June 03, 2010

The Least Mysterious Mystery Ever

So, I was going about my normal skimming of entertainment/production articles as part of an attempt to keep up to date on my intended industry, and I came across an interesting story that kind of reminds me of the old "crime down despite rising prison population" thing. Check it out:

A quieter Memorial Day Weekend capped an unusually sleepy summer kick-off month at the domestic [box office], as May revenues came in only slightly higher than totals for March.

Twentieth Century Fox's "Avatar" carried over into 2010, earning $456.8 million during that period, while Disney's March marvel "Alice in Wonderland" grossed $293.5 million during its first month of release. "Avatar" has cumed $749.1 million domestically; "Alice," $333.2 million.

With a total of $190.5 million, four-day weekend numbers were the lowest since 2001.

Hmmmm...Hollywood isn't doing as well as it expected. What a shocking development. It's almost as if nobody has any money, and the retards the Left Coast helped send to Washington are making things even worse.

But it can't be just that, right? Let's analyze some more clues later in the article:

Paramount's comicbook sequel "Iron Man 2" launched May 7 and earned $128.1 million for a cume of $279.7 million. Par and DreamWorks Animation's 3D toon "Shrek Forever After" debuted with $70.8 million on May 21, and after topping the Memorial Day frame with $43.3 million, has cumed $146.8 million.

The holiday frame's wide bows, Warner Bros. and New Line's "Sex and the City 2" and Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," opened under industry estimates with $36.8 million and $37.8 million, respectively.

Universal's "Robin Hood" repped a considerable disappointment for the studio, given its $155 million budget, debuting with $36.1 million for a cume of $86.1 million.

How could there possibly be a problem with a lineup like this? Why, people can go see a sequel, another sequel, yet another sequel, a movie based on a video game (which, if history is any indication, virtually guarantees that it will be a masterpiece), and a movie based on an idea that's been done lots of times already in various forms!

Surely there's something even better coming up later in the season, right?

Even the month's top players, "Iron Man 2" and "Shrek Forever After," haven't lived up to their franchise predecessors.

With middling results from several of Hollywood's early summer offerings, some insiders suggest red-hot tracking for June's slate could provide a B.O. boost.

Sony's "Karate Kid" reboot bows alongside 20th Century Fox's "The A-Team" on June 11, followed a week later by Disney's 3D toon "Toy Story 3." The latest toon installment enters fertile ground left by the first two offerings, which have cumed a collective $437.4 million.

Rounding out the month on June 25 are Fox's "Knight and Day," starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, and Sony's "Grown Ups," starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James.

Summit's "Twilight: Eclipse" should perform boffo business on June 30.

You stupid teabagging rubes! How can you deny Hollywood's utter brilliance?! What gives you the right to spend your hard-earned and exorbitantly taxed money on something other than sequels, remakes, and reimaginings of ideas that have been done better by people who actually respect their audience?

And look, you can even choose from a whole two movies that are based on vaguely original ideas! That's unprecedented!


How can anyone not see the fucking problem here? There are maybe four decent films coming out of Hollywood every year, and yet they wonder why they aren't getting the returns they expected. But does it ever occur to them that if they spent less time creating lame duplicates of their previous work (which wasn't that great to begin with, in most cases) and more time actually making good movies, it might bring more people to theaters?

Of course not.

But remember, they're the Hollywood elite, and they are much smarter, richer, and better looking than you'll ever be. And if you forget, they'll remind you.

Over, and over, and over, and over again.

Is anyone out there wondering why I decided to go to New York instead of Los Angeles, by the way? Because if you just read this post, you shouldn't be.

Posted by CD at 03:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2007

Me Am Gud Movee Makur

Want to know how long I spent doing work for my film class today?

Take a guess. I'll give you a few seconds.

Okay, ready?


We got to the hotel and started setting up at 2:30 PM, and then we shot until 3:30 AM (I also did some editing on my laptop in between scenes). I then came home and worked for another 2 hours to finish editing the 21 minute rough cut that we're showing in class in...4 hours! Fun!

Sometimes, I really hate to love filmmaking. But at the same time, I'm on such a ridiculous natural high right now from the combination of last-minute editing and the fact that I'm still getting along with my group (including the previously mentioned female co-star, although I'm probably blowing that out of proportion simply because I'm not used to girls even acknowledging my existence, let alone sitting an inch away from me on a hotel couch and watching me edit...oh, hi, don't mind me; I'm just CD's old friend, False Hope) that I don't think I'll even be able to sleep.

In any case, one thing is certain:

This is the best film I have ever worked on. EVER.

UPDATE (1:00 PM)
Sweet, sweet validation. Out of the four projects being made in this class, my group's looks the best by a huge margin (it was especially great because ours was screened right after a horrible, horrible film that's essentially a dude walking down the street for 15 minutes). Acting, shooting, lighting, sound, writing...everything is better than the others. I even got some compliments specifically on my editing. Hooray for me.

Now, if only the awesomeness of this wasn't being ruined by the fact that I have a history paper to write today...fuck liberal arts.

Posted by CD at 05:45 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 02, 2007

Where Did My Weekend Go?

I just got back from another 7 hour TRF shooting session at the Holiday Inn. My eyes hurt. Not to mention my arms (holding a boom mic is hard).

In that entire time, we only shot two scenes. Setting up lights takes a while (an hour and a half, in one case).

Luckily, what we did get worked pretty well. If nothing else, this is the best looking film I've ever been part of. The acting is pretty good, too.

Also, on the social front, I've managed to make it this far without saying anything incredibly stupid that will make the rest of the group hate me, as I have a tendency to do. I even managed to have a decent on-and-off conversation with the (female) co-star of the film for almost an hour. That's practically fucking unprecedented.

I'm going to edit and then sleep for as long as possible before going to the 9:30 AM class this is due in now.

Posted by CD at 03:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2007

Hooray for TRF

So, how is this weekend treating you, SIT readers? I spent 7 hours of my Saturday in a hotel room and came home at 3 AM.

You're probably wondering why.

As I may have mentioned, I'm taking a production class this semester called Advanced Practice: Filmmaking (better known as "Senior Thesis"). My group is making a 20 minute fiction piece tentatively entitled "Stale Muffins," and it's set mostly in a motel.

However, we couldn't actually get a motel to shoot in, so we got permission to use parts of a Holiday Inn and reserved rooms for this weekend and next weekend so we can shoot. Due to the lack of time, we have to do as much as possible, so we tried to cram in a lot of stuff on the first day, although what we shot only amounts to about 3 minutes of screen time. That is the magic of film.

Of course, we spent a lot more time setting up lights and props than actually shooting. We learned that several very bright lights can make a hotel room very, very, very hot in a very short amount of time.

I'm the editor for this project, so I get to decide which shots make the cut. Of course, I got to experience the most fun part of editing when I went through and noticed some continuity issues and a couple shots that are going to have to be redone because the boom mic was in the frame.

We're shooting again on Sunday (which is...today now, I guess), and it's probably going to take even longer, especially since the scenes we're doing are in the lobby and we'll have to work around people coming in.

