Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Head, it HURTS

I think I just had my first migraine last night. It might have just been a bad headache but it went from annoying to fucking hurting pretty fast and lasted a long time despite pain relievers and booze and I was feeling nauseous before taking any of the latter too. I ended up going to bed early and sleeping until 9am this morning and I must say, I'm feeling better now, which is good, because I was missing Left 4 Dead time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Increasing Signs of Distress Upon a Soul

Does anyone else feel like the holidays are bearing down upon them at a breakneck speed and that you have too much to do and too little damn time to do it, even though you have time enough to write a blog post about it? Me too. It's the fucking what, seventeenth and I'm not sure I have everything done I need to have done and Santa Chud is looking at me for clothes and eyes and teeth and there are presents that are sitting unwrapped in a bag on the floor. I need more time, I keep thinking to myself, but then I find myself out of control and I can't make use of the time I have. I'll be happy to have Christmas Day arrive and be up looking at my daughter smile at me even though her diaper is wet and it's six in the morning. Then I'll be able to relax at the finish line. Keep me in your heart for awhile.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rain Go Away

Man, fuck the rain. Actually, fuck the drivers who slam on their brakes at the slightest hint of a drizzle. A downpour I could understand and get behind, but when it's just grey out and then the drops start to hit at a slightly regular pattern, just drive or get out of my way. I hate people.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Not much to report but I wish everyone a good turkey day. Eat lots and drink lots and of course, be responsible before going into a food coma. I'm set here, though I could use a nap and have to give Cassie a bath when she wakes up. I'm almost done with the new book. Well, almost done with the word count for Nanowrimo at any rate. I think I might actually go 2k over, but that won't be for the contest, I think, as I'm running out of time. And here I thought I'd be short. Turns out that that last 10k goes pretty damn fast. I have under a thousand words left for the contest and probably a few more after that to wrap it up, as somehow I added a Lovecraftian plot twist to the story and have to deal with the fallout of that and the severing of a statue's head. I hope it turns out well. Then it's time for Left 4 Dead.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Sweet Jesus, this may be the best video game ever. You're fighting zombies and trying to get out of the city alive. You have tons of ammo, but these fuckers are fast and come in all sorts of varieties to kill you. If you turned the Resident Evil games into an FPS and made it squad based, this is what you would get. Thrills, chills and a fuckton of awesome. Play this game. Seriously.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nanowrimo Fun

As I hit 14,000 words today, I breathed a sigh of relief. That's a ton of fucking writing to do in 7 days. It's very rewarding though. That's a great start to a book and it's pretty cool being able to keep such a rigid deadline when free time is at a minimum thanks to other obligations like working and playing with my beautiful baby girl. When she goes to sleep though, it's time to rock out the keyboard and add some to my google document. Hopefully I'll have it done by the time the deadline rolls around.

For the Nanowrimo novices out there, or even veterans looking for a hint or two, I would like to offer a few tips. I know it's presumptuous of me since I've only done it three times, so far out of which I've only finished once. Still, with one success, I can tell you what works for me and other people. In this case, it's how to get to the allotted words a day.

If you divide it down, you're looking at 1600 odd words a day, closer to 1700 really. That's not a ton, but it can be tough at times, especially as the hours of the waking day ebb. Some people like to sprint to this total. How, you ask? They write for several ten minute increments during the day. This cuts down on distraction and allows you to focus soley on the writing for this brief amount of time. It seems to work for a lot of people and if you have the ability and time to do so, it works well. I use this a bit during lunches, since I can crack out two intervals after eating quickly.

Usually, I just sit in front of the monitor and write until it's done. The downside of this is that there's not real rush unless I have a self-imposed time limit like bedtime or the baby waking up. That gives me time to slack, in which I'm usually not productive. However, I've gotten used to putting on Monsters HD and just letting things play in the background and type away and the words get done quickly. I did 4k today by doing that. It went by rather fast, I must say, and I still had time to read comics.

Another thing I do to help is actually write more than the 1700 words. I settled on 2000 as a nice and round number. This may seem like a no brainer, as if you're on a tear, why stop when you have so much in you? If you can write 2000 or more in a day, go for it. I do it because I know there are days when I won't be able to write at all, and instead of doing 10,000 words in a day (Thanksgiving 2007 I'm looking at you), this gives me the ability to take a day off without feeling like I'm slacking. If something arises, it gives you a security blanket. It also means that if you hit 50k early and you're still not done, you can still write more and possibly put an end to your opus in time, since come December, you may be burnt out.

That's all for now. I'm hoping to post the first chapter up here so ya'll can get a read of what I'm working on. I've read that a lot of people blog their chapters every day, but I'm not a fan of that. I'm too insecure, I reckon, and it also leaves you open to plagiarism. Regardless of what copyright you may have by posting it, it's easier to wait until you have it safely in book form or fully copyrighted, since proving that said rip-off artist actually visited your site may be difficult if you don't have proper tracking in place. Still, one chapter usually doesn't hurt and most people read it for free in the bookstore anyway, so what the hell. I'll see if I can post it this weekend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nanowrimo

One day down. Probably come back and write more too, as I'll need to get ahead. Google Docs is working about as well as I could ask now. I like it. I might add this to the side of the page, but probably I'll just keep repasting in the code because I don't feel like changing it later.

Kickoff

Welcome to November. I hope you all survived Halloween, the last gasp of October and sanity for the hell-ride about to come. What am I talking about? I wish I knew as I listen to my baby babble instead of go down for her nap. I knew I should have let her sleep on me while Night of the Demons was on. In any case, this marks the first day of Nanowrimo, and instead of being productive, I'm making blog posts that don't count at all. I'm going to use Google Docs this time around, I think. It allows me more access to the file wherever I go and I don't need to worry about multiple copies or a USB key like I did last year. This book's title? Well, it's the one I was going to do for the Nanowrimo in 2006--The Man Eating Women of the Isle of Why. I'd tell you more but it would spoil the content.

Instead, here's a new Top 5. It's a tough one to decide, since it's a favorite topic of mine and a lot of people would populate the list with the usual standbys. Here goes.

Top 5 Slasher Movies:

1. Halloween: This is probably one of the best, if not the best out there. For the same reasons I've outlined in the Halloween post earlier, it's a classic. Great villian, great death scenes and a ton of suspense and memorable characters. They feel fleshed out and you actually care a little when they die. Michael Myers is remorseless and implacable and goes about his business with a executioner's grace. It's one of my favorite films and a fantastic slasher movie.

2. Black Christmas: This is the original movie. Not the shitty remake. This film by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story) will terrify the hell out of you and make you fear the phone when you're alone in the house. The plot is simple. It's Christmastime and a sorority is getting ready for break. They're also getting disturbing phone calls and ending up dead via an unknown killer who has taken up residence in their attic. Olivia Hussey is sublime as one of the tormented girls and you can see a young Margot Kidder as a slutty sister, as well as the fantastic John Saxon. Perfect for the holidays and it's one of my seasonal films.

3. The Burning: This is a new one for me though it's an older film. I discovered it a few weeks ago and I've taken a great liking to it, and to a lesser extent, Madman, which is based on the same legend. It's a killer stalks the kids at camp tale, but came out around the same time as F13, so it's not really a ripoff and does it in a different manner. Kropsy doesn't give a shit if you're horny or innocent. He'll chop you the fuck up either way. It takes a lot of build-up to get to the killing, but when it happens, it doesn't relent until the memorable ending shot. It was on last night but my parents don't get IFC so I watched Degrassi of the Dead instead, which, incidentally, was a better and more loving homage to the original Dawn of the Dead than the actual remake.

4. Phenomena: No, not the John Travolta movie. This flick features Jennifer Connelly in the Alps at a private school. Her father is famous and she's a bit of an outsider and there's some killings going on that are perpetrated by a gloved assailant. That's ok, because Jennifer can control bugs and Donald Pleasence is around to help her with his pet monkey. That's right, a monkey. Probably more of a giallo than slasher, it's got all the trappings and some beautiful cinematography as well. Argento did a great job on this one. There's a few twists and turns and enough to keep you guessing all the way until the wtf ending.

5. Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Why not the original? I like this one better. I think it did more than just take a nod from Phantasm and played with the idea of your own body being possessed and controlled by a malevolent force to a new level. Freddy torments the poor boy and kills those who get in his path. I enjoyed this more, if not just for Freddy tearing his own head open to show his brain to Jesse. It was fun and inventive and probably on of the last times we saw a truly evil Freddy, instead of a wisecracking jokester who happens to murder people.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, Everybody! (This message has been brought to you by Silver Shamrock Masks.)

It's that time of year, the day that kicks off a month-long celebration for me as we enter into November, the month of my birth. And what a day to do it with. The day of the dead. The feast of Samhain. The day to dress up and scare the crap out of people under the pretext of getting candy for free. Not a bad racket.

In honor of the day I'll be taking my daughter our for her first trick-or-treating, I've composed a special top 5.

Top 5 Movies to Watch on Halloween:

1. Halloween: Nuff said here. It's a classic and sets the mood perfectly and Michael Myers makes an awesome costume. The movie is chilling and perfectly put together and I even tolerate Jamie Lee Curtis in it, as she hadn't learned to act badly in it.

2. Night of the Living Dead: Another classic in tone and craft. Zombies attack stranded travelers in a farmhouse and the world goes to hell. Perfect when you're home alone and the streets are packed with shadowy beings wandering your neighborhood.

3. The Halloween Tree: Good luck trying to find this animated gem anywhere, but it's worth tracking down. It's based on a Ray Bradbury book where several kids travel through time to save their friend's soul and learn about the holiday in the process. Touching and exciting at the same time, it's sure to please the child in you. Hopefully you can find it on tv or bootleg somewhere.

4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Great for what ails you, this flick is a terrifyingly real ride through the horrors that a group of motorists experience at the hands of a family of madmen. It's stark and brutal and particularly awesome. Leatherface is a true villain to fear and I kinda get hungry for BBQ whenever I watch it. Go figure.

5. Dawn of the Dead: I know you weren't expecting another zombie movie, but here you go. It's the original movie, full of metaphor and satire and zombies munching bodies and orange blood. It continues the breakdown of society from the original and shows the depravity of humans and what we do to each other instead of our common foe. You might as well follow this up with Day of the Dead (takes place on Halloween), Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead to be a completist. It's full of shocks and scares and although it's a little dated, you can't go wrong with it.

Maybe I'll bust out some more Top 5s for horror movies throughout the month, since everyone does it for October, it'll be a nice change and continue the fun for those who like to be scared a little longer than 31 days.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Self-Publishing

I have an opportunity to have my book I'm currently editing published for free. I'd get a copy and it would be available on Amazon.com. When I've looked into the publishing before, it seems to be looked upon with scorn by the majority of the writing world, called, for the most part "vanity publishing". You see, true self-publishing is done by your own printing press or a small press or by carving it into stone, apparently. This is odd to me and seems to be solely a preconception of in the realm of literature. If you're not getting paid to do it or have a real book deal, you're not an official author, despite the fact your book has an ISBN and can be ordered through most stores. We don't really see that in other walks, at least not that I can think of.

In the music industry, if you pay to put together your own cd and put it out, it's all the more power for you. I have many friends who have done that and they're playing the game and making some cash and maybe they won't be signed, but they're trying to make it honest.

In the art game, you pretty much pay for all of your stuff yourself, from canvas to paints and then have to find a gallery to sell your stuff or you can do it yourself. Nobody seems to frown upon that. In fact, along with music, people pride themselves on discovering new talent.

In movies, you might find something similar with the divide between video and film, but that's more like the divide between novella and novel if anything. People who take on the initiative to do it themselves and not rely on a studio to help them out are pioneers and rebels. They're keeping their art true to themselves. Sure, they're taking a hit on budget which may affect the overall outcome, but they're doing it. Without this initiative, we wouldn't have classics like Night of the Living Dead or the huge moneymaker Blair Witch Project. People admire what the creators of these films have done.

Books, however, get a bad rap. You're either part of the machine or you're not worth reading. I'm still going to do it, as I think it's a good book and for the price, I can put they money I save towards an agent or more stuff for the baby and my wife. You know, something respectable. I don't see anything wrong with it at all. Is there a lot of crap out there that's self-published? Yeah, there is, but you know what? There's a lot of crap out there by established authors from the big publishers too you won't catch me reading either. When it comes out, however, I hope you read mine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ginkers: The Ginkening

Sunday we had another shoot and it went very well. Our subject was very receptive to being filmed and quite relaxed, which made for a good shoot as Rob elicited great anecdotes from her as Matt and I sat back and watched. It's one of the last shoots we're going to do as we wrap up the film and it has been a hell of a fun ride. Between the people I've met and the stories I've heard, I'm going to be sad to see it end. Of course I'll see them all again on the computer as we edit them, but there's something so personal about filming the documentary that it's hard to shake the thrill of peeking into a bit of someone's history. I also got to use my steadicam, which was a thrill. It worked well from what I could see. I can't wait to check the footage more, as I was walking backwards and that's tough to do normally, much less when you're walking through the woods and trying to avoid branches, trees and elves. We have another shoot coming up at the end of the month. More on it then.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Madman

Yep, that's what people call me. Madman. Ok, so they don't really call me that. They do, however, call the title character of the movie Madman that. Madman Marz to be specific. It's another entry from 1982 in the camp slasher movie genre that was left in the wake of F13's success. It, like The Burning, is also allegedly based on the campfire tale about Cropsy the maniac, who would kill campers and counselors. In this film, he does so only after people yell out his name in the woods by his house. Then it is game on.

It's a mediocre film highlighted only by some decent gore and the always great Gaylen Ross (Dawn of the Dead). Madman Marz isn't particularly scary as he looks more like a retarded Ugnaut that a menacing foe and he acts the same. In the flashbacks he's methodical and in reality he runs around like said Ugnaut, practically skipping from his house. The counselors get knocked off in a variety of ways, all starting because one camper saw Madman Marz hanging out in a tree and decided to follow him. The counselors go looking for said kid, alone, and one by one get picked off. Nobody listens to poor Gaylen, who said she saw some huge figure lurking about and they go off to look for the missing people and die along the way. You would think that after three people go off and don't come back, you'd either send a search party or call the cops. They do neither.

I do like the end and beginning titles as they have a cool red and black tree background and minimalist electronic theme song. If you're a slasher completist, it's worth checking out, but if you're looking for a good scare, I'd watch the Burning or another superior film.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Long Live the New Flesh

Man, I love Videodrome. I just watched it again for the first time in about 12 years and I have to say, I'm still in love with it and it is still relevant. Who could have thought that our television would amount to the S&M violent pleasures that Cronenberg imagined. Life imitating art, I reckon. James Woods is scrawny and taut and Debbie Harry is sexy and naked and the whole thing is a crazy and fun ride through hallucination and imagined reality that shows up in Cronenberg's later Existenz. It's dated, for sure, but stations still use the tapes to broadcast so you never know when a tech might try to insert one into the vagina-like cavity in your chest to control you. I live with that fear every day. Well worth checking out for James Woods' gun hand alone.

In the Name of the King, on the other hand is pure trash. It's Uwe Boll's newest film and he has successfully raped a franchise of video games and managed to cast the film with some top level stars somehow. It's not terrible at first, but it slowly winds its way into stupidity and after and hour and fifteen minutes, I found out I still had almost another hour to go and punched out. Avoid it. It's a shame, because I love Jason Statham and a lot of the other actors, but I just can't do this to myself anymore.

Death to Uwe Boll. Long live good movies.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Burning

No, it's not a movie about a urinary tract infection, but instead a fun little slasher gem from 1981. Cropsy was a dick of a caretaker and some campers played a trick on him that went awry, burning him horribly. Five years later he's out of the hospital and looking for revenge and he sets his sights on a summer camp in the area and picks up a pair of garden shears to chop his way to a peaceful mind. In the meantime, we meet some of the campers and learn their life stories while they try to get in each other's pants. We also see quite a few familiar faces. This movie was a starter for the careers of Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter and you can see them in all their youthful glory as they try not to get murdered.

