2011

30 December 2011

The Unique Voice of Vinegar Hill


I've recently become intrigued by the filmmakers of Vinegar Hill. I first came across their short film "The Cosmonaut", and was captivated by their storytelling style.


THE COSMONAUT from Vinegar Hill on Vimeo.

They are currently working on a feature called Twin Reflex- their successful Kickstarter shows some great ideas:


Twin Reflex — Featurette #1 from Vinegar Hill on Vimeo.


I find this method of filmmaking interesting... it's sort of a fusion of cinéma vérité and role-playing. I like the fact that they have a solid technical background but are now approaching this feature in a fresh, albeit experimental, way. And I love it. It drives me to want to try it.

It's been a re-occurring theme in my posts, but I can't stress it enough: If you want to stand out, approach each piece of work differently with UNTESTED ideas and methods. Break yourself out of your comfort zone and truly challenge yourself. Techniques, like cameras, are only tools- use them to your creative advantage and to solve problems. Better, more refined tools will help you attain a better, more refined vision... but don't let them become the crutch that defines your work.

Enough of my soapbox. I really just want you to become a better artist, even if you think you don't need to. Personally, I know I have a long ways to go... but I'm confident I'll get there if I stay true to knowing I'll always need to improve, I'll always need to learn.

I certainly feel that the filmmakers of Vinegar Hill know this- and I'm anxious to see more of their work!

27 December 2011

...almost there...


It's been a tumultuous ride for Southside of Elsewhere... but I can say that we are 99.999% finished with it- and we are pushing to have it finished by week's end. With that, we're really proud of how it's turning out and we've decided to submit it to the festival circuit instead of releasing it online.

Right now we're in the process of sound design- the hardest and most rewarding part of putting a film together. Sound adds the texture of the world you're characters are in- it adds believability and life to the film.

One of my favorite filmmakers, Walter Murch, talks about "worldizing" sound design in this clip. Enjoy!

19 December 2011

Inspiration Monday 12/19/2011: It's not about the toys. It's about the vision.


I'm always excited for new technology as much as the next guy.  Canon C300? Sign me up. Red Epic? Pretty please. As nice as these toys are, without any solid artistic background or talent, they aren't going to improve your work.

Take this short film for example- it's amazing! The cinematography, direction, editing, performance, colorgrading, audio... it's a fantastic piece and it RIVALS many feature length studio released films shot on 35mm film- and it was shot on a little Canon HV20 consumer camera. 

White Red Panic (HD) from Ayz Waraich on Vimeo.


Now, I own one.  I am first to admit that you have very limited control over many of the camera features... but Ayz knows this and he worked within what he was able to do, and the results are amazing.  He relied on his directing, cinematography and editing abilities using only what he had available. His equipment limitations gave him parameters to work within, giving him the chance to explore ways to tell the story by problem solving his hindrances.  There are a couple of shots I would have done differently, but that's besides the point.

Blocking your actors, composition of the frame, designing your light, motivated camera motion... and knowing how you're going to cut it.

So, I challenge you: please don't film a scene of two talking heads and call it a finished short film. And PLEASE don't settle for what's easy- have your characters DOING something. Give your camera a reason for movement. Move your actors and keep it kinetic. And for God's sake, move your story into something memorable, emotional and unique!  How do you do this? Simply ask yourself- what could I do to make this scene fluid?

In the end, what's inspiring here is it doesn't take the best tools to make an incredible movie. Everything you need is in the creative side of your brain.

16 December 2011

And All I Ask is a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By...


If you've ever read Sea Fever By John Masefield, and you have a passion for something, you know what I mean. It's simply time to redouble my efforts and narrow my focus. 2012 will mark finishing Southside of Elsewhere, creating another short with refined and better technique, and starting on my first feature.  If you've been to my main site- www.lostskies.com, you'll notice it's had a major redesign to reflect that.

So with all of that, I've decided to retire from freelance illustration and web design. While I'll still take on freelance graphic design, photography and video production jobs, they all fall into what I deem necessary to steer my ship to reach my goal- to do filmmaking fulltime, and support my family while doing it. 

In the meantime, please check out and like my new Facebook page- www.facebook.com/lostskies.


Lost Skies Demo Reel from Juan Maestas on Vimeo.