I should get some sleep now, because I probably won't get the chance again until Monday night. In the meantime, here's an exclusive sneak peek at a shot from Stale Muffins:

Image hosted by ImageSocket.com
(Click for full size; It's hosted offsite because the MT image uploader isn't working)

That's the main character (played by the director of the film, incidentally) jumping on a bed.

The full movie, when completed sometime in May, will probably be posted on YouTube, so I'll keep you updated. It's going to be awesome.

Posted by CD at 06:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

I Am An Idiot

So, uh...here's an important lesson I've been learning over the past few weeks:

If you're taking a screenwriting class, it's probably not the best idea to attempt to write a film where the protagonist is a defense attorney and part of the plot revolves around an important trial unless you're prepared to spend a fuckload of time researching the legal system.

What the fuck was I thinking? Every time I start to get into a groove with the plot, I'm slowed down by the realization that I don't know that much about the subjects I'm attempting to write about.

I know it's a long shot, but is anyone out there willing to help me out with this? I really could use some pointers about how to portray the life of a lawyer. You'll receive credit in the script, and maybe even on the big screen (one of the requirements of this class is to send the script to an agent or a contest, so there's a very slight chance that this may actually be made into a film someday).

I guess I'll fake my way through it until I figure out something else...

Posted by CD at 11:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

Life Lesson for this Week: Open Auditions Don't Work

Why do people say they're going to show up to something and then fail to show up?

As you may have guessed, I just got back from sitting in a classroom for four fucking hours waiting for people to come and audition for our film, but once again, we got nothing. Our only option now is to try and recruit freshmen from TRF intro classes. Hoofuckingray.

I hate people.

Posted by CD at 07:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Well, That Was A Waste of Time

I just got back from the audition I mentioned in the last post. Or at least it was supposed to be an audition. Those generally go more smoothly when actors actually show up. This one, however, consisted of the three of us sitting in a classroom for hours watching TV on the projector screen (while I was there, we got through Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and part of Back to the Future).

Between 5 PM and 9 PM, nobody came in. We still have no cast for this film. We're having another "audition" between 3 and 7 tomorrow, and at least two people are supposed to show up, but...man. This is kind of depressing. Out of 15,000 students, you'd think at least two of them (the main roles) would be available for this.

Posted by CD at 09:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 13, 2007

Have I Mentioned That Syracuse Is Awesome?

I don't think I've mentioned this, but I'm taking a course this semester called "Master Class in Screenwriting." It's the most advanced screenwriting course offered by Newhouse, and since I apparently got an A on my last script (which I should probably post at some point), I feel like I'm ready for it.

Anyway, one of the cool parts of the class is that visiting screenwriters and producers come in to talk and read students' scripts. According to an email I got from the professor a few hours ago, one of these visitors for this semester is Chris Viscardi, co-creator of The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

If you don't understand why this is fucking amazing, you probably didn't grow up in the '90s.

Posted by CD at 08:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 06, 2006

Movie Time

So, I said I was going to post the film at 8 PM. That didn't happen. The explanation: I was going to stick to the original plan, but as you may have noticed, the site was down for a few hours today (along with the rest of MuNu). Long story short, I started playing guitar to pass the time while I waited for the blog to be available, and I got a little carried away (no, I wasn't actually playing for that entire time, but you get the idea). On the plus side, I wrote a couple pretty cool riffs and a solo that I might share at some point. But that's for another time when I'm not supposed to be studying.

Anyway, on to the post I was going to write...

I usually take up a big chunk of these posts with explanation before I link to the actual media. I've decided to link to the film first this time and write the backstory in the extended entry, which will let me really get into detail. A couple really brief notes:

1. This is a 65 MB file, which is as small as I could make it without losing too much quality, so you should probably download it.

2. The film was shot in widescreen mode, and I couldn't get iMovie to convert it properly, which is why everyone looks a little skinny.

Anyway, check it out:

My Sister's House

Remember, criticism, both positive and negative, is always welcome.

Now, join me in the extended entry if you wish to know a lot (and I do mean a lot) more about it (WARNING: Contains minor spoilers)...

For those of you who may just be stopping by for the first time for whatever reason (as if anyone actually reads this blog anyway), this was a project for a college course called TRF 521: Dramatic Production. We shoot everything on digital video, but we call it "film" because it sounds cooler, and most of us taking this class actually do want to work in the film industry (I'm personally gearing my ambitions toward screenwriting and editing).

The production process went through several stages. First, everyone in the class wrote a script, and then we chose six scripts to be made into short films by six groups of three students each. My script didn't get picked (which is good, because it was really terrible), and I ended up in the group working with a script called "The Hitchhiker." The other two members of the group (I'll use the initial identification system here) were JK, a rather sarcastic guy who is also involved in acting, and BR, another part-time actor who is also very, very gay.

From there, our job was to revise the script, and JK ended up pretty much rewriting it from scratch, then me and BR put a few finishing touches on it, and I ran the whole thing through Final Draft so it would be properly formatted.

The result of all this is that, other than the very basic plot elements of hitchhiking and mistaken identities, "My Sister's House" bears very little resemblance to the script that inspired it. We inserted an entirely new story on top of the original, and although some of the characters survived the rewrite, the only one whose name wasn't changed is Lucy.

Once we had a script, we had to do casting. This was...interesting. I mentioned that both JK and BR take acting classes, but for some reason, only one of the people we auditioned (the guy who ended up playing Will) is actually an actor. In fact, we mostly took advantage of the fact that BR is an RA (had enough abbreviations yet?) and auditioned people from his floor. Surprisingly, some of them impressed us, and the actresses playing Lucy and Gerri got into the cast as a result.

Shooting was next, which took about a month. We switched roles between director (working with actors), director of photography (camera operator), and sound engineer (boom mic operator/rough cut editor) throughout the project. I'll go into detail about my contributions a little later. The entire process went surprisingly smoothly, and as with any project like this, there were some memorable moments. I guess I could've written about them as they happened, but...too late. I don't feel like getting into specifics now, either. Moving on...

The final stage was editing, which I have been writing about. We do everything with Avid Xpress Pro, which is what a lot of Hollywood editors use. I can say, however, that having used both Avid and Final Cut Pro, I prefer Final Cut. Avid has a bunch of little quirks that can quickly drive you insane if you don't know what you're doing (like the fact that you have to zoom in on individual frames to do a decent insert edit). Still, both are pretty cool. Aside from the tension that occurs when three people have to be in a small room together for hours at a time (including BR accusing me of giving him "attitude" whenever I tried to ask him a damn question), this went pretty well, and we printed to tape on Thursday morning. Which then led to...

The screening. On Friday afternoon, the class, some of their friends, and a bunch of actors from the projects gathered in a Newhouse lecture room to watch the completed films. The slight problem (for me, at least) was that the screening was at 4 PM, and I had a poli-sci final at 2:45. However, I blazed through it with single-minded determination (seriously, that Blue Book was filling up so fast that I thought I might have been imagining the whole thing), and I managed to finish in about an hour and make it to Newhouse with several minutes to spare (of course, the screening ended up starting 15 minutes late anyway, so...there you go).

