Trygve.Com > Diary > JournalWeblogDiaryWhatsis - November, 2011 Translate this page: Chinese (Simplified) Franšais Deutsch Italiano Japanese Korean Russian Espa˝ol
actor geek blog
World Conquest
November, 2011
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
red epic

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

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

Saturday, November 26th

22:16PM

Insane Subject for Blog Entry That May Never Exist:

In the "Most Baffling Headline" Department, Wired Magazine ran a head-scratching column, entitled 19 Insane Posters for Movies That May Never Exist showcasing movie posters for movies that do exist (and are available for sale or rental), including no fewer than three films that I happen to sell myself. (Exile, Terrarium, and Star Warp'D). The posters exist, the movies exist, and the posters themselves aren't even notably "insane."
exile

Exile (poster shamelessly cribbed from TWA's artwork for the Japanese release)

But they are--and this is important--Science Fiction, which is the one genre where the demand vastly exceeds the supply at the annual American Film Market. If I had more filmmakers making science fiction, I'd be selling a lot more of it. For anything else, the situation's reversed: lots more product than there are buyers for it.

Not that buyers are only looking for science fiction, by any means. "Creature Horror" is the other genre I most commonly get asked for by name, but anything that's fast-paced, visually interesting, and has enough going on to keep the audience entertained is a pretty good bet. Even comedy and family entertainment, which used to be tough to sell overseas, is doing better in the foreign market. I had several buyers say that they were "interested in all genres...except drama."

So if you want to make a movie that'll sell, don't make a drama.

Do you remember that horror movie that had that bunch of teenagers (played by actors in their mid-to-late twenties) who head up in to a secluded spot in the woods to make out while a deranged serial killer wanders around stabbing them? Yeah, we've all seen it (or had to make an effort not to).

So why make it again? And *again* and *again*? When I'm not busy talking to distributors, I talk to the filmmakers wandering around the market and check out the movies they're working on. When I've already seen four indistiguishable teens n' slashers flicks before 11:00AM, I really have to wonder what the attraction is. If any of them added something to the subgenre that hadn't already been overused by 1984, it might make a little bit of sense, but why go to all the trouble and expense of making a movie when the most creative element you could come up with was to update the hairstyles?

Chiggers in 3D

Unfortunately, the musical Broadway adaptation bombed


Fortunately, there were still a lot of filmmakers working on projects that looked very promising and were interesting. I'll have to see how they turn out once they're completed, but it's not like everybody has their heart set on making yet another teen slasher flick or a zombie horror "spoof" that isn't funny or scary.

(Just a note: bad acting, deliberately incompetent editing, and glaring continuity errors may be funny if you're a film student, but it's not funny to the rest of the world. It just looks like a bad movie--and you don't get any bonus points because you *meant* to make a bad movie.)

One piece of advice I gave out to filmmakers is that it's never too early to start working on the artwork for your posters and promos. For you to get paid, I've got to get distributors interested in your movie and the first thing that's going to give them a idea of whether they can sell your movie or not is your poster. It's got to catch their eye from twenty feet away when it's surrounded by posters for other movies and a distributor (who doesn't necessarily speak English) needs to know at a glance who will want to watch your movie and how he can convince them to buy it.

It doesn't need to explain the plot, introduce the characters, or display the disembodied heads of all the stars floating in front of everything else--it just needs to indicate who its intended audience is and what there is about this movie that will make them want to carry it from the store shelves to the checkout line.

So the fonts used, the colors, and the general feel of the poster counts more than the words (remember the "doesn't necessarily speak English" part) or the individual elements.



That can be tough to chew on when you've put a lot of work into making a poster that you might feel very proud of, but that won't interest distributors. I saw some that were pleasingly well-designed and, if you thought for a moment, did represent the film in a deep symbolic or metaphorical sense...if you had already watched the movie. 'A' for effort and creativity, but the poster needs to sell your movie to people who haven't seen it. (Perhaps a subtle marketing detail, but an important one.)
And you have to be willing to accept that sometimes your poster, no matter how much you like the design, sometimes conveys a completely wrong impression. I saw a few horror films whose posters, at first glance, looked like they might be for heartwarming after-school specials...and comedies with posters that looked downright horror-like.


