Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Aint Free

I fly back to L.A. tomorrow, first class again, but it turns out it's not free. It's about thirty five dollars per 500 mile upgrade, and it costs 1,500 miles, so it costs one hundred and five dollars for the upgrade. I would cancel it now and happily fly coach, but because they don't tell you that you've been approved for the upgrade until the night before your flight, there are no seats left in coach, or any other flights tomorrow for that matter, so it's either pay the $105, fly first class, or don't fly at all. However, the friendly American Airline agent informed me that the ticket price for my seat is normally $1,445, whereas I'm only paying a total of $280, so I really can't complain. I think I'll drink a mimosa just to get my money's worth.

To delve deeper into the American Airlines advantage program, there's a difference between frequent flyer miles and what they call your 500 Mile Upgrade Account Balance. You get the second thing only after you fly 10,000 miles on top of the 20,000 elite miles you fly in a year. Confused yet?

I'm not a diva. But I flew around the world twice in the last two years, I flew in prop-planes, I took third class trains in India and I rode through hundreds of miles of barely existent dirt roads in Kenya in a van with blown out shocks. I'll take first class when I can get it.

On the other hand, I spent way beyond my means last month and I really should save my money. But I am also one of those rare people who just LOOOVES airline food. I mean, they gave me HOT assorted nuts last flight, they WARMED UP MY CASHEWS! Now I've talked myself into it, I can't wait to get my hot cloth, such luxury.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lonely Planet Video Now On Youtube

I know you've probably already watched this, but just in case you haven't, I'm happy to report that Lonely Planet recently added my Ho Chi Minh: Adventures In Eating video to their Youtube account. Check it out if you have a minute.

Friday, December 26, 2008

It Has Come To My Attention

It has come to my attention, that the population of the world is getting dumber. We have been haste to apply systems to all aspects of modern life to make daily tasks easier, leaving behind foresight in design and focusing first and foremost on personal comfort with no thought for the global, or even community impact of our consumerism.

In response to this revelation, I am rededicating myself to the pursuit of knowledge. Like every self-described "revolutionary" before me, I want to single-handedly change the world, but like so many before me, I will not be destroyed by the failure of that pursuit. The power I have to affect a person take action to live more sustainably is completely dependent on the amount to which I live my own ideals.

I am reading more literature, I am looking at more art, I am learning more about the natural world, I am taking care of my own body and I am focusing more of my time and thoughts on God and peace. Eventually, these pursuits will lead me to ways of making the world a better, more peaceful, less polluted, more educated place.

The important thing, is that you remember that you have the ability to bring good into the world. Everything you do has a reaction and a consequence. So in the face of freewill, choose to be a good person. Be responsible, recycle, drive less, stick your gum wrapper in your pocket until you find a trash can, go pick up the napkin that blew off your table, smile at the little girl who is starring at you from the next table, hold the door for the person behind you, signal, eat right, exercise, use less credit, buy less, read more classic literature and less celebrity gossip, read international news, meditate, pray, pay your taxes, vote, exercise freedom of speech, save your money, travel, tip, hug people tightly, don't judge on first impressions and last but not least, learn how to fight so that when you see injustice you can bring it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If Kyle Wrote a Children's Book...

If Kyle Wrote a Children's Book...I bet it'd be just as awesome as this one!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jessica Doehle Can Bake

Punching Someone Out on Christmas

Today I went down to Old Town Pasadena, where there is a Patagonia store, to buy a Christmas present for a family member. It turns out that Old Town Pasadena is a really nice shopping area, almost an outdoor mall, so I just decided to knock out all of my Christmas shopping with a walk around the block. As I was walking down the packed side-walk, full of Christmas shoppers having a jolly time, to the tune of a Salvation Army bell ringer, much to my joyous surprise, a navy band of old gentleman, dressed up to the nines and armed with trombones and trumpets, began to play a truly beautiful rendition of "Winter Wonderland," when some young person in the crowd, exclaimed audibly, "Bah-HUMBUG!" Then again, the same thing. My Christmas-smile turned quickly into a Christmas, I'm-about-to-knock-a-fool-out.

I'm telling you, if I would have seen the words come out of that person's mouth, I would have reacted violently. Some days, I can't believe this is the world I live in.

I watched "Elf" with good friends this evening and ate homemade Christmas cookies to regain my cheer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Big Picture 2008 - Year In Photographs

They range from hopeful and beautiful to tragic and sad. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you're about to read a few novels in a few minutes.

Click here for the photos.

It's Not Quite Wes Anderson

But I like it. Is that Futura font as well?

-Thanks Steve-O

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Macbook Pro & LED Display

Well, after chasing calls around L.A. yesterday to 4 different Apple Stores, I was finally able to procure the new 24 in. LED cinema display. This isn't a hasty purchase either. I've been wanted this system since I bought my first Apple, a 733Mhz G4 and 13inch Monitor in early 2001.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Broadcasting Their Christmas Cheer

Tammy Lane productions, friends of mine, are spending every day until Christmas filming a free and uplifting reality show and posting it for free on the internet. Joshua Colson, the 7 foot bearded wonder, who was featured in my own travel series is working 80+ hours a week to shoot, edit and upload a new video every single day.

As you may know, I spent summer 2007 and 2008 traveling through Kenya and India filming a TV concept called Mission Reality. A show that for lack of a better word, failed.
The show's creator, Tammy Lane, woke up one morning and decided to take about $100,000 and invest it into a production company and then take another $100,000 and give it to an orphanage in Kenya, take a few more thousand and buy a car for an orphanage in India, then give a bunch of good hearted film crew a few thousand dollars to fly around the world to film what she was doing and hopefully to sell a TV show based on the idea.

Two years later, they haven't made a dime. But they've done a lot of good in the world in the process.

All I'm asking is that you go to missionreality.tv and watch a few of their Youtube videos. If you want to click on the "Donate" button and send them a few dollars, I'm not going to stop you, but I'm also not going to ask you to do that.

These are good-hearted Christian people, trying to show the love of Christ and absolutely emptying their bank accounts to do it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Around The World In 30 Days, Day 11, Train to Agra

That's right, I'm resurrecting Around The World in 30 Days. After this video I hit my stride, going to the Taj Mahal, Jaipur India, The Kingdom of Bhutan, Bangkok Thailand, Angkor Wat, Vietnam and Tokyo.

Look forward to more soon.

By the way, please click here to watch it in 720p on Youtube.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kevin Buchanan Sums Up How I Feel

I know the election wore you out, but if you've ever wondered what I believe politically, Kevin Buchanan, from the AWESOME website fortworthology.com pretty much summed it up with this post.

"...I have little faith in anything the Federal government says or does or in its ability to actually do the right thing. [...] No, I stay away from national events because I long ago lost faith in the Feds to do anything other than recklessly prop up the status quo, no matter how harmful or negative the status quo really is at its core. With news of Mr. Obama’s infrastructure plan coming out now, my opinion hasn’t really been shifted - this “change” appears to be barely any change at all. [...] A lot of people I know and respect thought that Mr. Obama would shake things up. While I’m sure he’ll make changes here and there, I fear a real shake up won’t happen without some very painful and, unfortunately, often avoidable troubles in the future to come. The politicos won’t really change until the bitter end. Even now, as gas prices fall once more under $2.00 a gallon, the old bad habits that put us into a world of hurt when it was $4.00 a gallon have returned - despite all the evidence that the drop won’t last forever. The summer’s prices ought to have been a warning of things to come, but the people invested in the status quo prefer to think of it as just a temporary inconvenience that will never happen again. It’ll get us in the end, of course, but that won’t be acknowledged until the very last. (And unfortunately, the price of gas has become the only point of discussion on this topic, even though there are plenty of other reasons to perhaps rethink the way we’ve been doing things since World War II ended.)"

Truth is very hard to sum up in sound-bites. Yes We Can what? If you need a quick refresher course, go back and read the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and Amendments 11-27.

Please click here to read a short blurb about Kevin's website Fortworthology.com, even if you're not from Fort Worth. Basically, your life would be better if you could just walk from where you live to buy a gallon of milk, rather than having to drive. Kevin is doing important work.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Very Best: Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit - Free Download

Been thinking to yourself, "I'd really love to jam to some uplifting Chichewa-laden afro-pop right now"? I guarantee, if you give this a chance, it'll be your favorite free download of music today, maybe even all week.

My favorite is the song Dinosaur On The Ark (Listen to the track).

Link to a free download of the entire album.

Link to a Pitchfork Media article about the album The Very Best by Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit.

Falling Back In Love With Movies

About a week ago I stated that I would see the films, Australia, Slumdog Millionaire and Synecdoche New York, within the next week. I'm very happy to say I accomplished my goal. I liked all of the movies and I'm glad that I put forth the effort to catch them all in the theater. There is something important about sharing the movie watching experience with others, on the big screen, it's just better that way. You can watch a movie on a cell phone, but your more likely to experience the movie in a theater.

Of the three, I would highly recommend that you go and see Slumdog Millionaire, no matter what your taste in movies. If you're into big epic tales and can handle a three hour movie, then I can pretty much guarantee you're going to leave Australia happy. People were clapping at the end of the screening I watched. Synecdoche New York on the other hand, I'm not going to recommend you go see. If you're the kind of person that likes to get heavily introspective and think about the fact that you're constantly aging and will one day die, then maybe this is the movie for you. I think Charlie Kauffman, the writer and director of the film is absolutely brilliant, but I've gotta warn you, Synecdoche New York is not a film that fills you with a sense of hope. It's pretty dark from the half way point.

I moved to L.A. to work in the movies, so it makes sense that I'm rededicating myself to studying them and loving them. If you haven't seen a movie in the theater in a while, do yourself this favor: Go to the gas station and buy a can of coke and some sugary candy, go see a fantasy film and enjoy yourself. It's one of the greatest simple pleasures of the last century of human innovation.

