Hit the road

Volatility below, clouds above.

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Stationary. I do not shoot the cam/phone and drive. I will hang a camera
out of a window while driving. So many extremes out there. A lot of people are really working hard but still coming up with nothing but lint. November, December are so often dead months for business. If you are the bearer of lint, you have to keep moving.
I’m finally getting around the keyboard a little better with my most recent finger fracture. So I’ll likely throw 3 other posts together so that i can keep my promise to myself and type this stuff 4x per month.

My soccer problems

Soccer doesn't understand me, either.

Soccer doesn’t understand me, either.

After the 2014 World Cup, I had a conversation with a friend’s cousin about my difficulty in getting into Premier League. No one played soccer in my neighborhood. My cousin had a sun weathered soccer ball but I don’t recall ever playing with it. We had live boxing, football, baseball and tape-delayed NBA on television. In 1982 I had an L.A. Lazers (pro indoor soccer) sticker that made it quickly to the trash can. With the influx of El Salvadorians and Nicaraguans  in the 80s I started seeing more people kick that chess ball around in the parks. Hell, I even played one game of rugby in P.E. and watched a few water polo games but there was zero soccer on my radar.

My interest in finding a team was so that I could understand the game better then disseminate the info to my boy who has been fascinated by the game since he was a toddler. Whereas I have caught a few games since that 2014 conversation, I still have not followed dude’s advice to just pick a team and follow them forever. I can’t do that. Now, I know why.

Is this game between the Wankleberry Samsungs and the Nottingham Nuttsacks? I have no idea who these hopping hooligans are.

In major American sports (baseball, basketball, football) you have obvious logo branding. I don’t follow the WNBA at all but as soon as I saw a jersey with the Statue of Liberty, I knew the team was the New York Liberty. Premier has seals. I can’t see those tiny ass emblems. I do see Emirates and a gang of race car style advertising. The only thing personal that is prominent is the name of the player. That’s great if you identify with the player but you have to follow the tradition of the team if there is no recognizable style. Yeah, they have there own color scheme and some have slight design flourishes but I really only immediately recognize Arsenal. And I recognize them more for the Puma logos. The NBA has been looking into going that road. I’ll probably watch less if they do. All that human billboard stuff bugs me. In world cup, Brazil was Brazil. US was US. “Eat at Joe’s” doesn’t inspire my sports loyalty.

Little Arsenal

Little Arsenal dragon Puma. Why do they discontinue the shoes I like?

I’m not an Anglophile. Unlike Americans who knees turn to jelly when they hear some limey accent my first thought is “where did this dude park his pirate ship?” I’ve never been to Utah but I know the Jazz. When I first started watching basketball they were the New Orleans Jazz. They changed states and I could still follow or be aware of the team. Super Sonics to the Robber Barrons… I mean the Thunder. I don’t identify with Manchester, Swansea, Ham-Ville-Shire, whatever. To my knowledge, Arsenal is not a municipality. If they moved to Lichtenstein, they could still be Arsenal. Chelsea would have to move to lower Manhattan to maintain the geography/name balance. Chelsea could be a crappy town. I don’t know. They have their traditions but I need to pick a team like a baby. “I live in Los Angeles so I like the former Minneapolis Lakers“. “I hate that Leprechaun so I want every team to stomp the Celtics.” Soccer doesn’t make it easy for me.

The Flash ready to clash

The Flash ready to clash through the 1031 casbah

Some of the jerseys have collars. Hell no. Helllll no. What’s next, bow ties and beanies? That at least allows me to eliminate teams (though I could be confusing them with a MLS team).

I hate all that damn singing/chanting. I can still watch a game despite all of that drunken pirate shit. Hell, I hate the loud ass disco of NBA games so I realize they won’t cater to me. However, I respect that people all over the world are intensely moved by the game and the atmosphere. Listening to the Men in Blazers podcast about a year before Men’s World Cup prepped me for watching World Cup.

The best thing about soccer for me is the newness. There are still huge craters in my understanding and I have trouble watching anything televised now. Last year before the season, I was thinking I was going to pick up Chelsea but they wound up winning the title and I don’t like being a front-runner aside from my Lakers legacy. I guess they are sucking this season so it would be a good time to jump on board in terms of bucking the front runner trend but bad in all other things. I saw a bumble bee team last week, Watford maybe. Prior to that I was considering giving Leicester City a try. One of the Manchesters is powder blue and that won’t do. If anyone has a club to endorse, let me know. For now, I’ll stick with my son’s fall AYSO team, the Flash. Premier League will be ready for me when I’m ready for them.

How did this get so long? Procrastination.

Pre-production notes: Overcooked Vegan Episode 7

It's just some damn food.

It’s just some damn food.