Aside from the fact that the room had an extremely fucked up projector that put a bright green tint on everything and totally ruined any and all dark/night scenes, the screening went pretty well, and I'd say our film, while not the best, was at least one of the top three out of all six. If nothing else, we had the most consistent audio levels (here's a tip for aspiring filmmakers: It's generally a bad idea to have a conversation scene in which one actor's lines are as loud as hell, and the other's are barely audible. Just because you shot them separately doesn't mean you can't balance it out in editing. Thank you).

So, that's the story of "My Sister's House" and how it came to be what it is today.

Now, since this is my self-centered blog and I can write whatever I want, here's a list of scenes and what I did for each one. You'll notice that I was behind the camera for many of the best looking scenes. This is not a coincidence. Anyway:

1 - Hitchhiking/opening credits: Director of photography, credit design

2 - Driving: Director of photography (although the "eyes in the rear-view mirror" shot was done by JK)

3 - Showing Will the house: Director of photography

4 - The note/throwing out the models: Director

5 - First flashback: Sound engineer, first editor

6 - Dumpster/diary: Director of photography

7 - Second flashback: Sound engineer, first editor

8 - The date: Director, set up the really cool "Lucy walks away" shot at the end

9 - Third flashback: Sound engineer, first editor

10 - Gerri comes home/models are gone: Director of photography

11 - The interrogation: Sound engineer, first editor

12 - Montage: Director for Lucy scenes, sound engineer for Gerri/Michelle scenes. Also, I closed the door at the end.

13 - Closing credits: Um...I sat there and watched BR make them. Yeah.

Finally, a random fun fact: I'm the only member of the production team who doesn't have a cameo in the film (JK is the other guy in the dumpster scene, and BR is the guy in the background in the second flashback). I wanted to be the bartender in the club scene, but the rest of the group shot down the idea. Bastards.

Posted by CD at 03:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006

Out of Context Quote of the Day

During part 1 of the marathon editing session this morning, one of the guys I'm working with said the following:

"It's not that hard to shoot homeless people!"

Tell me, if you didn't know that he was talking about film, wouldn't that freak you out a bit?

I don't know...maybe I just find it funny because I only slept for about an hour last night this morning and everything seems strangely hilarious to me now.

(Incidentally, our brilliant student film, previously known as "Drifters" but now officially entitled "My Sister's House," will be done in a couple days, and I'll try to upload it as soon as I get a chance. We have a really good feeling about this thing.)

Posted by CD at 02:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 03, 2006

Fun Movie Fact for Today

This is for anyone who has seen the movie Surviving the Game (you know, the one where a bunch of crazy guys chase Ice-T through the woods).

My TRF professor was the associate editor for that film, and she told us today that in post-production, some of the crew members started calling it "Surviving the Shame," and the first time it was screened in public, she kept turning to people around her and saying "it's not that bad!"

This has been your fun movie fact for today.

Posted by CD at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2006

Movie Review: "Brokeback Mountain"

Yeah, you read that right. I saw the "gay cowboy movie" (Not That There's Anything Wrong With That™) this afternoon, and now I'm going to review it.

First of all, I didn't watch BBM by choice. Someone in my TRF class managed to obtain a DVD meant for reviewers, and the professor decided that showing it to us in its entirety (the class is three hours long) was more important than screening the montages we've been working on for the past couple weeks.

Have I mentioned how much I love college, by the way?

Anyway, since I am a filmmaker, and I need a reason to procrastinate something to write about, I'm going to review the movie. Check it out in the extended entry...if you're not an EVIL, BIGOTED HOMOPHOBE!!!!11!!!!

...Sorry, I don't know where that came from. Anyway...

Basic plot synopsis: Two sheepherders, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, work together in the mountains for a couple weeks and alternate between being friends and trying to kill each other, then get really drunk one night and somehow end up having violent gay sex in a tent.

After this, they both go home, marry women, and have children, but they continue getting together for sex every few months. Because every other character in this movie apparently wants nothing more than to bash him some ho-mos (there's a semi-graphic flashback involving a dude being dragged by his genitals with a truck), they have to keep their relationship a secret.

Eventually, Ennis gets a divorce, and Jack cheats on his wife with men and women for several years until three fellow ranchers smash his face with a tire iron and leave him for dead. After this, Ennis finds out that his daughter is getting married. The end.

Now, that doesn't seem like a lot of plot, right? Seems like it could be told in about 90 minutes. But that's not what happens, as this movie is excruciatingly long, slow, and boring. Compared to BBM, even a ridiculously tedious film like Napoleon Dynamite seems like a non-stop thrill ride.

For example, the first 30 minutes of the film basically consist of the following (in about this order):

- Sheep
- Mumbled dialogue
- Sheep again
- Wide-angle shots of mountains
- More sheep
- Mumbled dialogue that includes the word "shit" several times
- Even more sheep
- More wide-angle shots of mountains
- More mumbled dialogue
- Still more sheep
- Mountains again
- Mutilated sheep
- Even more mumbled dialogue
- OMFG 2 D00DS K1SS1NG!!1!!
- A few more sheep
- "Shit...shit...shit..."
- A few more mountains

After this, the rest of the film is basically a chronicle of Ennis and Jack's various deceptions and implied sexual trysts. And in the spirit of the first act, everything that follows is boring as hell.

I've basically described the plot already: Ennis and Jack tell their wives that they're going fishing, when in reality, they're going up to Brokeback Mountain and getting busy. In the butt. If you know what I mean.

There's really no reason to elaborate any more than that, because the synopsis covers pretty much every major event. I'm more interested in the implications of the plot.

I'm aware that this movie is supposedy "controversial," but I really don't see it. On one hand, it's been portrayed as some sort of gay propaganda, but if that's the best they can do, then I don't think anyone should be worried. The "cowboys" (who, interestingly enough, never even go near any cows) seem more bisexual than gay, and there's not even that much explicit content (both sexes are shown making use of carnal knowledge, but there are more boobies than weeners, if you get my drift).

The little gay sex that is shown is portrayed as rather rough and unpleasant, and Jack and Ennis seem to take a punch in the face to mean "let's get it on." Not very effective propaganda, if you ask me. I didn't feel magically compelled to start wearing pink tank-tops and listening to show tunes or anything. On the whole (heh, see what I did there?), the film hardly tries to convince people that the gay lifestyle is valid, other than by invoking pity/empathy/etc. Which brings me to the next point...

The other side of the controversy coin seems to be that BBM is somehow a powerful tool for social change because it points out how horribly gays are treated in this country. But that, much like a lot of this movie, is bullshit. It takes place mostly in the 1970s, so the attitudes portrayed within can hardly be said to represent the thinking of today. The only external conflict between the main characters and "society" that stems from their having teh ghey is the (valid, within the framework of the plot) fear of being killed by the dozens of rednecks who populate the area. Everything else is entirely their fault.

Think about it. They start off as two unmarried dudes working alone in the wilderness, and they eventually discover that they enjoy engaging in buckfuttery with one another. However, they both decide that they "ain't queer" and go their separate ways, choosing to marry and start families.

Again, no visible pressure compels them to do this. They make the choice to live as heterosexuals, then act like they're being oppressed when those choices lead to strife. Even if it wasn't intended, the main theme of the film ends up not being "homosexuality is okay" or "homophobia is evil," but "deception can fuck up your life."