It's fairly tensely plotted and doesn't get too stupid, making it a breath of fresh air from the killer at a summer camp movies that seemed to crawl out of the woodwork after Friday the 13th made it vogue. The acting is well done and Tom Savini does a bang up job on the special effects and you get some great cinematography and scares out of the whole thing. A worth addition to a Halloween movie list. Check it out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

NHL 2k9 Part Two

I have an update on the NHL 2k9 situation. On a lark, I ordered the Wii Component cables to see if they would make a difference. I also got an HDMI cable for my camera but that is neither here nor anywhere. Once I connected the Wii cable, the game showed a marked improvement in graphics. I'm talking exponential. It used to look like old high school football tapes on cable access and now it actually looks up to snuff from overhead. The faces still aren't great but that's programming and not something a cable will fix. I'm much happier with the game now. Of course, now I've found a bug where sometimes my control stick will get messed up and I have to unplug it or only skate in one direction. Usually happens on a scoring drive. It's worth about 30 bucks now, so if you see it for that much and want hockey on the Wii, it's not terrible, but they can improve it greatly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NHL 2k9 - The Freezening

I love me some hockey. I'll make no bones about it. It's fun to watch and it's fun to play, both in real life and on the video game system of choice. Since 2003, I've been a fan of 2kSports and their line of NHL games. They have quite a bit of realism plus a difficulty level that you actually have to work to beat, instead of blowing out the other team like crazy. When they stopped making games for the Gamecube, I followed them onto the Playstation 2, where people complained about them but they still put out a fine game. Now I've followed them onto the Wii, and it's a whole new ballgame.

To be blunt, 2k9 feels like it was rushed. A lot. The graphics are worse that its predecessors on both the Cube and the PS2, which takes some doing. They're muddy, blurry and don't look finished at all. I've got an HD cable in the mail which might help with that, but all my other games look golden without it so I've got a feeling it won't do much. The menus are pretty bland and bad and you lack the options that were available even a year ago on the PS2. So no challenges for you or actually determining how long a franchise you want to play. Fantastic.

The controls are quite good, though could use some improvement, but work well for the first year being implemented. The music selection is A+ too. All in all, it's an alright budget title but there's a freezing problem that might even prevent you from that. It just happened to me after stomping the Thrashers. I was annoyed. Also, there's some cool fucking replays you can do on the 3 stars but it's showed up once for me. I'd like to know how to rock that out more, because it actually shines in a pretty troubled game. Rent it if you want, buy it only if you need to.

Productivity Alert

True to my word, I've been busy. I'm almost done editing the Charnel Engine, I finished off painting the Power Girl figure I've been working on, I've uploaded videos of Cassie and I've cleaned out the shed. Not bad for a weekend's work. Tonight I'm working on a freelance job though I'm just about done with the work for tonight. Then it's wake Cassie up and bathe her and put her to bed and rock out time. I'm pretty tired but I'll cook myself some dinner and then go from there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thinking thinking thinking thinking

I was watching Entourage tonight while drinking the finest Jim Beam my liquor cabinet has to offer and when it came to the part about selling the script, I wondered, why the fuck haven't I finished a sellable script yet. I mean, I've finished a few and I like them, but I don't know if they have the appeal to others that aren't living in my head. Sons of an Evil Man is pretty much my tribute to vigilante violence and Jump is a fairly funny 21 Jump Street nod and then there are the zombie movies, which I would love to film myself, but I don't think I have a script I could produce to an agent and have them go crazy and sell it. Not yet, anyway.

You see, I have a long commute, and most dangerously of all, it gives me time to think. It may be the bourbon talking, but I think I have an academy award nominated script in me. At the very least it'll make you cry because it's doing funny things to your heart strings. Just give me some time. I have the outline and it could even be a hell of a marketing tool too. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sunshine Lies

It's been a few years, but the wait was worth it for the new Matthew Sweet album. Less if you count the duets album with Susanna Hoffs. But it's here and I have it, a little late, but that's because I ordered it later on from Amazon. I'm loving it. It's no surprise, since he's my favorite artist, but I'm particularly happy with this release, which seems a much stronger effort than Living Things.

The sound is pure Matthew Sweet all over the place, hearkening back to Altered Beast with some songs and then jumping ahead to In Reverse with others and then dropping back further to some good old fashioned Girlfriend with a few other albums mixed in for good measure. And it's a good sound that also begs comparison to artists such as Dylan and Young. The rock songs make you rock out and the ballads are moving with a lyrical intensity lost on a lot of artists today. If you're looking for an album with a radio hit and some filler, you've come to the wrong place. The album is chock full of good songs. I don't have a favorite yet but I'd be lying if I said Sunshine Lies wasn't a frontrunner, having me bust out into a full smile when I heard Hoffs singing along towards the middle. I'm looking forward to the commute tomorrow so I can sit in my time capsule and listen until I'm sick of myself.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Comcast, why hast thou forsaken me?

I have seen the light. It is a light that shines in the time of intense boredom, offering salvation to those that would embrace it. It is a light that is actually quite dark, bloody, and offers a program called "Labor Day of the Dead". Yes, this light is Monsters HD, and it is available only through Cablevision. So far.

It's a pretty fucking awesome channel that my buddy Al showed me. All horror movies, all the time. I was watching Without Warning (Jack Palance and Martin Landau--it's like someone else loved the combo in Alone in the Dark) which is about an alien that throws little bloodsucking aliens at people. He's a hunter, so the movie kinda predates Predator and features the same actor playing the alien, because he's ungodly tall. Like a giant. It was some good cheese. Then they showed Waxwork. Wax-fucking-work. It's awesome. Zach Galligan. David Warner. Deborah Foreman. Mmmm. I had a crush on her growing up. True story.

And that was only 4 hours of programming. Tomorrow they're showing three blind dead films. Three! That's 300% more than I've ever seen on. Of course I own them but who wouldn't like to be able to see them on a regular basis. I'm sure Cassie would. They're all good fun. I gotta write to Comcast about this. I need this channel like I need, well, a horror channel. Why not, they have everything else on there, so why not a good one?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Let Us Get Stupid, Alright?

Man, if you want to hear something that is painfully beautiful, please check out Jill Sobule's cover of Warren Zevon's "Don't Let Us Get Sick". I have no idea why the song moves me so, but man, it's just sheer bliss in a bottle. I was looking for the version that Madeleine Martin sang in Californication but found this instead and I'm glad I did. Get it on iTunes.

Also: I am the greatest Soul Calibur 4 player that ever lived. Ok, not really, but I did get a few wins against my brother because I spam Ivy moves. Dig it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Comic Book Fun

If anyone knows of a good program to organize comics for the Mac, let me know. I've been using filemaker pro, which basically means I have to type everything in by hand and I'm so backlogged that it's taking a hella long time. I could use an easier method, like selecting a range or something. An autofill would be nice too. Maybe I'm just dreaming an impossible dream of not having to reap the rewards of not cataloging comics for about a year. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soul Calibur 4

I got this game about two weeks ago and man is it addictive. I love fighters and I love me some Soul Calibur ever since 2 on the cube with Link as my main man. Now it's even better on the 360 with some hella good looking characters and fighting action. What's even better though is the Create a Soul option. This lets you create your own character in a sort of dress-up for men situation where you can make them into whatever you desire. It's a little rough, but I've gotten a good Power Girl, Huntress, Black Canary, Beastmaster, Drizzt, Elric, Worsel, Choker, Mixmaster, G, Faith, Parallax, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and more. Yeah, a lot of the characters that aren't fantasy to begin with have to be created roughly with medieval weapons and armor, but it's amazing how close you can get to whatever you want. Check it out. Seriously. You'll spend more time creating than fighting at this rate.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Steadicam


I've talked about it, but now here it is, the finished product. It didn't take that long to make and you can make one too with the right components.
  • 1 - 12" or slightly longer PVC pipe with a 1" diameter.
  • 1 - 1" diameter PVC cap.
  • 1 - 1" diameter PVC t-fitting.
  • A monopod (I got mine for 10$ at Radioshack. A great deal but you can use whatever one you have.
  • A 2.5lb weight (or whatever weight will offset your camera.
  • Foam sheet
  • Electrical tape.
  • 1" screws.
It's also suggested that you get a tripod head for it. If your monopod has a pan/tilt head or has a quick release plate, that's awesome. Mine didn't but some friends were getting rid of their old tripod so I got the head. No quick release on it but it makes it more stable and easier for some different shots.