I hit a wall just before episode 6. Overcooked Vegan is research and development for me and I was having difficulty with my progression in technique. I guess I’ve been documenting that in the production notes. After ep 5’s unnecessary hurdles and mounting scrambling before ep 6, I declared a two week OR SO hiatus. Basically, for September I’m only doing intermittent pre-pro and maybe some animations but I don’t look to go back into production until early October.

To explain the wall, I’ll have to say it’s not just time and energy. There is logical return. You do art because you’re compelled to do so. Personality might dictate how much of that art is satiated with intrinsic versus extrinsic reward. You might also throw in a quasi-social awareness angle which ideally is intrinsic when authentic. Business is all extrinsic and always in need of a return. The blood of business is money. As I said Overcooked Vegan is R&D. The immediate return is constant information from testing. The long term goal is broadcast or cable, if not overcooked then something else. But I started getting a lot of knuckle-headed return.

For episode 6 I had two people who had originally committed to participate want me to sing and dance them back into their commitment. Fuck that. Go walk your puppies, ________ (You know what fits). So I went back into my 20 some odd remaining submissions to my casting and from the two emails got my first zero response and a response that I will describe as “that’s the internet for you”! Despite having a fairly detailed casting notice AND episodes that can be surveyed for examples ANNND the show title, I was asked two inane questions: “What kind of personality are you looking for?” ANNNNNND “Would I have to cook vegan food?” Come on now. What the %64#2D is wrong with you?!?

So the wall represents the cracks in my patience and I have to repair the wall. There’re more issues but I don’t write this to vent to the public. (I’ve been led to believe that production notes help some people who are interested in getting insights into various levels of production and I don’t mind passing on information if it’s of value.) I guess I mean to say, I’m not that dude taking pictures of every thing I do and posting it online. I already have two feature-length documentaries that I have to find a working time machine to finish before certain deadlines and tomorrow an additional one is coming my way. I can’t even write about my irritation on those projects alone.

Beyond the complaining, I do have more headspace to slowly make changes to the format so that cutting it to the half hour will make sense in flow and instill more humor into it. Of course pre-pro has to be met with proper pro. I also have to work on publicity. Very few people know the show exists. It’s taking a preposterous amount of time to get the word out via the method I had been waiting for so it’s time to return to the responsibility of self. Except I hate doing publicity. In the words of Gil Scott-Heron taken totally out of context, “Home is where the hatred is”.

Change the style

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You’re going to have to work the post because you didn’t work the production.

Last year during Men’s World Cup, I started on working on building my book so that I could make a play towards the Rio Olympics. I laid out this plan of action to cash in on some favors, shoot some pro athletes, upcomers, etc. What happens? I stay injured. 3 broken fingers, achilles, tears here there and everywhere. That slowed my extra shooting down to a crawl. In the interim, I see people whose work I really admire ramping up now for all the gigs that I planned to compete.

I rarely stretch. My son is looking at me. He tells me, “Dad, you’re injured all the time. I’m going to stretch everyday like you’ve been telling me.” About time, little mofo. I’m looking at another week on the DL before I dust off the ligaments, tendons, and flabby brain. I’m going to force myself to take baby steps instead of doing 2 a days. Sure I will. I’ll actually do it right this time. Sure I will.

Last week I set up a test shoot, with models from a sports agency. I debated on the time which was a double-edge sword decision. I knew if I set it too early, my mobility might be compromised but the traffic would be less. I chose the opposite which yielded 2 of the 3 models being late as they were thoroughly caught in the flood of traffic and one food-poison afflicted no-show. (She emailed and called early. Nothing bad I can say about that). Starting later, meant a higher sun and less energy as I waited for people to show. The ladies were good but I didn’t have full command of the cameras as I was fighting the pain. I had exceeded my rations for standing for too long. So, I got adequate and adequate is anathema to me right now. But, I did need to get into a groove. Like I said, I’m going to give myself another week, then test the wheels out again while sticking closer to my new sketches. I’m looking for a stylistic breakthrough and I’m not feeling like it’s going to come through improvisation.

I guess I’m going to have to keep on shooting if I’m going to get there. I wonder if I can stretch vicariously through my son.

Production Notes: Overcooked Vegan – Episode 6

Overcooked Vegan Episode 6 is up. My frustration caught up with me for little while so I chose to only have one cooking segment this time around. That’s standard for web shows but I’ve mentioned my interest in targeting broadcast and cable in the past. Ironically enough, this episode wound up being one of the longer episodes because I got a bee in my bonnet to do a long held back product overview. I call it overview because there is little reason for me to believe my tastebuds are precision-tuned to match anyone outside of myself.

The neighbors always said that I looked like the Soy Milk Man.

The neighbors always said that I looked like the Soy Milk Man instead of my daddy.

