The first music video recorded in space: No CGI necessary!
An artist wrote a short story about an astronaut in space 13 years before an astronaut was first in space and another artist read that story and adapted it into a film about an astronaut in space 20 years after the short story was written and another artist got high and saw that film and was inspired to write a song about an astronaut in space and an astronaut heard that song and sang it while in space 44 years after the song was written and 65 years after the short story was written.
The Sentinel --> 2001: A Space Odyssey --> Space Oddity
Thanks to FrugalDad for creating an asset that gets at WHY WE ARE NOT WORKING WITH MEDIA CONGLOMERATES ON ARTEMIS ETERNAL but are, instead, in fact, invested in establishing proof-of-concept for alternative methods. Oh and also? The main point is to make great movies.
This infographic is a nice start, especially since it was created by someone who is not a media expert and because there are so few visuals about this phenomenon available. At this point in time no comprehensive independent (or non-independent, for that matter) study on Western media ownership and influence exists. In addition to the points represented in this infographic, there are other systemic items to consider. Plus there is the wider influence and dealing that is mentioned. For a more niche example in the web of media influence, lately I've been researching the military and media.
What I discovered is that military advertising budgets are extremely high. Working in media and film I'm used to large advertising budgets and campaigns, and I grasp cost/value of propaganda as well as how placement and ROI works. The military budgets made even me pause. Anyone who I've casually discussed this with in Washington waives a dismissive hand, "All government programs are bloated."
Just for a tidbit, the four military services spent over $600 million on advertising in 2007. At least 60% of what's spent is going to media conglomerate TV stations (including NBC, which is partially owned by one of the biggest defense contractors: GE), not to mention their other properties.
The last Army advertising contract was $1.35 billion over a maximum of five years.
And of course this does not include other recruitment costs or all of the interior media program costs (the military has some serious media programs). I mean, does The Pentagon Channel really need a cooking show?
Why do this?
Media is influential. The more repetitive (including filter bubbles and vertical integration) or more cinematic and mythologizing a piece of media/idea and the campaigns surrounding it are, the more the influence increases.
Of course when I think of "media" and "influence", I'm taken back to my appearance at the FCC and the wall of NBC-Comcast merger lobbyists in dark suits who dwarfed me.
And also the global AOL Time Warner merger fallout, of which I am the youngest veteran.
All of this, and yet there is more. For instance the armed forces subsidize pro-military Hollywood pictures via access while, at the same time, blocking movies that might question the implications of war, the military and how they do business.
The military is public-funded and I think we can make an argument based on current military issues and public polls that the public does not want (or perhaps currently require) a "win at any cost" military, which conflicts with American ideals. What criteria should we use, then, to decide whether or not movies receive access and resource support?
While non-fiction reporting and documentaries will (hopefully) continue to report on the military regardless of access (an upcoming example), I could make a strong case for the importance of motion picture fiction in fully exploring a theme, issue and institution. I'd start by citing 'The Wire'.
” My professional take is that there is a better solution than having a draft or having a hyper-expensive and bombastic media advertising plot intertwined with consolidated mega-conglomerates and their partners.
” My professional take is that any viable American production should be given the same consideration and access that a Hollywood picture has, regardless of "message".
” My professional take is that at this time there is no Pentagon employee who is qualified to review the literary quality of my screenplay.
I'll note that NASA has an approval process. They don't want to be involved with blatant anti-science that misleads the public. Ethically this makes sense and serves the public. So far (scifi director) I've found them to be accessible to indie filmmakers BUT my understanding is that the insurance involved in working with many of their locations makes it difficult for non-huge-budget movies (i.e. anything less than 'Armageddon') to shoot there. With indie, they also want distribution locked in as a caveat (indie film typically does not have distro deals in place prior to shooting) so that's not ideal. They do it because they don't want to get burned but there are better criteria they would use if they understood the filmmaking process. Regardless, overall I find their policies more ethical and sensible.
In the past, the VOA (the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government) has been prohibited from broadcasting to Americans. The idea is that this protects Americans from propaganda by their own government. Is this at all in conflict with the way the military creates internal media (watch the Pentagon channel) or does business with private media conglomerates?
Anecdotally I've noticed that there is a growing backlash to the mythology portrayed in military propaganda. Sadly, it's easier and too often cheaper to romanticize the armed forces than to develop strong, attractive programs and educate potential soldiers on the value of those benefits and programs.
In the meantime, the connections between media consolidation and powerful influence are staggering. All of these schemes are in the interest of reinforcing the corporate status quo. It's a conspiracy of money and opportunism. Sometimes a reporter or critic in The New York Times or GQ or Rolling Stone will run a comment on Hollywood's poor product or other media conglomerate issues in their entertainment sections (i.e. where people who watch media go), but their outlets never break from the habits they criticize: In fact they re-enforce the system of control.
I love Team America, it is critical of many of these issues. But when the extreme profit and prestige goes to a company that is a part of the problem, it can render the cutting themes of a great film toothless. A tragic, high-profile example is the Hollywood movie adaptation for The Hunger Games, a popular young adult book that makes a sharp comment on media and violence.
This is a series that literally takes the time to explain the idea of bread and circuses for the reader, and to criticize press junkets, talk shows and media control. In a matter of astonishing irony the way the film is made and marketed promotes and profits everything the novel detests.
The Hunger Games isn't commenting on the games: IT IS THE GAMES.
How, then, does an ethical filmmaker, with social premises to explore, create meaningful cinema in this system? It's simply not possible. It's not possible to comment on society via a media conglomerate without feeding the beast, without profiting ideas counter to the meaning of one's work. No counter-argument can be made. This is dire. The Harry Potter Alliance knows what I mean: Their 'Not in Harry's Name' campaign seeks to shame Warner Brothers into going fair trade on its Harry Potter licensed chocolate bars.
Harry Potter chocolates made by child labor: If it were my story, I would not be able to sleep at night.
An example that shows that high profile professionals and creators working inside the system don't necessarily have the power to change things.
There are a lot of looming, very large issues in America and the west that come back to the root issue of media. Who owns it? How is it consolidated? How is it used and manipulated? And, of paramount importance: How literate are audiences? Does a media conglomerate make you less media literate via its programming? NewsCorp is the prime offender in terms of the latter, as are most cable news entities as well as magazines.
As a final thought, the mega-firm that developed the 'Army of One' advertising campaign fraudulently billed the US Army for over $15MM. That firm also does landmine awareness ads for UNICEF. Oh the many ways one can profit from war and media!
C.Sto: Why does that look silver?
C.Sto: That clover dipped in gold I gave you that's on your necklace.
Jessica: The chain is silver. Maybe the metallic association is making the clover look silver in this lighting.
C.Sto: (incredulous) The chain--no--did you do something to it?
C.Sto: What did you do to it?
C.Sto: But what did you do to it?
Jessica: I used my Alchemy to change it from gold to silver.
C.Sto: Oh. ...Well why didn't you just say that, stupid!
Do be on guard in these interwaters, sir. I have recently embarked upon an adventure to slay the infamous fail whale, for the oil it shall bring forth will power my computing machines for five generations. Yet, I do find the pixelated beast oft catches me off-guard when he breaches, and then, upon refreshing my view, discover he has again evaded me by aid of various waterfowl that leverage a remarkable rescue system consisting of strings!
TheProfessor: Well well well...
Jessica: ...fancy meeting you here?
TheProfessor: I know. I never come to the internet anymore. It's too crowded.
TheProfessor: And the music they play sucks now.
Jessica: I know! I was listening to AIM sounds back when they were on vinyl.
TheProfessor: I've got the "You've Got Mail" sound on 8-track.
Jessica: retro, man. Can I borrow it sometime?
Jessica: you know
Jessica: to make a digital copy
TheProfessor: That's stealing.
Jessica: no way man it's a personal copy
Jessica: for me and one million of my friends
Kid: What do you do?
Me: I'm a director, which is a kind of artist.
Kid: Oh. (beat) Did you get really bad grades in school or something?
Me: Actually, I am quite capable and earned As at University. Tell me, short person, why do you view my vocation with disdain?
Kid: My Dad got straight As, he was the best student in his class! Now he works for the government! Which is a real job!
Dad: (increasingly mortified) ah... haha, kids! Can I have you, uh, autograph this? For my wife?
A shirt that's legit to our community and production vision, and that subtly prompts questions and provokes thought. Yes, we really went for it; for you! So snag a tee, download the desktop and add it to your computer and phone in order to convince your co-workers that you belong to a secret darkfilmz movement that has covert headquarters in the LOLlywood underground. You can buy them a shirt, just don't teach them our secret handshake, k?
This is a full Artemis/JSDC interactive-team production. Concepted and produced by me and designed by Greg Martin, with webmaster mojo from Lord Iain Edminster, who assisted in quickly making multiple choices available to you here.
Dark grey, pictured behind the designs above, is the color we designed to (AA color: Asphalt). However, when I asked for color requests, many of you rang in on the side of Heather Black and Dark Aqua, which should also look rad. Thus we are offering three color choices this go! And, two styles! The ink printed will be two-color: white and grey! I've never been so pumped about screen printing!
Please place your order by January 7th!
Use the drop downs below to order and specify domestic or international, men's or women's, the size and the color.
Thank-you to everyone who ordered! The order has now been placed with the printer. I will keep you updated on Twitter with delivery dates.
I will print to order, so there will be no shirts available after this run. YOU MUST ORDER BY JANUARY 7, 2011 in order to receive a shirt! As we are handling shipping internally, these will take a few weeks to process, print and get to your doorstep. I appreciate your patience as we work to bring you ethically produced, high-quality, unique and lulzy thought-provoking apparel.
Unlike our Comic-Con "no-wimps" team shirts, these shirts are open to anyone. You need not be a Wingman at this point in time to order one and there is no limit to how many you may order. Feel free to purchase these for anyone and everyone.
Profit from the shirts goes to ARTEMIS ETERNAL. Most likely, I think, to some aspects of the new website relaunch. If we sell enough, then I will push more concept art into production! Please share, blog, forward and retweet this link and design to your network. I'm hoping that we sell a couple hundred shirts so that we can continue to offer unique items. This is very much a fundraiser for us as well as a way to deliver to you something you've asked for.
These shirts will be printed in Los Angeles by a museaum-quality screenprinting company that we worked with previously (they printed our Comic-Con shirts). The shirts are all American Apparel, which means they are made in the USA and labor regulated.
There are a few Artemis Eternal things that you have been asking for. The #1 thing is concept art.
Concept art was not in my original budget because we understood that the production's design could be completed without full paintings (and indeed most of it has been). I am thus tackling this as a side project, but an awesome, beautiful and important side project.
Concept art will help the actual film and it will also help the aesthetic of the newly redesigned website, as well as aid in engaging new individuals and communities. I think you understand this and that is why you have asked for full art. So, you asked, I think you're right, and I have since been packaging this part of the project and experimenting with how best to accomplish the art with you.
I am elated to announce that the artist we will be working with is celebrated film and graphic novel artist Christopher Shy (SOUL STEALER, PATHFINDER, CONAN). Chris has been working independently for over a decade and shares our mindset. He is fabulous and patient. I cannot wait to collaborate with him and share the work with you!
Review and experience more of Chris' work here. (Soul Stealer and Pathfinder are some of the more relevant works.) Now, let's get down to creating...
Let's start with one piece. If you would like to be either the Wingman, or a part of a group of a few Wingmen, to back our first piece of art, then please shoot me an e-mail. You few and you alone will receive a limited giclée print signed by Chris and myself as well as special recognition in this portion of the new site. If you're new, this will bring you on as an Aurum-level Wingman. We'd be glad to have you.
Update: I already have TWO Wingmen who would be interested in splitting this with another. Who's next? I'm thinking a handful of you so that the amount is low and thus a great value for the contribution and your limited print!
Update: Just need one more Wingman to push this into production. E-mail me!
The following excerpt is exemplary of many of your letters. Thank you, Wingmen! It is amazing how far we've come already, even more so given the landscape of film and media. Truthfully, I am glad that I am not traveling alone in this endeavor.
"You are going to succeed in getting your projects completed your way, mainly
because of who you are: intelligent, witty, talented and strong. Your
Wingmen trust you for these reasons and more. Remember that we are all here
for you when any number of cliches dealing with difficulties are in your
way. We are all happy to help you in any way we can (and I'm not speaking in
the royal vernacular here). If you ever need a naive sounding board as a
different perspective on things, feel free to contact me. I'll gladly show
my ignorance. :) "
The nearly unbearable, highly intriguing life of an artist. An extreme, volatile state in these ages modern wherein mass effect is decided by media control. A state of loathing sprinkled with moments of immense joy when the gift given and developed is put to wise use, and neither silenced nor abused nor perverted--
But, would you? Would you worship my image, if they told you to? Beg me to sell you Vodka and Wonder Bread? Miracle Whip? Famine the horseman rides and pays my production costs! Eat it up--as the talking box compares me to Andy Warhol! Insert product placement without comment. Broadcast!
The altars of art went untended, then lost, then forgotten. Richer fires now burn, roar louder in worship to billboards and uncanny valley'd magazine covers and Fox-y charlatans: Facades of halls long gone cold, or bulldozed. Asbestos shrines painted in lead. Toxic cities of the Gap-dressed walking dead.
And while all the big kiddies were tucked in to headsets and screens and bleep-bleeping mobile entertainment machines, some Few laid an exclusive weave over the Western world and the mass of airwaves saw something they had not since the rise of Nazi Germany.
"I wouldn't have done it!" cries Bernays "if I only knew, I wouldn't have!"
Ha--Come now, brother. You knew then, just as you now know.
And the fat man sneers astride his sickly horse and canters in the sunshine,
"You have cancers? I'm lovin' it. Starve!"
"JUST OUR LITTLE JOKE! LOL!"
Citizens stop to admire his golden scales,
Publishers hurry to pen his commercialized confessions,
Journalists proclaim him, An American God!
A cinematographer once by chance captured a photo of him trampling an orphan.
You didn't see it: A famous person had an affair that day.
All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again (In Banana Land) This is what Really Cool People Do (In Banana Land!) How can something have so many calories, and yet so little... food? (It's bananas, man!)
"...I really think this is not a big deal. Only because the war has been proven to be started on lies, and the men and woman who brought evidence to the table showing it to be an illegial war, have been discredited in our society (see Valerie Plame). This one video just shoes how ugly war is, not that America is bad. That has already been proven with no results."
The above thought is representative of a theme in public discussion on every comments string I have researched, including one that I later started myself. And why not? That this video is neither important to war policy, nor will it have influence on such, is a point that has merit and speaks to a truth in public consciousness and the lifestyle and attitude we've adopted while we've been at war, as well as certain behaviors we have allowed. The WikiLeaks video is important, however. I will sign my name to that statement, right now, without the benefit of hindsight.
But the video and the influence it may or may not have is important for what is perhaps a non-obvious reason. By no means do I mean to posit that being desensitized to war and war politic is acceptable, or how I personally prefer reality. More simply, this reality is the status quo in the human realm in the west and the context for why WikiLeaks exists in the first place, as well as sets the stage for a larger root issue in play. Something that is more important than the life-or-death industry verticals of war, agriculture, energy and healthcare.
That something is the media.
After all, if one does not have viable information and analysis, then how will one make decisions, vote and influence on any of the above? Worse, purposeful misinformation runs rampant on a massive scale. Of course education comes hand-in-hand with the importance of viable news reporting. Even if citizens were receiving viable information and media, and even if the voices and ownership were diverse and the debate robust and well researched; if the mass of people lack the critical thinking skills and basic problem solving ability, and contextual awareness, needed to evaluate and act on information, then our circumstances remain equally dire.
For these reasons, and more, I posit that the Apache helicopter 'Collateral Murder' video is more important to the media dialogue than to the war dialogue. Furthermore, the video is highly important to the media dialogue.
Let us look at this event in its entirety. What is important about the WikiLeaks video, an overview:
1. The effect on military credibility due to the lack of accountability and transparency demonstrated by the US military, and the Pentagon as a symbol of the US military, in the sense that they willfully withheld details:
"The military did not reveal how the Reuters staff were killed, and stated that they did not know how the children were injured."
"It was unclear whether the journalists had been killed by U.S. fire or by shooting from the Iraqis targeted by the Apache."
"The Apache crew fired because militants 'were endangering the stability of Iraq' and because they had positive identification that the militants 'had weapons and were using them against coalition and Iraqi security forces,' said Maj. Brent Cummings, the battalion's executive officer. 'No innocent civilians were killed on our part deliberately. We took great pains to prevent that. I know that two children were hurt, and we did everything we could to help them. I don't know how the children were hurt.'"
2. Whether or not the Rules of Engagement and other operational rules and laws were appropriately followed is being debated online, as are the spirit of the rules against the actual letter of the law. Further discussion extends into questioning the legality of the war in Iraq, with many suggesting that the tragedy captured in the Apache video leak is a byproduct of larger injustices.
Some of what's missing, and is being discussed, is the context of the video.
3. The effect on media credibility subtly became a prime discussion point in the over all dialogue about the leak. Internet community has a sense of ownership of this style of leak or reporting, which in itself may be argued to be a sign of the times and a response to the media status quo. The lack of mainstream (read: corporate) media coverage and attention (especially in lieu of gossip-driven non-stories such as Tiger Woods, et cetera) is demonstrative of "news" media priorities that have little if anything to do with public interest.
This is somewhat of an unprecedented occurrence and what makes this moment remarkable.
Over the course of the day that the video was leaked (yesterday), and in response to a lack of coverage and attention, this video as a piece of news information had an unintended effect: It became a test. Audience members tipped news outlets to the video and story in every way possible, and watched in dismay as the premise that corporate media has little interest in public interest, or pursuing truth, was confirmed by a lack of coverage and response. These types of media issues are generally discussed online, and are often associated with problems attributed to media consolidation.
Once independent, now Condé Nast-owned, community news site Reddit.com fostered the most robust gathering of news links and discussion. Notably, the community there became a central owner in the attempts to collaborate with and influence corporate media outlets.
Various screenshots comparing Al Jazeera English to CNN.com, anecdotes about iReports on CNN.com being vetted and then deleted... all of these were offered by the public as evidence of news media degradation. Some asked if MSNBC.com was censoring the Wikileak due to the video not coming up in their search (the result of which was reportedly due to a bug in the coding and not intentional).
Others were critical of the "Army Accused of 'Video Game' Killings" angle FoxNews.com took after they were one of the first corporate news outlets to carry a story about the leak. At the same time, when the BBC finally picked up the story, Reddit users urged other community members to visit the story on the BBC's website and thus send traffic in order to demonstrate positive support for viable news coverage and exploration in hopes of elevating the story to the front page.
These practices and discussions are common on the Internet when it comes to media politic, but in this specific case the public had an important piece of news information in their hands, a piece of media that belonged to them vs. a news outlet or company. The audience thus became engaged in an effort to convince mainstream news to report the news. What is typically a loose knotting of complaints, jokes and "circlejerk" "You have my sword!" discussion and proclamations about the media bias and monopolies of knowledge of the day suddenly became a focused movement to elevate a specific story independent of marketing budgets or corporate branding and strategy. The community was experiencing first hand, via technique instead of theorizing or armchair political punditry, the landscape of corporate media and journalism.
Despite the work of citizens in the online space and WikiLeaks, by midnight EST on the day of the leak this story had not been elevated by press enough to reach mainstream awareness.
Now, the day after, those who sense that some injustice has occurred have issued calls to action: "What do we do about this?", they ask. I have seen online communities suggest jump starting the anti-war movement, military veterans who served in Iraq taking it upon themselves to answer questions in forums while providing context for the military engagement in the video and frustrated citizens posting letters they've written to their congressional representatives. I propose that what we need most is not an anti-war movement, but a media awareness movement. Media literacy and knowledge of media ownership and the strategy bred by corporate media consolidation is a crucial key to opening all national dialogues in a meaningful and legitimate way.
For now, viewers and readers of news who are not media professionals have gained the muscle memory of taking a legit news story to corporate media and being denied, ignored and shunted aside. That's valuable experience, and something I expect to be useful in our collective understanding and engagement with both conglomerate and independent media outlets.
If you haven't watched the video yet, then I suggest watching the long version without annotations first, followed by the short version with annotations. You can review additional references at the WikiLeaks site.
Massify & Lionsgate - My Entry - "Caliocracy"
A bunch of filmmakers waste their time crowdsourcing a bullshit studio project through an indiewashing site called Massify.
As I was telling Wingman @RMSpuhler on Twitter, the screenplay sample I submitted will probably win at least two Oscars. It took me five years to write. It would have taken anyone else ten years, but I am a genius.
Update: Those wimps! The link no longer works. I think they may have deleted my critical entry.
Get far away from disease/corpses + procure survival gear. Build a sweet fort at Stonehenge. Read other people's unopened letters. Tinker, tinker, write. Migrate. Hang out with dolphins. Check out some library books on rocket science. Train up some monkeys. Launch whatever NASA space shuttle was prepped all by my onesies. Well, except the monkeys would help of course. So long and thanks for all the fish.
Jessica: (dancing a little dance, chanting) I'm going to have a bagel, I'm going to have a bagel--
The Grizz: You stay away from those bagels, boy.
Jessica: Why? There's five--
The Grizz: They're numbered!
Jessica: (resuming dancy-dance, chanting) I'm going to put them in some tupperware, I'm going to put them in some tupperware...
(Does. Turns to put bagel 1 of 5 on a plate--The Grizz pops the lid on--) Jessica: I was going to put the lid on--
The Grizz: You're slow, boy! Air is instantaneous.
Jessica: What?--I was--
The Grizz: The light in your room is on.
Jessica: I'm going back in there!
The Grizz: Focus, you need to focus.
Jessica: I am focused!
The Grizz: You're a freak!
...Yes, these are the exchanges that result when I crash at Stover Mancha. PS: Air is instantaneous.
Dear Wingman, Happy New Year! If you did not receive an awesomesauce letter from me on New Year's Eve, then please check in with me to make sure that your address is correct on the Wingman-only e-mail list.
The above is thought provoking. I actually purchased this as a card for a Wingman who played host by allowing me his guest room over holiday in London.
Upon discovering the card in a boutique, I lifted it from its hidden spot on the bottom shelf and thought hard for my own answer, even though that answer came swift. But I thought hard so as not to overlook any aspect of my nature.
Certainly the answer was and remains ARTEMIS ETERNAL. Welcome to my no-regrets pursuit. I wish you the same, and cherish the adventures we've been through so far, as illustrated by the evolving, breathing map you see upon striking "Begin" with your cursor.
Furthermore, I'm suddenly reminded of this rhyme I jotted down a while back. You may recall,
On strum! On drum!
Raise lights, sing cheers!
For cowards who slumber,
We’ll rumble their ears!
