what’s new?

Man, I hate giving these “updates”. I’d rather just show you what I’m doing, rather than tell you. However, that results in very long periods of time where I don’t update this site at all, and that’s not cool. It’s also not the way people really operate anymore thanks to SOCIAL NETWORKING. Facebook, in particular, is a hotbed of self-promotion. I understand that’s sort of what it’s there for, and indie artists of all stripes need to get the  word out…but take a fucking breath once in a while, you know? It gets overwhelming for me when people update 5 times a day on their projects and their this and that. It’s okay to mention someone else‘s work once in a while, too. Or to shut up and make something.

build your own Chairy

I probably go too far the other way and I don’t promote my shit enough. I feel like I’m always talking about stuff…but then it’s usually a finished product. Go read this, take a look at that, what do you think of my hair?

The point is, what do I say when nothing’s actually finished? Is there a point, or is this just content for content’s sake, so my website doesn’t accumulate cobwebs? Will I wrestle with this every time I write a blog post here? Eh, fuck it.

- yesterday I played a werewolf in a friend’s short film. The makeup was boss and weird and it was all improv.

- next week I’m shooting the next 3 episodes of Space Girls. I’ve added a new actress to the cast, which is cool.

- Ludlow is done. I’ve sent out some copies and I’m looking into distributors. People are actually going to watch it. This makes me nervous.

- I’m editing Itch. I also directed it. It’s very strange to work on something I didn’t write or cast. I’m learning a lot.

- I’m slowly cobbling together another one of my fake trailers, this time for a film called In Satan’s Closet. It will be epic. I hope.

I don’t really know what else to say, except that my love affair with Diet Coke has been reignited, and that’s probably a bad thing.

so i made a movie: LUDLOW, part eight

Catch up on all the previous installments of So I Made A Movie: LUDLOW right here…presented to you in GLORIOUS DETAIL!

Y’all, it’s done. DONE. DONNNNNNNE! Way too many moons later, Ludlow is done.

What happened since we last spoke of this a zillion light-years ago? You know, when I left off with my backyard screening of the first cut? Well, here’s what happened:

Ludlow ended up with a run time that made it too short to be a feature and too long to be a short. Cutting out, oh, say 40 minutes wasn’t an option…so I decided to add to it. But! How to do this without the result feeling blatantly padded?

I had some at least one problem: there are three characters, and I wasn’t about to introduce anyone new. Bringing back two of those three characters for more scenes would not have been wise. That just left…a montage set to peppy upbeat music, wherein Krista (Shannon Lark) either 1) trains for a fight or 2) trains for a big dance production. Montage it was.

I kid. There’s no montage. What there is, however, is a brand-new scene that is incredibly depressing and adds to the story rather nicely (if I’m allowed to say so). In fact, I think Ludlow 2.0 is better with the new scene than without, and the deliberate padding-osity was avoided. You know what that calls for- a robust round of our friend Briefcase Woman!

Now, you may recall a little fundraising drive I ran in order to…wait for it…raise funds so I could afford to transform the caterpillar Ludlow into the beautiful swan that is Ludlow 2.0- yes, the transformation is that remarkable! Let me say this about the response to the fundraiser: you guys are fucking awesome. Seriously. Every time you turn around today, someone is starting a Kickstarter project or holding out their hand. Man, I got my request out of the way just in time!

Thanks to the generosity of You Awesome People, I was able to cover all expenses. It was rad to do so, so thank you.

Mind you, as this was Ludlow, Shannon and I ran into some problems during the shoot. The largest being that the room we originally shot in was not available- not because it was taken by other guests, but because the air conditioner was broken. It just…figured. We got a room that had basically the same layout, with some minor differences. I tried to shoot in such a way that the change won’t be noticeable. Otherwise, the most depressing scene ever was over very quickly and went without a hitch- even our FX! Yes, FX. Scintillating. We were done in a mere couple of hours- so un-Ludlow-y- and that was that.