All together, you'll probably spend about 20$ on the project, which is a far sight better than the 150$ that the lowest steadicam option is available for. There's another one I might make which uses the monopod but has a ball head with weights so it actually works a little more like a Merlin. It's a worthwhile project if you want to improve your shots or add some nice walking footage to your film. It's light enough to travel and the monopod extending gives you some balance for some static shots as well.

I can't take full credit for this. I found the plans online. The Kypod Steady is the one that I used as the basis for my project. Search vimeo and youtube and you'll find plans for others too. If I can make one, you can too. Trust me.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Olympics

Ahh, the summer olympics. A time when a young man's fancy turns towards....things and the nightly news makes you work an hour extra because you can't go on during the middle of events. That was probably the worst part about the station, getting delayed like that because of a sporting event. It happened with the olympics and it happened once with the XFL. Then Lorne Michaels laid the smack down on it and it stayed within it's running time because it was a show, not a sporting event. Anyway. Go America.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Steadicam Test Footage

I had some time to finish the steadicam this weekend and even got to shoot some test footage. More to come as I practice the walk and all that jazz.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ginkers: The Blog

Rob has a new blog up on the web, powered by Blogspot and fueled by the passion of the Ginkers. It's a good read, giving you insight into the subjects of the documentary and also the behind the scenes stuff that goes on when our rowdy little bunch gets together and starts shooting.

You can find it here: http://ginkers.blogspot.com/

I'll post a permalink on the side too. It's hard to believe I've been attached to Rucksack Films for so long. Almost since I've been back in New Jersey, I think. We started with The Boy Roach, in it's various iterations and now we're onto the Ginkers. I think we've actually shot more in a few short months than we did in the years of TBR. A lot of that comes from the nature of the projects. With Ginkers, there are subjects and we just ask questions. TBR had a script and actors and a whole slew of other things that come with a feature film and sometimes the bottom would just drop out on you. Regardless, it's been a lot of fun and I'm proud to be part of the group.

It seems like only yesterday that I met Rob, answering an ad on Mandy.com. We met at Barnes and Noble and I got there early and asked just about everyone in the cafe area if they were Rob. Then, while perusing through Video Watchdog and Fangoria, I heard someone call my name,

"Hey douchebag, you have to pay for that. This isn't a library."

After outwitting the dim-witted employee, I heard another voice,

"Clean-up in the restroom."

Putting down the copy of Playboy, I left the bathroom and went back out into the cafe. There I met Rob and he gave a nice boy with little credits outside of some student films and some work at an NBC affiliate a job as a PA. I asked if the job paid, and he said it did in the spiritual coin. I accepted gleefully, knowing that the exchange rate on ghosts was through the roof. Little did I know at the time that spiritual coin was not actually accepted to exchange at the bank due to an embargo on the spirit world. Undaunted, I pressed on and at the first shoot I attended, met the rest of the crew, including "Merry" Matt Ziegler and a whole bunch of people who aren't involved anymore. There was a guy who went to Pittsburgh and got angry when my team stomped his, and I think a PA who might have been 40 at the time and in a car accident. My memory is hazy. I just remember thinking--"This is fucking awesome." Then we had sushi, I'm pretty sure.

Later on, at one of the Rutgers Gardens shoots, I stepped in dog crap. I have a tendency to do that. It might be a special power. If it is, I think I'll trade it in to be Potato Salad Man.

Now we've been through a lot and got a job outside of retail and digging graves, I'm a husband and a father and I'm a cameraman now too, backing up the magnificent Matt on the shoots with my trusty HV20, and I must say, it gets better with every minute and I can't wait to see the finished product. And once that embargo ends, I'm going to cash in my coin and be a millionaire. Unless there's an arcade that accepts it, in which case, I'm going to play me some Galaga.

Rock and fucking roll.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shoot/Bang

The film shoot yesterday went well, from what I could make of it. I had to bounce early due to a prior commitment with a 1st birthday party. We got some good footage on what became a tour of Ginker hangouts in East Brunswick. There was some cool stuff and the first one was almost like doing Ginker archaeology, as the location was hidden for a long time until construction uncovered it and all the wonders within.

Moreover, it gave me a chance to test some of my equipment in the field. I'll have to review the footage to check the audio but I think the test of my new microphone went well. The new UV filter helped cut down on some of the glare. I would have tried the circular polarizer but there wasn't time but I did check that today and it works nicely.

My biggest test was the new bag. I had upgraded from my small camcorder bag that I had been putting in a backpack to a backback bag by Canon, the 200EG. It has more than enough space for my gear with room left over for some more items should I get them. The compartments are made with little velcro pads that you can rearrange to fit your specific needs. I had to make the camera area smaller as the HV20 is a pretty small but awesome camera. I had to enlarge another space for the Rode Videomic, as it is bigger than my camera with any lens attached.

It was easy to access my equipment in the car as we traveled and even quicker to put away. I didn't get a chance to test my tripod straps until today but they were goodly as well. All in all a great purchase at a much better price than some of the Lowepro bags, which are nice but a little more than I wanted to spend. At $40 bucks on Amazon, the Canon bag is a great deal.

I'll review the footage when I get a chance. Maybe tonight if I'm lucky.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Circular Thinking

My circular polarizer came today. I couldn't try it out though since my free time was non-existant until later on, after the sun went down. I shall give it another try tomorrow. Or maybe Friday. I'd like to use it this weekend but I need to play with it first before the shoot. At least the UV filter works. Worst case scenario, I use that.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Brothers Solomon

I'll have to admit that this movie was way under my radar. I never even heard of it until my buddy J told me about it, so when I saw it was playing on Starz, I taped it and gave it a viewing. Verdict? Goodly, actually. The movie centers around two brothers, Will Arnett and Will Forte, who decide that by having a kid they can bring their father out of a coma. Unfortunately for them, they're not quite savvy with the ladies, thus making their endeavor even tougher than expected. When Kristin Wiig and Chi McBride show up on the scene, all hilarity breaks loose as they help the brothers along on their quest. It should be safe enough for the whole family to watch though there are quite a few swears in it, thanks to Chi McBride. Definitely worth checking out if you need a good laugh.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Shiver Me Invisible Dukes

As a side effect of being off for a week, I have plenty of time to watch movies with my baby while the wife earns a paycheck. So far, I've watched three.

Shivers: One of David Cronenberg's first films, it explores themes that you can find throughout his body of work, namely sex and the human body. In this tersely paced film, an apartment building is the setting for an infestation of parasites that turn people into sex crazed maniacs. It turns out that a professor had been experimenting on a girl he was seeing but she was seeing several other people, spreading the parasite unbeknowst to the professor. Hijinx ensue, as well as lots of nudity, including full on for a radiant Lynn Lowry and I believe a wet t-shirt scene for Barbara Steele. It's dated a bit but the film still stands as an exploration of human sexuality and venerael disease. Worth checking out if you're a fan of either or Cronenberg.

The Invisible: David Goyer's latest film is a remake/new adapation of a Swedish book about a boy who is violently beaten and lies in a realm between life and death where he has to try and make contact with the world of the living so he can save his dying self. A little long and fairly pretentious at parts, it's a solid movie with decent performances from it's teenage cast and also contains some wonderful cinematography. Better than some of the dreck out there so it's worth a watch.

Dukes of Hazzard: I'm a little late on this adaptation of a hit television series from my youth starring Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville. It was a pleasant enough experience. The comedy comes pretty fast and furious as Bo and Luke try to save their Uncle Jesse's farm. Decent performances all around though they made the Duke boys into dunces which I'm not really fond of, playing more like a Dumb and Dumber with a car on it. Worth seeing for some mindless fun.

That's it for now. More to come.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Back in Jersey

I'm back from my trip to Louisville. I'll have photos soon. I think. At least of bourbon. Beautiful, beautiful bourbon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shoot, No Shoot

Well, the shoot today was cancelled because of the threat of rain, which it did in spades down here. I haven't seen it pour down that long in quite a while. It was either cancel or get ourselves and all of our equipment wet, which I know I wasn't prepared to do. We should be able to get together soon and knock some stuff out.

