The video update below features me getting
outside on one of the nicest days of the year so far and talking about
what we like to do when left to our own devices.
I finally did it. Yesterday I achieved the
ultimate dream. I accomplished everything I meant to do all in one day. I
transcribed over 3,500 words of interviews during my work day; read
several chapters of Patton Oswald’s new book Silver Screen Fiend; worked for a half hour on a VFX shot for episode 9; went to the gym and ran 4.6 miles on the treadmill while watching some of Scream 2;
had dinner with my lovely wife; spent another half hour finishing that
VFX shot, thereby completing my daily one-hour quota for PoPS weekday
work time; and watched a whole movie, She’s All That, before going to bed.
The really nice thing is that none of it felt
particularly like I was overextending myself. I felt a little dazed at
the end of all the transcription, but that’s just par for the course.
Nothing makes my brain feel as overheated and mushy as a long, full day
of working with words. Punching the keys for hours and hours is a
different kind of tiring. It never feels better to sit in silence for a
few minutes than after closing the laptop on one of those sessions.
I did a lot, it was a nice balance of have-to-do and want-to-do, and at the end of it I really felt justified in laying down.
I’ve also finally realized that in order to be
productive I have to spend less time on all social media platforms. And
it’s not a simple 1:1 transfer of the time I spend on Twitter could be
spent on making something. It’s the fact that the more I look at all of
the things being accomplished by everybody else, the less motivated I am
to do anything myself. The fact that anything I make will immediately
get lost in the social media shuffle makes me feel like nothing is worth
doing. So, by not looking at it while trying to work, my mind is on the
things I find interesting about this singular part of this particular
project, not how what I’m doing is just another tiny drop in the vast
onslaught of creative content being uploaded to the internet every day.
Process, not product. Exploration, not output.
That’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.
Thanks for reading.
This video update is straight up the most unfocused, ramble’y update I’ve ever done. Get ready to get down with the ramble.
My earnest goal every day is to put in at least
one hour of working on the show. Whether it’s the edit, VFX, scheduling,
shotlisting, donation gift fulfillment, paperwork, whatever it is. If
I’m at least getting an hour in, progress is being made. Although, if
it’s an hour of paperwork or running to get some props or something like
that, I don’t feel as if I’ve done enough. Only if I’m writing,
shooting, editing, doing VFX, color correcting, or doing sound work do I
feel like I’ve legitimately worked on the show. Only then do I feel
like I’m one step closer to a completed episode.
Some weeks though, it’s really hard to get that
hour in. If people are coming over, it’s hard to get the hour in. I used
to sit in the office and work while Eliza hung out with people in the
other room, but that has started to seem supremely inhospitable to me.
I’m not sure how I ever really thought it was a great thing to do. Since
Eliza and I have taken it upon ourselves to get in better shape, it can
be hard to get that hour in. Another goal I try to make is to exercise
at least 3 times a week. If we head to the gym right after work, then
we’re making dinner around 8:30 or 9, and then it can be hard to break
through the mental impulse to simply decompress until bed. That’s a
battle I win about 50 percent of the time. Half the time I’ll get my
dishes to the sink and work on the show until 10:30 or 11 before I slump
back onto the couch to watch Modern Family or whatever we’re in
the middle of. Other nights it’s a hard enough battle just getting the
dishes to the sink, let alone working on anything.
Then there are nights like tonight. Right after
work I have band practice—I play bass with the contemporary band at
church once a month alongside my parents. Then, I need to pick up some
tax paperwork from this never-ending debacle our 2013/2014 tax seasons
have become. When I get home, it’ll take me about a half an hour to
cobble together some dinner and eat. Then I’ll jump into working on PoPS
VFX until about 9 or 9:30, when I’m heading down to the city to go to a
friends record release show. However much time is between dinner and
the record release show is what I have for PoPS tonight.
Last night it came down to the period of time
between exercising and going out to dinner with Eliza to celebrate her
finishing her application to graduate school. That was about 10 or 15
minutes. I got about 8 frames of rotoscoping done last night.
Still, the battle to land that hour every weeknight is ongoing and being fought valiantly every day.
Incidentally, writing to the It Follows
soundtrack is really motivating. It adds a propulsive sense of 80s synth
urgency and foreboding to the process. And how cool of a composer name
is Disasterpeace. That is the ultimate in “I don’t care, I do what I
want” nicknaming yourself I’ve ever heard of.
The video update below is about the competitions
I’ve participated in over the last year and about how nice it is to
have a weekend where you can stay in and knock out some serious work on
your video project.
