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The Fissility of Felicitations

Boy, this really is a fallow time for your faithful narrator. I almost missed a screening this past Thursday, and yet again this week I failed to even mention on the blogosphere that the 2nd episode of Framelines is playing in a measly two hours time and I haven’t promoted it yet. Is something wrong with me? Why do I not care more?

One thing is certain. I will make ACCIDENTAL ART this summer. Come hell or high water… although I never thought of Hell as a particularly watery venue or a place where the humidity was high. I’ve made a decision to attract an Ohio actress who is a bit of famous her own self. I have some connection to this actress indirectly and in the past 9 years I never ever dreamed of using that, but this is it. It’s go time. I’m calling the favors on this one, and I’m going ALL IN.

We have $X.XX amount in the bank now and with my last few commitments; we have enough to make the movie. Time to put the band back together again. I’m only going to use the bare minimum crew on this. I’m not out to impress anybody or pretend my production is something big or special. My sole concern is making a movie and telling the story. The more time I spend away from a film “community”, the more I know I don’t care about petty nonsense.

Thanks to this blog, I did make a connection to a local school that is going to provide us with some interns for FRAMELINES and other projects. It will be nice to get some new hands to help…. And possibly initiate.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 30, 2011 at 9:55:03 pm

Preposterous Aspersions

Want to know how messed up my whole thought process is these days? I completely forgot that my own TV show was premiering until less than 12 hours before hand. No promotion, no hoopla leading up to it, I just plain forgot. Some marketing guru I am turning out to be.

I stayed up to watch it. I’ve been trying to recalibrate my body and go to bed earlier, so a 2:30AM start time of my show has now derailed those plans as I sit here in sleepy misery. I have seen this pilot episode so many times. We finished it last July. Still, it is very different seeing it on the television live. I put on the closed captions just to read them and because I’ve never seen them on the show.

I hope we can break through to general audiences with this. We’re trying to focus on the human interest stories of filmmakers and what motivates them to make movies. If anyone is going to see FRAMELINES in Columbus, it will be with the DVR/Tivo. The show aims at the key 18-34 demo that PBS doesn’t attract often. There is also a chance those are the types that are awake at that hour watching TV.

In all the other markets in Ohio, we’re getting much better time slots. In our home town, we’re getting the shaft with a 2:30AM time slot. I think it’s only a matter of time before they will change us to a better time. Once I get to the point of finishing a few more episodes, I can then turn on the marketing machine full blast.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 24, 2011 at 8:38:46 am

an intransigent individualist

Already feeling a bit better. I’ve done some creative work. I had to create an effect where an actor appears outside a large front window of a bar and have a camera travel inside this bar through the window. It’s a pretty common effect these days, but one I have never done. The problem was the actors were shot 7 months apart and with the first actor was shot in a way that was not necessarily conducive to this effect, as it would need to be static on a tripod and we shot mostly (almost entirely) hand held. Also, the “bar” was just a small bar inside a movie theater and did not have a “window”, so I created one in After Effects.

So via much computer generated trickery, I have manufactured the shot I wanted in a way that surpasses much of my original intent. and Andrew Kramer’s tutorials make things like this a lot easier. It opens up the possibilities of what you can do with a simple, non-science fiction project.

That FX shot is the last one in this short. I also editing the opening several bits already, so progress has been made. I feel a bit relieved and relaxed. I’m still behind on the day job work and even FRAMELINES, but feeding this emaciated part of my soul felt good. I want to get these two shorts done in the next 2-3 weeks. Self imposed deadlines help but usually there has to be an end game in mind. I don’t have one. There is no plan for another screening or a film festival or anything like that.

Regardless, my Obsessive-Compulsive side kicks in and I have to work on it and finish them. I can’t stand unfinished projects.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 22, 2011 at 2:46:47 pmComments (1)

An Indelible Depression

I am depressed. There are no two ways about it. I have sunk into a mild depression and it affects everything. As I wrote recently, I was uninspired to promote my screening and attendance was lower than anything I have ever done before. Granted, there were still more than I estimated there would be, but it still was below par. Sadly, this did not cause my depression, but represents a symptom of it.

Creatively, this funk prevents me from concentrating on or enjoying the process. I believe this is in part because my day job work is also editing and graphics. It sucks the life out of you sometimes from delving into the long hours and deep focus of creating a movie. I have two short films I have directed sitting in a queue unedited because I am working long days and at the end, I just can’t sit and edit anymore. I have a hard enough time getting through the regular work because of the routine that has sucked me down.

