Saturday, October 28, 2006

Shoot Music

I've pretty much finished everything on my short film/art piece "Shoot". I stayed up late last night editing and did the music today. I was going to put the whole video up, but I don't want to spoil it for those of you who will be attending my graduating exhibition (end of November - more deets in a later post).

So instead, I offer you a teaser, of sorts. The music. I spent a good four or five hours today putting it together, and I'm pretty happy with it. Those of you familiar with Jon Brion's work (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I Heart Huckabees, Punch Drunk Love) may notice the similarities in style. I didn't rip off any of his melodies or anything, but there's a definite influence there.

Shoot Music - mp3 4.1 mb

All the instruments came from my brother's old Roland SC-88 MIDI module. It's a great little machine.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Busy, busy.

Sorry 'bout the lack of updates around here. Been busy with a few things lately.

It's the last week of uni. Tomorrow's my last class. FOREVS. It's really weird. These past three years have just flown. Part of me still feels like I've just come out of high school. But there is another part of me that's glad I'm finally out in the real world. Then there's a part of me who feels like a toasted sandwich. With ham. And tomato.

Even though I won't have any more classes, I'll still have quite a bit of work to do. I won't be fully done with uni until early December, as our grad show runs until the 7th, which we're all organising ourselves (more details 'bout this in a later post).

I got my film back yesterday. There were a couple of surprises. The shots that I thought were gonna be too dark turned out looking GREAT. Just perfect. But the shots that I had no worries about turned out overexposed. Most of it should be salvageable though. I'm a little disappointed, but not too miffed. I've chalked it down as a learning experience. It hasn't turned me off Super 8 at all. It'll just force me to be more careful in the future. Editing should begin in about a week.

In other news, I just spent two big days on a shoot for a Project Greenlight short film. In case you don't know, Project Greenlight is a televised competition where emerging filmmakers face off. It's televised as a reality-show of sorts on Foxtel's Movie Extra. They're down to the final four directors. Gordon Napier, the only contestant left in Victoria, was the director of the short I worked on. It was quite a bit of fun, although I'm still feeling a bit buggered from the two 12-hour shooting days. Can't wait to see the finished product, though. Gordon's quite a personable chap. I sure do hope he goes on to win. First prize is a million smackers to make his feature screenplay a reality. It's a great opportunity.

Here's a snap from the shoot. It was the first time I'd been around any real stunts. It's an action-packed little film.

Other than that, I've been doing some more work on background silhouette stuff for the Jen Cloher clip. Here's one that I've made into desktop wallpaper. Click on it for bigness:

I've also got a couple more small illustrating jobs, as well as work on another TV commercial next week. Not sure what that's for yet, though.

Stay tuned for more stuff soonish.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Super 8 and Serial Killers

I know you're all horribly disappointed, but unfortunately I haven't felt like drawing much lately. All of my creative energies have been focused on shooting my graduating piece for uni - a short film shot on Super 8mm. I call it "Shoot".

I shot it on Friday using an oooold camera that's been in my family for donkey's yonks. The stock used was the new Kodak Ektachrome 64T, as they discontinued the brilliant Kodachrome Super 8 stock a couple of months back. Apparently you can still get it if you're willing to go hunting, but there's only one place in the world that still processes the stuff. Surprisingly, the new Ektachrome stock proved almost as hard to find (locally, that is). Every camera shop said they'd have to order it in from America. After some extensive searching (trawling the web and making lots of phone calls) I found a guy in Glenroy who always keeps a couple of reels in his shop for the lucky filmmaker (me). His name is Ed.

Ed was a funny guy. Not "ha-ha" funny, but more "weird guy who runs a small-format camera shop in the middle of Glenroy" funny. It took me a while to find his shop amongst all the clothing stores on this little strip on Wheatsheaf Road. The reason was that his shop was a clothing shop, at least it looked that way from the front window. It was like some kind of slick cover-up that Ed had devised to keep the fuzz from finding out about his completely legal camera shop. Ed's rouse would've worked too, were it not for the small sign on the front door that read:


I twisted the handle, but the door was locked. I noticed a smaller sign on the door: "Back at one." Before I could even pull my phone out of my pocket to check the time, the door jangled open and a tall, ashy looking man with crew-cut hair stood before me. "You here for the film?" I nodded. "Come in. I'm just having lunch." He showed me in and walked me past the clothes to a small back-area where he kept all the goodies.