Bear torch, bring map,
In dark, unrolled,
The advent is glowing
Our futures unfold
In dreams, awake,
Come hosts unseen:
The Wingmen who number
two hundred fifteen!
It's been thrilling, it's been tough: It still is. And onward and upward we go!
You know, just in case any aliens or future humans want to listen to Earth. Or get their Intergalatic Planetary DJ scratchin' on. (wiggity--wiggity--what?fool!)
"Engraved on it are instructions for building a phonograph to play the 'Sounds of Earth' record. A stylus and cartridge are included with the record. Also shown are the proper way to reconstruct the pictures recorded on the record and the location of our Sun in our Galaxy."*
Truth: The construction is gold-plated copper.
The committee that curated the record was headed by le hero Carl Sagan.
It should probably include a photo of me looking at it. You know, for scale. So that aliens know how big we are in relation to the record. (That's the featuring J.Sto part.)
...I mean, I'm not going to, like, sing the hook to the "Music of the Spheres" or the wind or anything. Although maybe I'm taking singing lessons right now just in case NASA needs someone.
I made the title totally longer and therefore better by adding "Space" along with "Stellaradicus" and "Infinitus". (Both humans and aliens are sooooo into Dog Latin.)
I originally found Leon Lynn's letter and John Kovalic's blog via Wingman Curt, and when I RT-ed the letter link on le Twitter, it struck a chord with the rest of the community, so off I went into the woods. In the past I/we have made a case that corporate media conglomerate bullshitting such as this is trickle down from the many issues that extreme media consolidation has created.
Here is the original posting of the letter on Dorktower.com I'm glad that Leon Lynn wrote this and that John posted it to his blog. I hope they both like this vid.
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' the soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi can be found on iTunes and Amazon, et cetera. The short film special can be gotten via Netflix or Amazon and so forth, although I warn you to be careful of what version you buy or rent as there are different edits.
The version ABC chose to upload to Hulu after their broadcast debacle was the same, exact version criticized. That might have been the place to make it up to viewers, but again Disney really has no need to go out of their way and uploaded the compromised version. Viewers have no leverage against a company that's too large to fail. And yet, there were many incensed comments on Hulu regarding Disney's raping of the work, Leon wrote this letter... the Internets were not pleased and some news blogs picked up the story via the letter... all of which led to a Hulu upload of the 42-minute version (available until 1/1).
ABC/Disney/Hulu did not go the extra mile and make Charlie commercial-free as a solid make-good for the audience (my opinion is that that would have been a mutually-rewarding move) and this hardly helps the television audience (television = the most influential medium still), but regardless of all that mess, to my knowledge this change is completely due to web feedback from viewers and that's worth noting. The web, unlike a TV, is a two-way dialogue. It saddens and alarms me that corporations will do whatever they like until they are caught and called on it (and usually not even then do they make changes or abide by laws meant to protect the public). There is a larger issue at play here and we see it reflected both in the actual stories being distributed to our culture and in the way those stories are wielded to influence viewers.
Some people think that in a free market (truly free with no regulation), these issues would not exist as they would be corrected by the market. Other people think that the market is incapable of correcting the problems with big media as these corporations are simply too large and corruption runs too deep. Still others compare our media situation to cartels. And still more people have different ideas, various combinations and nuances... my general point is that if this reasoned debate isn't happening about the role of media in our lives and what media control means to that influence, and if these news stories about the media, communications & entertainment vertical aren't responsibly examined and broadcast, then I wonder what information people will use to make decisions.
I heard (would welcome additional confirmation) that the network compressed the showing in question in order to make even more room for adverts, so Leon's instincts are correct: The audio-sync error is hardly due to ABC not having the ability to check its delivery standards, but instead was also done to accommodate excessive conglomerate advertising and mindless, zero-sum cross-promotion. The only reason Disney probably aired Charlie in the first place was to leverage a title in their library in order to promote the new franchise-less program they had up next by tethering it to something you already know and care about. Sadly this works.
In contrast, it feels good to think that there was a time when A Charlie Brown Christmas aired in full, untouched by the commercialism that makes its premise so wonderful.
Unfortunately, my understanding is that Charlie was never a pure short film. The original special apparently had multiple instances of pushy product placement and ads incorporated in-story targeted at children, which arguably undermines the point of the story. Now that those sponsors aren't paying they have been removed. There is also that the FCC later passed laws about advertising to children. The program has thus gone through quite a few different edits, always (from my understanding) to do with advertisers. Charlie was also turned into a franchise, which means it was licensed out to make all kinds of cheap junk and the characters were used in multiple adverts. Basically, when the kids grew up someone used their dear Charlie to sell them insurance. This was all before my time, so I'd be curious to see/hear anything you know about the history and have experienced yourself.
Yes, that was then. TV has been wrong, a lot, in the past. TV promoted cigarettes and censorship in ways that we now find unbelievable. And this letter should have been written about the original broadcast in 1965. And here we are, now, with our own opportunity to set the bar. Instead of looking backward to a golden time that never was, let us look forward. Let us be the first to air moving art in all forms in the mainstream without undermining its messaging or selling it out to special interests, without using story to manipulate, indoctrinate and sell, sell, sellll! And, when advertising is present as it is at present, let us all be media literate enough to understand the machinations involved, and make decisions accordingly.
Back then, viewers only had the one-way street that is the television. Now, we have the Internet. It is my hope that the 'Net's diversity will counter television's concentrated influence, and will create opportunities for motion picture to exist without advertisers controlling the purse strings or being involved at all, really.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Namaste(!) and best wishes of joy and peace to you in whatever spirit you celebrate with glowing hearts and minds alert, on whatever day, in whatever loving way, for whatever human reason--Shalom!
It is no secret that artist Greg Martin and I are in production on visual concepts for the film The Silver Legacy. We are now proud to offer to you limited edition art prints of one of the TSL paintings.
The concept painting in question is the valley scene from the beginning of the film and is grander than the previous concept work you have seen. View the art here. (Click the desktop sizes to see the details.)
Limited Edition Conceptual Painting From The Silver Legacy Each 20x30 in. Giclee fine art print is produced on premium quality archival paper with a lustre finish to minimize fingerprinting and glare, and is numbered and signed by Greg Martin and Jessica Mae Stover.
The run is very limited: Only 40 printed. Only 10 are still available.
Electronic data management: Perhaps it is not the awesome evolution we perceive it to be.
...Or so wonders the girl who literally spent all day working with Palm tech support in attempts to fix an issue due to a corrupted calendar+addresses data file. I may have lost my calendar. My perfect, perfect calendar.
My external drive broke down, so I haven't been backing up all of my data since I haven't had the scratch to pick up a new LaCie as I nomad about. I have two other drives that are loaded up with video and music and vital backups of original/evolving creative works. Over the years, I've been careful with backing up. So it came to pass that I was vulnerable for two months and, of course, got nailed.
The only way you lose a hardcopy in your lifetime is in fire, flood or other disaster-like occurrences. In which case your computer is also compromised (assuming all of your tangible objects are in the same geographical location). I would guess that the odds of natural disaster wiping out your hard copies are way lower than the odds of a drive going out.
Furthermore, down the line, technology may will change, which means that it is possible for digital archives to become inaccessible unless data is migrated. Floppy discs, for example.
Maybe this is further argument in favor of keeping data "in the cloud." Although, in the past the cloud has experienced fail as well: Both in access issues and a loss of actual data. Additional factors to weigh include the reality of exchanging safety for privacy/control and comparing the hard costs of different storage methods.
Did you know that it is far more expensive and tedious to archive digital movies than movies on film?
That one makes sense, but only after you set assumptions about digital ease aside and think about the facts.
Digital problem days: What we sacrifice in order to save more time via computers, I suppose. And yet, after all that time lost on a minor issue, it is difficult to see the long-term benefit: All I want right now is to curl up into a ball and fade out.
There exists a challenging pose in Yoga that I'm going to call "Wingman Pose." The traditional name is "Firefly," which Wingmen fans of the show Firefly (myself included) will likely get a kick out of.
I just began Yoga a few weeks ago, as a beginner, and I'm making it my long-term goal to achieve this advanced pose.
Yoga makes you a better athlete, relieves your stress and contributes to your emotional and physical well being, which could save you loads in medical bills down the line. I immediately discovered that the beginner Yoga poses were ones that I'd done in dance, martial arts, acting training and gymnastics: Yoga is a foundation to many great arts and makes you better at life. It also puts you more in the moment. (apply to performance at will)
I urge you to find not just a class, but a great class and great instructors in your area, and a form of Yoga suited to you personally. Audit, research and then stick with the work. Make the time. Go even when you do not feel like going: Afterward you will be thankful you did. Right now I go at least twice a week. There are all manner of people at the studio I go to: Young, old, male, female, athletes, dancers, people who have never really worked out before... .
I realize few of you are likely to take up this gauntlet. I'm not that flexible to begin with (for a girl) and I'm busy as all hell. But I'm doing it and it's awesome. How cool would it be to have a group of Wingmen who metaphor the "face the future as finishers" spirit via discipline to achieving this rad, expression in physical form? SO COOL. No wimps. No babysitting. No spandex. (Really you don't have to wear that to Yoga, promise.) I'm going for it no matter, already. Even if it takes years. Let me know if you're in. One step, or stretch, at a time...
The rain has been steady and driving, unrelenting for days now. I was scheduled to attend a few very rad annual events this weekend (it's the fall harvest weekend here out east, amongst other things) but of course those activities have all been ruined by the excessive rain and unseasonably low temperature.
Despite the cold and the wet, I decided to brave the dreary weather to go on the hunt through the day-dark.
Yes I was forced to purchase an umbrella.
Then again, that did lead me to this place while the fog was creeping down the mountain:
*'Still Falls the Rain' is a poem by Dame Edith Sitwell
45 minutes away from where I currently lay my head each night I found a scene between two brothers that invoked something out of a magical reality/fantasy movie the likes of THE GOONIES or ET.
Imagine the younger is Walter, shrugging his shoulders under the weight of his over-sized backpack as Kevin, the older, tells him exactly what he thinks about... Pirate maps? Having an extraterrestrial in his room? What do you think they're saying? What's the plot, and what does this scene mean dramatically?
If this were my screenplay, it's likely the red tree would mean something. In general the color red probably would be a theme. Take a closer look at the set for this shot, which is in front of their house. I don't need to tell you the costly lengths normally gone to in order to contrive such a composition as you understand already via following ARTEMIS and probably through production notes on other films. See the fall color palette, the prominent red tree, the red wardrobe of the kids and how they are given equal weight in leading colors, the way the mountain fills the frame and how it works with the incline of the walk, what the picket fence adds as information to the scene, how the brother making his point is positioned higher (dominant) on the threshold of the walk and what the space between our two "actors" says... . The only way it could have been better as created naturally is if Kevin were lit a little stronger in order to bring him out from tree more and at the same time to bring the green tree out from the b.g. of the mountain and add more depth. And if I had caught Kevin with his arms fully extended in the height of his shout(!)ing down at Walter.
If I had had an SLR on me, I might have been quick enough to get basic coverage on the scene (close ups, et al). And of course if I had been shooting film the shadows would have looked nicer. I'm wary of photographing other people, especially kids, however. I'm sure parents don't find it normal for people to enthusiastically photograph their kids on the side of the road. Couldn't let this one go, though.
Take a look again and realize why I've planned to shoot ARTEMIS ETERNAL not in Los Angeles, but in much more vibrant place. A place where even the front yards are more lively and epic.
I am about to tell you guys something wild but you have to promise to keep it absolutely between us and never speak about it in public not even to your mom.
Maybe I have a friend who invented a time machine for the Pentagon, maybe I don't. And maybe when this maybe friend needs to test the maybe machine I'm like hey no problem let's get all Sliders with this thing I mean no worries I'm from The Future anyway no wimps.
And my friend she's all yes but the Pentagon isn't interested in The Future.
So I'm like whoa creepy and the soundtrack picks up because next I'm like... What are they interested in, then?
SOUNDTRACK RISES TO ALARMING CRESCENDO
Then she admits that it's the past that the Pentagon is interested in and the audience's minds are blown while they evaluate the mystery and morality of this most devious governmental news.
But hey I'm just here to test the thing so I'm like ok what do we do?
To make a long story short we went all wayback to this pre-Civil War battle at Harpers Ferry you want proof that's fine check it I have to take photos for the experiment so that someone at the Pentagon can show Barack Obama what's really happening once he is on a need-to-know basis like Bill Pullman and Area 51 in Independence Day. Here is some proof straight out of my OFFICIAL REPORT:
No problem I know him who do you think told him to grow a beard?* GOSH.
Ho-hum these union troops do not look ready to take on Lee.
They need someone to get them pumped!**
Yes I would have wished those guys luck but I've already seen this one so I know how it ends up and I don't like war or violence and I didn't want to see John get nicked and besides they don't have Starbucks there so I had to swing by 2002 for a latte and get back to '09 to Tweet some of JB's OHs I mean that guy really can motivate.
I met JB once when we were teens too and he was very rough Mr. Darcy-ish in looks as a young man but that was then and this is now... and then. A different then. It's really weird to see him older like that and at war even before the war... like The Time Traveler's Wife but IRL and the wife travels instead of the husband except no one is married and I didn't see that movie, anyway.
The point is that JB gets caught by Lee BUT later on someone sneaky frees him. I have no idea who this subtle Ninja might be but it's probably kind of like HP3 at the end by the lake and randomly I happen to know the pre-Civil War version of a Patronus and yet am not mentioned in the Wikipedia article about John's rescue at all which clearly means something.
...And that's how the Civil War sparked and was won by the Union and slavery was abolished THE END + Copyright!: Don't even try to turn this in as your history paper. Boomshaka.
*Taken with John Brown's camera you can tell because it's Sepia
**Taken with the government's camera you can tell because it looks so Now
Nomadicus Jessicus: This is dog Latin for “I just put all my LA possessions in storage.”
Let’s do that obnoxious thing that audiences tolerate wherein I show you the present, and now we go back in time to show you how we got here. Subtitle: “Thirty days earlier.”
I know, I know usually it is “one day ago” or whatever but come on I am not practiced in this type of playschool script trick.
THIRTY DAYS EARLIER…
That would put me at Comic-Con San Diego…
It’s strange how you become something to someone and, if you don’t do something drastic about matters like shaving your head or robbing a bank, you remain that way to them forever. Or how you know that different people view you in different ways, whether it is an individual or a group of people. The way you were in high school, for instance.
Or, here’s one: I always think of Navy as viewing me as this little scrawny teenager, because that’s who I was when we first met during our Cambridge studies. Maybe it’s because physically I am small compared to him, or because I’m younger and was very green when we first met, or because in England he was like a big brother or that, in my mind, he will always be better traveled than me and worldly in separate ways because he is a SEAL. I don’t know if this viewpoint is true, we haven’t discussed anything so dreadfully self-analytical, but this is always how I have viewed our dynamic.
I worked as a lifeguard on the beach for four days this week. While we were picking up our assignments in the morning, the director scheduled me out for deep water. One of the staff guards, Gidget, generously offered to let me, “Get back into things by taking shallow water, if it’s more comfortable for you.” Before I could decline her offer the director established, “No, she’s one of our strongest swimmers.”
Allow me to point out that this is not true, nor has it ever been true. I am one of the most comfortable of the staff in the ocean, especially among the girls. That is true. And I got caught in some big water a few times and managed somehow to swim a few kids back in and straggle back onto the beach without dying, so there’s that. My small-ish stature probably makes 8-10 foot waves and such look more menacing as opposed to one of the guys who are 6’3. I’m a good athlete to boot.
But I have never been one of the strongest swimmers, not even during that first summer wherein I worked there part time, which is what allows me to list as a sub. I’m good enough, sure, and have had formal swim training all my life of course, and the certification necessary, but I wasn’t on swim team or things like that, or water polo and whatever else all these dudes did constantly growing up. When I got caught in that rip I realized my breath control had weakened. It’s a couple years later so hey guess what I’m not even as good as I was then, and even then I scolded myself for not having been better.
Alas, I remain one of the strongest swimmers in his mind: That is the role I play in his world. Anyway Gidget didn’t like that too much. I flashed her an apologetic look and took my shift in deep water. Then I taught a bodysurfing clinic. Completed a shift from the beach in the afternoon, drove home and barely made it through a shower before passing out for three hours.
Sometimes it’s the opposite and we lose the perception of our best qualities despite still having said abilities. I’m sure my sister thought I was cooler when I could take her to New York City for dinner just to celebrate our good grades and had the support of a studio company, prior to facing up to the realities of the entertainment vertical and taking the Independent route. I.e.: The route of most resistance and least pay. I'm wildly more enlightened and rad now, although regrettably unable to express my affection for my friends and family with lavish dinners.
Sometimes you have to lose a little face in order to maintain your ethics and purpose long term.
The last time I was in Virginia, I flipped through my Cambridge files and found a photo of Navy and I from the end-of-term feast. I look the same--I always look the same!--but he looks different. I think it’s that he had a goatee then, which I did not remember as I don’t see that as suiting his current personality. There I am, scrawny teenager and him this Navy guy finishing up his master’s degree.
My Cambridge friends have always seen me as a different person from the one my hometown friends see. Most of my going to LA and England was due to the training and opportunities in those places that a professional artist and performer cannot access elsewhere. A small part, however, had to do with a need to shake off that hometown social typecasting so that I could explore my talents without the social restrictions of others.
I was an athlete, a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a student, a lot of fun, but a dramatic stage actor? A multimedia professional? Published author? Screenwriter? I was working professionally and it didn't seem to register with my posse. Through moving, traveling, publishing this site and my work in Los Angeles, my friends have become reacquainted with me, who I was when I got here. Who I was becoming. Who I am now. They got to know what had changed while I was in England and LA and matched that to the parts of me they knew so well which hadn’t changed. And Cambridge did change me hugely: The shift in my perception… I came back: evolved. Los Angeles has done as well, but in different ways and via many negative lessons.
Day to day we go on with it: Typecasting folks. We can’t help it, or can we? People are both fixed and fluid. To require of someone that they stay the same is to suffocate their growth or expect they die on the spot so that we may always remember them as they are right now.
Here's the part where I cite THE BREAKFAST CLUB:
“Saturday, March 24,1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us: In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
Whatever your “it” may be, whether it’s related to the above idea, or something else: It’s one thing to know and recognize it, it’s another to do something about it: to master it.
When I saw Navy 30 days ago in July, I was inspired. Now that he’s back in San Diego, when he ships out for six months or more-ish (yes, we are still at war), he chucks his stuff into storage. When Brad and I crashed with him overnight for the Con, he was subletting a great place right behind the Padres’ stadium, fully furnished, for three months. This made a lot of sense to me.
While in London a few weeks prior, I stayed in Kensington with a friend & Wingman who is also renting a flat fully furnished. Everything he needs is literally right outside his front door on his block: two groceries, post office, tube, drug store… even a Starbucks. He doesn’t have a car. I got an incredible lot of work accomplished by not having to drive or plan driving or deal with LA time. It jarred me right out of my Hollywood coma: I had… time. I had time to go to Kensington Palace and take reference photos of statues and fabric all day long. I had time to write. This lifestyle made a lot of sense to me. Basically, you get more done in all major cities, except Los Angeles, which I find unacceptable. In other cities people are out and about, and you can meet them. You may not even have to own or maintain a car.
Yes, this is Stonehenge
LA does not make sense to me. No one is out and about here: you cannot meet them. Time is wasted here, everyday looks the same, soon blending into a five-year fog of traffic, smog and hours spent trying to coordinate driving plans in order to meet up with friends you only see twice a year all while suffering under the tyranny and slow movement of the studio system. If not for all of the in-town production resources and stellar crew, I would label LA one of the worst places to do film and media business.
I will now lean in close, lower my voice and tell you a secret that apparently is not obvious: Those production resources can be built up in other places. New Zealand, Northern California, Texas, New York City… . Oh, if you work professionally in film, you will always be required to check in with LA. I find this reality acceptable: There are things I like about Los Angeles. I like my friends in Los Angeles. I reserve the right to visit or live in or partially live in the universe of Los Angeles. But it doesn’t have to own me. And certainly other places are more interesting to the filmmaker and audience, and allow for a different kind of agility in business and production.
I tossed my possessions into temporary storage. I consider myself shipping out, like Navy. It’s the perfect, smart choice, really, and doesn’t feel like a huge deal or unnatural to me at all. Which is why I was surprised when, in two different, recent press interviews about ARTEMIS ETERNAL, the journalists interviewing me treated the idea so… heavily. For example:
“You are leaving Los Angeles soon, is that true?”
I paused because, was it just me or did that question sound like an accusation?
“You are leaving Los Angeles soon, IS THAT TRUE?”
Let me be clear that I am not the mayor of Los Angeles, so beyond losing the cache of living in Hollywood (which has nothing to do with accomplishing film, I’ve learned) I am not really sure why this warrants an investigative, accusative sort of, “IS THAT TRUE?”
Here is what I need: I need the freedom to go lifeguard on the beach for four days because I feel like it without fearing that somehow this is interpreted as whatever kind of failure or departure to commitment in my film career. I usually put in as a substitute at the beginning of summer. If they call me and I’m available, I go in. Since I mostly deal with kids there, it’s a nice relief from some of the people I deal with on a daily basis. If I went to the beach for four days on vacation it would be fine for perceptions, but because I go there to make sure no one drowns and I get paid…? Oh the pay sucks compared with production, make no mistake: I do it because I want to and hey earning some money for hard, physical work feels good. I suppose it would have more cache if I weren’t getting paid. But guess what there’s no such thing as a volunteer lifeguard and hell I deserve and need that pay. Anyway it was like getting a paid vacation! I just adore the ocean is all. And I hadn’t seen it all summer.
The beach is essentially a different universe and I reserve the right to visit different universes as much as I like. This makes me a better person and therefore a better writer, director and performer. And being around that many kids is, quite frankly, hilarious and good for the soul. I can’t Twitter while I’m working there (another benefit?) but if I could have, then you would have been treated to some amazing OHs.
In what has recently become a popular piece of web writing, Neil Gaiman used the “paint your house” example to explain that creatives need time to live. I don’t want to paint my house. Ever. I want to go work on the beach for four days. It gives me access to gear and training and a purpose for being there. I miss being constantly active in team sports. I like the people; they don’t work in movies or marketing or title themselves using words like "Executive" and "SEO". Well except for when I end up in a conversation with Christian Slater or Pam Anderson or someone who obviously works in movies, but I assure you we are talking about skim boarding and water conditions and nothing to do with things published in faux-news entertainment magazines. No, I’m not going to paint my house or even my room, but maybe sometimes I want to go get paid to do a physical job that puts me up against the elements if only in a minor regard. I also want to position my production in the way to best serve the film. That might mean chucking my stuff in storage for a while. But I won’t stop there:
You know what else I need? For journalists to quit with the being egregiously judgmental and/or basing their editorial evaluations on the multi-billion dollar mythology the studio system has crafted.
“You’re leaving LA soon, IS THAT TRUE?”
“Yes, for a season. Or whatever is required.”
(closing his notebook) “Mmmhmm.”
Oh, I see your Rita Skeeter+Dolores Umbridge, and I find it contrary to what art and film is at its best. Challenge and confront me on my work and ideas as you like. In fact I encourage you to be that caliber of journalist (for a change), but I suggest that passively aggressively judging my answers as though an unrelated fact is going to make or break a story about the film is ridiculous. It also proves a premise of our project that I never want to be right about, and that’s the entertainment press is almost hopelessly hypnotized by the studio system and all its thin, flashy tricks. If a reporter is a part of the panem et circenses, they are probably going to be resistant against publishing an article about the artist, production, community and movement that is blatantly challenging the panem et circenses model. Faux-rebellion is embraced and elevated. A true challenge?
That particular interview remains unpublished.
Sorry, I can't hear you, I'm on a horse scouting locations so that I can make something while you rebroadcast studio movie releases all day long for profit.
I clarified the strategy involved and that ARTEMIS will mostly be lensed out east. I’m also getting ready to head to Portland to kickoff work on the intensive ARTEMIS ETERNAL web experience redesign. In addition, the concept artist that I plan to work with, well it turns out he lives in the Midwest and will be on location in Europe, so we will not be working locally from Los Angeles.
Sorry, I can't hear you. Look what I found while you were changing your Twitter bio to read "Social Media Expert"
Since I am ARTEMIS ETERNAL, the project and I are increasingly inseparable, and since you, reader, are involved in ARTEMIS ETERNAL, I figure you might be curious about the particular strategies of my whereabouts.
I will of course be here in Los Angeles for a month when we prep and shoot CRIMSON and for anything else requiring for me to be here before that point. Post-production will most likely be in Los Angeles as well, at which time I would consider myself moved back, most likely. It’s not difficult for me to come back as a local when I need and I can sublet if I need a longer spell. In short I’m multi-basing a little and it doesn’t concern me in the slightest as I will be saving heaps of money/overhead from chucking my stuff in storage and unloading my flat. I will guest and quest and work all over the place with one mission still at the forefront of all my action: ARTEMIS. This will be good: Neither Wingmen nor ARTEMIS ETERNAL are tied to LA. We’re larger than that, now, and in this way the world, our world, is a small world. It’s what planes are for. And guess how valuable this flexibility is? Wicked valuable. So back off, Mr. Rita Skeeter-Umbridge guy. Also there is no reason for you to ask me the same question twice in one interview.
“IS THAT TRUE?”
Dear entertainment professionals, give up your attachments to LA. This is the reason all movies look the same, and most of you are out of work. And, if you’re in work, you probably aren’t on a project with much of a soul and, at the same time, aren't being paid what you should be paid. Over educated and underemployed: Why are you here? Why are you perpetuating this worldview?
Sorry, I can't hear you. I'm too busy reenacting The Lion King "Circle of Life" on this rock.
Multi-basing or technomading or living out of a suitcase… that’s what I want my production story to be. That's where I want my story to be: In the field. It’s nothing I’ve been relegated to: I am actively pursuing my life in this way and sculpting my productions to be not here but OUT THERE.
YES, THAT IS TRUE.
Out there where life happens. I do have a center to my universe and that’s my family home out east. I do hold that there is a center for the film universe and that is LA. For all of my time in Los Angeles I have considered myself somewhat bi-coastal. Although, if you told me I’d be living this way when I was a teen I’d have replied with sarcasm, noting that this idea is counter-intuitive to everything I am. I was afraid then. I didn’t have Wingmen or a college degree or world experience or mastery in multiple crafts and I hadn’t yet read this story.
If being the master of multiple worlds is a weakness, then how do you reporters define strength? Mastering multiple worlds is only the result of every major hero monomyth journey, is all. Embrace the wisdom: I object to being subjected to your limited view of what film and a filmmaker should be. I’m pretty sure there are other locations aside from Los Angeles or sound stages just like there are other places to hang out other than your shoebox apartment or exoskeleton of a car jammed in traffic on a freeway.
It’s strange to turn a corner, to suddenly notice that evolution and triumph, and then to have someone else judge your step forward, the chess move that makes the most sense, as a step back.
Los Angeles is currently one of the worst cities for economic stability, recession recovery and unemployment. Perhaps it is a wise filmmaker who seeks to, for a spell, operate with increased freedom out of the top, most-stable metropolitan areas.
Here is my advice, and challenge, to directors of film:
Get to LA
And then GET THE HELL OUT OF LA.
Come back whenever you feel like it or find it necessary, because once you know this world exists and can be survived, you can do film anywhere. Including Los Angeles.
Master of two worlds.
Owner of a well-earned master key.
Now if the wimps are done with the judging, permit me, along with The WINGMEN, to continue unlocking some doors. I've got a flight to catch.
Taking Woodstock premiere. You know I love '60s music and movement. And Ang Lee's work. Thus was delighted to be invited (and to support Ang Lee's head via forced perspective).
At the party I unexpectedly had the opportunity to talk with Catherine Hardwicke about this article, which you may recall I get asked sometimes during interviews. Example. (Often the question doesn't make the final cut, but I am frequently asked about the lack of female directors issue. Usually this article is cited. Sometimes I cite it myself.) CH is smart and youthful. You know I have no interest in Twilight. More so, in the moment (and now that I've met her), I was/am interested in her as she's quite... well there's only one word for it: Cool.
As context I should disclose that I have only met two female directors in all of my time working in the industry (having talked to dozens and dozens of well-established film directors). The other female director was completely rom-com uninteresting. Glad it came to pass that CH & I were both in the same place at the same time. Wish I could sit down and talk with her further, really. There are next to no working female directors around, much less interesting ones. Maybe three or four. Catherine directed Thirteen & Dogtown, and managed to land a major fantasy film with a useful budget. I dug her fashion tonight and how fit she is, too. Just really impressed, actually. Surprisingly so, in this case.
Briefly spoke with Ang Lee early on, who made one of my favorite films (Crouching Tiger) not to mention other obviously great and celebrated films: Brokeback comes to mind. He's adorable. Directors' intros can get old when you do the screening thing regularly, but his introduction to the film was genuine. He cheerfully mentioned his approach to Ice Storm as being "a hangover from the '60s" and shared a story about desiring to depart from his habit of directing tragedies. When you see him, you get the urge to hug him, however his formidable talent gives you cause to restrain yourself and simply enjoy the happiness of his sphere.
Also met new Focus guys and girls, who miraculously managed to be rad despite pulling a 14-hour day with the event. Focus is a picky production company, which is commendable. They remind me of Searchlight in that they always at least try to create something great and high-minded. They often succeed. Also met Richard Kidd, an EFX supervisor who, like Catherine, I could have easily talked to for ages if the party weren't wrapping up. His production-teamwork mentality is kindred to ours. So came and went tonight: Another fun experience in hanging with our pal Francis, talking about serious hats, watching ArcLight movies and chilling at Boho. The Paparazzi chased someone down outside (this is disconcerting to witness) but otherwise the evening was spirited and flawless. All of this occurred two miles from my house. Most of the time LA is terrible, but sometimes it is extraordinarily kind. And so it is, my friends, that time now flies.
We paid our dues last year (still ranks as the most exhausting thing I've accomplished!), and thus our Sophomore year at Comic-Con International was brilliant. Felt just like a Sophomore year should: Retained a bit of that new-ish feeling and curiosity as we got to know things better but 'twas more laid back than being a freshie in that we now know what we are doing and people, in turn, know us.
I visited with old friends and made new ones, plus this year I was free to have more of a San Diego experience and, in what is becoming a SDCC tradition, got to hang out with some SEALS. Thank goodness for the hospitality of Navy SEALS: 2 years running! We'd ask them military questions, then they'd ask us production questions... remarkably, we were equally fascinated with one another's work. Or perhaps they were just politely returning interest. I mean we had a lot of questions about the war and combat, so. Anyway, did I mention it was brilliant? It was! Now I will show and tell you a little about the Con & our fellows, some of whom are top secret and could not be photographed (you understand):
Some people drive down, some take the train, some fly... I have my own mode of transpo to the Con.
Transformers Chevy product placement? Dear Michael Bay, FUFUFUFUFUFU!!1
Hey Taryn let's pose like serious models and then I'll show you the fastest way to get back to LA:
k just go through the shiny stuff and then...Vortex!
It was a short tour for us this go. Comic-Con was wonderful to us yet again (thanks, Clydene!). Couldn't have had a more pleasing time. I should have more photos coming my way, so we'll add new galleries during redesign. Really a pleasure to see you all.
For a little compare contrast, check out the Freshman year Comic-Con gallery on the Artemis Eternal site.
In a few days we'll be headed back to San Diego for Comic-Con International. I wanted to share with you that the Con has been terrific to us/ARTEMIS ETERNAL this year as well as last. They gave us many choices, but in the end I declined booth space this year because the return on investment would not have been worth it for us to pay out that much to again stage a space this go around. Of course we will still be there in person. I want to be more causal and less distracted for this, our 2nd year, and focus on a more intimate and relaxed way of gathering during Con hours.
Thus, on Friday at 2PM PT please meet us inside the Convention Center at the left-most entrance to the exhibit hall for a bit of a hang out.
If I did this right, it should indicate the entrance that is down by the video game booths along the last wall. Check out this sweet map I just made for you at 1AM:
Actually, I did that semi-wrong. The star should be one block further <-- left where it says "Entrance." So maybe that map isn't way better than the one in The Goonies but it will get you there regardless. Here's a full-sized version with less hot pink, if you're into that sort of thing.
Just come as you are and we'll have a chat. Please be on time. Since there aren't as many of you in attendance this year and we aren't promoting ARTEMIS ETERNAL heavily like we did last year, I'm expecting it to be a small group (which is what I prefer for a change!). I will not have books or anything for sale with me so if there's something you want inscribed please bring it along with you and we'll get that taken care of. I cannot take cash/sign you up to be a Wingman on the spot but you can quickly register online at the official site anytime during the Con.
This year, as I mentioned, is about connecting with less people in a more meaningful way: both existing Wingmen and new folk, so please bring your friends and don't be shy. If you want to say hello and see that I'm in a conversation, please DO NOT LEAVE: flag me down so that I know you are there and can include you or approach one of the guys and ask them to introduce you to me. Remember, I am driving down there to talk to YOU so if after the fact I hear any of that, "oh I saw JSto but she looked busy so I didn't get to talk to her," then you will be seriously grounded. Plus, you can meet one another! We will all be wearing amazing, blue Wingman "No wimps!" t-shirts and thus will be unmistakable. I will try not to wear any confusing wigs (no promises).
Should there be changes or updates, they will be posted on here and on Twitter. I will be Tweeting mobile so please do follow @JSto to keep along.
In a previous post I reported that AAE lead actor Todd Soley will not be there this year. Todd has just finished work on the latest Final Fantasy and is now off shooting a movie in Russia. He will of course be missed (who will get me into trouble this year?), but as I can confirm that actors are most happy when in production, we won't morn his absence: Instead, please join me in giving him a big virtual high-five.
I'm ready to have a worry-free time this year wherein I don't have to eat my lunches under the booth table or wake up at the crack of dawn everyday for a week or answer the same questions five million times over. Or carry anything heavy! See you there!
Last week I traveled to Bath. I needed more time there: my trip south-west to Somerset was a gorgeous, Georgian blur. Fortunate to have been there at all I won't complain about the brisk tour, however. I missed the town before I had left, and the water temple gave me ideas to ponder.
Notably, in times when Bath belonged to the Romans, curses were folded or rolled and thrown with purpose into their healing spring, that sulfuric, milky green mossy Celadon of The Great Bath all lead-lined and sulphate ions and geothermal energy.
"To Minerva the goddess of Sulis I have given the thief who has stolen my hooded cloak, whether slave or free, whether man or woman. He is not to buy back this gift unless with his own blood."
And so the incensed Roman would send his curses into the cloud. Before you think it seems quaint, or laughable, or a little extreme for a cloak:
And before you go saying, "Well yes, but, Jessica Mae, dear, Twitter is different because people actually read Twitter," let me remind you that we are reading the Romans' curses. There was just a bit of a delay, is all. And they were written in a different language. Oh, and perhaps a bit soggy. Except they were engraved on thin sheets of lead (curse tablets) so not really.
Maybe the Romans were using sarcasm, hyperbole, overstatement and other techniques for humor. You don't know. One day your tweets are going to be misread by future humans and talking dinosaurs from another planet. They are going to think you worshiped cats and thought said cats could speak to you about cheeseburgers and won't know that "lol" means you weren't being awful and were j/k j/k all the way. Together the humans and dinos will study the vocal chords of cat fossils, deduce that cats could not speak and surmise that you were in a mental lolcult. After that there will probably be a dino-human war. Just because.
So back in the day in Bath the waters were their Internets, the tablets, their tweets, and they were @-ing the Gods. Then they'd get wasted off some sulfuric acid water, do a few laps, rock around naked and nearly get driven out by Boadicea. Then infinity years later I'd see a statue of Boadicea in Westminster and would be all, "sweet!"
(For any dinosaurs from the future by "sweet" I mean "impressive." Not "sugary." Also give us some of your fossil fuels we're addicted kthx lol lol--oh, was that dinosaur-racist? No way I said "lol"! You future dinos just don't get our humors.)
Maybe the future dino-human war will be about fossil fuels. Humans already have practice at that war so we might win. In the meantime, here's another curse:
"May he who has stolen VILBIA from me become as liquid as water ... who has stolen it or her. Velvinna, Exspercus, Verianus, Severinus, A(u)gustalis, Comitianus, Minianus, Canis, Germanilla, Jovina."
This is way worse than getting your name written on the blackboard for talking in class. Trust.
There is one place I have always been set on since I was a child and that place was and remains England. For that reason I went, unflinchingly, to study at Cambridge. I was fortunate to stay, work and shoot in London as well.
If I hadn't been so set on getting to LA permanently to master my motion picture crafts and participate in an industry which I now understand is illogical and ridiculous (but at the time thought was workable), and if the expense of living in London weren't so discouraging, then it's highly likely that I would have moved there already. When someone asks me what would be ideal for me in life, I respond something to the effect of: Living in London but retaining a space in LA so that I could do production business here when I need to, and of course visiting VA between. I hadn't been to London in a few years, however, so the memory had worn thin. Now it's fresh and I'm well past learning what LA has to say about film craft, directing, writing and drama.
So I'm basically just looking for an excuse, is all.
"To he who has perpetuated Hollywood stupidity and mediocrity, and robbed this house of sanity, whether he be agent, production executive, The Associated Press or Michael Bay, Latin, gods, curse, may he be forced to watch The Hills "Best of Spencer" on repeat for infinity, until he returns honor to the ArcLight of my divinity, pays for it in blood, more gods and curse, middle finger, sotheretakethat, curse renewed, triple sow cow, moonwalk, legal and binding. ps: blood!"
It's amazing how much you can say about an idea with a simple lolWimp.
For instance, the one above makes for a lovely greeting card. You know, if you have the unfortunate instance of befriending Michael Bay, Brent Ratner, or that CEO guy at Sony who is all exasperated about Piracy (rightfully) and yet leads a company that dicks over the collective of humans and artists on a daily basis (fool!).
The Professor and I have considered turning the above into stickers and placing them on anything that sucks. And of course this next one is an instant classic:
Both of these were created by Wingman Katie over at Wingman Central. If you make one, send to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll share your lulz with the Interwebs.
Randomly sold quite a few books in the US this week. Thank you to you orderers. Years ago I broke even from the initial pre-order sales before book launch, so now when you buy a book I actually make a little money, and it all goes to me! Sometimes I can buy groceries off of that small profit, which is no small feat. Plus, I own the intellectual property. True, I didn't make a cushy 30k advance as you do with a publisher. But did I mention that I own my own IP? And for my first book I did whatever I want, i.e. a collection? And I didn't have to put up with any corporate bullshit?
Leave me alone, corporations! I'm writing to my peoples.
I also had a little signing party in Virginia, which was fun. And caffeinated. (A few of us staged that linked snapshot afterward.) It was the first time (during Greyfeather V.O.) that I worked with Wingman Mushy, who recently did the mix on the Distortion short and the first time I worked with Brad, who also came to work on Distortion, DP-ing in both DC and LA. I learned how to publish, promote, sell and ship a book and that was valuable. It also made creating the TSL prints much easier because the shop was already set up.
When Aidmheil sells out, I will think about doing something else in print. Maybe it will surprise you.
I want to take a moment today to welcome new Wingmen. This week everyone new is International, from places such as Canada and Sweden. As a point of information, I've found that the project resonates more strongly with Canadians and Europeans. We've had more US press, thus more Americans have had the opportunity to know about the project leading to more US Wingmen. Plus, I'm American, so more people in the US come in contact with me than anywhere else in the world (so far). Otherwise I believe Canada and Europe would be leading for Wingman locations. Not that it's a race: Simply an interesting sociological/cultural point, I think. The largest local Wingman areas remain the LA and DC metro areas.
TSL on the other hand continues to be (behind the LA and DC areas) popular in Russia. Russia? Russia! That film project has received virtually no press at this stage because we aren't promoting it yet. Most of the prints at this point tend to be International sales as well. America is always the market artists want to break into, so why are we so far behind when it comes to taste, art or even new pop trends? Even The Backstreet Boys broke overseas before here! That's why when they were all "Backstreet's back, alright!" We were all like, "WTF? You just got here." Not that that was the only "WTF?" involved with the discovery of the Backstreet Boys, but you get my point. Then I Want it That Way came out and had to stop making fun of them and go to all of their concerts.
Anyway, it is a pleasure to translate a Russian blog about TSL to see what's being said. And by "translating" I mean "badly translating" via an online auto-translator for the lulz. Receiving e-mails in broken English about one's work is also a pleasure. The letters are always kind (and amusing). And lead to the realization of how far behind US students are in terms of learning a second language.
No matter where in the world you are, though, or what language you speak: It's difficult, really, really difficult to be an artist right now because of the Internets, piracy and public perception. Many artists don't talk about it much because they don't want to be caught up being positioned against their fans. There have been some bigger things on the table lately such as digital residuals/the strike, orphan works legislation, the Google books debacle in Germany and so forth. Established artists who have been backed by labels or studios or publishers for years (ex: NIN, Radiohead), well their story is different and that has lead to interesting interactive case studies that cannot be applied to the rest of the creative class. The truth is that the creative class is facing, right now, some tough issues. And they are all labor related. Despite that, and how frustrated I am, it still remains my pleasure to be an artist, and to share with you something that I did independently in my salad days (Aidmheil). So thank you for being you, for being here, and for valuing creatives just as you would your mechanic, your doctor or any other professional providing you with something that fills a need and adds to your life.
I had to lift this out of Screenwriter and hack together a final transcript because the original script was moved around so much that I abandoned a formal document the day of the first shoot. It pains me a little that I don't have time to edit and include the narrative so that you can view how I described the cadences I wanted prior to shoot and compare to the vid edit. Other missions are at hand, take precedent, however.
All italics are movie lines, which is part of the argument of the piece. Can you name them? Even I have probably forgotten where I lifted a few.
Just remember: This is all over the second we ride up Troy's bucket.
[Static, walkie garble, consumer images... flashes of ideas...]
Six companies control all the media that you are seeing--
Is that true?
Yes, it's true--
What do we do?!
Storytelling belongs to the people--
I want to be there at the beginning of something big--
Six companies control all the media that you are seeing--
[Whisper] Wake up!
But they don't control THIS.
WARNING ANNOUNCEMENT (V.O.)
If you're receiving this transmission, then it means you ingest lethal doses of mass produced media: news programs, magazines, commercials, movies--
[distorted, reverb, audio broadcast sounds like THE WINGMEN have stolen into the broadcast booth at a stadium for an EPIC SPEECH...]
Yeah I love movies!
I really want better movies
I want better movies
A new model for production
You think it's impossible?
You're afraid of change!
You are not a Wingman!
You probably thought 'Episode I' was good
I know what you've been doing, why you sit by your computer, you're looking This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're going to let it be the worst And I guarantee a week won't go by in your life you won't regret walking out, letting them get the best of you I'm not saying it's going to be easy With great power comes great responsibility Thank you for all the... HYPOCRITICAL INSPIRATIONAL LINES, Hollywood
[BAM! - emphasis cue]
Media conglomerates are full of it You can absolutely say they're full of shit! Why don't you practice what you preach Warner Brothers! (Yeah!) Studios and big companies they've got all the money, the lawyers, the resources Well who do you think gave it to them? WE DID! The line must drawn HERE This far no further Storytelling belongs to the people Then by god we take it back! It's a rebellion! No wimps! I want better movies
WE make better movies
I am a Wingman
I am a Wingman
I am an Artemis Eternal Wingman!
We're using the Internets to change the way you think, man!
I am the Internets
I am the Internets!
I AM A GOLDEN GOD!
LET'S DO THIS! Let's make these movie lines mean something...
Advanced citizenship, you've got to want it bad because it's gonna put up a fight. It's going to say, You want free speech? then Free your mind You're going to work harder than you're ever worked before But that's fine 'cuz we'll just get tougher with it! Failure is not an option So believe me when I say What every warrior has known since the beginning of time: Even the smallest person can change the course of the future But you've got to get mad! Take it to the mattresses!
No, try not; do or do not!
(Mmm!) [Yoda Impression]
Right now, they got to do what's right for them. Because it's their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here This, is YOUR time Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions [Rawr!] Who's with me? [RAWR!!] WHO'S WITH ME?! [meow.] Sieze the day! Never surrender! Victory or death! Sign your name to a declaration of film independence Some principals are eternal The movie Artemis Eternal is completely free from studio control It reminds us of all that once was good, and could be again From LA to DC all the towns inbetween and all around the world we're looking for 1300 more Wingmen, 1300 more Wingmen! (That it?) You know how we roll! Hey we're all independent thinkers here, but there's one thing we all agree on: Six companies control all the media that you are seeing, but they don't control THIS!
[Improv] - Nice! Jam! Throwing those gang signs! ["blog" gang sign] Read my blog!
So if you know what we know, then it doesn't matter how you find us; JUST FIND US.
[whisper] Wake up!
If only I could learn to charge these with my explosive bio-kinetic energy...
Have I ever mentioned that I used to do little magic tricks in the school lunchroom to earn money for the milkshake machine? M.Sto did not see fit to fund my milkshake desires. Milkshakes every Wednesday; it was special, you see. Only one day a week! And tasty. I had to have one.
So I made up my icecream money with entertaining performance storytelling card games. You would be tricked! And your dollar would be MINE. If you were an adult, then it was five dollars. Of course M.Sto overheard me performing my nifty card stories for one of the little league dads, gasped in embarrassment after I displayed I had won the trick and, discovering that there was a bet involved said, "Oh you don't have to pay her!" But of course this adult had honor and paid me, chuckling that I was clever. So I had five dollars. Ice cream was only 50 cents thus you can see that was a big pull for me.
One time M.Sto said I could not have a TV so I babysat until I had $200 and bought my own. I think it took me all of two weeks. Of course she was right I probably shouldn't have had a TV in my room it's only the worst habit ever but I was tired of sneaking to watch LEGEND on TV after my bedtime. The phone, however, was a neccessity. That she did not deny me. And never computer access, either. Which is lucky because having the Internets used to be expensive and babysitting wasn't as quick or fun as a good bit of playing card story-magic.
In third grade my bracelet business was banned because it was distracting people (i.e. girls) in class (shiny!). But that's ok my bread and butter (or icecream money) was really made at the bus stop from selling keychains to the BOYS. No I didn't keep them in a caboodle. This wasn't NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and anyway I kept them in a boldly-colored can that was more attractive to my audience. It was actually a pencil holder I made for The Grizz in first grade. So what big deal it was RED and from it poured badass handmade keychains you could attach to your backpack except these came in boy colors. Then I would sell the matching one to the girl who liked the boy or vice versa of the one who had already bought. I don't know somehow people were into it. And the hand-woven bracelets took me forever to make, so they were a steal. All of those third grade keychain couples are probably married now.
This other time we really wanted to go to the movies so we mixed up some lemonade and made forty bucks. The key is to only charge a quarter except no bicyclists have change and you don't keep change so they tell you just to keep the dollar because you're seven. Then we washed some people's windows (if we lived in the city I suspect we would have had competition) and made ten bucks. Then we blew it all on candy and cheap jewelry from Claire's and (better) embroidery floss for weaving superior friendship bracelets to make the muses weap in shame (and sell at the bus stop). Oh and maybe we went to see A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.
Ask me to do a *card trick for you if you see me. Providing I'm not rusty, you will be amazed.
The End of any Great Era is always tough, but I think it's important to pass the torch. If I'm ever old, however, I wonder if I'll be hanging on too tightly past my time, like I see so many people doing.
I can think of times when I've had tears in my eyes come the end of just such a rare, formative season, but I always went on; through the less-sweet times.
Those ends and beginnings come at all ages, but when you are young, your eras aren't twenty years long. Or more.
Not that the camaraderie and freedoms feel any different due to length of time, but I do imagine that after so great an expanse change may be even more difficult.
And, I recognize that perhaps I too would pause, restructure, resist, if I had some power to not have to move forward. To extend past the prime. To hang on.
When your term is up, the conditions change and typically the pieces shift; no longer aligned. The sun will never shine so brightly on these particular moments as it did in the past, and you know you have to go. Summer's over, schools back in, graduation has come, you've left your job, an uncanny sports season has ended, you're moving, your show finishes its run, there is new leadership at the helm... it's the end of an era.
Life, it moves.
But I'm not currently at the end of any personal eras, so I'm simply watching the tides, is all.
Notes: You requested outtakes and behind-the-scenes moments from The WINGMEN/Distortion Video where we also quick captured a few stand-ups on the fly. Thus, here I gave myself five minutes to string out any raw footage I felt appropriate from the DC & LA shoots.
The biggest illusion of all from the Distortion video, I think, is not the magical Aurum Lanterns or momentum that professional editing creates: the grandest trick of the shoot and edit is that it doesn't appear to be 20 degrees in the DC shots, and yet; it is. When I finally went to bed at 6AM my face was brutally windburned and for some hours I was reduced from EPIC DIRECTOR! to Tiny Frozen Human. Totally worth it, though. As you can see.
It's the final countdown! You know how it goes: In this corner, The Groom gets ready with his MEN, and in this corner, The Bride prepares with her 'Maids. I don't know why I capitalized "men," but it looks funny so it's staying that way. My way, your way, anyway... I'm pretty sure The Viking requested a chalkboard in his ready room so that he could outline his strategy for his teammates. Maybe we should get him a PC Tablet.
This is a testament to how many snapshots The Viking Clan takes. They have it covered from all angles, every second of the day. They are probably taking photos of you right now and you don't even know it:
Let it be known that there was a fair wind on C.Sto's wedding day. I think we eventually got at least one photo without hair over our faces, however.
I don't know? I'm smirky.
Champagne antics! Featuring Rach and Sarah and Larry, the latter of whom is extremely paranoid about the Cylons returning to Earth.
I have one billion photos and we haven't even had delivery yet from the professional photographer. True story.
My sister was married during my voyage east. You know this already. Except for the first photo above, which is actually an HD still, these lead-up snaps are brought to you by Erich's Viking clan. Oh, the many events over the week! Here goes: Erich and I make a video for C.Sto's shower; C.Sto arrives at her Princess shower; Stover musical chairs final four eye of the tiger grudge match (in the end I totally beat my Grandma and won!); You can't see but there are at least three Disney Princesses on that cake; Bachelorette sushi dinner; Bachelor party (obviously I wasn't there for that one); Because of C.Sto's sash and crown (and limo!) Strangers in DC asked me, "what did your friend win?" all night, so eventually I decided that she was Bride of the Year for Bride Magazine, which sounds totally believable, especially to dudes; Blocks! I'm sure you are not surprised to see me playing jumbo Legos on the floor and yes musical chairs at the shower was my idea so what; Erich's twin sisters hosted the rehearsal dinner at his father's house, where Stovers and Vikings gathered to pay homage to the ceremonial chocolate fondue fountain; HELLO, WE'RE THE STOVER SISTERS! (she hates when I say that).
I need to enable JSDC for HD vid so that I can post Sarah dancing bonkers to Beat It in the limo. You know, for inspiration.
When it comes to exploring natural exteriors for production; we're golden. Technically I've been location scouting and negotiating locations for production since the turn of the century, albeit always for my own shoots and not independent at first.
In terms of locations, Artemis and beyond works tend to be far more challenging and interesting than what I've done previously. Although, admittedly, many of the studio locations for my show were awesome. Of course I've never officially held the cavalier-like title of Location Scout since I personally fit those tasks under my directing and producing roles.
For the right personality (as is true of most crafts in film that take a special kind of individual) Location Scout is a stellar crew position and one I have always privately viewed as exciting. Depending on what caliber of filmmaker you are; scouting can be a life-changing, world-evolving personal part of the process. The research, planning and exploration can also be tedious. Especially when done on your own without a team, as will happen in pre-production. It depends on the material, and I suppose isn't a task all directors enjoy.
I'm rather inspired by tales from The Last of the Mohicans crew, who humped gear on foot deep into the Smokies, and from my Great Aunt, who was on set for that shoot.
Meaning that I have to think about where I'm asking people to march, but there do exist crews who get fired-up over getting the shot just as much as the director, and aren't some kind of union sissies as so often depicted.
Anyway, so far I haven't asked anyone to go anywhere I haven't gone first. So there is that.
My sister was married this weekend. Le Viking has always fit in well with our family. I have considered myself to have an additional brother for quite some time now. Really my only complaint about The Viking is that he enforces foreign beer pong rules that are native to his homeland even when the game takes place at not his homeland.
Here are two more stills from a video we made last weekend. It looks like an exclusive interview for some highly prestigious news program such as 20/20 or Yo! MTV Raps but I swear it's just a casual mini-production for C.Sto's bridal shower.
Everyone from Virginia marries someone they went to highschool with.
Weddings! It is very likely that I will post a few photos from the celebration once the professional photag gets them back to us. Thank you for all of the well wishes. The Stover + Viking clans had a tremendous time.
C.Sto + Viking are now happily ever after on a beach enjoying their honeymoon, drinking Viking-native drinks (such as Smirnoff Ice) and plotting a trip to The Magic Kingdom.
In the meantime, The Professor arrived today in the nowimpsmobile, which means it's time to get back to pre-production work-adventures.
Fellow Wingman Brady BD wrote about a case study that is related in that it illustrates why I don't sell the remaining 159 copies of Aidmheil available through Amazon. They take a 45% cut, which is huge when you aren't moving a large volume. Of course distributing under the Amazon brand somehow seems to vet any author; worthy or not (relations with established brands always do even when meaningless).
Given how few copies are left available, however, the promotion and trained consumers aren't worth the price in this case. If you are moving Harry Potter numbers, however, then Amazon strategically is a great choice, as are other venders who pack and ship. The point is that, in my experience, the method of distribution is not always a comment on the caliber of a work. Media politics get in the way of that being a useful way to evaluate and if you decide to forgo all of that and distribute independently, then you are playing with far, far less distro money. Books specifically are low budget to produce (compared to film), therefore the quality of the work is not affected by a lack of conglomerate production funding. Of course that's a light analysis in the name of the artist/reader/distro relationship, and yet should be just enough to serve as fuel for thought. Happy reading!
For you boys I can report back that Tricia Helfer is gorgeous and Grace Park is taller than I would have imagined, and also gorgeous. And (as you can tell) Magda and Alessandra are free spirited and a lot of fun. I guess we are going to go undercover and fight Cylon crime now. Or something.
Seth Green and his purple mohawk moderated the actual event, and as always he was a crack up. I shot with him one day years ago and he remains one of the nicest people in the industry who I've met. His notecards were clipped at the corners, BSG-style, as if he needed more nerd props (but got more regardless!).
I only lament that C.Sto wasn't there. After living through the Seattle trip debacle, she has more than earned the right to some BSG-related celebration.
Yo dudes, so I have sent The WINGMEN short around to a few festival and screening opportunities. Please comment if you have a festival that you'd like for us to submit to, and I will review. As you can see a few on the list are ones you already suggested via Twitter.
Submitted: Los Angeles International Short Film Festival
FIND Monthly Screening
San Diego Comic-Con
Fantasia Film Festival
Hollywood Film Festival
Austin Film Festival
Women’s Film Institute Shorts Tour
NBC Universal Short Cuts Film Festival (for the lulz)
FYI, I am already aware of Sundance, AFI, LA Film Fest, Edinburgh, Virginia, SXSW and Tribeca, and we don't qualify for Toronto (filmmaker has to be Canadian to submit to shorts program).
Before you post a link, glance over the submission rules just to make sure we qualify. All ideas welcome: You don't have to be a Wingman to make a suggestion.
PS: What about you Aussies?
PPS: Anyone have any experience with HollyShorts?
"Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer
without being able to do it."
First of all, congrats on the 50k views The WINGMEN: Distortion vid has quickly received. Since this was released entirely independent, that is remarkable! Well done!
If it's not apparent to you, we've definitely outgrown the ARTEMIS ETERNAL site and especially the map. "But that website is awesome!' I hear you cry. You're right, but if you look closely, month's worth of stuff has occurred since Comic-Con that we didn't have in the original plan. That's the thing about a good journey: You can plot it out as much as you like but, there will always be delightful and/or necessary things you couldn't have foreseen. The site is flexible but we need more flexibility in terms of the map.
Greg and I are planning a redesign of the experience for end of summer. For now, as it has been for a while, it is cramped and we have loads of assets that we have to shortcut and squeeze in and we have so much it doesn't fit clean and perfect as we prefer. Growth is good and as always we're up for the challenge of a better evolution.
In terms of the film, everything is prepped to the point that we are really only dependent on filling out the community so that we can lock our budget. In the video we state we're looking for 1300 more Wingmen. Thus, you can check the "who's in" list numbers to see how progress is going. And you can always help the project by spreading the word so that people have an opportunity to enjoy the content and the worthy have the opportunity become Wingman. Obviously the more money we raise the more chances we can take with the film and the web experience. I have a tiered budget that almost works as sort of a wish list of upgrades. The first is the minimum of what I need to accomplish the film properly and at a high quality. The next has the things I'd like to add to heighten the story technically or pad things if we can raise to that level and on and on to a version with upgrades on what sort of composer we'll work with and how the music can be arranged right down to how exotic the instruments can be. When we get closer, this is something I plan to publish and ask you about. I'm also considering jumping ahead and pulling some concept visuals together for you. Although I will have to take a look at the budget and weigh a few choices before I make that decision.
Press and paperwork take me away from those parts, but they are necessary. However we've been through a bunch of that and now I can focus on creative aspects. You know we're good at what we do, and work hard, so most of the time it's more a matter of mobility and resources, which goes back to (that accursed word--) funding. There are many excellent ideas I cannot wait to implement, but alas; I must. That's not to say that you have not already given myself and the project (and those involved) tremendous amounts of freedom. True, things are tight, but we do not have to suffer fools. You absolutely have given that to us and that's really the smartest and most useful gift an artist can be given. That being said, we are wise enough to understand that restrictions are also a good thing as long as they don't wholly impede the work. The right restrictions and hurdles typically challenge the production to be better and life is such that hurdles always present themselves, so we're not in short supply of those. In fact the problem-solving aspect of production is one of the qualities I like best about the filmmaking experience.
Sky's the limit. More soon.
As we continue to outgrow this version of the site and create the new one, I'll continue to write much more on JSDC, which is where I groundwork the production journals. Those are about a year behind in terms of being organized and linked on Artemis Eternal dot com.
With the redesign I am planning to up the amounts for involvement. The idea behind that change is that it was much more challenging to come aboard before this point and therefore for that reasons and others the increments are lower. If you have any feedback about this, then please e-mail me.
In other news, I'm working out our presence at San Diego Comic-Con this year and will update for you as soon as I have the information. I'll be at the Battlestar Galactica/Caprica Paley events this week in Los Angeles, so please say hello if you are there!
I set out a camera in the green room during the DC-area shoot for The Wingmen to mess with if they felt inclined. I've just now had time to watch the clips.
Here's a little window into the camaraderie of that night. I believe this is early on during setup of the first shot.
[window removed: you missed it, sucker! Too bad.]
Appears that it was Wingman Kelli who captured this. This occurred just before I marched in with a stack of work gloves and asked if any of the restless dudes wanted to earn honor and respect by helping us clear a path through the forest, which meant removing the tedious brush and bracken. The worthy Wingmen fearlessly accomplished this feat in fifteen minutes, and professional greensmen, grips and swing gangs everywhere were shamed. Meanwhile, from the other videos, I can piece together that most of the girls were checking their makeup and/or playing Mortal Kombat 4 tournaments on the Nintendo. The former is war paint and the latter is actuality a Wingman training program sort of like the ones The Airforce employs. You know, just in case we ever have to engage in a graphic battle for the world that consists of magic and martial arts.
As you can see it was a true team effort and everyone pulled their weight. Also, Wingmen are always prepared. Like girl scouts. Except we know fatalities.
You know what else I learned about Wingmen today? Four of them have given birth in the last 12 months. Maybe you guys are following suit of all major world religions (and China) and breeding ourselves into higher numbers so as to achieve WIN. I was going to suggest we clone a bounty hunter a million times over on some far away water planet, but clearly you guys thought this out a year ago, so who am I to interfere?
Earlier today Leah and I met up spontaneously so as to catch up before both of us head out of town to our respective destinations. Destinations that are, thankfully, not Los Angeles. Conversation over cups of ale turned quickly to how screwy LA is, how screwy arts, entertainment and media is and the suffering these systems inflict on even the most hearty, well kept and realistic of individuals who dare tangle with said void. When is enough, and what else can you do if this is what you do? Can nothing be done? How do you come to captain your fate again—is that even possible given the circumstances of the beast? Thoughts of that sort. I invoked the idea that I felt kindred to the proverbial solider without a war.
Then the bards entered the hall and we were serenaded, and it got intense.
Deeper than the hallowed puddle-waters, from beyond the reflective surfaces in your best bronzed dining room mirror… This is a barking 0-dark 30, a state when vigilance pounds—something you cannot quite touch breaches your shores in heated waves through the silence… Drum beats. A rhythm bold that in familiar times we cease to see. Fleet Virgo will find a way! Crack the distaff, calm the spinning, re-bind the mutable threads of this human life whole with wood, rope and skin, blacken the eyes with knowing, smash the false city scents and dreams and crush the booms into tam-tam-tambourines and lilac blooms, cymbals of honey suckle, lily of the valley shimmering metallic in thine ear and on thy tongue and thump thump! the tastes of rust—and all the weathered membranes bust! ‘til, clearer now; not the marchings of infantry, no! not the conforms of the band—instead come the vibrations of a tiny percussion violating the old tempo with a new grip on the sticks: and she click-click-clicks flashing smoke signals, torch globes and unicode; a light brigade of one!
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
About one year ago I participated in an interview with a journalist in Alaska. As a personal metric, I found myself skimming the work this week. Oh really it feels like years have passed since I began talking about Artemis publically, but it has all been very recent: Even my first video appearance about the project (CU@USC) was one year ago. (And that one feels ages old.) The writer of the afore mentioned interview; well, her site is now private. Originally I pointed to her instead of also publishing the dialogue here. That’s all fine and good and of no consequence to me. When I visited the interview last week, however, I happened to grab the final question and answer...
Theresa: Somewhere on your website you delve into a list of your favorites as long as the dead sea scrolls, including such items as acoustic covers and hardwood floors, knee high socks and long sleeve tees. If you truly had to pick one FAVORITE thing in the world, not a person or a website or a philosophy or a place, but a thing, what would it be?
Jess: Simple instruments of fate. The musician has her guitar; the graffiti artist, her can of spray paint; the fencer, her sabre… The less you require in order to practice your craft, the easier the walk. I am at the point where I want to throw everything I own away.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
*Italics are from 'I'm Nobody! Who Are You?' by Emily Dickinson
TheProfessor: Did you see the LED sheep art?
TheProfessor: Some Welsh or Scottish shepherds went to town with their crooks and lights.
TheProfessor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FX9rviEhw TheProfessor: You may have already seen it. I just saw it this morning.
TheProfessor: I'd like to know if Samsung had that idea, or if some sheep dude pitched it around.
Jessica: I hadn't seen this
TheProfessor: I like that one of the dudes has a no-bullshit shepherd's crook.
TheProfessor: That's actually been used to crook the sheep.
Jessica: I feel bad for the sheep
Jessica: That's a lot of running.
TheProfessor: They're sheep. I think that's all they do.
TheProfessor: That and eat.
Jessica: Yes, but do they typically run that much?
TheProfessor: Maybe not all at once.
TheProfessor: But they do get herded all day.
Jessica: maybe we should move to new zealand and become shepherds
Jessica: so we can get crooks
TheProfessor: I have one already.
Jessica: Jessica: why the f do you have one of those?!
TheProfessor: Why wouldn't I.
TheProfessor: I got it in middle school.
TheProfessor: It's awesome.
TheProfessor: Why DON'T you have one?
Jessica: Yes but what do you use it for?
Jessica: A walking stick?
Jessica: I don’t have one because I am a pauper film artist. Otherwise that is the kind of thing I would have custom made.
Jessica: As you know I employ walking sticks from time to time
TheProfessor: I don't use it for anything. I have no sheep.
Jessica: and also it would make me feel like a wizard.
Jessica: Dude, the main function of crook is a walking stick. Secondary is grabbing sheep that stray
Jessica: or also just appearing shepherdly to your masses
Jessica: such as in the case of pharaohs
Jessica: or jesus christ
Jessica: maybe you should start working with kids
Jessica: so that you could employ your crook
TheProfessor: My crook is 9 feet tall.
Jessica: wtf is it so tall?
Jessica: your crook is too tall for me.
TheProfessor: I used to poke kids with a bo when I taught karate.
Jessica: I need a shorter one.
TheProfessor: Maybe it's not that tall.
TheProfessor: I just remember it being tall when I was 11.
Jessica: That's too tall.
Jessica: It would be hard to maneuver, no?
TheProfessor: Also, I have a saw.
TheProfessor: For shortenage.
Jessica: I see.
TheProfessor: Anyway, I felt the need to be able to crook at length.
TheProfessor: Distance-crooking is better.
Jessica: well yes I can see that being useful
Jessica: but if your crook is too tall for you to walk under branches and through doorways
Jessica: that could be annoying
TheProfessor: There are no doorways in pastures.
TheProfessor: And you can angle it.
TheProfessor: A crook does not have to be perpendicular to the ground.
Jessica: I don't know about that, Professor. I do not want a too-tall crook.
Jessica: I feel there are disadvantages
Jessica: in maneuvering.
Jessica: what if it messes up your equilibrium
Jessica: while you are leaping over a tall potted plant?
TheProfessor: One has a crook so that one does not have to leap or upset one's equilibrium, obviously.
TheProfessor: Maybe they all come tall. Maybe it's a cut-to-fit.
Jessica: what if there's a big ditch in a field and you have to jump it to get to your sheep
TheProfessor: Contact a Scotsman at once to inquire.
Jessica: I think the burden of proof is on you, old man.
TheProfessor: Definitely not. I already have an authentic crook.
Jessica: that's too big for you
Jessica: or that you've failed to measure accurately.
TheProfessor: How do you know it's too big. Have you shepherded before?
TheProfessor: You don't even have the tools.
Jessica: I shepherd everyday
Jessica: hello my people
Jessica: all 600 of them who have watched our video
Jessica: my tools are metaphorical
TheProfessor: Better not metacrook me then, if that's what you're implying you do.
Jessica: whatever, I don't need a crook because we the people aren't sheeple
Jessica: I just want one for hiking
Jessica: and pole vaulting.
TheProfessor: Oh yeah, because pole vaulting poles are short and stuff.
Jessica: they are the way I do it
TheProfessor: Your crook-related desires are contradictory.
I researched and The Internets say that a crook is typically five feet tall (or smaller). If there are any professional shepherds or pharaohs reading this, then please do confirm. And also let me know if there is some sort of mocking industry jargon term thing for shepherds or pharaohs or professors who have too-tall crooks.
The short is now featured on YouTube Film and has shot up to 26k views! YouTube traffic is random and unfocused so it doesn't transfer as meaningfully in terms of new Wingmen, but the point is we made something high quality and since we released it on our web platform I'm glad people now have the opportunity to view and think about the ideas introduced.
Please share around, comment ("I'm a Wingman."), rate and go wild! We've been spotlighted here before and it takes community support in order to be useful in the ways we desire.
In unrelated news, I'm going to return to writing more regularly here beginning this weekend. I'm looking forward to setting aside more creative time in the face of all the promoting and so forth. I can only do that with your help, so thank you for being awesome and supporting on all fronts.
We are The Wingmen: An army of techies and nerds, gymnasts and fighters, archers and pilots, ninjas and writers. We come from all worlds, from every coast and country to lend our voice to a single artistic project that rejects the standard order, however established and comforting that order may be.
And while we may have a leader, we follow an ideal: that films should be a covenant between filmmaker and audience in which the message is pure, direct, and unfiltered. The specter of commercialism has long hung over the film industry, but of late it has evolved into a fog of bureaucracy and materialism, of plastic cups and bad advertisements. The artist is obscured, and the audience is force-fed cheap ideas devoid of any purpose. There is no truth, no depth, in something so manufactured, and it must end.
We want to see film taken to the streets and engendered by the passion of a community, not puppeted by the strings of a select few studios wealthy enough to pull them. Our ideas, our time, our talents—we’re prepared to give all to support the creation of art on our own terms. We don’t expect this battle to be quick or easy, and we demand the best from the artists we’ve chosen to lead the charge. So call us irrational. Taunt us with history, mock us with dogma and tradition, and scoff as you will. We will raise our Aurums as one and press on.
We are The Wingmen. Among us there can be no wimps.
*Composed by Wingman Clint "The Professor" Fralick
"I couldn't do that. Could you do that? Why can they do it? Who are those guys?" --Butch Cassidy
This week was a post-production marathon. Saturday, Sunday and Monday Greg Martin finished up the EFX on The WINGMEN short, and editor Collin Selders and I worked Monday through Wednesday on polishing the edit from opening through end titles. Thursday Collin received the EFX footage and organized the audio tracks for delivery to the mixing engineer while I spent a full day with composer Fred Kron working on the score. Fred scored four minutes of wall-to-wall video in under nine hours, which is incredible. Friday I was back in Santa Monica with Collin, where we synched the score and locked the picture for the audio mix. Accordingly, I spent Saturday with Wingman James Musshorn, a stellar mixing engineer who mixed the sound for us at a cool, privately owned, backyard garage studio in NoHo. King of the Hill is one of the many music and TV projects mixed in that space. The owner, Craig Stall, and his wife are tremendous folks from Kentucky and Texas respectively, and during breaks you could find me sitting in their back garden under the fruit trees playing with their fluffy brown Chow dog, Hannah. I felt far removed from Los Angeles (in the good way). It was a beautiful kind of work day; listening to the fountain, finishing up the project and conversing about the state of media, movies and music with good company.
Greg and Collin got a call from me during the mix about something that James and I noticed needed to be EFX-ed out. You see, when you mix humans and cold temperatures there is a strong chance of cloudy weather, and by "cloudy weather" I mean "snot." Throw a bunch of HD close-ups into that equation and it's possible that you're going to get a view of the blockage up someone's nose.
It has been taken care of however. Let it be known that we have your backs, and will never air you out on camera with accidental snot visible in your nostrils.
The WINGMEN short has been produced professionally coast-to-coast by 100% volunteers, with Wingmen on camera taking on the role of storyteller. Like most of what we do here, this is extraordinary. Also extraordinary is that we did it for what I'm guestimating is under 2k. (I have yet to sit and crunch the numbers.) You can judge for yourself how amazing a feat this is once you watch our creation yourself. The 2k was spent on craft services during the shoots and post, coffees, tiny thank you gifts to the amazing professionals who gifted us with their time and expertise, a hard drive for footage, equipment rentals, props... standard costs. My parents also pocketed some of our expenses by putting on craft services for the DC shoot and The Grizz used his electrician skills to wire some props for us, for which he supplied the parts. I should probably mention at this time that, on the conservative side, I calculate the video would have cost us at least 16k if we had paid out for full rentals and crew, locations, and the many other things contributed by the overall team of renegade artists, craftsmen, venders and WINGMEN. Even if you weren't there with us physically, you made this possible.
Although I am short on time as I write to you, I want to pause to share how much fun I've had with the crew. It's been a long year and these are the circumstances I look forward to, and in which I thrive. The DP, Brad, and I are buds and he's a real deal film soldier who I really like to be on set with. We'd worked together before. Over the years we've also consumed inhuman amounts of tequila during our off time. Wingman Carly referred me to Collin, and it turns out we were very quickly on the same page. Despite having everyone else locked in as donating their time, I didn't think it was possible to get a professional editor under this agreement and was prepared to pay a low indie rate. (Editors spend loads of time on a project so this makes sense.) I met with Collin, he viewed some of the footage, leaned back in his chair in that badass "fuck it" kind of way that suits this movement and said "Let's do it!" With that, he was the final piece of the puzzle and we had succeeded in going 100% volunteer. For weeks we've been working together and if you follow me on Twitter you can tell we're always having a laugh while we do. I'm hoping to work with him again in the future. James, who I call "Mushy," is a Wingman and a friend, and someone who I've worked with in the past as well. He helped me problem solve the final hurdle of this video. I don't know if you'd enjoy sitting around for eight hours watching these guys spin the dials on the various software and arrays that affect the end product so profoundly in filmmaking, but I actually enjoy the postproduction process. Unlike math, filmmaking is a problem that I know how to solve.
Sitting with Fred, the composer, is nothing short of revelation. This is the third time we've worked together, the other times being smaller projects. He flat out has skills. Few filmmakers get to create original score - it's something I'm still developing a vocabulary for - so watching him layer the music and observing how keen his instincts are in terms of accents and so forth was very cool as well as enlightening. We were in great hands.
I don't mean to romanticize how exhausting production and postproduction has been. Brad gifted us with one of his few vacation days in DC where he had flown to visit his family, I've been working non-stop, Fred and Mushy fit us in on a day off between solid workweek sessions and Collin has been cutting full time on another project at nights after spending days editing with me. I'd also be remiss to leave out The Professor, who came down to DC from Boston to fill in multiple positions during preproduction and production.
There's also Greg, who worked all weekend (again) and sacrificed one of his vacation days to the cause, and who you know by now as we have been working closely for years; he designed the UI, layout and art of the site you are currently experiencing. These guys are good, just like Greg; like "Who are those guys?" Butch Cassidy/Sundance good. Together we can do more in a day than most people can accomplish in a month, and we do it original, representative of ourselves and the project. I encourage all artists to pursue those goals just as much as I encourage independent thought, standards in art (just as there are related standards in educational fair use and journalism), and standing up for yourself even when it may be unpopular, among other ideals. Getting to work with other artists who excel at the art of creating art to such insightful and weighty ends is the type of filmmaking that's as much a privilege to me as a walk on the moon is to an astronaut. When I watch the short I see the personality of each artisan working in harmony throughout the arc of the piece.
Today Collin and I will finish up the edit and later in the week I will have the video encoded for distribution. In the meantime, I'll be planning the online release. These will be an exciting few weeks, and I'll be very glad to have you be a part of the launch. This is about your role in this project and story.
We've made a professionally produced piece of art+commentary together. Part of my dream was to have a community like this (ballsy, team players united by individuality) and to be able to share the ideals present.
I will send you information about the virtual event launch as soon as all is prepared. On your end, please prepare to support the launch (assuming you dig the short, of course) and to send the short to your network of family, friends and press in order to help the project and also share the spirit of the work. We fired our publicist, after all, and rightly so: Thus it's up to us now.
I want to be that girl, pausing to run her foot through stratospheres of the shallow section at dusk; like I haven’t just been in all day—one last taste, the 20 minutes before closing. Clothes dripping from my clinging suit underneath, light hair matted back with wet ponytail, waning pinks blues and greys as the day goes all faint and dim and watercolors. The public pool is emptier now; there is less background splash and squeal, quieter and cooler. I have on a long sleeved t-shirt and mesh boy shorts that pass my knees. Oversized suits me. The bleached friendship bracelet around my ankle limp, soaked and faded by time—it’s not from anyone in this place: A chain from the past. The wild sting of chlorine as my eyes wrestle with the residue of sterile and chemical and unnatural. I’m tan. The life guard passes behind me, a flash of red crossing my background as, trotting by, I stop at the corner of the pool, glide my foot through the water's forces, dripping, look up to you on the deck to see what you said from the cater-corner as we both move to approach the point where the corner of the pool, and we, meet, laugh. I am eight, I am skinny and scrawny but athletic, I swim like a fish but don’t much care for 100% perfect technique or if my instructor frowns because I’m having a laugh in class. My only worry is my friends being catty or dramatic and cliquey at a sleepover or misunderstanding something I say or maybe my mom not letting me do what I want to do or go where I want to go because I am actively avoiding chores. These are the limited politics of the time, and already this amount of politics bothers me. I spend hours with headphones on and music playing thinking about these tragedies. You are one of my newer friends. I only see you at the pool for swim lessons but we come early or swim after with one of the other girls or whoever wants to play. The boys don’t cheat at any of the games and no one’s a gossip. We say what we want to say. Think what we want to think. Disagreements aren’t disagreements at all. Misinterpretations don’t exist even though we talk underwater and have upside down tea parties. If we're wronged in some way we just go our own way swimming away to the deeper places. The pool is a huge sea with room for everyone. We defy all the ropes and boundaries. There is no clique. I am in no clique. I don’t need to mind angling it up so that we are all in the same group for our Social Studies project. I don’t need to mind if you sit by someone else at lunch. We don’t need bracelets or matching lunchboxes or keeping people out to say something about how it is. If you don’t like what I say that’s fine, if you want to hang out with someone else, that’s fine: I’ll just float on my back or hit the slides until it comes that we’re both doing the same thing again, together, diving board, deep end, gravity defying handstands! We don’t go to the same school. I can’t even remember school. We are who we are. The smell of chlorine is there, but it’s faint. There is still water. There’s still time. The bracelet is wearing away. I am eight and this feels like freedom. I hang on to it and never look back.
In the past our BSG discussions have been epic, so I'm starting a new comments string for Season 4.5 and will refresh it as we go (and perhaps bump it to the top now and again).
The Face of the Enemy
Sometimes a Great Notion
A Disquiet Follows My Soul
Blood on the Scales
Someone to Watch Over Me
Islanded in a Stream of Stars
Daybreak Part 1
Daybreak Part 2
We've just launched "Operation Woodchuck": An evolution in the Artemis Eternal Experience. Give it a spin and let us know what you think!
The name Woodchuck is simply a random inside joke. Unfortunately operation Iraqi Freedom was already taken, so we had to resort to relying on words from cliché tongue twisters in order to mock the random names media companies assign to their project rollouts. I told Greg he can name our next operation since I named this one. It's only fair.
"All 12 chapters of the story are here nearly 5 hours spanning everything from the mysterious demise of the Comedian to the crisscrossed destinies of loosely allied superheroes to their fateful impact on the world..."
Warner Premiere has given me four of the new WATCHMEN: The Complete Motion Comic DVD to give away. Since Dave Gibbons oversaw this project, I know there's a good chance fans of the novel (including myself) will want to watch.
I just received the DVDs today and since I'm in post on The WINGMEN short related to ARTEMIS ETERNAL, I haven't had a chance to view. Regardless, I want to get them to you before they are released on March 3rd. And there's also this: I'm going to screen the actual live action movie tomorrow, so I guess you could say I'm in the spirit of the franchise.
Like I said I have four DVDs to giveaway. I'm not a fan of wacky contests and some such that require you to make a video or go on some kind of virtual scavenger hunt, thus, if you'd like one, all you do is simply,
- comment a few lines (save time/keep it succinct) on your thoughts about the themes in WATCHMEN and why you think the story resonates with so many people. It's fine if you haven't read the novel yet. I just read it for the first time last month. This is open to current and potential fans.
- then link to something neat art/culture/movie you've found on the Internet lately
- include an e-mail address where you can be reached
When I return from the screening tomorrow afternoon I'll pick the comments I like best as winners. And hey, even if you don't win, we'll have some interesting gems to share via the URLs you curate and your thoughts on the story. In that way everyone's a winner! /afterschoolspecial
I plan to mail these to the (actual) winners on Saturday. I will admit that I'm a sucker for haiku. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED Winners can be found in comments.
So fun, so tired; what a night! That's a wrap on the LA shoot. Thank you to LA & DC WINGMEN and all WINGMEN worldwide for contributing your skills to the shoot, being generous in sharing your personality and for saying "yes" to making this extraordinary piece of our story happen. Production on The WINGMEN short has been a remarkable feat - something that WINGMEN worldwide have made happen together - and something I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to collaborate on with you specifically. It's a rare thing for a filmmaker to be able to work with their friends, family and larger audience in this way and I appreciate your time, patience, ability and energy both on the set and throughout the overall journey of this project; wherever you may be. Thank you for trusting me.
As I write this, it's 2AM. @cselders (editor) is transferring the tapes and says the footage is excellent and Greg just sent me secret files for the 1.1 evolution of The Artemis Eternal Experience. We are in full motion, people. And somehow we managed to get our DP @bradskiles out of here by midnight, which was the goal (and some sort of production record).
Meet some, but not nearly all, of your LA-metro area rebel WINGMEN, crew for The WINGMEN short and cast of Artemis Eternal. If you'd like to join us in creating sci-fi/fantasy film and confronting media politics, then man-up for movies by visiting the official site for the film! (No wimps.)
Funny night featuring loads of amusing LA acquaintances Leah, Dan and Kent pictured here. We took part in raising money for a global clean water initiative and in the same swoop got to hang out and misbehave in the balconies of an interesting old theater downtown. Glad that someone was responsible and had a camera ready! Also glad that Dan is not so good at betting on who may or may not be a Cylon on Battlestar Galactica. (The result of this was win for me, of course.)
I saw my apartment; I was a camera above the light fixture over the two-seater table, I was a camera level with the two-seater table, I was a camera, floating over the loft railing to the living area below… except it wasn’t my apartment. In my dreams my apartment is always better, although in life this is not important to me.
For being new and modern on the inside, this apartment of mine had aspects that spoke the contrary. An old mudroom led to a country-esque backyard space revealing that the exterior of the building was a muted blue and as old as a picturesque country barn.
Around the back of this structure, where I exited through the mudroom to the yard, which can only be described as rural, was a narrow back area lined on both sides with chain link fences. To the right existed two gates leading to adjoining properties. An unseen but heard dog behind gate number two was barking at a couple of rather large, aggressive squirrels, which opened the door to the apartment mudroom next to mine, to the right—on my right, and entered casually. The owner was used to this sort of thing, and skirted them out. I however found this behavior in squirrels far more unusual and unwanted.
I continued past the pale English grasses curving to my left around the side of my building where there ran a deep, milk chocolate-like mud that filled the side yard between wall and fence. Jeans already rolled up to my knees, I was innately prepared and waded in on impulse, the building now fully on my left, but this mud—it grew deeper than I had judged. Past my knees, really. I’m sorry to report that my jeans were muddied and I did not mind.
Nearby my landlady, a younger version of herself from the '70s that I have never known, sat a foot above the slow mudflow on a narrow side patio with deep steps. Sitting profile on the lowest un-muddied step, legs bent in front of her, back leant against the wall, she was talking on her cordless. She raised an eyebrow, but said nothing to me as I passed; one slow, exaggerated, wading step at time. Then another. Pressing onward. The present moved at a regular pace; it’s simply that given the consistency of the space I was maneuvering, I could not.
Then as I turned to wade back toward my mudroom origin, then came the Rottweiler. He joined me and, recognizing him, I veered us right, going closer toward the building where the mud was not quite so deep, next to the foundation, my dog-friend on my left.
I put my hand under his collar because there were leash laws in those parts and I thought this would suffice. Of course he isn’t the sort of dog that requires a leash but one must keep up appearances. He didn’t like this, that was clear, but he didn’t stop me as he could have easily done. A steady hand on his great neck also helped me to get through, him having a less difficult time of it because of his weight or paws or gentle step or some other dream science
So we walked toward the back in what was to be the final shot of this sequence; mud slicking the foreground, a thick molasses-like mud, the mottled blue walls of the building to our right, paint peeling from the wood underneath, a chain link fence to our left and ahead our vision filled with evening grasses and, down slope, a willow tree.
We walked in silence. Why did I live there? I cannot tell. But the dog—no matter the dream, no matter the form—he is always my friend.
After the Summer update you guys sent in a bunch of lo-fi footage. As a prelude to our hi-fi, Winter HD project, here is a look back on The Story so Far (or, further) up through Autumn featuring your images and voices!
When Greg and I collaborate, we typically do so remote. Fortune would have it, however, that he has family in Los Angeles and is sometimes in town for other work. In that way prior to a project we typically get a few hours in the same geographical location to brainstorm and sketch. Or maybe it’s that we come up with new, more ambitious projects whenever we are together. In truth it is probably a combination of those forces, and more. What’s important here is that we always finish and deliver what we set out to do, from JSDC redesign and logo to concept art to, well, whatever visions may come.
Until a week or so ago I hadn’t seen Greg since last year. At that time I told him my initial ideas for what needed to happen with ARTEMIS ETERNAL, and how I had an idea for a tree-type thing (now a map) that would illuminate the process. I was broken down at the time, ground down to dregs and shadow, and spent half the night explaining how hard it would be to approach the project that way and laying down the fact that I doubted I had the strength to take on something so spirit-driven. In fact I was certain that I did not.
Greg sparked to my initial idea. In fact he never does anything that doesn’t interest him. He drove me to the grocery store, we shopped, made dinner and talked about the idea more and more and then decided to go forward. Then we bypassed a roof and on the spur of the moment arranged a photo.
Launching the ARTEMIS site last winter was an incredible challenge and a strain. We did it over a month’s time, over the winter holiday. Wireframes, repeated late-night phone calls as we both traveled, carving light out of darkness... that process was stressful enough that it very nearly broke our creative fellowship.
Then I ended up with a black eye. No, not from G, but I’m sure if at that time I were positioned in one of those dunking booths or the like, he would have gladly taken a go.
Even though there are huge amounts of geographical space between us and in reality Greg and I have spent less than a few full days in one another’s physical presence, we’ve been through a lot together. What I’ve essentially done – and rightly so – is trusted him with the keys to all the portals of my life.
I simply don’t think I would exist anymore if I hadn’t had the opportunity to work and grow with Greg.
Greg was just here in Los Angeles and we spent a whole day together drinking coffee, doodling, catching up and thinking of things you will love and weighing whether or not we have the resources to create those works and evolutions. Some are necessary; all are beautiful. Greg is of course (among all the other things he’s party to) working on his personal projects. Currently his focus is his interactive space opus, Experience the Planets. I will be sure to link that here again once it is published online. I mean, it says “planets” in the title so all nerds everywhere will rejoice. I know this about us.
In the meantime, as I mentioned, Greg was here. He took a few a photos of me. From the rooftops last winter and being crushed by the city, to pulling the fragments back together and reflecting on the past year… yes, we have been through it; some parts thick and some thin. Our journey started years before that, too; with TSL development.
It is possible to pull away from something dark,
Even if that dance is slow at the start.
Although the plot has been a long time in the execution, the ARTEMIS ETERNAL project site has not even been live one full year. Already much has come to pass that I could not have foreseen. The road remains difficult, but also lovely, and the potential is endless. I'll do everything in my power and fall short of a goal, then turn around to find myself suddenly presenting at Comic-Con. I'll lay a great, fool-proof leg of the plan only to be thwarted by something like (exactly like) the unprofessionalism and foolishness of a rather notable publicity firm. (Let us FACE! them hardcore by achieving unheard levels of awareness for our The WINGMEN short.) Things remain fluid. We revel and commiserate, we celebrate, we roll up our sleeves and we evolve. Yesterday I shot off arrows and talked ARTEMIS with Leah and Mahalo Daily, who we met at Comic-Con thanks to some WINGMEN. Tomorrow, our plan is solid, but the nuances change within that framework. In this universe you control the tides and equip us to do things that others cannot, or will not. Before Barack Obama was running for President we were singing songs here about possibility and change and backing it with fresh attempts and vision, and unprecedented blueprints. It has been hugely affirming to watch those ideals play out high profile on the American political stage.
What we’ve accomplished together is already extraordinary. I was telling Greg on the phone this weekend that The WINGMEN community has just crossed the threshold where we have high enough numbers and enough diversity that we can actually get things done, together.
At this point I’m able to announce that from start to finish everyone, including all of the talented film professionals, working on the The WINGMEN HD short have been and will be (as we finish) 100% volunteer. These are “the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things." They are to be celebrated.
Everyone involved should be proud of that, but particularly Greg: Beyond myself, he is the person who has the greatest hand in every facet of ARTEMIS ETERNAL.
Universe be wary of the day we have the funding to have the time and resources to put into motion something so gorgeous it will wreck your soul. Until then, we’ll settle for melting your face with The Awesome whenever possible and with ARTEMIS ETERNAL in particular.
If you’d like to review progress via the last year in Scrolls, then visit the Recent Entries and start bottom to top.
Later that evening we recorded a bit of song in picture. In truth it was a late decision. I wrote the lyrics and it was recorded in the room with two lav mics (or perhaps a lav and a boom). Regardless, typically professionals record music and vocals in a recording studio, so what follows here, next, is very raw and when I planned things I did not intend to ever air the associated sound this way. In fact if we used any portion of the song, I planned to re-record and mix it in studio when we did the inevitable voice over. The track is also incomplete and unmixed. Unless you work in the industry, you probably don’t hear unmixed takes, much less unmixed takes that were captured in a huge room without appropriate microphones and acoustics. The sound exceeds these circumstances. Our vocalist is beauty queen Jacquelynne Fontaine and the guitarist is Joseph Spoelstra.
This is an untouched take of 1/4 of the verses recorded, lovely mistakes and all. Those familiar with ye olde original version of this song will perhaps recall the kind of riddle involved.
I like Jacque’s vocal take here; in the nuances on my stellar headphones, she sounds brave and yet occasionally admits sadness. And Joe is an interesting soul. Maybe you don’t know that all classical guitarists have long, sharp fingernails—like vampires, or Catwoman—but they do and I find that infinitely amusing, especially when Joe can’t button up his own coat. Beyond that, he has a quirky-cool sense of style. Technical ability is a necessity, but beyond skill what I’m always looking for in artist and crewmember is personality and individuality.
The latter part of the full day of shooting I spent representing the magical reality of what I had begun to envision for the ethos of ARTEMIS ETERNAL: where my mindset was, how I viewed the artistry and camaraderie of the existing team and, in a conversational interview-esque portion with Sean Bonner, building up my courage to think up concretely what I hadn’t yet thought up, what was to come next. I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but in hindsight I was skirting the edge of what would become the restructured project as it exists currently: far more ambitious and bold, and stronger in foundation with endless possibility built into every aspect of the construction.
When this shoot occurred it was early for us and I hadn’t begun doing press. Thus was there a void waiting to be filled in terms of sharing the message and information behind the approach to the film. I simply wanted to proceed with this non-fiction shoot creatively, as that’s really the only take on non-fiction that interests me. Shortly after this day CU@USC called and I suddenly had 30 minutes of produced and edited interview footage to run with. So instead of paying out to post what we’d shot, I ran the CU edit on The Internets and decided to wait for the time when it made sense to begin to work with our footage.
