything additional will have to be dealt with later in 2008, and may require my flying into Tulsa to meet with some of you, to shoot again!