On set waiting for makeup to finish, so I’m harrassing the entire world with my supplies shopping…

I’ve been replacing all my batteries with rechargeable batteries, for environmental as well as economic reasons — my fave so far is Eneloop.

One funny thing is that the big pack (which includes a charger) also includes some C and D batteries… however the batteries only come in AA and AAA. The C and D cells are actually plastic bodies for the AA’s !

“Make movies” books

We’re in principal photography for the Scary Cow Production of Matt Voss’ The Templetons (I am directing), and there are a couple of books that are good references for indie filmmaking.

A lot more useful than it might seem, Lloyd Kaufman’s book “Make Your Own Damn Movie” – the master of Troma films takes you through all the steps of developing, fundraising, and shooting your movie.

Smarmy as hell (have you seen any Troma movies?), Kaufman constantly gets in little squabbles during the narration with his Assistant Directors/ Production Assistants / buttslaves, Trent Haaga and Adam Jahnke, so the whole thing feels like a Troma Production. Bonus points for the introduction by Trey Parker & Matt Stone, which is nothing less than an inspiring tale of achieving the indie equivalent of Enlightenment.

This book is basically 500 pages of interviews with people in the film industry, in all sorts of jobs.  The interviews are each tightly focussed on a single aspect of film production, including parts you may not think of like promotion, the bookkeeping, the script supervision.  The audience is the independent low- or no-budget filmmaker.

I recommend reading this one completely through; all the interviews are interesting on some level, and like I say not everything will seem important to you… but actually it is.  It is all important, to the point of biting you on the ass in the middle of your production if you don’t think about it in advance.

After you’ve absorbed all that, you are ready for the Blueprint. If the previous book is the text for the lecture, think of this as the text for the lab. It’s broken down by stage of production, and has forms and little hints.

One really cool sequence of chapters has a description of what roles in the crew you will have to fill, for different sizes of productions (budget or number of crew). Each role (such as Writer, Director, Art Director, Soundtrack, Production Designer, Lawyer, etc etc) has its own cartoon character, with a description. There’s a diagram with an expanding circle that shows the core you’ll need, and the additional crew you’ll need for the immediate next level.

More culture jamming on Yahoo Answers

Q: I’m confused about Iraq. Every time I read that the surge is working, Iraq is a safer place, stability is being restored, etc., I see headlines which defy those assertions. I am becoming distrustful and confused as to whether progress is being made or not. Does anyone else feel the same way? And, if we are confused, what about the Iraqi people – how do you think they feel? Who to trust?

A: Every time you read the news, every time you watch news on TV,

Ask yourself: who owns this newspaper? Where is the information coming from? Would the source of information be interested in not telling the complete truth?

Recently, American journalism has become very lazy. Most of the misinformation about the Iraq war, about the threat of WMD’s, comes straight from the White House. Journalists are meant to do original research… sadly this is on the decline.

People who habitually read from more news sources were never “fooled” into the wisdom of invading Iraq; this is why there were so many protests even dating back to the beginning of the invasion. They knew it was an unwinnable war, and could only serve the interests of oil and construction companies.

Read about who runs Fox News, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group. But be careful– some people find this knowledge very threatening.

Don’t take advice from strangers

New hobby tonight: giving accurate yet mischievious answers on Yahoo Answers

Q: I need a topic for my science project. I can’t think o any….. :(?
Well, can you give me a few ideas of a topic or tell me how I can go about with the medicinal herbs topic I had in mind and how I can relate it to science?

A: The Placebo Effect.

Make up a drug effect. Pick ten test subjects. Tell them a great deal about how this drugs will work. Then give them tic-tacs or some other non-drug. Insist this is a real drug you got with the cooperation of the medical clinic at the nearby college.

Observe them for ten minutes and report what they say. Record how many of them report feeling the effects you describe. Encourage their descriptions as much as possible. Write down any other “side effects” they feel from the fake drug.

Now repeat the experiment with ten more people. Don’t tell them anything about what you are giving them. Observe them for ten minutes and report what they say.

The Artist: 1923 Remix

Here’s the “remix” cut of The Artist.

When Jennifer Griffin and I were editing the original piece, we remarked on the strong performances of the actors– I had directed them towards a melodramatic flavor to seem more “period.” Their facial expressions were so evocative that we realized the visuals of the film could stand on their own, even without dialog.

So, we contacted Little Man T who whipped us up a stellar “silent movie” soundtrack.

About the Art Deco-themed intertitles: sometimes you will see movies with intertitles for nearly every line; not here you’ll notice.

I always preferred the less-frequent titles as seen in Pandora’s Box: just enough information to help you figure out the story; but for the most part the narrative is carried by the performers. The audience is required to pay a little more attention to the plot, and to deduce what is happening. I feel that this involves the viewer more than the “AND DEN DA CAR BLOWED UP!!!1!!@!” style of spell-everything-out Hollywood releases.

The Artist

Here’s a short I directed recently. I did the casting, the directing, shot lists, schedules, and basic storyboards. I say “basic” storyboards because mine were just stick figures; the ones we used on set were drawn by Matt Voss, the cartoonist and producer of The Templetons.

DP was Samir Sinha, edited by Jennifer Griffin.

