This week I was a guest on fellow movie podcast Battleship Pretention. You can find the episode at http://battleshippretension.com/episode-392-with-special-guest-eric-thirteen/ We talked Director’s Cut, the changing digital landscape, ethics in podcast advertising. I told a few stories and managed to behave myself. It was a lot of fun.
I was the last guest on Brad Wyman’s show about Crowdfunding. We talked about Director’s Cut (which was crowdfunded!) and what the fuck a producer actually does. It was a live sort of talk show, but you can see the archive of the episode online. I’m about 2/3 of the way through episode 22.
Filming has been incredible. Everyone working on the film is spectacular, I never want to leave the set. You might recognize Dustin Knouse in the video! All our makeup fx and production design / art dept people are killing it, the movie’s got a great weird look.
I mostly just came to see how it’s going, but I ended up being in a bunch of scenes. I’m getting shot in the head in the movie-within-the-movie, and I’m also playing an EP in some stuff on the set of that fake movie (which is called “Knocked Off”).
Shooting is about to begin on Director’s Cut! I shot a video last week of Lexi Love. In the somewhat meta screen test, we reference her other meta-venture, the crowdfunding campaign she did to fund her role in the crowdfunded movie.
Lexi’s awesome. She’s also the Executive Producer of Double Feature. Doing this video was a blast. If I wasn’t off to LA for a month, I’d be hang out in SF shooting some more.
Deadsy’s self-titled 1996 album cover. High resolution.
When I was younger I was a huge fan of Deady’s self titled album. I found it through a random discovery of the final track, Sleepy Hollow. I’ve been listening to it a lot again recently, but was bummed the album artwork is so small and grimy.
The album was actually discontinued, and many of the songs made their way onto Deadsy’s follow-up album so it isn’t an easy find. High resolution artwork never seemed to show up online, so I decided to recreate the cover.
The largest I could find was 700 x 700. Using the excellent app Pixelmator, I redrew the artwork at 2500 x 2500. It provided a nice eight hour break from Double Feature.
Double Feature takes up a lot of time. Michael and I always plan these other projects, but we just don’t have time to complete them before Double Feature starts kicking our ass again. We move the work around (year planning, mixing, research, etc) in a such a way that we have little vacations for ourselves a few times a year, and it allows us to work on a few extra things…but revising the website always seemed to get pushed back. With my mini vacation once again coming to an end, it seemed like now or never.
This new site is crazy awesome. The design is a much cleaner, Helvetica driven sort of look (despite the single mass use of Arial – ease up, font nerds!) It uses our year end artwork for both the background and main header, which is neat and modern looking. There’s a bunch of new features, and the backend now allows us to expand in a way that’s stupid easy. Easier expansion means a lot less of “wouldn’t this be cool? If only it wasn’t such a pain in the ass to actually roll out.” A few of those things have gone up already.
We noticed the most accessed page on the site (besides the main page) was the A-Z list of films. People who are seeing the site for the first time want to know what we’ve covered. I used to have to update the list manually, which not only took a lot of time but always seemed to get pushed back and ensured it was never really up to date. Now the list gets updated automatically whenever a new show goes up.
With the revision comes a database of artwork for each individual movie (a bit more on that in a second) so it seemed like an obvious choice to build a gallery of every movie we’ve ever covered. This way people can browse our shows like you’d browse DVDs at a store. Similar to the A-Z film page, you can look at that gallery and click any cover to immediately go to that episode’s page.
This database also gives us the ability to post a count down to the next show in the upper right hand corner of every page. This way it’s easy to figure out what we’re doing next week so you can watch the movies in advance. It also clears up a little confusion about what “Wednesdays at midnight” means, since that’s technically Thursday morning.
New Entry Example: Lost Highway + Psycho
The show entries template has been updated too. Each entry now features the chapter times so you can skip between the different movies covered in the episode. It also has details for the movies themselves!
There’s more obvious links to IMDB and Wikipedia, and buttons to purchase the movies on Amazon or iTunes. My favorite thing about the new site, however, is that there’s now high resolution cover art for every single movie we’ve done. I removed all the text from each cover and conformed them all to 1500x1000px. It helps make the Double Feature site a more legitimate resource to find useful things (which is part of the overall goal looking forward).
There’s also release date, director, writer, actors, a synopsis…all of this goes into a database as well, so now you can click a director’s name and see every movie of theirs we’ve done on the show. If we’ve only covered a single movie of theirs, the site doesn’t bother showing the link – that way you don’t go through a bunch of clicks just to find out you’re already looking at their only episode. We’ve given each of these director’s their own page with a brief description of what the director is all about. It’s a great place to go if you’re not familiar with their work.
I’m still writing up a lot of these descriptions and working on some new features. We have a new contact page on the site if you’d like to leave any feedback about the changes.
Gorillaz released their new album “The Fall” yesterday, and it’s free. If that isn’t enough to make me go crazy, they also recorded the entire thing on an iPad. Inside the album artwork pdf they include credits to all the iPad apps they used to make the album.
$1.99 Speak It!
$9.99 Solo Synth*
$4.99 Crystal Synth XT
$2.99 FunkBox Drum Machine
$19.99 AmpliTube for iPad
$4.99 XENON Groove Synthesizer
$19.99 KORG iELECTRIBE
$11.99 Mellotronics M3000
$2.99 iOrgel HD
$5.99 StudioMini XL
$3.99 Dub Siren Pro
That’s roughly $121 in iPad apps, assuming the full versions were used and not free trials.
* I can’t actually find “Solo Synth” anywhere on the iPad, although search engines seem to return Moog’s NLogSynth Pro when you go looking for it. Since Filtatron is credited as Moog Filtatron in the album notes, it’s possible Moog’s other iPad synthesizer was used as well. It’s only a best guess at this point.
An AmpliTube iRig was likely used for guitar input on tracks like “Bobby in Phoenix.” It’ll let you jack a quarter inch input directly into the headphone jack. It’s also possible vocals were recorded this was as well.
Various sounds of US travel appear on the album; “California and the Slipping of the Sun” has some samples. There are some samples of what appear to be radio stations on “The Snake In Dallas” as well. The track “The Speak It Mountains” includes the classic iPod click sound, and “Aspen Forest” also has the cell phone interference sound you commonly get when your iPhone is on Edge and near a set of speakers.
We use an iPad on Double Feature all the time. Production meetings, emails and notes, show research while we’re watching the movies…I often wonder how we even did a show before it. “The Fall” makes me wonder if we couldn’t record and even mix the show on one as well.
The other day I found this spectacular short film series called Bright Falls. It’s a six episode viral series that’s been compared to David Lynch’s work (specifically Twin Peaks) as well as the X-Files and the creepier moments of Lost. Noticing there wasn’t a very comprehensive place to figure out exactly what Bright Falls is, I took a day off from my other nonsense and made a site.
As I wrote on the site, it’s the best of everything I enjoy about the above mentioned films and shows…that seedy underbelly feeling of the small woodland town. A looming darkness so heavy and otherworldly that it’s oppressive. A driving mystery that challenges the audience to watch again and again.
Although it clearly draws a lot of inspiration from those works, it’s also unique in how dark and often terrifying it is. You always know somethings not right, and occasionally that something becomes very threatening. It’s a six part series (two parts have been released thus far) and if it’s going to continue the way it’s been going, you’ll nearly have a heart attack approximately once per episode.
I can’t say enough good things about it. I feel like I’m usually surrounded by mediocre films…this was a reminder that there’s some incredible stuff waiting for you in the strangest places. It’s independent, it’s free, and for me it’s really inspirational. Go check out watchbrightfalls.com and watch the first and second episode. It’ll really hook you.
I’d love to make something like this.
UPDATE: There’s an hour long podcast episode about Music Box Massacre 5 on Double Feature.
Just now recovering from Music Box Massacre 5. Overall the movies were great this year – although the actual “lineup” was a terrible idea. The moral of the crowd was really down and I talked to a lot of people who were having an over all bad time. I’ll get to the fiasco that is“Rusty Nails” in a second, but let me explain myself on the lineup. Here was the order:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Isle of the Dead
(Trailer) Hobo with a Shotgun
Bucket of Blood
The Black Cat
(Short) The Alphabet
Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
While each film stood on it’s own merits, the pairing and the order in which they were arranged was mostly a failure. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was an odd way to start (as well as an odd inclusion, not nearly as well thought out as last year’s Old Dark House). Sticking The Black Cat (essentially a Masters of Horror TV episode) in as the third Stuart Gordon pick was a bad move, even though I love Stuart Gordon. The worst choice of the whole thing was Dark Night of the Scarecrow – I felt so bad for the creator, who showed up for a Q&A. You stick his film right after Pontypool? And up against other the other big-guns? It was the wrong format to show an ’81 made-for-TV movie anyways, but putting it that late at night was just incompetent.
None of that actually maters compared to what actually ruined the evening for a lot of people – they had this guy who calls himself Rusty Nails introducing each movie. I don’t even know where to start on him. He likes to think of himself as a Chicago film personality. You’ll see him around film events in the city. He’s kind of an egotistical douche bag, but he’s fairly easily ignored. Well, usually anyways. Not last night.
This guy would go on an on through the credits of each film about how people shouldn’t talk, twitter, use their cellphone, whatever. I mean, I get a reminder every few films or whatever, but this was literally before every film. The worst part was that he would actually talk OVER THE BEGINNING CREDITS of the film to tell people this. I would have almost enjoyed the irony it wasn’t actually detracting from the experience. You could tell the crowd was annoyed, I was almost worried about a riot breaking out. Half way through the massacre, people were starting to heckle him. They’d yell “I paid to get in here!” or “Thanks mom!”
I’ve grown to expect really bad jokes, a complete lack of real enthusiasm, and these embarrassing costumes. I know that when he “interviews” someone, it feels like watching an awkward middle school presentation…but I can usually ignore that. I mean, I feel embarrassed for the guests (who’s time is totally wasted…you should have seen how Art Hindle reacted to his questions!) How awesome the Music Box is generally outweighs everything this guy does to ruin the experience every year.
This year was just too much. It was just way too obnoxious. What was especially sad is to see that NO ONE was bidding on the charity stuff because the overall moral of the crowd was so low. I mean, you could feel how much everyone hated this guy! With each movie, more and more people around me were mumbling “jesus, enough already” under their breath. Had they gotten someone the crowd actually liked (and not someone who talked through the important dialogue at the end credits of Ponypool or someone who invited audience members to scream shrill heavy metal noises into the mic) the Music Box would have raised a lot more money.
Anyways, that kind of turned into a rant. It was good to see everyone who came out…but if that guy’s around next year, I won’t be there and therefore I don’t see Double Feature hyping the event again. Music Box Massacre 5 will be our last Music Box episode.