Thursday, December 6, 2012

HMMMM, INTERESTING...

Okay, okay.  I'll admit it.  I was wrong.  Apparently, for some reason, this blog didn't continue generating readable material by itself.  I had foolishly been working under the impression that, much like a stolen car after a clean getaway, I just had to give it a few initial shoves and it would pick up self sustaining speed on its way down the hill.  It turns out that it doesn't actually work that way.  Sorry about that.

So, like, hi and all that stuff.  How have you been since we last spoke?  I suppose I have a lot of things to update you about, so why don't I just get to it by starting with a new section to this blog called...

THINGS I'M GLAD I LEARNED vs THINGS I'M NOT GLAD I LEARNED:

In this section I will discuss interesting tidbits of information I've picked up during shoots and will then put them into one of two categories: Things I'm Glad I Learned or Things I'm Not Glad I Learned.  Let us begin...

Hey, did you know that Hepatitis C is curable?  I didn't until a recent shoot I did for WebMD.  So, yeah.  Not only is it curable, it's easily curable and after you're cured your liver completely heals itself.  Pretty cool, right?  Not that I have ever had any reason to worry about Hep C, but still, that's useful knowledge.  That's a thing I'm glad I learned.

You know what's nowhere near as cool as Hep C being curable?  Bladder cancer.  Or, more specifically, the number one cause of bladder cancer: being a male human.  Yeah, you see, the BOR guys and I do these semi-regular shoots at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where the days basically consist of setting everything up for about three hours, taking an hour for lunch and then being absolutely bombarded with a metric fuckton of depressing as shit statistical information for about two hours.  It's on these shoots that I've learned such uplifting facts as "everyone is going to eventually have skin cancer, so we should probably just get used to the idea," and the above mentioned "really, the best way to avoid bladder cancer is to, like, not be male."  Why the fuck did I need to know that?  It falls directly into the Shit I Can't Do Anything About, But Thanks For Making Me Worry About It Anyway category.  This is a thing I'm not glad I learned.

Did you know that there such a thing as pork pot pie?  I was completely unaware of this member of the pot pie family until I shot at Alla Spinna in Philadelphia (one of my least favorite cities, btw) with Unique Eats about a week ago.  It's really good.  If you get a chance, and you eat the animals, you should try it.  The existence of pork pot pie is a thing I'm glad I learned about.

But hey, don't let a brief stint in the generally jolly world of food shows let you think it's all roses from here on, because it was back to WebMD for me, where I learned this little factoid that's been kicking around the medical profession for quite some time: it's fucking amazing that anyone is born without serious birth defects.  There is so much shit that not only can, but probably should go wrong that it's mind blowing that it doesn't happen more often.  Or, like every time.  As humans we're an absolute mess of genetic information that's basically hanging on for dear life from tumbling into all of us having overly thick tongues, webbed toes, severe immune deficiencies and dying before we're a year old.  So I had to sit there all day with my headphones on listening to charming terms like "not compatible with prolonged life" over and over.  Totally fun.  And once again, there's nothing you can do about it.  But now, if I ever want to have children, I'll have to think about all this crap.  Thanks, doctors.  This is shit I'm not glad I learned.

Note: During the above shoot I kept hearing the term "Fragile X."  Now, while I obviously didn't think it was some rad punk band from the 80's, I assumed that it would still be something cool.  I mean, whatever it is, it's called Fragile X!  That name is seriously dope.  So I finally asked the doctor and yep, you guessed it, Fragile X is an absolutely terrifying genetic disorder that FUCKING GETS EXPONENTIALLY WORSE WITH EACH NEW GENERATION!  THE THING ISN'T ONLY HEREDITARY, IT'S CUMULATIVELY HEREDITARY!   However, on the upside, I learned the term "Vaginal Ultrasound," which isn't a bad thing, but still sounds like a rad punk band from the 80's.  So I guess I broke even there.

Okay, that's enough of T.I.G.I.L vs T.I.N.G.I.L. for now.  Moving on...

So, as you can probably tell from my lack of posts, the last couple of months have been totally bonkers on the work front, which hasn't left me much time for this little pet project.  I've been on a ton of those WebMD shoots, a bunch of Comedy Central stuff (I'll post clips from that after the shows air), some rando EPK shoots, food porn galore and a bunch of other day play stuff I'm not remembering right now.  I have pictures I could upload, but I'd have to go grab my phone to do that and I currently have a cat sleeping on my lap.  I'd hate to disturb her, as she has a very long day of doing nothing in front of her, so she needs her rest.  I'll get them later.

Lastly, I would like to thank George Clooney for the lovely holiday gift baskets he sent to all of the cast and crew of Home, James.  It was a very sweet gesture after the whole Tulsa thing.*


Later, gators.

(*Clooney has yet to send us any holiday gift baskets, but who knows when the next time I update this thing will be, so I wanted to preemptively thank him now.  I mean, I assume he's going to send us gift baskets.  They're only like $30 each, so for a guy as stupidly rich as him it would be a real dick move to not send us all gift baskets.  Seriously, how many of us were there?  15?  16 including the weird ginger kid?  That's, like, $480 total.  Clooney, you seriously can't spend that on us?  You're an asshole.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HOME, JAMES IS WRAPPED!

Christ on a crutch, after, like, a month of my life, Home, James is finally done.  Also amazing is how many commas I just used in a sentence with sixteen words in it.  I've just gotten home and am strangely not tired, considering that several hours ago I could barely keep my eyes open.  Must be the after glow.

The first thing that I would like to point out is that at the exact moment I was officially wrapped out (the last few shots of the film were MOS, which you all know the meaning of by now) it literally, no joke, started to piss rain.  In Los Angeles.  Kind of weird.  I can count on one finger (no, not that one) how many times I've been in LA during a rain storm.  And keep in mind that I actually have lived here once before.  But let me tell you, those crafty locals have learned a thing or two about rain since the other rain storm that has ever happened here, and I have photographic proof of it:


Priorities, man.  Priorities.

Geez, so many things happened today that it's hard to even recall the highlights.  Or is it?  Guess who won the final Golden Driller Award?  You know, the award that was created to thank the local crew in Tulsa for their hard work?  Tulsa, which is not Los Angeles?  And to be honest, why is there even another Golden Driller statue/piggy bank thing in the first place?  Sorry, got side tracked.  Anyway...


I did.  Apparently, the voting process was marred by dissension, bickering and late night texts about how I "won't want it anyway," but in the end, how could they resist?  I mean, seriously, how do I not win awards every day?  And, um, oh yeah.  I was just holding that cigarette for someone else.  Users are losers, you know.

However, the award ceremony wasn't all joy.  Mary Mary Why You Buggin' apparently wasn't pleased with me winning and her...well, losing.


Maybe next film, MMWYB.  Unless I'm also working on it, at which point I will totally mop the floor with you again.

But, to be fair, the real winner was our G&E de jour, Ed.  Ed had only been with us for a few days, but he kicked so much ass that he won the most coveted award of all:  The Singing Frankenstein Doll Award.


What you can't tell from that picture, sadly, is that Ed is somewhere around 11' tall.  That's like Super Su standing on another Super Su's shoulders.  He's taller than a fully extended C stand.