Milo loves his paintings, but hates selling them. His wife Maureen thinks he’s going to be the Next Big Thing, if only he can get the right opportunity. An opportunity like meeting Geraldine.

Geraldine loves art. Especially art by dead artists. Some people make art; Geraldine makes dead artists.

Produced as our submission to Round 4 of Scary Cow “The Artist” is intended to be the first ten minutes of a hypothetical feature movie. I was going for a 1940’s flavor with some modern elements.

Yes it is your fault

Finally people are coming around to the fact that, yes, global warming is happening, and yes, it is directly caused by greenhouse gases, and yes, humans make the overwhelming majority of these gases, and yes, most of it is from cars.

You’ve seen the planet literally being destroyed.  Coral reefs are dying, the growing season is changing, entire populations of animals are dying, areas on the planet are becoming more difficult to farm, water shortages are beginning.  Tropical storms have more energy and are causing huge devastation on a regular basis.  The entire planet is dying.  And this is just the start.
So my question is: why are you still driving?  Yes, it is your fault.

But it doesn’t have to be.  You can be a good person.  All you have to do is care.


  1. If you have to commute, take public transportation
  2. Turn off your devices when you aren’t using them
  3. stop buying plastic.  This is actually a lot easier than you’d think.
  4. Learn about what you are buying.  Where does it come from?  How was it made?  Stop buying from companies that obviously don’t care about the environment
  5. stop putting up with people who pretend there is not a problem.  Every time you let them live in their little fantasy, you are (albeit very indirectly) contributing to the problem.  “Global warming isn’t happening” ?!  Shout that fucker down!  You have all of Earth’s scientific community backing you up.  Dude’s driving an SUV?  The only people who still think those are cool are either rap stars or Texas Republicans, who are both, let’s just face it, not known for being too bright.  Would you wear a cowboy hat to a formal party?  Well then.

Why you don’t marry the high maintenance girl

OPS DUDE: I can’t go on Saturday, we’re going clothes shopping
ENGINEER 1: oh yeah, what are you getting?
OPS DUDE: oh, nothing for me. She shops and I have to go watch her.
ENGINEER 1: …seriously? Why don’t you just… not go…?
OPS DUDE: I have to go. Otherwise we have a fight
ENGINEER 1: Why don’t you say “I’m not going… now we can either have a huge fight… or you can go shopping”
OPS DUDE: She’s not logical like that
ENGINEER 2: She might say “get in the car, we’re doing both!”

The Templetons

I’ve just finished casting for The Templetons, which is a short based on a comic by Matt Voss.

Matt’s comic is like a sort of twisted edition of Leave It To Beaver, where the family are all sunny and innocent to each other, but during the day they lead secret lives. Tim Templeton, the father, is actually a con artist pretending to be homeless and spare-changing on the street. His wife Tia runs a gambling ring out of her kitchen. And their daughter Trina sneaks out of school during the day to be one of those girls you see on Girls Gone Wild. Wooo!

The way they talk is like sitcom families as seen in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and that is how I’m trying to cast it. We begin principal photography this weekend, the end of March.

MovableType to WordPress without a server

My blog was very unhappy.

I had a pretty cool blog a couple years ago. I made a bunch of entries; actually I was one of the earlier bloggers, pre-livejournal even!

I had modified the blog to last forever- it was blog-software agnostic. Every URL would last forever and ever, because there were no hints in the permalink about the implementation. Theoretically I could use any blog software and the links would be the same. What this meant was every post was on a page called “index.html” in its own directory.

At some point Brazillian hackers got into our machine with what I think was a PHP exploit. They replaced every index.html file with their calling card. What would normally be a small hassle turned into a devastating loss of every page on my site.

All was not lost. We had all the entries in the database. But the server was taken down for security reasons. Then, life got in the way, and we never rehabilitated the server.

History became legend, legend became myth, and for two hundred years my blog postings lay inaccessible in their MovableType database. SixApart changed schema, and eventually didn’t even support the old version. All the migration scripts would no longer work. Enough has changed that I couldn’t even get the old version of Movable Type to work.

The time: the present. I now have a one-click install of WordPress. I start blogging again. How to get that stuff back? The answer: write a custom script in perl.


  • Movable Type has a export format. Unfortunately that format has changed over the years.
  • WordPress also has an export format. Unfortunately they never define it anywhere.
  • WordPress claims they can import MovableType. This turns out to be a total lie. I used the perl in the MT installation, which didn’t work out… I wrote a script that directly reads the legacy MT database, and outputs a mt-import.txt. WP didn’t like it
  • Eventually, I wrote a script that directly reads the legacy MT database, and outputs a fake WordPress export file. A few of the fields don’t map directly; for example WordPress has no notion of “Extended Entries.” Also I think my faceted category system in MT screwed up my category data. Oh well.

The upshot: here’s the script, if anyone wants it.

  • If you don’t know perl, if you aren’t a UNIX person, just forget it. You won’t be able to use it.
  • Unsupported. I’m not your momma. I can be bribed, however. For $50 I can rehabilitate your blog and put the entries into your WordPress.
  • Hopefully the script is short enough and there are enough comments so the average perl hacker can figure out what I’m doing and modify it to their liking.