12 April 2011

Lights Out

On Saturday evening, Chiba City Studios released their inaugural film "Lights Out".

I am extremely proud of the work that Dave, Chris, Jamie and I accomplished. In case you're not on Facebook, here is the link to the film:

Lights Out from Chiba City Studios on Vimeo.

This is just the beginning. We are starting preproduction on the next film this week.

More later.

06 April 2011

Chiba City Studios and "LIGHTS OUT"

The new site has been live for a few days:

Chiba City Studios

Today, we released the trailer for our upcoming film "Lights Out":

"Lights Out" Teaser Trailer from Chiba City Studios on Vimeo.

The film will go online Monday 11 April.

And now, I am going to get ready for bed. Sleep has been elusive lately.

02 April 2011

A New Endeavor

This week, we begin the roll-out for our film production company.

It is called "Chiba City Studios".

The name comes from a city in Japan. The city was immortalized in William Gibson's Neuromancer, a favourite book of the entire production team. "Chiba City Studios" was the first name that we thought of and we never changed it.

Chris, Jamie, Dave and I have been working on our first short film for the past year. This is why the blog has been quiet. All of my creative energy has gone into this new endeavor.

Please watch Always Returning and Facebook this week for further details.

For now, I leave you with this:

More later.

23 February 2010

shaking off the cobwebs

has it really been since august that i posted around here?

geez...tempus fugit.

anyway, i think that a few updates are in order:

1/ dippy the wondercat passed away yesterday. he was 22 years old, my constant companion and my little brother. while i'm sad and heartbroken, he is in a better place now (what my friend meghann call's kitty valhalla...i rather like that, don't you?). i am also very grateful for all the joy and wisdom that he brought to my life. how did he bring me wisdom, you ask? well, it's very simple. dippy always slept in my bed. this meant that i could not ever ever ever close my bedroom door. so, if i were to boil this down to an ENO oblique strategy, it would be this:

always keep the door open.

can you see the wisdom in that? this is wisdom that i hope to apply for the rest of my days. if you like it, feel free to steal it and pass it on. you'll be glad you did.

2/ the haunted house feature film has hit a bit of a snag: we (jamie, chris and i) finally figured out that we don't know what we're doing yet. so, instead of embarrassing ourselves and wasting a lot of time making mistakes and a shitty movie, we have decided to postpone the film. instead, we are working on short films. the purpose of these short films will be to learn our craft and to tell great stories in the short form. over a relatively short period of time, we hope to build a massive portfolio. this way, when it comes time to do our feature, we'll have something to show whoever we want to involve. jamie and i are working on two scripts that are potential short film projects. the goal is to roll camera on one of them starting this summer.

3/ i finally got the camera and final cut pro. i need to learn how to use both.

4/ i'm reading brian eno's biography, on some faraway beach. it is magnificent.

5/ lost is currently in it's final season. if you're not watching it, you should be ashamed of yourself. it is, quite simply, the best story ever made for television.

6/ i'm currently listening to roxy music. aren't you jealous?

that is all for now. i have a few ideas for future posts, but i'm keeping them close to the vest for the time being. i need to carve out time to work on them.

for right now, though, it's time to spend the day healing.

i command all of you to get out into the world today and do good things.

18 August 2009

(slight) always returning

still marooned in KS.

very very tired.

no additional movement on script, but i figured out how to work the dialogue in the scene i'm on. i figured it out while i was in the shower.

i've now seen the first three series of "MI-5", which is a bloody amazing bbc show.

volume three of the library of congress' ongoing collection of philip k. dick novels is out. all three volumes were edited by jonathan lethem.

half-price books, located in KS, is also bloody amazing...they've been getting a lot of my business lately.

currently reading "inherent vice" by thomas pynchon...very interesting...it feels a lot like the coen brothers.

i'm on a british avant garde music kick lately, particularly the stylings of soft machine and egg.

this week is h.p. lovecraft's birthday, so go out to your local bookstore and pick up one of the plethora of his collections.

"inglourious basterds" opens this weekend...i hope that the local drive-in will be getting it, but i'm not holding my breath.

october can't get here soon enough.

14 July 2009

haunted house script update

just finished prologue scene 1 of the script.

celtx is an amazing piece of software that takes care of all the screenplay formatting. it really helps a neophyte screenwriter, such as myself, stay on task.

next, i'll tackle prologue scene 2.

ever onward.

08 July 2009

Beautiful Decay II

Ten years ago, I read Crash by J.G. Ballard. Published in 1973, Crash is the story of two characters named Ballard and Vaughan. They have been desensitized by the world around them. In order to feel, Ballard and Vaughan begin studying car crashes and car crash victims. In the midst of their studies, Ballard and Vaughan find themselves aroused by what they see. The book follows them as they begin to experiment.

I can't say that this is my favourite book. However, it did leave an impression on me. My favourite passage is from Chapter 13. Ballard and Vaughan attend a crash test research lab symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to simulate an auto accident, using crash test dummies in a car and on a motorcycle. The scientists record the simulation for later study. Ballard (the author) describes the accident as the audience watches the video playback in slow motion. It is a dance...a haunting, mesmerizing and brutal dance.

I immediately thought that this would make an amazing music video. At the time, I heard the Adrian Belew song "Fly" as slow-motion images of crash test dummies flying through the air played. However, I couldn't afford any film equipment as a broke college student. Creating crash test simulations was also out of the question. The images that were in my imagination had to remain there.

Cut to ten years later. Jamie, Chris and I are sitting at Amer's Deli in Ann Arbor at the beginning of June, discussing our film production company. In the interest of expanding our horizons, we decided to start our own little book club for just the three of us. The first book: Crash by J.G. Ballard. I re-read the book and get to Chapter 13. It still effects me in the same way that it did ten years ago. And then it hits me:

I can make this music video now.

Because I have no way of simulating crash tests, I start scrounging on the internet.

You'd be surprised what you can find on Google with the right search pattern.

When I sat down to start editing, I queued Adrian Belew's "Fly" in i-movie with footage ready to be cut. And then I froze. I had the film editor's equivalent of writer's block. I sat for almost an hour trying to edit and nothing was working. As I sat there frustrated, I realized that the reason nothing was happening was because I was cutting the images in my head to a song that wasn't mine.

So, I scrolled through the tracks on my album. Once Beautiful Decay II came up, I knew I had something.

All of this is a very long introduction for my second film short.

A few caveats before we begin:

1/ All of the footage that you will see is simulated. These are crash tests. No human beings were involved.

2/ I make no ownership claims of the raw footage. The footage was borrowed from different sources. I am operating strictly under the guidelines of copyleft. In the interest of full disclosure, a list of my sources can be found at the bottom of this post.

3/ The footage is very low quality. However, that adds to the aesthetic of the piece.

And so, without further ado, I give you "Beautiful Decay II":

A direct link to the video can be found here.

As usual, please leave comments (regardless of whether they're good, bad, constructive, etc.).

Video Sources

1/ http://www.autoblog.com/2009/05/28/video-gm-crash-test-footage-from-the-60s-proves-weve-come-a-l/

2/ http://www.break.com/index/failed-chinese-crash-test.html

3/ http://www.archive.org/details/crashdummies1

4/ http://www.alexisparkinn.com/test_flying_videos.htm

5/ http://lisar.larc.nasa.gov/BROWSE/crashes.html