Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Autumn Begins - Update

The air outside is cool and crisp, the sky is gray some mornings, I can wear a cardigan comfortably. It's fall, you've no doubt realized this, everyone is Tweeting about it, or, if they don't have Twitter, they've at least updated their Facebook status to tell you of their peppermint or pumpkin spiced latte, maybe they're wearing a scarf, or better yet, they've thought of the perfect Halloween costume, horray! Autumn really is my favorite season, especially the very start of Autumn, when the leaves are still orange but haven't yet fallen from the trees. The landscape will soon be barren and gray, naked looking. I'm in Texas. Soon I will be able to see downtown Fort Worth from almost anywhere within a 20 mile radius. It's slightly elevated compared to the land around it, you may not know that. And once the leaves fall off the trees, you can see the skyscrapers right through peoples' backyards, that is the worst season. But for now, the outdoors are beautiful.

I spent the last month in Los Angeles. I was subletting from my best friends, a married couple. I finally got to live on the West Side. It was nice, I only had two official days shooting video and a couple days of editing, so most of my time was spent surfing the internet, writing a little, working out, running, cooking meals, laying in the sun. It was leisurely to be sure, but it wasn't time wasted. I needed to recharge. The last few days in L.A. were spent preparing to shoot the final scene to my movie More Than It Is. Our lead actress Cherie and Jonathan came over on the final Sunday I was in town and we shot the final scene in front of the house I was staying in. We also shot a few inserts that we needed and we actually FINISHED photography on the movie. It was a wonderful feeling to come back to L.A., work a little bit, visit my friends, go to my church and to actually accomplish all the tasks I had laid before me. As you may remember, in May I went to New Zealand with Jonathan, my cinematographer and Cherie, our actress. We spent ten days there on the South Island of New Zealand shooting our short film More Than It Is and then Jonathan and I moved on to Australia to shoot a television pilot for a travel show that we were creating (New Zealand = Short Film, Australia = Travel show/TV pilot). While in L.A. last month, I was also able to record the voice over for that TV pilot (really a sizzle reel) and sit in on an editing session with John-Michael Powell, our editor. The sizzle-reel is finished now, but since we are pitching it to major networks, it's still a bit of a secret (email me and I'll send you the link and password). It's all very exciting.

At the end of the month in L.A., I met with the assistant director of a big television show that would be shooting in Dallas this Fall. She assured me that there was a job for me on the show, so I cut my sublet a little short, packed up my car and started the drive back to Dallas. The job I was interviewing for was a set PA position, basically one step closer to the camera department, in hopes that I would be able to join the Union as the DIT/Utility on the show (doesn't matter if you don't know what that means, just know that it pays very well and I am well qualified). The position they offered me was a stand-in/extra position. Twelve hours a day, for about a third the pay of the other job. I was just about to send an email saying I'd accept the position when the DP of the show (doesn't matter if you don't know what this means, just know he's a big-shot) called me, irate. He told me not to accept the job. He was furious, said I was way too qualified to be seen in that position and that if I worked on the show as a stand-in, it would be near impossible to ever convince anyone that I was qualified to do the other job. So I emailed the A.D. and respectfully declined the stand-in work. This was twenty hours into my drive back to Texas, four days before I was to start the job, far past the turn-back point. I was very disappointed. If you remember a post a while back, shortly after my return from Australia, I was fairly dismayed at my dismal financial situation and lack of work prospects in the near future. Either I used up all of my stress during that time, or perhaps the good time in L.A. and constant prayer I was in set me back on the straight path of faith, but even with the new bad news I just didn't get stressed out this time. Instead, I came home, relaxed for a day to get over the 24 hour roadtrip hangover and then began calling all of my clients and contacts, letting them know my geographical situation and eagerness to work. And work started pouring in, it was a deluge, monsoon season, it was Mumbai in July! And my schedule has filled up and continues to fill up - editing work mostly, a little bit a camera work. I need money, I need it badly, I need to pay off the debt from my movie and the TV pilot production and I need to pay off my radical, beautiful Mac editing system. I owe a lot, but I've booked more work in a shorter time period than I ever have before, so as long as I work efficiently, I may just accomplish my goal.

