Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Possessed to SK8

Did I say I was burned out? For the past seven years I have devoted my free time, (and sometimes unfree,) to honing my craft and making any kind of "media" I could. All from sitting on my ass in front of my computer. The next ’digital’ element I want to take on is Flash and Cartoon Animation, but again, this involves sitting on my ass in front of a computer, so I have made a decision to split my time with another more ’active’ hobby.

I am picking up the skateboard again. If I can remember correctly I believe I was really, really good. I slashed verts, pools and had a phat street ramp back in the day. I skated Hosoi decks, Indy trucks and always, always Bones wheels. I couldn’t wait for the two summer vacations my family would take to Myrtle Beach so that I could thrash the streets, boardwalks, alleyways and hotel halls of Ocean Boulevard. Then I grew out of the board thing as I got older. There was wrestling, boarding school, public high school and so on and so forth. After four months of living in crowded Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles, I blew that joint to relocate to sunny Venice Beach, California. With that move, I picked up a street board. Apparently, vert boards had kind of trickled away, so I just went with the latest fad and bought one. Then I began skating the alleyways, boardwalks and piers of Venice. I had grown scared in my older age to do many of the risky tricks I had done years before, (not to mention, I was more limber then and had no insurance now.) I kept the tricks to a simple ollie or jump off of a curb in route to the local bar, convienent store or favorite newsstand. Skating had become a simple means of transportation in my small neighborhood.
One night at a party at my house, the board was nabbed and yeah, I was pissed, but did not lobby to save and buy a new one, so skating went away again.

Did I tell you I was burned out? So--- I’m 33. I can’t play tennis. Can’t play basketball. Football is not a sport you can just do with yourself for a couple hours on a Saturday. There was Boxing, Biking, Mountain Climbing and well, Skateboarding. I was too old to fight. Bikes are too expensive these days and like a gym membership, mountain climbing would not be something I could do consistently and frequently enough to make it worth it. Another argument on this is that I may in fact be too old to ’start’ a new hobby completely. I knew I wasn’t going to completely stop what I was doing with the film thing. I just needed something else to do along side of it. Starting a new hobby at my age means I would have to devote all my time for the learning process. (That may take years in my particular case.) With all that said, it left skateboarding. So I pitched it to Mandi and began researching back into the world of the street sport. I caught up with who was who, what was what and realized those guys were pushing the boundaries of gravity a thousand times more now than they ever did. Mandi said I would be an idiot to do it. I knew I had to ease it in to her lightly. My plan was to buy one piece of the board a week until I had it all. I knew then Mandi couldn’t really be mad at me. I would technically only be spending about 30 to 40 dollars a week. Two days before I purchased the first piece of the skateboard puzzle, Mandi calls me and she’s bought me a complete from the local skate shop for my birthday. I was taken a back. She met me at the house and handed it to me... A street board, Element Muska... All black. There was only one stipulation in the purchase... Nothing crazy... No half pipes or street ramps until after we got married. I agreed. I figured it would take me that long to get my legs back. I hopped on it. Quite small from my normal ’Hosoi’ sized deck I was used to. After five minutes I started coasting along. I wouldn’t say it was like riding a bicycle but I had not forgotten entirely. After a couple of turns, I said ’fuck it’ and popped an ollie-- LANDED FLAT ON MY BACK. That was strike one. I had a lot of catching up to do. I couldn’t wait.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Challenge....

You really have to love the art of independent filmmaking to be an independent filmmaker. I run into so many people who "want to make a movie," "want to be famous," and even the worst of them all, "want to make some money." Sure the money is a nice bonus but you have to be completely dedicated to your craft in order to "be" a filmmaker. I love guys I run into who say they are a "Director." They write a half assed script, max their credit card out, shoot the movie and go home. Unbeknownst to them who just last month wanted to be the next ’American Idol,’ they didn’t know that filmmaking wasn’t just a script, a camera, a couple of halogen lights and a microphone. No shot lists were created. No continuity was recorded and nobody even thought to record two separate audio tracks. This was just pre-production problems. Now, the filmmaker puts his footage in his pirated version of the mediocre Adobe Premiere and realizes, "wait a minute I don’t know how to edit! Color correction? What is that? I just want to be the next Steven Speilberg. Isn’t shooting the movie the hard part?"

The kid that reads Entertainment Weekly as homework and says it’s good film school, now plummets into a race to have his movie finished. He may find some other guy who does some movie editing or films weddings or some shit who offers to cut his movie on his off time, but doesn’t realize when he offers what kind of chicken shit he’s gotta’ make chicken salad out of and spends months and months of his own personal life trying to "just get through it" because his heart is not on or in the movie. He wasn’t on the set. He was never hired or inspired to be the ’Editor’ on the project. He’s doing it so he can turn around and tell his buddies, he just cut an ’actual independent film.’ Does the director come over to his house and sit next to him hours on end and play with the shots, read books, take classes on how to edit or film aesthetics in general? No. He sits at his house playing his Playstation bitching that ’Mr. Drag Ass Editor’ is taking too long to finish HIS movie. Has the Director even envisioned what kind of music he wants, sound design or sound effects he wants? Does he even know when that process comes up? Does he have any idea how he’s going to add blood, guts and swords to his movie since he of course the movie had to have it and he never used one sword prop on the set. He assumed and still assumes that is the Editor’s job. So he finally gets his movie back and through months and months of hard work, the editor actually did an OK job on it. He gets a thanks from the ’Director’ only after a three hour argument over why he didn’t clean up the sound, add sound effects, swords, blood or music. "Wait, you can do any of that?" The director asks. The Editor has no clue. Hell, he’s only shot two weddings so far and they were both his brother and sister’s. What the fuck does he know about CGI. He uses Movie Maker and his only knowledge comes from the Bonus Material on the Star Wars DVD’s. Well now the director puts in ads on the cess pool they call ’Craigs List’ stating: ’ Special Effects Artist Needed." Work for demo, food and the experience.’ What this knucklehead does not realize is that anybody that can put a Samurai sword into an actor’s hand in post and have them do some dumb hacked Matrix rehash are good enough SFX Artists that they don’t have to work for free. Fat chance he’s going to find a kid fresh out of the local community college ’film program’ that will even know his way around After Effect’s or Maya’s interface. (Complete pipe dream for Autodesk software for that matter.)
So anyway, you’re asking what is this all about. I’m about to tell you in the ’Dr. Gregory House,’ kind of way. In regards to the emails, phone calls and bullshit job offers that don’t pay up front—Don’t bother. I make shit money doing what I do and honestly if I wasted time listening to all the ’hair brain schemes’ and holding meetings with people blowing smoke about scripts, productions, and jobs, I would make even less shit money. If you have no passion for the art; If you are only looking for a quick paycheck, notoriety, or just to have bragging rights on a piece of your work… In the words of Jack Nicholson in ’As Good as it Gets’: Don’t come knocking. Sell bullshit somewhere else. Trust me, over the past three years I’m all stocked up here.

My parents, friends and wife already think I’m a liar from all the times I’ve spoke of jobs that never panned out because of somebody’s lack of motivation.

NOW—Back to that story about that ’so called filmmaker.’ DIRECTED COMPLETELY to YOU(without saying names, because I don’t spitball.) I know your story. That story I found out through the small grapevine we call the ’NC Film Community.’ I’ve been, excuse me, WAS tracking your progress. I thought maybe you would be a prime candidate to help out with what Freddy, Mark, Eric and I had going on. You called me ’second rate’ to the local entertainment periodical for this small section of North Carolina. I believe you and your "Agent", when asked if you knew of me, replied with "No, but they are a second rate film company compared to our outfit." The paper did not publish the story because instead of being positive about the sudden movement of film in the community, you spent the interview dogging the very people that would and could help you progress.