LEMANS
Poor thing is sitting patiently, cold in the garage. I am going to replace the carburetor and fuel tank in March, then replace the entire break system and all the hoses and wires. I'd like to get this thing out on the open road- I really want to see what this baby can do!!!

I had mentioned before it will have a cameo in "Imprint", but will be in a starring role in my future noir.  Gotta get the thing running first!

12 December 2011

Inspiration Monday 12/12/2011


Well, it's been a hectic week.  I've been busy with some upcoming changes- of which you'll see by the end of this week.  I promise, it's huge!!

So, because of that, there isn't much to show this week in terms of inspiration- but I did find some pretty radical stuff:


EYE OF THE STORM  |  Lovett from Lovett on Vimeo.
This video is awesome- with all the steampunk elements, it blows my mind everytime I watch it.


The Gift from BLR_VFX on Vimeo.
While the FX are seamless in this video- as compelling as the concept is, it is a bit light on story.  Still, I added it here as an incredible example of blending live action with CGI.


I've been on a film noir kick, again lately.  A big part of that is the feature I'm working on with Aaron Colburn... but another is the current script I'm writing, well, rewriting.  This film school student's example of film noir lighting and mood is very inspiring.

Well, I'll be posting more this week- stay tuned for the big announcement :D

08 December 2011

On Set: The Lean Production


Sometimes it's just not feasible to have a giant crew. You may need to work fast and if the actors are willing to work with you (if they believe in the project), you can do it- but it will require discipline, focus, planning, creativity and resourcefulness to pull it off.

Of course, you'll have to make a few concessions- no cast of thousands, no opulent locations, no labor-intensive setups, and cast carefully- you'll want to work with someone who is willing to go that extra mile- and you'd be surprised at how many are willing. Unfortunately, the flip side is that many of those who WERE willing are now not, because their good graces have been taken advantage of by many an unscrupulous filmmaker. Said filmmakers can ruin it for the rest of us. But this post isn't about them- it's about you and your lean production.

First and foremost: You ABSOLUTELY have to have an incredible script with emotional depth. It has to blow people's socks off. A good script is gold into gaining the support you need. And it needs to function on the lean production philosophy.

And you'll have to have some VERY LOYAL friends willing to go that extra one hundred miles for you, and willing to do it for free.

DIY EQUIPMENT
With the advent of digital technology, and recent improvements, it's amazing at how much you can get away with using available light or even small kits to shop lights. On the equipment front, there are a ton of DIY projects- the Frugal Filmmaker is a fantastic resource for that. He has more than DIY projects- his site is a great resource, so bookmark it now!

If you do the DIY equipment route, make sure you're handy enough to do it, and that you don't end up spending all your time making tools. DIY is very easy to get carried away with, and sometimes buying the real deal is a better investment- especially when you're mounting a $2000 camera to the end of whatever contraption you made out of PVC pipe.


MOVIES MADE FOR PENNIES WITH MINIMAL CREWS
LIFE'S PASSING ME BY
Made for under $700. Filmmaker Mark Cabaroy's concept is so deceptively simple: " [It's] story of Dora Allen, a twenty-something year old African American woman. Dora has the unique ability to hear people's problems and then provide them with concise helpful advice.

"This leads her friends, family and even complete strangers to depend on her help with their everyday decisions and for Dora things eventually become burdensome."

The high concept in and of itself separates itself from blending into the dime-a-dozen domestic dramas that are churned out time after time.  The following article is a lesson in how resourcefulness and a fantastic script can carry you very, very far.

http://www.massify.com/studio/detail/2323/How+To+Make+a+Movie+for+700#title


MONSTROUS PREPORTIONS
Sometimes there's a party mentality that comes with being on set making a small indie short. Many are addicted to that- it is fun- there is a great sense of comradery that comes with that. But it's expensive, slow and at times, unnecessary. Keeping it lean means you can keep it fast and mobile.

Garath Edwards shot Monsters with a crew of three... plus the actors and an editor who was editing during production. Look at what they were able to accomplish!

video platform video management video solutions video player

Of course, the editor was on location editing the shots from the previous day- it allows them to see what they missed and how they can evolve the film.




THE OBVIOUS
Rebel Without A Crew- Write a screenplay and make a movie by going with what you have. In this case, Robert Rodriguez and his best friend Carlos Gallardo used Carlot's hometown of Acuña, Coahuila, bored locals, borrowed equipment, and flew solo on all fronts. His talent, innovation, courage and strategy more than paid off. Rodriguez himself said if it weren't for the cost of the film processing, he could have easily made that $7,000 movie for $5. Of course, it can be argued about his production value- not much in terms of amazing photography, but again it was meant as something to be consumed quickly. He got the job done.





In the end it's about what you want, and what you need. If you have a scene with many extras- having a large crew to help keep the talent happy and moving logistically is necessary.

05 December 2011

Inspiration Monday 12/5/2011


Well, here we are again! I've been looking for inspiration lately- particularly in terms of my new feature script. I want to do this one right: by that I mean I want to BE ABLE to do this by starting with a story that uses only what is available to me rather than spend years finding investors and making shorts or a webseries based on it (which is a strategy with merit, but is time away from just making the damn film).

But even though I've been in screenwriter mode, finding video to help with my visuals often helps me in both writing AND making plans on how to approach the film when I feel like I'm ready.

"CUBIST EDITING"

OFFF New York Titles from Rob Chiu on Vimeo.

I was told this is cubist editing- the quick flashes of items with the jittery editing could really give someone a headache if they had to watch an entire feature film like this, but when used appropriately, it gives the sense of dreamlike abstraction.


CANON EOS C300

Canon EOS C300 = Awesome from Jonathan Yi on Vimeo.

I want this camera. Does anybody have $20,000 they can give me? Oh! and another $20,000 for some good lenses too?


THE SPIRIT CABINET

The Narrative of Victor Karloch [Official Trailer] from Kevin McTurk on Vimeo.

I saw this featured on io9.com. Often times it's best to find inspiration outside of what you're looking for. I LOVE the artistry and craftmanship that went into the making of this... and I jumped at the end!

01 December 2011

Feel what you mean, but not what you say!


Bar scene in Southside of Elsewhere (Antonio Lexerot, Katherine Joan Taylor, Ben Governale & Hailey Nebeker)
So I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I'm going to post today- since I have resolved myself in keeping this blog very active to AT LEAST two postings a week. I was planning on doing a post about ADR or cubist editing.

The day got away from me as started going through my lostskies email (it doesn't hold very much so I'm pruning out old emails) and I came across this advice I had posted on a forum a few years ago. I saved the text in an email so I could keep it for my own records. In any case, my foresight is helping us out here :)

The forum person asked why their dialogue felt so stale even though he felt his plot was exciting. This was my response:

SUBTEXT

Dear ******,

I know you didn't ask for tips, but I just felt that some advice on scripting dialogue might help you find out why you're running into some problems, and offer advice to others who might be in the same quandary.

Most of the time, as I've seen with many new writers when they feel that their dialogue all sounds the same or doesn't seem "witty" or catchy, is that they haven't found the character's voice.

"Mmmkay... what does that mean, exactly?"

It means you may be just throwing down what you want your characters to say, but you're not exploring on how they'd say it- or WHY they are saying it, or saying something other than what they are feeling. This is called subtext.

Dialogue should be motivated- coming from inquiry or demand on the part of the one, and conflict, confusion, manipulation, from the other. Once you've figured out WHY a character would say something, and the other gives an ironic response- especially with SUBTEXT- the rest will fall more easily into place and thus magic is born.

Read. Read as much as you can- and not just other screenplays, read from literature... read from graphic novels... read the newspaper! This might give you an insight on what may motivate people, and how they'd react when faced with conflict- especially with words.

Practice writing- even if it's one scene, one page.

Observe other people in the store- why is that new mom mad at her husband? Why does the cashier keep glancing at the door and ignoring you while you check out?

Also, it's also been in my experience that the actors can bring their own voice and SAY it better than you could script it. While admittedly it's saved my behind more than once, it might be counterproductive to what you are trying to SAY with your story... and suddenly something doesn't jive right. When an actor asks for motivation, again, in my experience, it's because it's not really there in the story... but the best screenplays, the motivation is clear. Everybody wants something... and everybody wants to protect what they have.

I hope this helps!

I've updated some of the text, but the jist is the same: trying to write witty dialogue without any substance from a thinking character will come across as being stale, or worse- phoney. Remember, your characters have feelings, use that to your advantage so your audience can connect to them. What do you think? I'd love to hear if you have anything to add- post below!

28 November 2011

Inspiration Monday 11/28/2011


If you haven't noticed, I'm trying to wake this blog up. I'm going to put more film related content on a weekly or twice-weekly basis.

So, here's a new subject to cover:

INSPIRATION

Post Transhumanism



I love the themes AND production values in this new web series that is coming out soon. While many are upset that most transhumanist stories are negative, but I'd have to agree that directly accessing your mind to the internet could be fatal. Given all the viruses and hacker activity world wide, would YOU connect your brain directly to the world wide web?


Fashionable Dieselpunk

The Escapists - The Storm Theme from elr°y on Vimeo.

I love this- the camera work, the acting, the visuals, the costumes, the set... the ONLY thing I would do different is the 2 dimentional shots of the plane exterior... this could have been done with a 1:12 detailed model shot against a greenscreen. I believe strongly in old school practical models- they seem to be more believable and feel more timeless.


Speed of Light

C (Kickstarter Promo) from Derek Van Gorder on Vimeo.

Speaking of using practical models, here's a project that is going to extensively use practical sets and in camera effects. Really, the only thing that bothers me on this is how limiting the shots become with small sets- medium close to close ups of faces get boring after a while... it gives a "sameness" and undercuts the drama. That is an easy enough fix that comes with imaginitive direction and storyboarding, but I am very impressed with the resourcefulness of this project and I hope that it lives up to it's expectations.


COMMENTS

I'm opening up my comments, but they will be heavily moderated to weed out spam or inappropriate comments... let's keep it civil! But I encourage you to give me your opinions on my posts!

25 November 2011

Fog City Mavericks


Fog City Mavericks - Part 1 of 5 from Gary Leva on Vimeo.


FOG CITY MAVERICKS TEACH THIS SALT CITY SOLO
It's been a while since I've stepped foot on a film set. I'm still trying to finish Southside of Elsewhere. It is edited but sound design has been my biggest hurdle- I'm learning from scratch while juggling a fulltime job, a large family and freelance. It's daunting at times.

But I'm not in hibernation- I'm still writing when I get the chance at lunch or early in the morning. My education continues when I watch documentaries of independent filmakers that I admire, and watching those rekindles and inspires me to keep moving forward.

One of my favorite documentaries is A LEGACY OF FILMMAKERS: The early years of American Zoetrope which is on disk 2 of my THX-1138 directors cut dvd set. I've watched it over and over.

But another is a five part series on Vimeo- Fog City Mavericks.

Do yourself a favor and take the time to watch it... then tell me again that the Hollywood Studio Machine is the only way to go.

MUSCLE CAR MIGRATION
You probably noticed that I've imported my '72 Pontiac LeMans' blog. Even though it's automotive, it's related to Lost Skies since I bought the car solely for the reason for my big feature. It will also be a set piece for Aaron Colburn's film.

21 November 2011

Rough Ride


CLOSE CALL
It's been a rough couple of months. I've been waiting to get paid from a freelance job for quite some time - it had nearly been a year since I did the job... long story but suffice to say I've measured 2011 in chasing the client in getting paid because the money was "held up". It got to the point where I reluctantly put the LeMans up for sale.

Luckily there were no takers (although I did get interest from one person) and I've since gotten the money owed to me. It was certainly a close call, but it's off the market.

INSPIRATION
I found this LeMans' profile on Car Domain- and now I know EXACTLY the direction I want to go with my project:

1972 Pontiac LeMans on Car Domain

It's very similar to the Black LeMans Video I posted a while ago.

In any case, I'm relieved not to have to sell it. And I have renewed interest in getting it prepped as the bad guy's car for my upcoming feature film- and I have 2 years to get it in gear!

EDUCATION CONTINUES
I've decided I'm going to sign up for Penn Foster's Online Automotive course. I know a little bit about cars, but of course I'm determined to know everything I need to know to get the LeMans (and the upcoming Generation 2 Camaro project) finished. I'm planning on enrolling in January of 2012... and I'll post my progress here!

