Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Trilogy Ends If I can Find THE MUSIC

Music is an important if not the most important part of what I call, "Chop Suey" editing.
(Def: Chop Suey Editing – basically home video footage cut into montages, documentaries, or MTV style vignettes.)
In shooting weddings, is it important? Sure. Is it easy? Oh Gosh, yes…. Most of the time. When I shoot people's weddings, I document the songs they use from their ceremony to their reception. Go home, get on Itunes buy five dollars worth of songs and drop them on the timeline. From there it's just a matter of pacing the picture around the music.

In doing my wedding, it has not been so easy. Sure, I'm deathly attached to it which makes it harder for me to just slap it on a timeline and start cutting, but again, this one, like Wheeler & Steff's, Ryan and Jess' is no regular wedding video. This was the FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THE TRILOGY. (You get that if you read my wedding intro on my site.)

So OK, with the Wheeler Wedding, I actually maintained a theme both visually and musically. In the visual department, I kept the color flat with restricting saturation on all levels so if you watch the film the footage appears very blown out in parts and your color palette is white, gray and blue. Sure there is color, but your primaries are very cool neutrals. Even the titles stayed relatively flat. Musically, I mixed it. Some older stuff with some new stuff of all variations from rap, the Beatles, Staind was used. The older stuff was mainly, music Wheeler and I listened to in High School and early college. (It had meaning.)

In the Weitz Wedding, I had approached it differently. This was my College Gang and we had developed quite a different taste in music. I hardly forsaw having Ryan and Jess say their vows, kiss and walk down the aisle as Slipknot kicks in when they hit the doors. Their wedding also took place in Vegas. What could be a better theme than an Oceans 11 style. Ten friends reuniting in Vegas after years of being a part was destined for that kind of feel. The footage was saturated. The color palette was off the screen and the titles were big color, big pop. With the heavy metal years of college being a nit even for one of my friend's weddings, Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were on the mark, only going out of the range for the finale of Coldplay that would pave the way for future montages with this reunion of friends.

With that, it leaves my wedding, and a stumped editor that has no idea what to do. I have made some creative decisions so far, but still kind of out in the dark on others. I have mixed and matched music far too much to feel safe with my decisions. One of the decisions I have made is the color palette. It will eat up a least a week of editing because it is very hard to convey to even well rounded camera men and women who are shooting on the fly and from the hip that I want every thing slightly desaturated so I can treat it with a warming filter to give it sort of a bronze effect. Their reaction would have probably been, "fucking film student." With that said, I will have to do it all in post, hence time. So as the Wheeler wedding was grey and cool, the Weitz wedding fully saturated, the Lane Wedding would be orange and warm. I wanted to keep sort of a Southern feel to it. Here's the rub: The way I did the titles for this one I fell in love with immediately and almost refuse to change them. They are simple yet, contemporary so don't really fit into a more traditional southern kind of feel. That is problem 1.

Problem 2 is much bigger. The music used. Like I said, I have already traded out music several times which worries me, because I normally know what song I am going to use the minute I envision the clip edited. That is not the case this time. I won't say I am over analyzing this because it is MY wedding and I want it to be perfect, because that would be easy to make that assumption. There are actual variables to which I find the conflict.

The weekend went by so fast I don't remember any music ever being played.
I drove a big white van around for three days. In that white van there was only one CD. It was a timeless classic from the Black Crowes entitled, 'Amorica,' and I could really almost cut the whole show using that whole album and get away with me being completely satisfied, but there is another more important person involved…
Mandi… And we have the exact opposite taste in music. Granted, there are exceptions that manage to conform to both of our likings, (See Wedding CD we gave away at reception,) but honestly there is no way to evenly spread the different tastes out in this video.
So you say, well why not use your Wedding Compilation CD to do it… Well, half the CD again, does not fit with the video and some of the songs we share are rather gritty. Mandi and I are not saps, so there really are not any O Town, Mariah, Rod Stewart or Shania Twain love songs in our I Pods.
So then I went to the 'Southern Rock and Roll Theme.' It would include some of my Crowes and anybody's favorite rock songs. I could mix up a little of Mandi's Rascal Flatts, but would leave off entirely any hip hop or 80's music that I am sure she would like put on.

I mean even the songs I picked from the start, (my first instinct in editing is always the best…. In some cases,) are not flowing. Hell, I was dead set on putting Pearl Jam's 'Alive' in it somewhere for my boys and I and I can't find even a remotely good place for it unless it belongs at the party back at the hotel after the reception. The Ceremony walk and picture montage was to be Peter Gabriel's 'Book of Love.' It is a beautiful song, but it does not transition into Rascal Flatts 'The Day Before You.' Which basically starts off right after it. Hell, the opener!!! It looked great… The first ten times I saw it, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's not right and it's the effing music there that is throwing the monkey wrench. Uggghhhh.

I will say that I am happy thus far with two songs used and it makes me happy that both of them were on my list to start and were to be used exactly where I had envisioned them. Train's 'Free,' which is one of Mandi and I's shared songs and 'Simple Man' by Lynryd Skynrd. The first script I wrote my Sophomore year of high school was fucking awful, BUT there was one really good scene where the main character, busts into the bad guy's brother's house walks through the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the bedroom where he and a whore are goofing off under the sheets. The brother looks up and not one pause, beat or word is said and the main character fires three bullets, killing them both. We follow him back down the stairs and out and the whole scene is in real time and the radio in the house is playing 'Simple Man.' I have for 18 years tried to find a way to incorporate that song into something. It works here.

OK, you are saying… "Dude, it's a wedding video." I am saying, yes it is, but I have my vices and my particulars and this is one of them. Yes, it's my wedding. No it doesn't have to be perfect, but this one will be the one, that I will watch in six years and don't want to say when I do, "Why did I use that song there? I should have used this," or "I could have cut five minutes off this scene, tied it in with those two and just used that one song." I want to be able to sit down and watch it and be relieved that it was perfectly put together. God knows, if I had the time and energy, I would recut the Wheeler Wedding in a heart beat. Now think about how I feel about mine if I second guess anything.

I have had a break from it while doing some corporate jobs and Tag Along, so maybe when I go back, it will come to me.

To give you a little insight of what all this mumbo jumbo means, I have stuff to look at.

This was a scratch piece of paper I wrote on as I watched all this footage being captured. I made a timeline, inserting different songs in different places, trying to figure out before hand how I was going to cut it.

When I spoke of color palettes, titles, etc—

This was the trailer for the Wheeler Wedding aka The Jersey Bootleg. Notice the color in the clips. Lots of white, blown out, flat, gray and neutral color.

Wedding One - The Jersey Bootleg Trailer

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You wanna' see more clips from Wedding One Click Here

This is the trailer leading up to the Weitz Wedding aka Vegas Wedding. Although there is no actual footage of the wedding in this clip you will immediate get the idea of the 'Vegas/Ocean's 11' theme used.

Wedding Two - Vegas Wedding

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You wanna' see actual clips fromWedding Two Click Here

And finally, a clip from the Lane Wedding aka The NC Incident. I wasn't big on giving any sneak peeks, but I feel I need to explain myself so you don't think I'm crazy. The clip is still rough so sound and picture will be a bit unclean but you will get the point. This is the clip where Train's 'Free' is used. It's the night everybody gets in. The title flashes across the screen, but this is really already about 15 minutes in. Notice the warm bronze look and the simple yet non traditional use of titles.

Wedding Three - "Reunion"

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Let me know what you think.

And honestly, if all this shit I just spewed clicks with you, I would be happy to have any creative input on the matter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tag Along Begins

On August 4th, Tag Along, Freddy's Spiritual Thriller began its journey as production started. Although we have a long road ahead of us, it was nice to be doing it again and know that the first film, (which I thought was just going to be a once in a blue moon run,) had built the foundations of a filmmaking machine. With having to work full time jobs and do pre production over the computer and phone due to distance and schedules, the process has been slow, but with Freddy helming the Up Close And Personal Aspects of raising money and awareness and me, being the proverbial "Man Behind the Curtain," we've managed to put some of this together and with funding in place for this one, (or the trailer being finished away from it,) I hope this begins the glorious journey into the exciting unknown... And just maybe this last ten years of starving, eating shit and doing shit jobs will be behind me and at least I can live comfortably enjoying the only thing besides my friends and family that I can say I truly love. Here is a clip of our production.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bobby Badluck

I have always wanted to get into Flash Animation or just animation in general. I have tried to tinker around with it for quite sometime. I read tutorials, books… Pretty much everything, but right when I sat down to utilize the stuff I learned, a video gig would come up so I would put it on the back burner. I say over and over that I should go the animation route instead of film, simply because with animation, for me there is no depending on anybody else. I could make my cartoon all by my lonesome, locked in my room and I wouldn't have to do the run around, get the run around, and be frustrated when gigs would and will fall through. To me, it's worth it. Granted, I am 33 now… Meaning I would be getting into it a little late. I'm sure my skills would not be at "professional level" for at least 4 years unless I am a natural and that I can tell you I am not. I've always, always had trouble drawing women and finding the perfect perspective for which my people's surroundings are based around, so there would be that hump to get over in general. SO, I'm going to start as simple as possible. One Dimension, simple movement, funny cartoon is where I will start. "Bobby Badluck," who is basically a Charlie Brown on meth . He is the guy I will start with. He is a guy who seems like he is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is pummeled, laughed at, hated by and just seems like a perfect target for the most unusual disasters. He's haggard and beat by the world, yet he continues with everyday life. It should be fun. In clip number one, he is knocked into a sink hole by a kamikaze bird. Yes… I know. I'm still working on scenarios. Here are my quick early concept sketches.

