Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Miley Cyrus and Yoko

Whoever designed Miley Cyrus' Twitter homepage deserves a "high-five."

New Things Underway

It's only been six days since my last post, but it feels like a quarter of a century has passed. There are a lot of new things going on, both in my life and in the world of pop culture. I'm excited for the new version of the video editing software Final Cut Pro 7 (although I'm a little disappointed that it's not fancier), the new Mac OS - Snow Leopard, Where The Wild Things Are comes out soon and oh yes, I'm back living in L.A.!

Last week, I packed up the few possessions I have left, threw them in my car and drove out here. I was fighting the flu and after the first day, after driving thirteen hours, I came down with a fever in a lonely Motel room in the middle of the Arizona desert. That was not a fun night. The next day, I woke up feeling better, but after taking a few doses of Dayquil and driving another eleven hours, I somehow drove two hours past L.A. and ended up at the Mexican border and had to talk a border guard into letting me U-turn back into the United States. That was another miserable experience. But I got here. And now I'm living in style, subletting from my best friends, a married couple, who have been gracious enough to let me stay in their beautiful, furnished home near Venice. I am unbelievably blessed to be staying here in an actual home with real furniture, internet, television, movies, guitars - it's incredible. My hope is that the work will pick up out here and I'll be able to shoot the final scene of my movie as well as some pickup shots. There are a few reasons I'd like to get back to Dallas-Fort Worth soon, but for now, I'm very happy to be here in L.A. with my wonderful friends and working.

I'm editing from home tomorrow and should have some time to write, so hopefully some good content will be arriving on this page soon. Thank you for checking in every once in a while. I even have a short story that I may share with you if you care to read it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Blog I Like

No idea what this photographer's story is, if Yvan is a man or a woman, but I like Yvan's pictures.

Also, I really want to know what kind of dogs these are.

I was led here by a Kottke post called Game Boy Bling.

Update: The consensus is that they are Great Danes and that they only live about 7 years. I think I'll stick with medium-sized dogs.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Today Is The Day, For A Journal Update

Today is the day that I drop what I’m doing for a little while and sit here in front of my computer and write something substantial. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, if, for no other reason, to exercise my ability to write.

In May, an actress, a cinematographer and myself flew from L.A. to New Zealand and shot a short film. After ten days of shooting, our actress flew on to Germany to be in a chocolate commercial and Jonathan (the cinematographer) and myself flew to Sydney, Australia to meet up with my friend Clint, to spend twenty days, seeing as much of Australia as we could. We didn’t plan very well, I never do, but it’s harder to coordinate schedules when it’s more than just myself traveling. In all, I think we spent about nine days in Sydney. While Sydney wasn’t what I came to Australia to see, it was nice to get a taste for city living in that country and I feel like I know Sydney pretty well as a result.

The movie, which will be called “More Than It Is,” was what I was most excited about. But shooting the movie was only one-third of our trip. As happens sometimes, we went over budget and the Australia section of the trip sent me into debt. I didn’t want to disappoint my friends, or look cheap, so rather than opting out of activities, I just put the extra expenses on my credit cards. Upon my return to L.A., I quickly realized that I was in a financial mess. I moved out of my apartment, loaded up my car and drove back to Texas to move back in with my parents until I could get back on my feet. Thank goodness one of my clients in Dallas-Fort Worth booked me for a bunch of work and June became a very busy month, even while living back at home. In early July I flew to Spain on airline miles to visit my brother, who promised that if I came and visited him, he would ensure that my expenses for the entire trip wouldn’t exceed $200. I couldn’t turn this down and I’m glad I didn’t. Last year, my brother moved to Spain and married his long-time Spanish girlfriend. He now has a Spanish green card and wanted to spend some time with me before he started working. I spent a week in Spain traveling around and true to his word, my brother and his wife covered most of my expenses. On the way back I had to pass through NYC, so I stayed with my friend Clint (the same one from the Australia trip) for three days and had a great time wandering around the city.

Part of the reason I came back to DFW from L.A. was in the hope that I would get a job in the camera department on a TV show shooting in Dallas in the Fall. I even went so far as to take a camera assistant class in July. But about three-fourths of the film workers in Texas have spent most of the summer unemployed so the chances of me walking onto the scene and being offered a job are very slim. I was able to finance much of the last year in L.A., working for a company based out of Dallas, by shooting commercials for apartment complexes. If you’ve ever seen those videos they play in hotels with beauty shots of sweeping pans of the pool and spa, that’s the kind of videos I was shooting. The work dried up shortly before leaving for New Zealand and I’d heard almost nothing from them all summer. Then, last week, I received an email booking me for a few shoot days in L.A. in late August. I need the work anywhere that I can get it, so with less than a week’s notice, I’m packing up my few possessions and driving back out to L.A.

In May, days before leaving for New Zealand, I took my few remaining possessions, mostly books, my bike and some winter clothes and I put them in a storage unit in North Hollywood. Then I moved out of my apartment. So I don’t have a home, just a 5x8 storage space. But true to his provisional nature, God has provided me a place to stay while I’m in L.A. I’m really grateful for that.