Even though I will not be working on the Dallas-based TV show full time (this is subject to change), I am planning on living and working in Dallas for the rest of 2009. I have a great editing station set up here at home and plenty to keep me busy. Hopefully, our travel-pilot will sell and we will begin pre-production on our own show in early 2010, also, I hope that More Than It Is will have a good run of a few film festivals in the Spring. I didn't think this day would come during that dark week in L.A., less than three months ago, but I'm happy to report that I'm happy, I'm working and I'm excited for the future. God is good. Oh look at that, I'd better stop, I'm about to go spiritual on you.

I love you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

If Only You Were Reading Back Then

I just went back and read some of the posts I was putting up in 2006 when I was working at a commercial video editorial house in Dallas. I had hours of free time in the middle of the day and I was stuck in the office and so I was writing all the time. Some of it is pretty good.

Bringing it back, bringing it back.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back In Dallas For A While

Yeah, so I didn't write any posts during the drive from L.A. to Dallas. It was a miserable drive. I didn't get enough sleep the night before I left, got stuck in traffic leaving L.A., got to the motel East of El Paso at 5am and couldn't sleep in the morning. By day two I was exhausted. I think I drank the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee on the first day and was just a zombie behind the wheel on day 2. But I made it, I'm in Dallas-Fort Worth now. I actually turned down work on a major television show, for various reasons I may discuss later. I thought I'd be working on said show for the next six months, and now, I'm not. So I have six months available to do something else. Really, I have my whole life available to do whatever I want. And that is beautiful.

Ok, things will pick up soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blogging From The Road Today

I have a lot on my mind and I'm starting the drive from L.A. back to Texas this morning. I've been very busy, shooting the last scene of my movie More Than It Is and packing up my things here in Los Angeles, so I haven't had much time to write things down lately.

I'm doing the drive in two days, 16 hours today and 8 tomorrow, so I'll have plenty of time to get my thoughts together. I'll probably write my posts from my iPhone, during STOPS (not while actually driving).

P.S. Pictures from the road will be going up on my Twitter.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Desired Travel Destination: Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

I've always been fascinated by cliff dwellings. These, in Göreme, Turkey, are particularly fascinating.
Photo: Nir Nussbaum

This post was originally inspired by an article on "12 Lesser-Known Ruins of the world." And also an article "The World's 10 Weirdest Hotels."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Watch This, Listen

Video starts with Andrew Bird performing live in an apartment in Paris. Then, St. Vincent sits down for an impromptu session in which Andrew Bird fills in with his violin. The result is chill-inducing. (via la blogotheque)
(click either image to go to the video)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cool Rich Mommy

I think this rings pretty true for my generation.

(click for a clearer image)

(Via Vice Magazine online):

Girls like to pretend they aren’t going to have kids, but when they see moms like this glide down the street in Chanel boots talking to some rich fag they secretly think, “One day.”

Oh, just try and guess what I'm thinking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wish List 3 of 3 (cameras)

I'm a cinematographer, but I haven't owned a video camera since the first Sony Mini dv camera I bought in high-school. It's just never made any sense to me. Camera technology has been changing monthly for the last ten years and I've never understood why there wasn't just a camera with interchangeable lenses that shot a RAW image, progressive frame, at a huge resolution, that you could just scale down in post. I've always just rented the cameras that I've needed, usually paying a couple hundred dollars a day, rather than dropping one-hundred grand to own one - that way I always got to use the latest and greatest camera. But now, with the release of affordable digital SLRs like the Canon 5D MkII (the camera we used on our movie More Than It Is), which shoot a progressive image in HD and use 35mm lenses, I'm in the market to finally own my own camera. So here is what I'm debating between:

1. The RED Scarlet. (somewhere in the $5,000 - $10,000 range with lens)
2. The Canon EOS 7D (about $3,000 with lens)
These cameras haven't actually been released yet and it looks like Canon and RED will be duking it out in October, trying to establish dominance in the video-capable Digital SLR category. If you love techy camera stuff, head on over to the DSLR Film blog (it gets my full recommendation) and read all about these cameras.