This too shall pass. It’s not as dire as it might seem. Maybe I need a vacation. Perhaps I need something to inspire me. I know not what can accelerate the process, but these phases are never permanent or debilitating for more than a short time.

I’m stuck at an impasse. Whilst we wait to hear about the GET IT MADE 2 COMPETITION, we’re not progressing on Accidental Art as a feature film. I don’t want to get too far along the path of a lower budget version only to stop and find out we have the opportunity to make it for more money…. Even though I don’t believe we’ll win. Of the Top Ten, at least 8 of them are just as good as or better than my short film. This source of frustration only compounds as time goes on. I want to make my next feature. I am ready. It will be in some ways a “last hurrah” as I cannot stomach the heartache and pain of raising money and the rat race therein.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 21, 2011 at 8:20:15 pm

The Machinations of a Madman

Damn! Work is beating my upside the head. But that’s a good thing. Keeping busy and making money is not a bad thing, especially given how this economy has been hammering at video production. The downside is that I have failed to promote my upcoming screening as well as I would have liked. The attendance will correspond to the hype, meaning low numbers.

I have tried to maintain the things I need to do to beat my bad habits. There was some success and also some failure this week. I did not work on my new web series every day for 30 minutes a day; however I did some days and not others. I did keep my walking and physical activity increasing daily. It’s not much, but there is a lot to overcome there.Part of “working on” an edit is thinking. The more I tinker or even look at the footage, the clearer the edit becomes in my head. The sad part is that these are each under 3 minutes in run time. I need to be in the right headspace for an edit. I like things to be how they should be. Sometimes this requires being in the right place at the right time.

There are several screenings coming up that my short films will be a part of; at least 4 in Columbus in the next two weeks. I’m still in a seriously anti-social state though. I don’t want to be out and about. I have little to say and what I do want to say pretty much winds up here in a blog. I have no interest in the rumors or speculation of other filmmakers. It has no affect on my movies or what I am doing. My head is turned downwards into my own trenches. So far, the view is much better with the blinders on when it comes to other people’s nonsense.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 9, 2011 at 8:22:31 pm

A Didactic Disposition

Framelines, our PBS show on filmmaking in Ohio is like a freight train that’s going down a hill. I’m faced with deadlines and a workload that dwarves the small trio that is working on something of this magnitude. The struggle is to maintain quality and not have the time to do so. I endeavor to keep my bar higher on this show. I want this to help bring the filmmaking movement into the view of the public.

I hate doing the multicam editing for the roundtables, but don't mind doing the cutdowns for broadcast, so Scott has to direct the multicam in post for those. I step in at that point and pick the best moments of the usually 1 hour taping to create a 3-7 minute segment that has some level of coherence, plus clips and B-Roll when needed.

We found a nice rhythm of Alex the intern doing the A-Roll cut (interviews), then me and Scott on B-Roll, then I master the show with graphics and music, etc. All of the A-Roll is cut for the first 6 episodes, so it's on me and Scott to get them done. Alex hasn’t fully grasped B-Roll cutting, at least not in the way I want for the show, but he's really really good with A-Roll interviews.

Play to our strengths and work as a team. That’s been the most amazing part of the post production process on this show for me – creating and maintaining a workflow.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 2, 2011 at 7:16:51 pm

Continuing the Cotillion of Conquest

So far this week I have improved on defeating my bad habits. One of the things about recognizing my obsessive-compulsive behavior results in trying to out maneuver them. Tricking one’s self can be tricky, but possible. Retraining your mind to erase decades of reinforcement is never easy.

The worst thing for defeating my productivity is the OCD need to want to have enough time to complete an entire job, when it is and has never been a job that could be done in a single day anyways. It’s a mindset, and a destructive one. I have the hardest time getting started on big projects because you are facing the mountain before you make any progress and it’s easier to just say…..”Tomorrow…. tomorrow…. Tomorrow…..

Specifically, I am look at 2 edits for short films. Knowing I have close to 4 hours of raw footage to go through, which will take at least 6 hours to do, my sub conscious mind says I need and entire day to just slug the takes I like and jettison the rest. If I have even 45 minutes of paid work in between, then getting back into that mindset is broken and I can justify procrastination.

So what I am doing to defeat this is to just set aside two 30 minute time periods to start slogging through the work. If I just get rid of a bunch of the gunk, and make the raw footage a more manageable amount, then I can just work towards getting to the edit. This seems so obvious, but I have years and negative reinforcement to work against.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:47:03 am

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