Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Emmy Nominations

Today, the TV Academy released its nominations for the Daytime Emmys. Our sound team received three nominations in the Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing category. Our perennial winner, "The Batman" is one of the nominations; with "Legion of Super Heroes" and "Loonatics Unleashed" rounding out the three. “The Batman” has won the past three years running (the first year it tied with another one of our shows "Xiaolin Showdown") so it will be interesting to see if it will remain dominant.

We have three out of the five possible shows nominated, so a 60% chance is nice (yes, I can do simple math), but the two other nominees are very strong shows, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either one of them take it this year. PBS’s "Curious George" and Disney’s "Johnny and the Sprites" are the other contenders.

The real bummer is that the Creative Arts show (which is where the non-exciting Susan Lucci-less behind-the-scenes version of the Emmy awards are presented) will be held in New York City this year. They have always been in Los Angeles, and therefore pretty convenient to attend. I’m confident that Warner Bros is not going to send us on an all-expense paid trip to the Big Apple, so I’ll most likely be tuning in to the webcast. I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Guillermo del Toro to direct 'Hobbit'

The man behind 'Pan's Labyrinth' has just signed with New Line to direct the 'Hobbit'. It's been a long time coming for this project to finally have a captain. As I stated earlier, it's too bad Peter Jackson is committed elsewhere and cannot direct, but at least he's producing, it's being done in New Zealand, and del Toro kinda looks Hobbit-ish like Jackson.

Here is the full Variety article published Friday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Falling in the category of...

NOW I'VE SEEN EVERYTHING!!!


I wonder how many accidents this guy has caused, just from people around him rubber-necking. I caught this guy going down the 5 freeway on my way to work this morning.

I somehow managed to not have my own car crash while using my awesome (not so much) phone-camera to capture this tribute to automotive mental breakdown.

This is truly miscellaneous creativity, but not the variety I want to hail often. I just thought this one was to good to pass up. Do you think Xzibit would be impressed? What's the craziest thing you've done to "pimp" your ride?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Foreshadowing

A few years ago I did sound design on this film short "Foreshadowing" for Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa. It played the festival circuit afterwards. I just found out it's on YouTube.

There was no production sound to work with, so the entire soundtrack had to be created from scratch; down to the voice work by Chana and myself. (notice the exquisite scream Chana belts out near the end) John Mark Painter did the whistle-provoking score.

The director Mark Steele gave me a lot of freedom with the sound effects, and it was a great experience. We mixed it at Todd AO in Studio City.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

I have to upgrade my field recording gear this year. I'm going to be doing a lot of sound effects acquisition for my next project, so it's time to move on from the HHB minidisc recorder. It's a killer recorder, but I'm ready to get away from minidiscs as a medium.

I've been looking at Sound Devices gear. It seems to be what I need, but now the (semi)hard decisions need to be made. Do I buy strictly for sfx recording, in which case I don't really need the timecode features, making it about six benjamins cheaper. But if I want to ever use it for a shoot, TC would be kinda handy.

There's more though. What if I want to record surround ambiences? They make 4 and 8 track recorders too, but those little additions add big bucks. So I might have to settle for stereo for now. We'll see...


Then there's the microphone debate. I'm upgrading those too. I've just about decided upon the Oktava 012's. Apparently they are in thousands of production mixers and sound designer's mic lockers, plus the price is very good for high-end mics.



But I've been impressed by the Sanken mics too. Their CSS-5 is a switchable mono/stereo shotgun mic I looked at while at NAB last year. It's impressive, but the price tag is about three times the amount of a stereo pair of Oktava's. Monday and Tuesday I'll be back at NAB cramming as much info on this type of gear into my head as I can. Hopefully I'll come away with a set plan, and an affordable one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

He Was American, and Proud of it

Ahh, to return to the day when people could speak like this on TV without anyone thinking they were crazy. This is a clip from Dean Martin's show featuring John Wayne speaking about how he'll raise his daughter.

video

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Held Hostage

PHOTO: Stock shot of jet taking off from tarmac...







I arrived in Dallas Tuesday to help celebrate my Dad's retirement. Nice party, good food, etc. We have had a good time hanging out (my sister and brother are here too, so it's a strange-but-nice family dynamic again.

For some reason (okay, it's some wiring deal on a ton of their planes), American keeps canceling my flight out of Dallas. It's like Hotel California; I've entered, but I can never leave. Yesterday morning, I got a call at 6:45 am (mind you that's 4:45 am pacific time, which I'm still on btw) from the AA flight info computer, giving me the news of my first cancellation. Nice.

I'm not complaining. Yesterday afternoon, my Dad gave me one of his old sets of golf clubs... that's cool. I haven't been on the links in 10 years, but I'll probably venture out to embarrass myself soon with my new weapons.

This morning, while checking my gate info online, I noticed that the flight was again canceled. No rude early morning call this time. Man, am I glad I didn't head to DFW and fight through it there.

The hard part is being away from the family. My wife is holding down the fort (and is perfectly capable of doing so, make no mistake) but I wasn't mentally prepared to be away from home this long - or work for that matter, but that's another thread.

Right now, I'm on the phone (er, on ever-hold) with American to see about getting a lottery seat on the next flight out. Holding breath... okay I breathed... holding... okay forget it, I'm just going to be over here waiting... tapping foot... mmm, easier.

Okay, the real person from the airline finally picked up and put me on another plane headed out this evening. Can I assume that the wiring on this plane is a-ok? Another day of work missed. I wonder if this flight is going to really go out, or is this just another tease?

For now I'm just blogging on my Dad's PC, which means I am not sure how to use it for the picture I wanted for this entry. That's okay, I don't care. Soon enough I'll be home to the Macs in the studio.

You can use whatever mental imagery you want for the implied photo above. (though, I do prefer you to conjure a working plane coming in for a perfect landing... on time... you get the picture)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Passing of a Legend


One of my heroes just died. Charlton Heston passed away at age 84 this past evening. He was most definitely one of the few remaining true stars of the silver screen - a group of people that has almost completely left us. He had class, high morals, and he was even married to the same woman (Lydia) for 64 years.

His acting accomplishments are well documented, but I have to say that I believe it takes a larger-than-life man to play the roles of Judah Ben Hur (for which he won an Oscar), Moses and John the Baptist. The man that can pull off all of those roles in one lifetime without it going completely to his head deserves everyone's respect.


Some of my favorites of his other roles include: George Taylor in "Planet of the Apes", Stewart Graff in "Earthquake", Capt. Matthew Garth in "Midway" and Robert Neville in "The Omega Man" - a movie that Will Smith just remade entitled "I Am Legend". He also had the small but important role of Henry Hooker in one of my all-time favorite westerns, "Tombstone".

He was a man's man, not just because of the roles he played, but because of what he stood for. He was an Air Force veteran, a social activist in his latter years, and in 2003, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, this nation's highest civilian honor.

As I said, there aren't many genuine Hollywood stars left. I am however thankful he came along to fill the need Hollywood had for a true hero.

Charlton Heston has left an opening for the next genuine Hollywood hero. Who can possibly fill it?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Projects Now Out on DVD


Last fall and early winter, I mixed a couple of indie features (one documentary and one drama-mentary), and they have finally come out on the market.

Morristown is a feature-length drama/documentary based on a ballet school in a small town of the same name. We had several sound challenges, but overall I think it came out sounding very good. (And myself being someone with a limited eye for dance, I think there's some great stuff of that sort in there too.) Check it out at: morristownthemovie.com. (no imdb page as of yet)

The Sophisticated Misfit is a documentary that follows the life and art of Los Angeles based artist Josh Agle (aka: Shag). He has a remarkable style that is often imitated, though never really equaled. (That's his work above.) See about getting the movie HERE. I have fallen into his fan-base, though unfortunately, I'll probably never have the opportunity to get one of his original pieces.

This film also had challenges in the production sound, but we got it dialed in pretty well, and I think the content of both of these movies makes up for any of the sound flaws. The filmmakers, Christo Garcia (Morristown) and Mark Chervinsky (Sophisticated Misfit) are now film partners, so they are collaborating on their projects. They make a good team.