Saturday, February 9, 2008

Visual FX Test 2808

Gunfights are mandatory in Monster Cops. But good gunfights are a requirement. In all honesty you can't beat the real thing. And when I say real thing I actually mean blank firing guns. I've used them in the past and they are just amazing. I am fascinated by the use of prop nonfiring guns and then later compositing gun fire over the footage, but with blank guns you get the same realism you'd get with the real thing. The smoke, the blowback, the shell ejecting, and just that overall feel and sound.

However I do have to run tests to look at my options, because putting the gun effects in after the footage has been shot costs me nothing. Now I do have blank guns, but some of these scenes call for more than one gun firing within a shot. So here I am testing it out, gun flash composites, nightvision filter, I even threw in a neat little blast just for the heck of it. Let's see the 20 second test shall we.

So what do I think. I think it's rather neato to watch, but I still think it's not up to par for what I want. First of all I haven't put in the shells being ejected and for me that's a big minus. I like to see the actual action on the gun and the shells pop out with each shot. I think some of the flashes look fine, but too long on the shots and they look too produced. The gun sounds are fine, seeing as how I recorded them myself from real guns. I like the nightvision, should fit in fine with our other nightvision footage. The blast really sucks. Heck I'm looking for perfection here and I haven't found it. However some of this in small spurts cut in with the actual blank firing gun footage should do fine. Vince DeNiro I wish I could afford ya. Perhaps when we do the feature.

In other news I'm actually finished with casting for this episode, but if you were looking to be cast, not to worry, I've got so many great resources and people now that I've just got to do 2 or 3 more, so I'm actually still casting for two more Monster Cops shorts. But more on that later.

Video blog coming up on locations, fx, casting, rehearsals, and all of the behind the scenes goodness that is Monster Cops.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Our tripod was a napkin and a coaster.

A great article from Studio Daily about some of the VFX work on Cloverfield.

Cloverfield Carnage
How Double Negative Smashed Up Manhattan
By Bryant Frazer

And an interview with Matt Reeves from

The way Cloverfield was shot is a good example of how I want Monster Cops to feel especially with the monster and battle scenes, minus the puking factor of course.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Work For Yourself

Sometimes it feels like we all underestimate our own freedom. We get so use to the routine in our day to day lives that we condition ourselves to feel like this is all there is. That nothing could get as good as we've got it now. And that we have to settle for business as usual. I also believe that often, not always, but often, fate deals us a hand in life to get us all shook up so that we may reconsider where we our in context to what are dreams are or were, as compared to what we've settled for.

Think of the man who surrendered his dreams of being a painter for 30 years as a corporate exec, only to survive a near fatal plane crash. Because of his brush with death he rethinks his life and reignites the passion he once had for art. Other examples aren't so extreme but are just as powerful. The day in day out 9 to 5 job that you've settled for, the one that was supposed to be a stepping stone, a temporary exile to help you pay some bills while you pursue that dream of yours whatever it may be. The one that has now consumed you to the point that you're working beyond full time, and that dream has faded away. Then one day you get fired or layed off, and you realize that you need that job. Although it's made you so bitter and programed to the routine that all you do is dream of quitting, but yet you fear the idea of losing that job because you think you need it to pay the bills you don't want to pay but you think you have to because it's how you "survive" or "get by." But maybe losing the job was fate telling you to lose your inhibitions, that it's time for something new, or time for something you'd forgotten about.

And there is the extreme reaction. You get all gung ho. Decide you're tired of working for "the man" and you quit your job in the spirit of revolution, rebellion, and going for your dreams. But you end up sitting on your broke ass, not looking for a job, and failing at your dreams, because "shit" cost money. You know "shit". Instruments, amps, brushes, canvases, cameras, art school, cooking lessons, or whatever minutia you require to pursue whatever it was you needed to become that great cook, artist, rockstar, rapper, writer, filmmaker, etc. So you go back into the grind to try to get your "shit" together. Pay those over due bills, the back rent, or whatever money hungry slips of paper you were ignoring while you were "rebelling." And you get hammered down. You're back in the routine, and before you know it, cuz often times people never know it, you're settling for the day in day out again, and those dreams fall by the wayside. Heck, at this point a plane crash would do you great.

It's really become the norm. Everything above is typical of what goes on in the world. Granted there is a good percentage of people actually achieveing their goals and doing what they love, but there is a great percentage of people constantly in and out of the routine, always missing their opportunities. There are a percentage of people who do get the "plane crash" wake up call, get gung ho about going for the gold, then completely forgetting about the mission weeks later. I'm not writing this for them. Those people would never read this, and if they do they'll forget about it as soon as they breathe.

I think that in most cases a rebellion is in order. If you're stuck in your routine and you know it, and you want to get out of it to pursue your dreams, then the rebellious thing isn't to quit and say fuck you to the job. I think the thing is to keep working. Start saving, figure out what you need money for, cuz let's face it, everyone needs money for something especially your "shit". Work for it. Get caught up on the bills, get a nice savings for yourself going, and then start saving for your dreams. And once you've got enough to do your dreams, then take some days off and go for it until your dreams become what you do for a living. Sure it'll take months, maybe even a few years, but the alternative is for you to sit around and bitch about what you shoulda coulda woulda done for five years, or actually work for it and have something to show for it in the same amount of time or sooner.

The rebellion isn't in the defiance of the job or the routine, the rebellion lies in what everyone else isn't doing. I see alot of people that say they're going to chase after that goal and just quit their job to do it. Rebel against rebelling. The truely unorthodox method is discipline. The discipline to keep working while keeping your eyes on your prize. To have the discipline to set aside the money to do what you've always wanted to do. To "work for it". I know you work at that job that you hate, or it just gets on your nerves, but when it's all you've got and you're trying to get to somewhere or some dream, then it's a precious thing.

You have to have the discipline to work the job and keep it separate from your real life and your true dreams. It's not only giving you money, but it's part of the climb that makes reaching the top of your dreams all the more sweeter. If it's that bad then quit and find another one, but do what you can to make the routine your own. Your days off are your days off, your job is not your life. Stop thinking of it as working for someone else. If you've got a goal to work for then anything you do is actually you working for yourself.

You have the freedom to stop making yourself feel like all you do is "survive" or "get by." No matter what, do what you have to do to get your "shit" together. Don't wait for fate. Don't wait for the plane crash.