We shot some some more footage for the new scene in Sherman Oaks, which was strange. I mean, it was fine, but it was a reminder that these characters had…have…whatever…a life before and outside of that weird, shitty motel in the desert. It kind of didn’t seem right to see Krista, for example, anywhere but Room 8. Hard to explain and silly, maybe, but there you go.

Anyway, I edited the new footage in and did a bunch of trimmin elsewhere.

And then the movie sat around in the magical negative zone known as “my computer” for several months. Months??! Damn. I have no concept of time.

And then the composer, James Barry, redid the score. He created music for some scenes that previously had none, and dudes- it’s so much better now. So much. I can’t even tell you. Or maybe I just did. Get off my back!

And then it was done. It’s done. It’s still in the Negative Computer Zone, really, but it’s done. There’s no more to do except get it in front of eyeballs that are not my own.

How do I do that? I have no idea. Someone tell me!

so i made a movie: LUDLOW part seven

Catch up on all the previous installments of So I Made A Movie: LUDLOW right here…presented to you in GLORIOUS DETAIL!

Can I get a WOW up in here? I realize that the cliffhanger ending of the last So I Made A Movie: LUDLOW installment has left you in such a worried state that you’ve been clutching your bosoms for months now, wondering if I ever tackled my computer issues and got Ludlow finished, right?

SHANNON LARK: I even know what happened, and I’m still clutching my bosom.

Well, I did. Pretty much. No longer intimidated by the massive, complex interface, I enlisted the help of things known as “books” and an editor friend known as “Brian” (actually that’s his real name, so ignore the quotation marks), and I quickly tackled the fuck out of Final Cut Express. Once I really got the gist of the way it works I started cruising along- then I discovered what the program can REALLY do and I started all over. As I mentioned, I’d only worked with iMovie in the past, and my options with that were extremely limited- basically, the footage you put in is what you’re stuck with, save a few crappy filters. If your footage stinks, your footage stinks and that’s that.

SHANNON LARK: Brian really is his name. I’m not so sure about this “book” thing she keeps referring to.

Knowing that, I shoot WITHOUT a “Well, I’ll just fix it in post…” mentality. I frame scenes the way I want them to look, I do the best I can with lighting, and so on. But given the possibilities with Final Cut, I can think about style in ways I’d never really considered. At the risk of sounding like Princess Jasmine, it’s a whole new fucking world. I mean, this raw footage…

…becomes something else entirely- something I never thought of while we were filming, because I didn’t know I could do stuff like this.

It all plays into the weird, dreamy aspects of Ludlow. It’s a small, silly, obvious thing, perhaps, but to me it’s quite righteous.

That said, it was a slow process. I worked each scene individually, concentrating solely on the visuals and matching cuts. With no color correction, no audio correction, no music, and nothing close to a complete film, I began to worry a bit about the finished product- especially since I was planning a screening of Ludlow in just a few weeks’ time. It was hard to get a feel of what the movie was going to be like; on June 5, less than three weeks until people were going to come to my house to watch the movie, I wrote: “Stricken with another onset of, ‘Oh my gahd, this totally fucking sucks.’ The comedy-horror comes so easily, but this is tough. Totally feeling discouraged, mostly because the first…oh, seven scenes are so friggin’ quiet. With no music and just a rough cut, it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’ll be…you know, boring. I’m starting to get to the action, though, and I’m feeling better. Still nervous.”

SHANNON LARK: She would call me up and tell me her woes, but I would always reply with “but you’re a badass Stacie, this movie is going to kick serious butt. Look at all we were able to accomplish in 2 days, Final Cut’s got nothin’ on you!” Etc. etc.

All I could do was plug away at it and talk to Shannon for encouragement. I’d send her screen caps or let her know what scene I was working on…Ludlow was filling up my brain, as it had for months. I love editing, so sitting in my little cave ‘round the clock working on the movie was a joy, although I was still unsure if it was any good, or whether I’d be able to finish it in time.

The Final Cut, she is complex. Clicken ze big big.

Though I try to do as much as I possibly can on my own in my movies, one thing I’m not capable of is creating music…despite the fact that I played a mean recorder in 7th grade. Since I cannot use the only songs I remember- the theme from M.A.S.H. and the Oscar Meyer Hot Dog Song- I need to turn to someone else who knows what he or she is doing. I had someone lined up to provide Ludlow with a soundtrack, but that someone…well, flaked out. No music, unreturned phone calls…my deadline was a little over a week away, and I had no fucking music.

I was seriously starting to freak out about that, when all of a sudden I received a magical email; basically, it said, “Hi, I like reading Final Girl and I’m a composer. If you ever need music for one of your films, I’d be happy to help.” That, my friends, is fucking kismet…and to my great relief, I discovered upon listening to his samples that this dude knows what the eff he’s doing. I took Mr. James Barry up on his offer faster than you can say “I took Mr. James Barry up on his offer”; as he’s a local, he came by one night and I showed him a rougher-than-rough cut of Ludlow. He took a copy with him on a DVD, and a few days later he had a score for me. A score. A SCORRRRRRE. He came over again and we dropped in some tracks and…mah lord, kids. It was amazing, and it made Ludlow feel like a real fucking movie. It was 100% fitting that it would all come together in this bizarre fashion- it simply wouldn’t be Ludlow if things weren’t effed up and weird, now, would it?

SHANNON LARK: I couldn’t believe that James pulled all that together in like…2 days. He must be made of superhuman stuff, with a big C on his chest. By the way, C is for Composer, get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh!

I met my deadline. I had my screening (Shannon and I talked about that a bit in So I Made A Movie: VOYEUR), and Ludlow was pretty well-received. The comment I heard over and over again is that Shannon is terrific- yes folks, lo and behold, she can act! She’s really fucking good in this movie. I’m proud of her performance- she makes the movie, as far as I’m concerned- and I can’t wait for everyone in the whole wide world to see it. It’s amazing what’s possible when two girls who just met get drunk together and sign a napkin contract, yeah?

SHANNON LARK: Yeah!! They all said it was good, except for that main actress who can’t really act. But I was too wasted to hear any of that; I had a date with a curtain.

NEXT TIME: The end…and beyond!

just like that

So anyway, I’m doing some fill-in inking work for Marvel.

!!!!

It just…happened. As I said, it’s fill-in work. I don’t even know the book titles, although every page I inked featured Wolverine. One featured Captain America.

!!!!

I don’t know if it’ll ever lead to steady work, or even more fill-in work, but still. It’s one to cross off of that big ol’ Life’s Goals list, so that’s pretty damn cool.

I wonder, though, why comic book production is so rushed and behind schedule nowadays. In this instance, I was an emergency player, inking as much as I could as quickly as I could (all told, I got three pages done in about 18 hours, a record for me). I wasn’t the only emergency inker brought on board; additionally, the editor/colorist had been working like a madman around the clock. With the advent of technology and the internet, I’d think comic production would go much more quickly- no more mailing pages…hell, in some cases, no more physical pages at all- most everyone works directly on the computer. In fact, the editor in question was surprised to learn that I still ink using traditional media.

So anyway, just thought I’d share. No matter what comes of it- or doesn’t come of it- I’ve inked some iconic characters for Marvel. I’m happy. I’ll post ‘em up when I can- one page, in particular, is rather bitchin’. But here’s a teeny tiny sneak peek that gives away nothing:

Oh, and I need to thank my friend Ray Dillon for this opportunity. He’s one of those rare really good people you read about.

20 actresses

I think the rest of the world did this 20 Actresses Meme a good decade ago. I didn’t join in at the time, but now I’m going to because today is all about procrastination.

The idea: I pick 20 of my favorite actresses. Easy, right? Actually, narrowing it down to 20 was pretty tough. For one reason or another (or maybe one reason AND another), I find these women compelling when they’re on screen and I’ll watch just about any film they’re in. They don’t always make great movies- hell, some of them might not even be great actresses…but I simply love watching them.

If you wanna join in on your own blog, please do so and leave a comment with your link. Here are my picks, in no particular order…