Producer, Director, Editor.
Co-host of Double Feature.
Eric Thirteen
Director's Cut
The Birthday Massacre Concert Film
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Lexi Love’s Director’s Cut Screen Test

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 – Deadsy (1996) Album Cover

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 Year 7 Kickstarter

The blasphemous, tabbo, science minded film podcast you all know and love as “Double Feature” may be on it’s last episode of all time.

We created a Kickstarter to save it.
https://doublefeature.fm/kickstarter

As you might imagine, fans of a free internet podcast aren’t the ideal candidates for pledge drive. That’s ok though; they’ve actually pitched in a ton of money! The thing is, those resources alone are not enough. If this Kickstarter makes it, it’s going to be because of my friends. So if you’re reading this…help me out!

If we can’t fund this Kickstarter, it’s over for us. Yikes. I explain a bit on the page:

When this show began, there was only one goal – to put out a show every single week, even if we didn’t quite know what we were doing. We figured we’d learn. It was content creation through brute force. We started planning for the show almost half a year before even publishing an episode. It seemed like an easy goal at the time. We were self employed, barely twenty years old, and lived maybe a mile apart. We saw each other every day and we never stopped scheming.

Over the years, an afternoon of slasher films went from a recurring activity to something that required strategic planning. Time went from our most abundant resource to our most scarce. We eventually started mapping out the show like a war game. Every year, our real world responsibilities made planning more difficult. In recent years it’s been a near impossible task. The show’s been hard, but we’re thankful for it. We stopped having time to hang out. Working on the show together became the excuse to stay in one another’s lives.

Jobs and responsibilities are what usually end podcasts, and we were determined not to let that bury ours. We found a place to record at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, and it started to look like things were going to be alright. Not a month later, work unexpectedly pulled us to opposite sides of the country. We started scrambling for shows anywhere we could fit them. We were deciding next week’s movies just minutes before we hit record, it became impossible to plan. When we began, time was our most abundant resource…now it’s the one thing we’re without.

With less than a week left, I really don’t know what’s going to happen to the show. It’s such an important part of my life, but it’s become really hard to do. We’re so fucking close now. I really hope we can make it through.

New Double Feature Website

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.

Double Feature Site 1
https://doublefeature.fm

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.

 

Double Feature Site 2Double Feature Gallery

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.

Double Feature Site 3
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.

 

Glittermouse – Porn Stars and Promises

I just finished a live music video for the Glittermouse song Porn Stars and Promises (We’re in Love). You can see it here:

You can also download the video directly on the video page.

I shot the song with Rob Cornell on February 3rd. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I borrowed a Canon T1i and he brought his T2i and we filmed without having any real preparation. Neither of us had been to Lincoln Hall before, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. I’ve been really interested in using a DSLR to shoot video and I thought this would be a great test for low lighting.

I know Glittermouse though their singer, who also happens to be my Double Feature co-host Michael Koester. To be perfectly honest I’ve only seen them live a handful of times and I wasn’t really sure what song to shoot. While we actually shot for the first two songs, I ended up putting together this video for the fourth song in their set. It wasn’t optimal for the coverage we had, but I loved this song so it had to be the one.

I edited it together in Final Cut. I actually cheated a bit and used a ton of b-roll and footage from the other songs. While I’m sure knowing that will ruin the magic for some people, I’m actually really impressed I was able to pull off such a believable video. A lot of that was the magic of Final Cut. This was my first time really using FCP – when I did the Birthday Massacre Bootleg DVD I had made everything using Quicktime and iMovie. Final Cut turned out to be really great. I even did the color in it. I can’t wait to jump back in.

Gorillaz The Fall iPad Apps

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.

Gorillaz The Fall Album Cover$1.99 Speak It!
$2.99 SoundyThingie
FREE Mugician
$9.99 Solo Synth*
$4.99 Crystal Synth XT
$2.99 FunkBox Drum Machine
$0.99 gliss
$19.99 AmpliTube for iPad
$4.99 XENON Groove Synthesizer
$19.99 KORG iELECTRIBE
$4.99 bs-16i
$11.99 Mellotronics M3000
$3.99 Cleartune
$2.99 iOrgel HD
$6.99 olsynth
$5.99 StudioMini XL
$0.99 BassLine
FREE Harmonizer
$3.99 Dub Siren Pro
$4.99 Filtatron

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.

Piracy and the Used Market

I play a lot of thought experiments out in my head. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t think “what would I do in X situation? Then what if Y happened?” For me these little experiments have become a large part of how I determine right from wrong. I think about what is true or right in a situation, what I feel strongly about, and try to apply that to something else to determine how I feel about that thing.

Piracy has always been an odd one for me. I make stuff in my free time, and I have a great amount of respect and appreciation for people who create things. Musicians, film makers, game designers, all of them. I think when someone comes up with an idea or works on some kind of content, they should be payed for it (if that’s what they want). I know I’ve written before about how I would urge artists to put out their music for free, but that was as part of an overall marketing strategy. It’s not force.

Angelina Joie Speaking at ConferenceSo to be clear here, I don’t believe:

  • Artists make too much money
  • Famous people are greedy and have enough cash!
  • Music should be free, therefore stealing is ok

    Instead I believe:

  • If an artist makes money, great!
  • People are entitled to any wealth fairly earned.
  • If an artist wants money for their content, they should be able to charge.
  • If your blog already has too many pictures of Ayn Rand, just start substituting Angelina Jolie in her place.

    I’m a free market guy. If an artist charges too much / uses a bad distribution method / makes shitty art / is too famous or popular for you, don’t endorse them. The answer is to tell them to fuck off, not to go ahead and steal their product. Avatar looks like a shit film, so I didn’t watch it. I think the radio is an embarrassment, so I don’t listen to or buy the crap on it. The things I DO like I enjoy enough to want to support monetarily. If I don’t quite like them that much, I don’t buy them. Because of this, I don’t really have anything I’m not REALLY excited about.

    Where this gets tricky is the used market.

    I’ve established that I purchase things to support an artist. I’m not really concerned with legality so much as ethicacy, which is why the used market stumps me. I’m generally a pretty cheap person. I look for deals like it’s a hobby. I’ll spend an extra week trying to find a deal where something is a dollar off. Very often you’ll find these deals in the used market. You can buy used for far less than new! Here’s the question then:

    How is the used market any different from outright stealing?

    Ken Levine Creator of Bioshock in ChicagoTo look at legality for just a second, of course you have the right to purchase and resell goods. You can buy a used film and no one can sue you. You won’t get in trouble. It isn’t wrong in any legal sense. You can do it. On the other hand, why would you? When you purchase Bioshock in shrink-wrap, Ken Levine and 2K Games get some cash. Microsoft gets some cash. They brought it to you, and you told them it was well worth it. The market sees the popularity of Bioshock, and you basically help insure the creators are successful and that games like it get made in the future.

    When you buy a game used, the impact of your purchase is so diminished it’s essentially like it never happened at all. Who benefits from a used game purchase? GameStop, eBay, and the dude who bought it in the first place. You’re supporting vendors, not creators. Frankly I don’t really care about vendors nearly as much as creators. It’s great that they’re there, but I don’t think they don’t deserve to earn as much as (and certainly not at the expense of) the creators.

    Some might also argue that you’re increasing the implied demand on the used market which increases the price and confidence of goods of the new market. While that’s true, the effects are once again so marginal. Are we more willing to purchase a good if we know we can resell it later? Yeah, sure. Would that good sell anyways? Yes. Does your dollar have a much greater impact when you buy new? Exponentially.

    Game StopA lot of people in my generation don’t know what it’s like to purchase goods. Music especially, but even movies and games are commonly stolen now. If you were going to buy used (and the creators weren’t going to see any money anyhow), why not just steal? At the end of the day, putting the law aside what’s the real difference? I mean, we’d certainly never make it illegal to sell or buy used goods. The only difference between purchasing Bioshock used or downloading it without paying is that GameStop might go out of business. Not even the people working there would miss it.