Jack and Ennis lie to their wives, then Ennis's wife finds out (very early, in fact) what he's really up to and refuses to admit it until years later. In an early moment when Jack's boss (who witnessed one of their get-togethers) tells him he can't work on Brokeback Mountain anymore, the implication is that it's because he's gay, but it's also because some of the sheep were attacked by a coyote while they were neglecting their duties.

The real moral of the story: "To thine own self be true." If both characters had accepted who they were instead of entangling their wives and children in their web of lies, they probably would have been better off. But that wouldn't make for a very interesting film, would it?

I had heard a lot about the cinematography in BBM before seeing it, and I will admit that a lot of the shots are very well-done. However, this doesn't validate the forced plot or the agonizingly slow pace. You can spend hours trying to take the perfect photo of a piece of shit, but in the end (see, I did it again!), you've still just taken a photo of a piece of shit.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Posted by CD at 06:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

Back In Action

As I've mentioned, I'm taking another film production class this semester. The current project is a one-minute montage.

It took us almost four hours to shoot it today.

Good times.

Posted by CD at 04:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 06, 2006

I Go to School With Strange People

Good times in TRF today. We were learning how to use the new cameras (which are freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeakin' sweet), and the professor was seeing how much we knew. The following was an exchange between her and a student I will refer to as JF (not completely verbatim):

PROFESSOR: This is the diopter. Who knows what a diopter is?
JF: Yeah, Schwarzenegger plays one in his next movie. He's got a big claw and everything. It's ill.
CLASS: Stunned silence/nervous laughter
JF: ...I was trying to be funny. Didn't work out. You know...three hour class...just trying to lighten the mood...

For the record, the diopter is the part of the viewfinder that adjusts the focus of the eyepiece itself.

The dude who said the Schwarzenegger thing is basically the college version of the class clown, so I may have some more quotes from him in the near future...

Posted by CD at 04:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 15, 2005

Action News

As I mentioned the other day, I recently finished writing my first real screenplay, "Action News." It's for a screenwriting class, so I had to make it...you know...good. The Bob and Joe scripts were just for fun, but this thing...man. I can't believe I pulled it off...

Can you tell by my relative incoherence that I'm ridiculously stressed right now?

Anyway, I'm putting the script on the blog for anyone who's interested. As usual, all feedback is greatly appreciated. I know you don't all have time to read a full-length script, but since I don't really blog much anymore...this should hold you for a while. Those of you who read the preview I posted a couple months ago may be especially interested (wait...did anyone even read that?).

A few notes, as usual:

1. Like I said, this is the real thing. It's written in a style pretty much identical to what Hollywood producers see every day.

2. Unlike the rather silly Bob and Joe series, this is somewhere between tragedy and black (the color, not the ethnicity) comedy.

3. The main story is about media sensationalism, but there's a subtle B-story containing a healthy dose of political satire. I don't think anyone at school has caught it, but it should be obvious to anyone who frequents this site. Hint: One character represents Howard Dean. I'll let you figure out who it is...

4. It's rated R for adult language and some violence (no sex/nudity, though. Sorry).

5. Most of the character names are totally arbitrary, but three main characters (try to figure out which ones!) have symbolic names. I just wanted to point that out because I did a lot of research to come up with them.

6. I think Earl and Harriet Stanford are the best characters I've ever created. You'll understand when you get to page 12.

7. I worked really hard on this, probably at the expense of my political science and philosophy grades, so...seriously, let me know what you think.

Anyway, here it is, in PDF or RTF format:


Check it out, yo.

Posted by CD at 04:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 14, 2005


It took the entire night...and I had to put everything else on hold...but my script is finished. 97 pages of pure awesome. Expect it to be posted sometime Thursday.

And now, I must reflect on just how screwed I am, since I have a 10 page essay exam due on Friday afternoon that I haven't started writing, and a huge final exam on Friday night that I haven't studied for.


Posted by CD at 03:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

More Fun With Marxism

I think it's great that my TV/film criticism class includes several readings on entertainment from a Marxist perspective. Really.

According to the essay I'm reading right now, the male characters on shows like "The A-Team" and "Magnum, P.I." "can be seen as literally embodying patriarchal capitalism," and the lack of female main characters in these shows "represents the suppression and devaluation of feminine characteristics in patriarchal constructions of masculinity."

Here's another fun excerpt:

The penis is the natural sign of maleness; the phallus is the cultural sign of masculinity -- the totality of meanings, rights, and power that a culture ascribes to maleness. Hence these shows, in their role as "masculine definers," are full of phallic symbols, particularly guns as agents of male power (think how rare it is for a female on TV to use a gun successfully, particularly to kill a male).

Clearly, this essay was written before "24" existed.

I have to take a test on this bullshit in a couple days...

Posted by CD at 05:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 28, 2005

Screenwriting Thoughts

Coming up with names for all your characters is frickin' hard.

Posted by CD at 09:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 18, 2005

Reading Material

Okay, here's the deal: I have a philosophy exam tomorrow morning, followed by a huge (50% of my grade) TRF exam on Thursday afternoon, so I'll be studying a lot in the next couple days. Then, on Friday afternoon, I'm going to Pittsburgh with the marching band, and I won't be back until Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Needless to say, I won't be blogging much.

However, I thought I'd leave you with something to read. As you may know, I'm writing a full-length screenplay for one of my TRF classes, and at this point, I've got 15 pages completed. My professor and classmates have given me overwhelmingly positive reviews so far, but there's no such thing as too much feedback, so I'm putting the pages here for you to read.

A couple quick notes:

1) This is a first draft.
2) Obviously, it's not done yet, but when it is, I'll make that available as well.
3) This is very, very, very different from the Bob and Joe scripts. It's dark satire rather than light comedy, and it's written in the standard Hollywood style rather than the narrative, made-to-read format I used for B&J. In other words, a lot more is left to the imagination.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think:

RTF version
PDF version

Posted by CD at 08:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

Movie Time!

It's once again time to share the fruits of my academic labor with you, my loyal readers. As you probably know, the final TRF 255 project was fiction, and I worked on a film called "Pinochle." It's about a convenience store robbery, but the title does have a lot of significance. You'll have to watch if you want to find out what it means.

Now, as usual, here are some notes:

As I've mentioned, I was the director of photography for the project. This means that I was behind the camera for almost every shot (including all the hand-held ones, other than the close-ups during the dialogue in the middle), so when you see a nicely framed shot or a cool angle, just remember: That was probably my work (except the very last scene, because I wasn't there that day). I think that's enough bragging.

...Or is it? I also have a brief on-camera appearance as "Customer 2," the scared guy holding an upside-down box of Lucky Charms. Again, you'll understand when you see it.

Want to have some fun while you watch? Then you can play an exciting game called "Spot the Continuity Errors." When four college sophomores make a film, and three of them are playing lead roles in that film, they tend to miss a few details, like making sure that certain objects remain in the same location between shots. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try to spot all the mistakes and inconsistencies. There's also one (and only one) shot where the microphone strays into the frame.

If you do spot the continuity errors, just remember: I had nothing to do with the editing of this film. I asked to help, but the director said I had done enough, so I didn't get involved in post-production at all. I personally think I could've done a better job than the editors, but you can see for yourself.

