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November 2007

politics28 Nov 2007 09:49 pm

The YouTube Republican debate was on tonight, and YouTube has a link at the top of their home page right now saying “The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate: Watch it NOW!” But, when I follow that link, I can only watch the posted questions. Not any of the actual debate. I assume that somebody at YouTube is busy encoding and uploading the debate so that the “Watch it NOW” link will eventually allow you to actually watch it. Even so, it is somehow darkly amusing that it seems that the most important part of the participatory debate is that the public gets to see little YouTube clips of themselves asking a few (generally loaded) questions, rather than the actual answers. It all seems a bit ego maniacal in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on precisely enough to be able to really explain why I find it so odd.

That said, you can see which candidate was chosen to respond to each question. Five of the questions I see on this page are apparently meant to be asked of only one candidate. (I haven’t watched all of them, so I don’t know exactly what issues they address.) Now, seriously… For fuck’s sake! How the hell can you call it a debate if only one person gets to speak on some of the topics?! It also looked like there were quite a few questions addressed to only two candidates, and I saw only a single question aimed at eight candidates.

It seems like the whole point of a debate is that you let a topic loose on the candidates and see what they think about it. They actually debate and argue and speak about opposing and differing perspectives and viewpoints. You know, like an actual DEBATE. When the debates are structured such that most of the candidates don’t even get to speak about a given topic, you wind up with a massive preselection bias. How well you are able to articulate an opinion at the debate seems to be less significant than how well you have managed to position yourself so that people want to ask you questions in the first place.

The word debate is useless in modern speech. It’s one of those words which no longer means anything, I think. A fact which is emblematic of a whole host of problems in our modern political system.

Uncategorized23 Nov 2007 01:47 pm

To avoid eternal sorrow, and a loathsome hatred for all the universe, there are four ultimate rules which must be followed during the creation of any motion picture.

No Children.

No Old People.

No Animals.

No Fog Machines.

See also, This Blog Post wherein I mention these rules, and include some rationale from Fistful of Staples.

Uncategorized23 Nov 2007 01:44 pm

An Office-Comedy/Western about an under performing business which brings in a productivity consultant named Wild Bill. He is supposed to shake things up, but it all goes a little too far when the office manager has to face down the productivity consultant in a duel.

Here is a quick poster I made for it:
Poster For Fistfull Of Staples

And, the original production still I used to make it:
Wild Bill, Productivity Consultant

Uncategorized23 Nov 2007 01:08 pm

This page links to various pages which relate to the process of film making, such as tutorials. They are listed off on the right over there.

Uncategorized23 Nov 2007 01:03 pm

Here is a still frame from a student film I was in called A Friendly Adversary. You can see the lighting effect that resulted from hanging some blinds between the light and me. Click the picture to see all of it.

Still from A Friendly Adversary

I uploaded the image as an example of using lights for a night time feel in response to This Thread at indymogul. The basic setup involved only two lights. The key light was in the next room, shining through some blinds that had been attached to a metal stand, and it had a greenish filter on it. The fill light came from a light pointing into the corner, and pointing away from me with a red gel. Because it wasn’t shining directly on me, the red illumination was extremely soft and diffuse, aiding with the nigh-time “unlit” look.

acting and movies22 Nov 2007 08:46 am

This may give you some idea about the film.Wild Bill, Productivity Consultant

This is Wild Bill, from the set of Fist Full Of Staples.

Uncategorized and acting21 Nov 2007 11:47 am

I’m not dead yet. Just a bit out of touch lately.

Fist Full Of Staples wrapped shooting this weekend. It’s directed by Nick Falls. It’s an office western. It’s somewhere in between “The Office” and “The Good The Bad And The Ugly.” I played Sam, and it was shot on 16mm film. This was my first 16mm production (as well as the director’s), so I am pleased to say that for the most part everything seemed to go quite smoothly. Except for when they set off the fire alarm and the fire department showed up in a big fire truck looking to put a fire out.

Which leads to the absolute sum total of my ultimate wisdom with regard to film making: No children, animals, old people, or fog/smoke machines. To this day, I have never actually seen a smoke machine work right on set. So, for anybody who might run across this bit of wisdom, and really wants to use a smoke machine despite it being a stupid idea:

-Do it outside. Outside is easier to vent than inside.
-If you must be inside, make sure you can easily vent the space. Really easily. Seriously, be on top of this. Smoke machines will not only set off the fire alarm, but also make it impossible to shoot the next take until you vent.
-Have fans. Fucking enormous giant fans. Many of them. Even if you are outside.
-Have a cold box setup. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you aren’t supposed to be using a smoke machine yet! Generally, people want a smoker for cool “ground hugging” fog effects. To accomplish this, you need to run the smoke through a cold box so that it stays near the ground.

Indymogul did a good cold box tutorial. Check them out at

It’ll be a while before the film is developed and telecined (Put onto a video tape), so we won’t know for sure that nothing bad happened to the footage until then. But, I think it probably turned out quite well, and I’m looking forward to it.

Also, my main phone number is working again. If you tried calling me in the past week or so, you may have gotten a cryptic error message. It’s a SkypeIn VOIP line through Skype, which I paid for the next three months on. But, they dragged their feet on actually recieving my money (which showed up as having been taken from my bank account very quickly) for several days. So, the number expired for a while until I complained. Once I complained, they were able to realise that they did in fact have the money within a day. So, when Skype says “Pay Pal usually clears within an hour, and always within a day” they actually apparently mean “like a week, depending on how lazy we feel.” I dunno, maybe it was some issue between skype and paypal and actually wasn’t Skype’s fault. Still annoyed the crap out of me. The key point I’m trying to make is that my phone finally works again.