Fun Fact!!!:  Julie bought that doll at Walgreens the night that she drove me to the pharmacy to get my meds for the flesh eating disease I picked up in India, by way of Tulsa.  Which, for those of you who have been wondering, is finally effing gone.  (Yes, I learned my lesson: wash new t-shirts before you wear them.  Got it.)

So, it's too late to write anything super interesting.  I'd love to say that I'm going to sleep for forty hours now, but I have to get up early and return some gear, which means I should probably go to bed.  A full wrap-up is coming.  I promise.  It will be epic.

Stay classy, Internet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

DAY OMEGA:  Home, James wraps tonight

Holy crap, people.  The end is in sight.  At approximately 4am tomorrow morning the Home, James shoot will be over.  Weird, right?  Well, just to keep things normal for our last day it was changed from a half day shoot to an OT shoot at the last possible moment.  So, nothing new there.  But that's not the weirdest part.  The weirdest part is...

...We shot in NYC last night!  It was great to be back for five hours.  And, hey NYC, thanks for the nice weather.  It was a very comfortable 70 degrees with clear skies.  Oh, wait.  That's probably because the NYC we shot in last night was on the corner of Los Feliz and Avocado in a restaurant called Little Dom's.  And while I'm pretty confident that you can find a restaurant in NYC with that name, good luck on finding a Los Feliz or Avocado anything.  Movie magic, folks.  It struck again.

Oh, hey.  Did I mention that I'm officially the most used extra in this movie we're making.  I crunched the numbers and here are all of the characters I've ended up playing:

Guy at counter (my back)
Guy playing shuffle board (right arm)
Guy on date in NYC (possibly my face, more likely the top of my head)
Guy bar tending at the same place I'm supposedly on a date (not sure what the shot was of)
Guy walking down street with guy (shoulders)
Guy leaving a bar with a chick and totally about to get some (my back)

Not bad, right?  Have I mentioned that I occasionally run sound, as well?  Not last night!  Last night was all MOS (we've been over what that means, people) and fancy slow motion, so I got the evening off.  Wrong!  First, we tricked The Amazing Rick Dacey into showing up "to hang out," which is code for, "Dude, we totally forgot to get all of your voice over lines.  Sit in a small room with our sound guy and try to not sound awkward."  Then, the producers were all, like, "Hey, Kenneth.  Why don't you come back to the set and hang out.  It will be fun.  And, um, can you bring The Amazing Rick Dacey with you?"  Code for: we don't have enough extras!!!  But, it was fun and ended up looking like a properly crowded bar, so all's well that ends at 3am.

Oh, and Michael Cera was there.  Or maybe it was that kid from the Facebook movie.  Not sure.  Either way, they forgot their sunglasses...


So putting those on ebay!

Hey, side note:  I have a fairly embarrassing problem that I may need some help with.  I can't, no matter how hard I try, come up with a good nickname for Teresa.  Teresasaurus Rex just isn't cutting it.  I've promised her that I will absolutely have this figured out by the wrap party on Tuesday, so any help would be appreciated.

Lastly, I knew it.  I knew that if I looked hard enough I would find the following in Super Su's apartment:


Okay, time to get ready for what is undoubtably going to be an epic last day of shooting.

Oh, yeah.  If you're worried that this blog will get boring once Home, James wraps, think again.  Guess who just landed a Victoria's Secret shoot in two weeks.  Yerp.  Should be hilarious.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

LOS ANGELES:  Home, James Lives...

Hey, have you ever heard the anecdote about Brecht debating whether or not a play could start with an ellipses?  No?  Clearly, you never spent way too much money on film school...or have had a sweaty one night stand with punctuation.  Oh, NYC.  So much to answer for.

Anyway, I wrote, and thought I had saved, an entire post about our first day back in Los Angeles (Spanish to English translation: Land of Fake Boobs.)  However, blogger, or whatever it is called now, hated my saved post so much that it unsaved it and now I have to start from scratch.  HATE MY LIFE!!!

Paraphrasing:  Things are great and all is well.  Despite some major malfunctions with my gear (thank you, Coffey Sound LA, for helping me out - - and having free pizza for "customer appreciation Fridays"), I can't complain.  I'm very happy to be back in LA, where I may or may not live, depending on what day of the week it is and who you ask.  I'm also super stoked to be reunited with the Home, James cast and crew, having missed them terribly (missed the pay) for the three days I was back on the east coast.  Oh, Jesus...

Okay.  Here's the truth.  I'm only writing this update because Alyx (sp?) Rossetti (sp?) is mad at me for not updating my blog for the past few days.  The fact that I live my life in airports and shitty New England prep schools is lost on her and I am EXPECTED to entertain her at all times.  And given that her husband is my boss at the moment:  fine.  It's the internet equivalent of "Dance, Monkey, dance.."  And I will.  Because I'm a groovy monkey...I guess.  Also, do we have an answer on that ellipses question yet?

Truth is, I have nothing to talk about yet.  So, here is a picture of Super Su's refrigerator.  It proves that he is more machine than man:


Seriously?  Not even a bottle of Sriracha (not being racist, btw...love that shit) or Arm & Hammer baking soda?  Clearly, Super Su has never eaten.  He's powered by F Stops and a strong desire to "get coverage."

In truth, the LA leg of this has been out-of-the-gate insanity and, much like a full re-cap of Tulsa, will take a few days to get my head around.  I also have a lot of real tech-nerd gear talk that I want to go over soon, and I know how much you all hate that - - even though you're reading what is allegedly a sound nerd blog.

Side notes:  I'm super bummed that The Amazing Rick "Hollywood" Dacey shaved off his beard, and think that Mary Mary Why You Buggin' may have the world's (LA's) greatest apartment ever.  Seriously Mary, let's ship you back off to the North Shore and let me steal your place.

Met a coyote two days ago.  We saw eye to eye on a lot of things.  We mostly saw eye to eye on how great breakfast burritos smell.  Bummer for him was that I had one and he didn't.  Night, kids.

BTW, coming up soon:  To Liver or Die in Los Angeles...and no, that's not a typo; how to mic people while they're naked; and, on a serious note, my review of the new Sound Devices 664 integrated mixer/recorder, as based solely on other people's reviews and futzing with it for two minutes at Coffey Sound the other day.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

TULSA IS OVER:  Home, James

Did you know that Oktoberfest is a big deal in Tulsa?  It is.  Real big.  And, fun fact, it was at the Tulsa Oktoberfest, or as I like to call it, "The Tulsa State Oktoberfest," many years ago that a bunch of totally sober people got together and created that abomination of human-expression-through-movement known as The Chicken Dance.  Yup, THE Chicken Dance.  Now, I hate to brag (no I don't), but if the chicken dance had been invented in NYC I can't help but feel that everyone would be all, "Yeah, well you can't win them all," about it, but Tulsites are so proud of it that...and I want to make it very clear that I'm not kidding about this at all...the theme of this year's Tulsa State Oktoberfest is "Poultry in Motion."  More importantly, everything that you've read here today up until this point was exactly what was running through my mind while we were shooting on the Tulsa State Oktoberfest fairgrounds right up until the moment we were warned to keep an eye out for scorpions because, and this is a direct quote, "I've been killing them all night, but they're still all over the place."  Scorpions.  Now, I'm not real good with the whole "being educated" thing, but I'm pretty sure that scorpions are something that was made up for a Roger Corman movie and don't actually exist.  However, just to err on the side of caution, I spent the next few hours being 100% positive that I had scorpions crawling up my pant legs.  Also, I dare any of you to tell me that you've ever asked a colleague the following question :  "Hey, do you want me to check the toilet stall to make sure there aren't any scorpions?"  Because I have.  And this is in a major city in a state that I'm pretty sure is part of the USA.  However, just so I don't leave you hanging, there weren't any scorpions in the toilet stall.  But, still...

