Posts Tagged ‘Last Night’


Don’t Retreat, Reengage – 26. January, 2011

So last year I set some goals for myself. I failed miserably. I wrote nothing. I didn’t direct anything. I…

Okay, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I did manage to lock picture on my film, LAST NIGHT, but I still need to go back and tweak a few shots. And I need to finish it so I can move on to the next project. I also traveled to Europe. These are good things, but overall 2010 was a wash. Why? Well, without getting into it, things just sucked.

So how can I turn 2011 around? It took me a while but I realized it while I was about to fall asleep last night. I can’t take on anything new. No, that’s too much. I can simply look back at the things I liked in my life and reengage. This means working on my film, writing a new feature, writing those long overdue FRINGE and CHUCK specs, playing the guitar, etc.

That’s it. It’s simple but it’s a good way to get back on track (which needs to happen before I can move forward).

Sundance Rejects – 20. January, 2011

Today, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival starts. I am in Los Angeles. Draw your own conclusion.

The other day my buddy sent me an article noting 10 famous Sundance rejects, including SWINGERS, THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS, THE DAYTRIPPERS, GEORGE WASHINGTON, MAD HOT BALLROOM, FOLLOWING and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.

All I know right now is that I’m gonna go home and play some BLACK OPS, maybe have a Jameson.

Posted in Festivals

The Agony of Playing LAST NIGHT in HD on my PS3 – 8. November, 2010

Christ, there are so many damn festival deadlines approaching/passing. The Sundance deadline was just a few weeks ago but recently there’s been the Berlinale, Slamdance, the Miami International Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, SXSW and Tribeca. By the end of the month I’m looking to submit to the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Dallas International Film Festival, Rooftop Films, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Sarasota Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Lucky for me, I have a locked cut of my film to submit.

Still, being the neurotic perfectionist that I am, I want to hold a few screening before proceeding with the sound edit/mix and color correction. Now, I could just screen my SD DVD but I shot high-def, I have a nice TV and a PS3, why the Hell shouldn’t I screen the best possible version I can? Really, what’s stopping me?

Well, nothing but time, technology and storage space.

Warning: I’m about to peg the geek/nerd/techie meter.

I shot my film with the Panasonic HVX200 so my footage is all 1080p/23.98 DVCproHD. I color corrected my locked, festival submission cut in After Effects with Colorista and Looks. So far, so good.

Now, the PS3 can handle H.264 but wants that in an MPEG-4 wrapper. That’s straightforward, right?

Yes… and no. After Effects won’t output a multi-pass codec so I needed to create an intermediary version. I went with ProRes. Why not the Animation codec or ProRes HQ? While those codecs deliver a higher quality image, the trade off in time is crippling. My After Effects ProRes output of a five reel film took 60 hours! ProRes HQ is roughly 20% larger than the vanilla ProRes I used, so that would have taken 72 hours. I couldn’t afford to tie up my computer for three full days. The Animation codec is lossless so God only knows how long that would have taken.

With my ProRes version in hand the next step was to create an H.264 version with AAC audio in Compressor. I think that took about a day, can’t really be sure because I farmed this work out to another computer; like I said, I have other work to complete, work that requires the use of my MacBook Pro.

After that it’s an easy passthrough in QTPro to wrap the file as MPEG-4 (thank you Stu for this tip).

Done.  Next, I had to transfer the film to my PS3 and I’m done. Not quite. My film is about 30GB but I only have 20GB left on my PS3 HDD. Solution: buy a new HDD (thank God the PS3 makes swapping the HDD easy). After hours/days of research I learned that I needed to purchase a 2.5″ 5400rpm 500GB SATA II HDD with a 16MB cache. I found a nice Hitachi on Amazon and I’m golden.