I've got a new microphone for my camera too. The onboard wasn't fantastic but the new one is. It's got some nice settings and is a great shotgun mic for the price. I was looking forward to trying it out today. Ah well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Arisia


I finally finished Arisia. No, not the planet, but the Green Lantern. If you're familiar with the character, you might notice that this costume is a little different. That's because it's based upon a drawing I came across while searching for a decent image of her instead of the current outfit. I think this fits her a little better. While I'm a huge fan of skin showing, it didn't seem right for Arisia, who is supposed to be a teenager anyways (unless you count the recton that just happened in the GL books). This is a little more fitting for space combat and kicks a little more ass. It's basically a Marvel Girl repaint, save for a little sanding and the addition of a ring and ears.. I was going to make the current costume but I think that would have required a lot more effort on my part. She's the latest addition to my "Girls of the Green Lantern Corps" section of customs, with more to come.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ginkers: RFH Festival Trailer

Well, it took the better part of a day and a half, but Rob, Bill and I got the trailer together in time last week for the Rumson/Fair Haven Film Festival. It was well received and Rob gave me the green light to post it online for all to see. Here it is and I hope it gives you another taste of Ginkers and gets you psyched for the finished film.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Change is good. Solid bill are better.

I'm working on a site overhaul that will be coming soon, I hope. I have the template I want. I just need to tweak it with a few images and then apply it to the entire site. That'll take the longest. Fortunately, the site is going to be lighter on a section or so. I'm ditching the Reviews, as I do that in the blog. Same with the news. If I have news, it's going to be in the blog. I'm giving each of my creative sections their own menu item though. It's just easier for everyone to get to that way and then you don't have to see the same old comic every time you click on the link because it's updated so sporadically. Just a heads up.

Review: Diary of the Dead

We live in fortunate times. We only had to wait a few years between films this century for George Romero's next zombie film, Diary of the Dead. How does it compare to Land of the Dead, which was a fairly well received entry into the "Dead" series? Read on.

First of all, I apologize for the delay in seeing this movie. It was only playing in northern Jersey and I never got a chance to go up there. Then the movie came out on dvd and I completely forgot and when I did buy it, I didn't get a chance to watch it until this weekend. On the bright side, me and the baby made a day of it and enjoyed it very much. I have photos of her with the dvd case whilst wearing a Misfits onesie I might be allowed to post later. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

Coming in a much lower budget and without any real name actors, Diary of the Dead takes a look at the living dead outbreak through the eyes of a documentary filmmaker. We start out with the director and his crew filming a horror movie. When they take a break, they hear on the news that all hell is breaking loose with the dead coming back to life. They hightail it onto the road and start heading home. It doesn't take long before they find their first zombie and the crew finds themselves documenting the zombies and humanity at each other's throats. They encounter looters, survivors, military men gone bad and of course, zombies--filming all the while.

Done completely in documentary style with one camera at first and then a second as they progress, the film captures what you might expect a zombie outbreak to be if done in a more realistic style. Unlike the year's earlier documentarian effort, Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead manages to keep the action in frame and crystal clear, capturing every gory moment. The acting is done well, with several standouts such as the drunken film professor accompanying them on their endeavor.

You care for the crew for the most part but you end up hating the director, who stays behind the camera for most of the movie. He'd rather film than help, stuck behind the viewfinder and unable to act, as if he's only watching the movie instead of living it. Therein lies the commentary that Romero injects. Where the previous movies dealt with themes such as people fighting each other rather than the horror around them, consumerism, social apathy, greed and the like, this time around it's documentaries and the youtube generation, who capture and post every minute of their lives online, promoting a voyeuristic obsession with the lives of strangers. This is subtley done for the most part but there are a few scenes where it hits you over the head like a shovel killing a zombie.

While the movie lacks the majority of the action sequences of Romero's previous films, it's certainly a worthwhile effort and well worth seeing for zombie afficianados for its grisly and up close and personal scenes of death by the undead. And acid. And a scythe. Seriously, it's pretty fucking cool. Watch it now. Cassandra says watch it too.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Review: King of Kong - A Fistful of Quarters

Welcome to June and with it, a new movie review. To be honest, I've never been a fan of documentaries. I didn't hate them, I just didn't watch them unless they were about horror movies I loved like Document of the Dead. King of Kong was recommended to me by Rob of Rucksack Films and I'm glad I watched it, for it is awesome.

If you were a child of the 80s or have a passing knowledge of video games, you've heard of Donkey Kong. If you're into the culture, you know that it's a big deal to get a high score in a video game, particularly one that nobody else has come close to getting. I'm more in tune with the competitive gaming scene with fighting games but I recognize the beauty of a high score, particularly with DK, since it used to madden me as a youth. Well, King of Kong looks at the high score record holder, Billy Mitchell, and the man who seeks to usurp him, Steve Weibe. What follows is a sordid tale of back room politics and barrel jumping as Steve tries to win the title and Billy tries to keep him down.

The documentary does a good job of portraying its subjects in certain lights. You dislike Billy and the Twin Galaxies crew for the most part, though Walter Day--professional referee is pretyt likeable. You also feel for Steve, who just wants his high score validated and his own skills as he seeks to beat the score and by proxy, Billy himself. It's an engaging hour and a half with many ups and downs but it keeps you moving and takes you into a world you might not be familiar with. I know I, for one, didn't know that there was a Donkey Kong kill screen or what one was (it's when the game ends because the system just can't handle anymore levels and you die). I also didn't know that there was a Mappy champion or a Ladybug one either, go figure.

It's well worth checking out and plays like a drama more than a documentary and you'll find yourself cheering along with Steve as he seeks to become the King of Kong.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Review: Fido

From the title of the movie, it might sound as if it's about a dog. Instead, Fido is about a different kind of domesticated pet--a zombie. The film takes place in an era that evokes the 1950s. A great zombie war had erupted and now the world is divided into little towns that are separated from the wild lands by fences. That's not to say the people are unhappy or caged. Instead, thanks to Zomcom (short for zombie comedy, I'm guessing), a corporation that is promoting better living with the undead, the people have their very own zombies to do work for them via little collars that keep them from wanting to eat people.

The town is pulled from the Donna Reed Show and the Robinsons are leading an idyllic little life, save for the fact that the man of the house is obsessed with funerals and afraid of the undead. That makes life a little complicated when the wife, played by Carrie Ann Moss, brings home a domesticated zombie to compete with the neighbors. Timmy, bullied by classmates and relatively shunned, finds a friend in the undead and names the zombie, played by Billy Connolly, Fido. Then the misadventures start.

Fido is a funny and refreshing take on the zombie genre and well worth seeing. The characters are compelling thanks to excellent performances and the budget makes it feel like you're actually in a 50's movie. It's PG13 so it's fun for the whole family and me and the baby liked it a whole lot. If you're looking for a nice fun time with a little blood on the side, then Fido is a movie to check out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One Sneaky Zombie

Nope, it's not me, but instead the new short I'm posting. Well, ok, an old one that I finally got around to finishing thanks to several factors like time, scrubbing sound and working on it on several computers. Should be good to go now. Thanks to Jarrett for helping me film it.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Supernatural

Supernatural is such a great show. Too bad we only have one episode left for the season. Damn the writer's strike. I'm going to have to rent the earlier seasons to get my fix.

Good comic book haul yesterday. The new issue of The Boys didn't disappoint and is one of the funnier and cruder books on the market but I love it so. Nova kicked quite a bit of ass as well and everyone should be reading that. Props to Buffy and Angel as well.

Got some worklights to help with my custom figure pics and also creation, as it gives me more light to see what the hell I'm doing at night. Hopefully I can finish one off this weekend, but that's looking unlikely as I'll be hellishly busy. Hellaciously even.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Cloverfield

I just finally got around to seeing Cloverfield, the shaky-cam monster movie from JJ Abrams that was released in January. I'm glad I waited. I would have been quite annoyed if I had to spend 20 bucks on this movie. The quick synopsis is that while celebrating a friend's imminent departure for Japan (hur hur Japan hur hur Godzilla), a monster attacks the city and some of the friends try to find their way out of the city while one of them records it with a video camera. You're in for a lot of shaky cam action and not being able to see the monster a whit through the entire film, though you do get plenty of dark scenes and slight glimpses of what might be the creature. There's not much in the answering of what or why during the film, as it's purely from the viewpoint of the survivors. Unfortunately, they're not worth caring about and don't really draw much interest save for the shots they try to get of the monster.

