Tuesday, November 11, 2008

life and such

so, well... i'm not sure if we're actually supposed to blog or not this week, but i'm gonna guess we are, and sometimes, rambling to a computer keyboard is kind of nice...

so, i'm kind of getting my ass kicked right now. school is a lot to handle. one of the reasons (but not really, but it's a good excuse) i'm a film major is so i DON'T have to use MLA format and do research papers. well... surprise! welcome to critical studies classes! i guess it's not that bad, but geez... i'd rather be in 8 production classes (and not have time to breathe) than two critical studies classes where i have to write 10 page research papers. or two pages for that matter. i hate that stuff. not my digs...

anyhow, beyond school, life has been crazy in general. my mom is currently in the process of moving (which is no small job, of course) so thats been a lot going on. i myself have moved as well, into a lil one bedroom (yay! finally!) which has been a long time coming. just last thursday was the actual move, and since then (amidst going home to raleigh to help) i'm still living out of boxes, and it feels like my life is in complete disarray. which it is. but hopefully, within the next week, it will all be put up (not magically, of course, with hours of work on my part) and i can feel some semblance of normalcy again. but of course, its cucalorus week, which will be taking up most of my time this weekend, plus, one of my close friends who recently moved in august from wilmington up to nyc has a film in it, and will be coming down, so again, distraction distraction distraction.... but luckily, i think the end of november will bring some peace, and hopefully december will bring the quiet, until january, when it kicks back into gear for my final semester here at uncw. (wa-hoo!)

this class is my favorite this semester, except for my acting class, although they rank together as i couldn't decide between the two. (they are very very different). this class is a lot lot more work, but i love it... the self-portrait was my favorite project i've ever done at uncw. i think mainly because it's pushed be a lot farther than anything else i've tried to do, and really become something much much bigger than just "a project for a class." it really made me think, deeply, about myself, my relation to my world around me (how do i portray the simultaneous craziness and calmness i feel, the rage and the peace, the confusion and the clarity...) so, it was really cool to see how it metamorphosed itself. like i said, without warning (or want, really) it became much more about my fathers death than i had imagined or intended it to be... but i think that was important, because to date, that is the only actually important thing thats ever happened to me.... anyhow, moving on.... the music video was totally fun to shoot. i was bummed that half of our footage came out virtually black (although not fully surprised) but we still have plenty of great material to work with. kind of going for the 'so cheesy it's smart' idea... i'm also super stoked about the installations. can't wait. really can't wait to dress up and babble like pope ondine with a head full of acid. should be a good time... haha. that night will be my 24th birthday. i'm guessing i probably can't bring a keg (or can i....?) but maybe a cake, or something. spend my birthday with a bunch of weird film kids? fantastic...

ok, thats it for now. something great just happened. i called into work and got my shift covered for the night (just like last night, and the night before that, and the night before that.... seriously.) so... the rest of my night will be devoted to organizing my apartment and getting modul8 and the midi keyboard ready for tomorrow. i can't freakin believe that i got so used to having this program and the midi keyboard around, and then friday night it's gonna be yanked back away from me. sad :(

anyhow, looking very forward to this VJ deal, interested to see how it's gonna go down...

see you all tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

thoughts on project 3

so the music video was definitely really fun to shoot. that was my first time actually working with super 8, and i'm excited to see how the footage turns out. working with a group of five, it's very hard to coordinate schedules to meet up to brainstorm, much less shoot... especially when rain becomes a factor (can't shoot super 8 on a cloudy, dark day) and an unnamed person messes up and gives your light meter out to somebody else. but, despite all of this, we worked around it, re-arranged, and got it all done. everybody made themselves available, and showed up ready and excited to work. huge holler out to dylan and jamie for letting us (taylor and joselyn and i) dress them up in the most ridiculous possible costumes ever. but, they did it with grace.