On a final note, I think that my documentary, "Against the Wind," was better than "Pinochle." That could be because I spent 16 hours editing the documentary, and only about 8 hours shooting this film, but...yeah.

Anyway, that's more than enough introduction. Download (for bandwidth's sake) the link below, and you can watch "Pinochle" on your computer. Isn't technology great? It's about nine minutes long, and almost all of them rock.

Oh, and reviews/criticism are more than welcome. At least let me know if you watched it. If nobody's seeing these things, I'm not going to keep posting them. That is all.

Click here to download "Pinochle"

Posted by CD at 12:25 AM | Comments (2)

December 15, 2004

Hooray for Filmmaking: Part 4

Guess what? I'm done with all my final exams! Allow me to celebrate...


There. Anyway, I've got big news. I now possess a copy of "Pinochle," the fiction film I've been talking about for a while, and I am going to upload it to the blog. But...

...You don't get to see it yet. BWAHAHAHA!!!! I'm heading back home for Christmas sometime tomorrow, and I'll post the film before I leave. That way, there will still be content while I travel. Hooray.

And elsewhere in the "big news" department, there may be a great new blog hitting the 'sphere in the near future...but I can't reveal any more information yet. Heh.

Apparently, I won't be leaving until 2:30 PM or later tomorrow, so I'll just go ahead and post the film around midnight tonight. Be ready.

Posted by CD at 03:56 PM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2004

Even More Entertainment

There's a new episode of Null & Void (that I had virtually nothing to do with) available here, if anyone's interested.


Posted by CD at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2004

Hooray for Filmmaking: Part 3; A.K.A. Your Daily Dose of Incoherent Ramblings

NOTE: This post is extremely long, but you should read the whole thing for 3 reasons:

1. I have to study for finals, so I probably won't be posting much for the next few days.
2. I'm trying to develop my comedy writing skills for next semester, which will manifest itself in my blogging, starting now.
3. My writing is just that freakin' good. No explanations needed.

On to the post. Seriously, read it. It's all the free ice cream you're going to get for a while.

Wow. I just sat through 2 hours of student films, followed by 2.5 hours of HillTV productions. I'm a little exhausted. But since this blog seems to be slowly transforming into a LiveJournal (minus the unreadable fonts, omnipresent emoticons, and quasi-suicidal poetry..."OMG, I D3V0UR T3H D@RKN355 @ND 5H1T 0UT T3H 5H@D0WZ! LOL!"), allow me to tell the fascinating story of my Friday night.

I began my evening with a rain-soaked journey down to the Carrier Dome so I could return my marching band uniform. Yeah, the band is going to Orlando in a couple weeks to play at the Champs Sports Bowl, but...f**k that. It's Christmas vacation, not a friggin' field trip. Marching band ends after final exams in my world. Besides, I almost died of dehydration last time I was in Orlando (literally; I thought I was going to drop dead in the middle of the Magic Kingdom), thanks to that friggin' cartoon Communist Mickey Mouse and his ridiculously overpriced bottled water. I'd rather not bring back those memories.

Anyway, there was nobody in the Dome other than the basketball team, so I dropped off my uniform in the equipment room and got the crap out of there. After that, it was time for another fun-filled walk through the pouring December rain as I ventured down to Newhouse for the big event: The final screening of fiction projects made by students in Tula Goenka's TRF 255 class. Good times.

The premiere started out with pizza and cake. Yay. Everyone ate pizza and cake and was very happy and full and ready for movies. And then bunnies danced on rainbows while butterflies sang lullabies into magical marigold microphones. Or some stupid hippy crap like that.

...I don't know where that came from, but I assure you that I have not ingested any illicit substances...although the oregano on that pizza did look a little suspicious... ... ... Dude! I can totally, like, hear the voice of the Milky Way, dude! It's saying..."I'm a galaxy, not a candy bar. Don't try to wrap me in foil, because I'll just set it on fire with my billions of stars!" D00D!!!

...I mentioned that I was exhausted, right? I think I'll go to the extended entry to protect The Children™ from any negative thoughts. Because I care about the youth of this great country.

At 6 PM, it was time for the show to start. There were about 100 people there, half of them being actual students from this class. The rest of the audience was made up of friends, actors, other film students, and probably a couple homeless guys who came for the free pizza.

There were ten films in all (and although they were on digital video, I call them "films" rather than "videos" because "film" is both cooler and shorter), and I had only worked on one of them, so I knew that at least 1/10 of the show would rock, but I was curious about the others. I actually have a program from the event, so I'll summarize each film and give a brief review...which basically means that I'm about to make fun of my peers and their artistic abilities. Which is always entertaining.

1. The Houseguest: This was about a guy who goes on a date, lets the girl come into his house, and then proceeds to watch her take over the place and mess up his stuff. It was decent, and the acting was good, but the screenwriter needed to take out some redundancy. For example:

WUSSY GUY: The room looks so different.
PSYCHOTIC GIRLFRIEND: Oh, I didn't hear you come in.
WUSSY GUY: The room looks...
PSYCHOTIC GIRLFRIEND: You don't have to say it. It looks great!

Actually, he already did say that it looked different. Moron. Other than that, great film.

2. Two Strikes: The log line of this one is "Two college students discover the joy in teamwork when they plan to oust their unusual Resident Advisor." The actual plot was more like "Three film students hatch a plot to show simulated masturbation to an auditorium full of people." Because that's what made the RA in the film "unusual." He was downloading objectionable materials from the Internets, as we could tell by the actor's...facial expressions. And the fact that he was running down the hall with no pants on. Yeah, just be glad you weren't there. It was hilarious, though.

3. The Chokin' Kind: This film was about an extremely effeminate guy (quote: "But you know Friday night is our night!") who still manages to exercise complete control over his girlfriend via a necklace he gave her. But one night, she gets drunk, confesses her hatred of his dominating ways while intoxicated, and throws the necklace away when she sobers up and remembers what happened. Moral of the story: Alcohol will make your life better. Yay, college!

4. The Wedding Date: Plot summary: A girl needs to find a date for a wedding she's been invited to, but her friend keeps setting her up with crazy guys who enjoy eating fake leaves, smelling their own shoes, and...biology. Yeah. She rejects one of the guys because he dares to enjoy dissections. The. Horror.

This film was part funny and part "holy crap, make it stop before I poke my own eyes out with a dull spork," but it was kind of entertaining because the lead actress was one of those stereotypical ghetto girls. Example:

GIRL: Hell naw, I ain't goin' out wit' yo crazy-ass friends!

Oh no you di-in't! Testify, sistah friend!

(/white boy from PA trying to sound remotely cool)

5. Physical Challenge: This thing was great. It's a mockumentary about a guy who lost on Double Dare in 1989, and his quest to find Marc Summers and beg him for another chance. He trains by going out in the rain and trying to fill a plastic cup to the red line. There were a lot of great moments, but my favorite line was: "I can't go in that room 'cuz the guys in there will shoot me with paintball guns." It's funnier if you've seen the film, but...you haven't. Ya b@stards.

