Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - March, 2005
actor bodybuilder geek weightlifter
World Conquest
March, 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
a little sweaty

because ... well ... why not ...?

it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Wednesday, March 23rd


Tenguous Connection:

The first thing you need to know is that I live out in an open field. No lawn here, just a drought-tolerant garden and lots of natural grassland. I don't mow it and I don't have to listen to lawnmowers on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I like it that way.

The second thing you need to know is that in one of the movies I'm working on, the good guys are inspired and influenced by the traditional Japanese crow gods. I'm not a good guy, so I'll just have to keep on inspiring and influencing myself.

The third thing you need to know is that I've long had this practice--which many of you might find disgusting--where I get rid of food that's past its prime by throwing it out in the field somewhere. Not anywhere near the house; I carry it out a ways, then scatter it as far as I can throw it. I figure it's organic and I assure you that it disappears without a trace fast enough.

Stale bread, limp salad, even the photographic subjects I used to create the Web Deli, all have found their way back to the great cycle of nature through this process.


In this case, I sent a bunch of beyond-their-expiration-date eggs back to nature this way. You can get a pretty good range out of an egg, so these alabaster ovoids ended up scattered far and wide in the prairie grass.

Which seems singularly appropriate for the upcoming Easter weekend. I guess I could have dyed them pretty colors, but why? I'm not even sure how much of the local fauna has color vision.

A few hours later, I heard a nearby commotion. A mini-murder of three crows are retrieving the eggs from the yard...carrying them over the rooftop...and dropping them into the interior courtyard.(!)

Suddenly the image of migratory swallows transporting coconuts seems so much more plausible. It's true, coconuts are somewhat bigger than hen's eggs, but they're fuzzier, so they could grip them by the husk.

...or, I suppose, carry them on a line between them. They could use a strand of creeper held under the dorsal guiding feathers.

It could work. Really.

broken egg

In the meantime, I'm still working on my upcoming battles with the crow-god inspired heros of that upcoming feature. For better or worse, I think they'll be throwing things at me that are a little more serious than eggs.

But I'll be ready.

Sunday, March 20th


Back to Backslash:

Today we were shooting Backslash here at the treehouse. No really big, elaborate scenes this time, which was a good thing because we were down to a few short ends of the kind of film stock we needed.

backslash trio
gelling the windows

In this case, we were using tungsten-balanced Kodak film, so the first thing we had to do was to gel the windows with a color-correcting film, both to tame the brightness and to match the color temperature of the indoor lighting.

I think the neighbors are used to seeing the treehouse covered with plastic by now. They may just assume that I'm an artist who is heavily influenced by Christo.

Which is really not a bad idea at all. Maybe, if I encouraged this particular misapprehension, I could get a grant to do it. That wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit. Suitable-for-film-use gels are a lot more expensive than you might think.

Here we have director Kevin Campbell getting one of the actresses ready for the next shot.

One of the things you may not realize about filmmaking is that, if you were looking at a cut that showed, for example, me talking to someone else...but didn't have that someone else in frame...that someone else very likely wasn't in the room or even on the set at all at the time. I've done scenes where my "side" of the set was in a completely different location than the "side" with the person I was interacting with, but as long as it's cut together right, nobody would ever guess. In one case, the person I was talking to hadn't even been cast yet and her lines hadn't actually been written when I did my side of the scene. All in a day's work when you're in this business.


So far, though, I've only had to do with with dialog and the occasional fight sequence; Jill here has to act through a few more intimate scenes where the guy she's supposed to be with has been removed to make room for a movie camera. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Because of the aforementioned film stock issue, we only made it through the shots that took place in the bedroom. That's okay, though. The original plan had been to do a few other scenes in other parts of the house, and while this will stretch the shooting schedule some, it won't break it, and it leaves us some more time to dress the other sets before the rest of the film stock gets in and we can resume shooting.

bedroom scene

Saturday, March 19th


Reading in Shadows:

I finally got to see a completed script for Covenant of Shadows...just in time to do a read-through with the rest of the cast.

As you can see, it's not quite the "cast of thousands," but it's certainly not small. And, of course, the extras weren't here, either.

Covenant of Shadows
Script reading

Besides the cast, the wardrobe department came out for the reading and managed to get measurements of all of us. That'll be nice for me--this way I don't end up doing yet another performance in clothing that's designed to fit someone much shorter and much wider than I.

For whatever reason, a goodly percentage of the movies I've been involved in lately are at least partially narrated by one of the characters. Sometimes that works pretty well dramatically, sometimes it doesn't. In Covenant of Shadows I'm the one doing it, so this time, at least, I'm sure it'll work great. :)

screenplay readthrough
covenatnt of shadows cast

Though my first time reading the script was reading my parts out loud, one thing that made it easier than a lot of cold readings is that the character's "voice" was fairly consistent. I've read others where the sense that I'd gotten at the beginning didn't match the sense of who the character was that I developed later on in the script. It's nice not to have the problem of shifting mental gears in mid-script, trying to keep my own mental image of who this person was and how he thinks consistent with what I'm reading.