I don’t know about you guys, but I got into all
of this because of how much I loved watching movies. Well, I am facing
the same conundrum that everyone who starts making content runs up
against: Doing can put a big dent in watching. Of course, watching can
also put a pretty big dent in doing. Obviously.
Unfortunately, I’ve recently discovered the
glory of the Chicago film screening scene. I’ve been traveling downtown
far more often these days, and two theaters are mainly responsible.
The Logan Theater in the Logan’s Square
neighborhood of Chicago has a selection of recent movies, but then they
have a monthly themed revival screening series. This is where I saw Chinatown and Fire Walk With Me on the big screen. This is where, during the month of October, I saw Poltergeist and Trick ‘r Treat on
the big screen for the first time. October is horror movies, of course,
February is romance movies, but then they also come up with their own
insane themes. The month of March has been Anderson vs. Anderson vs.
Anderson: screening works by Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and
Paul W.S. Anderson. I’ve spent the last couple of Thursday nights seeing
Resident Evil and Event Horizon. Tonight, I get to once again revel in the magnificent and hypnotically depressing Magnolia. It’s awesome. And Thursday screenings are $5. Unbelievable.
The Music Box Theater is a glorious old movie
house. Huge, old school, vaulted ceiling auditorium of a movie house
with as tiny dollhouse-feeling second screen for the smaller titles.
They do midnight screenings of classics using old beat-up 35 millimeter
prints and are the main destination for the limited release flicks that
come through Chicago. This is where I saw an awesomely gritty print of Aliens
and heard Ripley’s voice echoing off of antique movie palace walls that
have been around long before theater walls were heavily padded for
sound dampening for optimal listening. It’s where I finally saw the
theatrical cut of Donnie Darko at a midnight screening and heard a
crowd of people cheer after the line, “Sometimes I doubt your
commitment to Sparkle Motion.”
So going to these screenings obviously cuts back
on the time that I spend at the computer building the show or my shorts
or any creative video output. And sitting at my computer hammering away
at the next link in my videography is time that I’m not consuming the
things that keep me excited. I think I’ve found a pretty good balance,
though. Just enough theater visits to keep me excited and motivated, and
enough desk time to keep me working on output.
I just wanted to tell you all about two of my favorite spots, I guess. Thanks for reading.
The video below concerns my recent re-edit of a
video we made last autumn. Since I was sending it out to fests, thought
I’d give it the once over. I changed a couple things and give my
reasons for doing so.
The modern filmmaker isn’t really a filmmaker
if their content goes online. They’re a content creator. I’ve spoken
before about the carnival barking nature of being an online content
creator, but here we go again, because I’m currently campaigning.
Content creators need three main things from people:
1. Their attention.
2. Their money.
3. Their votes.
I’m lucky enough to have gotten a good group of
people who are interested in the stuff we’re doing, so there’s 1. Every
time we fundraise for an episode, I’m so amazed and grateful that there
are people who put their money into PoPS, so there’s 2.
And then there’s 3. A lot of online
competitions have a voting element to them. The theory must be that if
someone can generate enough votes, their content must be at least a
certain quality. Theoretically, the better content and more ambitious
creators will automatically rise to the top. It’s a solid idea and I’ve
seen it work really well. I’ve also seen voting systems get thoroughly
hacked. Once I was in a competition against a dude who had the good will
backing of a 4chan board. They wrangled that guy’s numbers like
nobody’s business with some kind of hacked cyber voting system. There’s
no beating 4chan, you guys. But we put up a pretty good fight and raised
an impressive number of legitimate votes. Plus, the guy they were
backing is a really good YouTuber. I’m still subscribed to him.
This week I’m campaigning for votes to get into
the top ten of another competition. It’s for the 30-second horror short
we did that won the Studio360 #scaryshorts competition, …Jack. In order
to vote, people have to click the thumbs up icon that comes with the
official entry video. I wish they could use the one that’s been up for a
year; I’ve got a lot of good views and thumbs ups on that one. But
here’s the link to the video to thumbs up:
And since I feel like I’m always asking people
to vote for me in competitions, I thought I’d at least make a fun video
for the campaign this time:
Eliza and I shot that ourselves a couple nights
ago and it took me two evenings of editing to get the crank effect
rotoscoped out and everything color corrected. I had so much fun making
I hope you’ll vote for me if you have a minute
to do so, I love horror competitions and this time I could even win a
little money if I end up in the top three.