For a shoot day that was about the implications of creative and aspirational dreams and dreaming (as Bonner perfectly described it when he blogged his year in review) it was a dark and cool sort of shoot. The weather was overcast and there was a Londontown chill in the California air, and we were a small group in a rather large, empty Hollywood castle. Even then I found many of the metaphors appropriate. As I mentioned in my previous entry, we were tight on time. Furthermore, The Universe delighted in confronting me with the impossible task of last-minute conjuring an insurance certificate out of thin air. I succeeded, but I haven’t forgotten about that, The Universe.
* Untreated stills from first winter WINGMEN shoot.
You may recall the day and a half of shooting we did last winter. I understood that we had a need and desire to create this short ancillary to the actual film itself, but it was only this fall, late fall, that it became clear to me exactly when, what and why.
As I do the EDL for The WINGMEN short I of course have need to pull the footage from last winter alongside the footage from a few weeks ago. Here are a few stills from the half day, which I spent more documentary-style as a half day in my life in terms of ARTEMIS ETERNAL and where my thoughts were. This was before we had conceptualized or launched the project site linked in the previous sentence.
You won't be able to tell from these grabs but this is the highest quality footage we've shot to date. DP Chad Wilson handled the shoot. We first met when he shot one of my AOL shows. That particular show ended up being my favorite show, and Chad was so good (in fact too good to have been shooting for AOL) that I hung onto his card. Whenever I've been fortunate enough to work with him, I've been short on time and underfunded. He's an excellent professional and I'd really like the opportunity to free him up more if we work together again.
At this stage in our journey, I'm sure from the setting you can likely guess that the blur in the second still is Matt, stunt choreographer.
Maybe I will post here every single day this week. You don't know.
* Untreated stills from first winter WINGMEN shoot.
Subject: 42 West Client
From: "Jessica Mae Stover"
Date: Sat, January 10, 2009 1:00 pm
To: "Cynthia Swartz"
Read receipt: requested
Jessica Mae Stover here; filmmaker in Los Angeles. Over the course of the
fall I have been a client at 42 West for the film project ARTEMIS ETERNAL,
working with Rene Ridinger out of your firm's LA office.
I'm sure Susan has already informed you of how deeply 42 West has
mishandled our project and failed us, but as you were the partner who sent
me a welcome letter; I want to make sure that you understand how the
mishandling of our publicity has crippled myself, the film project and the
I'm attaching some of the e-mailed information sent to the firm over the
past week. Susan has expressed intent to make things as well as possible
and I am currently awaiting her recommendations.
This marks the latest correspondence I've had with our publicity firm, 42 West. I plan to reconstruct the facts on the ground for you; what has occurred from Comic-Con until now. Some of this information may be WINGMEN only. Allow me to make it clear that after months and over 12k billed they have delivered zero press as well as none of the pitches, tip sheets or other materials that were supposed to be submitted for approval. Any press that has occurred we have booked ourselves without any assistance from the firm.
In the least, this start illuminates some of my tweets you may have read over the past month.
Otherwise, I am working on the WINGMAN propaganda video. Plus (and awesomely), Greg was here this week and we began brainstorming an evolution for the ARTEMIS site. I'm sure you can imagine the work involved, which makes that a long term project. In any regard when Greg and I work together interesting and extraordinary things happen, so I'm glad for the possibility to do some new things with the online nexus of the project down the line.
Update: 42 West has messed up so royally that they have, as I requested, returned all of our funds to us. Our business with them is officially closed.
WINGMEN: Thanks to all of you who were there (so good to see you) and who watched live. I'll post the media (video/photos) from SMCLA once they are up on the Internets. Comments open below. Anyone get wasted off the "like"? I probably should have said "you know" a few more thousand times. You know, in the interest of your emptying your flask and all.
Yes, I am now in Virginia. You love it, Virginia loves it, lovers love it.
I am very, very slammed this season, mostly because of the renegade WINGMAN HD shoot we are putting on in nine days. What's neat about that is I will be seeing local WINGMEN soon! What's not so neat is that I'm not sure how much time I'll have to write in this space. My plan to do a wiley year in review multi-media entry has been supplanted by the epicness of our HD project. Thus there exists no beginning or end for me as the calendar appoints there should be; there is, instead, only so much to do, such things to be and forward motion with no time to stop. That’s a good thing, and please do feel free to join me.
And know that I will be tweeting like a mofo throughout the arc.
Monday I am doing a radio tour for ARTEMIS. If I ever get more information about that, then I’ll let you know. They are all pre-tapes so they should air Tuesday. Of course I could be wrong about that since I have little information at this point.
Here are links of things to know about and get going about exciting connect woo woo and all that is awesome here it comes BAM!--
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all readers, to all WINGMEN and to all who have assisted in ARTEMIS ETERNAL and my work over the course of this adventure. Extra special cheers to Greg Martin and Iain Edminster, the two gentlemen who help keep AAE.com and JSDC healthy. I am so fortunate and happy to have a kickass website / webcrew that enables me to share and connect with you in an independent, meaningful way.
I really have been all over lately. Pix don't lie.
This recent meet up was at The Roosevelt, a dark, Spanish-style hotel in Hollywood that for some reason I overlooked in the past despite its history (the first Academy Awards were held here). Just like any place, however, it's not The Fancy, but instead who you're with that makes the evening fun and thus was a strong start to what proved a rather chill night overall.
Wishing peace and joy in the new year, your friends at 42 West
I’m a member of FIND, Tisch’s acting department works through The Atlantic, which had a hand in my training and technique, and although I don’t know much about amfAR or Stand Up from personal experience, anything to do with legitimately treating, eliminating and coping with those diseases I’m all for. 42 West’s decisions chalk up to a healthy mix of arts, filmmaking (related) and support for solving global disease (crucial).
I’m also happy that 42 West sent this via e-mail and not hardcopy fanciness so that they didn’t waste paper and money on notifying clients. I don’t care about gifts and elaborateness and such; I care about the results from their services and the ethics behind the work.
I know many of your personal stories; I know that the issues related to the charities above strike close to many of our hearts and since we pay 42 West for services in elevating something else we care about (ARTEMIS), and they donated a portion of their income, I wanted you to know of the further realms that your money and goodness can reach through the lens of the work we chose to do together here.
We're all doing our best, with the best of intentions and the craft, tenacity and talent to back the ideals, restrained by the accountability to adjust when the occasion calls and an acute mindfulness of our growing role as influencers. Onward and upward we go.
Professionally I like Fu-founders Steve and Zadi. They’re like-minded, and I’ve been a fan of EpicFu since the beginning of summer when I first began watching. In fact I happen to think that EpicFu is way better than things that are supposed to be edgy and cool like, oh say, MTV News. Plus, Zadi has a unique, calm energy about her that I’ve enjoyed watching in past interviews. Really nice to roll up in a sweatshirt and do something casual at the end of the day in a place that is a part of our story.
Lo-fi footage from the setup of our first press day. (The Facebook version is far better.)
(recommended: click through to watch in higher quality)
- The archer in camo shooting the compound I don’t know, but I’ve seen him on the field before at dusk
- Ron, the archer with the fancy recurve, is ranked #2 in the state
- Rene Ridinger, our publicist from 42 West
- The fellow hanging with me is Coach Rob Hanson, colleague of Coach Don Rabska (our Archery Master) at Easton Foundation, and now our additional archery consultant
It’s snowing ash at dusk in November. It was 92 degrees daytime, so today’s is a summer nightfall mixed with the excitement and relaxation of an unexpected snow day; the cause of both: heat. On the phone my sister announces that she’s purchased a townhouse. “Hold on,” I say, for there’s now a roar rising in my ears and the approaching sound of horns. Marching with anti-8 signs and bearing chants about civil rights come protestors down Sunset at sunset crossing Gower through the grey ashen eve. I whisper encouragements.
Then the barista says, “Jess, what are you going to do the rest of the weekend,” and smartly I say (without winking, because some faux-maverick has ruined winking forevermore—or at least for a good few months), “I’m going to enjoy this free latte.” And I pause to answer seriously, and falter because I don’t know what else I will do; really… “This is my weekend, you see” I clarify. “Your weekend?” “Yes I only get one a year and I pick this one, it's mine, and it isn’t at all what I expected it to be.“ Well congratulations on your weekend, then,” his grin is wide. “More like congratulations on YOUR weekend!” and mine is wider as I snigger nonsensically leaving the hot barista behind, twirling off into the falling twilight where there are rising lights and the darkening neighborhood smells like a woodstove. A regular outside the Gulch tips his cowboy hat in my direction so’s we can share a nod and everyone on the portal to another dimension’s patio is speaking about flames and tongues and burnouts as two lovers share a kiss on the threshold. There’s fire all around us, as this vampire drinks it in; the day in its beginnings.
One of my friends is a member of Cinefamily, and Cinefamily has programmed a series called “Space Junk” this month, and thus last night it came to pass that he took me to see a 35mm print of a Star Wars rip-off flick from ’79 called STARCRASH. This is the most hilarious movie I have ever seen in a theater ever. Do you know about the existence of this thing? I didn’t. We are talking a world where David Hasselhoff is Simon, the Emperor’s lost son, and “galactic troubleshooter” is an actual job. Also there’s something about a doom machine that emits imaginary monsters that make men go crazy(!). Still not exactly sure what that’s all about, but the visual effects consisted of compositing a picture of a phony star field with footage of a hot pink lava lamp in order to create the psychological effect of “the most powerful weapon in the galaxy(!)” making men go crazy(!), or something(!).
Anyway, Hasselhoff was an attractive youth. I know because I watched him fight interplanetary cavemen whilst wearing an energy mask. And then at one point some other guy is all like oh yeah so what you have robots I have a RIPOFF BRIGHT GREEN LIGHTSABER! Then he duels some robots.
Then he loses the will to live.
Then George Lucas gets them back a few decades later by ripping-off that nonsensical, unmotivated lost-the-will-to-live thing in Episode III.
Also, did you know you could jump out the window of any spaceship and do the breaststroke through outer space?
Tonight I showed up to demonstrate that I am not in favor of discrimination. You wouldn’t think you’d have to show up somewhere to do that, but apparently you do.
Here are some quick, late-night thoughts and images from the event.
The rally was powered by a serious, positive quality of energy. An orderly crowd listened intently; most looking for some hope, something that might help them rebound from the harsh reality that so many people across this state somehow view them as less-than. Strangers helped me to climb walls so that I could get a better view and coverage and, although it was hugely crowded, everyone was mindful and polite. The fact that this community of people has been put on the defense; has been forced to spend time and money urging the state of CA to vote “no” against someone taking away their rights constitutionally vs. “yes” to officially acknowledging those rights; has outraged me from the start.
The portion of the speech you are hearing is the only portion I witnessed that garnered boos. Statistically (depending on which resources you cite) over half of the funding for the discriminatory Proposition 8 campaign came from The Mormon Church. We’re talking millions and millions of dollars and a public campaign preached congregation to congregation. We’re talking propaganda full of lies and an instance of heavy influence. No matter how good an organization’s intentions are or the quality of their global congregation (many of whom are not at all pleased with these hateful shenanigans), at some point that organization is likely to become overzealous. Historically this has been an issue in many religions and The Mormon Church has clearly overstepped its bounds in this case. We live in a country that has a separation of church and state, period. Denying consenting adults the right to marry as their peers do is unconstitutional. The courts here have already ruled so, and will rule so again. In the future we will look back on this as we do the time when blacks and whites were prohibited from using the same water fountain, and the time when women were not allowed to vote. In the meantime, we wait for the poison of sexism, racism and other forms of persecution and discrimination to die out and fade in favor of what this country was founded on: equality i.e. "created equal."
It’s a constant battle to live up to that ideal, even our founders struggled. But it’s a great ideal; one worth striving for everyday. And anyway I’m sorry to report that a church organization who has had some scandalous polygamy issues that were compared to “legalized slavery” as recent as the 20th century in such a way reminiscent of old skool Medieval Dark Ages might not go around wagging its moral tongue and undermining all the wonderful, legal, non-hateful qualities it’s modern members have to share and have shared, thankyouverymuch.
Hey also guess what homosexuality is way older than our constitution, so get over yourselves. Your ancestors were probably all homosexual with some other people’s ancestors. People have been gay and loving it for ages just like people have been non-gay and loving it for ages. You can’t own love just like you can’t own Jesus or marriage or whatever other ideal you want to own. Life really is unfair that way, but take it on the chin: I'm pretty sure you'll be fine.
And seriously, pals, after all this time, after all these historical lessons; this entry should not be required. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how you feel about gays, gay sex or gay marriage just like it doesn’t matter how you feel about Catholics or Jews or strippers or divorcees or interracial couples or blondes or Eagles fans or people who are professional bakers and paint their fingernails blue: Just because you don’t agree with someone’s harmless opinion, innate qualities or personal lifestyle choices does not give you the authority to take their rights away. And just because someone else has the right to do something, well that doesn’t mean that you have to do it, or that it affects your pursuit of happiness. You are not being denied rights: You are the denier. Allowing fear to so overcome you that you would vote against love is a lot ridiculous. It’s unwise. It’s evil. I have yet to hear a worthy argument in favor of preventing gay marriage. (That’s because there isn’t one, really. No really; there isn’t.)
So yeah, you -- put it in the book: JSto: not a fan of discrimination.
The revolution is all around, happening now: where were you?
My friend Sean Bonner(aka Sean-Ra) was married today. There might have been a Transformer involved. I was too busy attempting to not mess up the video footage of their wedding to capture photographical evidence of possible robots in disguise, but I do have a few snapshots from beforehand.
The best weddings are those that suit and share the couple’s personality and story and all of Sean & Tara's Hallowedding events have done just that. Congrats, twitluvahs!
Updates: - More photos from the Hallowedding on @fejsez's flickr. Oops--Bits and pieces of me everywhere video-ing. I'm sure that was fun for everyone who was trying to capture a clean shot of the wedding superstars.
After you work on camera for a certain amount of time, you develop a sense for when a lens is trained on you. Or perhaps it has to do with acting or sports or martial arts; all of which make you sensitive to someone pointing their intention in your direction. Humans have this sensibility innately, anyway: It’s related to survival. You simply must be still enough to react to the impulse.
Just shy of midnight a few nights ago I was sitting at Starbucks with one of my friends when, without thinking, I looked over to my right on impulse subconsciously searching for—yep, a professional lens aimed at me from the sidewalk on the other side of the storefront glass; I knew there had been something. I slid my hand over my face and hunched subtly so that my friend never suspected that there was an alternate storyline occurring underneath the narrative he was verbally recounting. I didn’t particularly think the photag was paparazzi because I wasn’t with anyone insanely famous, however I didn’t particularly care to find out or have my photo taken. You see - or you will see, I should say - that I had no makeup on and was already hiding behind my wardrobe. A moment later I glanced back over, which begins the story of how I will show you the photo in the first place. At that point I saw the photographer was not alone: He had a female companion who was laughing kindly as he rose from the outside tables to come inside. Of course this all indicated that it was an amusing misunderstanding that he intended to clarify.
He apologized for disturbing me, gave me his card, showed me the photo on his camera and offered to delete what he had captured. The thumbnail looked fine and, even if it wasn’t; most of my face was obscured. I wearily told him it was no problem and that I was of course always glad to meet artistic photographers and fine artists, and that I understood very well why he was looking for natural street subjects. I do like photography that is truthful, after all. And I do I hope I wasn’t unfriendly: I was so very tired at the time.
My friend was processing what had come to pass in that brief, non-verbal, through-glass-and-lens exchange, but by then it was all over and I was so day-worn and my hands were aching so much from a sports injury that I can hardly remember what we talked about next, much less what happened after we left.
I did, however, e-mail photographer Oleg Volovik to thank him for introducing himself that night. He replied,
“Here is the photograph of you, it turned to be a bit funny at the end point, something like wearing a mask against paparazzi :) Of course, I'm not going to use it anywhere, it's just for you.
I looked at your sites ... Well, I'm speechless ... The only thing I can tell you right away is if for any reason I could be helpful in your projects that would be just a pleasure for me.
Snap! Despite my defenses he did get me, but I'm not sorry about it.
I recognize that it is cool when an artist thinks you interesting enough to attempt to form some moment out of your natural clay, and of course anytime another artist e-mails me about ARTEMIS I’m rejuvenated. There is a shared Hollywood counter-culture here that excites me.
Jessica: Did you send me your Wingman clips yet?
Jessica: (annoyed snort) C.Sto: (whining) I don’t feel like putting on makeup to do it.
Jessica: Well I hope you never run for office because every time you need me to show up at one of your little political rallies I’m going to be all, “No, I don’t feel like putting on makeup to attend because I’m a huge wimp-sissy-girl.”
C.Sto: Have you ever seen ‘Black Sheep’?
Jessica: That Chris Farley movie? Yeah...
C.Sto: OK so you see where I’m going with this.
C.Sto: (hysterical laughter) Jessica: You are so lucky I'm not within arm's reach of you right now.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve." - Henry David Thoreau
Chief Tyrol first recommended The Lucifer Effect to C.Sto and I last year while we were in Seattle. Tonight I discovered a free essay on 'Resisting Influence' published via the book's official site. The essay is applicable to what we are doing with ARTEMIS ETERNAL and is also timely in thought given moments like these (via HuffPo) this election year. The book itself I've been meaning to look at for some time now; the subject interests me greatly. On the topic of influence, I also recommend 'Propaganda' by Edward Bernays (Freud's nephew) who was skilled at manipulating the public and engineering consent.
With the ARTEMIS project, I'm constantly asking myself how I can rally and organize a community around ideas of decentralization and independent thought without inadvertently creating a situation that is exactly what I'm against (blind conformity, group think, etc.).
What philosophical questions do you battle with? What questions capture your imagination?
"Wingman Central was created collaboratively by four Wingmen: Dave G, Sean Stubblefield, Katie Durham, and High Lord Captain Curt Sawyer (yes, he requested that title, and no, I don't think he expected me to actually use it). Although these four started WC, it does not belong to them; it belongs to all of us..."
I am so looking forward to watching this grow alongside AAE and JSDC. Great job, everyone!
...What are you still doing here? Get over there and explore your new community already!
In my hands lay four keys; the keys to all the various aspects to my flat.
Two kids from Virginia out tell stories and entertain… my flatmate and I have been living together in Los Angeles now for four years.
It’s midnight on the dot, as it happens, and he just moved out. The keys are his. Were his. Now, they’ll belong to the new flatmate.
He’s going on a more rigorous tour and both of our lives are changing and growing. He is due down south tomorrow for a shoot, so he had to hurry up and get on his way and didn’t stay out the month as would be typical. We’ve had a funny relationship for flatmates: perhaps we don't know each other as well as expected. We’re both rather business-minded and driven and very busy, sometimes we go weeks without seeing one another or months even--sometimes with simply hello goodbye how are you? and we move on--constantly working, improving and giving it all we've got. When I moved I was incredibly nervous about finding a roommate, but from the moment I met him I trusted him, and rightly so. LA is a hard world; harder still for the artist. Knowing that your home situation is secure allows you to go out into that world and meet things head on without hesitation, and that's something I've valued. I’ll miss our existential talks that occurred when we were both home from travel and the hilarious way he tells a story (particularly his recounts of dating exploits). Or the way he makes fun of my complicated Starbucks drink, and then goes and orders a complicated Starbucks drink. Or! how he was always trying his act out on me in the kitchen over pasta and telling me how ridiculous girls are except for me because he thinks I have a Y chromosome.
It’s the end of an era.
But, you know, also the beginning of two new ones.
Not that either of us has the time to contemplate it: Onward!
Good luck, KT! You're so funny, talented and dedicated, and you deserve all the success that's coming to you.
M.Sto: Today The Grizz and I have been married for 30 years!
Jessica: Oh really! I guess that’s the sort of thing I should have in my calendar on repeat, except I don’t—people’s anniversaries. I keep up with birthdays, though. Sometimes.
M.Sto: Well it’s not like you need to do anything.
Jessica: I know, I do so much already by just being alive. So are you guys going to do anything special?
M.Sto: Yes. I made chicken soup. Your father likes chicken soup so I made chicken soup.
Jessica: Well what’s he going to do for you?
M.Sto: I got two wire compost bins.
M.Sto: I have so much compost now! I get excited every time I take vegetables out to the compost pile. I know it sounds mundane but I’m jazzed about it!
Jessica: (increased laughter)
M.Sto: Well that’s not all. We are going to go out this weekend, you know.
Only The Grizz can get away with essentially giving his wife shit for a gift, and being thanked for it!
As requested, here is the order option for ARTEMIS ETERNAL WINGMEN Comic-Con t-shirts. You have a week to place your order complete with your specific size. Then it will take about a week to turn the orders around and a few more days for me to pack and ship them priority mail straight to your doorstep. No returns. I will not be ordering extra t-shirts so you must order yours now.
Size options are adult unisex S, M, L, XL ← YOU MUST ADD THIS IN THE NOTES SECTION of your PayPal order form.
Sizing Recommendations: In the Comic-Con photos on www.ArtemisEternal.com I am wearing a small, but in reality I would wear an XS if they were available. Unisex essentially means men’s sizes. The Wingmen pictured above (Sus, Rach, SarahYass & C.Sto) are also sporting size small. Todd has on a size large.
The shirts are American Apparel organic cotton (soft!). Made in the USA (downtown LA, actually). My crest on the front & badass WINGMEN+no wimps on the back.
IMPORTANT: WINGMEN ONLY
If you are not a Wingman, you may not order or wear a shirt including ordering for someone else. Thus, you know if you see someone in this shirt they are definitely your brethren (and not some wimp so don’t even try to mug them or anything).
Any profit from this will of course go to ARTEMIS ETERNAL and help us break even on costs associated with Comic-Con.
"So I've had this idea knocking around inside my empty noggin for a while.
My brain sometimes works past my ability to deliver, so bear with me.
I've found that what is missing in the Wingman community is the "community"
aspect. Right now it seems like a number of individuals trying to support
the project rather than as a collective whole. I am struck with the image
of a bed of nails. It will hold you up...but a nice mesh hammock would
probably serve better. And won't rust.
I was struck with the thought to set up some kind of community "blog",
hopefully in partnership with a few of the other more vocal Wingmen, which
would hopefully grow and perhaps add a Forum, etc. Draw upon each other's
skills and abilities to make it better (i.e. Wingmen with a knack for web
design). Content would focus on Artemis news, promotional
strategies,perhaps print interviews with AAE project members (i.e. you,
Todd, DP) new media news, spotlights/reviews of Wingmen's favourite other
projects/films/media (with the intent of drawing like-minded individuals to
the site), etc. I wasn't thinking a "fan" site, because that is just a
reactive group, where I see the Wingmen as (hopefully) a proactive community
(and not wimpy at all).