Well, no. See, they send me a drive with a 8MB cache. I send the drive back but in the meantime I do a bit more research. It looks like no one makes a 2.5″ 5400rpm 500GB SATA II HDD with a 16MB cache. You either get a 5400rpm with an 8MB cache or a 7200rpm HDD with a 16MB cache. I’m thinking I really could use the 16MB cache in regards to the heft of my file’s data rate but boards suggest that some folk have had issues with the 7200rpm drives in their PS3s. Ugh. Fine, I’ll go with an 8MB cache HDD.

The new HDD arrives and I immediately make 2 backups of my PS3 HDD before swapping it out for my new one. I pray this will go without a hitch. It almost does. I had to have the PS3 OS on a USB stick in order to properly format my new 500GB HDD. I then restored my original PS3 files but that took close to 5 hours. Once I verified that all my files were restored and worked, it’s finally time to transfer my file to my PS3. I can’t use my 30GB USB stick (formatted, it’s less than 30GB and we’re all experienced that pain/agony) but I have some space on the external HDD I use to back up my PS3. I hook that drive up to my MBP and…

Failure?! Yup. See, the HDD I use to backup my PS3 is formatted FAT 32, which restricts file size to 4GB or less. What’s worse, the PS3 won’t recognize a drive formatted any other way. FUCK! How the hell am I supposed to move this 30GB H.264 file from a Mac formatted HDD to my PS3?

The answer is PS3 Media Server. It’s a Mac app that lets your PS3 browse your Mac for playable media. At first I was worried that I’d have to always stream the media but there’s a “Copy to PS3” function.

Did it work?

Hell yeah! My film transferred to my PS3, it plays in all its HD glory.

Now I need to organize a pair of screenings this weekend (all the while praying that work doesn’t ask me to come in Saturday or Sunday). Was this worth it? I think so but I’ll confirm after the screenings.  Meanwhile, if you’re trying to do the same thing with your Mac/PS3, feel free to shoot me your questions.

October 2010 Goal Check – 11. October, 2010

Sorry for the delay in updating but I have good reason.

I locked picture on my film. I submitted it to Sundance. It took a ton of work (look for a future post detailing all the grizzly details) but for right now I’m basking in the glory of being done.

No, not really. I’m looking for sound designer/sound editor and a colorist for my film. I’m looking for the next film festival submission. I’m looking to build a proper website for the film. In short, I’m looking to wrap this sucker up… and then move on to the next project, which should a new feature script, a web series, a pitch, all that stuff I wrote about before.

Rat race?

Hamster wheel?


Posted in Last Night

Seeking Awesome Festivals for LAST NIGHT – 15. September, 2010

As I’m slamming through post so I have something decent to hand in for the Sundance submission deadline, I realize it’s been ages since I’ve submitted a film to festivals. I’m out of the loop. I don’t know what are the new make-or-break festivals out there. Right now I’m planning on submitting to…

  • Sundance – I really liked the addition of the NEXT category.
  • Slamdance – I feel like they really champion smaller films, plus my friend won their big award last year.
  • SXSW – The community seems to get behind smaller, more intimate indies.
  • The Berlinale – Everyone that’s gone RAVES about this fest.
  • Cannes – THE European festival to sell your film.
  • LAFF – A great hometown platform for interesting films.
  • Toronto – Films are still selling at this festival.

What other fests should I apply to? Please let me know in the comments section of my blog. Also, leave a reason why.

Locked Picture on LAST NIGHT – 7. September, 2010

For all intensive purposes, I think I just locked picture on my film. I might just make the Sundance deadline after all.

Anyway, after coming to that realization I took a moment to celebrate by having a cold iced tea and listening to Joe Jackson. That’s when I heard one of his songs and… well, I think it’s important for you to know that I first heard it as this cover.

Suddenly I heard a ticking in my head and the BMP was set to speed metal.


Time to get back to work on this sucker.

Filmmaking Isn’t A Job (But It Sure Can Feel Like One) – 2. September, 2010

The other day my friend Abby posted Ted Hope‘s article “The Hard Truth: Filmmaking Is Not A Job” to her Facebook. She asked friends to respond so here I am. Allow me to address what I feel are the major points of Ted’s article.

First, he says we should live to work, not work to live but unfortunately that’s not the case and it’s because we fail to realize the first part of that statement. That’s 100% spot on (you do know happiness is a choice, right?).  Still, filmmaking is gonna feel like a job.  It’s gonna grind you down, no doubt, so I really hope what you’re making is worth it.

Second, he says we should use our labor to deliver the culture we want. I think that’s the answer. Are you sick of movies about transforming mutants bent on destroying America? Then donate your labor to a work that you feel is worthy of sharing with others. S**t, that’s the only way I was able to make my feature.

… right here I want to rant for another three pages but my editor stopped working on my film so it’s off to the salt mines for me.

Posted in Industry

September 2010 Goal Check – 1. September, 2010

What the hell happened?

I went off the rails… way off.

Goals went out the door.

Everything just crumbled.

I’ll try my damnedest to get back on top of things. This blog is one of the few daily activities that holds me accountable to myself. Actually, I think it’s the only life preserver I may have in this ocean of nothingness.


First priority: my film. My editor dropped out. He was just too busy so it’s back in my hands. I have just under 20 days until the Sundance deadline. I wish I could quit my jobs for a month, hole up in a room far away from the world and just edit but that ain’t gonna happen. It’s gonna be hours of editing after 10-14 hour days on jobs that grind away at my soul. Anyone got any good tips for staying awake and focused for 20 days straight? Or how about a quick and easy method for burning the world around me to the ground?

Jesus! That! That’s the kind of s**t that’s been swimming through my head. I blame Europe. Europe was awesome. Too awesome. I came back and saw my life for what it is.

Ack, there it is again!

Okay, enough. I’m gonna stop writing because I’m sounding like my 17 year-old self (he thought THE STRANGER was the first work that really spoke to him). Anyway, I gotta run to the post office while resisting the urge to go postal and then it’s off to work where I get to sit in a dark room resisting actual darkness.

Who am I?

(For Ted: at least I didn’t say that while staring at myself in the bathroom mirror.)

(For Everyone Else: If you’re ever watching a movie and someone says “who am I?” while staring at themselves in the bathroom mirror you know you’re watching a real piece of s**t. Also, apparently I still have a sense of humor. That’s something, right?)

Posted in Last Night

Seeking Great Film Websites – 21. July, 2010

Today I met with a good friend and web designer. We ate, we caught up, we talked about my web needs. What web needs you say?

  1. I have a site, my professional site, and it could use a redesign.
  2. I’d like to tie the design of this blog to that of my site. Let’s call it a new coat of paint.
  3. Finally, I need a website for my film. That’s a “from the ground up” job.

If she can do this, great.  If not, she can point me towards competent folk.  This is exciting. I love getting the creative juices going.

So now I have to develop a creative brief, an “information architecture“, and show some samples of what I’m looking for. I really like the sites for Psyop, Hammer & Tongs, Hillman Curtis and Ruben Fleischer. They all employ a clean and logical design but still retain the spirit of their respective artists. I also like the ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS site if only because it has just about everything a film like mine might need in a site w/o a lot of clutter.

Which brings us to the interactive portion of this post. What are some well designed sites you like? They don’t have to be film sites, just a site that really works.

Posted in Off-Topic

The Brutal Old West PS3 Style – 5. April, 2010

Okay, okay, okay… this looks pretty f**king cool.

Now before you start asking “when the hell did this turn into a video game blog” I should mention a few things. First, the PS3 is my first game system since the original NES so I’m going through my “infatuation” stage. Second, I’m writing like crazy but can’t really share what I’m writing so there isn’t much to blog abut there. Third, I’ve been working so many hours at both my jobs, on my freelance career, my feature, my web series and my writing that the blogging has taken a bit of a back seat. I’m sorry about that. I’m struggling to get ahead of the curve and feel like I’m failing but I think that’s what struggle is supposed to feel like.

Enough bitchin’. Back to work.

Posted in Off-Topic