Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CC: What a little moonlight can do...

According to legend, elves came into being before the earth had a sun. Basking in the bright light of the stars and the moon, they would play music through the everlasting night.

I’ve unfortunately found myself in a situation similar to those early elves. I now spend most of my time sitting at my computer underneath Dan Voshart’s giant Chinese moon lantern. Its function: to make the night seem as bright as the day and keep me awake through the (seemingly) endless night as I struggle to keep up with my editing schedule. I underestimated how long the inserts would take me and have fallen horribly behind. Thoughts of the upcoming Chris is a failure party haunt me as I race toward the deadline.

I have pulled out my old electric guitar though, and spend my break time trying to learn to play properly for once. I’m not sure how an electric guitar would sit with the elves, but I feel closer to them already, filling my rest time indulging in their foremost passion of music.

Full Moon Fever

Monday, October 27, 2008

DV: Degrassi Knoll

Chris entered my room this morning, scratched MY head in the most pedophelic way, and said " "You should post about Degrassi"

I didn't want to post until we got the images from Degrassi but I also don't want him touching me again. I digress.

Being an extra is boring, and depressing. During a 3 hour wait in the holding area some dude closed the only window we had. Not only is being an extra the most depressing job in the world apparently it attracts vampires.

On set I was nothing more than a meat puppet and it sucks hard. My 5 second appearance on Degrassi will be the worst television experience since the JFK assassination. I try not to think about why I'm planning 18 months in advance to be one in The Hobbit. This flight of fantasy is much too real.

Degrassi lost 164 dollars to Apartment 705 today

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CC: Past the Point of No Return?

Last week on my way to the set of Degrassi, I figured I might as well pick up a book to read since I'd probably have lots of down time. So I headed up to Elliot's Bookstore, just north of Wellesley, to pick up a copy of The Hobbit, which I am ashamed to say I haven't read in years. When we got to the Tolkien section though, there wasn't a copy in sight. There was something else though that did catch my eye: a copy of The Simarillion, Tolkien's legendarily boring book about ancient middle earth containing all of the stories and legends that are referred to in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Apparently it's almost exclusively about elves and chronicles their long history. The sort of thing only a die hard Tolkien nerd would ever read, and has been hailed by The New York Review as "an empty and pompous bore". But really how bad could it be? All the bad press has to be exaggerated. Right?

From the minute I saw it, I knew that I had to read it, no matter how painful it may be. How could I claim to be the perfect person to play an elf if I hadn't learned all of their long back story. The man at the counter confirmed my suspicions that I was entering seriously nerdy waters. "It's like reading stereo instructions," he told me when he saw what I was buying. "It gets better once you get into it though. The language stuff is pretty cool, but everything else is really dorky." Hmmm... dorkier than a make believe fully grammatically functional language created for fictional characters in a fantasy book. I was baffled. We told him about our plan to be elves to explain the purchase. "Did you lose a bet or something?" he replied. "You're seriously starting to enter 'dying a virgin territory'". This is coming from a man who's working in a used book store and has read The Simarillion on his own accord for fun of it. I'm starting to wonder what I've gotten myself into. On set I managed to read the first twenty pages, a creation story of middle earth that reads like the book of Genesis. I'm about to give it another go right now, since my computer is being fixed and I can't work on Adventurer tonight. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

CC: Tough Words from Dan Voshart

Isn't it nice to hear a rant about how people complain too much about working from someone who regularly has as many days off each week as he has at work? Or who just came back from a week of film screenings and parties in Vancouver? I'm sure it's tough. And no, I don't think life is about doing something that you don't enjoy for money. I know that lots of people sell out like that, and I know I'm spending a lot of my time now doing that in order to get this trip off the ground, but I don't think Peter Jackson's foremost thoughts as he was working his ass off on The Lord of the Rings were about how he wasn't enjoying it or how he was filling a niche in the marketplace.
Anyway, moving on...
In other news, we're revamped our blog to make it less rambling and more imagefull, so if you haven't gotten around to it, now's a better time than ever to check out our back entries. We also have an RSS feed so you can constantly keep up to date. Add us on your google homepage!
I've also finally got around to scanning our Ryersonian article. Please forgive my hurried efforts at pasting it together in Photoshop as it was too big to scan at once. It's a pretty nice overview of what we're trying to achieve and does a good job at capturing the tone for the project. So once again, our thanks go out to the (now confirmedly) wildly talented Clare Hill and all the good folks at the Ryersonian who helped get this out there.
You can click on the image to read it in full resolution or take a look at the text version online.

