Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Lee's Belt and Pants

Lee selflessly gave his belt to Debbie to wear for the weekend, because it looked awesome. I think he was already wearing someone else's pants, having swapped with a mook.

He's so dreamy.

On-set Saturday

Set-up at location
It took a while to get set up at the location, but we were very lucky to be able to work there (thanks Fraser!). We had a cottage to work out of, varied hilly woods, and power in the garage. We were very well set up. I helped carry things, find things, and generally try to spot where people needed help. Fraser was awesome at leaping up to help people in all sorts of ways (including donating his belt). We didn't start filming until close to 11.30ish? Nick and Luke were up first, while Debbie got her last costume elements sorted out.

Awesome costumage
All the costumes were kick-ass. Debbie looked fantastic in her professional monster hunter attire, the uniformity of the mooks was excellent, and the two male leads certainly looked relaxed and optimistic.

Rain
It was raining a little when we arrived, but the forecast had been for it to clear. Sadly, this did not happen, and it got worse as filming continued. I headed down to set and collected umbrellas from various people's cars, then donated my warm jacket to Michaela and switched to a bright yellow fisherman's rain slicker. Then I stood in wet bushes holding a polystyrene board for light reflection (flecky?). Branches were poking me in the back of the knees and making my legs both wet and sore, but it was nothing compared to what the cast was going through.

Mud
When vast quantities of water fall onto dirt, then lots of people walk over it, it turns into MUD! There was a lot of this around, very treacherous under foot. Actors were sinking ankle deep into sludge, and had to hide their fear of slippery-death. I didn't have to hide my fear, as I wasn't in front of a camera. I'm fairly good at falling over in relatively normal conditions, so was petrified that I'd fall whilst holding something important (like my camera). Fortunately I stayed on my feet, and only saw one fall (which did not produce injuries).

Monster-Makeup
When we broke for lunch, we headed back to the cottage to get as warm as possible, and have some munchables. When we walked in, Morgue was getting the full Melty-man makeup treatment. It was awesome to see, and looked highly impressive. Having people chatting and eating lunch around melty man was slightly surreal, but was neat.

Mooks!
The mooks were neat. Uniform and organised and cool. Dobby was great with giving guidance to the actors on a variety of things.

Mud
It got worse.

Rain
It kept going. People got wet.

Flecky boards
I held a flecky board for many takes. between some of them I used it as a rain shield for actors, as I was rain-slickered and they were in light-weight costumes.

Seaworld/Wet'n'Wild
Luke and Nick kept cracking jokes throughout the morning. One of them was during a shot where they had to wade through particularly deep mud. The conversation went something like:

"Dude, we are so wet."

"We're wet'n'wild."

"We are SEA WORLD!"

"We should mud-slide through this shot."

"Yeah, and there should be sharks swimming in the mud."

The shark comment might have been me. I have a very fond but fuzzy memory of much of the weekend.

Slippery Bank
The final scene took place just off the road, next to a slippery bank that kept getting closer and closer to the action as more of it crumbled and collapsed under Morgue's monstrous onslaught. It was terrifying seeing Morgue throw himself around so close to a slippery fall. He is a well balanced monster.

Monster death
Morgue's death scene was chilling. He really sold it.

Awesome Acting
I'd seen the rehearsals, and Debbie and Luke's performances on the set were their best. Fantastic!

Back to base
At about 5pm the first tape was done, and I packed up and headed back to Indigo City, base camp. It was great to have been on set and seen and helped out with some of the filming. Next job? Editing.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Monster Hunter IV: Beyond Repair

We made it. Film handed in on time, having been played through to check sound.

Whew!

I am now very tired, as might be expected. I've learned a hell of a lot from the experience, and we have a pretty kick-ass film as a result of our efforts. I'm hugely looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Debbie has blogged about the 48 here

Matt's Experience:
Pre-48
I signed up to be the assisstant editor this year, as it was something I was keen on, and I felt like having at least 2 editors would really help speed up the post-production process. I decided not to try out for the writing team this year as I figured having the editors fresh would be wise - last year was pretty ridiculously hard, going from writing to acting.

Friday Night
I prepared Monday's relief lessons before leaving school, then headed home. We watched the start of the 48 on Campbell Live, and got quiet excited. Luke and Sam came over, and we regularly checked NZRaG for updates. Svend was being a fly on the wall at the writer's meeting, which was fantastic. We did ask him to post photos of the writers' snacks, but I guess he had other priorities...

Debbie found out that she had the lead part, which was cause for much excitement, and we found out that we needed several special forces type costumes, so plans were made for black cargo pants and skivvy buying in the morning. We got to sleep around 11pm?

Saturday
Living up here, and having the meeting down in Kingston, meant a very early start. I think we were in the car by about 6.30am? Meeting at Norm's, where people rushed around getting stuff done. We learned that Luke was cast as the male lead, and that Nick was in there too. I started pushing the title Monster Hunter IV: Old wounds, fresh salt but I'm not sure I made much headway.

I worked on the credits a little in the morning, updating last year's names. I took behind the scenes photos, and picked up my (nifty looking) t-shirt. I tried to look like I confidently belonged wherever I was, and that seemed to work OK - nobody questioned my presence at read-throughs or rehearsals. I was to discover later how important it is for an editor to have a clear idea of how a scene was envisaged when written and work-shopped, so this was time well spent.

As there was nothing much for me to do until there was footage to capture, I went to the location to help out, and then run the first tape back to base. The plan was for that to happen at lunch time.

To be updated later, when I have less pain in my head:
  • Set-up at location
  • Awesome costumage
  • Rain
  • Mud
  • Monster-Makeup
  • Mooks!
  • Mud
  • Rain
  • Flecky boards
  • Seaworld/Wet'n'Wild
  • Slippery Bank
  • Monster death
  • Awesome Acting
  • Back to base
  • Batch Capture?
  • Rough assemble
  • High Spirits
  • Sleepy ride home
  • 4 hours' sleep?
  • Back on set
  • Nettles!
  • Back to base (via Pak'n'Save)
  • Batch capture
  • Assemble edit
  • Repeat
  • Looks good!
  • No rough cut to tape?
  • Past the deadline!
  • Render NOW! Stick!
  • Ahhh, emergency tape done
  • Work to deadline, prioritise
  • Computer failure during final output!
  • Back on line
  • 17 minutes early
  • Celebrate
  • Home
  • Shower
  • Sleep
  • Obssess

Thursday, May 25, 2006

48 looming

Just 6 lessons to teach, plus one detention to run, then it's time for the 48 weekend! I'm sure that as soon as the bell rings on Friday I'll feel relaxed and enthused. Right now I'm mostly exhausted (and a little hungry - it might be time for a snack, methinks).

I have obtained permission to film at school - we probably won't need it, but it's good to have it there just in case.

The t-shirts are being made today, and will be couriered to Indigo City tomorrow. A little last minute, but it's all good as long as they get there :)

In other news, I've been editing a video of a wedding, which has been both interesting and useful in terms of familiarising myself with Adobe Premier Pro. I hope the result is not too shabby (the people whose wedding it is were very generous with vouchers - to the point where I'll feel pretty guilty if the final product isn't what they hoped!).

Now to eat a plum (very woody - verging on inedible. I do like fruit that's crunchy, but this is pushing it) and maybe do some work. Or look at blogs. Or take photos of the school for the writing team :)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Larp, Cthulhu, Ong Bak, Fire

Whew, that was a busy weekend. Probably not as busy as the 48 weekend is going to be, but nusy nonetheless.

Friday
Recovery day. We stayed in and watched TV and it was great.

Saturday
Replacement bank card obtained, dropped off lunch at mother-in-law's, saw Mission Impossible 3 (very cool, many similarities to the episodes of Alias we've been watching), curry for dinner and then Guild Council larp.

Sunday
Call of Cthulhu followed by Ong Bak. Both very cool.

This is a minimalist post, bereft of detailed description. I will try to add more:

MI3 assaults the senses like a relentless barage of spy-themed tennis balls shot from a ball-launcher into the clamped open eyeballs of a prone delinquent named Alex.

Guild Council was a robust juggernaut of tension and conflict which simmered away over 4 hours, with spicy infusions of video goodness at regular intervals to keep it going gently on and off the boil.

The investigators tackled the mystery like a Harvard educated line-backer with a specialty in computer sciences taking out an elephant one leg at a time.

Ong Bak was a glorious celebration of the ability of exceptional stunt men to do hooribly violent looking things to each other without causing any fatalities (I hope).


Lastly, this post about things going on fire is a piece of post-modern genius that peels away layers of linguistic chicanery and social programming to reveal heart-rending truths about the human condition. Of going on fire.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We would hunt and kill you

I just remembered, in a discussion of the book Lord of the Flies last week the topic of how people gain authority, and how they hold onto it came up. As a way of relating the book to the class, I asked them to imagine what it would be like if we, as a class, were stranded on a desert island.

Of course the students are a lot older than the characters in LotF (17ish), so they mostly thought it would involve lying on the beach getting a sun tan, and not studying for NCEA.

I mentioned the idea that, as their teacher, I might manage to act like an authority figure for a short time, but as I'm not the most outdoorsmany it probably wouldn't last more than a day.

"You so wouldn't be in charge that long," pipes up the kid in the back row whose hobby is steel sword fighting.

Less than a day. I suspect the kid in question would have a coup in the first 10 minutes, and I'd be smoked jerky snacks by lunchtime.

It's nice to know that students who are highly polite and cooperative (and call me Sir of their own volition) are so sure that they've got what it takes to depose me.

I should totally aim for 'island guru' if we're ever in that situation. In fact, if I ever have to go on a boat or plane trip with students, I might abdicate authority for the length of the journey just to make sure I'm not killed in the inevitable uprising :)

Irresistable Brownies

Mmmm, Debbie baked brownies last night and I could not resist them. It was a mighy hit of sugar late at night, delicious and awesome. They were birthday brownies, which is awesome as it makes my birthday last even longer!

I have totally had enough of this week. I pretty much want to stay in bed and eat brownies and sleep and watch TV.

It's a shame that being jobless is pretty inextricably linked with being penniless.

I have never found the thought of a life of leisure a daunting one. People occasionally make glib comments about getting bored if they didn't have a job. I don't think I'd suffer from that.

On the cup-half-full side of things, it's only 35 years until I am of retirement age! So a life of pottering about on a ride-on lawn-mower and waving my walking stick at whipper-snappers is just around the corner.

I just have to survive the rest of today first.

In unrelated exciting news, I have lunch-time duty four times this week. FOUR! But someone covered me on Tuesday for no reason, so now it's only 3.

Wow, this is so trivial that I am tempted not to post it, but then, it fits so well with all the other posts...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Big Shammy

"Imagine if I jumped out of those cupboards? How good would that be?"

"If Jesus was going to jump into the room, he'd come out of those cupboards."

"Dude, if Jesus was going to enter the kitchen, he'd totally come through the microwave. Sandals first. Imagine that."

"So the microwave is like a womb, and he's being born."

"And there'd be afterbirth."

"And cup-o-noodle."

"Imagine that, Jesus and placenta flavoured noodles."

"They'd definitely have to come in separate sachets - add a little placenta, and a dash of Jesus, and hey presto - the best noodles ever!"

"Dude, write that on the wall. You have to."

Friday, May 12, 2006

House Buying

Debbie and I just bought a house. I think the legal-beagle wrinkles have been smoothed out now, and we are all on track to own a house by the 2nd of June.

Neat.

Things to do:

*Sort out insurance
*Pack
*Give notice (by Wednesday next week)
*Look at carpet samples (we may recarpet before we move in)
*Investigate the cost of garage-door openers: they are way too convenient not to have
*Clean flat (it's in pretty good shape already, as we had it all clean for a flat inspection last week)
*Meet with bank and decide on loan-structure

And, I'm sure, a whole bunch of other things. But most immediately, enjoy the weekend :)

A Sophisticated 30-Year-Old

"I fashion the glow-stick belt into a giant phallus and strap it to my head, then run towards the naked women."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Still 29!

Thanks all for the excellent shenanigans over the weekend, and the lovely presents. As you probably noticed, I had a very good time. Sunday was less fun, with the feeling poorly, but Debbie took wonderful care of me and I survived. I even managed to get out to see the set in L&S's garage, and look at curtain material with Debbie. Admittedly, I mostly leaned on furniture while she was looking at curtains, but I rapidly realised that I have no particular agenda when it comes to curtain patterns.

Our offer on a house goes unconditional today. All is looking pretty good, with one minor exception - the curtains actually belong to the tenant, not the vendor, and we can't get a quote in time for how much it will cost. I guess we can just throw down a figure and see if it's palatable. Problem is, having never had curtains made, I'm somewhat in the dark. The helpful person I spoke to at Radfords said it would probably be something less than $9000. Probably less than half that, depending on what we got.

That seems like a lot?

Then again, I think she was talking 'worst case scenarios' and, having heard what our situation was, was avoiding under-quoting.

Anyways, last thing for today:

Character Name
Matt C

Traits
Evil
Laughy
Cetacean-friend
Boils things

Goals
Be elected Prelate
Frame Norman for the murder
Bring about Luke's downfall

Age
30

You were raised by chickens on a lard-infested farm. To this day eggs are your closest friends. You keep one with you at all times, its name is Barry and you have drawn a face on it. It has a goatee.

Power
7

Fame
9

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Weekend Fun

I am greatly looking forward to the weekend's shenanigans.