    I would rather purchase something and show my support than steal it, but then again I’m a nut job. I do things in black and white. Most people who don’t steal don’t have a problem buying used. Why is that? Is legality the only reason they spend their money? What makes it different for them? Are there better arguments for the used market that I’m not thinking of? Do people really just love supporting eBay Inc?

  • How I’m Saving LOST

    After six long years, LOST has finally ended. I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending…trying to convince myself it wasn’t a huge waste of time. Unfortunately there’s no real way to do that. While the episode was emotionally satisfying, it was intellectually offensive. The “flash sideways” in each episode of the last season was all building up to this huge cliche. It was a writing gimmick that would allow the show to end with a lot of hugging and pseudo-religious nonsense. I could never re-watch the show, knowing that’s what it all came down to.

    Some people were pissed about the lack of answers. I get that, but personally I wasn’t expecting any real answers. I’d come to terms with that. I just wanted the show to be as creative as it used to be. A lot of people have rejected the flash sideways – this site has even edited them out of the last season. I applaud that, but I still don’t think that makes the last season very compelling. It fixes its most obnoxious flaw, but it doesn’t make me want to watch it.

    So now that it’s all over, what do I do? The first few seasons stand as some of the best television ever made, but the last few are mediocre – and the final is downright offensive. Should I purge it all from my AppleTV? I’ve got a solution.

    I’m going to pretend season three was the last season.

    The Best Ending

    Right away I know the season three finale was pound for pound better than the season six finale. All that church bound hug stuff was nice, but that was never why I liked the show. I liked it for the mystery and the writing…something the shows producers claimed was never the top priority, The end of season three (We have to go back, Kate!) was probably the biggest WTF moment of the show. They never had a comparable mind fuck scene after that. It’s as if they forgot that was part of the show. At the end of season three, you know they get off the island but wonder if thats what was best. Its pretty much the same conclusion you get at the end of season six, but without all the sloppy heavy handed stuff. The show just wasted the last three seasons telling you it didn’t matter – they were just going to end up getting off like they did in season three.

    Questions!

    The biggest problem with pretending season three was the last season is that there are tons of unanswered questions. There’s two reasons that doesn’t bother me. The first is that seasons 4-6 brought up plenty of questions that were never answered as well. I actually think there’s about as many unanswered questions at the end of season six as there are at season three. The questions are just different. the other reason it doesn’t bother me is that it turns out I didn’t want to know the answers to a lot of those questions. Once I found out the whispers were trapped island ghosts, I knew somethings were better left to the imagination.

    What does it all mean?

    By the end of season six, you find out there is a magic light at the center of the island. You’re told not to ask exactly what it is, or where it came from. Jacob is explained, but you’re told not to ask what mother is or where she came from. That’s fine…going back too far would just lead to a creation myth. Ask yourself though…how is the cave light any different than what we thought Jacob was in season 3? There’s a magical man at the center of it all. We don’t know who he is or where he came from, but people fight over him the same they do the light. If were going to end up with no solid answer either way, why not stick with the undeniably cooler memory of that first encounter in Jacob’s cabin?

    This is OK

    This is the cleanest out. It doesn’t require any special edits or “looking the other way.” It’ll be as if LOST went out in its prime. At three seasons, it’s short enough that I can still show it to people AND I wont have to feel guilty knowing they inevitably jerk the audience around for three more seasons only to pretty much come to the same conclusion. Rather than hitting the audience over the head, season three’s finale invites a great dialogue and much speculation…something season six failed to do when they forced the fans to get caught up in lame conversations about purgatory.

    I mean, we all just pretend Matrix 2 and 3 never happened, right?

    New Bright Falls Blog

    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.

    Bright Falls Blog

    https://watchbrightfalls.com

    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.