A movie a quarter.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 by revduke67

There are a lot of little things on the web that are based around a thing and a time period: album-a-day,  a novel in a month, etc.  One day, while hyped up on coffee, I came up with the brilliant idea:  what about a movie a quarter?

One month of pre-production.  Writing, scouting, casting, etc.

One month of shooting.

One month of post-production. Editing, reshoots, etc.

Seems like a nice, tight schedule to build up my work and force me into deadlines, but not as restrictive as the 48 Hour Film Project.

Well, it’s already a week into the new year and I’m not sure about ideas.  I just think I need to relax and do some freewriting to get some stuff out and come up with something. 

Lisa, Tomy, Beth and James are all chomping at the bit to get moving.  I just got a great book called “Master Shots” that makes me want to play with some test footage.  I am seriously considering buying a Canon HV20 for its 24p cinemode. 

Watch this space.

Kitbashing and Scratchbuilding

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by revduke67

Hi!  I know it’s been a while, but since my laptop screen was damaged a few months ago and I sold my own camcorder for a Telecaster, I haven’t had much to report.

Right now, though, I’ve had a few great ideas that I want to get to work on.  Both of them are Sci Fi stories, one a fairly straight ahead “six people on a spaceship meeting weirdos” thing a la Star Trek and Firefly, and the other is a wild and crazy Republic Serials-inspired “Nazi Moon Men” serial. 

The former’s concept has led me to the world of building ships from scratch, or modifying models or household items to look like spaceships.  For years, especially since seeing “SP FX:  The Empire Strikes Back” on CBS back in 1980, I’ve been fascinated by this world, and never knew it had a name: kitbashing.  Some call it Scratchbuilding, but that’s primarily for people who, oddly enough, build stuff from scratch using model kits, etc.

Yes, I know this is 2008.  I have Blender 3d and AnimeStudio on my laptop.  However, like using the manual typewriter and microcassette recorder, there’s something reassuring about holding the actual thing in your hands and turning it over.

Hopefully, in the future I can put up some experiments in this form.  Thanks to the people at Rebel Cafe, I’ve found the right terms, and even the right searches on eBay to use.  Links to sites that have been helpful to me so far are below.

“SP FX: Empire Strikes Back” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbK_8NMOy3U

Shipbuilding on Rebel Cafe’: http://rebelsguide.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1455&postdays=0&postorder=asc

LyzardStomp’s informative series: http://www.lyzrdstomp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=216&Itemid=86

Lyzrdstomp’s forum on Kitbashing:  http://www.lyzrdstomp.com/lyzrdforum/index.php?board=6.0

Cars, Clothes and Drugs

Posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2008 by revduke67

This was supposed to be a review of the Amo Joy/Derek Lambert/Beati Paoli show last Thursday at the Haunted Basement, however I didn’t end up seeing that show, because I had to go to work.

In its place, some facts that may be interesting to the people at that show:

–Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo was released in 1984.

–Ozone was played by Shabba-Doo and Turbo was played by Boogaloo Shrimp.

–The breakdancing on the walls and ceiling scene used the same ‘rotating room’ as the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie.

–This film might set a record for the shortest time between sequels-less than a year.

…If this is some sort of underground trend for bands playing the H.B., I’m finding a VHS copy of Xanadu, and you people will know the REAL meaning of pain!


The Late News-After Action Report

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 1, 2008 by revduke67

It’s been two weeks since my last post.

Instead of talking about it, I went and made a movie.

Let me back up.  About a week ago I was talking to Jeanette on YM, and she mentioned that George Romero had a contest on MySpace for “Diary of the Dead”.  I went to the site, http://www.myspace.com/diaryofthedead, and saw that they were looking for short films under 3 minutes to put on the “Diary of the Dead” DVD.

I contacted my usual crew: Mandie, Mike and Lisa.  Talked to Papersniffer about documenting the shoot.   Called my friend James to bring the Airsoft armoury and some gear.

I knew that with the short time limit, the story would have to be fast and furious.  The first thing I thought of was a news report on Z-Day.  I knew my friend Lyra would be great for a haughty journalist.  Lisa had messaged me about playing a zombie that would come back and kill Mandie for killing her in “Brutality”, and that sounded like a good ending.

I wrote the screenplay Weds, and had a meeting with James to knock out some storyboards and do a prop check.  Saturday, Papersniffer and I went out and “pre-enacted” the whole movie, shot by shot.  Sunday, everyone got together for the shoot at about 3pm.

I WAYYY underestimated how long Tomy and Beth would take to do make-up.  We didn’t get started shooting into shortly after dark.  The area we wanted to shoot had melted into a lake in the middle of the alley (a proposed panoramic shot of zombies in Union Park was cut because a. I didn’t get nearly the response to my Zombie call I wanted  and 2. I felt James would attract less attention carrying a CAR15/m4 in an alley than in the park.).  Then someone got mad our zombies were in their back yard.  Things were falling apart.  We finished up and went home.

The rest of the shoot went fairly smooth.  I think I rushed things too much; I was worried that we ran so late.  I couldn’t get Lisa to hit Beth (my replacement for an absent Lyra) or Mandie so that it would translate on screen.  I hoped that editing and sound effects would make up for it.

I should mention that this was my first shoot with actual CRAFT SERVICE, courtesy of Papersniffer. 🙂

I ached all over my body during post-production; not sure if it was stress or a cold.

The movie ended up pretty good, and I learned a lot about doing things by myself.  In the future, I will plan ahead more.  Instead of more shorts, I will work with Papersniffer to visualize shots and VFX, so I can experiment with them ahead of time so it’s not a big deal when they come up in a movie.

I am sketching out a “Wild Kids on the Run” exploitation flick to shoot out by FatDave’s this summer.  Not much to say except Mandie, Jolene, and Lisa on the run, with James’s soulless bounty hunter in hot pursuit.


Screenwriting class is almost over.  This week I’m supposed to bring in a couple of loglines to flesh out in class.  I’m bringing “Mars Murder Mystery” and “Hail to the Thief”.  We’ll see how he likes those.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 15, 2008 by revduke67

I really need to shoot some more stuff to work on my Directing and Editing skills, as well as writing some new stuff.  The Rockets and Rayguns stuff isn’t coming, so I’m thinking of going in the opposite direction.

Maybe a series of Quick and Dirty flicks I can write and shoot in a weekend and have up on YouTube for instant feedback.

I was thinking the other day about “What is the seedy underbelly of Des Moines”?  Which is kind of funny when you think about it.  The only thing that kept coming up was Crystal Meth.  So now I plan on hitting up friends and others about their gritty meth stories that I can exaggerate into a harrowing tale a la “Reefer Madness”.

More on this as it develops.

Coming back to life.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 11, 2008 by revduke67

After thinking about it and reading about it for a while, I’ve finally taken some baby steps back into the world of filmmaking. I’ve started a regimen of 3 pages a day, and on Saturday  Papersniffer stopped by with Greenscreen material.

We shot some stuff against the Greenscreen, but after we were done found out we have a lot to learn about lighting. Only so much of the ‘screen’ would be transparent at a time. A little frustrating, but I will work it out.

Also spent the weekend watching Chan-Wook Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy”, actually the two movies I hadn’t seen: “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” and “Lady Vengeance”. Mr. Park’s work is so beautiful and brutal, I can’t help but be influenced by it.

One thing I love about his work, in additon to his brilliant use of long shots and close-ups, beautiful scenery, and razor shap dialogue, is his sublime use of cgi. Like Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted), he uses cgi as a tool, a means to an end, not just a toy to show off, like Michael Bay would.

Also saw my “cross town rival” Andrew while I was out Friday night. We talked for a while about our projects and our mutual admiration for Andrew Kramer’s http://www.videocopilot.net . Knowing that we are at about the same level really fires me up. We have our own relative strengths, and everyone says we will collaborate eventually, but for now I’m happy working on my own.

All in all, it feels good to do “something”.

I’m thinking my next move is writing some shorts to explore different techniques and just to write. I know I’ve been telling people about the Rockets and Rayguns thing, but this may be first. I need to get my chops together and the only way to do it is to make more movies, not just wait around until another competition comes along to fire me up with a deadline.

Lovely weather we’re having…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2008 by revduke67

Well, looks like my Art of Screenwriting class may be cancelled again tonight, this time on account of weather.

I’ve also found that this will be a good repository for influential film clips and musings on special effects and digital animation, instead of mailing them to friends who get easily annoyed over such things, or posting them on LJ or in the Panchira Pictures blog, where it may lead to unrealistic expectations.