july 6 2011
"you are the king of selective listening"
"i am the king!"
july 5 .......i'm about 1/4 of the way through carving out a skeleton sound mix and finding the right beats... meanwhile rearranging shots, yesterday finished one last roll of film, and am happy to report now that the movie is at least not going to suck... things are slowly sticking and tugging in the right directions, sometimes surprisingly so. animating, writing, and shooting for almost a couple years without arranging any of the scenes together is always a strange thing, seems like sculpting something in pitch blackness with maybe a tiny bit more light let into the room as you go, but it's only months later when these first edits and sound touches let in enough light to actually see the thing you've been chiseling for ages: "oh, i've got his head on backwards" - "oh, obviously this has to go here and i need one of these" - "wow, this is really just terrible"
i meant to type "exposed neg" on this can of film and accidentally put, EXPLOSED NEG
quote of the night, observing a clumsy fall: "if you had a sparkler in your ass that would have qualified as a firework."
june 23 2:35am i was a lot like cat today. i got up on the roof, i ate a lot, and now i'm sleepy. early sound work continues. i don't remember the narration being this hard before to actually get right. rewriting, changing music, etc. the air is warm and wet tonight from last night's storm and everywhere in the darkness all things are hissing and chirping and going rrrrrrr
june 22 the sky is thundery now and my bread tastes like pancakes
june 16-17 i realized i am missing one minor shot, which gave me the excuse to order yet more film and add a few other bits and pieces... one involving a strange little thing on a beach which i am going to draw tonight. the furnaces are burning hotter now and i feel i am slowly pounding this thing into some sort of shape, or at least something vaguely shaped like a movie. with everything finally flowing in order it's much more clear which sequences need a little more of this, and which need a little more of that. just saw "the tree of life" tonight and liked it very much, though after discussing it i realized that through the whole movie i'd thought sean penn was the other brother, which i guess sort of changed the whole thing for me. also took the wrong freeway to get to the movie theater, mere seconds after reminding myself to take the other freeway, so it seems like maybe there's a recurring something-wrong with me.
i fed the cat who thinks he lives here leftover beef chow mein and afterwards he looked up at me and said, "thank you very much, that was fantastic."
the first assembly of "chapter 3" has just been stitched together, it clocks in at just under 22 minutes though more footage is going in and more footage is going out. this is nerve-wracking to watch.... it is always easy to panic when you see about two years of work quietly whiz by like nothing... i'm probably shooting roll 13, all retakes, this weekend on the new film stock kodak's introduced to replace the stuff i usually use... their promotions make it sound like the stock's so versatile that its emulsion can capture the ghost images of your dead ancestors and then melt the screen with colors. which luckily is exactly what chapter 3 is all about.
there's a handful of scenes in there that could be better though, particularly the last shots of the movie (rather important), and i'm therefore going to need to rethink and reshoot them here in austin with the screwy blind camera.
could finishing this movie be any more dramatic? camera one has taken sniper fire! land the airplane, blind camera! land the airplane!
well, it's getting exciting... the footage looks really great and some of it makes me want to run around... as i suspected though, the camera's shutter action began breaking down midway through the week, and by rolls 10 and 11 there are frequent bursts of overexposed frames interrupting every shot. suspecting this, i'd shot everything really fat and i'm pretty sure we can cut around all of it. meanwhile, i was forced to not use registration pegs for some of the really experimental stuff, and i think something also got misaligned when i printed many of these frames, resulting in many shots that are weirdly jittery, like a strange earthquaking hand-held look... so put together a lot of this material basically looks like i was desperately trying to finish the movie while under intense machine gun fire.
but i think i will be able to use some of these weird flaws to the footage's advantage. maybe.
may 1 wasps have started living inside of one of my lawn chairs. it's like the worst chair you can select now.
april 30 austin. "it's a wrap." uh, until i see the footage and inevitably have to go back and reshoot and fix and a bunch of stuff. but we can pretend. 1600 feet of animation shot in 8.5 days, a new record. going to sleep now.