I later discovered that Ed rented the building at a discount, on the proviso that he could only run his camera business if he also manned the clothing store. He didn't seem like the sort of guy who cared much for fashion, and I suspect his odd behaviour would've weirded-out many an innocent customer in search of a new cardigan.

The back-area behind the clothes contained a large glass cabinet, in which lay a multitude of vintage cameras and projectors, and a whole lot of shelves on the walls, with various camera accessories, reels and books. Ed didn't muck around. In fact, it seemed like he took every opportunity to let me know that he was "a real film buff". And he meant real film. There wasn't a video tape or digital camera in sight.

I spent a good twenty minutes chatting to Ed. Once I got used to his odd mannerisms, he was actually quite personable. Although, the way he never once looked me directly in the eye did remain somewhat disconcerting. It felt like I was conversing with a blind person at times (the thought that Ed may actually be vision-impaired did cross my mind, although this theory was laid to rest when he took a look at the Super 8 camera I'd brought in and pointed out specific details to me).

He told me about the film nights he ran, where he'd show classics like Star Wars, which he actually had on old reels and projected. It was quite fascinating. He also told me of his dream to run a small-format film festival in Glenroy "with a friend". He told me all this within five minutes of our meeting. I hadn't even purchased the film yet. I would've felt privileged to be privy to such information had it not been so blatantly apparent that Ed told this stuff to anyone who cared to listen.

After the conversation was exhausted, I finally got 'round to buying my reels. He charged me $26 per 50 foot reel, which isn't such a bad price. We exchanged departing pleasantries and, as I was about to leave, Ed asked me for my phone number... "So I can let you know when the next film night is." I suddenly had visions of a Norman Bates-like situation, me turning up to Ed's mother's house for a screening of Return of the Jedi and strangely being the only guest in attendance. I ummed for a second, and then, with a breath of reckless abandon, I threw caution to the wind and gave Ed my mobile number. I said goodbye again and left Ed to his cucumber sandwiches.

It's been a couple of weeks and I still haven't heard from Ed, but I have received a couple of odd phone-calls where I can just make out the faint flickering of a film projector under some heavy breathing. Just kidding. I do wish he'd call, though. His passion for film is strangely inspiring.


The shoot went pretty smoothly. One of the locations proved unusable, but we found another that shits all over where I had originally planned to shoot it. I took my time and made sure I rehearsed every shot with Leon at least three times. I didn't have the footage (or more importantly, the money) to be fucking around. Believe it or not, it took about eight hours to shoot six minutes of film. Granted, we had a break for lunch, and there was a fair amount of driving time, but still.

I sent my film off today to get processed at a place I found in Daylesford, VIC. I spoke to this guy on the phone. He seemed nice and personable and not at all like a serial killer. He develops by hand, as most in Australia do. He said he can get the processing done for me in a couple of days, and for a good price ($20 per reel), so I should get it back by the end of the week, at which point I'll send it off again to a place in NSW to transfer it to digital so I can start editing (I briefly considered purchasing a film splicer and editing by hand, but then I realised that I wasn't insane). The transfer people seem very professional, and least likely to invite me over and hack my limbs off while I'm taking a shower.

There's a lot of waiting around when shooting with film, which I'm not used to. Usually, when I use video, I begin editing as soon as I'm done shooting. With Super 8, it'll take a week before I even get to see what I shot, and another week or so before I'm able to edit. You may be thinking that this is the perfect opportunity to get some drawing in, but you'd be wrong. Instead, I'll be spending most waking moments praying that the film isn't under or over-exposed or out-of-focus.

Aside from learning that shooting on film is a bit of a waiting game, I've also discovered that it's a lot pricier too. By the end of it all, I would've spent close to $300 on this baby, and that's not including the Hungry Jack's I bought Leon to say thanks for helping out. Quite a bit when you compare it to the $20 or so I spend on MiniDV tapes when I'm shooting video.

Still, if the footage turns out as good as I'm hoping it will, it'll all be worth it. Leon looked great as escaped mental patient "Jerry", and the locations we used were pretty cool as well. Here's hoping "Shoot" will be a short film worthy of Ed's film festival.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An interesting day.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I showed up bright and early for work on a music video shoot for Something With Numbers. I was supposed to be operating the video split (they were shooting on 16mm film) and doing general PA work, but I somehow ended up playing a bit-part in the video itself.

