Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - August, 2005
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World Conquest
August, 2005
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sword pointing down

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

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

Wednesday, August 31st


From Flakes to Riches:

It's not unusual to find surprises in your cereal boxes. Most of the time the manufacturer even boldly warns you that you're likely to get a color-changing spoon, a Finding Nemo bobblehead, or a complete set of all episodes of the Andy Griffith show on DVD plopping into your bowl along with the flakes, nuts, inflated grain products, and sugar-frosted honey-dipped glucose-laced marshmallow bits, now with even more artificial coloring(!).

Which I think argues strongly in favor of my position in the big "does the milk go in the bowl before or after the cereal" controversy. I'm a staunch cereal-firster, whereas my brother Isak believes in milk-first all the way.

super cereal flake

Giant Cereal Flake

But this time, what plopped out was the giant uber-flake shown to the left. Depending on your monitor size and resolution, the aforementioned pic may or may not be actual size. But suffice it to say that it's much bigger than any normal flake.

Naturally, I realized that this miraculous event could be the path to riches. As long as it looked enough like the Virgin Mary, Elvis, or even the 40-Year-Old Virgin Elvis, I could sell it on ebay for vast amounts of money, especially if I jacked up the postage and handling a bit.

But, darn it, it doesn't. It doesn't even look much like any lesser-valued celebrity like Madonna, Emo Philips, or Don Rickles. But, truth be told, it's hardly worth ebaying a cereal flake that looks like Don Rickles because so many of them do.

So I don't know what to do. My imagination is failing me and, thus, the road to riches remains tantalyzingly out-of-reach. I've been talking to a lot of people lately about horror films they're gearing up to produce; maybe there's a market for one about a giant cereal flake.

Since we began this month with a mention of bacon-scented products including air-fresheners for your car, it's fitting to end it with a nod to Flavor Spray, who has now introduced Aerosol Bacon.

At the beginning of this month, you were limited to bacon-scented candles and air-fresheners, but no longer: now you can make anything smell like bacon with just a quick spray.

Including--I hasten to point out--giant cereal flakes. If anything will add to the sheer horror factor of a giant cereal flake that stubbornly refuses to look like Elvis, it's a good, strong dose of bacon scent.

You just wait. I bet it'll be out in time for Halloween, 2006.

Thursday, August 25th


Titan Down the Hatches:

This week I've been at a shoot at an abandoned Titan I missile silo out to the east of Denver.

Missile Silo Entrance

Missile Silo Entrance

From the top, it doesn't look very exciting...which was part of the point. Climb up through these metal doors and you've stepped from a huge underground industrial complex into the middle of miles and miles of uninterrupted grassland.

Unfortunately, the weather up top wasn't too keen on following the script. Originally, the script called for coming up from below and saying, "I hadn't realized how much I'd missed the sunshine." That worked great for the first couple of angles when they were shooting from the point-of-view of our heros...but then the sky clouded over surprisingly quickly...and darkly.

"Ah! Fresh Air! I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it!" Yeah, that'll work. Of course everything that had been shot topside couldn't be used now, given that the sun was nowhere to be seen.

And so the script was revised accordingly and we forged onward, undeterred by the vicissitudes of the weather on Colorado's eastern plains.

At which point it started pouring rain. *Really* pouring rain--with high winds as an added bonus. I retreated under the makeup canopy to keep the downward falling rain from messing up my makeup...while holding an umbrella on one side to fend off the sideward blowing rain.

Unfortunately, "Howling winds and torrential rains! I hadn't realized how much I'd missed them!" was *not* going to work. It's important to be flexible and able to think on your feet on a movie shoot, but there are limits.

The wardrobe tent, along with the actors' street clothes, freed itself from its tent stakes and took to the skies at this point, sailing gracefully across the grassy plain. The makeup canopy was seriously considering following suit, though it never quite made the leap. We managed to make it to our cars and hide there; those, at least, remained water-tight and weren't about to blow away, at least as long as the location remained tornado-free.

Titan 1 Missile Silo

looking down into the Titan 1 Missile Silo

Oh, did I mention the tornado?

No? Good. There wasn't one; I wouldn't have wanted to forget that.

Eventually the storm subsided and we could revise the script again accordingly. The sun came back out and now we had rainbows, too. Not too bad.

"The wardrobe tent...and...and... my clothes! I hadn't realized how much I'd missed them!"

(But I think we did manage to find everything eventually.)

Tuesday, August 16th


Chain Reaction:

It's been more vehicularly intensive over the last few weeks than usual. For starters, we got a new FX truck for Asgard Entertainment--and you can see how huge it is compared to Clifford, the red stunt van we've been using for the last two years or so.

Asgard Entertainment's Stunt Trucks

Asgard Entertainment's Stunt Trucks

Before getting the new truck, Clifford looked pretty darned big. Now it looks like you could park Clifford in the back of the new truck and still have plenty of room for the generators and the highfall bag.

Having the new truck should free up some space in my garage, too; Mark is building an assortment of compartments to go in the truck to hold the stunt and FX gear and the lighting equipment. I wouldn't put it *all* in there, considering how often I end up having shoots over here, but most of those are pretty small and use only a small fraction of the equipment I have on hand.

Then at the end of last week, my old Jeep developed some possibly expensive problems, so I decided to retire it and get a new one.

The trouble is that I was used to mistreating the old Jeep terribly--it was grubby and messed up enough from hauling rocks and trees and stuff and now suddenly I have this strange urge to keep the new Jeep from ending up that way, at least for a while.

I've been doing between two and five hours of biking on days when I haven't been on a movie set (you can see my amazing farmer tan on the pictures at the top and bottom of this page--despite my consistent and thorough use of sunblock). However, my consistent and thorough use of sunblock has resulted in a pair of well-smeared areas on either side of the driver's seat in the old Jeep, and I'm thinking that, just maybe, I don't want to do that to the new one.

Yeah, I know: a smear-free Jeep is a radical idea, but I'm thinking of giving it a try.

My bicycle and car

So I figured I needed a new cycling wardrobe. Instead of slathering my arms with sunblock every day, I could just wear something lightweight with long sleeves that wouldn't get too hot, but that would keep me from burning from five hours in the sun, day after day.

After going to various places in search of such items, I found these Athletic Works "L/S Performance Top" shirts at Wal-Mart for $11.88. They're very lightweight and presumably won't get too hot on the trails, but I won't know that for sure until later this afternoon. I wasn't thrilled with this color, but that's all they had in stock.

I'll survive. I'm hoping this latest batch of cars and trucks do too; I think I've bought enough of them for a while.

Thursday, August 11th


Cargo Boom:

I'm rough on my Jeep. I've been known to put half a ton of rocks in the back and something close to half a ton of industrial shelving on the top. The only time I've ever lifted half a ton or more myself has been on those standing calf machines with the weights suspended from the middle of the lever arm, giving you a *huge* leverage advantage.

On the other hand, I do weigh less than the Jeep. (Yes, I really do.) Percentage-wise, a thousand pounds is only 33% of the weight of the Jeep. With *real* weights (free weights, not weight machines) I still haven't made it up to a three-times-bodyweight lift, but I still have hopes. I've managed two-and-a-half times bodyweight, at least.

In that sense, you could argue that I work even harder than my Jeep...but not nearly as hard as an ant. On the other hand, the Jeep certainly carries heavy stuff a lot further than I do and it would squash the ant if it drove over it.

...and the point of all this think I lost it somewhere. Maybe it's in my other pants.

Yesterday I was heading off to the set of Stained Glass Windows when the water pump stopped on the Jeep. That's not a good thing. Fortunately, there's an auto repair place just up the street from me. Unfortunately, when I brought it there, they refused to even look at the problem with the water pump or give me an estimate until I did $2000 of repairs on parts that were looking pretty well-worn, but that *were* working.