DV: The End of Ranting

As I type this I'm imagining Peter Jackson biking between 5 sets all filming simultaneously with garbage sized bags under his eyes. Why didn't he just take a nap? get drunk and go to a crazy party last night....

If the world economy comes to a crashing halt you can surely blame it on Chris and I. I'm not talking; housing crisis, 700 billion bailouts or some other rubbish. I'm talking about people whining about doing work they don't want to do.

This is the fabric of our economy. People doing what they hate and getting paid for it. Good ole' fashion: "I hate my job, but I do it anyways".

Economists have a saying about business: "Find a need and fill it" which roughly translates to: "You will get paid to do something that someone else doesn't want to"

What am I getting at? I'm referring to this crazy idea about becoming an elf in The Hobbit and whining on a blog about how things are tough.

I'm talking about Chris giving his two weeks notice for his serving job at Jack Astor's . I'm talking about the woman sitting next to me on the Toronto Transit reading The 4 Hour Work Week (If only those starving Africans read the same book). I'm also talking about our recent blogs that have the literary depth of a teenager's Diary.

Can we get back to working hard without complaining?

This letter is real. I have Video.

I followed to make sure it was real. Can you spot the red ribbon?

The smile that triggered the end of mankind.

Friday, October 17, 2008

CC: Running on Empty

This whole thing is finally starting to get the better of me. I’m sure it’s just this particular week, and just the wrong combination of circumstances – for all I know I’ll be giggling about everything like a child by the end of the night – but I’m really just feeling incredibly drained. I’m just not engaging with everything like I usually do – something just isn’t clicking!
I’m barely keeping up with my editing schedule (though I am keeping up!) and find myself coming home from eight hours of work (a slow, slow week with little money) to find Vosh waiting in my room to look at the cut, and then launch straight into a long night’s work only to get a few hours sleep and then repeat the cycle. So sick of working multiple service jobs every day of every week to get enough money together to do this thing. I don't even want to get started about what hasn't been getting done on this doc that should be finished by now, and the heroic amount of effort it takes to get people together and keep things on track.
I’m not really the complaining type, but I figured I may as well try not to be one sided about the awesomeness of doing a major project like this. If it was easy, I’m sure many more people would be doing it, but it seems like the more you want out of life, the more you have to work tirelessly at it. It will all be worth it when I’m standing in Rivendell or Mirkwood with legions of fellow elves.
On the bright side, things should hopefully be turning around for the better today. I made it back to the gym again after a couple unintentional days off (wrapped up in editing) which was amazing, plus me and Dan are about to embark on our first experience together of being extras. In a couple hours we will be on the set of Degrassi playing “university students”. Might be tough to get into character. Plus our friend shoots the behind the scenes on that show, so we should get all kinds of awesome footage.
Dan’s very specific criticisms of Adventurer are really helping me to rethink things and bring the doc to a better level, while Clare’s recent comments after seeing it for the first time are rather motivating. It’s nice to see that even in its present state it is something that is very entertaining/interesting to someone who's entirely unfamiliar with it.
Anyway, enough whinging (I’m starting to sound like Karl Pilkington), time to get out and make things happen!

Vosh passed out on my bed after a long night's critique of the latest edit. If only that could be me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

DV: "Chris is a faliure" party

So... a week in Vancouver and home in time for thanksgiving ... Full with turkey and joy I find a legal size piece of paper with miserable handwriting.

On my door are four requests: contact our producer Rich, get measurements for an elf costume, post on the blog, and comment on his long-neglected documentary. I was hoping for more of a letter of apology.

Now I'm hitting two birds with one stone by letting you know that the OCT 13th edit is a boring disaster. The "Chris is a failure" party will happen with amazing success.

His Documentary starts off good but quickly dissolves into a bunch of talking heads for 20 minutes. I don't know who's-who, no 1/3 captions, audio is all over the place I'm holding the volume knob while taking down notes. No music, I don't know what the question is sometimes.

This is an assembly, not a rough cut. A "rough" cut is just a term. "Rough" is NOT a description of what your aiming for.

The good news is that I laughed hard twice (having seen it in before) and I know there is enough to make a good edit. Not the 28 minute audio-visual misery that I witnessed today.

The doc is about a video game that women play in large percentages. I know about 100 million nerds who's brains just exploded hearing that. We, the audience, only find this out until 20 minutes in. My constructive criticism would be to focus on breaking this doc into three pieces. Mix things up every minute or two with music and footage of the gameplay or anything else for that matter.

Where do they live in Arizona? Why Arizona? Use stock footage from Arizona! The characters talk about the great culture surrounding the film... but no footage from the comic-con or sound bites from their archived radio show. They must have plenty of funny sound bites you can use.

Dear Chris,
You can't just package any-ole-edit. The majority of the people who watch it at your soul crushing party need to give you a thumbs up. And what you have right now needs major work.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CC: An Elven Physique?

Watching the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring the other day, I was struck by a phrase that came up toward the beginning of the film. "Three rings were given to the elves, wisest and fairest among beings." It made me happy to think that I'm aspiring to be a character with such excellent characteristics. Then it stuck me, though I surely am the wisest among beings, I've kinda been in pretty bad shape for the last half year or so. It didn't help either when my friends kept saying they remember hearing that they cast tall supermodel types in the roles of elves, which even I won't go so far as to pretend to be. But why not try to change that, I pondered. It's certainly not the worst thing to sink some time into, it's definitely a step along the path to elfdom, plus it's never the worst thing to add a bit of jocky appeal to a fundamentally nerdy documentary.
So that being said, for the last couple weeks I've been starting to work on my regiment for developing an elven physique. Nothing too extravengent, first of all, I need to lose all the extra weight I've packed on in the last little while, and soon I'm going to start working on getting toned, perhaps talking to a trainer at the RAC about the best program to become more elflike (I'm sure that will be a fun conversations). I've taken some horribly unflattering "before elven training photos" that will never see the light of day until I have some lovely progress photos to follow, and now that I've admitted it to all of you I have even more motivation to keep on going.
So next time you see me grabbing a pop, reaching for a bag of snacks, or ordering an entirely unhealthy meal, feel free to tell me that with that attitude I'm shaping up to make more of a dwarf than an elf. I'll definitely keep you posted on how things are going.
I'm not sure if Dan is doing anything similar, he's been in Vancouver all week, promoting a film that he shot that's been accepted into both the Toronto and Vancouver international film festivals, so I've hardly had a chance to talk to him. He's skinny enough that you could almost miss seeing him when he stands sideways, but if you ever have the priveledge of seeing him topless, he looks a lot more like something you'd see in a locker room after a class of first graders go to gym than something you'd see on an Abercrombie poster.

Looks like I may have a bit of a way to go to catch up to Orlando Bloom, LOTR's most famous elf.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CC: An Editor Is Me

Well, it's four in the morning after a long night of editing Adventurer immediately following a late shift at work and I really don't think I'll ever understand this whole process. Two hours ago I was spending half an hour losing my mind trying to get a twenty second sequence to work. Now I have the biggest grin on my face, just ridiculously excited about how many amazing things I've found to pull into this end sequence and how much better this cut has become than the class project it started out as years ago. Leave it to filmmaking to make you hate life at one minute and just lose it at how exciting it all is the next. Or that's just that the sugar and caffeine starting to kick in.
But it really does feel like it's in a very good place right now. Mind you, talk to me at work tomorrow morning and then see if I still feel so good. Or two weeks from now when I've been tweaking the shit out of it for days on end. This is why I absolutely do not want to edit our hobbit doc. Plus who wants to stare at Voshart on a computer screen for hours on end? It's bad enough seeing him in real life. I tell you now though, if this is done by November 13, we may have to take Dan's crush Chris' soul party and turn it into a screening/wrap party.
I'm really excited about the reaction that we've been getting for this project recently as well. Facebooking has honestly become a part time job for me. I wake up and there's five new messages in my inbox about people wanting to help out, wishing me luck, or helping me to arrange some new thing we're working on. I think about fifty more people have joined our facebook group since I revamped it the other night, and it still hasn't started slowing down. It's really great to see so many people excited about the project, and I'd like to thank you all for your good will.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

CC: Photoshoot

So, once again in our relentless publicity campaign me and Dan were thrust out into the public eye. This time we found ourselves being photographed wearing elven capes and filming each other in the middle of Dundas Square, while being gawked at by passers by as though we were idiots (an assumption that may not be altogether uncorrect). The occasion: our photoshoot with Lia Van Baalen of the Ryersonian.