The Sartorialist In Action

Ok, I realize that three posts referencing Yvan Rodic's blog is a little obsessive, but it's my favorite right now. Check it out, that's Scott Schuman, a.k.a. "The Sartorialtist" in Action!
What is this world I've discovered and how do I get involved?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Huahine, One Of The Best Places On Earth

After visiting 40 plus countries, people often ask me, "what is the best place you've ever been?" One of the best is certainly a tiny atoll in the South Pacific called Huahine. Not only is it an island paradise surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs, but it is one of the few islands off Tahiti which is backpacker friendly. Please check out this little video I did for my friend Jérémie of Moana Turquoise, a tour operator in Huahine.

In September, humpback whales come to Huahine to give birth and Jérémie is the only guide that offers whale watching tours.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Further Evidence You Should Subscribe To This Blog

Yvan Rodic's photo blog is cool.

I believe that's him in the last pic. This is how I should have been blogging my travels all along. It's worth it to subscribe, just to look through the last few weeks of posts from Japan, Moscow, London and NYC.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wish List 2 of 3 (fashion)

I'm a skinny bloke, tall-ish and skinny, but muscular, with long arms, a short torso and ilproportionately (I made this word up) long legs, so I'm picky about what clothes I wear, because a lot of things that look good on the "everyman" just do not look right on me. So here's what's currently on my list:

1. Black sport coat (lightweight) - I like this one from the Spanish company Zara, because European clothing fits me in a more "fitted" way.
2. Black and white striped shirt to wear under a black sport coat (although I would not wear it without the coat).
3. Solomon Trail Running Shoes (although I would never actually wear them to run in, (far too bulky)) - to wear while on set. I've had 3 pairs of these shoes over a 6 year period. Each pair lasted about 2 years, being worn most days of the year. 4. Diesel Jeans. (not pictured) I've had two pairs (Zathan, and Zatiny models) over a five year period, and I've worn them about 5 days a week during that time (roughly 520 wears x two pairs of jeans). They each held up with no holes for about 2 years a piece - that's quality. My only qualm is that the denim material used is incredibly thick and does not stretch at all - this seriously limits my karate-kicking abilities and I'm afraid that if I get in a fight while wearing them, I will be limited in my ability to vanquish my oponent. So I'm searching for a pair that is both high-fashion and somewhat stretchy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wish List 1 of 3 (sports & leisure)

I'm not spending money on anything that isn't an absolute necessity for a while. This decision, just makes the temptation of buying things, all that more strong. Here are some of the things I'd buy:

Bamboo Series Longboard by Sector 9.My friend Clint, in NYC, had this board and I had a great time riding it around Central Park.

Fixed Gear Bike.

Neon Yellow Handlebar Wrap (for my bike).

Oh, there's lots more to come.

Things Are strangestrangestrange In My Life These Days

I haven't written a substantial post in a while, but I've got three rough drafts in the works. I've been making a bit of a transition in my professional life over the last few months, which I will explain soon. In the mean time, know that I am still here, and that I've been working harder than ever, pursuing art and knowledge.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Walking Across China

You'll need to watch this video 3 times.
• 1. To watch his face and hair change.
• 2. To read the subtitles.
• 3. To watch everything in the background.
Just incredible.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Doug and Flu - The Series

My friends in Texas are doing a comedy series and it's making me laugh.

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4:

Episode 5:

P.S. Episode 1 either never existed, or it was so terrible it was removed.