While in L.A. I hope to get the crew together to shoot one final scene for our movie. I’m only planning on staying in L.A. for about a month and then coming back to DFW for various reasons. I’m feeling strangely pulled between the two places, loved ones in DFW, work in DFW, my best friends and surrogate family in L.A. and work in L.A. If I just have to split my life between the two places, that’s fine with me, I just need to get really smart about my business so that I can make a real living while doing the commute.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ian Pfaff's Demo Reel

Before we get started, let me just state clearly, this video is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. This man, Ian Pfaff, does a lot of different things in the world of filmmaking, he's like me, sort of, except he can animate, way, way better than me. I'm in the process of making my own reel, which is full of an incredible array of video projects that I've directed, shot, edited, acted in...this man, Ian Pfaff, has done something with his reel, that is way ahead of it's time, this is the future for up-and-coming, do-everything filmmakers. He's an inspiration.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

News On The New Leaf

Ok, first of all, I have no idea where that phrase comes from, "to turn over a new leaf," it just popped into my head and I used it, but it sounds strange to me now.

Today was the third day in a row that I've woken up before 8am. This may sound like no big deal, especially if you have a job, but for me, this is absurdly out of the ordinary. For the last few years I've been a night person, staying up until nearly dawn almost every day. At the same time, I've known that I do better work early in the morning, so I decided to make a change and it's permanent. Thank you for your warm welcome into the world of the working.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One-Sentence Album Reviews

I recently purchased a few albums which I will review now in one-sentence each:

•"LP" by Discovery: Worth the money and will make you nod your head and possibly sway your hips.
•"Actor" by St. Vincent: Takes a bit to get into, mellow, almost somber, grows on you, cute but cynical. (Pitchfork 8.5)
•"Stockholm Syndrome" by Derek Webb: Beloved Christian artist and preacher, album deemed "explicit" by former label - poignant, new electronic sounds, possibly a Moog, only three songs in but already worth the $7.99.
"Un Día" by Juana Molina: Recommended by Radiolab and while I know it's good, I just haven't quite figured out how or where or in what context to listen to it.

A New Leaf

I've changed my life. Financial despair, yeah that's right I said it - turns out it's a great motivator. On a totally unrelated note I'm sure, I've decided to figure out Google Ad-Sense, so those annoying, ugly ads, will be flanking my posts from now on, you understand.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Sartorialist Is Still The Best

A lot of blogs are doing something similar, but no one else is doing it so well.Via The Sartorialist Blog.

Where The Wild Things Are - HD Trailer

I just watched this on Justin's website:
It looks good. Also, Dave Eggers co-wrote the screenplay with Spike Jonze and after seeing Away We Go, which Eggers also co-wrote, I attest to the fact that the man can write for the screen.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New York Coffee Shop - Writing Impressionistically

Neil Young is playing loudly over the stereo, the place is busy, it’s got to be, it’s on the corner of Broome St. and Orchard St. in the Bargain District, downtown Manhattan, windows cover two of the walls, it’s actually quite spacious – the rent must be outrageous. Small circle tables line the wall along the back, with a church-pew style bench running behind them. There are twenty seats available in the coffee shop, all arranged on the right side of the little not-quite-square space and half of the floor is taken up by the big granite bar and the open kitchen area behind it. Three female employees wear bandanas and rotate working the register, making sandwiches and espressos. The ceiling is high, made up of old one-foot by one-foot ornate tile panels, painted white. Behind the bar there is an almost invisible staircase leading downstairs to the bathroom and storage area. Grungy looking young people, on the job search sit with their laptops and drip coffees, pecking away intently at their keys, a family of tourists eats paninis and sips on little glass coke bottles and a hipster guy wearing skinny black Bermuda shorts, little black Chuck Taylor low-tops, a v-neck t-shirt and baggy cardigan sweater sits in the corner gulping coffee, knee bouncing faster and faster as the caffeine kicks in, reading a novel. Viewing the street from the back, on the long bench, looking out the big windows, the street looks derelict but alive. Above all the first floor retail, 100-year-old buildings, three windows wide with ornate masonry and fire escapes line the streets. New York City is a hodge-podge unlike any other city in the world. It’s a dirty, living, breathing slice of heaven.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Greenest Metro - Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain is without a doubt, one of the world's great cities. It's one of those European cities built over the top of an original medieval infrastructure and as a result it's very dense and compact. Throughout the years, new, modern city-planners moved in and continued to develop the transportation, business and residential infrastructure, then came the Olympics in 1992, breathing further economic development into the city. Barcelona has a metro, bus system, both intra-city and national, trains connected with all of Europe, great roads, an outer highway, bike-lanes within the city-center and even a light-rail. While coming back into the city via bus, I looked out the window and noticed something remarkable, the light-rail runs over grass! Urban environments, with masses of light-colored concrete raise ground temperatures, make ground water polluted because they limit the natural filtration of soil and leave little space for carbon-neutralizing/oxygen producing flora. This is why the grass-covered Barcelona light-rail tracks are a revolution. See for yourself:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Happenings In Spain

If by chance, you've stopped by my Facebook page and checked out any of my status updates or new photo albums, then you know how much I'm doing here in Spain. My brother and I started in Barcelona, his new home, and toured the city with his wife and friends for a few days. For the weekend, we've been at a resort in the mountains called Caldes De Boí. Tomorrow we head back to Barcelona to continue exploring the city. Upon my return to the U.S., I will give a full report here, with pictures. Also, I am in the process of making one, long video blog of the entire trip with voice-over narration, so you won't miss a moment. Thanks for continuing to check in. Things will be back on the normal post-frenzied pace about mid-August. My movie, "More Than It Is" has gone to the editor in L.A. and I am awaiting word on whether or not I've been given a position on a job starting in late September, so either way, I should have plenty of time to document these experiences in full detail starting next week.

Ah yes, and here is a picture of my brother and I, hiking in the Pyrennes mountains: