The first Sopranos episode is brilliant. I didn't quite get it, but it's so perfectly designed, and includes two of my favorite exchanges ever:
"It's good to be in something from the ground floor. I came too late for that, I know. But lately I'm getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over."
That's kind of how I feel about the film industry.
Dr. Jennifer Melfi: "Do you have any qualms about how you actually make a living?"
Tony Soprano: Yeah. "I find I have to be the sad clown: laughing on the outside, crying on the inside."
In other news, I start my second year soon. TAing Grad Intro to Film I and Cinematography. Thesis plans are big, and could be incredibly difficult, but I'm going to try.
Gah, I don't know where to start...it's been so long. I'll give some short things.
-My drafts for my Production II (sync sound, yay!) film are getting better, but there's still this divide. All the females I show it to are turned off by the main character being an asshole, but all the males I have shown it to find it funny regardless. I'm at a crossroads over whether I should make the guy more likeable, or just let it stand on it's own.
-We have to write a thesis script to pitch in Thesis Prep. I think the class is a pretty big joke, and I've been doing sex comedies up until now, so I think my script will be a 20 minute action movie with lots of guns and dead people. I probably won't shoot it for my thesis, but I may shoot it over the summer. I've really been geeking out of this
and want to use some of the ideas I've learned. Plus I feel like film school puts you in this odd position of rebelling against the stereotypes of student filmmakers, but people rebel so far that they become a completely new stereotype. I think I just want to play.
-I took Cinematography as an overload class, and love it. Mostly because I've gotten to be hands on with a ton of gear, including some bigger toys:
-Pee Wee dolly
The Varicam is cool and has a similar button layout to the HMC150, which I just recently bought.
-I bought an Panasonic HMC150. I flipped my XL2 for a chunk of money, then used some saved up scratch to buy it. This may have been a bad decision, but I think I can flip it later and buy a Scarlet with money made over the summer. This is kind of my dream, because I want to shoot my thesis digitally, but I also want to use a more legit camera.
-I dig Apple's Genius Bar. Maybe it's because my MBP is still under extended warranty, but I brought it in at 10:30 this morning with some of the keys not working, and they called me by 2pm saying it was all set. On top of this they noticed that the top piece (one large piece that includes palm rests and track pad) was coming undone, so they replaced that too. My computer looks brand new, no complaints there. It also still manages to handle AVCHD footage, which I was terribly worried about when I bought my new camera.
-I have no idea what I'm doing this summer. I think I'm going to try to get a job at The Workshops, which are a set of year-round workshops for filmmakers/photographers that take place in Rockport, Maine (about an hour away from my house in SoPo). All the people I work with that have worked there have spoken highly about them, so I'm considering.
-I don't know what I want to do with film. I have my hand in soooo many jars it's not even funny. I am the DP of 4 projects this semester (my own, plus 3), but I keep fighting the idea that I should be a cinematographer and not
a director. Maybe this will change. I'm also digging compositing as of late, as well as color correcting and editing. I'm just a big geek and all of that stuff makes me giddy.
-I have a job in the "rental house" on campus. My boss says I'd be considered a prep tech in the real world. To me it just means being able to touch all of the gear, and be surrounded by it all the time. Geekery at it's finest.
I think that's it for now. All is good.
It's been a while, but I think it is time to start documenting this crazy world I've dropped myself into. I have a separate blog but I may just start crossposting to both of them.
Filming: I filmed my second project for Film Prod I over 2 days. The assignment was a continuity editing exercise that involved an interaction between two people or a person and an object (examples include: a couple making the bed, a person lighting a cigarette). It was also the first time I've ever used more than basic lighting equipment; I have some worklight scoops at home that I used, but at most those are 100 watts. My project was an interaction between a bartender and a patron (I'll post the video when it's finished). I shot it in the exclusive (BU students only) BU Pub. At times I had 4-6 likes (1000 watts) a piece. In the grand scheme of things this isn't much, but for me it was a lot, having never touched the things before.
I came into the program wanting to direct, and I still do, but I'm enjoying cinematography and lighting a lot. The Computer Science part of me likes to see how things work, and how they come together. My teacher talked about how the director doesn't edit or shoot their own picture, but I feel like that's exactly what I want to do. This may be because I come from a digital video background, but I like that control. I like the idea of the film really, truly being mine. If I just direct it I can't put "A Film By..." because that's bullshit, too many other people took part, but if I do all those jobs, I feel more comfortable with it. Regardless, unless I'm writing it I still can't give myself credit.
Writing is a pain. I have a lot of trouble with it, but I'm trying to get better, and just write as much as I can. I'm picking up more shorts and reading more scripts to get a feel for their flow versus feature films. I'd still love to connect with a writer, but they are few and far between. Bill and I may hook up on some stuff, which is great because I think he has an eye for film, and is also a brilliant, witty writer.
I was a dick on the T. I hopped on the green line to BU East, and leaned against the doors (the left doors that don't open when you're going inbound). The train filled up fast, and after two stops it was packed to the point where people were getting left on the platform, waiting for the next train. A few stops later a group of four people pushed their way on the train, with their duffel bags that they had to leave in the middle of the aisle because there was new room to get them any further. At this point I was pretty annoyed because they could have waited like everyone else (We've lugged two large light kits on the T this past week, and we've always waited for an empty train). So the stop before mine I move to the center of the aisle, straddling the large duffel bags. Once it gets to my stop I try to move through, but there are so many people it's a slow process, and people are trying to get on. I told myself that if they're not going to wait for me to get off, I'm not going to wait for them to move out of my way, so I plowed through one of them to get off. He called me a fucking prick, which I deserved. I put my anger towards the wrong person, but it's one of those things where I'll try to be calm next time. It's the T, people are dumb, no need to be angry.
I usually don't have dreams, but lately I've been having this specific one: I'm in a play and I don't remember my lines, and I'm backstage and it's right before I'm about to go on, and occasionally someone takes my place. I never remember the details, but it's very similar to this one I kept having about marching band where I was on the bus to the field site trying to memorize music before we had to go on, then we'd go on and I'd be improvising everything. Bass drum runs do not work when you're missing one of the drums.
I'm not sure what it all means.
Knowing beforehand that you wouldn't fail, what would you attempt to do?
Submit a film to the Independent Film Competition (Dramatic) at Sundance.
-I went out to Macon, MO to stay with Mandi for her last 10 days working there (ASM at a wonderful little theater). The trip had ups and downs and was pretty insane overall. I may write about it later.
-This cold weather loving city boy misses a town of 5000 people, set in the middle of Missouri that he only spent 10 days visiting.
-I finished the outline for my second feature script. I like it better than my first, and it feels less forced...but I'm still not head over heels for it.
-My room smells like basement, I hate the smell.
-I remember only one thing my (now estranged) uncle taught me, and it helped me on the trip home.
-Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk is a quick wonderful read, and if you read it on a plane/in an airport, you feel dirty the entire time.
-I had more, but in typing the above I got lost in thought, that's all for now.
I don't know how I feel about that. Should I be impressed because it somehow connected 4 movies I enjoy, or should I consider it epic fail territory because gallons of blood doesn't easily translate to lesbian confusion comedy.
|» Memorial Day and Stuff|
I went to the Memorial Day parade here in SoPo. It was nice, and not incredibly interesting except for the Robotics team being there. They road in the back of a truck driving this year's robot, and marched with two banners: Their new Riot Crew banner (which looks badass), and the 2003 Regional Winners banner. Our banner. They've only won once in their existence and it was when Eric and I were seniors, and both on the floor (I drove, he was the "human player" and coached). I had a lot of mixed feelings about seeing it, as there isn't a person on that team from the year we won, but it was great to see the reach that the team had obtained, from the humble beginnings, to that police escort back to the high school after winning, to that day marching. I have a lot of pride for those years, robotics was my football, as much as I regret not playing football.|
The Wire is a good show. HBO consistently hits it out of the park, and this show is no exception.
Otherwise things are going okay. I've spent a good amount of time at the gym, killing time until school, trying to write but getting distracted a lot. Missing Mandi while she's in Missouri for the summer.
Some things are shite, some things aren't.
No, it's not a new musical genre (see: babysealcore), it's a film genre. I don't know how I feel about it, but it brings up a bunch of emotions. The movies are, for the most part, filmed like an episode of The Office (a point which I don't enjoy a whole). I can't even put the experience into words, it's mind blowing in the sense that I don't know how I feel. The stories of twentysomethings not knowing what they're doing hits home for me, but the visuals are almost distracting, and I don't know if it's because I've trained myself to recognize "good" camerawork, or if it's just bad and I'm trying to make it something it's not. I try my best to avoid liking things just because others like them, though sometimes I go the other way and end up hating things, or coming late to the game on things that I might have otherwise liked, just because it's popular. So really, if your band, movie, tv show is popular I'll hate it, until 2 years later, when I'll regret hating it. Unless we're talking about Napoleon Dynamite, that movie is still a steaming pile of crap. I feel like this is a point I'm going to have to get over come film school, but at the same time I don't want to lose my ability to call "good" movies shite, if I believe they are so.
So back to mumblecore for a moment. I've watched The Puffy Chair which I enjoyed (I've realized I'm a geek for the road movie), and Funny Ha Ha which I didn't enjoy as much. If a movie is supposed to be the most interesting 2 hours of a persons life, Funny Ha Ha is some other two hours. The Puffy Chair makes me happy because it was shot on a camera equivalent to my XL-2, which adds credence to the claim that tools don't matter as much as story. Unless you're Michael Bay.
Screenplays to be finished shortly. They may go up here, probably as a friends only post, so if you wanna read and you're stalking me, send in your requests for my bad writing.
|» Another boring story, another problem self-imposed.|
It's been a while, and in that while, a lot of things happened.
The biggest thing to happen was probably me getting into Boston University. I guess everything else kind of pales in comparison to that (in terms of recent developments).
I found out on Friday, and by Saturday I was mopey as fuck about it, and really, all it comes down to is $100,000: the price of graduate school. It's really something I can't get past, and it's the only thing that gives me second thoughts about BU, well, that and the fact that they shoot on film (I'll get to that later). The money though, is giving me pause. It's just an incredible about of money compared to my undergrad, and I can't really compare it to anything. In 1995 I could have paid for the house I currently reside in, I could pay for the car I've always wanted 3 times over, I could buy a top of the line HD camera, a G5 editing machine, and still have $75,000 left over to make a movie. Hell, I could pay for a legit copy of FCP or Avid. Every time I think of that, I think of what I'll be missing, the city (the one that I wanted to be in when I graduated high school), the teaching (directing, writing, editing, sound design, cinematography, lighting), the students (like minded people, who may be a tad too art-kid for my taste). It's this big pro/con fight in my head, and in the end I think it comes down to me not being I'll be good enough. If I wanted to be a doctor and school was $200k, I don't think I'd bat an eye, because out of college I'm pretty sure I could get some job in the field. Film though it's cutthroat, that I don't know if I could ever be that type of person (though I don't even know if I'd want to). So there it is, all that time spent hoping and praying, and then money gets in the way.
Other than that, life hasn't been terrible, and even this is a good thing, once I figure out where it's going.
I spent the weekend in Boston with Mandi, it was fantastic, we visited BU (oh man, talk about mixed emotions), we went to The Garage and then Finale, and then went to Avenue Q. It was a good weekend, though I'm not terribly impressed with The Hyatt, but that's a different story.
So it's good, life's good.
|» So yeah....|
I'm humming Jonathan Papelbon's entrance song a lot, not Wild Thing, the other one.|