Anyway, we were there to shoot a pivotal scene for the movie in which the two leads share a tender moment as the sun rises over the Tulsa skyline.  Only problem was that after standing around and prepping (looking for scorpions) for a few hours, a storm front moved in at the last second and completely destroyed our shot of the sunrise.  I, of course, blame Clooney.  Regardless, we went home feeling a bit dejected.  For those of you that don't work in production, let me clue you into something: indie films are scheduled within an inch of their life.  There is rarely enough time to get most of what you want shoot, never mind extra time laying around in case you need to reschedule something.  So, on top of dealing with the fact that we lost an entire day due to Super Su, Kali, Mary Mary Why You Buggin, and Teresasaurus Rex deciding to throw up for twenty-four hours, now we had to find time to re-shoot the sunrise scene and just hope that it didn't rain again.  And, scorpions.  Don't forget the scorpions.

Oh, have I mentioned how we had two cars that constantly wouldn't start and lost the keys to one of the ones that would?  No?  Well, I certainly can't get to everything.

Back to the point, though, everyone sucked it up, headed back out there in the middle of the damn night and once again stood around waiting for the sunrise.  And magic.  Amazing sunrise.  One of the best.  We nailed it.  Although, there was little time for celebration as our lead actress and I both had to immediately leave for the airport as to not miss our flights back to civilization.  (Okay, I'm slightly exaggerating about my flight.  I did have time to go to the House of Constant Sorrow and take a shower before going to the airport.)

Oh yeah, let me tie up a few loose ends...

And the final Golden Driller Award went to...





It was a tie!  Both Kristy and that kid with red hair deserved the award, so they both got one.  They were possibly the world's greatest PAs and we totally couldn't have gotten the Tulsa portion of the film done without them.  Okay, yeah we could have, but it would have been way tougher without Kristy.  So congratulations, Kristy and kid with red hair!





I have to be honest, that dog really started to get on my nerves, but how could I ever stay mad at her after saying something like that?  I ruff you too, stuffed dog.  We'll totally hang in LA.  First round's on me.

Bet you didn't know those things run on gasoline.

Okay, on a serious note, I'm still not far enough removed from the Tulsa leg of Home, James to give a serious wrap-up of it.  And given that I'll be on a plane in 30 short hours to rejoin the crew in LA for more shooting (don't even get me started on the shoot I flew back to NYC for...woof) I figure I should just hold tight until a massive wave of inspiration (drunkenness) strikes and I can do the story justice.

Teresasaurus Rex is a stupid nickname.  I can do better than that.  Sorry for dropping the ball on that, T.

Lastly, the Amazing Rick "Hollywood" Dacey and I will be at the Red Lion in Silver Lake on Wednesday night.  Not for any particular reason, but it's been a few days since I've made fun of him to his face, so why the hell not.  You're all invited.  Come on, if you think this stuff is pointless and juvenile in print, just wait to see what it's like in person!  But seriously, we'll be upstairs hanging our heads and muttering about how pointless life is.  Good times! 



















Thursday, October 11, 2012


T MINUS 2 DAYS UNTIL "TULSAGEDDON":  Home, James

This is it...almost.  We're on our second to last shoot day here in Tulsa.  After that, it's off to LA to finish this thing up.  Well, actually, I go back to NYC for two days of shooting something else and then to LA (I live in airports, don't you know...) for the last week of the Home, James shoot and, more importantly, the bratwurst platter at Red Lion Tavern.  Anyway, I have good news and bad news:  Chelsea is 4 points up in first place in the Premier League.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that Southampton is 1 point out of relegation.  But, there's still a lot of season left for them to completely shit the bed and disappear from Premier League again.  None of this has anything to do with the film shoot, but whatevs.  Live with it.



So, it's still the House of Death and Despair over here on Toledo Street, but the show must go on.  I'm sure our overnight shoot tonight is going to be a ball of laughs.  We've basically told anyone on the crew that isn't already on the DL to just bag it, so they don't get sick, too.  Except for me and Jonathan. Our art is more important than our health!  And it appears that Hollywood Dacey managed to render incapacitated whatever it was that was making him sick by ingesting massive amounts of beer last night.  High five to Hollywood for doing whatever it takes to GET THIS THING DONE!

I have to say that I'm a little bummed out by the retarded summer camp that is the Tulsa leg of the Home, James shoot coming to an end.  Mainly because it will seriously limit my list of things to complain about over the coming weeks.  No more giant insects.  No more flesh-eating t-shirts.  No more played out Outsiders references.  But, all good things must come to an end.

Hilarious side note:  I'm listening to Super Su and Dacey have an incredibly weird conversation about something that may or may not have happened while they were both feverishly ill.  Basically, neither has any idea what the other is talking about.  Lots of awkward silences and blank stares.

I'll try to get one more update in before I leave the Dust Bowl, but I wouldn't count on it.  Due to canceling yesterday's shoot on account of everyone barfing, we have a ton of stuff to get done in the next 48 hours.  But keep an eye out on Sunday for Ken's Complete Wrap-Up and Remembrance of All Things Tulsa.  It will be written from the safety of NYC, where everything makes sense and people are normal.  Oh, and where I will finally eat pizza again.  I don't eat pizza if it's not in NYC or New Haven.  Period.

Sorry for the boring update.  I'm only human, you know.

On another important note...

If you haven't already, please check out the web series that Jacob Hensberry, Super Su and I made recently.  Here's the link to it:  Planet X the Series




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DAY "RUH-ROH!":  Home, James

Trouble in paradise, dudes!  The Home, James crew is totally sick.  Like, all of us.  Well, not all of us, exactly.  Our director and I seem to have skirted the mystery disease somehow.  Probably because we're both more machine than human.  Or, in my case, prescription steroids!  (Oh, sad to report that I didn't wake up this morning built like The Incredible Hulk...but if it does happen at some point I hope it's the super smart gray Hulk and not the dumb green one.  Until that happens I guess I'll still have to rely on smashing things with my amazing intellect.)  While I feel badly for everyone, I can't help but find it amusing that they got sick on the night we shot the "Barfing Man" scenes.  Anyway, some sort of third world-like dysentery has bitch smacked this production and it is NOT COOL, yo.

The classy way to drink Pepto...



I'm seriously going to try and focus on the film today and not go off on any insane tangents.  Let's see how that goes...

OH NO, IT'S THE COPS!

We all know that stealing is wrong and somewhat illegal (unless it's me stealing your heart, which is totally sanctioned by the Federal Government.)  Well, there is a term in filmmaking called "stealing a shot."  And while it would make total sense to assume that means copying a shot from another movie, you're dumb if you think that.  Just kidding.  You're all super geniuses and that's why I love you.  What it actually means, though, is that you failed to, didn't bother to, or just plain forgot to get permission to shoot a location.  So, for instance, if you're shooting exteriors on a residential street you're technically supposed to clear it with the city and the police.  That's what super-producer George Clooney would do, but he's a total pussy and is scared of mustached men with badges.  We here at Home, James, on the other hand, hate the police and think they can go stuff it.  We don't play by your rules, society!  Which is exactly why we had the police called on us last night while shooting on a residential street that we didn't bother to clear.  We had actually decided to move to a different location when the production van (Super Su, Kali and I) got pulled over.  Now here's the funny part:  If you're ever acting in anything and have a wireless mic on you, don't forget that the sound guy can hear every word you say, even at up to a football field length away (assuming you're using Lectrosonics...if you're not, you're fired!)  On top of that, there's no way I wasn't going to roll sound on us getting pulled over for prosperity's sake.  Here is an actual quote that was picked up from Jonathan's lapel mic (I'm not sure who said it, as he was in close proximity to other people) during our brief encounter with the police:  "Maybe he pulled them over because George (Super Su) is Asian."  Hilarious!  Anyway, the cop was a pretty typical cop, so we just slipped him some money and he forgot all about us.



During a shot a little later in the evening I had the pleasant experience of standing on a dark street corner a block away from the rest of the crew so I could capture the audio of our actors as they drove by in a car.  Trust me, the math works out on the wireless range front, which is why I had to be there.  Anyway, as I stood on the dark corner, with my gear lighting me up like an evil Christmas tree, I became aware that I somehow caught the attention of the Hound of the Baskervilles.  I mean, this dog was HUGE.  And he was growling directly at me.  Or so I thought.  As it turns out, he was actually growling at a bunny that had taken up protective residence under my feet.  He was cute, but couldn't have been the smartest bunny in the world if he thought the best place to hide was under a guy in a red, reflective jacket with six-thousand flashing LED lights on him.  Actually, now that I think of it, if I was being threatened I would probably try to hide behind a robot, too.  Maybe bunny wasn't so dumb after all.

Here's a pic of some of the crew at Dwelling Spaces after our shoot the other night.  Front and center is Dwelling Spaces owner/Home, James cast member/all around swell person, Mary Beth.


From left to right: Hollywood Dacey, some dude, Julie, Jonathan, Cary, Mary Beth, Super Su, Mary Mary Why You Buggin', Teresa.

Other big news: It's starting to look like the post production sound mix will be happening at The Drawing Room in Kingston, NY with my good friend and total renaissance man, Justin Rice.  Justin and I have worked together on a lot of different projects over the years and I seriously hope this pans out so we can hang out in our pajamas drinking coffee every morning before work, which is something we haven't gotten to do in a long time.  I'll keep you posted on this awesomely stoke-inducing prospect.  BTW, go check out the new band he and his wife, Darby, started:  The Last Names

Lastly, I have a new favorite pastime on set: photo bombing the wardrobe continuity pictures.  I'm sure no one is getting sick of me yet.

Good night, and fuck you, Clooney.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DAY "KEEP ON ROCKIN' IT, BABY:"  Home, James

I would like to issue a blanket apology to China.  As it turns out, the Walmart t-shirts that almost killed me are actually from India.  And given India's environmental track record, it probably wasn't even formaldehyde, but whatever the more toxic, birth defect inducing version of formaldehyde is.  So, an apology to formaldehyde, too.  Sorry, bros.  On the good side of things, a member of our local supporting cast happens to be a doctor and gave me a sweet prescription for some kind of steroid to destroy these god damn hives (much like the universal acknowledgment of how corny bands in matching uniforms are destroyed The Hives).  I'm assuming that, in addition to curing this ailment, the 'roids will improve the speed of my fast ball.  My slider is already deadly how it is, however.

Oh yeah, Home, James.  Hey, have I mentioned that I'm in Tulsa shooting a movie?  Pretty sure I've mentioned that once or twice.  Well, yesterday we had the pleasure of shooting most of the day at a really cool coffee shop/store called Dwelling Spaces.  Although, if you look at the sign outside from the right angle it actually says Swelling Spaces.  True story.

Side note: Super Su just made grilled cheese sandwiches and now Julie can't stop burping.  It's like sitting in a room with Archie Bunker.

Anyway, we shot in Dwelling Spaces and who showed up?  None other than local Oklahoman nudist/Flaming Lip, Wayne Coyne.  Here's a picture of us together:



Yeah, he was pretty stoked to see me, too.  On the other hand, none of the August: Osage County cast showed up.  Hmmmm.  I guess their invites to be extras in our party scene must have gotten lost in the mail.  Although, "I dare you to show up," carved into dead fish may not make the most inviting invitations.  We'll have to rethink that next time.

One of the more interesting moments of our shoot last night came when our lead actress tried to kill me.  And, while it doesn't actually work as a murder weapon, it turns out that absolutely blistering digital distortion being drilled directly into the center of your skull via both ears is an effective way to drop a man to his knees.  I like to think that she didn't mean to do it, because I only see the good in people.

Hay, here's another thing: it was time for the second Golden Driller Award.  This week's winner was our new PA, Cary.  I could ask someone what his last name is, but I'm tired and he has a kind of Madonna/Price type thing going on anyway, so to me he's just Cary.  I do have to give the guy some serious credit.  He's, I don't know, eleven years old (?), has never been on a set before, had to endure Marshall Bell hazing him and still showed up the next day with a really cool attitude and ready to work.  Hats off to you, Cary.  Here he is receiving the award:


Sadly, when we started chanting "Speech!  Speech!" he hesitated too long and by the time he started to say something we had all walked away.  Because it was a long day.  Also, to be honest, he's actually like 17 or something, and I would feel badly if he read this and thought I was making fun of him.  Those of you that know me can attest that I never take cheap shots at anyone for the sake of an easy joke.  Ever.

I would also like to mention that last night was the final Home, James shoot for the Notorious Gill Brothers.  Yeah, we're still a little bummed out that they weren't twins, but we liked them anyway and are sad that they're wrapped out.  Thanks, guys.  It was great working with you.  Until next time...





One crew member that absolutely no one is sad to see go, however, is Molly.  She seemed sweet at first, but as the day dragged on it became clear that all she wanted to do was aimlessly wander around, groom herself and spend long periods of time staring at the catering table with a pathetic look on her face.  And, to compound matters, she was probably the world's worst boom operator...


At least she was cute.

Night, y'all (see?  I'm also learning the native language here!)  Tomorrow's call is super late, so I'll have time during the day to write a more insightful upda....oh, who am I kidding?  I'm just going to barf out a bunch of garbage again and somehow find a way to relate it to our film shoot and production sound mixing.

Oh, yeah!  That reminds me.  We finally shot the "Barfing Man" scenes tonight.  While I'm too tired to explain to you dear people what that means, doesn't that alone make you want to see this movie when it's done?



Monday, October 8, 2012

DAY "THIS WAS THE LONGEST DAY EVER":*  Home, James

I feel badly about my lack of recent updates, but a lot has happened.  So much so that I can't even be arsed to recap most of it.  Should have been here, bitches!  But, because you're all - everyone ever - my friends, I'll go over the important stuff.