If anybody out there is interested in animation in anyway and has some time on their hands, John Kricfalusi has been generous enough to share his insight, education, and knowledge to how to do, what to look for, and what makes it good on his Blog. If you don't know him... He is the man that created George Liquor and Ren & Stimpy, (among others) He does an in depth entry everyday. How he finds time, I don't know, but it may be THEE most comprehensive text book ever created by any industry professional. If you don't have time to read online, I suggest, do what I did. Stock up on printer cartridge and paper and print the months dating back to '06 and read it as a book.

It's free and he's very, very informative.

Check it out here.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The ABC'S of an Ignorant Liar - Part 2

In Los Angeles, I dropped the art pens for a camera. By the eighth week in, I was shooting on 16mm, writing story and script after story and script. When I wasn't in class or working, I was typing away. I would drive down the road and come up with five story ideas. Everything from drawings to outlandish ideas to raise money to make a movie, I was thinking out. One week my sophomore year in college during Spring Break, my head had filled its capacity and I had to get it emptied or I would have been 'certifiable.' I locked myself in my room and punched out four first drafts of screen plays at 120 pages a piece. Not just to write, mind you, but full fledged characters, story and settings in these manuscripts. Upon review of my friends and colleagues, they were 'damn good.' They needed adjustments like any other story, but nonetheless my brain was empty if only for a day. By my junior year, I had written a 307 page fantasy adventure story & script that was grand in scale and elaborate, complete with sketches, maps, timelines and back story to all of it. By my senior year I had shot two films and written a post-apocalyptic script that was given rave reviews, even if the films were 'green,' (novice Student Films.) Along the way, I had compiled journal after journal, (nearly fifty,) of every move and story idea, I had thought of in my life. I didn't go anywhere without a pocket notebook and pen, because if I got to thinking I had to get it out. I have pocket notebooks full of just bulleted set ups for scenes. When I went to my first,(and only Rave,) I filled up a whole book on just the experience. (That being the only surrounding that had me fill up a book. I wrote everything, person and light I saw, because at the time, I knew there would come a day where a film of mine would require a rave scene.) Funny part and here's what I am trying to get out: I didn't need those notebooks, because I remember every look and feel that's ever caught my eye or interest. A song playing on the radio takes me on a journey. When I shoot or edit something, if one of those scenes pops into my head that matches, I use it and the music involved. Friends and Co-Workers will always say, "Garrick, where do you come up with this stuff?" or "Man, that song and the way you did that scene was perfect." My answer, "it just happens." I remember all those little or large moments and store them. Does that sound like an ignorant ADD riddled person? If it does, I'd like to meet the smart ADD guy.

There is only one problem I have with my method of madness and that is, I sometimes let my mouth go as fast as my brain. I blurt out things that may not be dead on, but not so much to 'lie' or 'tell people what they want to hear' but because in my brain I have already figured out how the story will go and I let everybody in on it before the story has actually finished running its course from being excited about it. It's an impulsive thing that I have managed to tone down but not out quite yet. For instance, I would be offered a contract job and get it in my head and begin telling everybody and planning everything, then they would call and cancel the job and I'm stuck telling everybody that I am not doing it now or I'm real bad about saying that a job is done, when I know I still had a couple more adjustments to make. It's not to outright 'lie,' it's just that being done on a job is so exciting, I tend to after all the work say it's done because to me, after 60 hours in front of an editing bay and I am down to my last few, it's finished. These accusers of ignorance and attention deficit will also say, I don't listen or follow through. That may or may not be true. I may appear to be a space cadet or off in "Garrick Town." It's because I'm planning my next venture and when the thoughts of it embed into my brain, it overruns every spare thought I have. Then it builds on others and then those build on others and the only way I can keep myself sane is to push it out of there whether by, writing, shooting, drawing or whatever. Why do I have that big website full of shit??? Because I have to put it somewhere or it would sit in Garrick Town and crowd my creative process. Why do I write these blogs? It is not because I want to be popular. It's not because I feel like this will get me noticed or to be a part of this MySpace craze. Hell, I don't think but a select few read the damn thing to begin with, but it is easier to do it this way and get it out then leave it in a pocket notebook somewhere. Maybe one person will read it and feel the same way about them selves. Who knows, maybe somebody will say, "Man, that Garrick guy is as fucked up as a mayonnaise biscuit." At least somebody sees the ABC's of me.

If all that I have done in my small 33 years sounds like the works of an incompetent, ignorant, space cadet who has no direction in life, I'd hate to pick Bill Gates, John Ford or Colin Powell's brains.

And if I sound certifiable by this TRUE analysis of myself, at least when I pass on, my kids can have months of entertainment watching my 500 plus raw recorded DV tapes of footage I've captured since I was 8, the films, and other clips I cut from all of it. If that's not enough to keep them busy they can read, laugh and cry at my newspapers, scripts, short stories, long stories, and over 50 hand written journals I have scribbled in. If that's not good enough, they can watch a home video of me thrashing on a skateboard or study my drawing books with all sorts of craziness in them. Maybe after all that they can say, "Man, I know it sounds cliché' but you have no idea when we say our father was one of a kind."

You wanna see smidge of stuff that my brain has to deal with?


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