Aside from the band, there are three other characters who make an appearance in the clip: two orderlies (the clip is set in a mental hospital) and a nurse. Although I wouldn't have minded the challenge of playing a nurse, they needed a rough-nut orderly, as the guy who was supposed to play him didn't show. So I put on my white scrubs and was instantly transported into the world of Mean Orderly Number 2.

I got to do cool things like drag the lead singer down a corridor and nearly drown him in a bath. It was probably the most fun I've had on a shoot so far, although it was also pretty tiring. Aside from chasing mental patients around, I also did my regular PA duties in-between takes. It was a great experience, though. The people were nice, the food was great and I got to be around motion control cameras which was pretty neat.

I would like to add that the band members were some of the nicest guys I've met. These guys have just been signed with EMI, which is huge. Their new album just came out on the 7th, and from what I've heard, it's pretty kickin'. They've just finished touring with Panic! at the Disco and start their own headlining national tour next week.

The music video for Chase the Chaser should be out in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, you can enjoy the band's previous music vid for Apple of the Eye, which was made by much the same crew.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Be careful who you illustrate for.

This post isn't about me. It's about my good friend Steve who is a kick-ass illustrator and all-round awesome guy.

Recently he got a job to illustrate a book cover. He did an amazing job, as usual, but something went horribly wrong.

Here's the finished illustration as he submitted it to the client:

Amazing, isn't it? Here's what happened when they sent him back the cover with the text included (author's name obscured to protect his boring identidy):

What in the sweet name of Mother Teresa happened here? I nearly lost my mind when I saw this. Apparently, the client suddenly decided that they wanted a more "abstract" and "obscure" look for the cover (which the job brief spoke nothing of). So to accomplish this look, they took his illustration, added some half-assed Photoshop filters and called it a day.

Steve also created this awesome alternative image as well:

They have yet to pay Steve for the work he did.

TV stuff.

I've been doing a bit of work as a Production Assistant on a few TV commercials and music videos. They've finished editing a couple of them, which you can download:

The Bleeders - Night Sky
This was a music video for New Zealand punk band The Bleeders. The song got a bit tedious after having to listen to it for about 15 times in a row. The only visible contribution I made in this video are the passing headlights you see every now and again in the car scenes - that was all me, baby.

Herbal Essences - Stalker
This is a TV commercial for shampoo. I'm not too sure about the Home Alone-esque music, but I was there during some of the editing, and the alternative hardcore techno track didn't work much better. The shoot was pretty fun, even though I had to wake up at 4.30am. I got to say "Action!" and "Cut!" over a walkie-talkie, which was awesome. I'm pretty sure this was only done for in-house promotions, so there's not much chance of this one being broadcast on TV.

The other stuff I've worked on is still in post production. I've got another music video shoot tomorrow for Something With Numbers in a hospital, which sounds like fun.

Considering selling out...

My blog is worth $1,129.08.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tragedy Ranking System

I don't usually do shit like this, but I liked this so much that I had to share. This comes from Scott Adams' blog. You should check it out. I really wish I could write like him.

"Every time there’s a military conflict, someone points out that many of the victims were NOT adult men. The theory is that a tragedy is way more tragic if anyone other than adult men get killed. If you throw a woman or a minor or a puppy into the mix then we all have a reason to be sadder and madder.

I totally agree with the view that some tragedies are more tragic than others, depending on who is involved. But I do demand efficiency. That’s why I propose ranking the value of all types of people so I can more easily judge how sad I should feel when they get killed.

For example, if 400 villagers are buried in a mudslide, I’d like to know how many of them were drunks, assholes, nags, dickheads, crooks, or males, just to pick a few examples. I wouldn’t feel as much pressure to feel bad about that portion of the village. In the best case scenario, the victims would all be adult men with no special talents. That’s barely even a tragedy. We adult males have our uses to be sure, but society agrees that it’s not such a big deal when someone kills us.

I think that the main reason there are so many wars is that most of the soldiers are adult males. If all wars had to be fought exclusively by second graders or contestants from the Special Olympics, no one would ever start a war because the results would be too tragic."

Bongo Ape II

I re-vamped the logo, pushing the colours and adding highlights and shadows. I have a tendency to use really low-saturated colours in my own drawings, so I think I need to remind myself that companies generally want a punchy logo, and pastel colours don't really work too well for that sort of thing. I guess I'm just wary of things looking too tacky, but I think the balance is quite nice with this logo.

I also changed Mr. Ape's expression to make it more "HEY KIDS"-y.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bongo Ape

This is a logo design I'm working on for a small toy business. I had fun with this one.