First of all—I don’t normally take offense of what people think or say about me, but this was completely uncalled for considering you’ve never met me nor seen any of my work. Secondly—Agent? Your Agent? Your Agent runs a talent agency out of Hickory, North Carolina. She runs a carpet cleaning business on the side and I’m sure that is the majority of her income. Again… Your Agent??!!! She runs a talent agency out of Hickory, NC. She might say she’s ’LA’ but I can promise you she’s never seen the inside of the office at ICM or the Gersh Agency, nor even been allowed a conversation with a mail room intern there. Your Agent???!!! The only agent, (Director/Writer wise,) needed around here is a cleaning agent to scrub the bullshit off the walls.
Third and finally, you are making a movie? Was your ’samurai’ movie ever completed? Son, I was cutting my forehead and beating myself up in my film when you were still getting beat up in the sand box in fifth grade. You lack what it takes to be a filmmaker. You haven’t done your homework. You have not put in your time. I have spent ten years going to film school, reading books, learning the art from the business to the creative side of this occupation. I can assure you, no I am not Steven Speilberg nor Gerald Nott but I can say my skills greatly surpass your expertise.
So I’m throwing down the gauntlet: Write a script—2 to 7 pages. I don’t care what it’s about. Make two copies. We’ll set a date and give ourselves a week to complete it. You can use a 100,000 dollar budget if you would like. I’ll use a weeks paycheck. I’ll get my crew, you get yours and we’ll shoot that movie and let the public decide who is ’second rate.’ If I lose, I will give you all three of my cameras. If I win you have to start a ’Garrick Lane’ fan site and be the webmaster for it for six months. How’s that sound? That’s how sure I am my ’second rate outfit’ will conquer. Think of it as David & Goliath. Only this time David, cuts Goliath’s paws off, slits his throat and stuffs his own tail up his own ass.
I am going to make you sorry you didn’t return my two emails requesting to get together. I might have been able to make the samurai sword dance and sing and if I couldn’t do it, I could have probably put it in the right hands of somebody that could.

Ol and by the way--- I’m going to use YOUR Movie Maker/Family Wedding Editor to cut my film if you choose to take this challenge. I’ll teach him more in forty eight hours than you have learned in the what—Two years you’ve read Entertainment Weekly.

You may dislike or disagree with another filmmaker’s film. Heck, you may hate every film he has ever done and that’s OK, but believe that even the worst of the worst had a dream, the motivation and most importantly the knowledge and fortitude to get the films financed, packaged and into the multiplexes or straight to DVD releases. So again, think about my offer. If not go back to your Playstation, slam some control pads down and just make movies in your head. They are much cheaper and well, take less fortitude and knowledge to make.

ACCEPT:Email Me.
DECLINE: There are some good tutorials online about Movie Maker.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I Need A Favor

For all that read my garble-- (And I know you do. This thing has a counter,) I need a favor. It’s not a favor out of sympathy by any means. It is a favor that will give back to you. I know everybody is busy uploading pictures they have taken of themselves and adding slideshow after slideshow until their profile becomes a ten minute ordeal to even view and if that is not busy enough for you... There’s always all that dumb shit on YouTube so how would anybody have time for a small fill your name out vote?

Anyway, I’ll make it easy for you... ALL OF YOU! My friend Clint is trying out for "Who wants to be a superhero?" It’s a show on Sci-Fi and he’s up against two schmoes to get a bid into the compeition and they are voting on it on Clint probably does not need the votes to win. His character and personality is tremendously bigger than the other two... BUT HEAVEN FORBID THOSE JAG OFFS HAVING MORE MYSPACE FRIENDS VOTING, RIGHT? So again, I’m going to make it easy for you. Simply click on ’Thorn’s’ picture below, it will open up a new window and you simply vote for Thorn, fill in your name and your back to your web surfing in no time. Clint is a personal friend of mine, even though I don’t keep up like I should. We got our start in this business together and he has since starred in three movies, written two books, and I’m sure attended every Renaissance Festival in all of Southern California. He’s a class act that’s busted his ass to be where he is today. In alone, that characteristic is ’super hero.’

If you don’t know him, but LIKE me--- VOTE for him.

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