CONGRATULATIONS to the QUARTER-FINALISTS for the 2014-2015 NexTV Writing & Pitch Competition.Note: This represents the top 30% of our field of submittersQUARTER-FINALISTSNino AbateMichael AcostaTalya AdamsLior Aiden ElhararByron AndersonBrian AndersonMargherita ArcoMichael BaleyGeorge BarnettJames BauerAndrew BeguinDavid BeshearsMark BetheaJason BingJean BlasiarLaura BloechlRose BochnerNoella BorieRuss BrandonMichelle BrezinskiTracy BrittonEdwin BrochinAlex BrodskyJoneia BrownDarmeLL BrownDerek BrownNicolas CaicoyaElodie CammarataAngelina CarkicDerek CarltonClint CarmichaelTom CavanaughSalvator CesaranoMatt CliffordTravon ClintonKatie CocquytLuis ColonTerry ConnellDwayne ConyersSidney CooperDavid CooperMegan CorderoSkylar CraigStuart CrequeThomas CrowelGavin CutterJennifer D'Angelo KircherCynthia DallasCecil DavisAllison DeanDarrell DennisJames Di GiacomoDarren DillmanFreya DoneyDenice DuffTara EasleyVickery EckhoffLauren ElaineImeh EsenDavid EskridgeAnne EstonJohn EverettSakina FakhriDavid Fein Kevin FintlandBrooke ForbesKevin GarciaEliza GardnerChristopher GlennonVeronica GonzalesRob GordenGene GordonShelli Jean GrantLinda GrassoShaine GreenwoodKevin Gregory Jeff HaberJ.M. HallJoanna HallKevin HannaMarcus HarmonRyan HawkinsSarah HeschDavid HillBill HillHollie HimmelmanDan HoldenHeather HolmbergOlga HoltzBradd HopkinsJonathan HoustonRuth Ann HowardGary HubbTim HurleyJon-Barrett IngelsWyatt IrmenHeather JacksSundae Jahant-OsbornYatouze JallohEdgardo JimenezAxel JohanssonTierra JohnsonSimon JohnstonSam JuergensTheresa JulianTerry JunJordan KalmsMarvin KaplanPiotr KaszubaChandler KauffmanJoseph KauschRachel KempfKeisha KingPaul KleimanCarolyn KrasRathan Kruegerscott KushmanSteve LaMontagneAlex LaneElizabeth LangenbergLynda LembergBill LevinsonDavid LevyStephanie LittleSara LohmanMarc LottWill LowellLynne LuedersDeanna MarkoffHoward Simon MarksChris Courtney MartinTracey MayeColeman McClaryTristan McIntoshLynne McMahonRonald McQueenBrad MillerMike Mitchell JrW. Reed MoranTimmy MorganMichael Mowder, Jr.Rosie NakamuraJason NeelyScott NewellTom NguyenKelsey Nicolle ScottKatia NizicRachel NollGarrett OakleyMitch OlsonTravis OpgenorthJohn OTooleElizabeth PadillaAdam PalcherRenee PalleggiKeith ParadiseLuisa ParnesEmily PaulAndrew Pemberton-FowlerGordon PhippsLamont PierréAdnerson Pierre-GillesNoah PohlRobert PotterViveka PrabaRohan PriceRoss RaffinShiva RamanathanJon RamseyJoe RanoiaLukas RaphaelCharles ReevesLee ReinholdManny ReyMalcolm RhameSal Richardscamille Righi-PolicieuxLiz RiveraM.G. RobinsonNatalie RodriguezChris RodriguezJerell RosalesOrgena RoseJoanne RoseGeorge RubinoLeigh RuddDaniel RuebesamHal RussekJustin SchoenfelderTim-Doug Scowden-WarrenJim SeaKevin SeefriedTim SextonAllen ShadowSteve SharonJonathan SiebelLuke SilverColin SimpsonR. Ian SimpsonDavid SkeeleVeronica SlatteryBob SlusarczykAdam SlutskyCorey SnowdenTheodore SoderbergMatthew SongerJoseph SpadaroRichard SpencerSamuel SpitaleAdam StangebyE. Andre StanleyJennifer StukinChristian ThomasAlan ThornburgIan TodaryChris TolleyKimberly TompkinsVartanoush TorossianJennifer TotoWilliam ToveyKelvin TranKonstantinos TsokalisKaleb TuttleMatiÂas ValenzuelaArthur VincieJaye VinerEdward ViveretteAnnaliese Ciel WalkerDavid WarfieldGreg WayneGary WhiteChristopher Whitfield, Jr.Martha WilliamsJohnny WinninghamJulien WojtasinskiKeaton WoodenWenona WynnLuke YankeeMitch YapkoFrank ZancaBernard Zeiger