Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Table For Two" now on Cablevision

I'm very pleased to announce that Michael and Kristen's weekly hour long gossip-fest will be broadcast on Cablevision Channel 77 on Wednesday nights at 8:30. Ant and me are sponsoring "Table For Two", which is currently seen in central Connecticut on several public access networks.

"Table For Two" will now be available in the towns of Milford, Orange, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Woodbridge, and Stratford (Wow, that's a tony sounding group of towns...well, except for Bridgeport) We've opened up another 100,000-home market to this edgy, funny show.

Watch "Table For Two", and practice saying "Uhn-uhh girlfrien', don't GO there!" in the privacy of your own home!

UPDATE: The first episode will air at 9:30 on December 7th, then 8:30 on the 14th, then it's pre-empted on the 21st for a live broadcast, then 8:30 every Wednesday afterwards. Make a note and stick it on your Tivo.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Burning a few DVDs

Now that my short documentary is done, I'm creating some DVDs on my trusty little external DVD burner. Using Pinnacle to burn DVDs on an external USB-connected DVD burner ain't the fastest thing on wheels, but it's workable. I'm up to my 7th DVD of the day, and I think that'll be enough for now.

The DVDs that I made don't look as nice as this one. I don't have CD-labeling stuff, so I just wrote on them with a Sharpie. Low rent all the way!

I've got to give a DVD to the following people:

Joyce - she wants to show my mom-in-law her big (little) screen debut
Anthony - he's anxious to see if I'll challenge his brilliance at next year's awards
Lori - she's totally into producing great shows, and she wants to see this
Sound View - gotta drop off a couple copies to the programming folks there, see what they think

And I'll keep a couple DVDs for me.

Oh, and "Put It There (Shag Nasty)" (click link to hear it) by McKinney's Cotton Pickers (1929), one of my soundtrack songs, has become my most recent favorite song. I'm putting it on my MP3 player.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's finally done!

Finished my movie this morning. Once I decided to let the editing process flow naturally, rather than try to stretch the available footage to 25 minutes, it all started going together.

The movie runs just under 14 minutes, so it's going to be a mini-documentary. It'll be the kind of thing the public access station can run when it has 15 minutes to fill.

One month ago Joyce and I filmed the thing, so I'm pleased with how quickly I got it finished. It's not perfect, but as a learning exercise and quicky short subject for TV it's acceptable.

What I learned from this project:

1. Write the script BEFORE shooting. Simply pointing the camera at interesting stuff doesn't lend itself to a coherent narrative.

2. Shoot to edit. Use your abilities to set up transitions and special effects, and make the editing easier.

3. Clean the lens! Yeah, there was a little dust on the lens by the end of the day, and the wide-angle lens coupled with a low sun angle really showed the lens dust in a couple shots. You can't see that crap in the LCD display when you're shooting outdoors. A monitor would help, but is somewhat impracticle on a bicycle.

4. Try to select your music ahead of time. Again, shooting to edit also applies to background music.

5. Have fun; remember, this is a hobby.

So, out of the five, I think I did more "5" than anything else. It really WAS fun, in spite of my dramatics in recent posts. (maybe it was fun BECAUSE of all that booze! - JUST KIDDING)

The final tally of the finished edit:

Runing time - 13:45
54 video segments
27 still images
40 video transitions
6 audio clips/songs
2 mpeg archive movie clips
7 voice over segments
36 title pages
16 title transitions

Now all I have to do is burn a few DVDs and I'm done.

Again, I know it's not perfect (this is me preparing myself for the inevitable criticism I'm sure it'll garner), but it's good. I like it, and that's what counts. Joyce likes it too. That counts even more.

I've finally got a handle on the Pinnacle software. Which is cool. I'm ready to get started on my next project!

And now as I'm typing this there are some delicious smells making their way up from the kitchen. The bird's almost done, and those yams are mighty sweet-smellin'! Yummy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Driven to drink! (only a bit, anyway)

OK, today I completed another three minutes of post-production on my documentary. It looks like it'll max out at well under twenty minutes, but I simply don't have enough footage to work with. Remember that Joyce and I took our bikes and our only camera and rode 14 miles over the trail. I shot somewhat less than 50 minutes of tape, and there's only so much I can pad in the usuable footage. I'm knocking myself out trying to finish this damned, now it's time for a breather.

This is for Gazza, who made fun of my Bud Light beer the other day. Look at THIS, mate! I'm drinking a MAN'S drink! Single malt Scotch!

Christ, it's really GOOD, too! No ice, no soda...just a glass and a soon-to-be-empty bottle of Glenmorangie (from my friend Lori who just visited the UK and brought me this wonderful little gift!) Here's a foolproof rule of thumb when it comes to Scotch: Any single malt Scotch with 'GLEN' in it's name has GOT to be good!

Anyway, enough of the boozing. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in America, and I have a lot to be thankful for. It's been a great year, and I'm looking forward to surviving Xmas (I've given up on enjoying it; these days, I'm just happy if I get through it without fucking KILLING somebody!).

Have a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This just in - Sam died

"SANTA BARBARA, California (AP) -- Sam, the dog whose ugliness earned him TV appearances, limousine rides and even a meeting with millionaire Donald Trump, has died, the Santa Barbara News-Press reported Tuesday."