23 September 2011

The Future of Digital Sketches


I love paper and sketchbooks. I prefer them to my plastic Wacom tablet. Don't get me wrong, I'd be lost without my Intous... but Wacom has created something very much worth looking into:



I seriously believe this is going to change how we work. And for only $199, I want one.

The Future of Digital Sketches

05 September 2011

Where the Fun begins...


Howdy!  So, if you've surfed into this page, I just wanted to give you a quick intro of who I am and what I'm trying to do. My original blog, Tales of the Lost Skies, showcases my filmmaking and illustration endeavors. I decided to create this blog to document my progress to a) keep all my work on the restoration archived and separate from Lost Skies and b) to help out anyone that is also starting out and to give them a reference in anything I figure out along the way.

THE PLAN
I do have plans for a feature film two years from now. Even though I'm nailing down the script, I know the main characters are mechanics and the villain has a muscle car. To prepare for this, I've bought a 1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans I found online with plans to restore.  The guy I bought it from had hurt his back and has been on disability for the past six months, and money was tight.  I felt bad because he really didn't want to part from it and was gritting his teeth when he signed the title over to me.  I assured him it was going to a great home.

First, a bit about me: I am from a family of mechanics who love to restore old cars. My dad was a diesel mechanic and would always be tinkering out in the garage and taught me to do all my own servicing on my old 1980 Camaro (which I ended up having to sell ten years ago- too hard to transport kids in). My sister's husband restored a '66 Ford Bronco and a '66 Mustang Fastback (Ford guy, but I won't hold it against him). My wife's sister's late husband had restored a number of cars and their sons (my nephews) have gone on to mod out a whole bunch of imports... cool and impressive, but not my scene.  My wife's brother has done quite a bit, really getting into the mini-truck scene fifteen years ago, and he's volunteered to help me with this one. Various cousins and extended family have all customized cars... the list goes on and on.

I, myself, have limited skills in this, but I am fully invested in doing this film and with that, I'm fully invested in learning everything there is to know about car restoration, and it's been extremely rewarding and fun. If nothing else, I'll have developed an important skill and a new lifetime hobby.  SO If you're an old pro at all of this, I'm probably not really going to offer anything new to you... but I'm ALWAYS open to suggestions!  If my facts are wrong- let me know! 

I've been cleaning out the garage and prep it for the massive amount of work that's coming up. I'll give a tour when there's something worth looking at!!!

THE LEMANS
What I've learned about the LeMans is that it was the sister to the GTO- the only real difference was the Endura bottle nose the GTO's sported, along with the air scoop and bigger engines.  LeMans could have the option of running a 400 or 455 or the 350 HO.  The Endura nose option could be found on some LeMans- a "Poor man's GTO" or a GTO without the callouts... and many restorers now a days are creating their own GTO clones out of LeMans... to be honest, I like the LeMan's front end better than the Endura option.

My car is the "Luxury" edition.  It was called the Luxury edition because it has A/C (which was an expensive option 40 years ago), an automatic transmission, better shocks, rear wheel skirts (I have them but popped them off, not crazy about the look they give) and a 'plush' interior.  The grille is different than other body stylings of the LeMans- it has two crossbars instead of one that the LeMans Sport Coupe or the GT-37 had- not to mention the mesh is not as deep set and kind of reminds me of an Oldsmobile.

The September 2011 issue of Muscle Car Review features a '71 Pontiac LeMans GT-37 which is really nice, and of course Gene Hackman drives a 4 door '71 LeMans through New York during the infamous chase scene in The French Connection.  I've also been inspired about other LeMans that have been restored, like this guy's:




Dustyn's Pontiac Lemans from Sam Ramsey on Vimeo.