First off, my weird allergies.  Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, assuming that I'm Denmark and rotten equals "allergic reaction."  I've narrowed it down to a few things.  It may be my incredibly stupid move of buying suspiciously cheap Chinese produced t-shirts from Walmart and then wearing them without washing them first (hey, the formaldehyde in Miller Light never hurt me), or possibly the bath soap our director's mom gave me.  To be honest, I wasn't that into the soap anyway.  If your idea of a great time is attracting over weight, single mothers from Beverly, MA by smelling like a Dunkin' Donuts' Pumpkin Spice Latte, then by all means email me and I'll give you the brand and product that I've been bathing myself with.  If not, then join the club.  Anyway, I'm miserably broken out in hives.  Oddly, given my caring and loving nature, none of the crew seems to be overly concerned with my discomfort.

Next important thing: The Tulsa State Fair.  Jesus, where do I even start?  I mean, you all see the name of it, right?  Tulsa.  State.  Fair.  Now, I'm not real good with U.S. geography, but come on.  Yeah, I'm one of those people that believe that the East ends at Philly and the West begins at Los Angeles (Canada is in the middle, right?), but even I know that Tulsa...you know what?  I'm not even going to bother.  Sure.  Tulsa State Fair.  Whatever.  At least it had alpacas, which are super cute.  Also, as I learned during my two hours of recording wild sound at the fair, alpacas are absolutely mesmerized by boom mics.  I wish I had a picture to prove it, but the rest of the crew were busy eating corndogs by then.  Whoops, corndogs may actually be two words.  Corn dogs.

Woof.  Today was nuts.  We had a ton of scenes to shoot, and guess what...we got them all.  Because we're professionals (does anyone check these links?  I work hard on them, you know...)  We were joined on set today by the wonderful, and totally annoying, character actor Marshall Bell.  And he fucking killed it.  Also, I'm kidding about him being annoying.  He's a ball-buster, for sure, but he has great stories, great readings of his lines and his voice screams "I fix cars, shoot guns and know more about sports than you do."  Basically, my kind of guy.  He also didn't care that I cut holes in his clothes for mic'ing purposes, which pretty much rules (our director/leading man doesn't either, which is also super cool...just don't tell our wardrobe person...)  Anyway, it was a great day of shooting.  Mainly because we wrapped our first major location and I got to give Rick Dacey a bunch of shit for absolutely no reason.  Unless you consider totally trying to molest me a reason...


...which I do.  Fucking actors.

BT...oh, christ, I can't help myself (sorry, Jake)...BTDubs, have I mentioned the dog?  No?  Rhetorical question, I know I haven't.  Anyway, we had to get a stuffed animal dog at the, um, Tulsa State Fair for a prop.  Now that it's no longer in play (fancy film speak for "being used"), she has become a crew house joke.  The game is to position her in places that either scare or amuse others.  Our actress/AD/"whatever we need that day and don't want to pay for" Teresa hit pay dirt the other day and completely owned me by doing this:



Those are my clothes.  On my bed.  With my water bottle.  I came home to this.  However, it's me, so I'm pretty sure my reaction was something like, "Dude, seriously?  I want to go to bed."  I'm so fun!

On the technical, sound side of things, Super Su and I have created a new term:  West Winging It.  It comes from the fact that on the show West Wing, they never used a boom mic.  Everything was solely lav'ed (small lapel mics with wireless transmitters.)  This initially seems really counter-intuitive, but after experimenting with it for awhile I honestly feel that, if you have the time to do it correctly, it creates a much more consistent and "project-specific" location sound.  I'm not confident in it enough yet, so I still back up with the shotgun/boom mic most of the time, but this is a stylistic decision that I will definitely be experimenting with more and more as time goes on.  I'll keep you all posted on it, as I know you only read this blog for egg-head tech reasons...barf.

I'm sorry this post is pretty whack, but I'm super tired.  I'll get back into the swing of things soon.  Assuming whatever flesh-eating disease I've contracted here in the 1930s doesn't kill me first.  I really wish I had a good Grapes of Wrath pun right now.  Maybe some of you can help me out with that.

Sleep well, it's a long time until the empire of the sun.

Also, screw you, Clooney.

**AWESOME "I TOTALLY FORGOT SOMETHING" HIP-HOP UPDATE!**

Because I'm literally on my deathbed with hives, I accidentally forgot to mention that we had another supporting cast member last night.  His name is Travis and he's a rapper.  He free-styled something about cooking and being a redneck, I think.  Maybe it was about something else.  What do you want from me?  It's not like it's my job to listen to what's going on all day long...

Anyway, as he's also a fan of this blog it would be rude of me not to mention that he did a great job and added some seriously needed humor to the end of a super long day.  So, thanks, Travis.  Werd.


Friday, October 5, 2012

CLIPS:

Here are links to episodes 1 and 2 of a web series called Planet X that Super Su and I worked on recently.  I'm super stoked that these are finally available, because it's the latest collaboration between us and our good friend Jacob Hensberry.  I was going to link directly to his work website so you could all (all three of you that read this) check it out, but my computer warned me that it's lousy with malware.  You may want to look into that, Jake.

Anyway, please give these a look.  Episodes 3 and 4 will be available soon.

Planet X: episode 1

Planet X: episode 2

DAY OFF: Home, James PART ONE

Praise the gods, we made it through our four overnight shoots more or less in one piece (more on that later) and we're enjoying a day off.  We're living it up over here at the House of Terrifying Spiders.  You know, doing laundry, sleeping and generally ignoring each other.  Normal R&R stuff.  Go, team!  We also learned today that Super Su doesn't know how to toast bagels without burning them.  It's okay, he got it right on the third try.

Last night was eventful in one fairly interesting way:  our director/leading man Jonathan Rossetti crashed the moped during a take.  Luckily, it was a shot in which he was supposed to fake crashing the moped, so happy accident!  The doctors say he should be out of the hospital in three to four weeks.

Oh, yeah.  I lied.  Something else happened last night.  The first Golden Driller Award was presented.  The Golden Driller Award is our version of a game ball.  At the end of every week a Golden Driller statue (okay, okay.  It's actually a cheap, plastic piggy bank type thing) is given to a member of the local crew for excellence in work.  So, without further ado, the winner of the Golden Driller Award was...

Assistant Camera, Kali Laird


Kali is a great addition to Team Home, James and definitely deserved the award.  Also, she totally starting crying during her acceptance speech.  Probably because she had been under the impression that she was working on August: Osage County this whole time.  Because that's what we told her.  The truth can hurt.  Anyway, congrats, Kali and thank you for your hard work.

Speaking of how the truth can hurt...

Movies are magic.  And I hate magic, so I'm going to ruin something for you.  I want you to keep in mind that whenever you see a scene of a well groomed, good looking couple riding on a Ferris Wheel and falling in love...



...that this is what they're actually looking at...



Lastly, who has the hardest crew in Tulsa?  Not Clooney, that's for damn sure.


There's a lot to go over, so I'm going to break this up into two parts.  More to come later on the Tulsa State Fair (what?  You didn't know that Tulsa is its own state?), the Amazing Adventures of Rick Dacey and my increasingly frustrating search for what it is that I'm allergic to in this god forsaken house.