I'd already been considering the possibility that repairing the water pump would be more money than I'd want to put into the Jeep, given its age and condition...and paying $2,000 just to get an estimate is right out. Nope, not going to happen. There are plenty of parts that are showing signs of use and abuse and, while they're working now, things like that can sense when you put money into fixing a car and will choose that moment to fail because they figure if you just paid a bunch for repairs, you'll be willing to put in just a little bit more...and a little bit more than that.

So I went and got another car. Problem solved.


I snapped some shots of this full double-rainbow over the treehouse. I thought it looked kind of cool.

double rainbow

The upper bow is hard to see in the top picture. From the north deck it was easier to see, but even with that little movement, the lower bow had dropped almost to the horizon.

Tuesday, August 9th



This year's American Film Market doesn't start until the beginning of November, but preparations for it are already underway here at the treehouse. I'll be in 525, and last year Shoreline Entertainment was in 622, almost straight up one floor from me.

Shoreline's already got the beginnings of a page about The Shadow Walkers on their site. Since I'm going to be there anyway, I'd be happy to do some promo stuff with them; we'll see if anything ends up happening on that front.

American Film Market Marketing Opportunities

Just some of the fabulous marketing opportunities available at the American Film Market

I got the binder of AFM details yesterday and I thought it was amusing that they'd used the picture of the elevator banner I'd made for last year on the page advertising that program and elsewhere in the binder. I mentioned that to Elvis Harold, who's overseeing the "marketing opportunities" for the film market and he said he'd done that just for me. :)

Which is probably not really true, but nice to hear all the same. I've already reserved the elevator again this year (I've done it every year since they started selling advertising space there) which gives me a little while to work on the design.

Sunday, August 7th



I think some people must have bigger laps than I, though I must confess that I've never gone around measuring them. I'm sure people would let me do it, especially if I were wearing a lab coat and carrying a clipboard, but since I tend to spend a lot less time on laps than I spend with other people on mine, it's never been an issue before.

But lately I seem to be filling my life with laptops. Not that I don't already have a few...okay, more than fifty...but those are mostly low-end pentium machines well-suited for using as network status monitors and as dumb terminals. (But smart enough to save logs of warnings and errors and to cut-and-paste configuration files.)

In the last few months, though, I've picked up a few more state-of-the-art ones, including the pair of Acer 3002 Sempron 3000 laptops with DVD burners that got used during the shooting of The Shadow Walkers.

The laptop that's designed to fit the *biggest* lap is this Toshiba Qosmio, which sports a seventeen-inch wide-screen display, two hard drives, a DVD burner, a TV tuner, assorted video inputs and outputs (high-def included)...all packed into a portable unit smaller than most sofa cushions and lighter than an elk. It even comes with a remote control and more accessories than I've had time to figure out.

I've (unimaginitively) named it "Qosimodo," which you might think is a departure from my usual practice of naming computers after Winnie-the-Pooh characters...but since there are only so many denizens of the 100 Acre Wood, I've had to branch out into other parts of the Disney empire in seach of computer names. And, well, though the idea somewhat horrifies me, as you probably know, there *is* a Disnified version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

But I figured I might as well get some new equipment in to take to the upcoming American Film Market, where I'll be in Suite 525 again this year (across from the registration area and buyer's lounge).

toshiba Qosmio G15-AV501

Qosimodo, the laptop of unusual size

Qosimodo is certainly more portable than Piglet, the small-form-factor media server I've been taking to the AFM for the past several years. Nonetheless, weighing in just shy of ten pounds, it's more likely than most laptops to give you a hunchback yourself after carrying it long enough, but I think I'm okay.

Tuesday, August 2nd


Same Bat-Time, Same Bat-Channel:

In a previous episode, I'd digitized the raw 1080/25P high-definition footage from The Shadow Walkers, converted it to the Cineform codec for editing in Premiere Pro, and edited it up by scene. That was pretty time-consuming and if I could make one request of future filmmakers, my second choice would be "please, light your clapboards so an editor can actually *see* what scene is being shot instead of having to hunt through the script to figure it out."

I'm so demanding, I know.

My first request would be to give me more cool stuff to do in front of the camera. Enough of that, and I'll hunt through the script afterwards all you want.

Bear in mind, I'm not really an editor and I'm not planning on becoming one. I pitched in because The Shadow Walkers already has worldwide distribution without even being finished (which is pretty remarkable for an independently-produced feature) and the distributor is in a hurry to get it. That, and I've got the equipment to do it and am willing to work through the night (or day, when I'm doing night shoots).

But editing the raw footage into scenes was as far as I was going with it; it's more work than you might think because pieces of one scene might be scattered across several days and we had two cameras going, sometimes together, sometimes filming entirely different things. I then had to get the scenes (about 300GB worth) to Mark, who is using Pinnacle Liquid Edition to work on the trailer(s); Haylar, who is using Final Cut Pro to edit the movie; and Sean, who is also using Final Cut Pro to work on the DVD extras.

None of which are compatible with the Cineform codec used by Premiere and Vegas.

Mark Grove's new Edit system

Mark Grove's new editing setup

That ended up being a much bigger task than I'd expected, taking about four hours per hour of video to convert it into a format the other systems could handle, but it did get done, and today I'd finished building a new editing system for Mark, loaded it with all the source video, and got it set up.

Then it was off to Haylor Garcia's studio to get him set up with all the source footage and go over the details.

This picture simply doesn't do justice to how amazingly cool Haylor's setup is--and it doesn't even show the whole edit area. It's quite dark in there, so getting a good shot isn't easy, but I'm going to try to get better pictures later. At least I have steady hands when I need them to be.

The rest of his house is pretty cool, too; it's all done in a high-tech/Batman theme.

Haylor Garcia in the Batcave

Haylor Garcia's editing setup

It took all day and a few housecalls wearing my technical support hat to get all of the technical details straightened out. I never did manage to get enough time to hit the bike trails before sunset; I suppose that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

I feel out-of-step somehow. I must be the only one who doesn't have Batman-themed editing equipment.

Maybe I'll accessorize my bicycle instead.

Monday, August 1st



And so, with a wave of my magic wand, *poof*, it's a new month!

That's the secret of a lot of magic: do something that looks significant and then take credit for what was going to happen anyway. It's like being a psychic...or a politician. That last is the only one that really pays well, though.

July was certainly a month for surprises, some good, some pretty awful. I'm hoping for some good surprises in August (and I'll just skip on the awful ones). Looks like the heat wave may have ended with July, too. Tied Denver's all-time record for hottest temperature (previously reached in 1878) and broke I-don't-know-how-many "highest temperature for the day" records. Didn't bother me that much, and the water-cooled computers I'm using these days never overheated or crashed, unlike the machines they'd replaced a couple of years back.

Being pretty comfortable in a wide range of temperatures comes in handy; I'm not affected much by cold, either. I was talking to a filmmaker last week about a project that would get shot up in the mountains out here in the winter or early spring...and if I were in that, it would be a high-action role where I wouldn't be able to wear a coat or anything sensible like that.

And since I usually don't, that's no problem.

But getting back to the subject of heat--or at least things cooked therein--if you're tired of making your house smell like jasmine, honeysuckle, or vanilla, why not try out the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato-scented Votive Candles from The Grateful Palate? You could use them all together for that classic BLT aroma all day long, or put all of one type around the bath depending on whether you want to relax with the scent of tomato, lettuce, or bacon.

They also sell hanging Bacon Air Fresheners for your car:

Consider the multitude of uses for a bacon scented air freshener -- in the car wearing your bacon tee shirt, cruising the boulevard on Saturday night. Itís the bacon version of fuzzy dice. And how about for those awkward moments at work outside the shared toilet?

Um. yeah. "Bacon" and "fuzzy dice" do *not* go together in my book. If my bacon ever gets fuzzy and develops spots, I'm not hanging it up in my car. That's the kind of bacon I'm throwing away. Far away.

I don't even want to think about "those awkward moments at work outside the shared toilet" or how simulated strips of bacon, fuzzy or not, would help. Working from home most of the time has its advantages and one of them is that I don't have to worry about that kind of thing.

I'm just going to keep it that way.

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