Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why Would This Be Any Different?

Currently making the DVD. Got these nifty menus. Figured out the buttons, chapter points, commentaries, and all that crazy DVD stuff. Go to burn the DVD. Doesn't work. Just some error. No explanation. But EVERY time I try to burn it, doesn't work.

Why would making the DVD be any different from anything else I've tried to do? It just never works out. The first time anyways.

I've set a deadline of this Friday to have the completed film and DVD 100% completed. I really hope something this stupid doesn't stop me from accomplishing that.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Making the DVD

The few times that I've been able to screen the movie it has been a direct video link from the computer to the television. But there will be slight differences once it's burned to DVD. Music levels and so on may differ slightly. Therefore I cannot officially call the movie done until I've watched a DVD copy. As I type this, the movie is in hour 14 of the burning process. My best guess is that it has about 8 - 10 more hours. Just to record one disc. Crazy. What sucks, is that it's tying up the computer so I can't do any work until it's done. To be honest I'm not really sure whether the computer froze or not because the progress bar has been at the same spot for hours.

In the meantime I've been working on creating the menus, buttons, etc. for the DVD's we'll be selling. It's a lot harder than it may seem. I'm using legit DVD production software, none of this Create Your Own DVD stuff they sell at Best Buy so that families can make a collection of home movies and old photos to give to grandpa on Christmas. It's kind of frustrating to sit here with this movie and be pretty much done and then have to turn around and learn how to make a DVD and all. It's such a slow finish to the project.

Had a good conversation with Scott about all this. There's lots of guys out there that can direct a good movie, and there's lots of guys out there that can edit, and there's lots of other guys out there that can make neat credits, or storyboards, or posters, or act, or write, etc. But what's been a blast with this project is that I didn't just get to try my hand at one or two of them. I did all of them. That's got to stand for something when we try to sell this badboy. This isn't me saying, look what I did, I'm great. Because there was a LOT of incredible help. It's that I got to learn and take a stab at each of those areas. So even if the film goes no where, the primary goals has been fulfilled: the story and the training.

The progress bar just moved. Computers not frozen.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The New Trailer

The new trailer is complete and on the website. Unfortunately the only format I could upload is Windows Media which isn't that great looking. Hopefully I'll figure out how to do Quicktime soon.

For those of you who have seen the original trailer you'll notice it's similar with a different look and feel. It's got a very 60's Pink Panther/Rat Pack film feel to it which is neat. It's also modeled after the opening credits to Blasto.

Had another screening of Blasto Thursday night and only had a few minor changes. Changes that can be made in a few hours. So it'll be Monday that I make the changes and watch another screening. And that should be that.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I Hate Computers

So what's the hold up on this movie? I mean I've been saying it's almost done for something like two weeks now. Well, I'll tell you what the hold up is:

Saturday I spend the ENTIRE day rendering each chapter (Rendering is compressing all the layers of video, audio, effects, etc. into one single video file.) We're talking a 10 - 12 hour day here. Every single chapter, opening credits, end credits, all rendered and ready to be transfered to DVD. Wednesday night I go to load all the chapters in and something miraculous has happened. The video is fine, but the audio for every file is sped up to the point where everyone sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks. An entire day of work, wasted. So, I decided to render audio and video seperate. I stay up until 3:00 am Wednesday night (after a 12 hour day at my actual job) and render ALL the audio. It all sounds great. Only thing left is to render the video the next day. Wake up Thursday, start the rendering. It starts at about 10:00 am and finishes around 3:00 pm. All that's left is to load the audio and video in and BOOM, something miraculous has happened. The computer deleted ALL the audio files I stayed up until 3:00 rendering. Didn't know the editing computer was capable of so many amazing miracles. Heck it's giving Jesus a run for his money. So not only was my first day of work wasted, but the second day of work to FIX the first one is wasted. So now I've got to re-render ALL the audio and keep it in a seperate folder so it doesn't get deleted again. Do I know if it will work? Nope. Will something else happen to stop this movie from completion? Probably. Am I frustrated that it's taken my three days to accomplish one day of work? You betcha.

Balancing The Movie and The Mundane

It's the very essence of the film. Trying to find the balance between some big adventurous dream and renewing your registration. It's so tough to have all these big questions going on in your head, all these big plans, or artistic expressions, and then you have to call the bank to find out what that $31.00 miscelleaneous withdraw was. I don't presume to think I'm the only one going through this because I've got the movie. I'm sure all of you have something that really gets you fired up that you have to set aside because a bill needs paid, a car needs washed, a shelf needs put up. And that's what Blasto is all about, the lifelessness of life. Ooooooo...deep.

So what's going on? Well, I've been recutting the trailer because the first one was just practice at getting acquainted with editing the footage. The new one is ALMOST where it needs to be. A few more hours on it and it'll be top notch.

Tomorrow night (Thursday) I'll be watching what could possibly be the final cut of Blasto. I fixed all the problems with the rough cut. If I watch this and don't find any more that'll be that. Although those of you who know me also know I'll probably find at least one.

And for those of you who just happened to type in into Internet Explorer might just happen to find our brand spankin' new website, still in it's beginning stages of course. The trailer is not up yet, and the cast/crew list isn't completed, but to hold you over there's some nifty wallpaper to adorn all those delightful desktops. I figure all of you that are actually taking the time to read this should see the process of creating the site as well. I'll let you all know when the site is updated and completed. (Note: those of you who are using FireFox as your browser, it'd be best if you viewed this using Internet Explorer. FireFox doesn't display the page quite right.) Next week I'll be adding the trailer along with some cuts from the soundtrack. Exciting times eh?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Steven Spielberg Doesn't Exist

I think it's safe to assume that most people share a common perception of the film industry and Hollywood. It feels like some kind of fantasy land. It's harder to get into than freakin' Narnia. And just by some lucky break or freak chance you may stumble into it, much like Sandra Bullock or Tara Reid. Having boobs usually helps. But honestly it all feels so unreal to the point where Steven Spielberg feels like a fictional character. He's like Superman or Luke Skywalker, not that he's some great hero, but that he's somebody you've read stories about and seen on television since you were a kid. All of 'em, the actors, directors, it all just doesn't feel real. The fact that George Lucas' job is to sit and think up a Star Wars movie to make (and subsequently ruin, but that's a whole nother blog) seems absolutely ridiculous. Steven Spielberg could literally make ANY MOVIE he dreams up. Anything. That just doesn't feel real. It's like being a kid and having an action figure factory at your disposal. Any figure, character, that you can think up, they will make an entire toy line from, including vehicles and playsets. I didn't even choose that analogy because any movie they make a toy line actually does get made from it, even though that just adds to the ridiculousness of it all.

At the same time the industry all feels like some elite group that you can never be part of. Like the popular kids in school. Even though Hollywood makes 90% crap all year, if you were to bring them something better than all of that, they'd still kick you to the curb just to keep you out. "I mean really, what were you thinking bringing something like that out here to us?"

But the other night I started to re-read Robert Rodriguez's book "Rebel Without A Crew." I read this back in high school. It's the director of Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids, and the upcoming Sin City. The book is his journal as he wrote, directed, and ultimately sold his first movie that he made for $7,000. He filmed some half decent little Mexican action movie with blah actors and so-so action scenes, all subtitled. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing. He took the trailer to this thing out to Hollywood and showed some execs and within a month he had been hired for Columbia Pictures to develop scripts and to direct a picture for them and was being payed something like $800,000. And THEN they bought his movie when he was finished for another $125,000. Just like that, boom, you're in. The wardrobe opens and there's Mr. Tumnus with some turkish delight. Studios FOUGHT over him (Rodriguez, not Mr. Tumnus.) Columbia, Tri-Star (now part of Columbia), Miramax, Disney, Universal. All them chomping at the bit for this guy who just rolled into town without a dime, but a good trailer to a decent movie. And suddenly all my perceptions of Hollywood are instantly shattered.

