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Tangible Tetris

The work never stops. Alex the Intern has left to spend the summer with family before starting his grad school film program, I’ve taken in 3 new interns. Training them will take time and then they’ll move on too. The circle of life I guess. I did get a lot done recently. I’ve been making DVD’s of the FRAMELINES shows as well as prepping a new product.

As I stated before, I have created a new education cable show called CLIP FRAMES to go along with FRAMELINES. I took the root of an old show but Alex the intern watched through a few of the pre-made episodes and begged me not to put them on the air as is because they sucked. So I took the plunge and started the re-editing process. It’s not that bad, in that I already had 75% of the content as raw footage still and thanks to Adobe Premiere’s upgrades, you can drop a VOB file from a DVD straight on the timeline and edit out what you need.

With all the raw footage being pre-edited segments; it’s like playing Tetris with the timelines in my editing software. The difference is still being subjectively creative whilst managing run times. There are certain ebb and flow I like to a show from one segment to the other. Again, CLIP FRAMES is nowhere near as polished as FRAMELINES. There’s no hosts, no exact segments, but it does have some worthwhile content, content I feel is worthy of attention and eyeballs.

The first few packages of DVD’s of the first 12 half hour shows of CLIP FRAMES are set to go out along with the first 6 episodes of FRAMELINES to outlying markets in neighboring states. I like the idea of getting short films out there with a nice Behind the Scenes look at how they were made, along with feature film Making Of segments, and other various educational bits. That’s 9 hours of programming, and I’m working on the next 7 episodes of FRAMELINES and another 8 episodes of CLIP FRAMES.

And I’ve been getting full time work too.

In a few weeks we’re set to adopt another kitten and that means even less time for sleep.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 30, 2011 at 8:25:04 pm

Overt Obviation

My how time is not my friend, although we are coming to some terms. Lord knows I feel better being able to edit at home again. Doing the cuts then mastering at work on the tricked out machines makes a huge difference. Even after 8-10 hours cutting at work does not deter me from cutting at home afterwards.

The casualties to this are sleep and movie watching, although I am definitely going to rekindle my love affair with the 2nd run movie theater for $1 movies and $3 for 3D. I acquired 2 Blu Rays for my essential viewings which are ALIENS, the James Cameron film and SOM LIKE IT HOT, which to me is Billy Wilder’s masterpiece from 1959 with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.

Today we shot some Behind the Scenes and interviews for the FRITZ THE NITE OWL show that happened to be using our greenscreen. I have never met Fritz before, but I loved his old midnight movie show on channel 10. One of my first memories moving back to Columbus from El Paso Texas was staying up way too late the night before my first day at a new high school watching the Alan Smithee version of DUNE until 4:00AM. The midnight movie hosts are mostly a thing of the past, but nostalgia has a way of swinging the pendulum of popular culture back around; As is evident by the popularity of Fritz on the screenings once a month at the Grandview theater.

For this new Education Channel show I’m working on, I wanted to get some new intro’s and behind the scenes for shorts I’ve made in the last 2-3 years. I almost always shoot “Making Of” footage on my shoots, with a notable exception on the last two. Since we were setup and lit for interviews, I thought it was ideal to just start shooting tomorrow…. And on the drive home I had some vague recollection of having shot these intros last year when I did something else, like the Accidental Art pitch video. I will have to check that footage toot-sweet when I get into work tomorrow.

Editing at home reinvigorated me, but now I need at least 2-3 Terabytes of portable hard drive storage so I can have everything in two places at once….

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 23, 2011 at 8:59:08 pm fritz the nite owl, nite owl theater

Ampersands and Ands

I noticed a strange screenwriting credit back in 1992 (yes, I am old) for LETHAL WEAPON 3 where they credited things as

screenplay by Jeffrey Boam and Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen Story by Jeffrey Boam

which struck me as kind of weird.

From the WGA handbook:Quote:
When credit is accorded to a team of writers, an ampersand (&) shall be used between the writers’ names in the credit to denote a writing team. Use of the word “and” between writers’ names in a credit indicates that the writers did their work separately, one usually rewriting the other. This distinction is well established in the industry through custom and practice.

So, this means that Jeffrey Boam came up withthe main plot points, then wrote a draft by himself, then did a collaborative draft writing WITH Robert Mark Kamen.

I highly recommend reading the WGA's Handbook on credits, CLICK HERE

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 16, 2011 at 12:50:45 pm

Imperceptible Impressions

I am a big fat geek. I know it. I don’t mind it. I know this because I get excited by techie things that no one outside a small tiny circle of people could possibly care about, nonetheless comprehend. That doesn’t make me exceptional or anything, as much as weird and dorky. Matrox released a Codec to the public that used to be proprietary to their hardware, which is what we edit with at work. I haven’t been editing at home for close to 4 years now. This means I can do some basic editing at home, an “offline” edit then take it back to work to master it.

What this really means is that when my inspiration (read – OCD) hits at 3:22AM (just when an episode of Framelines will have ended on WOSU), I can edit or make changes on projects brought home on portable drives. I have been without the ability to edit outside of work for some time. It made me more relaxed and less stressed on one hand, but a lot less prolific on the other. I want to get back to doing more projects, especially more artistic ones that have been started and left unfinished.

Already today, away from work, instead of surfing the web, meandering on meaningless sites or research on episodes of Dallas circa 1982, I was cutting on a long dormant short and even started to re-edit another 11 year old short, from the master tapes in a higher resolution than ever before, thanks to the newly released codec from Matrox.

This makes me feel more whole, more complete. Next week is lightening up, so I can get on some web work I have to do too. I’m still going to put in a long day tomorrow finishing another episode of FRAMELINES before I accomplish much more of anything. At least my Obsessive-Compulsive side still adheres to a high degree of responsibility.

I hate being torn between multiple projects. I like them all, but there always tends to be one that WANTS to supersede the others. It makes the work harder, longer but not insurmountable. My brain lights up at one project while I have to focus on another, or two or three. What I hate is that there are weeks and weeks where I don’t have that electricity and cavalcade of ideas. Then when the muse visits, I’m buried under a heap of existing projects. It can be frustrating.At the same time, I LOVE when the creative energy flows like a river.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 14, 2011 at 8:34:40 pm

An Auspicious Augmentation

Did I not convey how little time I already had to dedicate to projects? How about adding another side project? Framelines is going to get a little brother of sorts. I’m going to do a cable show too, in what little spare time I have.

Oddly this show started as a precursor to Framelines in 2007. I was doing a public access show in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Cleveland on filmmaking. I was taking any and all existing Behind the Scenes clips and just randomly throwing them together with unrelated short films. It wasn’t much, but any chance to get your movies seen is a good thing. The Behind the Scenes was to try to qualify for the Education Access channels. Since I wasn’t affiliated with any accredited school, it did not get on, and that was my back door to Columbus access television since we have no Public Access.Obviously this means something else has changed too.

So now I have my 17 episodes of this show that was formerly called “Making Movies in Ohio”, and yes I already know how amazingly clever that title was. I have decided to rename the show “Clip Frames” because I have more than enough material since 2007 to create an additional 3-5 episodes of this half hour show. I have overflow content from FRAMELINES that can find a home on this show too, with appropriate watermarking and credits.

The real crux lies with my current standards. The old episodes aren’t anywhere near as polished as FRAMELINES. I want this to be a 2nd cousin to FRAMELINES, but not direct relation. Do I spend time re-editing the show to make it somewhat more current and with my standards, taking even more time away from other endeavors, or do I pretty much change the title on the old episodes and only worry about the 3-4 new episodes and let there be a pretty diverse change in style/content?

I ponder this and also how to outline my first few new classes I am to teach…

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 12, 2011 at 8:23:32 pm

An Ostentatious Occasion

This past Saturday, I was a guest speaker at the Alliance for Community Media conference in Columbus. I have a passion for Public Access television. It’s something we have gone without for 9 years. In Columbus, we lost our Public Access. We still have the E and G channels from the PEG, meaning Education Access and the Government Access channels, but nothing for the masses. I was at the conference to speak to some issues for indie filmmaking, especially in terms of distribution.

And here I thought I was going to be the bearer of bad tidings.

It seems others share my view that within 10-15 years, cable TV and the Internet will merge into one entity. With that, things like Public Access might wither away, much to my chagrin. At least in the current form, people are far more likely to find content on public access television. Online, your voice will be drowned out by the tens of millions of meaningless YouTube videos… and if Net Neutrality is abolished, then you can expect even fewer people to hear your voice as it won’t be profitable for those paying for advertising to your internet provider.

These are dark times indeed, although the light has always found a way to puncture through. My crystal ball cannot see what else the future holds. All I know I put forth into the time that is given to me.

Framelines starts airing in more markets this week, including North East Ohio and Cleveland. By the end of June, we’ll be on pretty much every PBS in the state. Now, with these new fresh connections, the show may even start making it out of state as well…

Feel free and check out the FRAMELINES website,

Or check out the YouTube channel for Framelines

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 10, 2011 at 9:12:03 pm

The Grandiloquent Guy

I have to tell you, folks. I am having one really really bizarre week. Doing this show FRAMELINES affects me in ways I could not anticipate. In the same day, because of this show, I reconciled two relationships that I had soured in the past. I interviewed one person for the show that once came to my house to kick my ass. Then for a roundtable shoot for the show, I had two former partners on the panel, neither of which I thought would want to sit that close to me. I put any petty differences aside because I believe in this show. What I may have thought personally seems so distant and unimportant these days. It’s like someone has put Novocain in my soul, but at the same time what I care most about now is doing something bigger than myself. This show is meant to help grow the film community state-wide. It is bigger than me and my ego.

I had no idea what motivated me other than what I thought would make for a good show. I had genuinely good conversations with everyone off camera as well. I don’t see my social coma coming to an end aside from these excursions for the show; alas I am still not fit for long term friendships. I’m still rough around the edges. Baby steps, they say. Now I’m wrapping up post production on episode 5 and immediately going into 6-8. I added an outline of show 9 to the board.

Ah, yes the experiment. Well, in 4 days I have over 1,100 views of my viral video of Vladimir Jack Bauer. This is what I made…

As you can see with the editing, the close ups, wrack focus, music, and title sequence – I could not make a “straight” pet video like the other ones that get 1,000,000 views. I HAD to do some editing and filmmaking. The edit is intentionally rough, and actually doing that bad was probably the hardest part. Not obsessing over it was not easy. I spent 11 minutes shooting it (6 minutes of raw footage), 22 minutes to edit, including titles and music, et al. Will it get 100,000 views, which is my goal? I don’t know. It’s a combination of key words, spreading the video, and some mystical game of chance. Maybe in a month or two, someone influential on the pet video circuit will post it and repost it and it might spread to cat fanatics.

Who knows? Maybe it will languish as one of the undiscovered movies, or maybe people just don’t find it funny.

We’ll see.

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 7, 2011 at 8:56:16 pm

Empirical Experimentation

Tomorrow I intend to try something, something new. I want to make with total intention, a “viral video”. This one will not be narrative, as that has eluded me thus far. No, I will exploit that which is closest to my heart. My deepest apologies to My Sexy Girlfriend Veronica ™, but I am taking about Vladimir Jack Bauer. Tonight I brought home the trusty Canon T2i DSLR to see if I could make something with my little man.

I will admit, I love a good pet video. Whether it’s :20 seconds or 4-5 minutes, I’ll watch this hilarious romps of animals being animals online. I love them. At the same time, the analytical side of me made some notations.

First, the concept and title are simple. Nothing fancy, just the absolute most obvious aspect of the video is the name you use, like “Cat tries to figure out treadmill” or “Kittens beg for food”. From there, keep it short. Very short. In some ways, the shorter the video is, it almost guarantees views. In my video, there will be some editing. Minor, but still it won’t just be raw footage as I so often see. I’m also going to add some music, licensed proper music, but music nonetheless. Shooting with the T2i means I used shallow depth of field too. I do some focus pulls and tried to get a decent exposure (but alas, I am NOT a D.P. and have not the greatest of skills with the camera itself).

I just cannot help but apply some filmmaking skills to anything I do. It’s something I cannot let go of.These are risks as they break the formula that has been tried and true. If this doesn’t work, then I’ll probably attempt to just upload raw footage later. The experiment will take 3 months to allow the search engines to take in the video, process the key words/metatags, and also for the snowball to head down the mountainside. I cannot guarantee this will work. I am more curious if I can get the coveted hundred thousand views on something I spend little to no time on and quite frankly pander to the masses.Tomorrow, be prepared to see my cat, Vladimir Jack Bauer make his Internet Video Debut…

Posted by: Peter John Ross on May 2, 2011 at 7:38:05 pmComments (1)

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