...or this one to the right, quite possibly the scariest poster of the bunch...except it's not actually a movie poster and it's not supposed to be horror. At least I don't think it is, unless I have completely misunderstood My Twinn's product lineup. Photoshop a knife into one of the doll's hands, and it'd be the creepiest poster at the market.
My Twinn BFF

We'll be best friends
...for the rest of your life
And I bet distributors would go for it, too. At least it'd be more compelling than any of the eighteen horror movies about Bigfoot. (Why Bigfoot? At least I had fewer filmmakers determined to make bad zombie flicks this year...but even that made more sense than everybody deciding the world needed more movies about Bigfoot. Guess I need to be more specific next time that I tell a bunch of filmmakers that foreign distributors have been asking for "creature horror.")


Thursday, November 17th

22:14PM

The other end of the Snufflescope:

My mother has been getting back into garage sales in a big way. I used to enjoy going to garage sales myself, but I suffer from a lack of space to put it all. The thrill of the hunt is great, but once all the obvious spots to put cool stuff are filled (and filled again, when the cool stuff is something like furniture upon which other cool stuff can be placed), the thrill of figuring out how to rearrange the old cool stuff so the new cool stuff can fit somewhere is a lot less thrillthy.
side-by-side cabinet

($5 at a Highlands Ranch yard sale)

Not that this stops me entirely from getting more cool stuff, but it certainly does slow me down.

(To the left is my still reigning "best garage sale coup ever" find: an antique oak side-by-side bought for the princely sum of $5. The door that would have been on the bookcase side is gone, but the mirror still has the original silvered glass.)

I still stop and get a few garage sale gems myself occasionally, but my mother has been completely passing me by in this department. She makes sure I don't get totally left out of the fun, though, by calling me when she runs into something she thinks I might be interested in.



Like this lovely cerulean-mounted optical aparatus, a vintage (but not antique) Criterion Dynamax 6 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, complete with a Meade motorized base (in matching finish):

Snufflescope

"The moon looks Huge! It's like it's right in front of my nose!"

Not exactly state of the art, it's true, but neither am I--and it's certainly a lot more portable than my old 6" Newtonian (also garage sale sourced). For $55 it was an order of magnitude more expensive than the oak side-by-side above, but the $55 included a bunch of other stuff thrown in, some telescope-related, others not so telescopic. It works out.
It took a little extra work to hunt down an EOS adapter for the Dynamax because Criterion used a *slightly* different thread for their Schmidt Cassegrain mounts than Meade and Celestron do. Meade and Celestron use a 2" SCT thread whereas Criterion seems to have settled on 50mm. So very close, but not *quite* close enough to be compatible.


If I ever get serious about astrophotography, I can worry about leaving the realm of garage sales then--up until now, my efforts have been limited to capturing images like the lunar eclipse sequence at right, so it's not the equipment that's the limiting factor:
Happy Halloween

Yes, this would have been a more appropriate illustration last month, but I figure that since the stores are still trying to sell off their Halloween leftovers, I can get away with it, too.
At this point I've only gotten as far as getting the hardware to connect a DSLR and putting the two together. Actual photos have yet to ensue, but having the gear to do it is an important step.

Thanks, Mom!



Wednesday, November 16th

16:31PM

A simple prop, to occupy my time:

I've been saying forever that I need to do more weapons work. (Well, almost forever--at least since the ending of the electroweak epoch...more or less.) Everybody loves a good swordfight, and I've spent some doing various flavors of them, but I personally prefer staff-type weapons myself. You can do a lot with a polearm that really can't be done with a sword, they're better suited for defensive and nonlethal tactics, and they give you a lot more options for the use of space and movement. They're bigger, too, which is a plus in my book.

Today's tactics are brought to you by the letter "Halberd," which is a horribly inspecific class of weapon: pretty much anything that is a long stick with some kind of non-stick item attached to one end has been called a halberd a time or twenty, but the one I've got today is built like a heavy scimitar with a four-foot handle. It's a very different weapon from the "axe on a pike" flavor of halberd, and allows for a good mix of techniques adapted from both sword and staff. I like it.

One of the best (and most challenging) aspects of the design is the asymmetry of it: you do a lot more grip reversals and switches with something like this than you would with a sword, but you always have to remain aware through each movement which way the sharp side is facing, so you generally have to rotate it in your hands during any grip changes.

The sharp edge is similar to a sword, but with a greater range, the concave side works well for parries and disarms, and you can use the non-bladed end like a staff (there's usually a counterweight at the end for balance, which gives you even more technique options). It's a bear to practice with indoors, however, and tends to get tangled up in the window treatments, so I've been taking it out to the driveway with a boombox full of Rammstein to run through my katas.

