Monday, November 30, 2009

Today's heavy rotation track on my iPod: "One" by the Bee Gees.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The evolution of my reel, and even more trailer house contacts

I have to say that, after months of trial and error regarding the creation of a completely new look for my DVD reel, I'm pretty happy and amazed at the results. Happy in that during this process, I was able to come up with something fresh and current, yet still keep a little bit of the structure that worked so well in my first version.

Over the years, just updating the reel could be a chore; incorporating new material into the opening intro and aligning a spot in each appropriate menu. But when I came to the decision this year that it was time for a totally new design for EVERYTHING, I was up against a process that would take much more time, devotion, and perfectionism that's always been a staple of my work.

This started with a new look for my name logo. Sure...early on I could have just put my name and title at the top of my resume and at the beginning of my reel in some nondescript font like so many others did. But I wanted to stand out by creating an actual logo for my name header. Besides, if there's something to create and make better instead of being plain, I'm usually there doing it. So I've taken the second version of that logo and created something that keeps the spirit of the look, but brings the 'branding' into the next phase I'm trying to create.

Next, there had to be a theme and color scheme to the menus. This was another multi-layered process that found a really cool design I came up with being thrown out right at the start because DVD Studio Pro could not seemlessly accomodate what I had in my head. That was a disappointment. But ultimately I was able to take that concept and make it work in a slightly simpler way.

After all the actual content of the disc was complete, then came the design for the DVD label and slim jewel case insert card. Another creative task in itself, since this was the first thing anyone saw when taking my reel out of the mailing envelope. Going from a black and white design into color was a major step this time around, and I'm very happy with the way these came out as well.

Finally comes that first test reel. Everything looks great, you burn you're first copy, then fire it up on an actual television monitor. This is where you see any last minute flaws that might need to be smoothed out. HD has opened up a whole new box of things to look for when doing a final QC. This would also be my first time creating a true anamorphic 16x9 reel, and I was pretty excited by that. However, the clarity of image had me realizing I really needed to run everything through a software application called Compressor to attain the highest quality image. This took another night or two of converting everything. I'll spare you lay people out there the technical jargon. Needless to say, everything would have looked like crap if I didn't take this final step. It was absolutely necessary! The final result was exactly right.

Now that version 2.0 has been 'released' (subsequent versions went from 1.0 thru 1.6), I'm excited to continue packaging up sets of reels, resumes, and cover letters to be sent off to all the usual suspects, plus several new ones. But more about that in a minute.

Getting back to the 'amazed' aspect, it amazes me how far I've come in the production of this reel. It all started twelve years ago when I'd cut my work together on one Avid timeline. After fine tuning the flow of one piece to another through the use of quick transitions book ended by my name logo, I'd run off a Beta master. Then, VHS copies would be made from that. Since those early days, I've learned DVD Studio Pro and dabbled quite a bit in graphics and layout design. What I now hold in my hand is a much more sophisticated and professional representation of my work for post houses to peruse.

Now, on to the new trailer houses I discovered while doing a search through the Golden Trailer Awards trailer house listings. Beginning this past Saturday and continuing tomorrow, I'll be putting reels and resumes in the mail to these new finds:

Wild Card
Create Advertising
Open Road Entertainment
Workshop Creative

A couple of these are new companies...offshoot from bigger post houses. Certainly this would be a good time to get in on the ground floor like I did with Happy Hour Creative a year and a half ago. Here's hoping there could be a nice work surprise during the month of December.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Season officially begins!

It's time to unpack the decorations, put up the tree, and go crazy with holiday color, lights, brownies, M&M's, and break out the annual Christmas specials on DVD! God bless it!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

O.K. now eat like there's no tomorrow!!! Happy Turkey Day to one and all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another day of working on that independent film at home. It's about time to follow up with those trailer houses that I sent reels and resumes to last week. Also, SOOO ready to start decorating for the holidays! Friday's the day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

O.K. so maybe "Men Who Stare at Goats" was not as good as the trailer made it out to be. Review tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More editing, more moviegoing

Continuing to work on "The Pathetically Cheap Adventures of Xtra-Man". Yes, that's the actual title of the indie film I'm cutting out of my apartment. Project's been going fine so far. The director, Carl, will be stopping by at 2pm tomorrow to check in.

Tomorrow morning I'll be catching "Men Who Stare at Goats" starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey in Burbank. Looks really funny, can't wait!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Went to a Christmas festival in Burbank tonight. Lots of stores passing out free food and drink samples along with holiday cheer and music. Had a festive time!

