september 23 driving
i can't seem to sleep anymore but i got to see the sun rise and it was beautiful
there is a large green frondy plant at the bottom of the stairs here and as i was just coming in it was gyrating around and flopping its fronds together in a sort of plant applause, even though there was no breeze and no discernable way for it to be moving. i think it must have been really excited
september 12 had a nother two trips to burbank this week and the movie's officially done and coming out of the oven. i was really worried about some effects shots that had come out super dark on the first pass, almost all black, but we were able to pull much more out of the negative this week and i'm pleased to say we will not have to cancel the tour. the prints are beautiful, the film is sharp + rich and all set to premiere next week in the nick of time. there are things i'd like to fix in the soundtrack for the dvd, but there are always things i'd like to fix in the soundtrack for the dvd. a handful of people have now seen the final movie and the universal response so far has been to point at the screen and horribly yell "skreeeeeee!" my brown hoodie still smells like a museum
"Skreeeeeeee!" - The New York Times
"Skreeeeeeeeee!! Skreeeeeee!" - The Chicago Tribune
"Skreeeeeee!" - The San Francisco Chronicle
september 8 going through all the film prints in storage for the tour and am finding old prints that had returned home damaged from venues, or defective reels received from labs, so i wrote "do not screen!" or "don't project this print!!" on the can to make sure it didnt accidentally get released again, and i like how that makes it seem like the contents of the movies are dangerous. today the clothing store smelled like a log flume ride and i had to get out of there
september 3 tonight is foggy. still shooting the first couple minutes of chapter 3, it feels strange to know this footage will go under the bed and not actually be seen for months but at least i will have something of a head-start.
everything is anxious and a bit stressful here,
i've been waiting for the any-day-now call to revisit burbank for successive proud color sessions, and as is my luck the deadlines couldn't seem to be any tighter, as soon as these release prints are finished two need to be desperately rushed over for next-day premieres at the ottawa animation festival and the atlantic film festival in nova scotia (how is it the movie's first two screenings are in canada?), and then a print goes straight to the academy and two more prints just in time for the tour and then we're off and running.
i like when in songs they go yeah! yeah! yeah! yeah! yeah!
i had some leftover film from a few months ago, so ive been shooting a long sequence for chapter 3 that i know i'll eventually need. i'm not nearly ready to dive into that movie yet but i figured as long as i had the film i should knock it out. it's a busy time and will only get busier... have been slowly making headway into this strange book project while i have the time, and will be overseeing proud's first answer prints soon. it sort of feels like the organizational calm before the storm... dates and deadlines.. the fall tour is bringing me to 16 cities around the country and i'll pretty much be on the road throughout october and november, so now it's sort of double-checking all the light switches and gas lines to make sure everything's set and safe for me to get away
writing to you from the sound stage of the final surround sound mix for i am so proud of you. the air conditioner in my burbank hotel room was possessed by demons and kept me alternately sweating and freezing every 10 minutes and granted me less than four hours of sleep over the last two nights... so i directed the mix rather delirious today on five diet cokes and bad pizza but i think the movie sounds great and i will probably want to keep tweaking it indefinitely if they let me but the dolby guy has just arrived so they are arranging all their expensive gear and i've retreated outside with my laptop now where the sun is still shining, considering taking a nap on the pavement.
the movie's finished! the neg was sent off to the cutter today and i've really got nothing more to polish in the soundtrack. am going to spend a couple days camped out in burbank this week for the final dolby mixdown and then it will be overseeing colors and labwork from there on out... the official final running time is 21.5 minutes.
with the movie wrapped i've sort of crashed this week in a heap of lazy and have been heavily distracted by the olympics right from the opening ceremony with the 2,008 people running around in tron suits and all the children of the world hurtling through the air, and feeling a bit guilty i decided i should at least read a book or something while in front of the tv so tonight it was the psychology of children's near-death and pre-death visions against the backdrop of the chinese gymnastics team flopping around the pommel horse and it was not entirely unsatisfying. i even like the morgan freeman visa commercials. why am i such a sucker for this stuff?
we might still be under evacuation warning but i think things are beginning to clear. blankets of ash continue to snow all over the cars and bushes and it's humid all the time. the sky has been spectacular and muddy, i drove around thursday and hadn't yet realized the full extent of it all, roads closed, firetrucks whizzing in all directions, the hills all lit up demon red, a big fat guy jogging aimlessly in front of my car with a big gulp cup. there's been three days in a row with long blackouts, often right as the sun goes down and you can hear the whole neighborhood groan each time it happens. it's over 80 degrees in the middle of the night and the stars come out brighter than you've ever seen them if you can find them through the haze and neighbors knock around in the dark with candles and dead mobile phones. i'm told people are getting stabbed, and everyone drives their cars very strangely.
there's also short, intermittent blackouts throughout the day so i can't really get a lot done on the soundtrack without risking losing my progress or frying my gear. i made it to the grocery store on a very orange evening for more candles and batteries and decided to buy ice cream so every time there's a blackout i can say "well, i guess i better go eat the ice cream before it melts". the regular candles were long gone so i had to buy a giant old lady one that smells like melon.
today ive been feeling sort of bored and happy which is actually notable because i think i'm mentally done with the movie. there's still busywork to do but the familiar feeling over the last 18+ months of having your head pressurized and focused only on one thing seems to have passed, and now i want to go outside and climb on rocks or something.
there is a weird moment at the end of the leni riefenstahl documentary where she's 90 years old and sitting at the bottom of the sea stroking the back of a giant black manta ray, and in a sleepy state for some reason i interpreted the ray as a long dead and reincarnated friend of hers, possibly hitler, now gliding around the dark ocean floor from unknown decades ago. i've noticed i seem tospend a long time on flickr looking at strangers' vacation photos.
a team of ten baby spiders was discovered attempting to build a web between the soap bottle and a comb.
that's the latest from here.
june 28 i can say without hestitation now that it's my best movie. just a few more weeks to go now and hold it together. i think i'm going to remove that guitar bit after all. oddly, it helps the scene it's in and is really pretty... but it kinda weakens the following scene, where there's a bigger music cue that doesn't have any tension leading into it anymore and makes it feel a bit redundant. when you begin to realize your tweaks are doing more harm than good i guess that's when you know you're pretty close to being finished. my shirt smells like play doh
june 22 two nights ago i added a very last minute guitar track to a short sequence... i didn't think i'd have to pick up my guitar for anything this time around, but the scenes were missing something and it feels like it works now. i'm still hesitating a bit because it seems like the movie's got wall to wall music, but the flow seems great and subtle so maybe i should let it be. the ipod is playing leonard cohen and the weather is still ridiculous and last night i dreamt jeff daniels was doing something
june 20 early screenings of the movie require a sentence or two of synopsis for program books and press. i'm really bad at this and struggled with coming up with a synopsis for 'ok' and now i'm really struggling to come up with one for 'proud'. there's so much going on i'm not sure how to whittle it all down into two easy sentences. that's either really good or really bad.
got roll 13 through the camera a couple weeks ago and i think i have all the footage i need now. the ending and one other scene are demanding more attention but otherwise the movie's pretty much finished. going to spend a couple weeks finetuning the soundtrack and re-recording bits of narration and it should all be no sweat from here. the movie is fantastic, dark and deep and operatic and sad and strange.
hiding out swimming and burning in the sun, fat girls playing netless badminton in the parking lot. hello summer. we were seated at a copper table today and had to move, the strong sour metal hanging in the air freaks me out and i don't understand how people can eat off such things, ijust had my arms briefly on it and they still reek of horrible greasy copper.
they keep finding feet, now they are up to five rights and one left ; map
may 28 im beginning to notice white hair coming out of my face. i leaned on a tree today and got sap on my hoodie so i scrubbed it with the concentrated orange stain remover spray. the sap is gone but now it smells like someone threw up orangina all over me
may 26, 2008
yesterday some guy with a hose blasted all the sparrows nests off the neighbor building's second story awning, raining mud and little broken eggs down into the parking lot.
unbelievably i still have more film to shoot. all the new footage moved us closer but there's still five or so things i want to take extra cracks at. the good news is i'm further along than expected with sound, with several chunks of the movie more or less done now, and soon it looks like sound will be more finished than picture. most everything's in place and am at the point of just watching the movie repeatedly every day, taking notes, and carrying on until i can't find anything left to fix. i've still got a couple months of busywork ahead but i think the hardest parts are over with and i'm beginning to get weird about what my next project will be, if it's chapter 3 right away or not. i guess i should figure this out.
this fall if we get our act together i'm hoping to tour some theaters and say hi with "i am so proud of you". we should have announcements to share and miscellaneous pantaloons in the next couple months. why doesnt anyone improperly use the word pantaloons anymore? today the sparrows have already begun to stubbornly rebuild and i'm not sure i feel happy or sad for them.
may 14 2008 finished shooting the last(?) roll of film last week and the narration is getting closer to being locked up, so now starting to wade further into putting together sound effects and music. the weather is beautiful and its hard to stop eating. when i close my eyes i see parrots.
april 27 2008 coming up for air. these last several days have been swinging between depression and burn-out and it's getting hard to keep the energy going. the movie will be great but i'm at serious risk of shriveling into a weeping mummy thing before delivery. i'm back in photography now, which i can't believe, with a new round of experiments and maybe a dozen other new or re-animated shots to get through. i've also just finished creating decently structured narration tracks for the whole movie, which was a big step, and now i can begin to fine tune the edit to that and then fully submerge into sound. thank you for all the kind encouragement as my brain continues to melt through this, and sorry if sometimes i don't have the time to write back.
here's some more screen grabs from the current cut
april 22 2008 editing continues.... when i got the latest cut in today and saw the running time - over 22 minutes??! - my eyes did a sort of roger rabbit thing and my bow tie spun around. based on the music cue i've got in place for the ending of the movie, i've apparently overphotographed the sequence by 2 minutes. clearly there's still a lot of work to do. today was actually my first time seeing the movie put together (soundless) in full, with no "scene missing" cards anymore and i'm in that weird love/hate zone, the usual mix of vague excitement and "good lord what have i done?", and general nausea. my "reshoot" list keeps growing and i may even go back in to animate a couple new scenes and as usual it's weird to have the whole movie suddenly in front of you, with all the obvious dumb narrative things you should have thought of months ago parading around naked. right now my head is going a million miles an hour with notes and new ideas and highs and lows. happily i've managed to build a few little miracles in the sound editing this week and while that job shouldn't take as long as "ok" did (knock wood), it's still very slow going... i'm about a week in and have constructed bare bone tracks and recordings for about the first 8 minutes. but there's small and amazing glimmers now of how scenes will work, and suddenly seeing a sequence unveil itself for the first time with the music swelling just right after spending another day in front of protools makes all the binging on coke zero and toast and passing out at 7am seem like a good idea.
april 17 2008 the movie still seems to be hovering just under the 20 minute mark. i got the bare bones of the sound edit officially underway this week, organizing effects and music, and began recording my narration two nights ago (or was it last night?). the performance is easily the worst part of the process for me and i've really dug a miserable hole for myself in keeping continuity and having to narrate all three movies now, but i'm getting some decent takes for about a two hour window each night before my energy drops or my throat hurts, and i'm doing my best to sound the way i did two yearsa go. i obviously can't listen to music during sound work so instead i just eat a lot of candy.
april 10 2008
chapter 2 of "everything will be ok" is called "i am so proud of you". here's a few screen grabs from the current edit:
was in burbank the other day to see the latest footage for the first time and some of it's downright jawdropping... this camera continues to amaze me. there's still a few things left i'd like to reshoot though and i didn't think i'd still be shooting anything but credits this late, but there's some heavy new experiments in there that just need to be pushed a bit further. hope to have a locked pic by the end of may. have begun cobbling together effects and music for the sound work meanwhile which will be another massive mixing chore but luckily everything else is looking so solid i'm hoping it should mostly just be connecting all the dots..
officially finished shooting last night and am a little shell shocked and restless now with nothing to do as the last rolls of film go to the lab and i wait for editing to start moving again. i guess i might start some sketches now for the tv project, and i still have a lot of reading and research to do for that. gonna skip town this weekend.
finished animating everything on the 18th and have been in the studio for heavy photography about 7-8 hrs every night since. when i crawl home and close my eyes i see nothing but dancing blobs of light. it's grueling stuff, the end of the movie is very dense, having to burn multiple layers of effects and things all over the frame and it's hard to tell if i'm making something beautiful or a mess of visual soup. but for now the movie should be all wrapped after another few nights..
it's all here where i keep it
it's all in the submarine
march 16 2008
last week i decided it was time for me to part ways with the animation show. it's been five years and three tours and some good memories. they have a new tour rolling through theaters this summer and i don't know what will be in it but i encourage you to go check it out
march 13 in the discount bin at the drug store there's a santa claus doll with missing eyes and dirt stains all over his white trim. his embroidered sack is twisted upside down in his arms so that it reads oh, oh, oh.
most of the new footage looks amazing, a big relief. at the bottom of my shot notes i wrote, "i think this is going to work". now i just need to finish conjuring up the ending and a couple extra scenes i added. on the side of the freeway i saw a woman's tennis shoe, filled with leaves.
we've started editing... the first fat assembly added up to just over 19 minutes (!)... got a lot of trimming to do in there but that's still without the end of the movie so it may actually wind up being that long. any day now i should have some screen grabs to post here. i've only got two more scenes to animate now til that's all done and this week am heading
back into the studio to shoot the movie's ending. i bought these strange hippie potato chips and they taste like burnt salt. it's like a potato that grew up wanting to be a rice cake and ruined everything. this is a portion of a sentence i read in a book last week: "belly distended with pigs and missing children".
february 16 the other night i dreamt there was a popular little seaside town at the bottom of a roaring cliff and the only way you could get there was by climbing up the rocks and then slowly wriggling down a very narrow wooden tube, with your arms pinned to your chest, hoping somebody wasn't wriggling up the other direction. the next night i dreamt there were horrible crustaceans slowly growing out of the bathroom floor. i don't know what that means but it made me go clean the tub. i'm real close now to being done animating, i can see the finish line with just a few more scenes to go. i think i'm done messing around with rewrites too, maybe. the other day i found another forgotten roll of undeveloped 120 film that i must have shot in 2004. heres my favorite picture from it
down, down, down
something smells like paint in here. i've heard nothing but bad news all week.
have been doing more rewrites. now i just need a small push to finally finish animating. i think i have ch2 at a point now where it plays great in my head and hopefully all the footage will match. going back to burbank next week to see the latest reels for the first time.
i think ive also maybe got a much firmer idea of how chapter 3 will eventually play out. this morning i watched the sunrise in la x and stared longingly at little flecks of color in the carpet that inspire movement
january 29 kauai