6. The Gatekeeper: Interesting film. It took elements of It's A Wonderful Life and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to create a story about a guy who dies in a car accident, but doesn't realize it until a guy who looks like Silent Bob tells him what's going on. Good acting, very emotional plot, nice use of music...and they did a transparency effect that I didn't think was possible on our editing equipment. But this is Syracuse, so I guess we get all the good A/V stuff. Heh heh. The only problem was the lapse into bad acting/writing in the big flashback scene:

GIRL: I want you to promise me you'll never forget this moment.
GUY: Okay. I'll never forget.
GIRL: Good!

That's it?! That's what created the eternal bond that couldn't even be broken by death itself? What a douche.

7. Pinochle: This film rocked! It's about a guy who goes into a convenience store to use the bathroom and ends up having a life-changing experience after a robber comes in and starts stealing money and Cow Tales. Also, there was a brief cameo by this awesome guy with a box of Lucky Charms. Man, I wish I could be as cool and handsome as that guy...oh, wait, I am, because that guy was me, and Pinochle was my group's project. I can't tell you any more, because I'm planning on uploading it to the blog. Be ready.

8. Motiveless Crime: Basic story: A jealous guy thinks his girlfriend is having an affair with his ambiguously homosexual best friend, so he steals the guy's inhaler, causing him to die of an acute asthma attack. Then the girlfriend dies when she gets distracted while driving and collides with the ambulance that was coming to get the asthmatic guy. You'll notice that I just told the whole story in a couple sentences, but this group apparently felt it necessary to show the emotions of the "murderer" through a montage of about six quadrillion extreme close-ups and shots of him pacing around his room. Wow, how exciting. Also, this contained more sloppy writing:

REPORTER: Two Windham Hall residents were involved in fatal incidences that may be related.

"Incidences?" "INCIDENCES?" Who the f**k says that? Sometimes, I really think our children isn't learning.

9. The Unconscious Reconsidered: Odd story by some students who apparently set out to give the audience a seizure. It's about a guy who falls asleep while studying for a philosophy exam about premonitions (wow, no foreshadowing there). He then has a weird dream where his friend is about to get hit by a car, and the editors show that they know how to use the video effects in Final Cut Pro. Remember that seizure thing?

The next morning, the guy is walking to class when he suddenly realizes that everything around him is the same as in the dream. He tells his friend that something bad is going to happen, but the friend mocks him by running out into the middle of the street. The guy then tries to stop his friend and is almost hit by a car in the process. The screenwriter used the "Pound It Into Their Heads" technique to emphasize his main point:

DREAM GUY: I told you something was going to happen.
FRIEND: Did you really know it was going to happen, or did you make it happen?

Remember, kids: Unrealistic dialogue gives kittens cancer. I don't think you want that. And if you do...then you're a sick, sick person.

Oh, and the shirtless guy was in this one. He played the dream guy's roommate, and once again, he appeared without a shirt. I worry about people sometimes.

10. The Sweater: A college student receives a crappy sweater as a gift from her grandma, so she throws it out the window, and a blatant ripoff of the crackhead from "Chappelle's Show" catches it. However, trouble arises when the girl finds out that her grandma is coming to visit and wants to know if she likes her gift. The girl is then forced to track down the crackhead and convince him to give the sweater back, which she does by buying him a $400 leather jacket. Unfortunately, her grandma calls again to tell her that she sent the wrong box (it was supposed to contain cookies), and she should just "throw that old rag out the window." When she does this (again), the crackhead catches it (again). OH, SNAP!

After this, there was a big round of applause, assorted congratulations, and other revelry. Also, Professor Goenka forced me to give her a hug before I left. I was actually surprised by this, considering she's a kool-aid liberal, and I wore a Bush/Cheney sticker to her class on Election Day. Hmm. Maybe I should check to make sure she didn't plant some kind of Moveon.org neocon tracker on me. On the other hand, she is the professor who said "not all Republicans are evil." I guess I'm one of the good ones or something.

Following the TRF event of the semester, I headed over to the student center for the HillTV Entertainment Department screening. That's right: Another couple hours of watching student-produced material. I freakin' love this school. And I'm not being sarcastic. SU is proof that dreams can come true.

Anyway, I walked down to the Jabberwocky Café for the screening, where Suzy, our entertainment director, was making people take raffle tickets. We had an interesting exchange:

CD: Hey, Suzy.
SUZY: You grew a beard.
CD: Yes I did.

I haven't mentioned that I'm growing a beard again, have I? Well, see for yourself! Syracuse = cold, and facial hair = warmth. Do the math...wait, I just did the math. Never mind.

I took my raffle tickets (more on that later), found a seat, and waited around looking cool for a few minutes while other people showed up. The screening started with Over the Hill, the SU version of the Daily Show. They screened the episode where they made fun of Chancellor Cantor ("Chancy Nancy"), so it was fun to watch.

After this, Suzy held the first raffle, and lo and behold, I friggin' won an authentic script from Charmed (Season 4 - Episode 16: "The Fifth Halliwheel"). Woo. Hoo.

Next up was Null and Void, the insanely funny sketch comedy show that I technically work for, but don't get credit for because I never go to the meetings. This was an awesome show centered around "Country Cat," a cat who sells corn and locks people in a dungeon/kills them outright if they refuse to buy it. I don't know where they come up with these things, but I do know that marijuana is often involved (believe me, I've seen it). Again, let's hear it for college.

The third show on the agenda was Syracuse Live. If you don't know what this show is by now, please start paying more attention to my posts. Anyway, as I was watching, I realized something: Syracuse Live is the black sheep of HillTV. This friggin' show is so unprofessional and lame, it's embarrassing. But I'm staying with it, because I feel that it's my responsibility to somehow help improve the show. I don't know why I feel that way, but I do. Fixer-uppers can become successful with a little hard work...and possibly new hosts who can deliver a decent monologue and conduct an interview without saying "like" ten times per sentence.

Finally, we watched Syracuse After Hours. This is a talk/sketch comedy show that uses a lot of pseudo-improvisation and cruel humor. Also, this particular episode featured the writer/director of "Pinochle" as a wine-peddling Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's hilarious. I have to work with these people. On the other hand, they made fun of other religions as well (and Kwanzaa), particularly by referring to a dreidel as a "Jew spinner." And the host of the show is Jewish. I don't even know what to think anymore...

After this, I walked back to my dorm and got to watch drunk Chimps violating quiet hours. One guy was falling-down drunk. He literally fell down because he was so drunk. I love my floor. Really.

Anyway, you know what happened after that. I typed this entry, and then you read it and marveled at my command of the English language. Fear me, for I shall destroy you with literary genius.

And with that, I will descend into the depths of the hell known as "studying for final exams." Later, loyal VRWC minions.

Posted by CD at 02:33 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2004

New Entertainment

There's a new episode of Syracuse Live online. You can check it out here. If nothing else, you have to watch the MC Goldie Wilson segment (including the interview). Funniest thing EVER.

Like I mentioned last month, I was the floor director for this episode ( I'm in the credits! ),
so I was responsible for letting the hosts know how much time they had, etc. That's kind of important. As you can see, there were no major problems except for the fact that the hosts are...well, not entertaining. We're working on it.

(Don't worry; the show won't suck as much next semester. I'll figure something out.)