Here's the car and the condition it's in. Yeah... a little rough but the body is straight and the Pontiac 350 V8 engine growls with power, even with the Rochester 2bbl carburetor on it.  My brother-in-law told me I should swap it out with a 4bbl Edelbrock, but I'd need a lower CFM (probably a 500) since the block size is so small.  It has an automatic transmission, which works well, but I've been playing with the idea of swapping it out with a Muncie M22 4-speed manual transmission... wondering if it'd be worth it knowing there's a lot of work and components that would have to be traded out.  Anyway, here it is:

So, the bad: The interior is thrashed, the dash is cracked. The door panels are in decent shape- though it needs new arm rests. The seats are structurally sound but it absolutely needs to be reupholstered.  All the door and trunk locks are missing.  The ignition lock is missing and needs a screwdriver to unlock it to start it. There's very little body rust but enough to add a bit of work. The front end has the most dents, apparently it stopped a bus whose parking brakes failed and rolled back into it.  The passenger door has a big dent in it. The rear passenger side brake light is melted out because of a bad exhaust system (since corrected). The gas tank mouth is mangled from the lock cap being pried off... and it's missing the air cleaner.  I'm sure there will be more issues, but all in all, not a bad find for under a g-note.

CLASSIFIEDS CRAWLIN'
The tires that came with the car are old, but in decent shape... but hardly anything you'd want to see on an old muscle car.  I found these amazing rally wheels and really nice Avenger GT tires in the classifieds for a total of $175!!  Rally rims go for no less than $80 each on ebay, so these were quite the find.  I can't wait to put them on.


They were on an old '67 Chevelle- which you can kind of see in the background of the second picture.  The Rally rims should fit since the bolt pattern on most of these old cars are 5x120.7mm (5x4.75"), and the tires are beefy at P225/70R14's- bigger than the P205/75R14s on it right now.

Well, more to come!

1972 Pontiac LeMans


So, it's been a bit. Between my day job, freelance and family, I've had little time to work on any filmmaking projects in the traditional sense.

THE PLAN
I do have plans for a feature film two years from now. Even though I'm nailing down the script, I know the main characters are mechanics and the villain has a muscle car. To prepare for this, I've bought a 1972 Pontiac Luxury LeMans I found online with plans to restore.  The guy I bought it from had hurt his back and has been on disability for the past six months, and money was tight.  I felt bad because he really didn't want to part from it and was gritting his teeth when he signed the title over to me.  I assured him it was going to a great home.

I am from a family of mechanics who love to restore old cars. My dad was a diesel mechanic and would always be tinkering out in the garage and taught me to do all my own servicing on my old 1980 Camaro (which I ended up having to sell ten years ago- too hard to transport kids in). My sister's husband restored a '66 Ford Bronco and a '66 Mustang Fastback (Ford guy, but I won't hold it against him). My wife's sister's late husband had restored a number of cars and their sons (my nephews) have gone on to mod out a whole bunch of imports... cool and impressive, but not my scene.  My wife's brother has done quite a bit, really getting into the mini-truck scene fifteen years ago, and he's volunteered to help me with this one. Various cousins and extended family have all customized cars... the list goes on and on.

I, myself, have limited skills in this, but I am fully invested in doing this film and with that, I'm fully invested in learning everything there is to know about car restoration, and it's been extremely rewarding and fun. If nothing else, I'll have developed an important skill and a new lifetime hobby.

So, I've been cleaning out the garage and prep it for the massive amount of work that's coming up.

THE LEMANS
The LeMans was the sister to the GTO- the only real difference was the Endura bottle nose the GTO's sported, along with the air scoop and bigger engines.  LeMans could have the option of running a 400 or 455 or the 350 HO.  The Endura nose option could be found on some LeMans- a "Poor man's GTO" or a GTO without the callouts... and many restorers now a days are creating their own GTO clones out of LeMans... to be honest, I like the LeMan's front end better than the Endura option.

My car is the "Luxury" edition.  It was called the Luxury edition because it has A/C (which was an expensive option 40 years ago), an automatic transmission, better shocks, rear wheel skirts (I have them but popped them off, not crazy about the look they give) and a 'plush' interior.  The grille is different than other body stylings of the LeMans- it has two crossbars instead of one that the LeMans Sport Coupe or the GT-37 had- not to mention the mesh is not as deep set and kind of reminds me of an Oldsmobile.

The September 2011 issue of Muscle Car Review features a '71 Pontiac LeMans GT-37 which is really nice, and of course Gene Hackman drives a 4 door '71 LeMans through New York during the infamous chase scene in The French Connection.  I've also been inspired about other LeMans that have been restored, like this guy's:


Dustyn's Pontiac Lemans from Sam Ramsey on Vimeo.

