Sometimes you need to step away…

Sometimes you just have to step away from the computer. 

Seriously. I will explain:

On Sunday, I’d worked hard creating a layered graphic in GIMP (the free graphics tool), and imported a .PSD file into FCP X – my video editing programme – to edit the end title card of the teaser trailer – the bit that just says ‘coming soon’….. It was a copy of the intro title card, with some slightly different wording. Exactly the same as the Intro Title card in design / no settings changed. 

I imported it into FCP X and it came out blank. All the layers were black. There was no visible workable data. Even changing the file name and reimporting or trawling GIMP and FCP message boards didn’t help. In the end I just gave up.

I sat before the same computer this afternoon, and I was planning to recreate the same title card, to find a workaround, but figure that before I do that I will give it one last go. And… It worked first.f@cking.time! WTF!

I’m kind of Hapgry… or Angpy… not sure what is the best combination of the two emotions in one word. Happy that it now works, but angry that something that should have worked first time did not and all that has changed is that I have not had time to tackle it again since Sunday!

But if you want to know why editing can take so damn long some times, hopefully the above clears a few things up. But maybe life was just telling me to step the hell away for a bit and do something else for a while.

If you google the issue – in the past it seems that this was caused by people doing 16-bit graphics, and changing to 8-bit fixed it. And of course previous FCP X updates addressed this issue with PSD files not displaying correctly. But what do we do when FPC X doesn’t play well with perfectly good files? What do we do when a reboot won’t fix it? What do we do when we’re up against an urgent edit timeline and nothing logical seems to fix it? – Personally I don’t like those stakes. But it’s something that should be considered if you’re ever working with layered graphic files in your edit.

Anyway, now the edit of MR CLEAN can continue…..

Semi-Finalists and a Special mention for DFTB

I just wanted to stop by briefly to share some news about DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE (DFTB), the short film I wrote for director Darwin Reina.

Six festivals – a special mention and semi-finalists!
  1. We’ve received a special mention from the Med-Limes festival in Salerno, Italy – which as I understand it is like a ‘honourable mention’, meaning that you’re not in the normal selection / winners, but the film is worthy “… of exceptional merit but not deserving of top honours” – enough to celebrate it’s contribution. Hopefully this was because of the message behind the film – because we want to show the horror of domestic abuse, so that we can help to prevent it.
  2. We’re also now Semi-Finalists at the Best of Latin America Short Film Festival 2019 in Santa Monica, USA. Woohoo! [EDIT] And apparently, that achievement is not earned lightly as over 1,000 films were submitted to the festival!
An extract from the confirmation email

Congrats to Darwin Reina, the producers, entire cast and crew.

The film has already exceeded our expectations. A win would also be very welcome. But this is already better than we hoped for. Nice.

In other news, I’ve been quiet, because I’ve been working away on MR CLEAN in the rare moments when I get any free time. So far I’m playing with / refining the edit of a trailer and already had some very positive feedback on it. As soon as I’m happy with the final version of the trailer, and then completed post production on it (colour grading, score and sound mix), I will indeed share. I’m keen to get to that point, so that I can move back onto editing the actual film.

I’ve never edited a trailer before. It’s been a valuable learning experience. This is my third short film and I’ve never gotten to this point before.

Anyway, enough wittering. Thanks again for stopping by Cherished Reader.

Minor update – Barcelona bound

Hello folks! Hope you’re all doing well. Just thought I’d guiltily stop by and share what’s going on – to reassure you that things are indeed going on, albeit slowly.


If you care for excuses, I have a pretty good one for being fairly quiet – with having the builders in for a week, working on my house and then my 20 year old, senile cat, deciding to go missing for 5 days until we tracked him down 2.5km away from home. All that running around, flyering and searching for him etc was pretty exhausting. He’s back now, safe and I think that I’ve almost recovered. Almost.

Felix_tired

Exhausted cat is exausted


DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE news:

  • DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE has made it into three film festivals – nice. That in itself is great. It would be nice to win, but even being selected is a great honour.
  • We’re having the premiere this month in Barcelona and Darwin and I will be in attendance. 🙂 The film will be shown on the 15th May.
  • We’ll also be doing a recce for a future untitled film, to be shot in Barcelona.
  • And here’s the invitation:

Invitation

Invitation DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE premiere

MR CLEAN news:

  • The edit is still under way. it’s been hard to find time, but I’ve averaged about 30-60 mins a day of editing for the last month, despite my busy workload.
  • I’ve made it to day 4 of the 4-day shoot footage. So I am nearling the end of the rough assembly stage. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. And I have two more scenes to do a rough assembly on.
  • Next I have to do a complete rough assembly of the complete short film. And try and play around with it. That will be another whole journey in itself.
  • I already know a couple of shots I’d love to get if a reshoot was called for. But so far I think I can work with what I have, even if it doesn’t match up to what I wanted.

But perhaps I should get on with a trailer for the film, so you can begin to discover what the fuss is about?


Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 17.09.40.png

But that’s enough from me. I need to crack on. I can hear MR CLEAN getting impatient for his next victim…

 

An update – MR CLEAN, ZOMBIE MINTS and more

I posted that last update – the review of 2018, mainly because, no matter how embarrassing some of that baloney is, it throws some interest new light on what’s happened since or rather what was (and is) going on in the background on the filmmaking side and I thought it would be good for me to do a catch up on my creative goals.

Also, this is not an attack. This is a journal of my creative endeavours and I am just needing to explain what is going on and why it has happened. Please do not hold any ill will here. We’re all human, and all fallible and I for one and far from perfect.

And this is a cursed post. I’ve tried around 20 times to get this damn blog to post this text…

(more…)

Life After Nanowrimo – what now?

So I finished Nanowrimo, and then like the survivors of great battles and those that complete marathon races, I had a very bad case of fatigue and I was overcome with a serious case of ‘What the f$%k do I do now?’

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.09.03

 

I made sure of course that I backed up all of my files; multiple times (in Drop box, One Drive, USB, External backup) and – as I was using Scrivener, made sure I took a snapshot of the work, before I ever go back and then sat there, twiddling my thumbs. There as lots of twiddling. Lots of doubt. Lot’s of house cleaning and social engagements to fill up my time predominantly, but when in front of a computer – and starting at a blank screen – still faced with the same question: What to do?

I very much wanted to rest MUTAGENE – my Nano novel – and wait a while before revisiting it for editing / rewriting purposes. There are some plotting / planning activities and exercises I can still do on it, if I get desperate. But I wanted a break from it. After all, things had grown stagnant and we both needed to see other people. Or at least I needed some fun.

So I trawled back through my folders, trying to work out which of my other legacy projects was in need of love – as I didn’t have any burning new ideas to work on at that moment. That’s when I realised that I not only had one candidate, a short story I’d forgotten about (called ADRIFT), I also stumbled across a feature script I’d completely forgotten that I’d written (for a Script Frenzy competition a few years back)! Such a shambles. Such disorganised folders and files! And entrusting my faulty memory to guiding me clearly wasn’t working all that well. I decided that I needed to come up with a more appropriate plan to manage my writing projects.

After some soul searching, and some web searching, I realised that I needed a tool, like a database to track / catalogue every single idea, and I then needed to track which ideas then get worked on and when they become ready for circulation or publication.

I had three options:

  • an online writing database tool, such as writersdb and QueryTracker.
  • using Ulysses or Scrivener to track all of my projects; or
  • building my own tool to track all of my ideas and projects.

It wouldn’t be fun building such a tool, or populating it. But afterwards I would be in a much better position to track each idea through to completed project, and track my career more professionally – e.g. evaluate how much money I’d paid for editing surfaces, or been paid for successful story submissions, or for contest submission fees for scripts etc. I’d then have enough data to take stock of how things were progressing and make a judgement as to whether, like any business, it was still worth pursuing; or if torn between taking different roads, I’d have more than a gut feel to direct my decisions.

I didn’t really feel a need to track my writing each day, as that data would sit within Scrivener, or could easily be tracked in each project if I wanted to. And I was wary of my data being online, and being restricted to someone else’s design. And although I saw how someone else was using Scrivener to do their project management, it didn’t resonate with me. Seemed overly bloated and cumbersome. I wanted something small and portable. So I turned to what I know – I know spreadsheets. I know Excel.

So here’s what I built:

An excel sheet that has a project tracker tab: that tracks the name, type of project, genre (for film and prose), what stage it is in and what draft no and what is the latest file version.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.52.43

 

It also has a second tab for tracking submissions – once you’ve ushered a project through to completion on the first tab, you go to the tab called ‘Manuscript Script Submissions’ – for screenplays you submit to competitions or production companies, or manuscripts you submit to publishing companies or literary markets – and the feedback or decisions you get on that work, that may help you shape how you later go back to the rewrite / edit stage.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.53.17

 

The drop downs are populated on a third tab – so you can edit the field to your heart’s content and customise it to fit.

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.53.32

 

DOWNLOAD THE FILE HERE: 

PROJECT TRACKER V1.0 Alpha 

Please do download it. Give it a whirl. It’s nothing fancy. But it works for me. 

Feel free to try it out, if you think that it might be useful for you also. If you change it, I’d love to know why and how, in case it may be useful to put it into a new version to share with others. And also, if you think it’s flawed – please let me know and I’d gladly consider any amends. I’m especially curious to know if there’s anyone else out there in the same boat, with more ideas than organisation.

For now, I’ve got some data to populate into this thing. I’ve got one short story to write. And then I need to plan how I intend to start my Nano novel editing / rewrite process; come January I want a proper plan in place.

Transcoding DSLR footage and Radial Dolly

Great article video on using FCP Studio’s Compressor app to Transcode footage for your editing workflow. Obviously the same principles apply to working with iPhone 4 footage etc.

The article: http://filmmakeriq.com/2010/01/the-dslr-filmmakers-workflow/ – and check out all the other articles on the site. There’s some really useful material on there.

The video:

Here’s a great example of what can be shot on the 550D – if you know how – and combined with CG to create a stunning final product:

The 3rd Letter (aka “36 stairs”) trailer from grzegorz jonkajtys on Vimeo.

Nice.

Here’s another great video to show the kind of audio setup you can use to record separate audio and when to use software like Plural Eyes to sync it up later on your timeline for post:

How-to: Shooting ENG style with Dual System Audio on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II from Createasphere on Vimeo.

Yes, my brief encounter with a Canon 550D DSLR has inspired me. I am geeking out on the kind of footage that can be acquired. Especially when you factor in this cunning design for a tabletop Radial / Micro Dolly!

here’s the video to show you how they made it, with example footage: