Thursday, November 25, 2004

Writing gives me an appetite!

And since today's Thanksgiving, I'm ready to chow down! Happy Thanksgiving; and if you happen to be a Native American...uh, I feel really bad about what happened to you folks. If it'll make you feel any better, my wife supports the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos every chance she gets!

Worked on a script for a short movie this morning, based on an idea from Anthony. We spoke yesterday, and he described a funny story about Death he was thinking about. I fleshed it out and wrote it down, and I'll get a copy to him as soon as I can. Who knew the Grim Reaper had a sense of humor?

It's funny, but I can go through long periods of frustration when trying to write, and then I'll happen to sit at my computer with the seed of an idea and the words will just flow out of me onto the screen. That's when writing is fun, when it sort of simply "happens". Maybe someday I'll be skilled enough to force the words out when they resist, but I'm doubtful about that!

No word yet about my friggin' video certification, but no rush now...I'm heading out for St. Louis for next week to train for a new job, and after I get back I'll worry about it. In the interim, I'll have my notebook PC with me and I'm planning on using the nights to write. It's a golden opportunity, since I shouldn't have any distractions. Well, other than my own attention deficient mind that's easily distracted by TV or shiny objects. Maybe I'll ask the hotel to remove the TV from the room...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Just when I thought....

....I'd get my certification, it turns out the entire network crashed at Soundview and they can't print it up until after this weekend at the earliest. Their IT guy is scheduled for SATURDAY! Who the hell makes a business wait until the weekend to fix their system? Maybe they should hire me to come in and get things working...I'm cheap (but not easy)!

So anyway, last night (Thurs.) I did some test shooting with the Panasonic to become more familiar with it, and I also practiced editing on the Casablanca, while Anthony Rodriguez (my classmate) was working on completing his PSA so he can be certified. I offered a couple suggestions for his edit, and it's looking like he'll be done soon. We're talking about working together on a project, and if we're both certified, we can borrow two camera kits for our shoot.

I'm thinking about what I want to do for the first project...I may put my glass working short on hold because it's not too exciting a subject and I'd rather do something more along the lines of a comidic or dramatic short first. When I'm in St. Louis for the week after Thanksgiving I'll have time to write at night...maybe I'll come up with something that'll be a good first subject.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Scots making noise Posted by Hello

YAY! I got a new job!

Just found out the company I sent a resume to is going to hire me. Yeah Baby! It's a great job, doing field IT service for a chain of investment offices. They're going to give me a van, tools, expense account, great benefits, and best of all, I'll be working out of my home. That way, I'll still have time (hopefully) to work on my scripts and stuff.

Still no certification from Soundview, but they promise it's in the mail (yeah, sure!) I'm going down there Monday or Tuesday night; I'll know then.

The talk at the Yacht Club with Gary Jobson went great. He spoke about his America's Cup racing experiences, his commentary for ESPN on later Cup races, and some adventure cruising he's done; accompanied by great videos. It's awesome what you can do with the ESPN production studios and thousands of hours of footage to work with! The picture above is the bagpipers who opened and closed the show. I don't really know why they were there, but it was cool drinking a Bass ale while listening to the auld pipes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Soundview TV Posted by Hello

Still waiting for my certification

Today I checked the mail and wasn't surprised to not see the certification letter from Soundview TV. I'm going to have to go down there tomorrow night and see the training coordinator personally to hopefully get the paperwork done. I mean, I hauled ass to finish my PSA (the final exam, so to speak) and then I find out that they have to send me a letter and I have to fill out some forms before I get fully certified.

So, tomorrow I'll head down to the studio, since my classmate from the video course Anthony is going to be editing his PSA and I'm going to give him a hand. While I'm there I'll see good ol' "Double-A" about my cert. I'm hoping that we'll get this finished so I can use one of the cameras for one of my projects.

I also dug out my old Sony Handycam 8mm analog camera and worked on it. It was having a problem with the tape jamming so I stopped using it. I took it apart, tinkered with it, got it sort of working, and put it back together. I was able to transfer some of my old 8mm videos to VHS, which included family occasions and sailboat racing. Maybe I'll use the Handycam for a 2nd camera, although I'm worried about the difference between the way it'll look compared to a 3-CCD mini-DV camera. I guess I'll do a test shoot.

Anyway, we'll see. Tonight I'm going to see America's Cup sailor and ESPN sailing commentator Gary Jobson speak at the Milford Yacht Club. Gary's a world class sailor and I'm looking forward to hearing him talk about his experiences and sailing in general.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Yeesh, it's too early to be this cold!

Tonight I went to a meeting at the library. Damn, but it's cold out tonight! Just hit 27 degrees and falling...I only wore a fleece sweatshirt, and the cold got right through it. Of course, maybe if I didn't walk two blocks from the meeting to the 7-Seas bar for a quick pint 'o stout, I wouldn't have gotten so cold. Walking back, it didn't seem as cold.

Everything's relative, I guess.

