Archive for March, 2015
I don’t know about you guys, but I got into all of this because of how much I loved watching movies. Well, I am facing the same conundrum that everyone who starts making content runs up against: Doing can put a big dent in watching. Of course, watching can also put a pretty big dent in doing. Obviously.
Unfortunately, I’ve recently discovered the glory of the Chicago film screening scene. I’ve been traveling downtown far more often these days, and two theaters are mainly responsible.
The Logan Theater in the Logan’s Square neighborhood of Chicago has a selection of recent movies, but then they have a monthly themed revival screening series. This is where I saw Chinatown and Fire Walk With Me on the big screen. This is where, during the month of October, I saw Poltergeist and Trick ‘r Treat on the big screen for the first time. October is horror movies, of course, February is romance movies, but then they also come up with their own insane themes. The month of March has been Anderson vs. Anderson vs. Anderson: screening works by Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, and Paul W.S. Anderson. I’ve spent the last couple of Thursday nights seeing Resident Evil and Event Horizon. Tonight, I get to once again revel in the magnificent and hypnotically depressing Magnolia. It’s awesome. And Thursday screenings are $5. Unbelievable.
The Music Box Theater is a glorious old movie house. Huge, old school, vaulted ceiling auditorium of a movie house with as tiny dollhouse-feeling second screen for the smaller titles. They do midnight screenings of classics using old beat-up 35 millimeter prints and are the main destination for the limited release flicks that come through Chicago. This is where I saw an awesomely gritty print of Aliens and heard Ripley’s voice echoing off of antique movie palace walls that have been around long before theater walls were heavily padded for sound dampening for optimal listening. It’s where I finally saw the theatrical cut of Donnie Darko at a midnight screening and heard a crowd of people cheer after the line, “Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion.
So going to these screenings obviously cuts back on the time that I spend at the computer building the show or my shorts or any creative video output. And sitting at my computer hammering away at the next link in my videography is time that I’m not consuming the things that keep me excited. I think I’ve found a pretty good balance, though. Just enough theater visits to keep me excited and motivated, and enough desk time to keep me working on output.
I just wanted to tell you all about two of my favorite spots, I guess. Thanks for reading.
The modern filmmaker isn’t really a filmmaker if their content goes online. They’re a content creator. I’ve spoken before about the carnival barking nature of being an online content creator, but here we go again, because I’m currently campaigning.
Content creators need three main things from people:
- Their attention.
- Their money.
- Their votes.
I’m lucky enough to have gotten a good group of people who are interested in the stuff we’re doing, so there’s 1. Every time we fundraise for an episode, I’m so amazed and grateful that there are people who put their money into PoPS, so there’s 2.
And then there’s 3. A lot of online competitions have a voting element to them. The theory must be that if someone can generate enough votes, their content must be at least a certain quality. Theoretically, the better content and more ambitious creators will automatically rise to the top. It’s a solid idea and I’ve seen it work really well. I’ve also seen voting systems get thoroughly hacked. Once I was in a competition against a dude who had the good will backing of a 4chan board. They wrangled that guy’s numbers like nobody’s business with some kind of hacked cyber voting system. There’s no beating 4chan, you guys. But we put up a pretty good fight and raised an impressive number of legitimate votes. Plus, the guy they were backing is a really good YouTuber. I’m still subscribed to him.
This week I’m campaigning for votes to get into the top ten of another competition. It’s for the 30-second horror short we did that won the Studio360 #scaryshorts competition, …Jack. In order to vote, people have to click the thumbs up icon that comes with the official entry video. I wish they could use the one that’s been up for a year; I’ve got a lot of good views and thumbs ups on that one. But here’s the link to the video to thumbs up:
And since I feel like I’m always asking people to vote for me in competitions, I thought I’d at least make a fun video for the campaign this time:
Eliza and I shot that ourselves a couple nights ago and it took me two evenings of editing to get the crank effect rotoscoped out and everything color corrected. I had so much fun making that thing.
I hope you’ll vote for me if you have a minute to do so, I love horror competitions and this time I could even win a little money if I end up in the top three.
Thanks for reading.
Ahh, independent production in the Midwest. I have been ON FIRE this week, you guys. I’ve been hyper productive at work and then coming home to work on the show and other project ideas. I’ve been accomplishing things like crazy, and I think it’s all thanks to the fact that the weather finally broke. For the last few days, we’ve had weather above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We even had a day flirting with 60. 60!!!!!! After months of freezing to death, the 50s with some sunshine falling on your shoulders feels like t-shirt weather. And it’s just made me feel super productive.
This is the thing about living in Chicago, I romanticize the hell out of LA all winter long. It’s only partially about the weather. Of course, I long for the sunshine, the hills meeting the ocean, the yearlong temperature above 60, and the palm trees…God, I love palm trees. But, it’s also the fact that most of the people I follow on Twitter are industry folks in LA who are always Tweeting the details of amazing LA-based events—movie screenings, merch release parties, signings, meet-ups, etc. God, I love movie screenings.
But there’s a reverent appreciation for sun and warmth as daylight savings time ticks over in Chicago that’s only experienced by the truly deprived. By the middle of February, we’re so used to leaving work after dark, shivering our way to our cars while the winter wind tries to eat our faces, our cars almost warming up by the time we get to our destinations, and walking into our chilly apartments and turning on the oven and the space heater to try and defrost our living space before we start to defrost our dinners. It’s easy to forget that you were ever warm; that you’ll ever be warm again. That moving about can be easy and free. And then when the sun breaks through and the outside warms up again, there’s such an appreciation for life and the knowledge that we all made it through. Together, we all survived. Again. Soon, the bare legs will be back and we can get our bikes out again.
Anyway, that’s why I’ve been feeling so productive lately. Chicago’s four-month prison sentence seems to be at its end. The perimeter walls lining every street are melting. I heard several birds chirp this morning.
In other news, sometimes in casting friends, you can cause more stress than you ever meant to. That happened with PoPS this week. I cast a friend and it was such a source of stress for them that they had to back out. I feel so bad about it. From here on out, I’m going to make sure that I’m not putting too much pressure on people. I don’t want this show to be a source of stress for anyone but me. And, unfortunately, Eliza. Because she’s my go-to producer.
Thanks for reading, y’all.