april 25 back in santa barbara, five days into shooting, 10-12 hrs a day at the camera, everything hurts. the giant stacks of animation left for "chapter 3" are formidable but i should be able to plow through by the end of the week. every late night i drive back and think i see blurry figures and faces in dark corners of streets. the magic camera stand blew out a light today and lately the shutter has been getting stuck on frames, but damn it, it still runs and we flow together like old times. when i re-opened the studio for the first time in seven months, the door wedged on a massive pile of junk mail that had amassed beneath the mail slot, damp and literally rotting from leaking rainwater
april 14, with nothing to do until i go shoot next week, i shaved my beard off and sat down and began writing this feature screenplay i've had hanging in a tree for years. in one twelve hour plus sitting i have poured out 33 finished pages and am feeling rathergreat.
i just accidentally sent an email signed as "dion" :(
april 8 i drove by the google street view car today. maybe i should have waved or done something fun but i sort of sadly drove past like i was in trouble. also i think the conflicting sudden impulses of all the different fun things i could do on the spot would've collided and i'd have just sort of thumped against the driver side window.
the woman behind the counter at the post office looked like she'd been crying all morning. also last week we were almost run over by a high speed police chase. (not the woman in the post office)
"I do not like the picture at all, -- in fact I cannot find words to express how much I dislike it.
-- You were never physically attractive to me; you are neither graceful nor beautiful, and you evidently know nothing of the laws or properties of beauty.
Otherwise you could not have sent me such a picture, as it could only disgust me.
Whatever liking I have had for you, it has never been of such a character that I could be otherwise than disgusted by such a picture as that.
It is unutterably coarse and gross and beefy. It is simply unendurable."
march 27 2011, i think i finished animating today, i think. unsettling. i am restless.
according to the journal i started drawing this way back in october 2009, easily another life ago. i can't remember when i started writing, i doubt those first drafts resemble this much anymore, it's grown and grown and grown into something sort of weirdly great. stacks and stacks of stuff waiting here to be shot, plenty of months of production work still ahead, but my nights of drawing little round headed things in successive motion seem to be over for now. everything will be ok turns five years old this year, what a long way to tell a story.
the weather here is good. once the summer humidity hits, you don't want to go outside much other than to swim. cats melt and can be poured into convenient six packs
march21 a glimmer of good news....the austin camera passed its test with flying colors, looking clean and free of bad things. of course i am shooting almost blind on it (no working eyepiece, framing things by squinting straight into the little reflex mirror) but i should at least be able to get some easier shots tackled here in case i'm not able to get it all though the magic camera in santa barbara. i still can't believe i own two of these beasts, resurrected from life support, in different states. today a turtle scowled at me for an extended period of time and i put a plastic wolf tattoo on my arm. we were going to hike but sara brought the wrong shoes.
march16, 17 sxsw is happening and downtown is wall to wall shuffling tote baggin hipsters, rockstars, aggressive LA types, hula hoop girls and ukeleles, no parking, and warily passing drunk white guys post-beaten up and left bleeding on the sidewalk. so i haven't been going downtown very much. but i did see the new werner herzog cave documentary and it's pretty great.
i also saw a michael stipe thing, followed by a band that screamed "geiissshaaaaa!" a lot while we ignored all the motion around us and talked about the end of the world while watching the terrifying radioactive news coming out of japan on a small blue screen. also last night i had to cut a wasp in half but in the morning it was a moth.
i've just booked a flight back to santa barbara in one month to shoot, so now i have to buckle down and actually finish the rest of this movie. really hoping to shoot some of the simpler stuff on the cri-ppled camera wondering what it's doing in my house, i shot a strip test on it today to make sure the gate is at least not full of bug hairs. incidentally kodak has forever discontinued my usual film stock for these cameras and i've just bought the last four rolls of it in existence... i guess there's a replacement stock but it's 200t instead of 100, and change scares me. we found ourselves drinking with davefoley the other night, who wound up curled up in the dirt in his suit. last i saw him he was doing that thing where you go down a staircase walking carefully backwards on all fours. i am still not altogetherhere but i just found a cookie to eat. quote of the day: "it would be funny at first
but i am sandy and determined"
march 7 who wants to go to ikea thisweek?
down to maybe three shots left to animate, the last three i've been stalling for weeks for not having figured out yet
....one in which a character is viewing "stunning works of art," the sort of scene you immediately hate yourself for writing when you sit down to actually try and deal with it. need to grimly stare these down as quickly as i can this week and then book a long trip to the santa barbara camera, i wonder if she misses me.
every day i've painted a different wall in the house.
quote of the week: "if i was run over by a bus would you go barf on a stripper?" i think i had something else to tell you but i can't remember
this is maybe the most interesting article you will read about "wisdom teeth."