On the warmer days, I thought I'd see if I could even out my amazing farmer's tan at the same time by working out in a pair of "tan-through" swim trunks. I'm not sure that it's done a whole lot for my tan, but at least I'm doing my part to make the neighborhood more interesting.

have a halberd

(More fun than a bicycle pump)


My inspiration for picking this particular type of halberd to practice with was the (then) upcoming film, Tengu in which I'm playing "Tanaro" who is not a traditional Hawaiian food, uplifting Broadway showtune, or the latest hot Salsa dance step, but a demonic anti-messiah bent on bringing the evil spirits from another plane into this one. The odds were slim (and by "slim," I mean "zero") that any choreography that I came up with would actually make it into the film, but I take my inspiration and motivation where I can get it and it certainly wouldn't hurt to get more familiar with the weapon.

Working with stellar stunt and fight performers like Mark Grove and James Lew, I have to at least try to keep up. But whatever I may lack in skill and experience, I more than make up for in something else that I'll think of eventually (probably sometime after I've uploaded this entry). (BTW, on the left in the picture below is Vivian Lie, who is certainly a great pleasure to work with, and on the right in the demon makeup is Will Beckingham, who has made it firmly on my list of people I would love to have in any movie cast and crew--one of those great gems in the industry whose talents and dedication shine both on and off the camera.)

Tanaro

And now it's off to 16th century Japan, where I'll be playing "Tanaro," a demonic anti-messiah
(note how the costume cleverly disguises my non-Japanese features)

You probably can't tell this just looking at my mask in this picture (at least I hope you can't), but the way the mask is constructed, it doesn't sit _on_ my face, it sits about 3-4 inches in front of it. Since it's a fairly heavy piece of resin, it also adds an invigorating 10-hour neck workout to each day's shoot. On the down side, because the eyeholes are all the way out there, my field of view is roughly equivalent to peering through a pair of squashed toilet paper tubes.
...when it's on straight, which would only happen for the brief period between the moment I got it on and the first time I moved in any direction. Then it would flop over to one side (almost always to the left), so for the remainder of the scene, I'm acting with my head canted off to the right so the mask would look like it was straight up and down. I'm told that it looked great for the camera, though it meant that my vision was limited to a random one-point-three square foot area approximately twelve feet to my left.
But, as I discovered, being armed with a heavy six-foot bladed weapon provides more than enough incentive for anyone to get out of your way, regardless of whether you can see them or not. Try it sometime; you'll see.
On my last day as Tanaro, I discovered that I was able to stabilize the mask by wearing a pair of earmuffs (_evil_ earmuffs) across my forehead and temples under the mask. That didn't make my field of view any larger, but at least it made it stay put. Mostly.
When I was up at the location, it was 40 degrees out, wet and slippery from the snow and rain and--I don't know if you were aware of this--but forests are practically chock-full of trees. I guess I should have checked first, but this seemingly minor detail can complicate things signficantly when you're swinging a six-foot halberd around...at least when a bout of high-intensity tree pruning _isn't_ on your day's agenda. (But if it had been, then you'd absolutely be in luck.)
So as it happened, the bulk of Tanaro's ensuing battles ended up being conducted using his amazing telekinetic powers, which was easier on the more-fragile-than-it-looks prop halberd featured in the film and the surrounding vegetation. It's not the first time I've done a fight scene solo--though in the past, it's more often been for foley reasons rather than in preparation for compositing and CGI--but it certainly has its advantages when it comes to choreography and giving you even more options for camera placement.
Tanaro

These horns really liked the tree branches, too. Way too much for their own good. I have much more respect for elk now than I ever did before.
It's really not all that different from playing "Wii Ninja" or "Halberd Hero"--the controllers and stuff are just a little heavier.


trygve logo
Trygve.Com
sitemap
what's new
FAQs
diary
images
exercise
singles
humor
recipes
media
weblist
internet
companies
community
video/mp3
comment
contact
Backlogs:


- 2009 -

October
September
August
July
May
April

- 2008 -

November
June
February
January

- 2007 -

November
October
September
July
May
April
March
January

- 2006 -

December
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2005 -

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2004 -

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2003 -

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2002 -

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2001 -

December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January

- 2000 -

December
November
October
September


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




Tune in tomorrow for another episode

of


Trygve's Blog
Shooting Tengu
Trygve's Digital Diary
The base of the tree