My weekend filled with monotonous, but necessary works. I got ahead on our big commercial gig whilst simultaneously digitizing and working through a ton of material for The COWTOWN Film Series. From conforming video files from various sources to digitizing tapes and DVD’s, sorting through it, scheduling, and then timeline assembly, I did about 44 hours work from Friday to Sunday night for the COWTOWN Film Series, while still laying spots to Beta SP for broadcast throughout the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard. Putting these shows together is by no means a small job, but quality assurance means a lot to me. I want to put on good shows. Because someone told me how cool the title sequences are that I did, that actually got me a little upset. I appreciate the compliment, but now I’m left wondering what I to do when by week 10 they get bored with those animations. So I spent my Friday night creating a whole new set of animations and graphics for the show intros for the remaining 7 weeks. So now I have a plethora of animation and title sequences for everything. I even added dates and show times to the trailers, an animation introducing the Q&A sessions, and a titler at the head of each show. I’m big into professional grade showmanship, although most of the animations I created are simply templates slightly altered from (gotta give credit where credit is due and Andrew Kramer deserves most of the credit).

I even did all the PRE-SHOW timelines and exported them to MPEG files for the Compact Flash Video player I use for the loop. I love this cool handy device. No moving parts, just plug it in for power, connect the audio/video cables to the INPUT of the DVCAM deck, switch the deck over to LINE IN, and then pop in the COMPACT FLASH card with MPEG1 or MPEG2 files on it and away it goes, looping for an eternity. Running it through the deck saves me any additional hookups or switchers, plus I can manually control the volume levels on the deck for the LINE IN. I want the PRE-SHOW to be a much lower volume than the real show.

For the PRE-SHOW, I added a trailer for JIM LEO’s upcoming feature. Even though it isn’t a part of COWTOWN, he’s been attending every week. One other thing I added was a few new slides to the slide show. I’ve always had one for INDIECLUB COLUMBUS because they send out the notices about COWTOWN, so it’s the least I can do. I’m not particularly a fan of the local chapter, but hey scratch my back, I scratch yours. Business is business. I also added one more Paul Landis-made slide for a production company because supposedly there was a FACEBOOK notice about being “banned” from the COWTOWN Film Series. No one has been banned. It’s open to the public and anyone can attend. Who I chose to put in the PRE-SHOW is really up to me. Several people PAID to be sponsors; others generously donated time, support, word of mouth, or short films.

So someone I barely know tells me there was some FACEBOOK or something entry stating that their current status was “BANNED FROM COWTOWN because they weren’t getting a free slide. What the hell are they doing for the screenings? My understanding is that this same yahoo called me the devil and then wonders why I’m not feeling inclined to give them a free spotlight on the big screen in front of 50-100 people a week. Gee, I wonder. Whatever, I’ll put their slide into the shows. Sheesh.

My Sexy Fiance Veronica ™ could turn into Columbus’ own AIN’T IT COOL NEWS for Ohio movies. Since I prefer to watch the features for the first time on the big screen, she’s my beta tester when I lay off the timelines to tape. She watches for glitches and mistakes or even computer error (which has happened a few times) and the tapes stop, or the hard drives stop, or there’s skips in the program, etc. She sees all the movies, pre-show, and short films/trailers, and the features up to 3-6 weeks early. Since she works and can’t make it before 30-45 minutes into each COWTOWN Film Series, she loves getting the private screening. I suggested she blog about the movies before they screen and build a mini-web-spoiler thing going so Columbus could really be a mini-Hollywood. Like if the plot twist was the ultra-lame “she’s really the killer’s SISTER!” DUH-DUH DAHHHHHHH! Oh my god, it’s as if they saw HALLOWEEN iV! Maybe not. No one really cares.

As it is this week’s upcoming feature JOHNNY APPLEWEED kicks ass. It’s not a slapstick comedy or Cheech and Chong proportions. It’s got a bit more depth and seems more akin to the abstract-lite Richard Linklater films like WAKING LIFE or moments in SLACKER. Regardless, I think people are in for a treat with the short films too. When Max’s SAD KERMIT video plays, my belief is that people will be laughing so hard, I’ll get equal parts complaints and praise for programming it.

I have shows 1-9 (out of 10) pretty much complete, 1-5 are even on tape already. There are a few procrastinating or last minute tinkerers and slackers in my midst, but we have set deadlines. I shan’t be very forgiving of those who miss the deadline…. PHIL. These dates and times are not superficial, as I need to clear the decks so that I can put my OWN focus on completing the feature for November 13th. Obviously HORRORS OF WAR is done, but IN THE TRENCHES OF AN INDIE FILM is not. I’m debating that show order now and think the film itself should go first for those who haven’t seen the movie; the documentary goes second and doesn’t spoil anything.

Once I plug the holes in a few of the newer timelines (and secure some more blank DVCAM tapes), I’ll be set for the rest of the run of COWTOWN . I have placeholders and other things in the sequences, so everything in terms of mapping and planning has been completed. I wanted to get ahead, and now I have. I have two projects in post production to nail, one small, one huge, but neither insurmountable.

If I can just manage to get the day-job commercial work to tone down some more, then I’ll be in a position to get everything done in order. Thanks to the economy, that looks likely to be sooner rather than later. In the past year I’ve learned some amazing time saving tips and workflow short cuts with all my software that I so arrogantly thought I had mastered. Nay, I say unto thee. Someone can always teach you new tricks and cut corners.

I want to schedule two small shoots in the next few weeks. I guess, since my inspiration has returned I might as well kick the ignition and go for it, right? I mean when the divine muse gives you a gift or two, you should really pay attention and light the fire. I’m lit. I want to burn like a forest fire while the heat remains.

Happiness is a warm gun to some, but for me Happiness is a cold glass o’ Paul Newman’s Own lemonade. Here’s to ya Paul. Rest in Peace. I’ll have two gallons to support your charities every week.

– Peter John Ross

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

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


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