Later, gators. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DAY SOMETHING:  Home, James

I don't understand war.  I mean, I get it on a basic level - the whole necessary evil, dark side of human nature, some dude with a sissy name stole Menelaus's wife so I'm going to leave my wife alone for ten years type thing.  I also agree that occasionally a war will bring out the best and most selfless characteristics of men (much like Enterprise's Captain Archer during the Temporal Cold War with the Xindi.)  What I don't get, though, is how people function on such little sleep.  I assume that during a ground war you don't punch in at 9am, out at 5pm and then hit happy hour with your bros (um, does anyone actually only work eight hours anymore anyway?), but instead have a much more fluid work shift.  You know, more like, punch in and then kind of just count your OT until you blow up.  Or get to go home.  As I said, my knowledge of how it works is somewhat limited.  Mainly because I don't care. All I know is that without my completely reasonable eighteen hours of sleep per day, I start to slow down.

So, we've completed our second of four overnight shoots in a row and things are starting to get a little groggy.  I think it can best be described by the following:  somehow, we not only got everything we needed from last night's shoot, but we actually got an extra scene shot.  When we were done and our director and producers were thanking us for our hard work the general response was dead-eyed silence followed by, "Cool story, bro.  Can we go home now?"  That's not to say that there is any dip in morale whatsoever, but after long periods of carrying very expensive equipment through a maze of drunk yelling Tulsorkers (?), endlessly pausing takes to accommodate the freight train that has literally been passing through Tulsa for thirty-seven years non-stop (seriously, it just keeps going - I'm starting to think the train is twice the length of the United States, connected at both ends and on a giant loop track),  and my gear's blood thirst for batteries, you can start to feel a bit run down.  However, we shall march on, fortified by our love of the arts, belief in the merit of the project we're working on and, more importantly, our mutual hatred for all things George Clooney/August: Osage County.

Oh, and the Stephen King-esque doorway to a different dimension that is our crew house has upped the ante by introducing us to this lovely little (huge!) fellow:


Super Su found that in his shoe yesterday morning.  I've also learned from this photo that apparently Super Su sleeps with his walkie and earpiece on.

AUDIO TIP OF THE DAY:  Lessons in creative problem solving

One of the toughest things to do as a production sound mixer is to keep people from putting drinks on the audio table.  Simple things like a sign that clearly states "AUDIO TABLE: NO DRINKS EVER OR I WILL DISEMBOWEL YOU WITH MY BARE HANDS (or, more likely, have an unpaid PA do it for me)," generally won't work, because, let's be honest, we all work in the movies and none of us can read.  What I like to do is politely alert people that drinks aren't allowed near my gear and then, because I'm so helpful, provide them with a physical representation of how even I don't put my water bottle on the table.  Example:


Crews respect this kind of forward thinking.  In fact, the Home, James crew was so impressed by my ability to lead by example that it took a whole eight minutes before this happened:


The worst part is that I'm pretty sure they used my sharpie to vandalize it.

In all seriousness, we're having a lot of fun and the shoot is going very well.  Although, the competitive field for the coveted Golden Driller Award seems to be narrowing drastically.  Oh, I haven't mentioned the Golden Driller Award?  I will.  Later.

Lastly, I've had a few creative criticisms of the blog lately.  So, Trevor, you'll be happy to know that I've fired the teenage girl that I had ghost writing it for me.  Jake, I will, from this point forward, severely limit my usage of "btdubs," and, yes.  Jay, there will be an audio component to accompany the text at some point soon.  Good?  Good.

I'm happy.  You're happy, too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DAYS FOUR/FIVE:  Home, James

Sorry, you guys!  We had our first overnight shoot last night and due to a serious case of the tireds I was unable (didn't want to) give a timely blog update.  All three of you must have been disappointed to the max!

As noted one inch above, we had an overnight shoot at Arnie's Bar last night.  It's was our first of four night shoots there and it was a bit kray-kray (which is actually a reference to the Kray twins and not the word "crazy," btdubs).  The 8pm to 2am portion of shoots there are when the bar is actually open and, as I've come to learn, Tulsalians (?) kind of like to drink.  And be loud.  And then drive home.  So, kind of like Los Angelians, but with less fake boob.  Of course, after they closed it was a pleasant, controlled environment and a total joy to be there.  Although, I did have a flashback (PTSD) to my days of working on cooking shows due to all of the ambient noise from the refrigerators, beer coolers, florescent novelty lights, etc.  Back in the trenches, y'all!  We were also joined by two new cast members: Rick (the only other person on the shoot with a beard, so we obviously look alike!), and Mary Mary Why You Buggin'? (bet that was a bitch to fill out on her SATs.)  Oh, and Julie's cousin Greg (Gary?)  He pretty much rules in all ways possible.  Given that, I guess I should probably learn his name.  Hey, that's NOT MY DEPARTMENT!

Side note: The catering was once again spectacular, but I'm not sure it was money well spent.  When you crunch the numbers on pork chops, mash, and sautéed veggies for fifteen people at 11pm, it probably would have been more cost effective to have just purchased one bottle of chloroform and several rags.  The end result would have been surprisingly similar.  I hear that Clooney just throws chicken feed on the ground and yells, "fight!" for his crew (kidding!  He has an unpaid PA do it, of course!)

Speaking of our good friend Clooney, he had a cash machine delivered to our set last night just to remind us of how much more money he has than we do.


I am not exaggerating at all when I say the following: no matter who tried to use that machine the only thing that would come out of it was a receipt that read: Insufficient funds...to buy a villa in Italy.

Also, this was there:




Hmmmm.  Today's post sucks.  Sorry about that.  I'm off my game.  I mainly blame Dean Koontz for COMPLETELY BLOWING THE END OF THE BOOK I WAS READING.  Totally not worth several nights of nightmares about genetically enhanced killer monkeys.  Pfft!

Positive ending note:  after a massive fuck up on Fedex's part, my sound table has finally arrived.  BTdubs, is she or isn't she married?



Okay, back to work.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

DAY WHATEVER: Home, James

Recap of yesterday: We had the day off and did nothing.  Literally, nothing.  Well, to be fair, our director Johnny, producer Colin and I did go to two bars.  At the first one we did the old "walk in and immediately walk out" move.  There was a guy at the bar in a cowboy hat and sneakers.  Not really my scene, maaaaaaaaan.  Also, you can smoke in bars here, which is totally disgusting.  As those that know me will attest, I own a very limited wardrobe and I don't want my gear smelling like smoke.  The second bar was "better," but still only worth two pints.  I ordered a Guinness and the bartender tried to warn me against it because it isn't as cold as other beers.  Also, I ordered some wings and when they showed up we were all shocked by how large they were.  Remember what I said about the Carboniferous Period the other day?  Yeah, same thing. Anyway, we paid and politely left.

I'm going to keep this update short, because because.

So, today was our first day of shooting with our full crew and the local Tulsans (?) were telling many a story about what jerks the August: Osage County people have been to local film types that were trying to get work on that shoot.  Remember that guy from Die Hard that says, "Hans, bubby..."?  Apparently that's exactly what the their line producers are like.  In short, George "wait, you'd don't own a villa in Italy?" Clooney has struck again.  Way to alienate the locals, dickwad.  Also, there's a rumor that Benedict Cumberbatch has been talking mad smack about me, but to be fair, I may be the person that started that rumor.

