Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Blog for Blog's Sake

Wow, it's been a while since my last blog and I really have no valid excuse. It's not like there haven't been things going on that I could ramble about:

  • We thought we found bigfoot but that turned out to be a rubber suit in a freezer. They actually sent it to a lab to get tested. Did the zipper not give it away? The scientists said they figured out it wasn't real because the hairs on the suit didn't burn like actual hairs burn. So wait...this is how we test these things? "I think I found a rare species of dinosaur. But to be sure, let's send it to the lab so they can burn the evidence."

  • The Olympics came and went. I had actually started a blog about the way the boxing is judged but it got me so upset, I had to stop. Basically, when it comes to the Olympics, boxing isn't boxing. It's judged more like fencing with gloves on. Except body blows don't count. And neither do most head shots. Unless the judges don't see it correctly. Basically hit your opponent, score a couple of points, and then spend the rest of your time running from him in the ring.

  • Speaking of TV coverage that goes on for days and days, the Democratic convention is here and you know what that means: time for Ed to pop in some DVDs.

  • Saw the trailer for the new inspirational film with Kirk Cameron, Fireproof. As a Christian and someone who's a bit of a movie guy, I'm sort of a little offended. Is that OK? I just don't think cheesy Hallmark Channel movie rejects should get a pass solely because it's got the tag "Christian" on it. Maybe I'm a little off, but shouldn't we also try to make art that's actually quality stuff?

On the non-sarcastic side of things, my buddy Ed (yep...Ed and Ed hanging out again) was in town for a few days and we made some pretty ridiculous videos and that was a good time. (And yes, I realize this may seem to contradict my "Christians should make art" rant in the previous paragraph, but I'm not making art. I'm just trying to make my friends laugh.) If you're a buddy of mine check them out on my Facebook, as I won't be uploading them to YouTube.

Other than that, life has been pretty good and I have no legitimate complaints. Spending my time hanging out with my hot wife making crazy monkey love. And you're welcome for that image.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pink Slipped Away


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about trying to get a copy of my pink slip from when I was fired at my job at a record label. The reason for trying to get a copy was because of what was written under "Reason for Termination": No radio experience. (For those of you who didn't bother to read the other blog, I had just finished a 3-year stint in radio before coming on board.)

My pal Brad put me in touch with Sara at Gotee Records to see about getting a copy of my paperwork and she was really cool about it. Alas, I heard back from her today and although they did indeed find my file, my pink slip is nowhere to be found inside.

I have to admit, I'm a little depressed about it. Why? I'll explain by giving you some true stories:

  • Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor because "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas."

  • After Harrison Ford's first performance in movies, the studio vice-president called him into his office and said, "You ain't got it kid , you ain't got it ... now get out of here."

  • Charles Schultz had every one of the comics he submitted to his high school newspaper rejected .

  • A memo written in 1933 by an MGM testing director after Fred Astaire's first screen test said, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." Astaire actually had the memo framed and placed over his fireplace.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm better than or even nearly as good as any of the people I mentioned above but man, I really wanted my own little piece of irony to hang on the wall.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Production Update: "The Blanket"

Yes, fans, the wait is almost over. Another short film by Yours Truly will be on its way soon.

For those of you who may not know, Sarah and I spent an evening with our friends John and Lisa and their son Alex. Part of that time was spent eating an incredible meal, part of it was spent playing badminton. But the majority of our time was spent filming. We finished up a project for work that is a parody of one of our favorite films (we also filmed a trailer for this film but, alas, it is only available to my Facebook friends. But before you friend-request me, take note of my previous post).

This is the final product of the work project. How jealous are you that I get paid to have this much fun?

The bulk of our time, though, was spent working on a personal project of mine entitled The Blanket. I wrote the script last year and wrote it specifically with John, Lisa, and Alex in mind. It's not my first time working with kids (while I was in Indiana my brother and I put together an asinine mini-series called "Terocus" and in one episode his daughter played one of the bad guys who met a most untimely demise).

But this was my first time working with a kid as my star (okay, yeah, Alex starred in our "Cha Cha Slide" parody, but he didn't have to learn any lines in that one) and it's been a fun journey. Alex is 10 years old and I've been talking to him about this for the last six months. It got to the point, though, where I think he became a little sick of hearing about it and whenever I would mention The Blanket to him, he would roll his eyes and tell me he quit the project.

About a month or so ago he came in to work and I filmed a few quick shots of him in front of the green screen and last week we got all of his filming wrapped. I think he's glad to be done with it and now he's eager to find out when it will be finished.

I took what footage I have and edited it down into a very rough cut of the short film and so far I'm happy with how it looks (and is going to look). Alex and his family did a great job for me and they look great on the screen.

I only have two more quick scenes to shoot: I need to shoot an exterior shot of the house and also nab a quick shot of Sarah and me in front of the green screen. Next week I'll be recording a good buddy of mine for a voiceover and then it'll just be down to the final editing -- my favorite part.

Hopefully I'll be blogging again in a couple of weeks to let you know the short film is finished and ready to view. In the meantime, here are a couple of shots Sarah took while we were filming. Until next time...I'll be in the editing room!


Monday, August 11, 2008

Wait...Do I Know You?

Sarah and I have a lot in common but there's one topic on which we just don't see eye-to-eye and, so far, neither of us have budged.

I'm talking, of course, about Facebook friend requests.

Call me crazy, but I actually know all of my Facebook friends. And if someone sends me a request asking me to be their friend and I don't know who they are, I happily press "ignore." I'm not trying to up my friend count just for the sake of upping my friend count, and if someone isn't going to take the time to drop me a line and kind of introduce themselves, well...they can find me on MySpace.

