Friday, January 26, 2007

Editing REPERKUSSIONZ reveals that it will have almost no "filmmaking technique". The live-action scenes were shot three or more times each, as identically as possible, from three or more different angles. Cutting between them creates a 3-camera sitcom feel. The action sequences, of which there are quite a few, are cut to the beat of the score, which make them resemble rock videos or theme song intros. For better or worse, REPERKUSSIONZ will be distinctive.

I applied for a grant to help complete REPERKUSSIONZ a year or so ago. A positive response seemed distantly possible. People get money for the damndest "art projects" all the time. The grant form was simple, not the usual three-inch tall stack of papers. After a couple of months, I got a response.

►Reperkussionz◄ was respectfully declined because my project was said to be "a regurgitation of oddly-combined visual concepts from Saturday morning cartoons and lowbrow science fiction movies, with no serious message" and I'm like, "Well, duh". Probably I should have submitted a different written description, detailing the intent to ironically use well-worn pop-culture symbols to cleverly attack, from the viewpoint of an HIV-positive trans-gendered polar bear, the genocidal genital mutilators of East Brunswick. Then, once I got the money, I'd say "Fork off, ya pretentious bastids" and I'd go buy some sweet rilms for my Chevette. I mean, finish REPERKUSSIONZ.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's coming to get you, Barbera.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

...and we were talking about the stars of REPERKUSSIONZ. They are MADMAN PONDO and DESIREE FERRARI. Click the names to go to their MySpace pages and become their total BFFs. There is another actor in REPERKUSSIONZ named RAW TALENT, a wrestler who plays the non-speaking TOOL. All his scenes were shot in a couple of hours because he had to get to work the one day he was available. Almost all his screen time is composited over other stuff filmed on other days. Although all three actors have been very nice about it, I am confident that, out of my earshot, they are of the belief REPERKUSSIONZ will never be finished. At least they were nice about it last time I spoke to any of them, which was, like, forever ago. Maybe they read this blog, I dunno.

About the "filming" of REPERKUSSIONZ. I don't think I've said much here about the live-action shoot. The camera was a Panasonic DVX100, and shots were captured at 24PA. That stands for 24 frames per second, Progressive, Advanced. It's a technical thing! The DVX100 is great. Editing is done in Sony's VEGAS, which is simply the best NLE for the PC. It kicks PREMIERE to the curb. Creatures and sets are made in LIGHTWAVE. For character animation, it doesn't quite offer the power of XSI and MAYA, but for the speed with which good-looking scenes can be completed, LIGHTWAVE beats everything else. 3D tracking and compositing is done with a huge boring pile of programs. AFTER EFFECTS is the post-processing workhorse. AE is unpleasant to use, but it's the only affordable option. The shoot was done in two- to four-hour sessions scattered over a period of three weeks. Added up, it came to about 30 hours of work each for Pondo and Desiree, both of whom were patient and gracious as I regularly fell backwards over cords and tables while shooting in the converted garage.

This is the last time I ever shoot greenscreen in standard definition DV. For some shots, the required matte tweaking is so extensive it may as well be 100% hand-roto. I want to grab the DV footage and manually kill it. Ah well, I knew about that going in. There weren't any hi-def cameras sitting around when I grabbed the DVX100 and ran out the back door. On the plus side, I got the original box and intruction manual and everything.

Sound was captured with two Sony UWPS1 UHF wireless lavs, feeding a very cantankerous minidisc recorder, which I will never use again in production. Next time I do something like this I'll lug a PC to the set and record audio straight to hard drive. The majestic REPERKUSSIONZ soundtrack score is being composed with SONAR 2.2. That's a very old version of SONAR. I hated what Cakewalk did to the interface with SONAR 3 and beyond, so I stick with 2.2, which works very well.

Lighting was done with halogen utility lights, safety screen removed to get rid of that nasty shadow. I found a very effective chroma key paint at LOWE'S. It bears the brand. It's called REPTAR GREEN. It's a slimy day-glo green that keys out better than any other paint I tried.

When I decided to do REPERKUSSIONZ way back when, I sought out other projects created similarly on a small budget. I wanted to see how well a cheap epic could be done. The only low-rent virtual set movie I found at the time was DESPISER, which most likely had a much larger budget than REPERKUSSIONZ. It was the proof I needed. Shooting a microbudget greenscreen project was possible, and lots of people were gearing up for that very thing. Since then, many more small-time Lucas/Rodriguezes have appeared, such as the makers of the STAR WARS fan film REVELATIONS. Oddly, that fan project, which is prohibited from turning a profit and is distributed free on the web, had a much higher budget than most profit-seeking microbudget features.

About the aforementioned DESPISER: I won't do a film review here, but the soul-eating Troll Doll is very entertaining.

Why the odd spelling of REPERKUSSIONZ? I honestly have no idea.

The distribution of REPERKUSSIONZ is a big question mark at the moment. I've spoken with a few distributors. I'm told, to be considered for distribution, I need to have lots of titzengore in the movie. That's not quite what this project is about. The advances offered are insulting. That may change when I have more to show.

The first teezer-trailer from REPERKUSSIONZ will detonate in your midst before you know it!

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

This is a flying saucer, one of the thousands of spaceships that clutter the skies of REPERKUSSIONZ.

I don't remember what year it was, 2005 or 2006, but this particular ship from REPERKUSSIONZ was loaned out to another proud work of microbudget cinema. This saucer is never seen up close in REPERKUSSIONZ, .but it stars prominently in two scenes from VAMPIRE WHORES. The producer emailed me and said "why don't you do a spaceship for my movie" and I said "Yeah, what the fudka, I got a bunch already made and stuff" and I animated a couple of sceens in an hour and a half. I have not seen VAMPIRE WHORES because I forgot about it until just now, and I may not get around to watching it, but word in certain critical circles is that it ranks alongside SCHINDLER'S LIST and TITANIC in terms of pure super-excellent majesty. Having seen neither of those films, I cannot judge the accuracy of that claim.

This playground equipment can hurt you.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Dave Redl independently produces FAMILY PANTS. The cartoon is funny and well-done, and there's a section of his FAMILY PANTS journal that details the nutzen bolts of banging your head against the wall at home alone in the quest to make entertaining moving imagery.

An article that spoke directly to me is:
Production Notes and Anecdotes 2
"Simplify, Simplify and Simplify!

I should have approached REPERKUSSIONZ with this philosophy from the beginning, instead of designing impossibly ambitious sequences that need to be streamlined and streamlined, then streamlined again to fit within the capabilities of one guy working in spare time with a modest render farm. It seems I would know better, having produced animation full-time since 1998. REPERKUSSIONZ will be a thing of blinding wonder, of course - just a bit more sub-dood than originally intended. Redl speaks of 2D FLASH, while I work in 3D, but the idea is the same: Don't bury your independent project in massive complexity that would require an expensive crew and/or years to complete. Duh!

Redl's site:

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