Here's the car and the condition it's in. Yeah... a little rough but the body is straight and the Pontiac 350 V8 engine growls with power, even with the Rochester 2bbl carburetor on it.  My brother-in-law told me I should swap it out with a 4bbl Edelbrock, but I'd need a lower CFM (probably a 500) since the block size is so small.  It has an automatic transmission, which works well, but I've been playing with the idea of swapping it out with a Muncie M22 4-speed manual transmission... wondering if it'd be worth it knowing there's a lot of work and components that would have to be traded out.  Anyway, here it is:


So, the bad: The interior is thrashed, the dash is cracked. The door panels are in decent shape- though it needs new arm rests. The seats are structurally sound but it absolutely needs to be reupholstered.  All the door and trunk locks are missing.  The ignition lock is missing and needs a screwdriver to unlock it to start it. There's very little body rust but enough to add a bit of work. The front end has the most dents, apparently it stopped a bus whose parking brakes failed and rolled back into it.  The passenger door has a big dent in it. The rear passenger side brake light is melted out because of a bad exhaust system (since corrected). The gas tank mouth is mangled from the lock cap being pried off... and it's missing the air cleaner.  I'm sure there will be more issues, but all in all, not a bad find for under a g-note.

The tires that came with the car are old, but in decent shape... but hardly anything you'd want to see on an old muscle car.  I found these amazing rally wheels and really nice Avenger GT tires in the classifieds for a total of $175!!  Rally rims go for no less than $80 each on ebay, so these were quite the find.  I can't wait to put them on.


They were on an old '67 Chevelle- which you can kind of see in the background of the second picture.  The Rally rims should fit since the bolt pattern on most of these old cars are 5x120.7mm (5x4.75"), and the tires are beefy at P225/70r14's- bigger than the P205/75R14s on it right now.

I'm going to start a new blog detailing the restoration at 72lemans.blogspot.com... but I'll post that there's updates here!

07 June 2011

Vicariously living through my friends


New Filmmakers in Town
Back in February I had profiled Spanish filmmakers Sonia & Miriam Albert Sobrino's work on Ignoto- and of course I'm still amazed by it. They are both planning making the move from Spain to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah's Film Program starting this fall! I'm looking forward to meeting them and perhaps working with them.

From WVC to USC
My friend Tony Hendrichsen is more than talented- he's brilliant. So when I had heard he won the Youtube filmmakers challenge, I wasn't in the least bit surprised. The Challenge's grand prize was a month long workshop at USC's Creator Institute. Tony talks about his intense experience in his new VLOG.



Here is some of his work, starring Trevor "Bev" Hawkes and his two beautiful girls in this heart wrenching/warming piece of a widower on the brink of despair:



Tony had also won the Utah Film Commission's On The Spot commercial contest back in 2009 with this piece starring Bev and Emily Copier, which screened throughout Sundance the following January 2010:



I'm very proud and very excited for all my friends' accomplishments. Keep up the amazing work!

09 May 2011

Some oldies but goodies




I did these a number of years ago, but I still really like how it has held up. They're simple character designs for a Role Playing Game I had donated art to... the project has gone on to a series of books.


This is a cityscape concept I created for a space opera comic book I had started years ago.  The project is ongoing, and will be making a debut within a year.

08 April 2011

Archangel Alpha


These were created a little while ago, but I thought I'd post them as examples of Key Scene pitch concepts.  The film, Archangel Alpha, is a feature length Sci-Fi film slated for a late 2011 release.  Director Aaron Martin had asked me to create some concept art pieces to be used in early funding pitches.

Old Friends Contemplate the War
Alphas Attack
Elena and the Sea of Glass

Aaron has been furiously working hard at finishing it up.  Check out the official Archangel Alpha website and 'like' his Facebook Fan Page!

06 April 2011

Space Ace!


I'll admit it- I'm not super thrilled with this image, but it turned out decent enough.  The idea is that this Space Ace is stranded on some weird planet, doing repairs on his spaceship- until he's interrupted by some unhappy natives!  The spacesuit was an homage to 50's Sci Fi, and a salute to one of my biggest influences in particular: Al Williamson.


Chloe from "Corner of the Mind's Eye"


Another digital painting... experimenting more with effects and backlighting.  The illustration itself is an exaggeration of the character Chloe from my feature screenplay- she is a magic user, though the magic within the film is more along the lines of incantations and consequences... you only see the actual magic lighting up the room once :)


Howdy!


Thanks for checking out my new blog! I've decided to branch my illustration work from my Lost Skies blog, especially since all the freelance I do is under my name.

So I thought I'd start out with my one of my favorite illustrations I had done in the past few months- "Sky Pirate!" It turned out decent.  I had made the unfortunate choice of a green sky and left it like that for a couple of months before I re-tackled it and gave it a better background.

Alrighty, swing by often, I'll be posting more!

24 February 2011

Session 1138 Premiere!!


Session 1138 premiered last night at the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City at X96's "Radio From Hell" Film Festival, and it came away with Best Actress for Renny Grames' fantastic performance! Production sound mixer Bob Melanson posted it on Youtube, so here it is in it's entirety:




Great set, cast and crew! Congratulations and thanks for letting me be a part of it!

22 February 2011

Ignoto


I normally don't post other people's work on my blog, but this one is really just too good not to share.

Ignoto is a web series out of Spain, by the amazing talents of filmmaking sisters Sonia & Miriam Albert Sobrino. Check out the first episode here- it's in Spanish (myself being from New Mexico but raised in Utah, my Spanish is very rusty, but the important thing is I would be able to follow it if I didn't know any Spanish- the story telling is THAT strong):



The reason I post this is as a lesson in pacing in editing, cinematography, acting and story. They are successful on all fronts. I see so many rushed projects that are are unwatchable, and it's disheartening. I'm most critical of my own projects- especially ones that I am unable to share yet, such as Southside of Elsewhere... Ignoto reminds me that with patience, planning and passion INCREDIBLE work can be achieved and that's exciting.

The most refreshing thing is that in talking to the sisters briefly on their Vimeo page they are very humble of their efforts. Even though they are planning on going into a graduate school, I can't wait to see their future professional work!

Links
ignoto.es
http://vimeo.com/20080855

18 February 2011

03 February 2011

Session 1138: Day One Shooting



I didn't get much of a chance to take very many photos, but we shot all the flashback scenes of the main character's (played by Allan Groves) wasted life.

It was a pretty freeflowing shoot- I got to mix a technicolor cocktail that got a close up for shock value, and also played as an unfortunate visitor that got the business end of fists and kicks.

Sunday is the main shoot- large crew and large cast.  I'll post more as it happens!

23 January 2011

Location, location, location!


I'm going to start something new here, posting snapshots of areas I think that would be fantastic as locations.


This little dilapidated warehouse district is the one Mario DeAngelis is using for "Session: 1138"


But just around the corner was this great pothole strewn street with questionable powerlines and worn buildings.


This is closer to where I live- I pass by these tracks quite often and I love this backdrop. The watertower dominates the area, it is easily 6-8 stories high.

Well, I'll be adding more photos as I take them!

12 January 2011

New Promises on the Horizon


2011 is going to be THE year- we're revamping and improving, wishing success to everyone we've worked with in the past and we're forging the new relationships to accomplish our goals this year.

We will be working on some new short films, and are planning our fourth year in the 48 Hour Film competition. I have also been talking to my old friend and film associate, Mario DeAngelis, about how we can finish up Southside of Elsewhere and submit it to the LA Action Film Festival. Lost Skies Productions has had a couple of bumps along the way, but we're now in the position to finish it up quickly.  I finished a rough cut a few months ago- we have a car chase scene in it and we need a few pick up exterior shots, and we're gathering audio for the sound design and are currently looking at some composers for the musical score.

I'm also helping Mario with a short film coming up in February.  More on that soon.

From there, the elusive "future-noir" is being re-written and Corner of the Mind's Eye is always not far behind in terms of re-writes and searching for funding to get that going.

A gigantic shout out to Utah Film Locations, who helped in a pinch with a work (to clarify- a non-Lost Skies) assignment- a professional photo shoot with three fantastic actors from TMG Talent.  Danny Thompson (from UFL)  is always fantastic to work with: friendly, patient, professional and it's always a joy working with him.