Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Day

Ah yes, winter weather.  A great excuse to bust out the camera.

Snickers Machine

The video I busted my ass on all last week. It's for the Snicker's Assignment over at Poptent. I've said it before, if you're video maker and you want to try to build up your portfolio while trying to earn some money for major brands, then you've got to go over and sign up at POPTENT.

I've been with these guys for a while now and it's been a blast making videos for them, and it's helped me out financially as well. It's one of the many ways an indie moviemaker / video maker can make some money.

I will say that I tend not to work on video contests unless I feel the video itself can benefit me in more ways than just trying to win money. Here I decided to make a Rube Goldberg Machine. To be honest it's something I do alot actually. Origami, magic tricks, make Rube Goldberg Machines, it helps me think.

Not only did I think it would make a great video for Snickers, but I also wanted to finally shoot one of my machines to actually show what I have in mind for some of the scenes in Bobby's Closet. In case you didn't know, Bobby's Closet is a feature length film I plan on shooting next year, and or as soon as I can raise the money. The movie is a sci-fi, action, adventure, fantasy flick filled with funny characters, old school monsters, and a lot of Rube Goldberg Machines.

Here's the Rube Goldberg Machine Video I made for Snickers.

It was initially much longer, and featured parts I made for the now scrapped Halloween Machine video, which was going to feature a Halloween themed Rube Goldberg Machine. My ideas for it were entirely too big for the space I have right now. Maybe next year. I decided to use what I had and combine it with new pieces and parts for this here Snicker's video.

It was a HUGE pain in the ass to shoot. I could've easily faked each part of it, but the hard part of it was that it was pretty much fully functioning. That's what was so difficult. I was shooting it in pieces and cut angles, so when I rolled on one set up, the machine would keep going, and I'd try to stop it, and then re-setup everything. On top of me having to reset parts to get more than one angle at it. Oh how many times the ball would roll away from me, underneath a desk, and don't even get me started on how many times I had to set up those dominoes.

I know a lot of people who are in to Rube Goldberg Machines prefer the single take method. One uncut shot that records each and every step. But I prefer to see how each and every part functions, and seeing different angles to get an understanding of each part that moves. I was originally going to set up more than one camera to capture the entire machine in one go, but I only have one decent digital camera, the rest were of varying formats and qualities, and I wanted to try to stick to one format and look.

I love Rube Goldberg Machines. I loved seeing them in movies like The Goonies and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. All this ties into what kind of movie Bobby's Closet is, and how Rube Goldberg Machines fit into the movie. I hope Snickers likes it, but even if they don't, I've at least finally got an example scene for Bobby's Closet.

Click here to find out about Rube Goldberg.

Click here to find out more about Bobby's Closet.

Click here to go to Poptent and watch my video.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

90 pages

That's the goal. Another 90 pages. Last full length feature script I wrote was in July. It was Bobby's Closet. And I know that will need another re-write before it actually gets shot next year. Also in the middle of a Monster Cops episode and Redd re-writes, but those are less than 30 pages.

I'm about to embark on another feature length script, this one is my no-budget venture. Bobby's Closet has a budget of about 63,000 depending on what camera package I'm going to use. This new script is one we can start shooting as soon as I finish writing it and whenever I can get the new camera in.

As I've written before, alot of the writing process doesn't actually involve any physical writing. The real and first writing starts in your head. My brain has been scrambling around all the ideas and plot lines trying to piece it together like a puzzle. I'm putting pressure on myself to make this one truly great, but when am I not?

When my brain is doing all the writing it's important for me to create an atmosphere that is optimal for inspiration and creative thinking. That means everything around me has to help feed my mind. Sights, sounds, even smells and flavors. I've got an apple pie flavored candle burning, it matches the holiday feel lately and I find it rather relaxing. I've been drinking alot of coffee, not only to feed my caffeine headache, but also because something about the flavor helps my brain. I always try to keep the house clean, because I'm sort of a neat freak of course, but also because I can't think if there is a mess around me.

This brings me to what I've been listening to and watching.

Movie scores always help. I always write to music. Here's part of my huge movie score playlist. The tracks I keep repeating over and over. The sounds that help bring me to where I need to be to write.

- Beowulf Slays the Beast by Alan Silvestri from Beowulf
- Chiun Walks On Water by Craig Safan from Remo Williams The Adventure Begins
- Enterprising Young Men by Michael Giacchino from Star Trek
- A Dark Knight by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard from The Dark Knight
- Panda Po by Hans Zimmer from Kung Fu Panda
- Overture by Michael Kamen from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
- August's Rhapsody by Mark Mancina from August Rush
- Roll Tide by Hans Zimmer from Crimson Tide
- My Day So Far by John Powell from Jumper
- Escape From Torture by Jerry Goldsmith from Rambo: First Blood Part II

There's plenty more but these are the tracks I keep gravitating to.

I've been digesting and re-digesting much TV as well. My wife just got into DEXTER and has decided to get me into it as well. Already watched the first season. It's a really great show and luckily it's been helping my creative atmosphere. Good writing, great performances. It's a show that has alot of episodes that write the same way I think.

Been re-watching alot of HOUSE episodes as well, since it's sort of a detective movie I'm writing I need my Sherlock Holmes fix, and HOUSE is the closest to a modern day Sherlock Holmes we'll get nowadays (Love the guy, but Robert Downey Jr. doesn't count.).

I've read a few rants about the show recently. Some people have lost interest because they feel they show may have jumped the shark a few times. Me personally I don't care. As long as the characters stay true to themselves, keep the mysteries coming, and let House continue to be a wise ass medical detective, I'm perfectly fine with jumping whatever type of shark they want.

Slipping in the occasional THE WEST WING episode as well as SEINFELD to round out the comedy.

Ooh, my music player just went into Kung Fu Panda, SUCH A GREAT SCORE!!!!


And of course watching Movies always helps. Can't go wrong with PIXAR. THE INCREDIBLES and TOY STORY 2. Pixar in general is one of the great movie making and story telling companies in existence. They really know how to make a really great movie and know how to capture the essence of amazing cinema.

ROUNDERS is always one of my favorites, such a cool and smooth flick. I put it right up there with GOODFELLAS as far as voice over flicks are concerned. Great direction and performances and Damon does so well with the narration. Love the way it's written, such slick dialogue. Also, I'll watch anything with Famke Jansen in it.

Just re-watched THE PAPER, a highly underrated Ron Howard movie and one of David Koepp's best scripts. Every bit of that movie was entertaining. I love ticking clock movies and this one gets almost every beat right. A pre-cursor to SPORTS NIGHT and THE WEST WING, filled with walk and talk, wit, intellect, and street smarts, funny as hell. Captures the chaos of a newspaper news room. Great cast, and man, do I miss watching Michael Keaton take control of the screen.

This should give you some sense of what I'm working on. Ticking Clock, Voice Overs, Ensemble Casts, and a Detective Story. Throw in a murder, smart comedy, and a few thrills and you've got whatever the heck it is my brain is trying to piece together.

Of course still working on props and script for REDD. Got most of Redd's weapons established and I'm back on the Werewolf in a few weeks. The top of that pic you'll see the double barrel shotgun I built. I wanted Redd to have a primary weapon and I wanted it to be a big ass gun. I figured a double barrel sawed off would look great with her outfit. The other guns are props from Monster Cops I've had to re-paint and fix, note the tape job on that bottom handgun.

I think I should probably eat at some point this week.