Friday, December 05, 2008

New Study: Climate Change Cannot Be Stopped

I'll just go ahead and paraphrase off the top of my head without linking to anything. New studies show that the Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere over the last 100 years, would take over 100,000 years to be reabsorbed by natural processes. Google the words "stop climate change" and you will find multiple websites with passionate people behind them, devoting their lives and their careers to a futile effort. Normally, or at the beginning of the curve of industrial Carbon Dioxide emissions, the oceans would absorb much of the Carbon Dioxide circulating throughout the atmosphere. However, in recent years, as the top layer of the ocean has been absorbing massive amounts of CO2, the world's oceans have become increasingly acidic and less capable of absorbing CO2. Normal ocean currents would eventually circulate this top layer and thus allow for more C02 absorption but as ocean temperatures increase, these natural cycles decrease. Therefore, the once held theory that slowly weaning ourselves off C02 emitting fuels like gasoline for our cars and coal-fired power plants for our electricity would slow this impact of the greenhouse effect on our climate is false. The chain of events we've started will not go away. It will however continue to get worse as we don't change our polluting ways. So give up this idea of stopping climate change, it's too late for that.

So now you want some hope? Let's look at things on a more micro-level. Gasoline powered cars make for smoggy, air-polluted cities. So if we stop driving gasoline powered cars and switch to CNG powered cars like they did in New Delhi, then the air we breathe will be more fresh (natural gas is a very short-term solution). Stop blowing up the mountains of West Virginia for coal extraction and we'll stop polluting the water of cities all over that part of the country as well as stop destroying the second most biologically diverse eco-system in the world.

We need to stop polluting because it's wrong - not just because it's going end humanity. This evening I saw a woman come out of Starbucks to enjoy a cigarette in the fresh night air. When she was done with her cigarette she bent over and put it out on the concrete and then left the butt there and walked back into Starbucks, passing a trash-can at three paces. What in the world makes this woman so myopic that she doesn't see the end result of a shortened life-time's worth of non-degradable cigarette butts strewn across the land in her wake. Imagine if I would have called out, "Ma'am, excuse me - that cigarette butt you just left on the ground was specifically designed so that it wouldn't burn up, and will never bio-degrade in your children's-children's lifetimes. You'd help us all out if you always threw away your cigarette butts from now on." Could you imagine her embarrassment and disgust? She might have even insulted me. But it would have been the right thing to do, and I'm morally responsible for my inaction.

I'd lost my way for a while in the face of all the hopelessness and greed and perversion of this generation. But like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, I believe God made me for a purpose - to educate and inspire people to be moral (I originally wrote "to kick ass for morality") - and to run very fast and very far.

If you're doing the right thing, if you're living your life responsibly, if you're helping those who don't have a voice and can't help themselves, keep it up, don't give up in the face of this fallen and foolish world. It's going to pay off eternally. And to all the people who are adding to the problem, I'm smarter than you, I'm stronger than you and I'm coming for you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Alchemy: The Making of Oink Ink [Directed by Anton Seim]

The following is a short documentary I directed for my friend James at Oink Art LTD. James and I have been working together for a little over a year. We met at my friend David's wedding in Cyprus and shared a common love of the notorious graffiti artist Banksy, and a few months later I shot a little demo video for the ink that James makes and uploaded it to Youtube. A year later we've made over 60 videos and have over a million views on Youtube. This short documentary is the work of James and I as well as the camera work of Justin Kirchhoff of Digital Shakedown and the lighting of Blake McNay. Even if you have no interest in graffiti, I hope you find the video interesting.
Alchemy: The Making Of Oink Ink [Directed by Anton Seim] from Oink Art LTD on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Freelance Business Trip, Temecula, CA

They put me up for the work-week in an Extended Stay Hotel with a mini-kitchen and wifi. I enjoy trips like this because the solitude clears my head. You would think I'd be bored, but with 8 hour shoots every day and at least that much editing waiting for me each night when I get back to the hotel, I'm actually overwhelmingly busy. It's 3:30am as I'm typing this and I am supposed to start my shoot at 8am tomorrow. And then I have another edit that needs to be completed tomorrow evening as well. I'm being fueled by a fridge full of sliced turkey and bratwurst and actually feeling quite good considering the amount of work to be done.

I really had no idea what or where Temecula, California was before I drove down here for the week. What I've found is a once small Old Town, perverted by massive suburban sprawl and strip malls, nestled into a pretty valley and surrounded by vineyards.

They call this area The Inland Empire.

(This is a terribly boring update, I'm so, so sorry for it's lameness.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

March 1st 2009

Tomorrow morning I'll get up at 6am and head over to Brentwood to run 10 miles, down San Vicente to the oceanside dirt trail in Santa Monica. Then the plan is to run the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1st 2009.
When I ran the Stockholm Marathon in 2003, I didn't run with headphones, or train with music for the most part either, so the no headphone rule doesn't really bother me. Qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is 3 hours 10 minutes. Don't bother doing any calculations, just know that is VERY fast.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

Filmmaking is and always has been one of the hardest endeavors a man or woman can take on as a ways to make a living. In one of the most encouraging acts I've ever seen for the sake of filmmaking, the legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog once ate his own shoe, so that he could get an audience to say the things he wanted to say to encourage his friend Errol Morris to continue and finish his film The Gates of Heaven.

"If you want to make a film, steal a camera, steal raw stock, sneak into a lab and do it." - Werner Herzog

Such a breathe of fresh air for me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oink Ink 30 Second Teaser

This is a spot that I shot for my client Oink Art LTD. They are an online art supply shop and they also produce their own ink for the underground world of tagging. Digital Shakedown lent their services as well and we were actually able to shoot on the Red One Digital Cinema camera. I haven't been able to upres the spot yet to true HD, so you're seeing a highly compressed version that is 1024x512 pixels. The real thing is four times that size.

Funny Vampire Parody

I lit and shot this for the web-comedy troupe Team Tiger Awesome. It's a response to the emasculation of vampires by the recent trend of teen-vampire novels turned tv-shows turned films. (There is an F word screamed and a girl yelling in a slightly sexual manner, just FYI).

Watch it in 720p on Youtube.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Refuse To Write...

Anymore, until I'm satisfied with the design of this blasted blog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2 Days, 24 Hours

At 7am I leave, heading west, bound for Los Angeles. This time I'm armed with an Ipod full of This American Life Episodes, lectures and books on tape. Nothing straightens out your mind like a long, solitary road trip. Nothing will make you go crazy faster than twelve hours of highway. It's a strange paradox.

Not A Post About Materialism

I'm not a big spender. By the time I graduated high-school, I had $14,000 in the bank, from a job where I made six dollars an hour. Don't worry, this money is gone - thank you TCU.  But the point is, I don't think we need to buy as much crap as we buy, and because I subscribe to this philosophy, I've always found it easy to save a little bit of what I make.

But, I make some exceptions. I've always said if I wasn't a filmmaker, I'd been an urban planner and if that fell through, I'd be a fashion designer. Therefore, fashion holds a special place in my heart. I don't go overboard, but I don't mind spending a little bit up front, to buy clothing I'll wear for a long time. I'll also spend money on good food. I mean, we are what we eat, so if we eat cheap crap, then, well, guess what we will eventually become - a big, cheap poo-poo.

And then the one other thing that is becoming my greatest expense, or investment, depending on how you look at it - film and editing gear. In the last few weeks I've purchased a new Macbook Pro (for the improved video card), a Wacom tablet (because it's more comfortable and feels like a magic wand), a new printer (deal with the Macbook),  and yet another Terabyte hard drive.
(The new Macbook is waiting at my apt. in L.A.)
I've also purchased my first pair of Cole Haan dress shoes, the Caldwell model, because they're timeless and dapper. I could rant on and on about the importance of timeless fashion, but instead I'll let you see for yourself. I believe they're discontinuing this model as well, which is quite sad.

Not that I'm going to wear these with jeans, but I could.
(The ever important over-the-top view)
And I've resurrected this pair of purple Adidas Oregons I bought at a vintage store in London in 2003. Because everyone needs a touch of neon every once in a while.

So that's that, a post about nothing substantial, with pictures.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Chernobyl Leads to Gogol Bordello

No, no Kyle, honest mistake, it wasn't NPR, but NPR's evil twin PRI and it's show Studio 360 that had Eugene Hütz on as a guest, telling the story of how the Chernobyl disaster led to his discovery of the power of gypsy music. Listen for his use of the word cathartic. I can't wait for the day when I can properly insert that word into a sentence.
(click on the image to go to the Studio 360 page)

But Kyle, thank you for linking to the Fresh Air interview, I can't wait to listen to it!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Coming Up Next

I grew distant from the internet for a while. For a while there, I was pouring hours of every day into Twitter, Blogspot, Youtube and Facebook and I just got burnt out. I have been dissatisfied from the very beginning with this URL, as well as with my Youtube username, and don't even get me started on my Flickr login. Yahoo - who uses Yahoo?

But as I do, I'd forgotten why I even started writing here in the first place. It wasn't so that people would read my thoughts and identify with my experience, it was just to write about my ideas, so that I wouldn't get out of practice. And if you liked something I'd written, well then bonus. So I'm going back to my roots and getting busy on my inter-web work again. Thank you for stopping by every once in a while.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Take a Stand Against Stress

No matter if I voted for McCain or Obama, my conscience was going to be nagging me, I was going to keep it to myself and I was going to be embarrassed about my decision. But then with a little encouragement from my mom and after checking Ron Paul's website and watching this video in the parking lot of the polling place, I decided to take a stand for what I believe in, and take a stand against stress.

I voted for Ron Paul for the U.S. presidency and I feel damn good about it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Becoming a Great Director

There is an argument that if you say you're a filmmaker, you are one. Robert Rodriguez (Dir. el Mariachi, Sin City) argues this in his seminal book Rebel Without a Crew. Saying something to the effect, "you're a filmmaker, go make business cards." However, if you say you're a CEO, are you actually a CEO? I guess if you start your own company, even if the company isn't actually profitable, you are. So we've come to the conclusion that you don't have to be making any money doing what you do to be considered as whatever position that is that you say you hold. Right? Right.

I've believed I was a filmmaker since I was about 14 years old, when I was running around filling barrels of CO2 pistols with ketchup and firing them in my friend's faces, I was directing movies. So, why then, when I went to college and began paying twenty-five thousand dollars a year, did I suddenly go from "director" to "intern?" Why then, after I graduated, having paid over one hundred thousand dollars to receive a degree in film, did I become a "vault manager" at a post house?

A few months after I graduated from TCU, while working at said post-house, a few friends of mine and I decided to produce a short film. I was director of said short film. While we were making the film, I felt like the director, I was respected as the director, and we all had a blast on set. It was hard work and it felt right. Then, after the film was in the can, I went back to work at the post house and began the long, slow process of editing the film. When it was finished and while it played for people, I was still the director, but inside, I was feeling more and more like a "vault manager." After a while this began to weigh on me. I didn't pay one hundred thousand dollars to earn a film degree to become a guy who sat in a place called "the vault" and make DVDs for ten hours a day. So after two years of slowly moving up the post production ladder, I made a break for it and quit my job. At this point, I probably should have taken the money I had and made another short film, but I'd been paid such a measly salary, that I really didn't have any money to spare. Instead I went to Brazil and shot a documentary. This was the beginning of my two-year stint as a traveling documentarian. I traveled all over the world, got paid a better rate and it was closer to my goal of being a director. But when I got home from each trip, I was once again in the same place I began, because although I was indeed directing segments on the road, I wasn't getting credit as a director and I wasn't building a director's reel. And after each gig was over, I was technically unemployed. So I started a company and for a year and a half, all I did was direct video after video, promotional, commercial web-series, and TV concepts, with short breaks to travel abroad and shoot documentaries and reality TV.

A director, at least in the world of advertising, stands on his reel. You can tell a good one because his or her spots are for good brands, you can tell a hot one because his or her spots are current and trendy, and you can tell a great one, because even though his or her spots are for familiar brand name products, it's hard to tell what year they were shot. My reel on the other hand is a mixed bag of low (or no) budget commercials for non-profits, strings of docu-reality TV cinematography and web-campaigns that cannot be understood without an explanation. I am at a cross-road in my career. Do I take the measly savings that I have and produce spec-work in hopes of getting representation as a commercial director? Or do I keep plugging away, just making the videos I'm hired to make, in hopes that I'll continue on a steady path of bigger and better work?

I'm very grateful to the clients I have, Oink Art LTD, Culinary Cartel, Green River Ordinance, Building With History and Mission Reality. And I'm very happy to have worked on Get Out!, for LonelyPlanet.tv, Project MyWorld, for Mad River Post and Red Car. I'm also very proud of the radical new spot we produced for Oink Ink. Hopefully, I'll have something exciting to report here soon about my new path as a director in Los Angeles. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

By the way, see if you can spot me busting a flex:

Billy Graham on Technology

The talk is about 26 minutes long, so bookmark this one and save it until you have some time.
(hmm, I guess you have to click on my site to see the embedded video if you are viewing this through an RSS aggregator.)
It's from the 1998 TED conference. It really says something about Billy Graham that he had the courage, as an old man, somewhat out of his element, and certainly not at the top of his game, to stand before some of the most brilliant minds in technology and deliver this talk.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This Image Could Sway My Vote

This is Obama cleaning up after himself in a restaurant on the campaign trail. I know so many good people who don't bother to do this. It makes me identify with Barak Obama for the first time. The rest of the pictures can be found here.

P.S. It should be noted that at this time, I do not support Obama for president.

New Macbook Pro

I went a little crazy last night and bought one of these. I got it as customized as I could and as a result, it doesn't ship until next week. I of course jumped the gun and wiped my current harddrive clean before I realized this, so now I'm working off a little bus-driven firewire drive. I sure hope it doesn't die, that would be a shame.

I went with the 2.8 Ghz, 4 gigs of ram and the 320 gig 7,200 rpm harddrive. I am excited about the new video card. I am not excited about the loss of firewire 400, the glossy screen or the extra half a pound weight. However, that sleak one-piece aluminum body and new Mac smell just win me over. I can't wait to meet my new baby.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In My Element

A few months ago I shot a video for my client Oink Art LTD, on the Red One Digital Cinema camera. I haven't been able to edit that video until now and I am having tons of fun playing with it. I'll post it here when it's done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Update, Sort Of...

I'm not just not blogging because I'm lazy, or because interesting things aren't happening -- very much the contrary actually. But I'm so busy with all the good things that have been going on, that I've been too busy to give blogging the time it deserves. I promise that when I start writing here regularly again, it's going to be worth it. I mean, I have editing projects coming up, so I'm going to need to procrastinate, and what better way than on this platform where I can share my life with you! I miss you, I just hope that you know it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Please Pray for Constance

I spoke with her this morning. This is real, this is real life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Real Journalism: Firefight in Afghanistan

VBS.tv is a website specializing in raw, honest, avant-garde journalism. One of their latest series, called Inside Afghanistan with Ben Anderson, is a terrifying portrait of life on the ground, for British soldiers in "The Queen's Company", as they train the new Afghan Army. Ben Anderson is a brave reporter who risks his life to show you what ground combat is really like.


Episode 1:

Rather than posting the rest of the episodes here, I'll just post the link to the fourth episode on the VBS.tv website and you can watch the rest of the series (8 episodes in all) there.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Eating Video Featured on LonelyPlanet.tv!

I spent 3 days in August shooting this video for Lonely Planet.tv

In the video I take ride on the back of moto-taxis all over the streets of Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in search of breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and coffee. Please, let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Mysterious Fruit Tablets

After reading this story in the New York Times, I became very interested in hosting a "fruit tripping" party of my own. Deliberate Industries documentation here. So I did a little research and found this website, which seemed reputable, and so I ordered 30 tablets, which even though they were coming from Slovenia, they arrived in about a week. I can't wait to try these out.

Ah yes, to explain; there is a berry that comes from Ghana, that basically rewires your taste buds for about 30 minutes after chewing it, so that anything you eat that normally would taste sour, tastes intensely sweet. I hear that eating raw lemons tastes like eating pixie sticks. The berry was outlawed in the 70's (conspiracy theory) because of the threat it posed to the sugar industry. The tablets contain a concentrated form of the berries, are all natural and side effect free. Other than the side-effect where they make everything you eat delicious of course.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mobile Facebook

I don't know if I've just been too busy, or if I've been too lazy, or just too addicted to my Iphone, but lately, I've just been snapping pictures on my phone and uploading them to my "Mobile Uploads" album on my Facebook page, rather than blogging.

It's just so easy, I see something interesting, I snap a shot and I press upload. Boom -- blogged. It's like a running stream of consciousness of the various things I'm experiencing at the moment.

Hopefully, I'll write some more traditional and substantive posts soon, but until then, enjoy my Mobile Uploads Facebook Album.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Proof I'm Working, ok?

What? Am I getting paid? - No. - So?

All of the images were taken from the Team Tiger Awesome's Tumblr blog, follow the story here!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Team Tiger Awesome, Now More Awesome With Anton

Working for these guys this weekend:
It's such a guilty pleasure of mine. If you wanna get a little taste for what they're all about, you can check out the first installment of Pizza Robot. Just to warn you, things are going to get weird.

Pizza Robot from Team Tiger Awesome on Vimeo.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jesus Saves, I Spend

This video incorporates so many of my favorite things, I just don't know what to do with myself - kids, St. Vincent, Jesus, VIMEO videos, they're all there!

St. Vincent "Jesus Saves, I Spend" from Marc Ritzema.

This is a creative concept through and through. The video holds up with a beginning middle and end, a rarity these days. I think I like this Marc Ritzema fellow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Music to These New Ears

First of all, my good friend Kyle has been writing some seriously legit posts about music under the title New Ears, you really should check them out. Here's number one, two and three. His blog is called the Foggiest, I suggest you plug it into your RSS reader.

I've been hearing music differently over the last few days, John Vanderslice, The Band, Peter Gabriel, The Dissociatives, independent stuff, old stuff, I've just been feeling euphoric while listening to music lately, I'm not sure where it's coming from.

These three songs are really doing it for me:

1. The first one is a song called "Sitting" by the band White Denim. I really don't know much about the band but I believe they're from Texas. This song in particular is very different from the rest of their stuff that I've heard, but it's really good. You may only want to listen until 2:17, because it gets kind of weird after that.

2. A 15 and 17 year old girl from Sweden who call themselves First Aid Kit, have a cover of a Fleet Foxes Song called "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" and it is beautiful.

3. For this one, you're going to have to go over to The Foggiest and download the playlist that Kyle has made. The Peter Gabriel song "Solsbury Hill" is just doing it for me right now. Just click on the Music Monday link and the download will start automatically.

Enjoy good music.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Low Vs. Diamond

My best friend Ben, (link is a myspace page, but it's got some of Ben's videos on it) is pitching a music video to this band. Today, the band released this video, which just so happens to be one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time. Ben, you've got your work cut out for you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New High-Tops

I actually haven't bought a pair of casual shoes in 2 years. Ok, I got a pair of shoes as a gift last year, but I woke up yesterday with a craving for some high-tops and after finding the most incredible sneaker boutique on Melrose Ave., these are what I came home with.

No matter how good the shoes look to anyone else, the most important view for me is the birds-eye look over the top. Because I wear the same shoes day in and day out, this view has to be aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. What do you think? Daddy needs affirmation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Keeping It Holy

My running schedule worked out perfectly this week. I ran about 5 miles on Tuesday, then about 6 miles on Thursday and was in the perfect condition to do about 10 miles today. I love running. When I run for over an hour I get the most intense runner's high. Endorphins flow through my brain, serotonin courses, dopamine flows, I don't know, something great happens and I feel like I can fly. If running made you feel that way would you not go out of your way to do it too?

Today I Googled "The best spots to run in L.A." and the first thing I found was the Hollywood Reservoir. I of course got lost driving there, taking Mullholand, the most windy, dangerous, poorly maintained, famous stretch of road in Hollywood.

I ran through neighborhoods, on trails and finally up a long, windy, paved stretch of road, reserved only for work vehicles and then blam, I was on top of the Hollywood sign. As I came down, there were two Argentine girls excitedly snapping photographs, a group of German men and a Lincoln Town Car, with a driver, full of Japanese tourists. I felt a little cool about the fact that these people had traveled half way around the world to take photographs of the place I go jogging.