Yes!!! It worked! Video quality is SO much better! Compressor is now my new (digital) best friend!

I'm impressed with the first Compressor test of a three second clip. Pretty high quality video. Now I've loaded a one minute clip to ultimately burn to a DVD for closer inspection. I think Compressor might just be my new friend.

Trying to output a Final Cut Pro MPEG-2 using Compressor to maintain the highest quality video. It's frustrating because I keep getting an error message saying to 'restart my computer or make sure Compressor is installed properly'. GRRRRRRRR!!! I hope this won't take all day to figure out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Just saw the COOLEST "A Christmas Story" sleep pants in Target! Ralphy's face, a BB gun, and "You'll shoot your eye out!". Maybe Santa will bring for X-mas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today's heavy rotation 'back in the day' buzz track: "Emotion" by Samantha Sang. Never owned, just downloaded it.

Christmas is coming!

Christmas season officially starts the day after Thanksgiving. I am SOOO ready for the holidays! Gonna have all of my Christmas decorations lined up and ready to go by turkey day! I'm even ready to start listening to Christmas music now, but I'm trying to hold off. I did give in yesterday and listened to a couple of tracks from the "A Charlie Brown Christmas". "Skating" is my favorite track.

Reels and resumes away!

Just mailed the five reels and resumes to those contacts at trailer houses Trailer Park, Aspect Ratio, and mOcean. We're bearing down on Thanksgiving (where did the month go!) and I'm realizing that there's only a small window of opportunity before work slows down for the holidays. Here's hoping I manage to gain their attention and get a hook in before that time arrives.

Today I continue work on that indie feature film I'm cutting from home. The director will be stopping by at 2pm to check on my progress.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Edward Woodward dies at 79

One show I watched religiously during the 80's was about an ex-agency operative (think the CIA) who'd had his disgusted fill of covert work and wished to atone for his sins. Living in New York City, and wanting to help everyday people with their troubles, he put an ad in the paper which read: "Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer."

Edward Woodward starred in what would become a cult hit, and it was the first time I was introduced to the British actor. In time, I learned of his work in films like "Breaker Morant" (which I have yet to see) and "The Wicker Man". But it's "The Equalizer" that I'll forever associate him with. Click on the photo to go to his obituary at

During the middle of the series, Woodward had a heart attack. So it was necessary to bring on Richard Jordan to help with the strenuous action oriented scenes in order to give Woodward a bit of a break. He recovered, happily, and continued on until the series ended after four seasons. I was very sad to learn of his passing yesterday and, yet again, it was Bill who told me the news with an early morning phone call. Thanks, Bill!

"The Equalizer" ran on CBS from September 1985 – August 1989, and I have every episode on VHS. It was a Wednesday night staple; put the tape in, set the timer, watch, or go to bed because I had to be at work early the next morning. The show aired from 10 to 11pm. Woodward had the right 'cool', the series had an unmistakable style, and I LOVED the theme and score by then ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland! He released the album "The Equalizer & Other Cliff Hangers" a few years later which contained not only an extended version of the main title music, but also a number of tracks that were used in the show. I was especially happy to see a DVD set of Season 1 finally released a few years ago. However, Season's 2, 3, and 4 have yet to see the light of day. I definitely want to own the entire series on DVD, that's a given!

Here is the open to "The Equalizer" starring Edward Woodward. It's hard to believe this was twenty years ago!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Waking up. First order of business: get those reels and resumes out! Then back to cutting the indie film at home. "2012" was a lot of fun. Enjoyed VFX the most.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saw "Pirate Radio" this past week. Universal lot screening. LOVED IT! Caught "Zombieland" last night. OMG, IT'S AWESOME!!! Reviews shortly! "2012" tonight.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New contacts at several top trailer houses!

A week ago this past Wednesday was my last day at Happy Hour Creative. Finished up the trailer on Monday and was on stand by for any changes that might come back on another project. By Wednesday it was pretty obvious they wouldn't need me for the rest of the week.

Before I left, I spoke with another editor by the name of Phil who'd I'd been talking with on and off over the six weeks on three projects. We had a couple of conversations about Trailer Park, of course one of the top trailers houses in the industry where everyone who worked at Happy Hour had migrated from. Phil worked with a specific producer over at Trailer Park quite a number of times and offered to give me his contact info. I happily accepted, and immediately went home to put together a reel and resume to send out.

My last check from Happy Hour was ready this past Thursday, so I went by to pick it up and ran into Chris, the head of the company. On a whim, I asked what he knew about this producer over at Trailer Park and that Phil had referred me. Chris told me he was always busy and worked editors pretty hard, which echoed what Phil said.

Now, here comes the important part.

Chris not only added his own referral to that producer as well, but also gave me another name at Trailer Park he said he'd be happy to speak with on my behalf. Plus, he offered referrals to two producers at Aspect Ratio and the head of mOcean, two other top trailer houses I interviewed with previously and have been trying to get into since 2002! WOW!!!

I felt like I was in the right place at the right time. I'd reconsidered picking up my check on Friday morning since I'd left a little later in the day and was certainly going to run into rush hour traffic. But I knew they were kind of expecting me on Thursday so I decided to go. Now I'm glad I did because if I'd waited I might not have had the same conversation with Chris or even seen him. Everything happens for a reason.

I'm now in the process of doing a bit more polishing on my reel. My design for the main menu needed to be better, and the minute long intro (that plays first when the DVD is inserted into the player) needed a minor change to highlight a higher end project. Didn't realize this would take most of the weekend, but then again I am a consummate perfectionist and always looking to improve my work.

Monday morning I'll be dropping five resumes and reels in the mail. With these referrals from Chris and Phil I'm feeling pretty good about the volume turning up on my career. The new year's coming, and things are going to turn around. I can feel it!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sick of 2009 as much as I am?!

Hang in there, True Believers! It's almost over!

This horrible year that goes by the name of 2009 is FINALLY winding down. And to help track the inevitable end of one of the worst financial and personal low periods I've had, check out the countdown clock to your right. We're ALL going to make it out this 12-month shit hole alive! For me, a curse descends onto my life at the end of each decade, and this one has been no exception. It happened at the end of the 80's, and as a lot of you know and were part of, it happened during the later part of the 90's. This may sound funny, but it's absolutely true!

This year has had several crisis moments (money, home, relationship), and I'm taking all appropriate steps to fight back. I even made sure to place additional insurance on my Mini because that could be a target as well. Health and the Mini. These are the things left I feel could be affected that haven't been yet. I know you're probably laughing, but I am completely and totally serious! This shit happens at the end of every decade for me. However, where I am and what I'm doing now is WAY too important to be hit by a recurring 10-year tsunami.

I quote John Belushi as Jake Blues in "The Blues Brothers": 'No.....fucking.....way!".

So watch that clock, kids! Because this 12-month bitch is arriving at drydock. And when she's in, I'm locking the doors behind her, hitting the 'open airlock' button, and blasting 2009 into space like Ripley sending the Queen Mother to hell!

2010 is coming and I have a feeling it's going to be sweet!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Imogen Heap concert was great last night! Back to work today on the feature film I'm cutting from home. Special screening of "Pirate Radio" tonight @ Universal.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Having lunch once again at one of my absolute favorite restaurants: Blue Plate in Santa Monica. LOVE this place!

Imogen Heap concert tonight

Going to see Imogen Heap tonight at The Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. She's been down sick since yesterday and had to cancel a concert in Santa Barbara last night. However, she's decided to take on the show we're going to. Can't wait! This will be my second time seeing her live in LA. The last was during her second album release, entitled "Speak For Yourself".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Hour has come to an unexpected mid-week end. Went in this morning and was told there probably wouldn't be anything for me to do today or tomorrow. Full report coming.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just saw a yellow MINI Clubman with silver stripes on the bonnet. We waved at each other as we passed. I just love that MINI owners connection! Makes me smile.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

...And "A Horse With No Name" plays again randomly on my iPod as I wait for the new cut of this trailer to be viewed by the client. Just can't get enough of this song. Back in the day and now.

The apartment below me is now vacant and the one below that on the 1st floor is also vacant. Nice!! I should really crank up a screening of "Star Wars" while I can!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today's drive to work music highlights on my iPod: Rolling Stones' "Emotional Rescue" and America's "A Horse With No Name". The latter is so addictive. I played it three times in a row!

"Whip It"

Saw Drew Barrymore's directorial debut "Whip It" last night. Really fun movie! My review shortly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wow! FILLED my gas tank this morning! Not just $5 or $10. Feel like things are really getting better with the economy. Not taking it for granted, though.

Halloween night on Santa Monica Blvd. ...crazy fun amongst a sea of people, all dressed in costume, for blocks and blocks and BLOCKS!!! SO glad we went!