It was a good experience and an appropriate middle of a film-intensive weekend, in betwen Friday's meetings with filmmakers and tomorrow's shoot when I'll have a crew out here at the treehouse filming a few scenes for Backslash.

That'll keep me busy, but I bet I'll manage to get in a few behind-the-scenes pictures while we're at it, so stay tuned....

Wednesday, March 16th


Open Secrets:

On Sunday, we're doing a couple of pickup shots. That's where you've finished shooting your movie...or at least you think you have...and then you realize, often months later after you've finished editing a rough cut, that you really should have gotten a few more shots in. Sometimes you find yourself wishing you'd gotten just a few more closeups, other times you decide you really need a whole new scene to help tie it all together.

secret room

In this case, it's a couple of scenes that are supposed to take place in a secret room hidden somewhere in an ordinary residence.

...and, gosh, I just happen to live in an ordinary residence that has a couple of secret rooms.

Not, unfortunately, particularly glamorous secret rooms, as you can see from the picture on the left which shows one end of such a room. Not that it's even much of a room, either, but it's bigger than it looks from the picture.

Yeah. Really. I'm sure you've heard that before, but in this case it's true.

Personally, I'd really like to have a few hidden spaces that look like something out of Young Frankenstein, but I've only gotten as far as building a floor at this point. Lining one or both walls with old-looking bookcase shelves has been languishing on the "to do" list for a long time now. One of these days....

Fortunately, for these scenes, it's not supposed to be glamorous, but having a floor is really important, so we're set.

Monday, March 14th


Cold Turkey Robin:

Or maybe that should be round robin. They do seem to have plumped up since the morning.

Here we went from temperatures approaching seventy to snowstorms in a day. Of course, this is March in Colorado, so I'm used to it, but it must have been a surprise for the robins that had been shopping around for a suitable nesting spot the day before.

I've gotten used to quick changes when it comes to filming, too, whether in March or any other time of the year. I'd been working on scrounging up a bunch of displays for a set that's supposed to feature several operating security monitors that'll be visible on camera. One difference between the camera's eye and your own is that you don't blink twenty-four times per second and even then only hold your eyes open for a fraction of that.

That's not so much of a problem when it comes to filming actors, most of whom don't move a whole lot during that fractional second, but when you're filming a TV set, you end up capturing a moving band of colored light where the electron gun has just finished exciting the appropriate phosphors. Your eye doesn't notice that the whole screen isn't even lit up at once, but if you started blinking every small fraction of a second, you probably would.

chilled robin
cold bird

You can get around this problem with conventional TV displays, but not easily. You have to sync all the video sources together and then sync the camera shutter to that. Certainly that's doable when you have the equipment, the budget, and the people to do it. When what you've got is me, you run the risk that I'll decide that the whole thing sounds like too much trouble...and, besides, you wouldn't be sure that it all worked until the film was developed and transferred, which means you might have to rebuild the set and reshoot everything, messing up the rest of the shooting schedule in the process.

Fortunately, I just happen to have a dozen or two old LCD projection panels--the type you'd put on an overhead projector...the type nobody uses any more now that video projectors are commonplace. LCD displays--whether standalone monitors, laptop displays, or these things--don't have the banding problem, because the pixels stay lit longer than it takes to redraw them, so no part of the screen never has time to get dark between passes.

Unfortunately, the panels, the cables and adapters, and the power supplies had gone their separate ways into various corners of my garage, so it took a little bit of hunting to collect the parts together and get everything hooked up and tested with a suitable source of backlighting. It actually looks pretty good.

At which point they tell me that they've rethought the scene and want the set done with laptops instead of TV-set-like surveilance monitors.

So all I need to do is scrounge up a suitable assortment of laptops that I can rig up to show video. Hmmm....

I'm not sure what to do with these LCD panels now. Modern art, I think. When all else fails, just tell people that you've created a symbolic portal into the depths of the human condition. Trust me; this works with anything, whether it's a bunch of LCD panels or a layer cake gone bad. I bet it would even work with a couple of pictures of chilled robins in the spring.

Really. I'm sure there's a deep meaning in there somewhere. Just give me a moment to make something up.

Saturday, March 12th


Calling in the Big Guns:

Some days, not even I know where I am.

big gun

Somewhere green, perhaps, though looks can be deceiving.

Which, I think, is just another sign of technological progress: who needs to have the actors and sets anywhere near each other when you can just green-screen everything?

I'm not sure this is entirely good technological progress, but I can certainly understand the logistical advantages: "hey, here's a gun. Do something. Okay, that was great. Now do something in that direction. Pretend there's something over there somewhere."

In any event, whatever did happen, I think I won. As long as it looks good when it all comes together, I suppose that's all that matters.

