Yesterday was a strange day. It was my first day of rest in… man… I really… really don’t know how long.
My sister was in town for a day, she’s heading cross country with her car. Leaving it in Miami before heading back to Greece. She came by at 9am for coffee and chilling for a couple hours. I showed her an early cut of the first episode of my upcoming webseries. It was nice to see her. I miss her a lot.
Oh… hello, by the way. Sorry about that. I know it’s been a while. Excluding that short birthday thank you I posted last week, I haven’t really been around much, have I? My last real blog post was in July, and before that in May. Does that mean I’m not a blogger anymore? Sort of how I can’t really call myself a rock climber anymore? Damn… I worked hard for that title. Blogger, I mean.
If you’ve read my last post, you may remember that I was (and still am) cranking on a pretty time consuming project. An indie rock musical webseries. I wrote my last post here smack dab in the middle of our shoot actually (although it mostly dealt with the process leading up to the shoot.)
Wow, it really does seems like forever ago. Which should probably give you a hint of how the second half of the shoot went.
Ruffa dan ruff
Tuffa dan tuff
To say these last couple months have been stressful would be a gross understatement. Directly following that last post, my crew, my cast, my idyllic little project set out on a expedition, the likes of which this dude has never experienced: quite literally a journey to the surface of the sun.
I guess I should have known. Mojave desert. Middle of July. Probably gonna be hot. And if we’re unlucky enough to be hit by a heat wave… probably gonna be hot as hell. As in the actual fires of hell. Yeah. It was ruffa dan ruff.
We blew more tires on production vehicles than I can even count. Engines dying left and right. Air conditioning systems that just refused to work. And a schedule that was frankly. just. mammoth.
For those who don’t know this about me, I’m a pretty superstitious guy… I also believe in cycles. I very much believe in cycles, and well… I can’t help but think about the first half of this project, how smooth, lucky, exploratory, creative it was… and then look back at the second half and think, “of course it had to go that way… the tires on this puppy just had to burst at some point… what did I expect?”
Our location shoot was 7 days between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but it felt like a month. And when we returned on July 21st, all of us crispy around the edges, I looked at the schedule… and we hadn’t gotten it all. With every bump we hit along the way, a scene had been dropped. And I estimated about 30 hours were still left of that stuff.
*sigh* 30 hours. Maybe more.
And thus began Part 2 of…Part 2 of this project… which I suppose is Part 4? Or why don’t we call it Chapter 4 to make it clearer.
Chapter 4: the coldest of all chapters.
This one was as icy as Chapter 3 was scorching- okay okay a little dramatic and maybe a bit of an overuse of symbolism… cut me some slack, I’ve been away from the blog for a while.
Oh! I have an office now! It’s at Sound City Center in Van Nuys. It’s small… oddly shaped (it’s not really square, it’s like a parallelogram) But I love it! Oh man, I just love it! And I’ve been driving to work every day for the past month. Putting in an average of about 14 hours a day.
August was largely about our pick up shoot. Getting all that missing stuff. A few of you probably read some of my nervous tweets early in the month. I spent day after day of preparation. Obsessing over those 30 hours and the near dried up funds that needed to get us there. Planning out solutions to every conceivable disaster that might strike. Storyboarding, prop listing, going through all the footage we did get for possible continuity concerns… praying that my actors didn’t book another gig or shave their heads or something.
Just friggin stressing. Maybe cause I could sense the cycle wasn’t complete yet. Things hadn’t quite balanced out with that flawless first half. And perhaps I thought that somehow if I was prepared enough, strong enough, fast enough, I could beat it!
But there were just too many thing that happened in August to come out completely unscathed: miscommunications, rumors, failed agreements, finger pointing, salmonella (believe it or not), the occasional boogie monster peeping out from under my bed.
In the end… we got it all. I’m not quite sure how, but we did. We muscled through… and I’m so happy with it. And proud as hell of my team. Proud proud proud. But this shoot was hard. And I definitely walked away pretty broken…
But the project isn’t over. Far from it. Months left of editing, animating, compositing, color correcting. And there’s no way I’d ever be able to get through that without some amount of personal repair work.
My birthday was only a few days after we wrapped on our pick ups… and I guess I was imagining a pretty sullen celebration here in town… or maybe no celebration… hell I wasn’t even sure people would remember my birthday!
So on a last minute whim, I bought a ticket to Germany so that I could ensure myself some happiness on that day…
Because… *short diversion… and I guess small drumroll*
… yes, for those who have wondered, I am dating a girl who lives in Germany. She and I have been doing the long distance thing for some time… and as I’m sure you can probably imagine, it comes with its own set of obstacles… and it’s not easy.
So I guess I just don’t feel comfortable sharing details about it online. I hope that’s okay. And I hope this short diversion can serve as an answer to some of the questions I’ve gotten on my formspring and twitter about this lately. I don’t want anyone to think I’m ignoring them.
Okay, back to the story. So I went to Germany. And I had a little birthday party with a bunch of my friends in Nuremberg. And it was awesome. And I guess I got some perspective on things… or started to, at least; identified some mistakes I’d made. Traps I’d fallen into… and a week later when I stepped foot back in the states, I was ready to rock this project like a hurricane again.
Last week we got the first two episodes of the series to a really nice place in the edit. We’re close to locking it. That means the real color, animation, fx, and sound work comes next.
And then… I think… this sucker’s gonna premiere.
My webseries is going to premiere. My first fully completed webseries.
I like that.
Which brings me back to my day yesterday. My strange day of rest… labor day… repair day… OKAY! A LITTLE BIT OF WORK DAY!
Are any of you wondering where this series is actually going to premiere?
Well, I can finally reveal that.
The name of the site is Lockerz.com. I’ve always joked that the “z” makes it cooler. Like Zorro, you know?
It’s a start up, with a really interesting spin. They give incentive to the experience of social networking. That’s to say, Lockerz turns the experience of connecting, playing, and shopping… into a game… kind of like Foursquare, except with tangible prizes and big discounts on gadgets and clothes.
And I’m gonna be completely honest here, which may even take the Lockerz folks a bit by surprise… I’ve been a little unclear exactly how it all worked. I mean, I understood the general concepts, but I wasn’t sure exactly how all the elements fit together… particularly how my series would be integrated into it.
Is it a social network? Is it a video content network? Is it a shopping mall? A digital carnival? And I have to say, I’ve been a little worried lately that this series, the one we’ve broken our backs trying to make, might get lost inside all of that.
So one of the things I decided on my plane trip back to the U.S. was that I was going to spend time understanding this company a little better. I was gonna really get to know Lockerz and their brand.
So yesterday, I logged into their site with the account they sent me almost a year ago when I first pitched them the series. Back then, I remember their site was pretty sparse. They still have a lot planned… but it looks way different than a year ago, that’s for sure.
I picked Labor Day because I knew I wouldn’t be leaving my couch or my pajamas that day, and because I saw they were running a promotion that would triple the number of points you could get consuming content on their site. And I knew I’d be consuming A LOT.
I started watching videos, reading old blog posts, answering questions. I specifically went for the daily Vlogs created by the staff… there are 325 of them dating back a year, and they were like 1 minute a piece, and so I was like, “I can totally chomp through these in a day.”
It was actually cool sort of going back in time as I watched them… remembering where I was during my own series process at that time.
And with each one I watch, I started getting points. And at a certain point, I was like, “holy crap, I want more points! More points! MORE POINTS DAMNIT!!”
I think I started the day at like 62 points or something. But I watched about 350 videos yesterday. So I racked up quite a few more.
Now one big critique I have about video on the internet is that companies really need more variety in their preroll ads. Seriously, I don’t mind watching commercials. I’m a child of the 80s, and I actually like good ones. But I hate the fact that when you watch shows on HULU, ABC.com, etc, you see the same commercial over and over. Lockerz is no exception to this rule. There’s this one ad with a kid saying he likes spicy chips on his pizza that I must have seen like 200 times. No joke. I hate that kid.
But I do know the names of almost everyone in their office now… versus just the four honchos I sit down with at meetings.
Would you believe I racked up over 10,000 points (which they call PTZ)?! LOL! I was a little obsessed.
And now I get it. I really do. And I like it. It has a sort of Foursquarey (badges and status and points) Huluy, Boutiquey, Trendy, Geeky sort of feel. It’s fun… and perhaps a little addictive.
Okay okay, if I sound like I’m trying to sell you on the site, it’s because I sort of am… you see, I’m pretty sure my series will only be playing at Lockerz… at least in the beginning, and I really want you guys to see it. So sign up if you’re curious about the series or some of the above (which is all totally true).
What else? Oh, H+ is full speed ahead. We just turned in a new draft. And we’re getting ready to do some previs with a company called The Third Floor. The coolest part about that is we’re gonna motion capture actors for it… like they did for Lord of the Rings (if you remember from the bonus features on the DVD).
The animatic storyboards will have little 3D characters, but they’ll move exactly like the actors. It’s an interesting process that I’ve never seen up close, so I’m really excited.
I have a beard now. I’m a bearded guy now. My mom thinks it makes me look like Steven Spielberg. I think I look more Cuban. Or more ethnic at least.
And that’s been my past few months. Crazy ride. Not quite sure the cycle has completed… but I guess we’ll see. I’ll try to keep you updated.
Thanks for coming back to read this. I’ve missed this part of my life. Really.