a collection of interesting and not-so-interesting things. including information on current & upcoming projects.

Friday, April 27, 2007


it strikes me now that my last post can be read as being a bit pretentious... the point is not to say "i'm great" but just that i know first-hand what rodriguez is talking about, with people wasting money trying to do it "the 'right' way" instead of being creative and spending your budget where it counts (in my case, on editing and buying lunch for my awesome actors --- the editor and actors are the real stars of those films of mine). rodriguez has this great story in the book where the studio he ends up selling his film to pays him a per diem of $2000 per week to come to LA and supervise a transfer to 35mm.... they also gave him an office, so he just slept in his office and pocketed the $2000 per week. in a month they had spent more money to cover his (non-existent) hotel and meals than he had spent on his entire feature film. now THAT guy (not so much me) knows how to direct!!

Rebel Without a Crew

I just read Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew, which details him making his first film El Mariachi for $7000 (with no crew) and his subsequent rise to Hollywood stardom. It's a great book. Rodriguez really has his head screwed on. No nonsense, just a "here's what I did" approach, and he's not afraid to talk numbers, which most books don't. His common mantra is that Hollywood is wasteful and uncreative because it just throws money at problems instead of coming up with creative ways to solve them. Indeed.

I made my first short, Spoony B, for about $300. (I spent another $300 just prior, taking a few classes in how to develop film, use a camera, etc.) It's 7min, which conventional wisdom says should cost about $7000 (as much as Rodriguez's whole feature film debut). I developed the film in buckets so that I could save on lab costs, I transferred it to video by projecting it onto my kitchen wall and shooting it with a video camera, I didn't record any dialogue, I did all manner of other things "wrong"... and then I sold the thing for a little under $2000, almost 7x its cost. Other filmmakers have to turn down offers like that because they are too low. You might say I could have milked the film more and tried to "make a name" with it. Well, who cares? It's my first film, ever, as a director. I just shot it for practice, and more because I wanted some film I could develop to make sure I was developing the film correctly than for any other reason. And it's better than half the films I see by people who have gone to film school and spent thousands with a proper crew, etc. (I have no formal training other than a few one- or two-day workshops).

Filmmakers need to stop wasting money. I shot a second film which should be edited and ready for distribution in June. It also cost about $300. It would be less but I paid my editor/star $150 because he is the man. Even if I don't make a dime off of it, I've made two films for less than what most people spend on ONE MINUTE of screen time. And they don't suck, which is more than I can say for most minutes of screen time. I was watching Movieola while home for Easter... HOLY CRAP!! DIRECTORS WHO ARE NOT WRITERS!!! STOP WRITING YOUR OWN FILMS!!!!

Rodriguez, you da man!!! Everybody with ANY interest in making films, read this book!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I have been editing the next issue of dANDelion magazine and also reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and my inner stickler is balking at my punctuation pet peeve: misunderstanding and confusion concerning hyphens and dashes.

KNOW THIS. There are three commonly confused punctuation marks:

A hyphen (-) which connects two words for various reasons (i.e., fire-roasted);

an en dash (–), which is the length of a capital-N, and which is used to indicate "between X and Y" (i.e., "1978 – 1989" equals "between 1978 and 1989");

and an em dash (—), which is the length of a capital-M, and is used as a break — as in this example — and which may NOT be replaced with a hyphen or en dash.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Heard of Poets

My poem "Practicing My Signature," which was published by Max Middle, will appear in the film Heard of Poets. It premieres April 21st at 4pm at Library and Archives of Canada, 395 Wellington Street, as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. If you happen to live in Ottawa, you may want to check out what sounds like an interesting film (I haven't seen it myself). The film was directed by Ben Walker and John Massey.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spoony B online!!!

My film Spoony B is now online! You can watch the film here -- it's 7 minutes long. Enjoy!

Also, you can listen to the Spoony B theme song, "Spoony B Me" --- just click on the link!

Asemic Writing

derek showed me an interesting book today, Michael Jacobson's The Giant's Fence. A great review/description of the book here. It's what Jacobson calls a "trans-symbolic" text, asemic writing. I'm very interested in these kinds of unreadable books, just wrote an essay on derek's own translation of Edwin Abbott Abbott's Flatland where derek has replaced the text with a strange mapping of it. If you're even halfway interested in this stuff you may want to check out the Codex Seraphinianus or the Voynich Manuscript.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ali G vs the US Surgeon General

"Me know this is a generalization, but why is all skeletons involved in evil stuff?"