If nothing else it made for an interesting afternoon, though I definitely was having an excellent time by the end of it. When we first met at the RCC, we were met with tales of Ryersonian arts editor Rita Poliakov and Lia's expedition to Kensington market to find elven costumes for us to wear for the photoshoot (bought with their own money!) and were presented with a green 'cape' and a golden leaf broach. It started out somewhat awkwardly as they seemed to expect us to know what we were doing, and we really had no idea what to do. But after a few awkwardly staged photos, everything started to come together, we got more comfortable with each other and got a nice collection of photos, moving on from the quad at Ryerson where we posed amongst (and in) the trees to Dundas Square. All things said, it was a pretty fun and thoroughly ridiculous afternoon. I think if we can handle a full on photo shoot focused on us, we should be able to deal with being background players in a huge scene full of elves. Here's a few highlights of what we got:

All photos by Lia Van Baalen

In other news, I think I may have built up Adventurer to it's longest running time at 35 minutes. Now I just need to make sure everything's in order and I have all the narrative bridges in place that I need before my October 13 deadline after which I can move on to the fine cut. With any luck Vosh's soul crushing party might never become more than a distant threat. But it's still too early to get my hopes up.

Make sure you pick up a copy of our article in the Ryersonian this week. We'll have it up on the blog before too long, but a hard copy will be a nice thing to have when we're wildly famous and they're selling ebay for hundreds of dollars.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

DV: Regarding Chris's Incomplete Doc

I can hear Chris watching hours of tapes giggling. It's 5am .

He may be diligently re-cutting and re-editing his documentary but I have faith in his ability to fail. His planned date of completion might be a little over a month... and you think that's plenty of time.. but for Chris who I've heard speak about time on a theoretical level "it doesn't matter what day it is because its all the same" completely sober "Saturday, Monday its all the same day really"

I might be misquoting him but I'm certain that what he actually said was considerably less coherent.

Ridiculing someone over a blog isn't as fun as in person so I'm actually planning a public party on November 13th. Our apartment.

If you live in the Toronto area and you want to taunt him in person send me an e-mail. I will provide some liquid courage to help you crush this man's soul.

dvoshart [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CC: Finishing My Last Documentary

Ok, so the sad truth of my life is that I have another documentary, An Adventurer Is You, that's been recut countless times, rediscovered only to be ignored soon afterwards, and basically acted as a weight around my ankle that I've been too lazy to get around to definitively finishing. So, in order to free all of my time for this documentary, get some imdb cred as a director/producer/editor of documentaries, not to mention hopefully make a little bit of money, I've laid out an indesputable schedule that I must follow in order to put the finishing touches on Adventurer and finally get it out there. I hereby invite not only my fellow posters, but also any readers of this blog to publicly ridicule me both on this blog and in real life if I fail to meet these deadlines. Here's what they are:

October 13 - Rough cut at it's longest state
October 18 - Interviews in their final place
October 28 - Picture locked
November 4 - Sound mix complete
November 13 - DVD packaging and design done and ready to go

So have you most biting and disparaging comments for me on the ready, and hopefully I will work hard to avoid them. Plus it should be a pretty cool movie once it's finished, I'll link you to some info on it once it's up.

A still from the opening sequence of An Adventurer Is You

In Hobbitier news, we hereby declare October our official month of promotion. On Oct 1 the feature article that the Ryersonian is publishing about us hits the shelves, so be sure to pick one up before they're all gone! We'll have a transcript up online too before too long. You can also look forward to the launch of our official website, our first promotional videos, and more! Tell all your friends! We've really been picking up some momentum recently and been getting a lot more interest out of all of you than we ever expected, so we're extremely excited to get things rolling!