on the organization of the project: while i understand the motives of assigning positions, come time to shoot, it still kind of ends up being a free for all, and you just kind of go with the flow and do what needs to be done. (for instance, our gaffer and our director were also the actors). but it worked out well, because when it comes to covering a car in tinfoil, you need all the help you can get.

on planning: so we had this idea, see... and then, well, ... then it all got screwed up. (rain, time availability, otherwise) but it's totally cool, because come time to shoot (we did two separate shoots, one day, one night) we kind of let the 'story' create itself. so saturday night, we shot what we were capable of, and then come sunday, we kind of created the beginning of the story based on the ending, and it worked out great.

on being a producer: i thought it was pretty cool. i mean, beyond wanting to make movies, i'm really proficient at organizing, so the role kind of fit me. plus, it's not like i wasn't able to have a hand in the creativity at all... so all in all, i liked the job.

on the crew: great great great. joselyn is full of the most insanely great ideas... plus, she's not just theory, theres a good action balance. (i actually couldn't believe it when she showed me the diarama). thoroughly enjoy her excitement for creation. taylor (whom i've worked with... 3 times now?) still all great. hard worker, go with the flow kind of attitude, and ready to tackle whatever is next. her energy is really nice to have around. jamie is a trip. hilarious. and certainly helped come up with some great ideas. and dylan... well... dylan is just one cool motherfucker. always down for whatever, and super chill... i've had a few classes with him before, but never really gotten to know him, so it was good to be able to work with him on a project like this.

so i guess we'll see in two weeks time what we got out of it all, but regardless, it sure was fun...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the microcinema

i thought this article was a great read, and inspiring to say the least. partly because running some sort of small "microcinema" has always been a dream of mine. in all reality, i'm somewhat involved now, showing films every sunday night at the juggling gypsy for the 'subversive film series.' truly the rough theater, we play the movies projected onto a pull down screen, that is full of wrinkles and lines, and never has a straight image. plus the shadow created by the decorated headboard hanging down from the ceiling. although, if you rig it up right, and shove enough books/trivial pursuit cards/tea light candles/anything else you can find up under the projector (also hanging from the ceiling, suspended in a small wooden box) you can get it angled low enough just so the shadow isn't too bothersome. the only real thing that separates our sunday night venture from a true microcinema is the material that we play. keeping tune with the "subversive" aspect, most of the movies we show are left-wing documentaries focused around the failing and corrupted state of our nation's (and world's) government. although last week, we did do it narrative style, and show v for vendetta. perhaps one day in the future we could branch out, and begin to show [non-subversive] other types of movies, but all low-budget true indie work. although i have no idea about how to go about getting those types of things..

i suppose thalian hall is somewhat less like a microcinema and more like an art-house theater, as it pulls in bigger movies, but of course never huge-budget films. the science of sleep, for instance, a critically acclaimed movie and winner of many awards, but not a blockbuster, by any means.

some of the examples in the readings remind me how great things like microcinemas and the rough theater can be (paying for a ticket with muffins, watching a movie on a school bus, etc..) and one day, i do hope to provide a nice little quiet corner where people can come and watch some true art films.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

role for project 3

for the music video/commercial project, i was assigned to be the producer. which i guess makes me the 1st AD and UPM too...

so, as far as using this blog to talk about my ideas for my role...

well, i'm the producer... soo... i guess i'm gonna produce the damn thing!

thus far, i've collected contact information from the entire group and sent it out to everyone so we were all on the same page as far as being able to get in touch with each other. i've also tried to schedule times to meet in order to brainstorm and start planning out our ideas.

i suppose that i will be the one creating the shooting schedule, tracking our progress and comparing it to our proposed schedule, and making sure that all people involved on set (including crew members and cast - the band, whoever our subject is, etc..) are clear on their purposes and that they are following through with them. keep the peace!

i will also be keeping a detailed camera and sound log on set (although at this point, i'm not exactly clear what it is i'm supposed to log, beyond the takes we do). i will also be the one in charge of making sure that we are clear to film (have permits, etc.) for when and where we are going to shoot, as well as taking care of logistics such as making sure people have transportation, have checked out the necessary equipment, and that everybody knows where to be and when to be there.

anything else?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

thoughts on project 1d

well this is a tough one, because we aren't actually fully finished yet (and will probably continue to work right up to the deadline) but so far, so good.

brandon smith is great to work with, as he is both very knowledgable and talented. but, true to form, our schedules haven't coincided much and therefore we haven't done that much work together. the initial stages were all done together, in which we essentially got together, picked out the pictures we wanted to use, establishing our theme (isolation as the major), and started laying framework. he wanted to do a lot of work in after effects, which is totally cool with me, but i'm much less capable there than in fcp. not wanting him to have to do most of the work, i decided to take it upon myself to lay the background, thinking that anything he animated could be layered on top.

working solo (and now at my house, thank god, because the lab is too far away and too stifling for me to do good work in. minus the soundscape, i think i pulled that one off pretty well in there...) i started editing the pictures together. first step - pull the pictures i wanted to use that i think portrayed our theme (we had done this together, but i had to start from scratch since i couldn't transfer the project from the lab to the house.) second step - cleared by you, dylan, and jordan, reverse the order of the soundscape. third step - what the hell is it i'm trying to do here?

what i learned when i started putting the pictures together is that this is a "story" of sorts about distortion, about being unsettled, and being haunted, by where you are, where your trying to get to, and where you can't be. the first part (set one, as i named it in my fcp sequence) is a country vs. nature fight concerned solely with physical location, although when its not right inside your head, it's not going to be right no matter where you live. the second part is much more abstract and internalized.

as opposed to making the picures "match" the sound rhythmically (which would have been nearly impossible anyways, as set two has no clear or definable rhythm) i spent alot more time focusing on texture. strange, no? the texture of the picture. and how color plays a part in the story. early on in set one, and without warning, i became compelled to turn everything blue, a color theme that will last throughout the film nearly until the end, when other colors start showing up. but it's this color, or lack of, that is one of the main themes of the film as far as feeling goes. this distance, and isolation, and coldness. i've been playing with lots of different effects, stylization. also, repeatedly been using all three shots of the same subject to create the illusion of motion and/or confusion. i can't tell which.

regardless, it's been a fun (albeit time consuming) project, and i'm excited to see what the final project will look like. after i put the final touches on set two, part two, brandon will get his hands on it all and do his thing, then we're meeting up to finish it all. highly looking forward to tomorrow, and screening all of them.

(sorry for my lapse into sentence fragments. it just felt right)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

self-portrait ideas

this is going to be a running list, that i will add to continually, and is, of course, merely an outline and proposed ideas:

all theory, no action
-will be very abstract in form
-perhaps delve into childhood, but more or less focus on the state of now
-will include sound bites from certain movies
-will include pictures from my past (past speaks for the present?)
-will include video, shot specifically for this project
-will include audio of me reading from selected journals and thoughts that actually made it onto paper

background selection/initial construction
-much like my dreams. or daily reality. (?) abstract, nonsensical, and connective. very strange.
-montage-esque. (again. highly important. all i know.)
-having second thoughts of including audio of myself. i never like how i sound on video, i think that would lead me to be less happy with the final project. maybe instead it'll be a hard copy (to be read by viewer) in conjunction with music?
-will include the major battles i've fought in my life, which have, by far, led me to "me" more than anything else
-essential goal: to splash my brain (and heart) into a timeline in fcp, then cut it up and make it watchable


it's turning into something very different. like a puzzle, how it all comes together, when you just let it.
10.16.08 00:00


fuck! it just came to me. and thats what its called. not it just came to me. fuck! you'll see it later.

much different than i thought.