Of course, I was a moron at the meeting and volunteered to help a cause that has almost nothing to do with me. I just hate it when people are agressively stupid, so I couldn't keep quiet. Maybe I can make a documentary about it; local politics are boring though...probably I'll just do the minimum I need to do to help, and get back to working on a real project.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Scriptwriting Posted by Hello

The Joy of Scriptwriting

Occasionally, and it's rare, there are times when I'm writing a script that the words just pour out of my mind and end up on the page. They flow like water tumbling through a raging river valley. Sometimes, yes, sometimes I can't keep up with the words forming in my brain when I'm typing. It's like my characters are just talking and I'm taking notes as fast as I can. There may be no more joyful a state of creating that an artist can experience.

When it's going good, there's nothing better in the world. It's great in fact.

Unfortunately, the reality of writing most of the time (for me, anyway) is that it's a torturous process, filled with agonizing rewrites, horrible self-doubt, and excruciating second-guessing. I've struggled for twenty minutes trying to find the absolute perfect word for a sentence...usually at the cost of three or four inelegant phrases that I could have better spent the time editing. Then I'll end up cutting the entire paragraph from the final draft 'cause it just doesn't "work".

But I'll keep at it, and continue to learn, and write and rewrite and re-rewrite, because once something is done right, and it DOES work, it's very satisfying. More than that, it's perfect!

So I'm going to write, and strive for that elusive perfection. Because, when it works, it's worth the effort.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Video Production Course

About two weeks ago I completed the Video Production training at a cable access TV studio in Bridgeport CT called Soundview Community Television. Like many cable TV systems, Cablevision in Connecticut is mandated to spend a certain amount of it's revenues on providing free training and facilities for public access.

So I checked into it and signed up for the course. They use Panasonic GS70 3-CCD cameras and Casablanca editing stations. The four week course stressed video editing, with only one night given to camera instruction and techniques. For the final exam, we were given a 50 question test and tasked with making a 30-45 second public service announcement (PSA) for future broadcast on cable access (channel 77 in the Bridgeport area).

I chose to make my PSA about voting, and it took me a couple of weeks to shoot it, edit it, and add music. It came out OK, but more importantly I learned many things about editing during the process that will help in future projects. The only drawback is that by the time I finished my PSA, it was only a few days before the election which was too late to put it in the schedule for broadcast. Oh well, I think I'd prefer a more polished work to be broadcast anyway.

Sometime next week I should get my certification from the studio, which gives me access to their editing systems and use of the camera. Then I can start on some projects I've been planned. Details to come.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The poster I pinched from "An Evening with Kevin Smith" 22Oct04 Posted by Hello

"I prefer the Punisher!"

The Friday before last I was lucky enough to go see one of my heroes, Kevin Smith, speak in person at University of Hartford. It's a very entertaining few hours (try 5!) for both film students and fans of his films alike.

Kevin took the stage promptly at 7PM, which may seem early for a Friday night show, but trust me, he can talk for a LOOOONG time! Wearing his trademark hockey shirt and his famous "Silent Bob" overcoat, he said hello and started taking questions from the audience.

The college crowd was enthusiastic, asking him questions about past and future films, comic book heroes (Kevin's a HUGE comic book guy!), and of course, actors he's worked with (can anybody say Bennifer?)

Kevin obviously is in his element onstage, and he delighted in taking jabs at some of his famous friends...Ben Affleck being his favorite target for ribbing. He also did his cell phone bit, where he calls someone and holds the phone up to the mic so everyone can hear who's talking. He called Jason Mewes ("Jay" of Jay & Silent Bob) who's working on a film in CA. Jason's voice mail message is "Whassup BEEEEE-OTCH?" and Kevin left him a message to call back, which he did about 30 minutes later.

Smith loves to take a question and turn it into a twenty minute discussion. Several students asked about "Clerks II" and other projects, and the comic book crowd was represented by someone asking the question, "Who do you prefer, Batman or Superman?" The high point of the evening happened a little later when a kid asked a question and went on to state "Between Batman and Superman, I prefer the Punisher!" Kevin laughed loudly at that, and for the rest of the evening, every time someone asked him anything he began his answer with "I prefer the Punisher".

After nearly four hours the questions became a little redundant and increasingly inane, and I decided to call it a night when Kevin did a 20 minute lecture on the finer points of Spongebob Squarepants. Oh, and be sure to see "Degrassi High:The Next Generation" which starts soon in syndication...Kevin guest stars as himself for several episodes. I don't know what it's aboot, but I'm sure it's going to be funny!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Blog Of Destiny!

Not really, it just sounded like a cool title for my first entry.

My handle is B.A. (aka Bob) and this blog will document my efforts in the world of digital video. I chose this historic occasion to begin a's the day we found out that we'll have GW Bush to kick around for another four years, giving Jon Stewart and his writers unlimited fodder for "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 11PM).

Anyway, I'm a stuggling filmmaker and I hope to share my experiences here.

OK, apparently this works...there will be more to come shortly...

Yup, it's me Posted by Hello