We have a flat inspection on Saturday morning, which is not exactly fun, but is not quite so daunting since Green Acres cleared the garden for us yesterday. It was in a pretty shocking state of neglect, but they did a wonderful job of cleaning it up.

After that, it's bowling and beverages and hanging out, which should be a lot of fun. It's nice that a few work peeps are coming, as well as gamers. They're not my workmates, as I tend not to talk to people at work all that much, but rather Debbie's workmates who we have become good friends with over the past couple of years.

It should be a fun afternoon/night! It's cool that we can use the garden if we want to, though the weather is getting a little chilly for outdoorsiness after 6pm.

For those interested, the price of having a hilly garden and cobbled area cleared after much neglect was $380 - and well worth every cent.

There is other exciting news in the pipeline, dependent on builder's report, title search and such. I shall post details once it's settled :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Blogger ate my last post, so I'll make this one quick:

Alias is a very enjoyable show. Debbie and I have rented the DVDs and are up to episode 8 of season 1. We watched most of season 2 on TV a couple of years back, so it's nice to go back to the beginning and see how all this stuff was introduced.

The magical-science elements are interesting in comparison to Lost. It's quite a cool style - geeky tech plus Nostradamus prophecy plus lots and lots of running down corridors, fighting, and cliffhanger episode endings. Very compelling. And plenty of character drama, too.

Armageddon was fun. Hearing Jewel's Q&A was very entertaining, and we were very lucky to have former students txt us and save us seats :) We didn't spend much $, buying only one graphic novel (a Clive Barker adaptation). Whether we go next year will entirely depend on who the guest speakers are - the mass consumer thing wasn't so appealing this year.

Now I should really prepare some debating materials for this afternoon. I am considering whether to get the class to practice moving the desks today, or whether to save that for tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll guage their mood this afternoon and decide then...

Shake a spear?

Unfortunately I won't be gaming on Thursday this week because of a Shakespeare festival. It's a bummer that they clash, but Thursday seems to be a popular night for school activities (parent teacher interviews, meet-the-parents nights, prizegiving etc.).

It's always a joy to see students getting up and giving the bard a try, and there are usually several great performances. Debbie and I went to the national finals a couple of years back, and they were very impressive.

Debbie has suggested that I should assemble and train a team of students to be the school's video team - a group with the know-how and enthusiasm to record and edit together videos of significant events. It's a great idea, and one that I may give some time to once I've waded my way through the mountain of marking I seem to have scattered about my desk. Oh, and I should put a notice into the daily notices about original music too, for the 48.

Better dash and get some of this stuff done!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Birthday Presents!

I've been meaning to make a list like this for quite a few years, and keep forgetting:

Perennial Gifts:
Alcohol of yummy varieties (d'you like Baileys?)
A4 drawing pad
Cool stationery, like pens and mechanical pencils and... twink?
Book/CD vouchers
Audiobooks that are not Artemis Fowl/Supernaturalists - YA or classic or Terry Pratchett...
Dice, especially d4's, d8's and oddly d12's

One-offs
Pith Helmet
Furry Russian Hat
LCD Monitor (17"?)
Internal DVD drive
Kingdom Come graphic novel
V for Vendetta graphic novel
Watchmen graphic novel
Equilibrium DVD (I'm teaching it to my Y13 class this year!)
Adaptation DVD
Basic, Old School RPG books for the bookshelves at the back of my classroom. Preferably with kewl art so kids will want to pick them up and take a look.

I did have external hard-drive on the list, but then I bought myself one as a birthday present. It's nifty - 40gb and quite small (notebook drive in a 2.5" USB enclosure). There are much more capacious drives to be had, but for the $ and size it's cool. I also received a rockin' ipod video (30gb) from Debbie. It's awesome. She gave it to me early, since my birthday's not 'til the 11th.

So, there's some stuff that I wants. I also like simple birthday greetings and the company of friends, so Saturday should be awesome. I don't expect presents from anyone at all (well, except my parents - they'll pretty much never be off the hook on that one). In fact, I might find it awkward to receive presents in a public situation. But for next-year Matt, when loved ones ask "what do you want for your birthday?", I can at least look at this list for some ideas.

Except of course I'll be over 30 then, so the answer will always be powertools. And a shed (or sheds) to keep them in.

Back in the Saddle

Ahh, 'tis a fine thing to be back at work. All that free time and sleep was really getting to me :P

We watched Deadwood season one over the holidays (courtesy of Luke and Sam) and it was very, very good. Now I should be working, and kind of am in the background (assembling a wedding dvd for a work mate).

Better dash!