But that's not the point of the story. The moral is this:

I can run up a mountain without stopping, run back down, pass my car and keep going because I'm in incredible athletic shape. I can't wait to sign up for some races and win them.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From Where I Sit

One would think, with a beautiful house at my disposal, wifi, food, a pretty view, peace and quiet, that I would be able to do my work diligently. But looking out over this view, just imagining the life and chaos taking place in Hollywood beneath me, my mind wanders.

Can't say that I mind though. If there was a massive earthquake right now, this house might slide down the hill. But as long as the earth is solid, I'm really enjoying the view.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

So Content Right Now

As you very well know, I have a stack of editing projects waiting on the back-burner, my cousin's wedding (2 yrs), Como Neighborhood Project (8 mnths), Oink Videos, The Lonely Planet Saigon video and Around the World in 30 Days.

Well, after months of financial struggle, mind-bending business and camera jobs, I'm finally here, at my editing station in the Hollywood Hills. I'm barefoot, the doors are open, it's peaceful and I have groceries in the fridge. I'm very content today.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What I Was Up To Last Week

I arrived in L.A. about a week and a half ago and immediately moved into an ostentatious mansion that the artist formerly known as Prince used to own. I stayed there for about 4 days before heading to Las Vegas for one night and then flying to Cabo San Lucas, all while filming a reality TV show.

I have lots of funny stories and pictures, but I have been asked not to post any material that might give away anything from the show. Below are a few generic stills to give you an idea of some of the things I experienced last week.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Cabo Adventures

I'm typing this from my iPhone in Mexico and paying ridiculous roaming fees, so forgive the brevity.

Today I shot two packages for the current show I'm working on, one where the girls swam with dolphins and the second where they rode jet skis. After a long day of filming we arrived back at our hotel and waiting for us was the camera we had shipped from Dallas specifically for underwater videography. So I didn't get to use it and I didn't get to swim with the dolphins. I did however get knee deep and get some great shots with my HVX-200. The dolphin also swam up to me and I got to pet it so all was not lost. It was a good day. I'm getting a tan.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My 'Special' Friends

Aren't they precious?
I've got something special out here. I think I'll stay.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Current Accomodations

This is my work station at a nice little house in the Hollywood Hills that my boss let me borrow for the weekend. It's a great view and you can't hear the traffic (one of my biggest pet-peeves), so it's quite peaceful. But the drive to get up here is nothing short of harrowing. As if L.A. traffic isn't bad enough, after a long day you have to wind your way up narrow, pot-holed streets with hair-pin turns galore. But it's a nice view, especially at night. The picture doesn't quite capture it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Packed Like Tetris

Here is another photo album that I posted on my Facebook page.
Through the years, traveling out of a backpack and packing camera gear into vans, I've learned how to pack efficiently. I moved to L.A. carrying only what would fit in my little hatch-back and I'm pretty happy with what I brought. The last photo is the cast of girls for the show I'm currently shooting called Get Out! We shot for the first few days in a mansion that was originally owned by Prince. It was enormous and ostentatious, but a good location for this kind of show. More news and pictures as soon as I get copies from crew members who don't hold a video camera the entire shoot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Paragliding and Relief

It wasn't that I was nervous to paraglide, I was actually looking forward to it after I didn't get to go last year, but on a subconscious level I was probably terrified. Once we got in the air though, I was having a blast. After two days of beach activities, even after repeated applications of SPF 15 and 30 my nose STILL got sunburned. But the best thing that happened today, was that the footage I thought we lost, it turns out, was backed up by the assistant editor on the first day because he couldn't figure out how to manage the data. So not only did I live through paragliding, I kept my job! Now, if I could just get my hands on some aloe.

Settling In For The Month

Today was day 2 or 3 in the mansion, I don't really know. I'm not even sure what day of the week it is anymore. This is what hapena when you travel for long stretches. The funny thing is though, I actually live here. I haven't slept in my apartment yet since I arrived in town, but technically L.A. is my home now.

Today for the show, I spent the day in Manhattan Beach filming some of the girls getting surf lessons. What a nice little beach community they have there! Our instructor, Chris Brown, or C.B. as everyone calls him, owns a company called campsurf.com. When we got there they were teaching about 20 little wet-suit wearing wee ones how to shred the waves. Being from Texas, the idea of a camp teaching a sport that doesn't intail striking a ball is absurd. I found the whole thing very cool. I also settled into this job and decided to make the most of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dear Secret Diary

I may have lost something, basically irreplacible today, because I acted in haste. I'm really beating myself up over it and I don't think I can sleep because of how anxious I've suddenly become.

It's not the end of the world though and I have to just move on. I wish I could just shut the thought out of my brain as easily as that. If you think reality tv is weird to watch, you should really try making it. I want so badly to tell you in great detail exactly what I did today and also how I feel about it. But it'll all come out wrong I know it. So instead, as soon as I can get them off my camera, I'm going to post a few pictures of the mansion and the models, my office and co-workers for the week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So Surreal It Hurts

I arrived in Los Angeles, this morning at 1am. Exactly 24 hours later, I am sitting in a giant bed, in my room, in the biggest mansion you've ever seen. And just to be clear, I am not bragging. This house probably cost about 20 million dollars to build and I would guess costs about a million dollars a year to maintain. I'm here working on a show. There is a guy subletting my room in my apartment, so I just decided to stay here on set while I can. It's easier this way too, I can wake up just before my call time and not have to drive anywhere. On the other hand, I get tired just walking from one side of this house to the other. Really, words can't express how outlandish and extravagant it is. This place is owned by the founders of Rockstar energy drinks. A fact that you are reminded of constantly as you walk around the grounds, finding mini fridges stocked with 16oz cans everywhere, including outdoors, next to the giant pool.

Did I mention I'm here working with my __-_________? What about the 10 bikini models? No? Whoops, I guess I left all of that out. Oh, don't worry, pictures will come soon.

How do I go from working with orphan children in India, to sleeping in a giant mansion and filming a bunch of bikini models? The film and television industry is so unpredictable.

The Lord is good. I don't fully understand His plan for me, but I needed money and I have fun shooting this show. I'm really thankful, not for this mansion, not for the luxury, but for my friends out here, my church and for being able to do a job that makes me happy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Posted While Driving

Current Location: Flagstaff, AZ

Storm clouds hang ominously over the mountain peaks and blankets of rain drop in slow motion on the horizon. In an instant the dirt went from burnt orange to deep brown and giant pines erected themselves along my path. Flagstaff Is just as I imagined it would be, cool, green and beautiful. I have to ask myself, why live in ugly places? Life seems too short. Maybe my journey should stop short here?
Ok, I stopped at a coffee shop and posted the photo. I couldn't figure out how to do it through the iphone.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Driving In Two Legs

I'm just about to walk out the door and embark on a new chapter in my life. I'm driving to Albuquerque this evening, which should take about ten hours, staying at a friend's house, and then driving the second leg to L.A. on Saturday, which should take almost 12 hours. I'm pretty excited about this drive. I get to go through Flagstaff which I've always wanted to see, as well as the Mojave Reserve. Should be a really beautiful drive. While it's expensive, hard on your vehicle and not exactly the most environmentally friendly mode of transit, driving long distances on good roads, from sun up to sun down, is a great way to straighten out your thoughts.

Posting will be sparse over the next few days as I make this drive, settle into L.A. and start a week long gig there. That is, unless I get a Blogger app for my new Iphone, in which case, I'll blog all the time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Moving To California

After a rough first year of college at TCU, in the summer of 2002, myself and 3 friends moved to Los Angeles to do film internships. I was living off the UCLA campus and I fully planned on staying and enrolling there, but long story short, I never did. I came back to Fort Worth, fell in love with the city and finished my undergrad degree at TCU in 2 and a half more years. In the process I also did two summer study abroad programs and European backpacking trips, as well as a bunch of ski trips, all paid for with my student loans. When I graduated from TCU I immediately got a job doing commercial post production at a company in Dallas - I'm talking bottom of the ladder work here. I also directed a short film, shot a feature length documentary in the amazon, traveled even more and got an apartment in Dallas. I always knew that I'd go back to L.A. but I saw all the work I had in Dallas as a great way to get experience in the film industry in a small market where the cost of living was low. I also got to be close to my family, who I love. So it was all very win-win.

In February of 2006, after quitting my job, shooting a TV show in Europe, getting another job and then quitting it, I decided to go into business with a fellow filmmaker and we opened up a small production company in Fort Worth called Double A Pictures. Using all the knowledge I had accrued, we were able to work very efficiently, producing good work with very low overhead, making good money and traveling all over the world doing it. Life was good. But I still knew that I was going to need to wrap things up and move to L.A. eventually if I was ever going to make movies. Don't get me wrong, I can make movies in Fort Worth. In fact, I have investors who are willing to give me tens of thousands of dollars to make movies in Fort Worth, but there's of course more to the story.

My best friend Ben, moved out to L.A. shortly after graduating from the film program at TCU. He quickly made friends with an amazing group of people, who soon became my friends, even though I only saw them when I came to visit once or twice a year. But these people have become some of the closest friends I've got. My friends in DFW are very important to me as well (Martha, you especially know this), but there is just something different about my L.A. friends. They seem to cling to each other. I don't even think they really notice it, but it's beautiful. Then one other thing happened. I found a home at a church called Reality L.A. Most of my friends happen to go there as well, but after 3 years of searching, I knew within five minutes that it was my church and I can't wait to be a real part of it's body.

All hope is not lost though. I still love Fort Worth, more than most people. In L.A. I will be selling a screenplay that I wrote that is actually about Fort Worth. I'd originally planned on filming it independently for about $100,000, but then it turned out really good and now I want 10 million. Is that so much to ask?

I'll be back one day I'm sure, but for now, L.A. will be my home.

Baby's First Iphone

It really is as good as they say it is. You can view actual web pages. I couldn't do my banking on my Blackberry Curve, I can on my Iphone. That's enough reason for me to switch. Now, it's time to get this thing unlocked.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bottle Rocket Goes Criterion Collection

Every feature film Wes Anderson has made is now included in the Criterion Collection. Here is a link to the Criterion Collection web page for the new release of Bottle Rocket.

Wes Anderson is currently the only filmmaker who's films I purchase as a matter of habit.