JJ Abrams had said he wanted to create an iconic monster and an insane experience. He and the director fail at both, as it's hardly possible to create an icon that you never get a clear glimpse of, unless you go to the Hasbrotoyshop.com site where they have a picture so you can see what the hell the point of the movie was. Also, shaky camera work doesn't really translate into insane. It mainly just gives people vertigo and annoys them. I was fairly annoyed at the first several minutes of it and it didn't get much better from there. Apparently there's a sequel in the works too, so we might see more badly shot footage from the same night. Yeehaa.

I understand what they were trying to do, focusing on the surivors rather than the scientists and army men deployed. It wasn't handled in an effective way, though, and that hurt the film. You can focus on survivors and not rely on the shaky cam technique. For a movie that does this, look at The Host, a brilliant Korean monster movie. In that film, a man's daughter is taken by a monster that appears and rampages all in the first several minutes. The family is torn and the focus of the film is on them as they try to find the monster and the daughter while she in turn tries to escape from the monster's clutches.

All in all, if you're looking for a great monster movie, you'll have to look elsewhere, as the monster in this film, even at the big reveal at the end, is almost nonexistent. It lacks the dynamic power of a Godzilla film and the shock of an appearance of the creature as well. People don't go to see monster films because of the characters. They want to see a good and scary monster. The characters are there to help the film along. In Cloverfield, neither happens and in the end, you're glad it's only an hour and half you spent on it all.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New York Comic Con Report


For the third year in a row I have attended the New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in NYC and for the third year in a row I am impressed. From humble beginnings a brief time ago, the show has grown into a giant force on the convention front. This year, however, I was not going it alone as my friend Dave was there for his first foray into NYCC territory.

We woke up before 6am so we could get out of the house by 630 to catch a 730 train from Aberdeen. From Penn Station, we walked our way down the few quick blocks to the Javits Center. Things were immediately looking up for us as the line that was wrapping around the building and stretching down the street from last year was nowhere to be seen. Quickly, I went in to the registration disk to get my ticket as it was never delivered to my residence. Then we got into the line. It was much better this year, as they used part of the Javits Center 3rd floor to snake the line around. When we got there, the line was about half the room. By the time we exited, it was spilling out onto the street, I presume. Much more comfortable than standing outside though it was an beautiful day out in April this year, as opposed to the biting chill of February from previous years and next year.

We were in line for about an hour, most of that being prior to the show actually opening. We were entertained by people dressed as Boba Fett, Storm Troopers, Belly Dancers and really stupid Jedi. Then our wave came up and we were released onto the show floor.

The enormity of the show is apparent from the first step you take into the hall. Stretching out from wall to wall are exhibitors and dealers with the booths already showing early signs of being mobbed by those who entered before us. Dave and I had a specific agenda and we made a beeline through these displays to artists alley, where you can get signatures and sketches from comic creators. We each had lists of who we wanted to see and by getting there early we avoided longer lines where we could.

Artist's Alley at NYCC is roughly three times the size of the one at WWP and probably twice the size of last year's NYCC. It's organized into rows that you can stroll up and down until you see who you want. I had a pretty small list of who I wanted to see. I got a signature from Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier) later on in the day, since his line was long early on; a signature and print of Power Girl from Amanda Connor (JSA Classified); a sketch of Starwoman by Todd Nauck
(Young Justice); an issue of Young Justice signed by Peter David and eventually a copy of Green Lantern signed by Ivan Reis. I picked up a couple of other prints as well but these were the highlights. Dave got quite a few more but that man is a machine when it comes down to Artist's Alley.

One of the highest points of the Artist's Alley was meeting Christina Strain (Runaways, Spiderman Loves Mary Jane). In addition to being a talented colorist and artist, Christina is also getting married to my old college roommate. She took the time out to talk to us several times during the day and signed our comics to boot. She's great and it's good to see her getting lots of work like World War Hulk. Runaways is always a highlight of my pull list so it'll be nice
to see it coming out more frequently soon. If you're at a con that Christina attends, go see her. She's absolutely awesome and has plenty of fantastic prints to buy. I picked up one of Molly to hang in Cassandra's room.

After Artist's Alley, Dave and I hit up the dealers. In particular, we were looking for the cheap backissue bins and half-priced trades. We found plenty. I'm about eight issues away from completing my Starman run after this con and Dave filled up a few gaps in his list too. There were quite a few more dealers than last time and we barely scraped the surface in the brief time we were there.

Once we had our fill of comic book shopping several hours later, we decided to try and check out the rests of the booths in the exhibitors section. The booths were pretty nice and DC and Marvel had amazing spreads and quite a few crazy lines too. We didn't get too deep into those. The guys from Shocker Toys were there again and had some of the Indie Spotlight line for showing off and they look great. I can't wait to see these in stores, especially the next run with
the Tick. I visited the Koch Vision booth to pick up the exclusive Galaxy Rangers badge, a show I barely remember as a kid but I wanted the badge for a Starman outfit. :)

We went between the sections quite a bit until we deemed it was time to take the train home around 430 or so. Dave and I were pretty tired at that point and we had spent all that we wanted to and seen all that we felt like seeing. Dave approved of his first NYCC con and can't wait until next year.

All in all, the NYCC is a great new convention that has had it's growing pains but seems to be taking it in stride. They have a lot of support from the creators and companies involved and I've heard it described as almost as big or at least a big as SDCC, which is pretty damn cool. It's close, it's relatively cheap with a ticket and train ride and there is plenty to see and do.

The only down side is that it does get rather packed and I think they almost need to start monitoring the selling and amount of people on the floor or get more space for people to manuever, which they could do by opening up the hall we were initially waiting in and moving the line back outside. Not the best solution but it's all I got right now. I wouldn't mind seeing more dealers too but that might just be a logistics/pricing problem to get to the city. The food
lines were pretty crazy, so Dave and I didn't eat until we got home. We avoided this in Philly by going to one of the many eateries in the area to get a decent meal for the price of a terrible sandwich in the convention hall. I'm not familiar with any such solutions with the NYCC but I'm not sure you'd want to leave the floor either if there's a line to get in.

It's well worth going back to and I can't wait until next year. Or maybe Philly. I'm feeling the Con burn now.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Soranik Natu Custom Figure


I finished off another custom. About damn time, I know. This one is based off of the Green Lantern Corps comic and the character Soranik Natu. I've had her "almost done" for awhile now but I finally sealed her and put the ring on her finger, which looks alright but nothing outstanding, which is why I didn't photograph it. She's the first entry in my Ladies of the Green Lantern Corps series, which I'm doing because DC Direct doesn't really give us much in the way of female GLs at all.

Check out the recipe and more over in Custom Corner.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

In the Hood

No, not a hoodie, or even my home, though I'm in both right now. What I mean this time is parenthood. Yes, I had been expecting for the nine allotted months and now I'm the proud parent of a beautiful baby girl, Cassanda Anne Mosher. She was born on March 18, 2008 and it feels like it's been a month since then, but we're reallly just past the first full week with her in our lives and I must say, it's been great.

Being a dad means my routine has changed quite a bit. Now I can't just come home and play video games and eat dinner. No, the baby has injected herself into this routine so now I come home, hold the baby and play video games, hold the baby and eat dinner and hold the baby and go to sleep. She's fantastic so far but I keep kicking her butt in Smash Bros. Brawl. I'll enjoy that whilst I can, since she'll probably be awesome at it by the time she's 1.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ginkers Youtube Clip #2

It took me long enough but I finally cut together a bunch of clips from the first Ginkers interview that was done. There was a ton of footage, both pre-interview and during for me to go through and render. I think I'm going to have to capture any more footage in dv for now, since the hdv is quite a cpu hog and takes forever to edit. I feel bad that it took me so long to get this one together.