Posted by CD at 04:47 PM | Comments (6)

December 07, 2004

Hooray for Filmmaking: Part 2

I got to see the rough cut of the fiction project today. It's freakin' awesome! It's got comedy, drama, suspense, a twist ending, and some really nice camera work by yours truly. Heh heh. I'm excited.

The final screening is on Friday night, so I'll have access to the tape after that. I'd like to put it online like I did with the documentary. However...

For that project, everyone in it signed a release giving us permission to use footage of them for any purpose. This project didn't work that way, and a couple of the actors are really self-conscious, sometimes to the point where they can't even watch the scenes they're in. This is what happens when film students get in front of the camera.

Anyway, I'm not sure if they'd be too happy about the film being on the Internet, but since we're screening it in front of 50-100 people this weekend, I doubt they'd mind a dozen more seeing it. And that's a generous estimate. Besides, what they don't know can't hurt them...right?

I'll have to think about this one.

Posted by CD at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2004

Hooray for Filmmaking!

I'm going to be shooting scenes for the new TRF project for about seven hours today. Yes, you read that right. Seven. Hours. This is why Newhouse only accepts 300 people a year. You have to be frickin' serious. And totally insane.

Anyway, if you want new content before Friday, you'll probably have to provide it, preferably by commenting on the post below about legislating morality that took me an hour to write.


Five. Hours. That's how long it took. From 12 PM to about 5, we shot non-stop. No lunch break or anything. Just shooting. And this was for a scene that's only four minutes long.

I understand now why feature length films take over a year to produce. Holy crap.

I was behind the camera most of the time, but I do have a brief appearance where I drop a box of Lucky Charms in a terrified manner. Maybe I can upload this thing when it's done next weekend.

Posted by CD at 01:46 AM | Comments (7)

November 21, 2004

It Begins Again

Guess what starts today? That's right: A NEW TRF PROJECT!!!!!1!!1!11!!

This one's a five minute fiction film. My group is doing a story about a holdup at a convenience store, with a surprise ending that changes the meaning of the whole thing. It should be good.

Shooting begins at 3 PM. I'm the DP (director of photography) for this one, which means I get to run the camera and make sure all the shots look good. Yay.

Oh, and I'm not working with the guy who takes his shirt off this time. I'm kinda happy about that.

Posted by CD at 01:44 PM | Comments (4)

November 15, 2004

No Shirt, No Problem

Those of you who watched my documentary (and if you haven't watched it...why not?) may be curious about where the name of the "production company" came from. Read on and be enlightened (I'll put it in the extended entry)...

I mentioned in the post that there's a story behind the name, and it involves a member of our three person production team. I'll just refer to him here as "SJ" (of course, you could easily find out what that stands for by watching the credits of the video, but for the sake of consistency, I'm sticking with the abbreviation).

Anyway, the documentary was the third project of the semester. I also worked with SJ on the first one, which was a two-minute fiction piece. The basic story: Two college students are supposed to meet before class, but one of them forgets and goes straight to the classroom, then the other student walks in and is shocked to see his friend already there. Pretty simple, right?

Well, for this particular project, SJ decided to play the part of the student who remembered to wait, so at one point, we had to shoot him walking into a classroom and looking surprised. However, in the middle of shooting it, he came up with an...interesting idea. The conversation went something like this (no, it's not verbatim. As if you didn't know.):

SJ: Hey, wouldn't it be funny if I took my clothes off before I walked in?
CD: What?
SJ: Yeah, then when we screen the dailies, there'll just be a random shot of me walking in naked!
CD: You're not serious, are you?
SJ: Wait...how about if I just take off my shirt? Yeah! Get the camera ready!
CD: You're seriously going to do it?
SJ: (takes off his shirt) Okay, I'm gonna come in. Are you recording?

So we ended up shooting him walking into the room without a shirt. And then screening it in front of 20 people. That became kind of an inside joke, but it's not the end of the story.

You see, the second project was a persuasive piece, and SJ's group did a parody of the Budweiser "real men of genius" commercials. Their subject was "Mr. Overactive Perspirator," the guy who always sweats. SJ played said perspirator in the commercial, and one of the shots showed him playing basketball without a shirt. So he was now 2 for 2 in the "shirtless TRF project appearances" department.

Do you see where this is going?

SJ wanted to find a way to appear with his shirt off in the documentary. I actually had to talk him out of it by finding a way to at least refer to the joke. The answer? "No Shirt, No Problem Productions." I designed the logo and everything just so he would keep his friggin' shirt on for one project. It was either that, or go with his idea of appearing in the background of Gary's concert without a shirt.

Aren't you glad you know the backstory now?

(On a side note, SJ and I both have very brief on-camera appearances in the documentary, but I'm not going to tell you where they are. Yet.)

Posted by CD at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)

November 14, 2004

I Have A Strange Life

Interesting day today. I was in the TV studio for most of the afternoon as we taped the new episode of Syracuse Live. I was the floor director for this one, which basically meant that I got to order a room full of people around for half an hour. Heh heh.

Anyway, the show included an in-studio demonstration from the SU Fencing Club (yes, the swordfighting kind of fencing), which was rather interesting, and it opened with a live performance from MC Goldie Wilson. You won't understand why that's funny until you go to that link. He wore the pink snowsuit and everything. To hear the song he did, go to his site and listen to "Devefaux Pas" on the music page. Apparently, you can't get booty shakes on a CD.

So, in conclusion, when you spend a large amount of your college career making TV shows and short films, you have really weird experiences. Thank you.

Posted by CD at 04:56 PM | Comments (3)

November 12, 2004


As I said yesterday, I can now upload larger files to the blog via FTP, so I can share the documentary I worked on for the better part of a month for my production class. If you somehow missed the posts about this thing, just go through the October archives. I mentioned it practically every other day.

Anyway, this file is a Quicktime movie. I'm assuming everyone can view .mov files (UPDATE: It's now available as an MPEG as well!), but let me know if it doesn't work. Also, it's a lot lower in audio/video quality than the original, but I think I managed to salvage the essence of it.

A few notes before you watch: First of all, as I've mentioned before, the video is called "Against the Wind," and it's a seven minute documentary about local musician Gary Frenay. I was the editor for this, so all the transitions, titles, etc. were physically made by me, and I put the clips in their final order, although some of the ideas came from the other two group members. It took seven hours to make a rough cut, and another nine hours for the final cut. This stuff is not easy.

Also, the tape deck decided not to cooperate when I was dubbing this to Mini-DV, so the sound got cut off in a couple spots, mainly the part where Gary says, "...but then the first band that really went anywhere was..." The name of the band was "The Flashcubes," as the title indicates. That sound gap wasn't in the original.

Finally, I'm not going to explain the name of the "production company" (it's a long story, so let me know if you're truly interested, and I'll elaborate), but I did design the logo. That's all that really matters.

Now that I've bored you, check out the greatest documentary ever (give it time to load; it's a big file):

Against the Wind

If the .mov doesn't work for you, try this.

Critique/constructive criticism is welcome. At least one of you has to watch this. You won't regret it.

Really, you won't.

Posted by CD at 05:04 PM | Comments (5)

November 08, 2004

Even More Randomness

You know, it's really hard to write a script when you don't like your idea.

Just thought I'd mention that.