Backing up for a second, I was prepared to upload the show Monday night but I figured I would take Tuesday to build some new animations. Instead, I decided to get rid of the clutter of empty Almond Milk boxes that I had collected for a photo project. Trash day and I was sick of looking at the things on the shelf so I got to shooting them quickly so I could feed the recycle bin. I wrote a script and realized by the time I was finished that I sounded like Joan Rivers using the baritone patch on a vocoder. My voice was super tired. So, I figured I’d catch a couple of hours of sleep then finish everything about 2 am. Nope. I started at 5 am. Screwed! It took about 3.5 hours to piece it together (voice record, edit). On the finished output I hear that I sound like Joan Rivers using the cracking tenor patch on a vocoder. So be it. That’s what I get for being anti-social for the week.

Eggplant and I are not friends but this was pretty good.

Eggplant and I are not friends but this was pretty good.

Problems: On set I let the talent leave the radio on at the beginning thinking that I was going to shoot and cut a different way. No. Don’t do that. You honestly do not know what you’re going to do in the edit so keep everything as useable as possible. The external audio device is begging to be replaced. I’m going to have to address that asap. Lastly, I have to find a definitive episode number to call it a season so I can appropriately tweak ideas and prepare for season 2.

In all, it’s still a learning experience and good production exercise while passing on decent health-related information. In doing the almond milk overview it reminded me about the carrageenan issues. It had totally slipped my mind. How I go forward with that information is thus far unknown but I’m glad I did it. Down the line, I’ll revisit the segment and re-edit to give it more pop. I’ve been out of Almond Milk since Saturday so it was funny having so many cartons but nothing to drink.

Production Notes for Overcooked Vegan Episode 5

Eat my weekend up.

Eat my weekend up.

Overcooked Vegan Episode 5 is live on the web as of Tuesday afternoon. I missed by morning launch because of Monday’s time management.

I had wound up booking the two shoots that appear on Saturday. Finalizing the times became weird but it worked out. Fortunately, April and Kelly wanted to do their shoot together so I didn’t have to do 3 that day otherwise I’d still be editing. To make the time, I basically ditched the b-cam footage. But I think I finally figured out how off the LCD is in its luma reproduction so I should be able to eyeball it better. With that I probably overcompensated pulling down the whites in post and tweaking the color. I had zero time to watch the episode before I uploaded it. If fortunate, when I review it, I won’t feel compelled to dive back in and re-upload it.

I took a couple hours off Sunday to watch the finale of that disaster called True Detective Season 2. One thing it did help was re-raise questions about the structure of this show. The integration of story, cooking and culture isn’t as fluid as I’d like it to be. But time leaves me again to call it a work in progress.

Monday led me to Olga’s Naturally. Whereas the restaurant overviews are not remotely the most important part of the show, I didn’t like the omission in episode 4. For background, I walk into these restaurants cold. I’ve only been rejected/put on pause once and only one place held any history for me as a customer. Olga’s was a spot I came across on a Yelp search. The location is impossible to find through casual driving. I stopped in post lunch rush and had the place to myself. Two sentences in my explanation the owner was all in and offered to give me a sample (full order) gratis. I negotiated that I’d pay for an entree so effectively it was a buy one get one free. This was the first time that someone saw the value in what I was doing to make such an offer and subsequently it became the 1st time that I shot the food on site. Cool. It felt like some progress in this time of growing pains.

Ultimately, the next camera needs to at least have zebras. The audio recorder needs to perform better than the on-camera mic. The monitor should kind of allow me to calibrate it. And on and on…

Panda Problems

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black fur in the pawn

Someone used to like this toy… Maybe even “loved” the hell out of it. But it grew up, couldn’t deal, hit the sauce. Who knows?
Been juggling. Watched the Rousey v Correa waste of 40 seconds and the Malignaggi (not looking it up) v Garcia with my boy. Hype to fight ratio is horrifically imbalanced. Couple days later I see the end results of a hawk vs a pigeon. No hype necessary.

Hawk stands on pigeon

Hawk wouldn’t wait. The pigeon did. Hawk flew off with it before I could grab the DSLR

I finally got some work out of a client that I had pursued for many years. At the end of it all, counting the the time, the years of pursuit, the gig won’t be worth the payout. Don’t devalue your efforts. Someone else is always willing to do that for you.

But I do dig the challenge. Newness. You’ve seen what the longstanding references get you. Newness brings the initial jolt of energy. Maybe it can be ridden into better situations. With that, I went to a crowd sourcing seminar at Film Independent. I met a cat whose unstated mission was to meet everyone there. I watched in horrified admiration as I am not wired that way. I’m slowing down because he caught me before I could escape. I have to respect that.

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I’ve been trying to get up and go work since 3 am. Let me put this phone down and see it through. Adiós