Do I think that I could just take the Blasto trailer into Hollywood and sign the check? No. But it gives me a lot more hope that something big could honestly happen. Those studios fighting over this guy, why? Well one, he's kinda lucky. Luck, God's blessing, whatever you wanna call it, it plays a bit into it. Right place, right time, right person, whatever. There's gotta be SOME connection. Two, hard work, which can usually negate luck. He worked his tail off to make that movie and then worked it off again trying to get the movie out there. And finally three, talent. They all wanted him because he was talented. Why do they want talent? Not because they really wanna make great art that will last for generations. They want to make money. And talented people can help make them LOTS of money. So Rodriguez gets to make the stories he wants and the studios get to make money off of those stories. Seems like a fair trade, right? So right now Rodriguez has his own production studio based out of his own home, complete with sound stages, editing studios, special effects, the whole works. All because he did exactly what we're doing. Are we following the same path. I don't think so. But I also can't help but think that the Hollywood safe just got a little easier to crack.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Monday Musings

"A truly good movie is interesting and easy to understand."
-Akira Kurasowa

Right now, as the editing process comes to an end, there's a couple things that scare me. 1) That the movie isn't good. This scares me even though I don't really believe it (which I've discussed in previous posts.) I heard the above quote by Kurasowa today while watching his film Stray Dog (the first Japanese police drama ever made) and it made me feel a bit better about my own movie. Because I think it is interesting and it's easy as balls to understand. 2) Sin City scares me. All the concepts for Blasto were conceived years before Sin City will premiere. Blasto was filmed and began editing before Sin City ever saw their first day of filming. But since Blasto took SO FREAKIN' long to complete, Sin City will hit theater screens first. Why does that scare me? Well it's a comic book movie that has been advertised as a "true adaptation, capturing the very comic book panel image on screen." If that includes the comic panels and dialogue boxes like Blasto, than no matter what we say, it's going to look like we copied, even though the stories could not be further from each other. Not to mention they've got millions of dollars and hundreds of crew and Tarentino guest directing. They'll be seen as a revolutionary new style and we'll be seen as someone copying that style like every movie that used the Matrix effect (even though the Matrix wasn't the first movie to use the "bullet time" effect. It was Lost in Space.) I was worried when the Hulk came out because they attempted the comic book panel thing. But it sucked and so not that many people saw it or cared. But Sin City looks good, and it's getting all the hype it needs. At least those of you reading this know the truth. On the other hand, Sin City really looks good so I am looking forward to seeing it.

I'm currently doing some final reviews as I compress each chapter. That means that I will watch the chapter, make any little changes, and then compress it into a single video file. Once I've done that to each chapter, I will have the full final rough cut. I will watch that cut for one last look for any small problems or changes, if there are any. Once that's done the film is officially finished. That's scary.

From there it's on to DVD production, as in menus, graphics, package artwork, along with other promotional items that need made, website, etc.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

End Credits

Finished with all the little touch-ups from the Rough Cut Screening, so now it's on to end credits. The credits are kinda tricky. For one thing there's not really that many people that worked on it to fill a whole end song. And when the majority of the work was done by one or two people, you don't want to just keep seeing their name repeating. Credit does need to be given, but at the same time it looks egotistical. So there's the trick, how do you give yourself credit for a lot of things without making yourself look like an egomaniac?

I've come up with a neat design for the cast credits. The shot will look like a comic panel (much like many of the scenes do) and in one panel will be their name and character title, in another panel will be an outtake or behind-the-scenes footage of them and in the remaining panel will be a storyboard drawing of the person. What's funny is there's some people that have more screen time for their credit than they do for their actual scene.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Blasto Poster

Here's an incredibly low-res shot of the Blasto poster without any text. It's probably going to change a bit before it's done for a few reaons. 1) because there's no pictures of any actual people on it, which may lead people to believe this is a cartoon. 2) even though it was created a month or two before the Incredibles came out, it looks like a few of their promotional artwork.