ok, so this is beginning to be much different than i had originally, (or secondly) thought... my first idea was ok. my second idea was my favorite. and now, whats its shaping up to become is not exactly what i had in mind... i don't hate it, but i don't love it. due to time constraints, idea two is out of the question. i tried it, but i would have to do another entire shoot, and then start editing... and since the project is due in T-minus 6 days, thats pretty much impossible. (i have had huge problems with both, thus far) i'm not all that far into the editing process, but since i'm supposed to be moving this weekend, theres just no time. plus, tony's equipment request reply said "OK Jordan" and lo and behold, i get there today, and... no mics! i'm not sure why the universe (or tony) doesn't want me to finish this project, but it's getting a bit frustrating... anyhow, like the second ideas theme, i'm kind of having to let this project take its own shape, and go in the direction it wants, while i just act as a moderator. i just hope it ends up ok.

10.31.08 9:04 pm


oh shit! ok, so... last night, after i posted that last comment, i made some serious changes. like, to the whole thing. since up to this point, most of my 'action' (referring to the theory/action balance) has been from behind the camera and not yet into FCP, it's not a huge deal. because it's not like i've scrapped tons of hours of editing. part of the reason i haven't started editing yet is because i wasn't fully happy with what i had. so... since my project relies on the audio (meaning i have to get the audio track down before i can really get to the video track, for a few reasons) and i was never happy with what the audio was turning into, i switched it up. i had the right idea last time, but i did the wrong thing. so this time, i figured out what the idea actually was, and did that instead. (sounds simple right? yea, not in my life...) so, now that i'm finally on the right track (and it's already freakin' saturday. geez) i gotta pull this one off quick. so, amidst a rather severe sinus infection (NOT good for my audio recording, very nasal) and a move into a new place, i guess we'll see...

p.s. per your comment, about making it about one idea or one event... i just don't know if i could do that... although maybe, the one idea is actually about how weird i am...

11.01.08 9:22am


so, i'm finally starting to put this shit together....after hours and hours of recording, importing, and sifting through everything i just recorded (and when it's about 15 hours of footage, thats tough. plus, i just hit "capture now" and so everything is named the same thing) i'm getting a bit jaded. but finally, starting to build up the landscape. audio first, then video. and i guess we'll see where it goes... right now, it's becoming a bit of a technological vs. natural landscape, centered around my dad's death (what would be my pre- and post- life wars). strange. who knows...

11.03.08 3:40am

Monday, September 29, 2008

thoughts on project 1b

i thought that creating the soundscape was a great project. it's true, i had never before spent so much time focused on sound, as typically the image is the predominant focus of "movie-making." it really put into perspective how important sound is/can become/should be, and the great lengths you can take an idea like that to.

joselyn and i had alot of fun doing it, although due to our crazy schedules, we weren't actually able to work with each other a whole lot. but what was great is that our different styles of work worked out wonderfully with us as partners. the idea of the soundscape kind of scared me at first, because i was thinking "what will i do with an entirely blank slate, and 160 sound effects?" well... joselyn solved that, because she laid most of the foundation. built up to three minutes, but in no way an actual soundscape, she spent alot of that time taking bits and pieces of sound, expanding and condensing them, reversing them and chopping them up, and doing who knows how many other different things. so by the time i got in there, there was already an awesome amount of stuff for me to play around with. so thats what i did... i had the task of picking out the highlights (some of which i'm still not sure how she actually created) and then making into a little bit more of a "story" for your ears, including sound mixing (lots of tweaking of levels, adding fades in and out, etc....) and creating fluidity. and so once we had our basic soundscape, we took turns finessing it into what became our final project.

the creation process was really fun. there were times in the editing lab when i had to leave, but really didn't want to because i was getting so involved in what was starting to happen in the timeline. but, it was an incredibly time consuming project, as i probably spent 10-12 hours in the lab just on my own.

but in the end, it was all worth it. i think our final product was very close to our initial vision (? - translation into auditory sensation: audition?) of what we wanted, and i feel like we certainly achieved the creepy and disturbed feeling of a doll hospital.

can't wait to see how the final projects turn out!!