Posted by CD at 09:25 PM | Comments (4)

October 31, 2004

I Still Love Filmmaking

I spent five hours in one of the Newhouse editing rooms today. Five hours. That's 300 minutes. It also brings the total editing time of this project to 16 hours. And the film/video itself is only six minutes long. That should tell you something about the overall tediousness of the editing process.

On the plus side, it's DONE! I now possess the only existing copy of "Against the Wind," a profile of Syracuse musician Gary Frenay. The big premiere will take place on Tuesday afternoon, when it's shown in front of my TRF 255 class for grading and critique. I'm a bit nervous, but I'm also really excited.

You see, I've been doing this stuff for years. I've only been a TV/Radio/Film major since last year, but I've been making videos and messing around with cameras since I was 14 years old. Again, if any of you ever wondered why I'm studying film when I write so much about politics, maybe you understand now.

Getting back on topic, I really think this documentary is the best video I've ever been a part of. It's so...perfect! We had some technical problems (like when our director of photography forgot to give Gary a microphone), and one tripod/camera combination screwed up a sequence of otherwise good shots, but the final product is amazing. Maybe I'll upload it to the blog at some point. It really is an unbelievable piece of work.

Posted by CD at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004

Helpful Hints for Aspiring Filmmakers

Holy crap. Fellow film students, we need to talk. We need to talk about professionalism. You see, I just had to listen to 19 of you give incredibly amateurish presentations of your ideas. 19 people. Pitching their ideas for five-minute fiction films. And it was all something like this:

"Like, um, my film is, like, about this, like, guy, and, like, he, like, breaks up with his, like, girlfriend, and, um, you know, like, he, like, does all this, like, stuff, and..."

HOLY CRAP! Do you realize how immature and unprofessional it sounds when you do this? If you go to a producer and pitch your idea, and every other word is "like," it's probably not going to get accepted. Haven't you ever taken a public speaking course? It's fine to talk like that in casual conversation, since it's become almost automatic at this point, but when you're in a formal setting and you're trying to convey your idea to someone, you have to sound sure of yourself.

I have a technique for pitches, and I think it works pretty well: Just convince yourself that you have the greatest idea in history. It will make a huge difference. I didn't actually like my last few ideas, but I pretended that they were brilliant so I could sell them better. You don't sit there and go, "Well, like, I thought I could, like, do something like this, and, like, maybe it won't work, and, like, it's kind of dumb..."

If you're selling the idea, you have to make it sound good, and you must be very careful about word choice. I don't even want to think about what's going to happen to these people when they get into the film industry and try to propose ideas in such an immature way.

...What? You weren't expecting political blogging, were you? That's not all I exist for, you ingrates!

Posted by CD at 04:10 PM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2004


Okay, so the fourth and final TRF production this semester is a 5-minute fiction piece. I have to come up with an idea by tomorrow so I can pitch it to the class. As with the other projects, this one comes with a prompt that sets certain boundaries. Check out the requirements for the fiction proposal:

The story should be about one interesting main character who is facing some sort of crisis - internal or external.

Oh, that narrows it down. It only describes the plot of almost every film ever made.

Forcing ideas is hard.

Posted by CD at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2004

More TRF Thoughts for the Day

You know you chose the right major when you can work for hours and it doesn't seem like work.

I love filmmaking.

Posted by CD at 10:38 PM | Comments (7)

Fun Friday Film Fact

Tape logs are evil.

(Expect a lot of filmblogging over the next week)

Just for fun, here's an audio clip (mp3 format) taken while we were recording room tone in Gary Frenay's living room. The voice you hear is me in the background as I'm looking out the front window:

Click to play

It was a freakin' black squirrel, man!

Posted by CD at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2004

Documentaries Are Time-Consuming

I think I'm actually starting to forget what free time is like. In about an hour, I'm meeting my TRF group and heading to Gary Frenay's house to interview him and his family, then we're all going to the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles to watch/record the Frenay and Lenin performance.

Yeah, you all wish you had my life. Don't deny it.

UPDATE (11:50 PM)
...Wow. When you shoot on location with 2 other people, and said location takes 25 minutes to drive to, and those 25 minutes are filled by conversation, you learn way more about those people than you ever wanted to know.


Posted by CD at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

More Fun With TRF

The documentary I proposed for my production class didn't get picked (which is a good thing, because I had a horrible, horrible idea), so instead, I'm working with 2 other people to make a 5 minute documentary about Gary Frenay, a semi-famous musician who just happens to be attending SU right now. You can check out some samples of his music here and here.

I just thought I'd use this space to remind everyone of how truly awesome Syracuse is. This thing is going to be great.

Oh, by the way, I'm officially the editor for this project, which means that I'm going to be incredibly busy by the middle of next week. Editing is fun, but it's also really, really, really, really time consuming. As in "4 hours a day, 3 days in a row, assuming nothing breaks."

That is all.

Posted by CD at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2004

Regularly Scheduled Reminder That I Do Have A Life Outside This Blog

I didn't post today. You've probably noticed that. I do have a good reason: I was out doing things. Important things that could alter the fate of the universe itself.

...Actually, I was at the TV station. Today was the premiere of the brand new sketch comedy show, "Null and Void." It's similar to the old version of Syracuse Live, which I still work for in its new documentary format, but it's now shot entirely outside the studio, and is dedicated to sketches.

It's. Unbelievably. Funny. These guys are good. And I'm going to be part of it.

You see, right before the premiere, I volunteered to be a writer for the show. I had already worked with most of the cast members/writers last semester on Syracuse Live (more on that here and here; I still can't believe I agreed to be a lounge pirate), so I didn't have to go through any awkward introductions. It went something like this (the following is not even close to verbatim):

JOSH (head writer): Hey man, how have you been?
CD: Not bad. You know, I was going to work with you guys on the new show, but I haven't heard anything from you.
JOSH: Really? What's your e-mail address? I'll add you to the listserv.
CD: Okay. Thanks.

I wish everything in life could be that simple.

Anyway, I now work for 2 shows at HillTV. I must be frickin' insane. This should be a good thing in the end, though. Maybe if I spend enough time around comedy writers, I'll be able to expand my sense of humor beyond satire and monkeys. Plus, I might still get a chance to write the Stuffed Animal Liberation Front sketch.

Posted by CD at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

TRF Rant for Today

You know, it's really hard to write a treatment for a documentary that hasn't been approved. It's fine for fiction, because you're using actors and pre-determined shots. But when you make a documentary, you have to get real people and do interviews and things, and you don't actually know what's going to end up on screen until you've shot it. How am I supposed to write a detailed description of something that doesn't exist yet?

...Maybe I should ask Michael Moore. He doesn't seem to let reality get in the way.

Posted by CD at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

September 30, 2004

Thinking Ahead

Holy crap, film classes get into your head. In my mind, I'm already screening the opening sequence of a movie that I haven't even written yet. I'm planning all kinds of shots and cuts and effects and music...and then I remember that I'm in my sophomore year of college, and I'm still learning how films are made.

...Patience is hard.

Posted by CD at 03:16 PM | Comments (2)

September 27, 2004

More TRF Thoughts

You know what word comes to mind when I'm trying to read film theory?


If you've studied it, you'll understand.

Posted by CD at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)