"The pooch with the hairless body, crooked teeth and sparse tuft of hair atop his knobby head died Friday, just short of his 15th birthday, said his owner, Susie Lockheed."
(from - 11/21/05)

Sam was featured in this blog not very long ago, after he'd won the "World's Ugliest Dog" contest. Sam was euthanized after his heart started failing. No word on whether the ugly animal left any horrific offspring...but I think I can take a guess:

Oh, that's just MEAN.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"The Fog of Editing"

Open project, insert clip, right click, edit, split clip, delete, click Play, right click, click edit, delete, click toolbox, click record voice-over, click Record, read text into microphone, click stop, click timeline, click Play, listen to voice-over, click Pause, click Toolbox, click Add CD Music, click track 2, click Add to movie, click Play, listen to music and voice-over, click pause, move cursor to beginning of clip, click Transitions, click on fade-in transition, click Album, click Insert Photo, click arrow to page through pictures, click and drag image into Timeline, double click photo, move cursor to right side and drag to right, click Transitions, drag transition onto Timeline, click Play, double click clip, move cursor onto timer, click down arrow 3 times to shorten clip by one tenth of a second, click Play to see how music syncs up with video, repeat with next clip, ad infinatum.

That took care of about ten seconds of finished video. I've been working on this thing for five hours today, and I've only got eight minutes done. I know that I'm still learning, but Jesus!

Fuck this shit, it's time for a beer!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"It's an honor just being nominated..."

Bullshit! I wanted to win, I wanted a statue of my very own, to hold, to display, to lord over everyone else who LOST! But NOOO-OOOO!

...ahem...what I meant to say is, Congratulations to Anthony, winner of the 2005 "Tommy" award for Public Access Excellence, in the Best Student PSA Category (Public Service Announcement).

The "Tommys" were awarded by Soundview TV at a gala event Tuesday, starting with a wine and appetizers reception at the City Lights Gallery, followed by the Awards Extravaganza at the Playhouse On The Green in beautiful downtown Bridgeport. Tommys were given to the best producers of shows ranging from Entertainment, Community Affairs, Inspirational, Student PSA, and Technical, plus the Christopher M. Bowley Achiever of the Year Award, given to the one who achieves excellence in community access.

Now, I'd known for weeks now that Anthony was nominated for Best PSA, and we decided to attend with awards with our families. Anthony brought his wife Mary and son Brian, and Joyce accompanied me. Ant was a bit nervous but looked dapper in his double-breasted suit straight out of GQ. Even Brian was looking sharp, in his little tie. Joyce and Mary both obviously love purple, because they were color coordinated. The reception was fun, but I could see Anthony was a little nervous.

We walked the half-block to the theatre, and as we reached our seats I opened my program that listed the nominees. Holy shit! My PSA was nominated also, with two others! I had absolutely NO idea I was in the running! If I'd known, I could have started hating Ant WEEKS ago, instead of now!

I leaned over and pointed it out to him. He smiled and said "Good luck, dude!" Damn, why does he have to be nice when I'm trying to work up a good competitive hatred?

But then I calmed down and realized that I knew Ant's PSA was far better than mine. You see, the PSA is a sort of practical final exam for the field producer's course at Soundview; you have to produce one to graduate. So I threw together some nonsense about voting, it being weeks before the '04 election. It didn't help; Bush won anyway.

Anthony literally took WEEKS putting together what was essentially a 40-second work of art on the subject of drunk driving. He agonized for days about finding one exact sound effect; that's the level of effort he put into the production. I knew in my heart that his was way better than mine, so I was hoping he'd win it. Anyway, it's an honor just to be nominated, right?

Then it got to the point where the PSA award would be announced. As they read the names of us nominees, I panicked for a nanosecond because I didn't have any idea what to say if I won. Then I came back to reality and waited for Ant's name to be called. I gave Ant the ol' thumbs-up as we held our breath.

"And the winner is....(drum roll)....Anthony Rodriguez, for "Drunk Driving"!" The place exploded in applause, and as Ant stood and made his way toward the stage his PSA was played on the giant screen on the stage.

The seriousness of the PSA soon quieted the room, and you could hear Ant's voice narrating the video. Near the end of the PSA, you see a close-up of my hand reaching for a drink on a table, and Ant's hand grabs my wrist. He holds out his other hand, and I give him my car keys. Just before the fade-out, I yelled, "That was my arm!" I got a huge laugh as Ant reached the stage (I'm such an attention whore, I simply couldn't keep my mouth shut during his moment in the spotlight.)

Anthony gave a very nice acceptance speech, and he thanked me as a "good production partner and talented hand actor" or something like that; good line, dude.

The rest of the ceremony Ant held the statue like it was a winning lotto ticket. After, when we shuffled out to the lobby for dessert and coffee, I asked if I could look at the statue. I pretended to read the inscription, then acted surprised as I said, "Did you know they spelled Rodriguez with a Q?" (Trivia: that happened in "Boogie Nights", when Luis Guzman and his brothers unveiled the huge neon sign for their niteclub). Ant yelled "No way!", but he grabbed the statue back for a close look, while I gaffawed in my usual tactless way.

It was quite a night, and I'm truly thrilled that Ant won the award. I've even learned that it can be more fun to see a friend win than to win something yourself.

(Note: I'll have pictures of the actual event here in a week or two)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 rocks!

I've been having the time of my life surfing through the digitally constructed halls of the Internet Archive web site!

The IA was founded to provide a cultural "Internet library"; a sort of Library of Alexandria for the modern age (hopefully without the barbarous hordes burning and pillaging it).

The ancient Libary at Alexandria

The Archive has an enormous list of audio, video, graphic, and text files on nearly every subject. Looking for an MP3 of a 1927 blues singer? You'll probably find it.

There are loads of files that have either Creative Commons licensing, or are Public Domain. Which means that you can use the files as long as they're for non-commercial use and are properly attributed.

So, I'm downloading archive video and background music for my public access documentary. Check out the site; you'll probably be amazed at the amount of interesting stuff there.