With my new job, I probably won't have a lot of time to invest, so while I'm
interested in trying to get something like this get started and certainly
remaining a part of it, it would require others to get involved and help
carry it forward for it to work. I don't want a situation where it's just
Sawyer and I waving our noodles at each other. Which is why I'm bringing
this to you. I know the Shade runs deep, but you are in the best position
to know who the Wingmen are and whether they'd be willing to get behind
something like this. Also, I didn't want to go ahead and start anything
that you might see as working against anything you were trying to do or
impacting the project negatively.
Dave is right, and the community dilemma is something that has been bothering me, too. The Facebook group doesn't cut it across the board. The trouble is that I'm spread way too thin to handle this dimension (I've barely been able to update anything much less as much as I like on the JSDC front). I've been thinking that at the least a project wiki might be worth considering. So what do you guys think overall? Please comment. This portion would really be up to you to run as connected to the project. It could be awesome. However, like a garden, websites require constant upkeep. What's the best way to tackle this?
I am traveling again tomorrow (everything/everyone is so dang spread out). Hopefully when I get in front of a computer again by evening the dialogue is going and we can start to shape an idea. I'll be as supportive as possible/help however I can.
My Comic-Con badge is a badge of honor; amazing honor that represents the universe throwing curveballs at us left and right and our hitting homeruns every time. Or maybe the universe untied those knots. Anyway, it was all solvable!
The first two days of Comic-Con I was pretty much recovering from preparing for Comic-Con and, in addition, figuring out what to do and how to do it best. We had a mere week and a half to prepare a campaign, get to San Diego and execute The Awesome, plus we accomplished our presence independently and on a budget.
Everyone who helped us is a champ. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. Seriously. There was someone there for me at every turn.
I met so many people who deserve to have their part of the story told and I have quite a bit of media to sift through, not to mention business follow-ups to perform immediately. Obviously we are planning to add things to ArtemisEternal.com and I’m looking forward to going through it all. If you have Comic-Con photos, links et cetera of anything ARTEMIS, then please e-mail them to me so that I may include them.
The 5 sucked today and I haven’t had much sleep. My voice is at about 60% and I should probably eat something...
COME FIND US AT COMIC-CON 2008!
We’ll be staging out of a table in Artists’ Alley ALL DAYS. In addition, Friday through Sunday actor Todd Soley (ARTEMIS male lead) will be there as well. Location: KK-07
Night of Friday 7/25 we are scheduled to attend Sideshow Collectibles' party.
Our goal is to share our story and contribute positively to the community of the Con, and recruit the rest of the Wingmen we're seeking in order to push into production together. I'm looking forward to conversing about filmmaking, media politics and everything scifi/fantasy.
We'll be easy to spot in these amazing t-shirts: Ta-dow! (You know, just in case you aren't sure who is allowed to be a Wingman and who is not.)
And now, some thanks: First to Wingman Jay Bushman for loaning us his spare MacBook so that we have an additional for exhibition at the table. Also want to thank Wingmen, Dave, Melissa, Byron, PatMan, McDuck, Sawyer, and Adam for helping with e-mails.
I want to mention that Comic-Con has been awesome to us (Thanks, team Clydene!). They squeezed ARTEMIS in a mere two weeks out from the convention. I know they are swamped and I really appreciate the attention. And thank the universe for M.Sto, who did a week’s worth of design in 48 hours so that we’d be prepared with materials.
This is my first go at Comic-Con. I thought I wouldn’t be exhibiting there until next year, and I’m really, really excited to be taking such a rare project in for promotion. I wish I had known sooner out so that more of you could have planned to meet us. Next year we’ll be Sophomores, and will plan well ahead. For now, please support, be active and spread the word however possible so that we can make the most of our appearance there.
PaulyD: Oh Sto
PaulyD: No No NO
PaulyD: Can't stub your toe
PaulyD: or else you'll cry like Mo
Jessica: it's a little poem
PaulyD: It's a new thing I'm doing
PaulyD: a rhyming poem for all IM's
PaulyD: at the start
PaulyD: it'll be different each time
PaulyD: sort of like Burget King collectible Indiana Jones mugs
PaulyD: but poems
PaulyD: "Collect them all!" **
PaulyD: **in text
Jessica: I see.
Jessica: so wassup
PaulyD: nm, you?
Jessica: more like "boooring"
PaulyD: oh COME ON
PaulyD: you have got to be kidding me
PaulyD: you are a Wikiperson
PaulyD: you love to know EVERYTHING
PaulyD: (that reminds me of an original poem called J.Sto In The Know)
Jessica: (I would like to read that poem)
PaulyD: J.Sto In The Know
PaulyD: by PaulyD PaulyD: You think you know, but you don't.
PaulyD: But she sure knows, but she won't
PaulyD: impart the wisdom upon your ass
PaulyD: because she's got just too much class
PaulyD: a Wikiperson from the heart within
PaulyD: makes J. Sto a pro right up to the skin
PaulyD: she surfs the web and makes da' calls
PaulyD: she won't tumble in a rumble, cause she knows all the falls
PaulyD: So next time you're wonderin'
PaulyD: or needin' an answer
PaulyD: J. Sto is the one, with the fun
PaulyD: fun in other languages means "knowledge"
PaulyD: The End.
Jessica: haha wikiperson
PaulyD: i was pretty proud of that this morning at 3am
Jessica: I am putting this on JSDC
PaulyD: you can give me credit if you want, or attribute it to Stacey Plufferin
Jessica: wtf is a stacey plufferin
PaulyD: my pen name
PaulyD: for IM poems
PaulyD: it sounds more literate
PaulyD: and people often don't criticize Staceys
I've received a good share of mail asking if there are short films that I can recommend to you. It appears you'd like to be more familiar with the story format, and I can't blame you. Music video (which are essentially commercials for the most part) and actual commercials are the only exposure we have to short subject with high-production quality, with the exception of SNL Digital Shorts and the rare, well-done funny short posted to the web every now and again.
Paris Je T'aime would be my strongest recommendation: 5-minute cinema stories about love and Paris make this collection unique for having an overarching theme. The DVD is available on Netflix.
Please don't watch the trailer: it gives way too much away.
While typically I prefer long form storytelling; a feature, a novel, a trilogy (especially compared to episodic television, which I usually do not like at all); while I feel that way, it must be said:
Short film is incredible, wonderful and underutilized.
Just like the power short story can have when well executed, so is short film. Many shorts tend to suck because they are the tool of the new filmmaker, the student and the amateur. Plus, it can be challenging to be concise and tell a compelling story in a shorter amount of time, and most filmmakers can't write in the first place. Add a lack of high production quality to the list and you get loads of shorts that are not very interesting bombarding festival submissions each cycle. I do not doubt, however, that there are numerous shorts out there that are astonishing. To have them retired to, and viewed on, a YouTube or the Internets or not at all over DVD or the large screen doesn't do them justice.
If you have suggestions for shorts and collections of shorts, then comment and over time I'll find them/view them in the best possible quality in attempts to come up with a list of the best and how you can access each one. I don't think I need to again suggest Hotel Chevalier; most of you have seen it already.
Update: Watching Kurosawa's DREAMS collection. The mastering is fuckity (especially for a WB release), but it's really only noticeable during the second short. This is unfortunate as it's one of the best. You can get this via Netflix. I ran upon the poster accidentally while doing some reference research for a screenplay. I put the film in my queue without knowing it was a series of shorts. Thank the universe for small surprises and delights!
Most of this is from earlier in the week and taken on Rach’s digital cam. Somehow I was able to come up with this rough vid-let despite the fact that we had hardly any footage. (I was busy giving a presentation to orphans on the importance of abstaining from alcohol and the top 10 reasons why Erich sucks at beer pong and therefore did not capture full coverage.) …Or, maybe all of these people are actors; very, very finely trained classical performers, and all the shots were planned this way to make it look amateur. All the beverages were well-orchestrated props and the cinematography is American nouveau avant-garde. You don’t know. That’s the ILLUSION of motion picture. Thus, this is a little masterpiece I like to call,
Two Handles of Smirnoff, Two Handles of Old Crow, Two Cases of Beer, Half a Mountain Dew and a Michael Jackson Thriller Tape
PS: Cloverfield is so jealous right now.
Amazing Transcript [OBX]
Are you recording us?
Of course not
I would put you on my website, but not if you’re being boring like now
[Sarah & Larry’s Wedding]
Wh-Wh-Wait--What do you mean “boring”?
Wait, Jimmy, what did you bring?
Two handles of Smirnoff, two handles of Old Crow, two cases of beer, half a Mountain Dew and a Michael Jackson Thriller tape
We are not boring
First of all, you shared a beer instead of doing your own
Uh, ‘cuz we’re like legends, that’s what legends do
Because we have already done one, and we were, this is like—
We’re, no—We’re the only muthafuckas up in this joint that’s actually shotgunning beers!
Wait ‘til what?
Wait ‘til you’re married
Wait ‘til 2 o’clock when I wrestle you in the yard!
You know how people do unity candles? We did a unity beer
Wait, what happened?
Larry jumped into the pool with all his clothes on
There’s no cutting; you can’t fade to black
I want to rock with you
I want to rock with you
I tricked Larry into marrying me to have a great weekend with Rachael
‘k now you’re, like, you’re like, um, a dinosaur who’s extinct and you’re, you’re so mad! And you just want to like, you just want to destroy everything!
And now you’re like, you’re like a lemur whose life is almost at an end and you’re old—
What the fuck’s a lemur?
You know what’s the greatest thing about this camera?
Feel that beat
Is Jessica using it, Jessica can pretend like she was never drunk!
[Just say no to drinking!]
Because she’s behind the camera
I want to rock with you
And I’m sitting at the sweetheart table; nobody knows
This hits the floor; the editing room floor
I hope ‘Beat It’ is on here
You think there’s two seats at the sweetheart table? Uh-uh, no—
And I’m in the middle
And even if there’s two, guess who’s getting bumped? Larry—Boom—out of there! Let’s GO!
[Footage of Dancing at the Reception Here (I don’t have any of that.)]
[(If you have some; send it to me.)]
[Congrats Larah & Sarry!]
[I may not have any footage of dancing at the wedding…]
[But I do have…]
Haha—Good thing you got that on camera!
PPS: Does anyone remember how we taped Jimmy’s beers to his hands? He was like, Jimmy Beerssorhands, or something.
You can decide and create who you want to be; we all have that ability. We also have an ability to create an illusion of our ideal. Usually the latter is easier. Of course it's also easier to be critical of those actually doing something vs. those not (as they often remain unknown), and philosophy and psychology are not typically black and white explorations. So this entry is really a question in earnest; not a wholly critical statement.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve." -Henry David Thoreau
"We need to be the change we wish to see in the world." -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
"On the plane to Portland today, I finished reading Aidmheil. Thanks
for that burst of fire. Your writing voice rockets off the page and
dances around the readers head, refusing to be pinned down, pivoting
and pirouetting like a dervish.
Don’t recall if we’ve talked about (or if I’ve babbled at you about)
Moby-Dick, but the one thought I kept having, especially while reading
'Dust, Wind and Stone', was that you’re what I would imagine Ishmael’s
sister would be like. Sis-mael. The same questing, restlessness,
sardonic observations and bursts of madcap cra-zee. But where Ishmael
is driven by a dour rootlessness that drives him towards depression
and loss of self, I could imagine you smacking him upside the head and
telling him to lighten up, then suggesting that the two of you go get
ice cream, or play mini-golf. If, y’know, they had mini-golf in the
Here are all the deeper production-notebook style updates:
After trading another e-mail with a news producer at Channel 4 London, I haven’t heard back yet about anything definite. So for you two Wingmen in London who e-mailed me about taking on this interview: I’m still planning to let you know as soon as I hear something. Promise.
This Tuesday, May 27th I’ll be a guest on the Girls Gone Geek to talk about Artemis Eternal. You can listen live at 11AM PT (2PM ET). I’ll be on around 11:15. Later in the week the broadcast should be available on iTunes. Wingman Servies tipped them off to the project and connected the hosts to myself (nice going!). Looking forward to this: Should be cool.
Behind-the-scenes I’m pursuing sponsorship opportunities, which is a lot of work. I don’t have time to do that and promote the project at the same time on top of everything else, so that’s up to you right now a little more than it has been all along. (You are a pro by now, surely.) If anyone has any ideas or needs help, or if you need me to follow up with someone, then please use the comments on this entry.
Right now, given the way I’m working, you are likely to find more creative bits on my Twitter, as well as nano-moments and needs related to ARTEMIS.
In case I need to reiterate it, the project hinges on 1. your being an awesome Wingman (check!) 2. reaching people so that they know about the project and also have that opportunity. That’s all press, promotions and community, and that is the way you absolutely can help right now: By submitting to places that cover this type of story (tech/lifestyle/film/arts/features/etc.). It could be anyone from a notable blogger to a large newspaper to a TV program. Again, please use the comments if you need ideas and keep on your toes like you have been when you see a relevant opportunity. There have been so many Wingman successes over the course so far and if you’re open to it by now you’re aware of the amount of stamina a project like this (and most films) require. Prepping a film can really be a hellacious process; mostly due to funding and setting up the deals and not the actual pre-production film work itself. It’s one thing to hear about that, it’s another to walk with a director going through it; it’s quite another to be a part of it and, on top of that, to do it on our terms.
Did I Twitter-mention that my coach told me that I need to get off the computer? “Too young to have wrist problem!” he says. But you know; it took a lot of mouse clicks to get things where they are at this point. :-)
Update: Booyah! The lady at the bank gave us no fees for another year.
I hate that there's a $29 monthly fee to keep the production business account open. When I signed up I specifically asked about fees and they said no fees ever if I sign up for this one deal (so I signed up). Turns out that only lasted six months as a part of the deal I signed up for. Nevermind that I asked my bank contact three times to make sure.
All I can think is, "$29? That's like, a whole Wingman!"
I am calling them again tomorrow. There has to be a better plan than that.
I have yet to do business with a bank that I actually like.
Jessica: greatly dislike this part of the process: the non-filmmaking part of filmmaking
CC: did you ever read Orson Welles’ eulogy to Jean Renoir?
Jessica: no, I haven't
CC: he said that Renoir had told him
CC: that his biggest regret was that he spent so much of his life
CC: raising money
CC: to make films that the money people wanted him to make
Jessica: I see.
Of course I immediately read the tribute, and think you will find it as relevant as I do.
I only regret that I have yet to find a better-formatted copy.
5/16 Update: $1120 total raised via RevMoney from 32 people. ;-)
Rad!: we have two days to game with the system to make some serious scratch for Artemis Eternal. From Wingman Jay Bushman:
"I found a way we can all pump some more into AE:There's a new Paypal competitor called Revolution Money Exchange. They're still in Beta, and as a promotion they're giving away a $25 credit if you sign up before May 15th. I signed up today and am gonna send that $25 to AE. You can all do the same. Also, if you sign up by clicking the button/link I'm going to try embedding below, my account will get an extra $10. I'll send all of these referral bonuses to AE as well."
1. CLICK THIS BUTTON (you must use our link)
[button removed because promo opportunity has expired] 2. REGISTER (it's fast I swear)
3. TRANSFER the money to my JSDC e-mail address. It goes right to the film and when you transfer the $25 you'll get your Wingman movie credit. And we will win the genius prize for being geniuses.
Everyone who reads this, please do it: It's free! And please spread it around! You know what would be amazing? If we got like 5,000 people to do this. But we have to move now: The window is short. Twitters tweet it forward (find me @JSto). Everyone wins!
Note that the sign-up button always links to a Wingman who is collecting the referral funds and will transfer to the film. So if you see a name you don't recognize it is indeed one of your brethren and the right link.
I’ll post some numbers and information about how some promos are meaningful and some aren’t (and why) as soon as I have time to breathe. If you’re a Wingman, you already received some of that information via e-mail from me. Also, Monday updates are complete/new Wingmen added! Alsox2, Wingman Sloss: Your e-mail doesn't work. Send me a different one?
4/27 Update: So we're still on MySpace.com! Looks like that spot gets more than one day, which is great because it rotates vs. being a static promo and thus does lower numbers. Use it people, use it!
4/26 Update: We're up on MySpace.com front page! Here's a screenshot since the promo rotates. By now if you're a Wingman you should have gotten an e-mail about this from me. We have 24 hours to leverage this (ends at midnight just like Cinderella). Use comments to brainstorm. Wingman already added to Digg: LINK.
Just got word that MySpace is featuring our Wingman vid tomorrow! The editorial team are our new heroes. Thanks to Kay Lee & Adrian. Heroes get the job done together. Crucial.
We're also currently featured on YouTube FILM (hurrah!) and were in the CurrentTV.com top 10 (savvy but fairly useless), but are far more curious about being front page MySpace, frankly. Kay received my e-mail just before I went to lunch. By the time I had returned he had helped us out. JetBlue was the same way. I sent them an inquiry (way before the film site was live) and based on the merits of the story and creative of ARTEMIS ETERNAL the founder set us up with free airfare. The turn around was thirty minutes after I sent my mail.
The major points being: 1. If you need help, do your best to make it easy for people to help you. 2. There are all kinds of glorious people in the world, some of them are both able to recognize and get shit done. They see it all in an instant and say "YES" instead of "but..." or "no." We should aspire to that: it's an exciting, useful and a wise way to be.
So if you're new here, go experience the official site http://www.artemiseternal.com, be a Wingman and help us counteract the existence of Brett Ratner and Uwe Bowell by taking the first viable step toward artist and audience competing with their overlords.
And if you're someone who is editorial or a community leader, give yourself the opportunity to say "YES." Contact me if you're unsure how: I'll make it easy.
It’s midnight on Saturday and I’ve just returned from the most delightful home that played setting to the most delightful party in honor of Mr. Will Shakespeare’s birthday. This has been a tradition of Geoffrey Owens’ since I was still a schoolgirl, way before I knew him, back when and he and his family still lived in New York City. Geoffrey is the casting director for Artemis Eternal and my go-to acting coach. He also works with me on rehearsal direction for Artemis and is a friend. You might recognize him because he was on The Cosby Show for nearly a decade, although that barely scratches the surface of his expertise and work.
Ever since Geoffrey has been in Los Angeles, producer/actor Kristin Stone has hosted the birthday party at her home. Kristin produced a play in NoHo in which I was a cast member, Geoffrey knew Kristin from New York, attended the play closing night, I met him at the reception and that is how I know this wonderful group of people. I missed the birthday party last year because I was location scouting, the first year prior I missed but can’t remember why. Thus, I was stoked that this year I was finally able to make it out to Kristin's.
Among others, I caught up with Kathy Harmening of Life From the Inside. Kathy and I were in a play together wherein we had a 10-minute scene that was just the two of us. We played sisters, and we got on well from the start. I also hung out with Sandy, the owner of RipRap Studio Theater. She does a mean Queen Margaret.
The most interesting part of the birthday party is the glass tapping. You see, each time Geoffrey taps his glass with his spoon everyone pauses their imbibing, comest-ing and conversation and, in place of a toast; he calls someone’s name. That person then draws forward and reads from Shakespeare. You don’t have to be prepared, and you can refrain if you so wish, so it’s all in good fun. It can be a little nerve-wracking, however. Rather like a game of musical chairs stretched out over a long evening.
Arturo was there (who I just met) and conspired with Geoffrey to record digi-style his calling me out. So thanks to Arturo, here’s some off-the-cuff footage which, in accordance with this press release, I’d like to dedicate to you, Wingman:
Always interesting and strange for me to see footage this way. It looks awful to me because I’m not used to the quality. Low, yellow lighting; funny angle; poor sound—In my mind I see a storyboard with close-ups and all kinds of things proper. But you know; this really isn’t about production value. It was about being there, and this is the closest I can get you to the night, its moments and the incredible players that walked its stage.
The moon was full on my way out to the ‘dena. And golden against a hazy midnight-blue background with blue mists of clouds mixing against that fair, perfect hue. Upon my return, there were few cars on the 110 so I sailed on over the hill and suddenly the whole city rose up before me - downtown; with all its drama and skyscraper honeycombs - like I was headed right into the heart of something big just before swooping right toward the Westside down the 101 Hollywood… where the hill swells with its peeking, warm lights; waiting in a softer way. The only way it could have been better is if I was riding a horse.
Now that I’ve put La Pucelle on her feet, I’m going to actually play with that passage and rehearse it more intensely. She feels right to me at this point.
At the party there was also a Shakespeare contest: Name all 38 plays. I came in third. (a.k.a. the place that receives no sweet prize). Damn thee; honorable mention! Thou doust taunt me. I did, however, get cake.
Day after day after day I am listening to people, regular people not industry professionals, but people-people complain and wax on about the terrible state of film, the news, media.
Where are they when we actually get serious and try to do something about it? All that energy spent complaining is worth far, far more than $1. And where would the colonies have been if no one had anti-ed-up and signed their name on The Declaration of Independence? What I like about those guys is they were crazy dreamers who also did something to create a foundation and back up their ideas. The way people look at things is incredibly interesting to me. Most people will never really understand the systems they are a part of and perpetuate. You and I know more than they ever will. Not because we have some super ability, but because we make that choice for whatever reason. That of course makes me wonder what I’m looking at everyday and not understanding.
Anyway, we are trying to make it easy for people. But people are such assholes!
Saturday night I told some stranger I was in conversation with to shut-up about movies if he wasn’t going to do anything about it but complain. I’m pretty sure that looked insane. Felt great, though.
Update: From Dave Grant
"This post made me think about a thought I had a couple of days ago. I was
going to do a big involved blog about it, but these days both time and
energy are fleeting.
JSto is Morpheus.......the Wingmen are Neo.
Once awakened....once you've taken the red pill.......you can't go back.
You can't sit in a theatre and appreciate Transformers anymore.....because
you realize it's just the cineworld that's been pulled over your eyes.
People are stuck in that cineworld and don't know any better. They need
someone to give them a choice. Just hard for a lot of people to accept
because it's all they know.....and they can't fathom anything else."
On Saturday? Yeah, I totally went into this mini-rant using The Matrix as a metaphor. It was kind of like that part in Franny & Zooey--Franny's part that begins, "I’m sorry. It isn’t just Wally Campbell... ."
PS: One time I told C.Sto that "one" spelled backward was "Neo" and that that was awesome about The Matrix. And she was all (pause) NO IT'S NOT!!
It turns out that what I meant to say was that Neo is an anagram for "One." So now (still--five years later!!) sometimes she sees me and will stop and go, all dramatic, "Eno, you are THE ONE." Then she laughs and walks away leaving me to plot my many revenges.
Today I received an e-mail from a new contributor that said, “I think what you are doing is outstanding and totally ahead of the curve, yet the way is not clearly laid out and those in front need a brave heart and big machetes.”