It's a little different paced than the previous video. Herman was a more concise speaker whereas Scott was more verbose and trailed you along in his story and hit you with the punchline like any good comedian. He was quite the interview and you have to realize that of these 5 minutes, I left about an hour and a half out, most of which was pretty damn good stuff. I can't wait to see it all incorporated into the bigger picture. In the meantime, enjoy the show and don't forget to click the side link to Rucksack Films and show the guys some love for letting a slacker like me play with a camera and a computer on their film.

While the audio from my onboard mic isn't the best and I was still learning the ins and outs of the camera, it's serviceable and I couldn't ask for better from my equipment. Our sound guy Bill will be cleaning it up for the film so it'll be pristine. The background music is by Dragonforce, and fits since I needed something driving and long to move everything along. Well, I probably didn't but I love music so I can't help it.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Prison a Go-Go

No, it's not about putting politicians from the 60s into jail, instead it's a send up of women in prison movies, and to be honest, it's not all that good. What I thought was going to be a decent spoof of the flicks, turned out to be a low budget conglomeration of the aforementioned prison movies, slacker movies and Rhonda Shear. And no, she doesn't get naked.

The premise of the film is about a girl who is looking for her sister who was kidnapped from their home and dragged into a secret labratory of a crazy doctor, which happens to be on the grounds of the prison in the Phillipines. To save her sister, the girl gets arrested and then is brought into the sordid world of WIP films and shower scenes. For those interested in the latter, there's a countdown clock that tells you when the next one is going to be.

While it's not a slick film, it does have its entertaining moments and despite some trepidation during the first ten minutes, I stuck it out and got some enjoyable performances out of Mary Woronov, Lloyd Kaufman and the rest of the cast. There is nudity, but it's nothing to write home about and there's also kung fu, which is decent for such a low budget flick. If you like the absurd and almost horrible, this is a good film for you. Also, there are some zombies in it in a brief role but they do well.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Roll Em Up

We lost a great innovator in the realm of tabletop RPGs this week in the form of Gary Gygax. Gary pretty much was the godfather of tabletop gaming with the creation of Dungeons and Dragons and a myriad of modules and novels to boot. I've never met the man and never will now, but I owe him a great debt being a geek who found a second life in the games he made up. Many a fond Saturday were spent with friends during my youth rolling our dice and playing heroic characters fighting nefarious villains, graduating from the world of D&D to AD&D and then Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars, Vampire and other role-playing games. Ever since my brother got the red box basic set when we were 11 or 12, it was game on and we were having the times of our lives. Everyone I've played with I've considered a friend, and I have memories of all of the adventuring parties that were willing to have me.

They were fun times and I wouldn't trade them for the world. Indirectly, Gary taught me acting, storytelling and how to have a good time using my imagination and some dice and a few buddies and beers. For that, I will always be thankful. I may not have the time anymore to get a group together and crawl through a dungeon, but I know I will eventually, and I look forward to teaching my child how to play in the world Gary Gygax created. It'll be 2nd edition, since that's what I remember the most, and we'll break out our six sided dice and roll for stats, gear and eventually and most importantly, initiative.

Rest in peace Gary.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Turistas

Just finished watching Turistas, thanks to it being lent to me by Jorge, and I'd thought I'd weigh in on it. It was released around the same time as Hostel, and the two draw comparisons but by far, they are different films. Hostel has tourists travelling to a remote area where they are then tortured to death. In Turistas, the hapless supects are waylaid by accident wherein the plot of organ harvesting natives occurs. The film is a good one, and relies more on suspense than gore to provide its thrills. The cast is likeable enough and it's a shame when they get offed but it keeps you entertained until the end. Definitely worth a rental if you're looking for something to keep you homebound instead of travelling abroad.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Painting Fun

Nothing to show right now, but I just wanted to say that it really pays to use a good primer. I used a different brand that claimed to be better than Gesso on a project I'm doing and let me just tell you that it did not perform as advertised. You can sand it, sure, but painting over it is a supreme bitch compared to the one coat coverage of Gesso. God I love that stuff. I might go sniff some right now.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Two Customs of Kyle


I managed to finish two more customs this weekend. I might have one more as well if things go alright with it. For now, we have Kyle Rayner as Parallax and Ion, the former in JLU figure format and the other in Ed McGuinness style. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did making them. Visit Custom Corner for more information and recipes.

Review: No More Heroes

You may have seen a new game for the Wii on the shelves entitled No More Heroes and wondered what it was all about. It's about $50 dollars of pure awesome action fun. It's about a man named Travis Touchdown who wins a beam sword on an online auction and then enters the world of ranked assassins in a quest to be number one. That alone sounds interesting but what really sets the game apart from sandbox violence games like GTA is the execution of it all.

The graphics are done in a cell shaded style, more reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe than Killer7 but realistic instead of cartoony. Adding to this is the complete punk rock and anime fan style that permeates the game. Travis wears a leather jacket and tons of pop culture t-shirts and buys wrestling videos in his spare time to learn new movies. While I haven't found that many jackets yet, there are a metric fuckton of t-shirts that you can buy or find as you cruise around the fictional town of Santa Destroy on a souped up motorcycle. Every villain you fight has their own particular style to counter yours and most of them are pretty over the top. The framerate is constant and the flow of blood and coins as you scrap your way to the top never relents when you begin a mission until right before the boss.

Gameplay is fantastic. Instead of the sandbox world you can play in and have more fun than the missions themselves, in NMH, the world makes you want to do the missions, as it is fairly spartan save for a few locations. I rather enjoyed this as everything you can find in the overworld to do is fun and increases your stash or powers. In between missions, you earn money by doing part time jobs like mowing lawns and filling up cars with gas, which could sound boring but it's fairly fun. After that, you get assasination missions for smaller targets to earn extra loot. You don't have to do many of these if you want to just go from mission to mission to progress the story, but the game makes it fun and several of the powers you can buy and earn are fairly helpful and will make the game that much easier for you.

In the overworld, you do the usual running around but you lack any fighting controls as there is nothing for you to fight. Once you get into a sub-mission or a ranked mission, you can start killing stuff. Most of this is handled with the A and B buttons on the Wiimote. Also determined by the Wiimote is the stance you take. If you hold it high, your stance is high and if you hold it low, your stance is low. This goes for sword hits, stunning kicks and blocks as well. Once you engage an enemy, you can lock on with the Z button and dodge with the control pad. When you hit them, you have several options. If you use the sword solely, you'll get a deathblow message when they're out of life and then you create an arterial spray. If you use a stun, you can perform a wrestling move with the Wiimote and nunchuk. These are fairly easy to do and you get on screen prompts so you know what move you have to do, taking some of the onus off of you.

I'm only ranked 7 out of 10 now and still working my way to number 1, but it's a great game and if you don't mind the violence, it's well worth picking up. Unlike the GTA games, I'd say the violence isn't gratuitous but instead a necssary part of the story. Travis lives in a world fueled by kung fu and wrestling movies and video games and this is what the game reflects. It's not as arty as Killer7, but much easier to digest and a more complete work of art.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Neon Maniacs

I don't know how this one happened to find its way onto my Netflix list, but I'm glad it did. Neon Maniacs is a gem of an 80s movie about killer monsters that live underneath the Golden Gate Bridge but only recently and start slaughtering people. As usual, it's up to a bunch of teens to try and convince the authorities that they aren't making shit up and that there really are things that go bump in the night and they look and act like they might be based on some deranged GI Joe figures. Apparently there are twelve of them but you only realy see the same handful again and again and nobody knows where they came from, just that they kill shit dead.

It starts out benignly enough, with a bunch of teens partying in the park and they start to frolic as teens are wont to do and one of them even gets a bj from chick with a mullet, the lucky devil. They don't seem to notice the Neon Maniacs, who in additon to being ninjas aren't even neon, as they sneak up on the teens and murder them. Of course a few decide to try and fight back but that ends quickly and before the last girl can be killed, the maniacs are driven off by thunder. The cops don't believe the girl's story and they send her home where she's alone and stalked by one of the maniacs that looks like a goofy-ass caveman. Nothing happens from that even though she's going for a night swim to ease her mind. Yes, because after seeing all your friends murdered, a nice swim is a great way to cap off the night. I think I would have had the cops lock my ass up or post a guard or something. Maybe stay over a friend's house. Anything to not be alone and also to build up the body count.

