With all that I’ve got going on, do I really need to look into the past and re-visit a 10 year old short film? Apparently, yes I do. I was in the shower, naked as I usually am, and it occurred to me that yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of shooting my short film BITTER OLD MAN, a harsh take on racism. I thought about how in the last 10 years I have advanced quite a bit with FX work and how the FX in this film, particularly the greenscreen work, was pretty dated and horrible. The problem is that I did not have the master files anymore. They have been deleted for 9 years or so. At the time that I edited this film, we shot in true 16×9 widescreen, but my master copy was a letterboxed version of that in 4:3 which does not look good uprezzed to HD (or even SD). The project files are so old and using proprietary codecs and hardware that are not remotely usable by today’s standards. Why on earth would anyone want to have an anamorphic widescreen version of the movie? It’s not like TV’s will be rectangular in the future, or a 16×9 aspect ratio.

16×9 originated standard definition uprezzes so much better to HD than 4:3 (old TV shaped material) that it is almost worthwhile to re-do this edit just for that, but what I am capable of today with greenscreen and visual FX far surpasses what I could do 10 years ago. Armed with tutorials and product from VIDEOCOPILOT.NET and we have the makings of an epic DO OVER.

It also doesn’t hurt to have an Intern to digitize the footage and the mandate to re-edit the short from scratch. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, as it is a 10 year old movie. I just think that if I modernized the FX for the end sequence, it might find a new life. It’s an important work to me.

Bitter Old Man is about a more modern racist, someone who doesn’t mind his son dating an African American woman, but it somehow crosses a line to marry one, has current overtones. It is especially relevant in the Obama years, where old prejudices seem to have been reignited. I did NOT base this on my own father at all. He’s not racist. I based it on a friend I knew after High School in that other worldly time before going to college, a guy we nicknamed “Skid”. I took several real life conversations we had and morphed it into this script. I felt a father-son relationship was more interesting to explore dramatically. Movies aren’t real life. Shocking, but true. I like nudging something real into the realm of fiction. It just makes for better storytelling.

So between finishing 6 more episodes of Framelines for a deadline, a shoot in San Diego, on top of whatever commercial work finds its way in front of me, I have decided THIS is how I should spend my free time. I need to go to the GEORGE LUCAS SUPPORT GROUP and stop tinkering with my old movies.

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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