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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

15 minutes

It's been a while. Holidays. Lots of loot. Return to Horror High. Hadn't seen it since 87. Hilarious 80 cheese. You can really see MPAA sanctions all over it. No real gore. All "just an illusion" stuff. Similar to April Fool's Day.

I'm editing 15 minutes of footage a day. At this rate I'll be done by the end of January. Yesterday I cut an expositional scene between Satanist and our Melissa. It's a funny scene. I actually covered it right. Surprise surprise.

Storyboards? You fight to stick with them but when time is kaput, you just cover the scenes the best you can with the time you have left. Storyboards are a luxury, but show a much grander vision of the film that isn't always practical. You write and draw the five million dollar version of the script, you shoot the reality (less then five million). The hope is that you put enough good ideas in the script that you can stand to loose some while shooting. I overwrite a bit, thinking, if I have ten good ideas and I loose half of them, five ideas is better then no ideas. Some will pop back up in the sequel or the obligatory remake coming Summer 2015.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


So after spending all day yesterday running critical life errands and stuff, here I am back with the footage. The plan today is to finish this tape I'm working on by lunch and then watch a Netflix that came in, "Demons at the Door". It has actually received some decent reviews on the imdb. Once I've finished todays work, I'll have all the stuff cut that doesn't happen at the house, not a lot of footage because this is a Night of the Evil Chainsaw Massacre type thing where most of the carnage takes place in one spot. So we have killer cops, satanic abduction, and a beat down by a serial killer to chop up today. Can we say, "fun - fun - fun" kids?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Over the hump

We are now at the halfway point of the rough cut. Got half the footage in the machine and the movie is running at about forty five minutes. This is the weekend so I'll just mess with it a bit, but not get too obsessed. I talked with Wes Campbell the producer last night and he insured me that the people that have seen the rough so far have enjoyed it. Nice! Good to hear some words of encouragement.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Computer SNAFU

So yesterday while I was amazed at how long it was taking me to get this cut together, the computer started acting screwy and wouldn't import anymore footage! I freaked and started running diagnostics and the like: realizing that," Man, if the computer breaks I'm really not going to make the deadline." So I'm pretty lucky to even have a computer that will do this stuff. After loosing most of the day I was able to finally find what was up and the machine is working fine now, so today I need to really kick it up to make up for lost time. Also I need to start farming scenes out for sound editing because that is going to take a thousand years to finish.

So today: first I'm cutting some inserts into previously edited scenes and then cutting up some talky stuff that should be pretty easy.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


So right now I'm cutting together a chunk of the final battle bectween mortals, zombies, and a killer chicken. Lots of ax chopping, bile spraying, and chicken-fu as Joe Bob would say. Also we're getting some stuff over to digital effects boy today. DEB will be doing some enhancements to some of the practical effects. But don't worry, no CG chickens. I would rather die then force another CG monster on the world.

Monday, December 13, 2004


Okay, the dry throat of panic is upon me today for no particular reason. Just shaky hands and a scrambled mind. Yahoo! I'm in a position to just go ballistic, the film looms over me, and I know the only way to slay this bastard is to chop away at it one shot at a time. Everything is so quiet, time to blare some music and forget what I'm doing. Just 13 hours to go, then I can hand it off to the critics and start arranging the ADR sessions. Let the producers tear this apart and give me some notes for me to sulk over then eventually see if I can integrate them. MAN! Coo-coo!

Of all the parts of filmmaking, writing is the most fun. Though, while writing I can't wait to shoot, while shooting I can't wait to edit, and while editing I can't wait to write. I need a sedative.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


That's how far I am with the rough cut, not too bad, considering some set backs and what not. Still a lot of work to do but it goes so much faster doing it in 15 minute chunks. You really see the movie come together bit by bit. Adam's interview went up on the site and it's funny. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing interesting going on. Went to see Blade 3 today. Loved Parker Posey as the lead vampire, she was so funny! Good credit sequence and um, WOW! Parker Posey sure was awesome in this!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Nothing is going on. Yesterday I got bogged down by the minute details of life, food, shelter, bills, cars, cell phones, software glitches, religious devotion, television addiction, exercise, car tag bureaucracy, phone tag, slow email, and so on. The film sat unloved. But today I'm going to kick it out a bit.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cold Tuesday

So I'm up, 7:41am. The goal today is to get another couple of minutes roughed out. Roughed out is the key word and what I am fixated on at this moment. We are doing a rough cut. It is roughed out. We're just getting the shots in their approximate places. I wish I could just start all over again. There are some scenes I spent way too much time on. Or not? Maybe those are just further along and I won't have to worry about them. I don't know.

I heard from Wes C. Yesterday. Neat. He's going to start working on the opticals once I get footage to him, of coarse I've been a real whore about the whole thing. I hate giving out footage. I'm getting too close to it. BUT I HAVE TOO! I have to get an emotional attachment to this movie so I can stand the next months of work. I have to love it more then any other material thing on the planet. And then, when it's ready, on the first screening, I'll let it go and let it do what it needs to do, be it hated or adored, once it is shown to the audience you have to let it go.

That's how it's gone before. Obsession, obsession, and then once you show it to the audience, it all goes away, and you start another to fill the hole.

Monday, December 06, 2004

A New Week

So nothing was accomplished yesterday except for a brief chop chop session. But today I am hopeful that I will make some good progress. I have to beat this Groundhog Day deadline I set up. But for the first time I'm starting to really get into the editing process. It fights me less every time I work on it. At first, it didn't want me to touch it, it was very defensive. Now, I think I've worn down the defenses and can get a little closer for awhile.

Watching dailies is hell, but also liberating in that I know finally what I have to work with. Reality check. This is what the movie will come from. I can toss the script out the window and just make the movie it wants to be.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

plastic tree

On the movie front, got another 15 minutes of footage in the computer yesterday. I started to cut it up, it feels like being a butcher, chopping up a big fat cow, whittling it down into steaks.
Mainly working on a reaction shot of someone getting mauled by the chicken. Lots of fun, and then there are like two complete scenes in the rest of this section. So it should be easy to cut that up.

Today on the personal front we are putting up the fake plastic tree and lighting it up and playing Christmas music on the radio. It would be great but all I want to do is write and drink coffee. Digging through old boxes and untangling lights, once again triggers my allergic response to exertion.

Probably nothing will get done on the movie today, but Monday starts the work week and we will crack at it again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The morning after

So last night we went to this party and yes, I had a good time despite sitting quietly in a corner and watching people. I feel good to fulfill that role, gives other people the freedom to just do what they do. There was another quiet type there and we talked computers and such. Yay! It was a good time and I got to see some folks I hadn't in a while.

But enough of that personal life crap, I finished two more minutes of rough cut yesterday. I think actually going to decaff has helped tremendously. My brain is so much more settled, when it isn't splitting open from the pain, and I get more writing done cause I am too exhausted to do anything else. I can type, anything else is too exerting.

But the two minutes cut yesterday dealt with the first death by chicken, and it was a lot of fun to do. The lighting is excellent, and the performances are interesting to watch.

What helped was that I imported only 15 minutes of footage and only worried about that. Usually I put in whole tapes and then slowly go through each one and I think it psyches me out seeing these hours of uncut footage on the hard drive. By going slower I actually went faster yesterday. Something to do with small achievable goals instead of big mammoth undertakings that just wear me out and frustrate me.

Today is all about Christmas and getting ready for it and buying presents. Tonight my wife S. and I are watching my nephew, who is 14 months old and a real handful. Cute, but at the stage where he craps like a man and not like a baby. Changing the diapers, whoa, it's intense.

Friday, December 03, 2004

the trailer is up!

So now the trailer is up and we have David Lindabury to think for that one. I feel great relief that this is done, so much so that I have switched to decaf and trying to live a more holistic lifestyle. Not really, but definitely switching to decaf.

The trailers appearance means that now there's not much more to do but, hmmmm.... FINISH THE MOVIE!!! I'm still at the thirty minute mark, just had to pause to get perspective, and there is a lot of stuff still to do. Let's make a list. I love lists.

1. finish the rough cut
2. get effect shots to the effect guys
3. sound effects
4. music
5. ADR

so there is still a lot to do, and once I have an opening theme song from the composer I can then get the title designer to whip up a pretty nice and nifty title sequence. I love title sequences, think Psycho, Re-animator. Man, I love title sequences.

So right now the obstacles are that I have a full hard drive and an external that is formatted to only accept files at 4 GB, and that stinks. So I would reformat this harddrive to get it to accept the larger files, but I have another project on it right now that I am waiting for the client to sign off on. Once I get his okay, then I can burn him a master dvd, erase his footage, reformat the harddrvie and then start loading the footage onto the external drive.

Also right now I am duping all the footage because I had this nightmare of spilling a coke on the tapes and having a nice big chunk of narrative taken from the movie. Yikes. We have a total of 21 hours of footage to sort through, we've done 7. I'm looking forward to doing the rest. A lot of the hard stuff is done. Some of the scenes are extremely complicated and I have finished those more or less. Of coarse it needs polishing and other crap, but I feel like the rest of the scenes will go pretty smoothly.

In other news, there is no other news, the switch to decaf has left me in a fog the last two days and tonight is a party that some of my wife's friends are throwing. Good people. How to cope though when all your personality comes from being overcaffinated? I can picture sitting in the corner and smiling at people having fun. I wish I had a clone I could send out on these social events.