Sarah has a different outlook. As far as she is concerned, if someone asks to be her friend, she's more than happy to accept. Everyone is welcome, and it's all good. I blame it on her good heart. Me...not so much.

When she asks why I'm so quick to ignore a request from a total stranger, I give her what (to me) is an obvious answer: "They're not my friend. I don't know who they are."

Why does someone who doesn't know me want to be my Facebook friend? Do they really care how many stars I give the last movie I saw or what I did on my summer vacation? I just find it odd. If they want to know what's on my mind, they can visit me here at my blog and find out what I am currently ranting about. And if they really do care (and if they do, I still find it odd. Call me paranoid), then why wouldn't they drop me a line saying hello?

If some stranger came up to me on the street and said, "LET'S BE FRIENDS" I would be a little more than taken back. I'm like a jittery wild monkey. You can't just run up to me and throw your arm around me or I'll run screeching into the jungle brush. Bribe me with bananas: Say hi to me. Make small talk. Who do you know that I know? Tell me about your family. What have we got in common? (And I don't really consider the fact that we both have Facebook accounts something in common.)

It's not that I'm against meeting new people. I just wanna know who the freak they are first.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Top 10 Chase Scenes of All Time

Let's face it, top 10 lists are fun. Especially when I get to decide what does and doesn't make the list.

This time around: The best chase scenes ever captured on film. And before we get started, I know Bullitt
and The French Connection
always get mentioned when people talk about chase scenes. Well guess what? I've never seen either one and when I watched the chase scenes on YouTube I wasn't impressed. True, I didn't see them in the context of the film and they were innovative at the time but I'm not grading on innovation. I'm grading on what I think was cool. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. I mean for real.


10. Running Scared (1986)
I was 16 when I saw this Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines buddy-cop flick (yes, you heard me right. Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines played Chicago cops). As a whole the film itself is pretty mediocre, but when Billy and Gregory's high-speed chase leads them onto the rails of the Chicago El system - the cars racing along the tracks - it was something else. It was that scene that first made me say to myself One day I'm going to make a compilation of the best chase scenes, and this one is going to be on it.

9. Vantage Point (2008)
Forget the fact that I thought this movie was pretty freakin' cool. Any movie that has me shouting "Get 'em, Dennis Quaid!! Go, Dennis Quaid!! Drive faster, Denis Quaid!!!" at the top of my lungs...yea it had a pretty cool chase scene.

8. Children of Men (2006)
How do you know a chase scene is a good one? When they are moving at like 2 miles per hour and it's STILL exciting. Clive Owen sabotages the bad guys' cars before he sneaks away from their hideout in a countryside cottage. But, of course, the car he's in doesn't always start when it's supposed to, so he has to get out and push while Julianne Moore is in the car trying to pop the clutch and get it going. The baddies are soon after them, pushing their cars and in the same situation. OK, I admit it sounds pretty ridiculous in this context but trust me, it was pretty intense.

7. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The only redeeming quality about either of the sequels to the Matrix series was the freeway chase scene. I don't know how much of it was CGI, how much was shot on location, or how much was shot on a soundstage - I suspect it was a combination of all three - but this sequence was so manic and crazy it made me forget for a few minutes that I was watching a really crappy movie.

6. Casino Royale\ (2006)
James Bond movies are supposed to have really cool chase scenes, but it wasn't until the latest incarnation that I realized just how cool they could be. It opens with Daniel Craig chasing some dude who jumps around like a human Frogger through a construction site. Freakin' awesome.

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Most people choose Raiders of the Lost Ark when they choose their favorite Indy chase scene, and I can't really argue with them. But for me, it's hard to beat the mine car chase. True, when you watch it now it's almost painfully obvious that most of the sequence is actually shot in miniature, but let's be honest. When you saw the trailer for Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser and you saw the clip of the mine car sequence, you thought of Indy II. And odds are you think of our favorite fedora-wearing hero every time you see a mine car in a movie traveling quickly. That, my friends, is what you call influence.

4. The Bourne Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007)
Yes, I cheated a little on this one, but since it's my list, I can make the rules. And break them. But I couldn't single out one chase scene in the series of films that are pretty much one long chase scene (not unlike the surprisingly-forgotton Run with Patrick Dempsey....and don't think that one didn't almost make the list). So instead of trying to single out one of them, I'm just lumping the whole series together into one big chase scene chunk. MMMM. Tasty, huh?

3. The Italian Job (2003)
I'm not too proud to admit that this is the film that made me want to buy a Mini Cooper. I haven't wanted a car this badly since I was a kid and was wayyyy too into the Herbie films (a pox upon thee, Lindsay Lohan! I miss you, Dean Jones). Watching these little cars zip around, eluding the bad guys, and custom-built to carry hijacked loot...wow...nothing could make me not want one of these cars. And then my boss got one and beat me to the punch. I guess I could still buy a VW bug and paint a '53' on the side.

2. Jurassic Park (1993)
Are you kidding me? I don't know what freaked me out more, the T-Rex thumping after the jeep or the two raptors chasing our heroes through the grounds. Freak. Me. Out. I'm still against dinosaur DNA testing to this day.

1. Cloverfield (2008)
There's a scene where the stars of the film find themselves in the dark maze of New York subway tunnels with no light. And when they DO manage to get some light what they see following them in the dark...well...sometimes it's better to not see what it is that's stalking you. The chase is on and it's a hell of a chase. By the time the sequence was over, I could feel my heart trying to push through my ribcage. I turned to Sarah sitting beside me and could only utter these three words: "That was fun."

So there ya go. My favorite chase scenes. What about you? What movies got your heart racing and your feet tapping overtime? Leave your favorites in a comment below.