Our day was awesome.  First full day with full crew and everyone nailed it.  The local crew kids are great.  They work hard and are willing and eager to learn what they don't know.  We started and wrapped on time and got what we needed.  Couldn't have been a better day.  Except...

The 788T.  Ugh.  Love of my life machine, why have you forsaken me?  Total trouble in paradise.  For the first time ever I had it freeze up on me during a take.  All was well, but when I hit record for a take mid-day it just crashed.  The time code stopped, the take didn't advance...nothing.  It wouldn't even power down.  We had to hold up shooting for ten minutes as I removed every single power source until it just finally ran out of juice.  Now, this particular 788T has been oddly temperamental since the night I had the soft key command problems with it, but this critical failure is completely out of the norm for the model and Sound Devices in general.  I'm going to call Gotham Sound tomorrow and ask Nick (if you ever need to rent sound gear in NYC, do it from Nick at Gotham Sound) if he has any idea what could be causing these ghost in the machine moments with a machine that is usually flawless.  Seriously, it's like finding out that your parents had been Nazi sympathizers.  Total let down in something you trusted.  On a similar note, I've finally experienced the only flaw I've ever heard about the Lectrosonics MM400c series transmitters: the on switch doesn't always work.  Sadly, the only way to fix it is to Arthur Fonazelli them - bang them on a table - to get them to work.  I guess nothing is perfect.  Except my winning smile, which never fails.

BTdubs, indie films run into the strangest problems.  We spent thirty minutes today trying to hide Julie's left nipple and almost an hour searching for a single piece of string.  No joke.

Ugh, tired.  Anyway, last note of the day is that we were all wrong: our G&E team, the Gill brothers, are neither identical nor fraternal twins and are just run of the mill, boring brothers.  But they are both Eagle Scouts, which is super cute.

Lastly, fuck you, Clooney and watch your back, Cumberbatch.  We're coming for you.

Here's the one set pic I took tonight.  It's our leads Johnny, Kerry and Julie (nipple not pictured) rehearsing with my pink-taped boom pole in the shot.  Yup.


Stay gold, Pony Boy.



Saturday, September 29, 2012

DAY THRE...FOUR?  OH, WHATEVER:  Home, James

Here's something you should know about me: I have smooth skin.  Dare I say "perfect" skin.  The kind of skin that a dress making serial killer would obsess over.  And yet - AND YET! - one of Tulsa's giant Carboniferous Period insects has injected me with some kind of venom that has caused my arm to swell up and take on a sandpaper-like texture.  Worker's comp, you say?  No, no, my friends.  This is an indie film and we're tougher than that.  Why would I share this with you?  Because it acts as a very forced segue (by definition, NOT actually a segue) to discuss an even greater personal irritant: Benedict Cumberbatch.  The Sherlock star is in town for the August: Osage County shoot and I must find him.  Cumberbatch has secrets.  He has secrets about the next series of Sherlock that he's not sharing with me (how the hell are they getting out of last series' cliffhanger?!!!!).  And I want them.  Much like the aforementioned serial killer would want my skin.  But I'm biding my time.  In fact, here's a picture of me biding my time, as I try to anticipate Cumberbatch's next move...


(Note to production managers: while the suit doesn't increase my day rate, it does add $50/day to my kit fee.)

Anyway, on to today's wrap-up of Home, James...

Today all came down to one thing: the technical ingenuity of Super Su.  Camera placement is one thing.  Camera placement on the outside of a 1984 Jeep Cherokee as it zips around Tulsa with the driver acting and directing is something else.  I applaud you, Super Su.  Here's are some of the rigging set-ups:




Keep in mind that this is a low budget indie on a night when we only had a skeleton crew.  Take that, Clooney, you pantywaist!  BTdubs, George "Forget the little people" Clooney, way to not credit your sound mixer on IMDB.  Asshole.

On the sound side of things, I had it fairly easy.  The shots always hid one side of the actors' faces, so I first tried to clip the lav mics onto their seat belt straps, which initially seemed like a perfectly acceptable idea.  Unfortunately, due to the amount of movement in the performance, there was way too much acoustic rustle.  So we pulled over, I stared at the actors for a few minutes (awkward!)  and ultimately decided to pull an old stage play move and just taped the lavs right onto their faces.  I used regular 3M medical tape, which is strangely adhesive given that it doesn't really hurt that bad when pulled off, and Bob was our uncle.  However, I have realized one fault with the Sound Device 788T.  While I still maintain that it's the most amazing piece of portable audio gear ever created, I'm not crazy about the "soft key" functions.  While crammed into the back seat of a moving car, it's way too easy to accidentally hit, say, the "stop" key and "forward" key at the same time and inadvertently advance a take number or disable a track routing.  Hopefully a new firmware update comes out that allows you to completely disable the soft key commands for hectic situations.  If anyone reading this knows a way to do that, I would greatly appreciate the info.  Or, I guess I could finally get around to reading the manual.

BTdubs, the portal to a different dimension seems to have closed .  No Godzilla bugs tonight.  Yus!!!  Just a beautiful Tulsa (New Hollywood) evening.

I would also like to thank noted Oklahoma superstar freak Wayne Coyne for lending us his hamster ball tonight.  We didn't need it for anything in particular, but it was still cool...


Tomorrow is a day off, so I may actually be able to take some time and finally figure out the numbering of these days, which I'm sure you're already sick of reading about.  And maybe fix the three (yes, I counted them [no I didn't]) grammatical mistakes I've made since starting this blog.  That doesn't count the one typo.  Night night!!!

Lastly, for the few people that actually read this for the audio info, I'm super curious about SD's new 664 field mixer/recorder.  It has more recordable tracks than the 788T and uses the same world clock TC generator.  However, it's way cheaper, which means there has to be something wrong with it that I'm not getting from the write-ups.  You can read SD's description here: SD 664 Field Mixer

Friday, September 28, 2012

DAY...um...TWO S?: Home, James

I woke up this morning, from another terrifying nightmare, of course - this one didn't have the monkeys, but was actually more disturbing - and realized that this is the iPhone of blogs.  Not in the way that it's super functional, has revolutionized communication or has managed to stay somewhat hip despite being so mainstream, but in that I have numbered these days incorrectly.  Yeah, a guy who's job is largely about media management can't count.  Great, right?  But don't worry, you guys!  I can explain it all now...

Much like the new iPhone 5 should really be the iPhone 6 due to them skipping a number (why come there ain't no iPhone 2?) and then substituting two numbers with "S" for some reason, "DAY THREE: Home, James" is technically "DAY TWO: Home, James," but DAY THREE of me being in Tulsa.  DAY ONE, as marked, really should have been "DAY -1: Home, James," but because of a few too many blows to the head over the course of my life, I didn't think about that at the time.  It's okay.  I totally understand if you turn off your computer right now to go spend a week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers clearing your head.  Anyway...

Call time was 4:30am today...for Super Su.  I got to stay in bed.  This is mainly because, while sunrises look nice, they sound terrible.  Which is my radically novel way of saying it was MOS b-roll, so they didn't need me.  Pfft!  However, it did give me time to ponder why the track naming function on the 788T recorder doesn't seem to be working.  After extensive internet searches for trouble shooting this problem I still came up with nothing.  All I can figure is that it is a problem with the firmware update.  Couldn't possibly be me!  I'm going to run some more tests before this evening's call time (we're making a talkie!) to try and sort it out, but ultimately it's not that big of a deal.  I was only naming the tracks (ie: "James" "Cooper" vs "track 1" "track 2"...) as a nicety for the editor, but it's not worth going mental over.  Although, I do tend to get a certain amount of target fixation when it comes to things I've done a hundred times, but can't get to work suddenly.  Maybe if I yell at the machine louder it will start listening to me.

Here's a better picture of Super Su and our AC, Kali Laird, in the world's most dope camera car...which is also a total deathtrap, as I'm sure you can tell.  Um, let's maybe check the air in those tires, huh?



On a positive note (I'm well known for being positive), the spiders seem to have moved on from the yard, but this guy is back:


His name is Sodapop.  Not sure where Ponyboy and Darry are.

BTdubs, how the hell did never know this existed?




Thursday, September 27, 2012

more...DAY TWO: Home, James

The first day of principal photography for Home, James is wrapped, and we're all feeling good.  Except me.  Mainly because every single flying insect in Tulsa is currently dive bombing my computer screen as I write this.  Like, hundreds of them.  And they aren't small.  Land of the Lost type bugs.  Normally, Super Su sits outside with me to attract the annoying fuckers away from me (fact: biting insects prefer Asian people over us boring, old white dudes), but he's currently "checking today's dailies" or some lame excuse.  BTW, Super Su decided to wear a burkha today for some strange reason...


Diva.

But seriously, shooting went well, despite a few brief rain showers.  We got what we needed/wanted, and it looks/sounds great.  I did, however, experi....holy shit, that spider's fucking huge!  Ahhhhhhh!  I want to kill all of these insects with fire.  Sorry, moving on...I did experience some strange RF hits on the wireless systems, which is weird because we were in the middle of nowhere, more or less.  My only guess is that those fuckers from August: Osage County are to blame.  Fuck you, Clooney!  It was only temporary, though and didn't cause any major problems.  The talent is great, the crew is great and our catering - the most important part of the day - was fantastic.  I give our first shoot day a solid A.  I would also like to thank the sweet old lady at the wig shop yesterday for covering my ass and selling me some "male grooming tape," which is genteel speak for "toupee tape," a super useful double-sided tape commonly used for securing lav mics...because I forgot mine in NYC.

I'm sorry.  I'm totally distracted by this guy, as he creeps ever closer to me...



Gonna leave you with two things:  The first is a picture of Super Su on his inaugural ride with the camera car.  The second is a short video proving that in Tulsa it's totally cool to suddenly pull over, set up a camera and start shooting...in the parking lot of a strip club.  The dudes and "entertainers" walking in and out didn't even bat an eyelash.  New Hollywood indeed!




BTdubs, have I mentioned that I've been plagued for the past two nights by nightmares about genetically enhanced killer monkeys?  Stupid Dean Koontz book.

TERRIFYING DAY TWO UPDATE!!!!

Putting the other spider to shame, this guy just showed up...


CLIP:

Here's a clip from one of the Fashion Police shoots I did recently durning Fashion Week.  In this one Joan interviews designer Chris Benz, Susan Sarandon and Vanessa Williams.


DAY TWO: Home, James

LOCATION SOUND TIP* OF THE DAY:  SOUND IS SEXY!

We all know that rain sucks.  Besides waging genocide against earthworms and causing all of that green stuff to grow (mold?  leafy mold?) it has an inherent property to it that is especially deadly to electronics: it's made of water.  Recorders, mixers and cameras don't particularly like water, but they're pretty easy to cover from our atmosphere's "Death from Above" campaign against us.  The real problem is microphones.  A long-tested technique for protecting shotgun/boom mics from rain dates back to soldiers crossing water with their rifles: put a condom on it.  Seriously, a regular, everyday condom.  Preferably non-lubricated, of course.  However, not all microphones were created equal.  Lavs in a condom are like a Tic Tac in a whale's mouth, and regardless of how awesome Lectrosonics' waterproof transmitters are, the elements in the mic itself can short out if they get wet.  Luckily, the nice people in the medical industry had some down time and thinktanked this problem extensively (hey, cancer will still be there in the morning).  Their solution...


Despite being kind of creepy, these will work to protect your smaller buddies from getting, um...wet.  Admittedly, they're a little noisy if you don't secure them well, but it's better than shorting out a mic mid-take, or, like, at all.

BTdubs, the people of Oklahoma are prepared for anything.  Example: in the EXTREMELY LIKELY case that the temperature dropped to -60F, you'd probably want to know, right?  Well, in Oklahoma, they will!  That bird might be fucked, though.


* ha!  Tip!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Still day one, but we just found out that there is a rival film shoot going on here in New Hollywood (Oklahoma's state senate recently declared that "Tulsa" was too boring of a name and almost unanimously - stupid Mike Mazzie - voted to change it).  Anyway, George "Go Screw Yourself, Indie Films" Clooney has set up shop here for the new big budget Meryl Streep vehicle August: Osage County.  This means one thing: a late night rumble between the two crews, Outsiders-Style.  No knives, no guns.  Let's do this one for Johnny!  Our director, Jonathan Rossetti, that is.  Not that twerp Macchio.

Finally, here's my chance to beat some next series of Sherlock spoilers out of Benedict Cumberbatch.  This town isn't big enough for the both of us...or something.
Home, James begins.

DAY 1:

So, it's begun.  I arrived in Tulsa, OK last night to start work on an independent feature film called Home, James.  Travel was a pain in the ass, as usual.  I've been flying out of JFK since my father was TWA's Chief Pilot there in the early '80s, and I can honestly say that I haven't had a single flight leave from there on time since about 1994.  However, after a very brisk walk through Dulles International I made my connecting flight and a few horribly turbulent hours later touched down in the dust bowl.

Tulsa is great.  For any history buffs out there, it was founded in 1967 by noted explorer S.E. Hinton and has many beautiful statues dedicated to its beloved first mayor, Matt Dillon.  Also, Sonic the Hedgehog is from here, apparently.  Or Sonic Burgers.  One or the other.  On the down side, beer here is 3.2%, which is, like, something from the Bible I think.  Our DP, the super talented George Su (henceforth referred to only as Super Su), thinks that's great because he can finally drink more than two beers without falling over drunk.  So, there's something here for everyone.

Anyway, despite some questionable weather forecasts, we're off to a great start.  All of our tech tests have gone swimmingly, except for the fact that the lockit box and slate didn't make it to Tulsa.  But because Dean Lee is such a great guy, not to mention LA's finest sound supervisor, he was nice enough to overnight it to us.  So, no worries.  Principal photography starts tomorrow, so more to come then.

More importantly, Super Su is super stoked with his camera car:



I'm sure that riding around the streets of Tulsa with a camera mount and a Korean guy in the flatbed of this dope ride won't draw attention at all...

Tech specs:
Camera: Red Scarlet
Recorder: SD 788T 
Wireless: Lectrosonics (of course) with those super dope MM400c waterproof transmitters. 

Also, is this not the cleanest (least beat up) Porta Brace you've ever seen?  I would 'effing eat out of that thing.


BTW, the squirrels here are super skinny and have red tails.  Neat!