I am producing a new piece next week. To help out a first time female director has many levels of appeal to me. It’s the whole big brotherly fraternal aspect, plus the philanthropic endeavor. I want to see more great pieces come from Columbus in terms of film. The bar has been raised and I want to see it met and surpassed.
We’re shooting on the Panasonic HVX200A with the P2 cards. I like the look of the Panasonic cinegamma style color curves. I would never say “film like”, but I can say that it is aesthetically pleasing and doesn’t look like video, which is good. The clean codec also merits mentioning, as it is a lot less compressed than HDV with its MPEG2 evils. I have worked with this material before, but I have never edited with these file types. The HVX200A is a tapeless format and everything records to a memory P2 card. You put that card into the PCMCIA slot of a laptop, then transfer it off the card to your hard drives and start editing. We’ll have someone on set to offload cards and copy footage at all times. It’s not unlike loading and unloading film magazines with the film shoots, only less potentially fatal to the source footage (unless you delete something or fail to copy something).
I did a test ahead of time to make sure this will work with my systems. This entailed getting some basic footage and converting it to the Aspect HD codec I use at home. I needed a driver to read the P2 cards first. Then I needed a P2 reader software so I could read the native *.MXF files that the video and audio is recorded to. Once I got both of those installed, it was effortless to get editable AVI’s and the quality is astoundingly good. The HVX200A has a better low light image than its predecessor.
Continuing on a thread from one of my last blog entries, I find that my interests in filmmaking are shifting a little. I’m not as into comedy as I once was. The appeal of drama and performance from actors captivates me. Not to say I’ll abandon the funnier material, especially in light of recent successes in regards to UNCLE PETE’S PLAY TIME, but I digress. Yet again, a trip to Ohio from George equates to another rush to shoot a short with George. I want to take my time and be a little more precise in the things I produce, but George is too good not to take advantage of using as an actor. He’s especially good at fleshing out ideas.
I have another short script/story that has been brewing for over a year. I had a great setup, but no payoff, at least not one that equates the layup. Brainstorming with George, I stumbled on the answer. Sometimes the pressure of time squeezes out the best ideas. It’s hard to find people who “get it” in terms of brainstorming. I liken it to the process of writing on Television. It’s a flurry of “no, that’s not right” until you get those nuggets of gold. You know its right when you hear it. There is no other rhyme or reason. In this case, it was several of George ideas that were NOT right that I found the right ending to the piece. Collaboration isn’t an exact science I guess.
Inspiration comes from life and the bizarre nooks and cranny of the brain. The kernel of the idea of this short is over 11 years old from when I was working at Banc One Securities Corp ™. In conversation with a girl who was one of the few that I actually liked, she said things about her relationship that struck me as odd. The key is to not be inhibited by the realities. This is a work of fiction solely “based” on this discourse, and I’m not making a documentary, so I’m not obligated to any truth other than the truth of the human condition. I like to take real events, conversations, etc. and nudge them into a workable fiction that says something I want to say about life, the world, people, or anything else that tickles my fancy.
I find that when I write outlines, just to get the ideas “on paper” (in a virtual Microsoft Word ® sense) that I start very vague and by the end I always get more detailed and include exact dialogue in quotes et al. Then I go back and start filling in more dialogue at the beginning and the next thing I know, I already have an entire first draft. It’s a process of cracking the writer’s block and getting the flow going. Once the characters start talking, I feel more like I’m transcribing not writing. That is the BEST feeling. When characters develop an actual voice and speech patterns all their own, plus saying things or doing things you had not pre-conceived; that is the shiznet, if you can excuse my colloquialism and pseudo nomenclature.
My cats are still being defiant as ever. The Might “V” has utterly destroyed the colored mice toys in record time. He has taken to bringing their slobbering remains into my bed in the morning. “V” will proceed to flip the item in the air, then jump around the bed to catch it and tear it apart…. On my legs, on my arms, and on my head. He is a demon, but he’s my pet demon and it’s so hard to be mad at him. I did eject both cats and My Sexy Fiancé Veronica ™ from the bed the other morning so I could get another hour’s sleep. Shock and awe ensued as I denied any desire for Spoons in favor of the almighty shut eye.
What more can I say? Time to boogie on down the road.
Peace and love and good happiness stuff as Steve Vai used to say…
Peter John Ross
Of Rossdonia Farms
“Fresh Manure with French Fries”