Speaking of violent acts for a Saturday afternoon, while I was out committing not entirely random acts of violence with a pair of pruning shears on the rosebushes and other garden flora, I saw the first pair of robins checking things out, looking for a suitable nesting spot. Must be getting towards that time of year. With the warm weather starting this early, maybe I'll have another year with three sets of baby birds growing up in the courtyard.

Thursday, March 10th


Camera Shy:

I really have to start carrying a camera with me at all times.

It probably happens to you, too--you realize that you want to take a picture of something and there's no way to do it because you don't have a camera. I've had a few times like that just lately, even ones where I'd meant to have a camera along, but had walked out the door without it.

Case in point, this afternoon I was heading into town to look for a few articles of clothing and possibly some accessories and props for a photo shoot I've got scheduled on Saturday. When I got to the turn lane for the highway just to the north of me, there I was, stopped at a red arrow, right behind a Volvo with a custom license plate that read "TRYGVE." That's not something you see too often. I think it would have been worth a snapshot.

The driver wasn't anybody I recognized, but I've got a guess as to what his name is.

By the way, completely unrelated to the above, I ran into a couple of random products out there that I thought were worthy of mention, just in case some of you, gentle readers, might be in need.

First off, PoGo! Products! (yes, the exclaimation marks are part of their name) has come out with a Wind-up Universal Remote Control--never runs out of batteries, because it doesn't use batteries. I'm impressed by the idea.

And, if that doesn't thrill you enough, one product I hadn't ever thought of is Flightsuits bird diapers. Just the thing to keep your pet birds from making messes while zooming around your house. I'm not sure how the birds themselves feel about this device or how you go about cleaning their feathers afterwards, but some questions are probably better left unanswered, at least for me, because I don't have any birds around the house that need a product like this.

Tuesday, March 8th


The Brown Wall of Denver:

Weird weather out there today. Out here at the treehouse, it was just a soft, silent snowfall with big, fat flakes drifting down. Really quite lovely.

But I had to make a run into town, and looking to the north it looked like there was a solid wall stretching from the mountains out to the plains with most of the city locked behind it. It started out at the mountains all white and dark blue-grey as clouds usually do, but a short distance east of there, it abruptly turned a bizarre uniform brown color.

march snow in the garden
march snow in the hall

Driving north, I drew closer and closer to where the city disappeared into brownness, and a few miles north of here, I finally drove into it--and abruptly found the car buffeted in high winds with a mixture of hail, rain, falling slush, and what would have been called "mist" if it had been made of water instead of thin, runny mud.

I suppose you could think of it as lying somewhere between what the English and the Germans would call "mist," but it was pretty unusual to have something like that pouring off my windshield unless it's being sprayed upwards from the wheels of a dumptruck. I don't know how wide a swath it cut across the city; miles at the very least.

I'm guessing it was being blown up from some large construction site close to the mountains, but it was an amazing amount of flying dirt.

Back here, though, the wind and the flying dirt never did stop by, just the silent snow.

march snow in the atrium

Wednesday, March 2nd


Eighteen Ways:

Last week I got in a small stack of scripts to read in which the producer had suggested I try out for a part. All of them action (no surprise), but one is an action/comedy that's a lot like "Airplane," only with more martial arts. A lot more, actually, considering that "Airplane" didn't have any martial arts in it, as best I recall. As much as I'd like to do comedy--parodies especially--that one could be a toughie, because I didn't see any characters who looked like they'd be a great fit.

I'll have to ask the producer what he had in mind. Personally, I think the most *interesting* character to play is the evil Elvis impersonator, but if that's a possibility, I'm going to have to start working on it soon, because I'm quite sure that it would require a whole different fighting style than I'm accustomed to.

Another one had a German mercenary that I could play with no trouble at all. If they wanted to shoot that later this evening, I'd be ready. Hey, give me twenty minutes to get psyched and a wardrobe that actually fits, and we'd be good to go.

Not sure what the shooting schedule is, however; the comedy project is dealing with some issues with making the insurance company willing to provide a completion bond (which the investors require), and the straightforward action flick is supposed to be shot after that, because there are several of the same people on the production team.

In the meantime, I spent a couple of hours yesterday throwing things. Not that this is unusual either in movies or in practice--though, most often, what the director wants me to throw is another person--but this time it was small sharp objects. I've got a role coming up where I'm supposed to be able to use any item as a weapon...which isn't difficult in itself, but the important thing is to make it look cool while doing it. Sometimes that's very difficult. Sure, anyone can go into hand-to-hand combat armed with a rubber chicken, but how many people can really make it look cool to do so?

Fortunately, to the best of my knowlege, no rubber-chicken fighting techniques are on the agenda, at least so far. But if that's what the director wants, I'd be up for it. I'd even do it while pretending to be Elvis.

trygve logo
what's new


- 2004 -


- 2003 -


- 2002 -


- 2001 -


- 2000 -


Looking for somebody else's intimate personal secrets?
journals, burbs, and blogs--oh, my!

Tune in tomorrow for another episode


Trygve's Blog
canon xl1
Trygve's Digital Diary
The base of the tree