[climbs out of hole in the desert]
rarrara rrarrr arrrrrr
[lumbering around landscape with claws]
the austin flea market = machetes, cock fighting dvds, and last supper paintings
february 16 it's warm again, with fat grasshoppers in the dead lawn and happy rolling cats on doorsteps. i have about ten very difficult shots left to animate and then i'm done...
february 7 the ending is almost totally storyboarded now. i...i can't believe how many shots there are in this movie. every time i think i'm getting close it all just expands just a little bit more. but the light at the end of the tunnel is almost in sight. knocking them down one at a time. getting hard to leave the house. this movie is going to eat your face.
february 4 my friend molly sometimes teaches illustration at elementary schools: this is a kid's inexplicable drawing of two dragons
dropping their plastic water bottles down a storm drain to engage in sudden battle. i want to frame it
february 3 highs in the 20s this week, possible snow tonight, animating in front of the space heater with a scarf, coat and hat
january 31 i bought a piano a few weeks ago and am happily getting back in the habit of playing every day. i have conquered two gnossiennes, one more to go.
above certain phrases, most composers' notes to the musician will read something like
"softly" or "brightly"... satie's fantastic notes read, "open your head," "arm yourself with perspicacity," "don't leave," and "how to achieve absolutely nothing."
there's a huge storm blowing through tonight, wind and rain throwing trees around and snow is on the forecast in two days. tonight i've been drawing an elegant creature though the animation hasnt reached elegance yet.
january 30 everybody had a bad week. i crushed my finger, really smashed it, thankfully not the drawing hand but i'm not sure i've ever felt such physical pain before, like the same level of awfulness for ten minutes that leaves you writhing on the carpet exclaiming things. then it swelled up and the fingernail turned alarmingly blue with blood and long story short i learned this trick from a doctor on youtube where you muster the courage to light up the tail of a paperclip til it's white hot so you can drive a burning hole in the nail to drain out all the blood.
too much information? nobody's reading this anyway. so stabbing burning metal repeatedly into my hand was how i spent the other morning and i
did it sort of dumb for the first few attempts and let me tell you if it's only red hot it won't burn through the nail and will only just really really hurt.
let's hope this week's a little better yeah? i completed three beautiful shots so far to the ending to "chapter 3", it's really happening.
"Perhaps that is what has made us America's Pretzel."
january 24 wrapping up a few shots tonight of bill under a very familiar tree. the ending is finally up next, maybe starting the first shots in a day or two, and i'm getting really jumpy to launch into it now.
in this shot from last week i had to animate bill very, very small. this was actually spoken in conversation today: "i'm curious what dr. handy says on groundhog day."
january 15 i'm starting to stare into the future (it's eerie but i do this) + wondering exactly how long it'll take to finish "chapter 3" and whether it'll still be deliverable in time for another fall tour... and in turn how wise it will be to pull the trigger on starting tour preparations, say, over the summer, if the finish line for the movie is still in limbo. i seem to be a couple months behind where i thought i'd be. sort of began storyboarding the ending sequences which is really exciting and terrifying. they are huge.
this is a totally useless conversation i had on 8/30/09 while working on the sound for "wisdom teeth"
me: i cant think of what sound effects to put with these shots
sara: birds and puddles
me: i didnt think puddles made sounds
sara: they do whn my feet are in them
me: if puddles could sing their voices would be low and groany
me: this person in the scene is in intense pain and the screen sort of goes abstract. i dont want to use sound effects i would ordinarily put here because ive already kind of done them to death
sara: doens't pain sound like "wahwahwah"
me: well its not the person making the sounds.... its the sounds of the image
sara: i know that!
me: wah wah wah?
sara: i didn't mean a person saying that.
me: like a siren you mean?
sara: no, not like a siren like a pounding headache
me: like a low drone? waaaaaaaaaaaah waaaaaaaaaaaaah
sara: yeah that pulsates
me: "ow this really hurts! WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH"
january 11 2011 where i've been lately
january 6 2011 happy new year. is it too late to say happy new year? after weeks of compositing shots, it feels really great to actually be drawing again. hello paper. hello pencil. i've cleared a lot of shots out of the way now and almost ready to get started on the ending. maybe after one more week of all this. i don't know why but my hair seems to keep turning red