Anyway, the girl is not alone in her quest to convince people that weird stuff is happening as the grocer's son and an amateur film director girl discover the truth as well as their paths intertwine in a pretty bizarre movie. It's worth seeing for the maniacs, who have some decent makeup though their personalities are basically based on their weapons. There's Tonto, the Village People reject; Samurai, the...well...samurai; Ropeman, who uses a noose; Surgeon, who carries a doctor's bag and several more. This movie has also captured my heart for having a costume dance/battle of the bands where a man dressed as Mr. Miracle appears. That's a pretty odd choice and I did a double-take. In terms of superheroes appearing in a movie, that was quite a surprise.

There's almost nil on the nudity, some decent gore and good makeup effects and the acting isn't too stilted so it does hold it's head above some of the lesser entries in the 80s horror field. If you can find it, check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you go in with low expectations. Just be warned--I think they stole the score from Moonlighting as it has little to do with a horror movie unless it was staged in an Eddie Murphy video.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Little Update

Got another shoot on Saturday. I can't wait. It's been fun so far and each Ginker we interview has some interesting stories. I just have to pick up some tapes and such first. Might order me a wide angle lens too. I've been jonesing for one though a telephoto would help more, I reckon.

New comics today as well. Some decent stuff in addition to the stuff I missed last week. JSA Classified had a good Hourman story. GL was decent with the Alpha Lanterns though I'm annoyed that they took one of my favorite new lanterns, Kraken, and turned her into one. I'm not a fan of the half-robot GLs that they have become. Maybe if I seem them in more detail I'll like them but their oath is pretty stupid. I wish everyone would stop using the GL title as an excuse for bad poetry. It's just as bad as the Sinestro Corps oath, so be warned.

Edit: Got the name wrong again. It's Kraken, not Raker. Guess she's not really my new fave. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ginkers Youtube Clip

Hi all. Here's a little project that I've been working on and promising in previous posts. It's the first clip from all the shooting I've been doing for Rob. Nerfherder supplied the music. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Striking Features

The writer's strike is turning out to be a good thing for me. No, not because I'm a scab, but because without all the quality tv that I usually watch, I'm actually finding free time to finish some models that I've been working on, or at least come close to finish them. Right now I'm just about done with Parallax (who I started in August) and Ion and Soranik Natu, who I started last month. Once they're done, I'll either finish or toss the shitty Power Girl I was working on (which I'm hoping to save with a decapitation) and then finish the Havoc and Mechagoatman so I can work on a video I've been telling everyone I'm going to do. Keep your eyes peeled here for pictures and ramblings.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Write Up


Rob gots himself a write up in the Asbury Park Press about the movie. For those about to rock and who don't have a copy of the Friday Jersey Alive! section, I have scanned it in for you. Like so many other things, just click it to enlarge.

God this is going to give me a lot of white space to fill up. Maybe I'll do a little dance. Beware.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 2

Another day of shooting, this one rather brief and stripped down, occurred between 12 and 1 today in Beachwood. It was just Rob, me, the subject and a camera. I think it went well and this guy has some great stories to tell about the scene and Ginkerdom in general. I think the footage looks good but I still have to check it to make sure all the levels are fine. Cloudy day so that made things fairly easy, lighting-wise though I'll have to invest in some black posterboard or foamcore to get negative light, in addition to some reflectors for later outdoor shoots to make things easier on us. Good day overall.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Day 1

Ok, so it's a few days past but on Saturday we officially had our first day of shooting on the Ginker documentary as helmed by Rob Thorpe, our director and captain. It was a fun shoot. We rallied at 3:30pm to meet and get ready for a magic hour shoot and headed out to the river down the street in Keyport to get some good footage. I was on second camera, a Canon HV20, while Matt was the man with the XL-1. His camera is a prosumer model where I'm at a consumer level but HD and we both got some excellent footage. I'm a little disappointed with about a minute of it where it's pretty grainy due to the light issue discussed in a previous post but there are plenty of useable shots. I was making due with a ghetto steadicam rig too, which is basically a folded up tripod, so it's not even a real ghetto steadicam but it helped even out a few of the shots.

Later on, after dinner and a drink, we headed to our next location but it started raining out so the interview had to be conducted indoors at a friend's house since every other location we tried didn't work out for various reasons. I wish we could have gotten the pizza place since it would have been sweet. I think for a future shoot we should try for one since the neon lights in their windows give off a cool glow. Regardless, the interview went great and the subject was quite lively and I think we got some goodly results for a first shoot. Check out the Rucksack Films myspace page for more info.

I'm going to try and post some of the outdoor shots on Vimeo to check out later if the render I'm working on ever finishes and if it's ok with Rob.

HV20 Fun

Unfortunately, no video, but I found out a cool trick while surfing online. Apparently I can turn off the gain while shooting so I can get better shadows and night shots. On the down side, this requires a lot of light, or at least more than a regular room bulb. That's still pretty cool though. I might have been able to use that trick on Saturday. I have one minute or so of footage that is a great shot but isn't that great quality-wise thanks to the gain. There was little light though since it was an outside night shoot so I'd probably be screwed either way but I'd rather be screwed without the grain.

Also, HD video is a processor hog. :)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Super Swing Golf 2

Fore. It's golfing season again, at least indoors on the Wii with Super Swing Golf Season 2. If you like the first game, it's a lot more of the same great golf action but with some improvements. You can skip the computer's turn so the rounds move faster, you can unlock costumes by collecting coins, rather than performing esoteric tasks in a specific way and the load times are a lot better as well. The tour mode is particularly fun as it's set up like a game board that you progress by playing golf matches or mini-games. The difficulty seems to be ramped fairly well so you won't be going crazy like in the first one against a computer that chips in a shot from 50 yards to get an eagle.

The characters are the same as the previous iteration though they have new costumes and there are more items and clubs to choose from. I'm only a little way in but I'm enjoying the game quite a bit as the title isn't one that I play rabidly, but go to about once a day for my golf fix so I'm not killing a ton of time. Well worth picking up if you like golf tempered with anime style characters and a few power shots to cut down on the dryness of realistic golf.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

It's 2008 and time for some new reviews. The first up is I Am Legend. There may be some spoilers, so be warned.

I went to see this Sunday and was actually fairly disappointed in it. It's a decent flick but it doesn't really follow the book save for bits and pieces, which isn't a bad thing, but the things they didn't keep makes you wonder why they kept the name at all.

The plot centers around Robert Neville, a virologist and colonel who seems to be the last man alive in NYC, much less the word. Seems a virus wiped out the world and he's trying to find a cure for it, though he himself is immune. It's basically in case he finds any survivors who somehow dodged the bullet like himself, which would mean they are immune and not needing the cure, but maybe for future generations born without the immunity. You know, for posterity and such. Anyhow, he spends his days working out and in his lab and cruising for food and dvds. By night, well, you don't really know unless you read the book or saw a spoiler, but he basically hides from somethings that go bump in the night.

Vampires are those things, well, kinda. You don't really get the idea that they're vampires and you don't really see them do any feeding but since there's not much around to hunt, you can't really knock them for that. The thing is, in the book, the vampires are basically humans who come out at night and who are a little more savage and hate the light, but they're not a great deviation from a human being. The vamps in this movie look like a cross between the infected from 28 Days Later and the shit from Van Helsing. Scary, but with crappy CGI and the whole monster aspect removes one of the key points of the book, especially the ending.

When the third act of the film starts, you think it's the second and then it's a breakneck rush to an ending that feels tacked on. Will Smith is great throughout and it's a shame that the movie falls apart at this point. A lot of that comes from the decision to make the vampires superhuman. So a virus does this? Really, does it give them super muscles and bone structure so that they can scale fucking buildings in a single bound? It doesn't really make sense but provides some scares.

Overall, I think The Last Man on Earth stands as a better adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel and this movies stands as a good remake of the Omega Man. Worth checking out but for god sakes read the book so you can see what the hell I'm talking about. Also, watch 28 Days Later, since it provides a fun spin on the book, even though it's not based on it, and for what this movie might have been.