Friday, December 29, 2006

Contest Round Up

I was wrong about being able to work on FX Friday. That'll most likely be pushed back to Monday or Tuesday, as it seems this script for this untitled detective short has decided to take presidence (sp?). Also it seems I have to work. Seems appropriate somehow that I would be spending the first of the year killing zombies.

In doing research for this particular short, I find myself looking up subjects on google along the lines of, handcuffs, binary explosives, and firearms, and I begin to wonder if the government can somehow secretly see what I'm searching for and if they think that I'm some sort of rogue terrorist that has a bondage fetish. I assure you all these subjects will most likely be featured in this newest short (except for the bondage). Although the topic of big brother spying on you does make one paranoid about the topics of porn one searches for.

Anyhoo, I've decided to compile some of the current contests for you digital video enthusiasts. Most of these I will most likely not be partaking in due to time constraints, but it's fun to contemplate what kind of commercial one could shoot for JVC, and Dove, and the Coke contest does seem intruiging.

IFC MEDIA LAB Independent Spirit Awards Short Film Contest 2007
Make a short film (90 seconds or less) with the theme:
What does independence mean to you?
May give this one a shot. We've already got The Midnight Special Trailer uploaded on the regular IFC Media Lab, why not throw them one more.
Deadline: January 19th, 2007

Carson Daily's It's Your Show.
It's like a Ghetto version of triggerstreet.
Deadline: On going.

And speaking of triggerstreet

Kevin Spacey's TriggerStreet 3rd Season Contest Begins Soon.
Still my favorite, granted I've only been on the site a few times this year. I still catch some really great shorts on this one and I like the contest structure.
Deadline: On going.

JVC Create Our Commercial
Oops, my bad. This one ends in two days. Well good luck. :)

COCA-COLA Poetry In Motion Video Contest
That whole Mentos and Coke fiasco really started something.
Deadline: Not a clue.

DOVE Cream Oil Video Contest
Sorry fellas, this ones for the ladies only. Make a TV spot for Dove.
Deadline: January 15th, 2007.

Make Your Mark
Short film contest offering huge money.
Deadline: January 3rd, 2007. Hurry.

The First Annual Francis Coppola Presents Rosso Bianco Theater Movie Contest
The winning short gets to have images from the movie put on a bottle of wine. Something all aspiring filmmakers really want. Thanks Francis.
Deadline: April 30th, 2007

Enter your 60 second short about Shifting Baselines. Find out for yourself what that means. Prizes include: Final Cut Studio and $2500 cash. Celebrity Judges include Zooey Deschanel and Michael Rapaport.
Deadline: March 1st, 2007

Convenient Truth aka TreeHugger Contest
An Inconvenient Truth presented a problem. They want you to show them how to solve this problem. Create an actionable, inspiring follow-up to the movie. But you've got 2 minutes to do it in.
Deadline: February 28th, 2007

VBOXX Video Contest
Honestly, this one doesn't look all that appealing, and actually looks like a big hassle.

Zannel Fest
Submit a kick ass short film under 10 minutes and you could win cash and a rubber chicken. No really.
Deadline: April 1st, 2007

Panasonic Undeniable Power Video Contest
Create a live-action or animated video that demonstrates the Undeniable Power of something. Win panasonic products. Enter your 5 minute short. And checkout Jamie Kennedy's video intro on youtube. Pretty funny.
Deadline: January 11th, 2007

I'll post more as they come up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming.

After a few delays today and some minor setbacks, I finally got to sort out the actual production schedule and production list in order of importance. Let's just say I'll have puh-lenty to keep me occupied with over the next 3 months. But first priority is this Monster Cops Episode. It's 5 minutes to start, and will most likely showcase more of the horror and comedy, and less of the dramatic empathy I'm so dying to display in an episode. This one is definitely going to be bloody. So at least it'll be fun.

Friday is all about FX work. I'll be documenting the creation of a no budget squib and blood splatter. And quite possibly how I'll be testing out a zombie chest explosion without making it look too over the top, Kung Fu movie, cheesy. Also the subtle art of shooting a zombie in the brain. Defintely have to look into pond liners and plenty of tarp, because the only place around here that I can get bloody, I can't actually get bloody.

There may also be a video blog or two on the horizon, it really just depends on how everything else goes. Aside from the MC Episode, there is at least one short after that, possibly overlapping, and all the while I've got some screenwriting to do. I've also got to upgrade the memory on the computer and figure out why it won't let me burn DVD's, which sucks cause I got people waiting for some copies of a GAG REEL as well as more screeners to send out.

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. It's been a bit on the rough side here, but nothing that we couldn't handle. Some unexpected help in places, and definitely some very amusing times have been had, especially after last night. Special thanks to 5 very funny women for that.