Comments open on YouTube. Here is what you can do to help right now:
1. Get serious and e-mail the YouTube editors (they take video tip-offs here: email@example.com ) and ask them to please feature this video on www.youtube.com. Tell them who you are, that you are involved and why, and why they should feature it. Rock them.
http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=55751 Everyone should e-mail them one time. No more, no less. We need their help. Congrats! YouTube will be spotlighting this in the film & animation category over the next couple of weeks.
2. Send the video to everyone you know. Blog it on your blog as "AAE - The Story So Far." And if you made a Wingman video (they were all good even before my edit), then include yours in your mail as a personal message to your peoples inviting them to the project. You could also add it to your social sites, et cetera. Tell them all you are involved. Tell them why. Rock them.
Jessica: Dude, WTF!! George Bush is at a middle school.
Jessica: Photo Sarah: are you serious????
Jessica: Yeah M.Sto got that pic.
Sarah: how did M.Sto hear that he was there????
Sarah: what the hell is he doing there? reading to the children?
Jessica: she happened to be driving by
Jessica: haha that's what I said
Jessica: I love how they've secured the perimeter with buses.
Sunday: Rehearsed a new Shakespearean monologue on its feet for the first time. It is my favorite classical piece I’ve ever performed. It suited me so well that it was magic. Am invincible for the afternoon.
Monday: Talked to Navy for over an hour. I can’t print much about it save he is coming home soon. Hopefully this is his last time to the Middle East. (We say that every time.) I can’t believe we got so much phone time. I now feel better about paying my taxes.
Tuesday: My stunt coach (Matt) is leaving the gym I attend. But it might turn out for the best. We are basically a part of a posse, anyway. Now we can all just drop in at an open gym, which costs less and involves less distraction and annoyances and more freedom.
Wednesday: Artemis costume fittings. Things are coming along, although we’re a week behind and the garment district has apparently thwarted us on additional fabric that matches what we’ve already bought. Anastasia will now have the delight of hunting down same-color fabric for one of the doubles.
Thursday: Went to the mall in Glendale with Bonner. He has a TV putter-outer, so we went around knocking out all the TVs that were playing bad music videos in the tween areas of the department stores. Malls make me tired. But I got my sweet vengeance. Glendale will never forget the day that all the non-monitor TVs in the mall went out just before closing time.
Friday: Long hours filled with thoughts about the existential crisis I have been in since age four. It’s about 1 AM and I just heard from Navy. He is going on a “trip.” I’m pretty sure that when you're in a military that doesn’t mean yachting or skiing or anything leisurely.
“She became a market gardener and avoided all contact with the music scene. When Bert Lloyd died in 1990 she was persuaded to sing in a memorial concert. Despite coaxing from some of the brightest names in British folk music, she refuses to return to the studio.” –Wikipedia.org
“Hoff has recently published an essay online denouncing the publishing industry and announcing his resignation from book-writing.” –Wikipedia.org
“The truth is: All the great publishers are gone; only their names remain. Don’t be fooled by the presence of those names on today’s books and corporate bragging lists -- they are names of the dead. The spirit of independent enterprise that once animated those names -- the spirit that joined creativity, communication, and commerce to form the great publishing houses -- is no more. And America is much the worse for its loss.” –benjaminhoffauthor.com
“According to Lao-tse, the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance.” –The Tao of Pooh
“On September 15, 1961, Time magazine devoted its cover to Salinger, in an article that profiled his 'life of recluse'; Time reported that the Glass family series 'is nowhere near completion…Salinger intends to write a Glass trilogy.' However, Salinger has only published one other story since.” –Wikipedia.org
“It's everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so — I don't know — not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and — sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much only in a different way.” –Franny and Zooey
“People never notice anything.” –Catcher in the Rye
In preparation for the show next Wednesday, CU@USC wanted a little b-roll.
Last night I headed downtown to their main campus with Matt and King. You know Matt: He’s my tumbling coach/the AAE stunt choreographer. As for King, this is the first JSDC vid he’s appeared in. You will soon come to understand his sweet skills as I do.
The station (via the school) had us confined to a specific location. There wasn’t a monitor, so I have no idea what the footage they shot looks like and will probably see it the same time you do if you watch live. I’ll be curious to see what they cut together.
I thought you’d be curious to see what happened afterward, whilst we were walking toward the car to leave. Just looking around, trying stuff… . We captured a bit of low-quality footage along the way.
So, you know; walk with us. I’ll post a few of these clips leading into Wednesday and I won’t edit them up much so that you can get a feel for real time.
And yes; some people see a wall and are compelled to climb.
I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
As a part of The Great Interview Experiment I was interviewed by Theresa Bakker. Fate laid out the sequence so that I was paired with her and I consider myself lucky: She’s terrific and I believe we have much in common.
Being the interviewee I’m supposed to publish the interview here, but since Theresa already has the text up (and I’m an amazing rebel), you can go visit her for the sweet reads.
And no, she didn’t ask about the black eye. I’m pretty sure she avoided it so as to thwart you, suckers!
*Italics from 'I’m nobody! Who are you?' by Emily Dickinson
Somewhere in LA it’s raining. Oil and fuel rainbows bleed into parking lot puddles and stain the soles of passerby. Some are shoppers. Some are picketers. Some are out of work for other reasons. There are no children on the streets. Somewhere in LA a girl feels big in the world; her heart swollen out like an invisible balloon surrounding her, touching every hand she passes, wondering when it will end. The rain is like fire: Clean. LA struggles against both. Meanwhile Tom Cruise tries to count his super powers but he doesn’t have enough fingers, a reporter for the Times figures the US is skirting the edge of a recession and, across the great flyover, in the twin media city, Heath Ledger is dead. Somewhere in LA Britney Spears laughs manically in her Joker-esque way, thinking in a twisted southern accent; And you thought it’d be me, ya’ll! while all Owen Wilson can do is let out a low whistle as gossip rags scramble past their prepared obits to write the one that came like the black swan. The smog is pinned, the stuffy air rushes out to sea with the clouds… but the reprieve lasts only a moment. We are all dying from cancer. And it rains, and it rains, and it rains and by 2 AM the tangerine lights of Wilshire will twinkle in the wet and the roads of Beverly Hills will shine like silver; washed and abandoned for a few hours. Everyone, everywhere wondering; what can be done? …Except, a man at Warner Brothers—no, no, it’s wrong, I shouldn’t—but he can’t help but imagine it: WB is about to make some serious rev on Batman. And he smiles all alone in his office as he calculates how to position the press campaign. Someone in LA is talking about a soul-crushing existence that we’ve engineered. Someone in LA is talking about a community of isolationists in this period of globalization, new media and social networking. Sundance will mourn. The widow Michelle will be stalked. Please send whoever drew these blueprints to my office: I am having difficulty locating where we built the emergency escape route.
I’m getting over a terrible head cold and literally have no voice at all. That is not hyperbole. I have no sound. The timing is ill as I had a location meeting with the property master Sunday that had to be postponed since I couldn’t communicate. I can’t take phone calls. I can’t talk to anyone who is not immediately in front of me. I sucked it up and flew back, anyway. I’ll be on vocal rest for at least four more days.
I haven’t been on vocal rest for a long time and the last time I was, it was short. I also cheated. I used to have a problem with losing my voice from sports (yelling from the outfield, yelling from downfield, yelling at the ref…) so my singing coach cracked the whip and put me on vocal lock down. I learned to breathe properly, drink a lot of water and haven’t lost my voice since, until now.
In addition there is, of course, the hilariousness of someone like me losing my voice. I am like a flood, a fast river with rapids... a rush of strong wind: There is no stopping the conversation.
I have quickly learned who can read my lips and expressions, and who cannot. Interestingly, this skill has not much to do with who knows me best. My friend KayBee, really good; my roommate, surprisingly good; C.Sto, so-so; my mother, terrible; customer-service girl at Barnes & Noble, the fastest of all.
Recently I had a shoot wherein I had to work with a masked character. The actor tends to be low-key and quiet in real life, and it was maddening: What was he thinking under there? There was no audio or visual response to anything I was saying. I quieted. My friends and family were like this. Finally! They had license to talk without my excited interruptions! …But they weren’t getting feedback, and all I got was companionable silence.
My last night in VA, I furiously typed out the antics of the previous night to C.Sto via the computer, filling her in as much as I could, as she stood over my shoulder firing off follow-up questions. Luckily I have a vicious WPM. But you cannot carry a laptop everywhere.
Next time that you fly, try not talking for the duration of your trip. Don’t cheat. I dare you. Order your complicated drink at the Starbucks, try to take a cab or indicate that you are sorry for having knocked into someone… See how fast you can scribble on a notepad. Best of all, watch the reactions when you gesture toward the general area of your neck to indicate that you cannot speak. The majority of people will immediately assume that you are deaf and apologize. Except the guy at the taxi stand who, after you pass him a note saying that you cannot speak and therefore need a driver who can read English, says rather bluntly, “Can you hear?” I nod yes, and he is one of few that, because he asked, does not suddenly shift into talking-with-a-deaf-person” mode. Options for this technique are, apparently:
- Talking loudly, you know, because that helps deaf people to hear you.
- Slowly, over-gesturing while mouthing words and/or whispering strangely.
- Taking my notepad so that they can write back to me, which is incredibly frustrating.
You learn who is listening because, without missing a beat, they realize that you can hear perfectly and continue to talk to you and watch you for your response. They converse. They don’t jump to conclusions on what you are trying to communicate. They must have noticed that you answered them before, a reaction to sounds, so clearly yours is solely a vocal issue. They are natural and don’t respond in a weird way, such as the person who knows you and knows that you can hear and must have just lost your voice, yet begins whispering and gesturing back to you as if they’ve suddenly lost theirs; sort of like how my Dad picks up the accent of the Chinese food delivery man during their brief exchange.
All of these understandings happen in an instant.
I am walking through a universe of sounds and am unable to contribute.
Best of all, I finally reach the Gulch Starbucks. "Jess, haven't seen you in a while!" I gesture that I cannot speak, the cashier just hands me over his Sharpie, catching me up. I grab a cup and write my own order.
I have been meaning to share this letter for some time now:
Everything ok? I saw the latest blog, about no more blogging, and turning off comments. Not that you know me (other than I'm this Mom, engineer lady who loves your books and writing and all), but I thought I'd let you spill, if you've a mind to spill that is.
Otherwise, take this as a bit of support. I cannot imagine what it takes to make it all happen yourself. To bang your head against god knows what with no payoff in sight of the reason for doing it.
I guess, I can. I have spent my entire career working on getting a human presence on Mars. It's not going to happen in my lifetime. Definitely not in my career, but now I think I am not actually going to see it. I hope I see us getting to the moon. So I bust my chops, doing the best I can, in spite of loads of stupid government politics and such, and just hope that maybe what I did made a difference in the "after" of it all.
Want to pull up a Starbucks coffee (I am a fan of the fall Pumpkin Spice Lattes myself) and talk?
If not, and if this is too forward, then just hang in there. Keep your chin up and all that stuff. We mid-westerners (or do you consider yourself east coast?) are hearty stock.
You will survive.
I have faith.
And even if the worst happens, and nothing happens, I have (and I can tell many others have) enjoyed what we've read, seen, purchased from you. You have touched us, and impressed us, and delighted us.
I have been away from Los Angeles for the holidays and for work for two weeks now. I’m afraid there isn’t much to report… called 911 about a brush fire which may or may not have existed, got freaked out by Stepford-like suburban community, admired “tabloid-free” grocery lines created at behest of parents… Not as typical-exciting as usual. But I am more snowed under than is typically usual. It’s been a hard a year.
Mostly Greg and I have been working intensely. We’re working remote, and with the time difference that keeps me up until 3 or 4 AM. Iain and I finally finished up troubleshooting all the bugs (I hope) from when we switched hosts for JSDC. Yes, it does take months to do that. This is by no means the typical “look at all we accomplished this year!” post. We’ve accomplished a lot. I simply don’t feel like it’s done yet, with basically three parts of a larger project in some stage of production.
This is in reality a thank you entry, since I want to take a moment to thank and recognize you for supporting and patronizing our work, or the work of other viable artists. And for taking the time to become informed about why your support and intervention is actually important and impactful, especially against the current landscape of consolidated media, copyright issues and so forth. When I get tired, I’m sure you can sense it in the tone and mood set here. I look back at entries over the last year and I feel very exhausted. But, also hopeful, because we wouldn’t and won’t be making a film without you. Naturally via work that forces us to break new ground and dare to explore new models, things become easier for other artists bothered with the same battles. The more the web community bands together and supports like-minded independent initiatives, the better off we all are across the board, as our collective burdens are eased as we work together to overcome the root of so many human-realm problems. This is called non-zero-sum.
All things to us, good and bad, begin with a story.
First it must be allowed to be told.
And then, more difficult, it must be possible to hear.
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." –Aristotle
I'm not linking this to say that I disagree or agree, or that you have to either. It is, at the least, interesting to entertain (and interesting that I felt the need to provide a disclaimer): Watch Part One | See More
As a WGA member and currently on-strike writer, my mind often turns
back to the rosier days of navigating the film industry. The days of
studio parties with open bars, promotional screenings with a free
drink (of your choice) and a bag of popcorn. Starlets, writing
assignments, and above all...the lottery of the writer's world...
As I am unable to pitch during these negotiating times, I thought what
better way to reminisce about the glory that IS pitching projects to
producers and studios, than to think back to my favorite Top 3 moments
in the world of pitching.
Ironically, being a successful writer in Hollywood is one-part writing
talent, one-part access and one-part salesmanship. If you can write,
that's a great start -- but if you have the access to get to the right
people and the ability to sell a movie about a talking tree to Scott
Rudin, then you will have a long and prosperous career as a
screenwriter. The following 3 moments in my history, all involving
pitching a project, were not foreshadowing a successful future. And
yet, despite these bumps in the road, I seem to still be doing ok.
#3: In the middle of a pitch to an Executive at a well-known
Producer's shingle, the woman stopped me with an important question.
I was pleased, since most executives would rather say nothing, smile
at the end, and see you on your merry way. But she, it appeared was
different. I paused in the pitch, and allowed her the question.
"Would you mind if we finished this pitch in my car...on the way to
the shop? I need an oil change." I looked around for the hidden
cameras, but there were none. So I finished my pitch in her car, on
the way to a Pep Boys. Did it sell? Eh, not so much.
#2: One year I found myself pitching the unscripted version of one of
my humor books to one of the major three networks. Just before going
into the pitch my agent said to me, "This Executive never laughs. I
have a standing offer on the table for all my clients -- if you can
get her to laugh, I'll give you fifty bucks. And if you CAN get her
to laugh, your bound to sell this project." I took the offer with an
excitement that I had not rivaled before in any previous pitch as it
was now a game set up before me. In the pitch, I tried my hardest --
eventually turning my random comments in the pitch into a lucrative
outcome. The Executive laughed numerous times. My agent paid me
fifty bucks. And the project? Didn't sell.
#1: The Producers behind ELF are a fun group of people. Great sense
of humor, great instincts, and great animal lovers. That's why, when
I happened upon their offices, I wasn't surprised to see that the head
of the company allows his dog to be a part of all pitches. Not
because he's like the monkey from that classic old Disney movie where
the monkey picks successful TV shows, but just because they love their
dog so much. He sticks close. As I sat down on a fluffy couch
opposite two of the Executives, the lumbering dog settled in next to
me for what appeared to be a bit of a nap. "Are you okay with him
next to you?" they asked. "Of course," I replied. For what negative
situation could come out of ME, pitching next to a DOG. About five
minutes into my pitch there was a deafening SNORING sound coming from,
yes you guessed it -- the dog. I was assured the dog's snoring habits
had nothing to do with the entertainment value of my pitch. But
still. Didn't sell.
The odds are against you, it seems. But if you keep trying, and keep
rolling with the punches, you'll eventually (like I did with a network
TV pilot) sell something in the room. Eventually, if you swing at a
hundred balls, you'll hit one.
Or you'll get hit by one.
Either way, there's some kind of good odds hidden in the mix.
You might remember my ghost town obsession from over the summer. Well, I've
found the pinnacle: The Ukraine offers guided tours of Chernobyl. The tour
company picks you up in Kiev in the morning, drives you to the town of
Chernobyl, and gets you ready (gieger counter, instructions, other
precautions). Then you go into the exclusion zone and go right up to the
exploded reactor (about 350 feet away from it).
Next they take you through the abandoned city of Pripyat--originally built
to house plant workers. You get to wander around (a little), go inside
buildings, etc. All the USSR shit is still there.
Depending upon the time of year and road conditions, they'll also take you
to the "mechanical graveyard"--parking lots full of trucks and other
machinery that are still fairly dangerous to approach.
Then you go back to the town of Chernobyl and talk to residents that have
refused to leave despite the danger. After that, it's back to Kiev. The tour
takes a full day.
I can't imagine a tour that's creepier or more unsettling.
Damn, I've seen a lot of Chernobyl photos, but I hadn't seen those before.
The idea of the whole thing--the explosion, the cleanup, the government
deception, the disease and death, the abandoned towns--has always made my
Same. I shudder that Chernobyl gets into your DNA, and doesn't let go.
The Sacred Cat of Burma The Birman cat is the companion cat of the Kittah priests. Originally, the guardians of the Temple of LaoTsun were yellow-eyed white cats with long hair. The golden goddess of the temple, Tsun-Kyan-Kse, had deep blue eyes. The head priest, Mun-Ha, had as his companion a beautiful cat named Sinh. One day the temple was attacked and Mun-Ha was killed. At the moment of his death, Sinh placed his feet on his master and faced the goddess. The cat’s white fur took on a golden cast, his eyes turned as blue as the eyes of the goddess, and his face, legs and tail became the color of earth. However, his paws, where they touched the priest, remained white as a symbol of purity. All the other temple cats became similarly colored. Seven days later, Sinh died, taking the soul of Mun-Ha to paradise. Thus it is known that when a Kittah dies, he is reincarnated as a Birman cat before attaining Nirvana.
The Lion Dog The Tibetan Spaniel originated in ”the rooftop of the world." They have been bred in the villages and monasteries of Tibet for many hundreds of years and existed in a similar form as long ago as 200 BC. The eyesight of the Tibbie is keen: They can see over a very long distance. Thus, they like to perch as high as possible so that they can survey the surrounding country and watch for the approach of strangers. This was the custom of their ancestors, who sat on the Tibetan Buddhist monastery walls and barked to give the alarm when anything unusual happened. Their barking would, in turn, call the Mastiffs to the scene to defend the monastery. Tibetan Spaniels were also trained to turn the prayer wheels of the Buddhists, sending the prayers of the whole family up to heaven.
*Mythology revised in pieces from various sources who quote the same legend / Photos by The Grizz & C.Sto
I know you have a favorites page, but I was wondering more specifically what some of your artistic influences are?
Usually I answer smartly, “people, places, things… nouns in general…” The question can be a challenge: People are made up of so many things. I won’t be a wiseacre today, however, because,
I know I am, very, very much, who I was at age four, five, six… Most of learning who I am has been unlearning; going back to who I was before societal things got in the way: A girl with long curly hair sitting quietly amidst the rabbit hutches and sunset while my parents called me futilely for dinner.
In that regard, not only some of the most influential art in my life at that point, but specific parts of that influence are as follows.
“…and start to know there’s more out there than just getting more, and taking more…”
All I have to say is this shit hands down kicks Hannah Montana’s ass.
To say it as a filmmaker, I think there are excellent storytelling moments in these films. That was a time when movies actually made sense and challenged the viewer in at least some small way, if not more. Even the more simple, animated films that were created in line with licensing products, such as Care Bears II, have good visual transitions and so forth.
1. If you mix them all together, make it modern, age it up and make it le J.Sto, then you’ve got a lot of TSL, basically.
2. My other thought is this: That if we really believe there is a good way to the world, and we tell our kids that; and that anything is possible: What is that, theater? Like Santa? Or is it a spirit we’re ready to commit to in our own behavior and something we are ready to make quite real.
You see, when everyone told me that; grownups, my parents, Disney, the Care Bears… When they told me anything was possible, I believed them, and have come to understand that someone made a very big mistake. Everything to do with my projects is a hope that that someone is not me.
Because what I know is that the world can be anything we want it to be. What I don’t understand is why the collective chooses what we’ve got, and tricks themselves into accepting it for what was promised, and what they promised.
Is it a question of what you become when you grow up,
Or of what you were when you were little?
Or of what you can imagine?
Creative Collaboration Or, why am I still working with Jess two years later?
A Guest Entry by Greg Martin
I was talking with Jess one evening when she asked me if I was interested in writing a guest blog on JSDC. "Sure", I said, "What about?" "Write about why you're here," she replied. “That’s a retarded title for a blog” I responded. But after the sarcasm the idea is worth thinking about. I mean, we’ve been working together for over two years now. It’s worth examining why our creative collaboration is working, and why we’re able to plan and produce pieces we’re proud of.
First off, we’re both crazy. That’s helpful. It means we speak the same language.
Secondly, we’re both in it for the results. I’m an extreme creative, meaning I exist almost entirely to create and craft experiences—and I’m damn particular about how they turn out. It’s a prickly point of view, and it won’t really pay well (in the cashy money sense) for quite some time. That is, until I control my own creative organization or become world famous. Jess is just as particular as I am about producing quality. There’s a certain “do it right” frame of mind that seems to be rare in the world (or extremely quiet). That’s what drives us both to work our asses off on a project that won’t earn either of us a dime—at least not for years and years. When I’m looking at her scripts, I see some really kickass creative ideas… the sort of stuff you get all fired up about. What’s more, she doesn’t have all the ideas sorted out yet. That means (gasp) I can contribute. Which leads to the third reason we’re still working together.
Constructive Bickering. There’s a fantastic give-and-take between us when we’re cranking on a project. For the concept art pieces we’ve produced so far there’s been a solid investment of hours and ideas from both of us, even though I’m the one drawing. I’ve gotten off the phone from a critique/brainstorm session that started at 9PM and thought, “what the hell? When did it become midnight?” Three straight hours going back and forth over details, composition, theme, overall concepts, and generally hammering out her initial ideas into something we both agree represents the scene well…. And we’re both still alive. And we do this constantly.
Hey now, that’s something.
People have asked me the same question Jess asked. Why do I do it? Why am I here? I’m not getting paid for this, what’s it doing for me? I always respond “…Well gosh, she’s pretty.” But that’s not it. We all know Jess is a unique and beautiful snowflake, but I’m here because we’re creating some crazy good stuff. And we’re doing it because we’re both firmly invested in the other. It is a rare, precious thing to find such excellent vehicles to shine through as the scripts and ideas I’m working with now. And it’s exponentially more rare to find someone you can work with to bring them to life—someone who cares as deeply about the quality of the product as you do.
Anyhow, that’s why I’m here. The next question is, why are you here? Are you here to be entertained? Or are you here to be a part of something amazing?
Just asking. Think about it… That’s how it all starts.