There is a post coming about the roller coaster ride of emotion and the current tragedy, but I'm not quite ready to spill it just yet. So bare with me. In the meantime, I go back to editing for another hour, and then sleep it is. Afterwhich I jump back on the editing horse.

I'll be back in a bit.

- P

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald Ford, history's longest-living President, is dead Tuesday night at the age of 93.

Rest in peace Mr. President.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown, Godfather Of Soul

Thank you for the music, for the entertainment, and most certainly for the funk. You always gave one hell of a performance.

Rest in peace dear sir.

And now in honor of his passing, and of the new and last Rocky movie ...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Writing Demon

I think we all secretly want to be magicians.

A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
- Sidney Sheldon

It's true. Essentially you are playing God when you write. And many people often whine to God about life and wish he would just fix it already. Many people often wish they were God or at least had her powers. Well you wanna know what it's like to be God, pull up your chair to a blank piece of paper or to that blank word document on your computer. Sidney Sheldon may very well have said it right. Writing is like playing God. And from my personal experience, it's painful, it's agonizing, it's frustrating, it's hellish, it's a burden on your heart and a black mark on your soul. And there is no truer bliss. Which reminds me of another quote.

It's tougher than Himalayan yak jerky on january. But, as any creative person will tell you, there are days when there's absolutely nothing sweeter than creating something from nothing.
- Richard Krzemien

Ain't that the truth. There is absolutely nothing sweeter than creating something from nothing. Something from nothing. Hmm.

I bring this up because that's where I'm at right now. Yeah, yeah, production on shorts are pending, still working on Monster Cops episodes, and marketing The Midnight Special. I'll never stop being a movie maker, but along with that I'll never stop being a writer. And I'm at that point right now. Staring down the blank page. Finding that road that'll lead me straight to that fucking Demon. The Writing Demon that wrestles me to the ground right when I think I've got my pace going. What sucks is that he also likes to kick me in groin, point and laugh at me as I'm in pain, and then he always says the same thing and it never makes any sense, "How do ya like that Francis?!" Then he gives me a wet willy, does some sort of strange Xena Warrior Princess combat yell, and then runs off into the darkness. So weird. He's got fucked up teeth to. I mean like evil Vampire teeth, but also like red neck hasn't seen a toothbrush in ages teeth. He's missing a fang or two. And who the fuck is Francis?

I don't really know any other way to do it. I do start the same way. First the brainstorming section. I buy a brand new slim, 3 ring, black folder. I three hole punch 50 sheets of white paper, stick em in the rings, close the folder, set out a Pentel RSVP black 91 writing pen. And then I sit and stare at the closed folder. If you ever happen upon me as this is happening, you'd probably think I was praying. I always contemplate with my hands together as if in prayer, right before I open the folder. I guess all great quests must start with some form of ceremony or ritual. After that I fling the folder open and stare down the page. I start writing. Not with the capped pen still sitting on the desk, mind you. I'm writing in my head.

It is of course a screenplay I'm working on once again. So what I'm really doing is seeing the movie in my head. And you'd think after all this time, I'd have it down. All the little tricks and gimmicks to writing a movie. Writing isn't about tricks and gimmicks. Certainly not when it's a comedy/mystery you're trying to write. But the biggest hurdle is the fact that you have to write low budget. Meaning I'm trying to piece together scenes that I can shoot with what little resources I have here. And I'm not home in Texas, where I know where everything is. I know how to get whatever I need there. I'm in North Carolina, in an area that I'm not completely familiar with. Mainly surrounded by much forest. Hey, forest is good. I can write comedic mysteries in forests.

So I have a picture in my head. I actually pick up the pen. I write a few things down, knowing full well that I'm going to be scribbling it out just minutes from now. Oh, here comes the first scribble. What? I wrote down a scene involving 3 characters. Who the hell are going to be playing these three characters when I know good and well I'll most likely only be able to get 2. I even went into detail with the dialogue being about how cold the rain is. This may not necessarily be shot in winter, and even if it is, there is no garuntee that it will be cold or raining that day. So let's stick to things we can control. I am afterall only God on paper.

The limitations are endless when it comes to finding that creative niche. Over and over things go in and out of your brain. The writer in me says, "I have this great scene idea that takes place in a warehouse, surely we can find a warehouse somewhere." Then the director in me kicks in going, "don't tie the scene to a warehouse if it's not on the list of places that are garunteed." The come the random thoughts. "Ooh! A scene that involves flying pigs in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral! Dammit! If only we had a delorean and a time flux capacitor!" "I've got it! Talking Animals!" It's easy and sometimes necessary to go on tangents. Which reminds me of a scene from The West Wing.

Sam and Toby are working on the President's Thanksgiving Proclamation Speech.

SAM [cont.]
A small band of pilgrims sought out a
place in the New World where they could
worship according to their own beliefs...
and solve crimes.


It'd be good.

Read the thing.

By day, they churn butter and worship
according to their own beliefs and by
night, they solve crimes.

Read the thing.

Pilgrim detectives.

Do you see me laughing?

I think you're laughing
on the inside.


With the big hats.

The West Wing Season 2. Episode 30 'SHIBBOLETH'

Ok, gotta buckle down. What am I working on? Am I working on the script for that feature that I may or may not shoot, or am I working on that 5 minute short that I know that I will shoot? Believe it or not I pick the hardest of the two to work on. The 5 minute short. Heck I need to get more shorts out there on the internet and in fests and stuff, lets' get to work on that. With the feature I can go hog wild and then go back and correct all the impossible things I cannot possibly shoot. With 5 pages/minutes, we're talking about trying to nail it as close to the mark as possible. I mean if I go hog wild now and write in impossible scenes, I'd only be wasting time, because in 10 minutes I gotta go back and look at reality. So I go through the routine of talking outloud as I pace. This cannot be avoided with me. I have to talk outloud, I have to move around. And in the midst of trying to write in my head, I have to do other things within the time I'm walking and talking. I have to do origami, I have to practice card tricks, I have to scream, jog in place, throw things, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight. All these things are necessary. I don't know why, they just are.

It's agonizing. I mean it's a real physical hurt to just get to that creative point, trying to come up with that idea. And it's not one that I can get help with. I have to be alone. I have to have my privacy. All by my lonesome, feeling that pain, trying to give birth to something. Some sort of strange immaculate conception of which the labor has no definite end. Could take hours, could take months. But in 5 pages and 5 minutes a story can be told with the resources at hand. And it's right there. It's staring right at me and I can't see it fully, but I know it's right there. That moment of brilliance is right there. THERE! Over by the trash can, next to the fridge, it's right there. Then it's gone. Stolen, taken, yanked away by guess who.


PATRICK stares blankly at "It" as THE WRITING DEMON grabs hold of it and begins to run.

The Demon stops in his tracks clutching on to "It".


For just like, once, could you just hand
that to me. Or at the very least leave it in
one place so I can grab hold of it?

The Demon is about to turn away as an evil smirk grows on his face.

I'll give you 5 bucks.

The Demon laughs at this.


10 bucks. Ooh...

Patrick searches his pockets.

PATRICK (con't)
and a deck or cards. And a stick of gum.

Is it sugarless?


It has to be sugarless.

Like it matters with your teeth.

The Demon turns around upset. Patrick panics.

I've got CD's in the car.

Like what?

Cold Play.

No thank you.

AC/DC, Gnarls Barkley.
Ooh, I've got Public Enemy.

Apocalypse 91?

No it's Fear Of A Black Planet.

You'd give up Fear Of A Black Planet?

Patrick thinks about this.

I can burn you a copy.

Or you can keep the copy and
I can have the CD.

What's wrong with the copy?

I like liner notes. Makes me feel like
I really have the whole package, like
I've really got something, ya know.

Yeah like Vinyl. Album cover and all.
It's all about the music, sure, but you feel
like you've got something substantial and
not just something you burned or downloaded.


Patrick smiles. They're really getting along.

Alright then. We have a deal.

The Demon smiles. But the smile slowly turns to a pout.

Screw you Francis!

The Demon runs off with "It". Patrick is confused.

Wait! No wait! I have ABBA!

He pauses to see if there is a response.

PATRICK (con't)
Fleetwood Mac?

Another pause.

PATRICK (con't)
Starland Vocal Band?!

Patrick gives up and heads back to the desk. He stops suddenly
and turns back to the Demon's direction.

PATRICK (con't)
Who the fuck is Francis?


And so it is that the agony continues until you can get back to "It". That idea, that moment of wonder. That little spark to get things going. And once you're going it's not an easy path your on. There is no such thing as writing, only rewriting. The labor pains can last you a while. But once it's all said and done and your baby is born. It is a sight to be hold. And all the agony, frustration, and pain was worth it.

Then you do it all over again.

Let's face it, that's the most addicting part of playing God on paper. Creating. Creating is an addiction. Especially when we're trying to create something out of what is seemingly nothing. And I think it's true for most things, whether your painting a picture, knitting a sock, constructing a building, or writing a movie. We all like the feeling of starting with what seems like nothing and creating something out of it.

Like pulling cards out of the air. Ya know, like a magician.

Follow the path of your aroused thought, and you will soon meet this infernal inscription: There is nothing so beautiful as that which does not exist.
- Paul Valery

Let's Say Thanks

Thanks to Crystal for passing this on to me.

Say thanks to our troops overseas. Let em know we haven't forgotten them.