I may be jumping the gun here, but word from the director is that Pirates of the White Sand is finished. What can be fixed, has been fixed. I haven’t seen the result yet, but I’m stoked.
Holy crap. More than five years for a 14-minute-long film. I’m not sure I even want to know how many hours fuego’s put in on the thing, but I suspect it’s a large number. This summer between rounds of croquet in Moravia I got glimpses of progress, and a few more tantalizing looks in Santa Fe this July, and the audio was improving steadily.
For those who don’t know, my brother and I co-wrote a script that won the Fellini Award at a screenplay competition. The seven winners were assembled for a week, given crews of uncertain capability, and after three days of shooting and four of editing the films were judges by a star-studded panel. Ours was easily the best script but was hobbled by technical difficulties. Still, we won the Audience Choice award, and our star took best actor. Several other folks donated time as well; I’ll try to put out a thank-you post when I have time to come up with a list. Everyone loves lists!
For the last several years my brother has used his film expertise and connections to gradually work away at fixing the technical flaws. Now, he says he has run out of things to fix.
If I was smart I’d wait until I talked to him to make this announcement, but I’m just too damn excited. Another step toward world domination complete!
We discovered the other night that the battery backup for our digital phone service is not working. I’d fiddled with it, without success, so I resorted to reading the instructions. Crazy, huh?
The last instruction was to unplug the unit while doing all the previous steps. That was followed by: “If you do not have a dial tone, please call us at…”
When telling a story, it’s important to know where to begin. Do you start at the temporal beginning, the moment when, confronted with an idea so mind-bogglingly awesome, so blindingly obvious in retrospect that it must be the work of genius that you lose the power of speech? Or do you start at the other end, a day later, with the moment of truth when that idea faces reality and your own personal test begins? Or do you approach the story sideways, beginning with the thought that defines what it all means?
Or do you find three sentences, one for each of those moments, and let them tell the entire story — a tiny play in three acts:
“Peanut butter banana bread,” she said.
She set the two slices of banana bread — one chocolate, the other peanut butter — in front of me and said, “I really need you to be objective for a minute.”
I laughed and said, “I didn’t think I could love you more than I already did until you said, ‘peanut butter banana bread.'”
I am typing this with plastic rats on my fingers. They click together now and then, but they do add a certain special something to the night-blogging experience, just like the packaging said they would.
Actually, the package said they would be “perfect for raves and night blogging.” There are few things that can claim to be even tolerable in both those situations, but here we have the Finger Rats. There are five rats, five colors, each beaming a different color of light out its nose.
I don’t know how I ever got by without them.
Party Rats in Action
It’s a big milestone for me, getting back on track maintaining Jer’s Novel Writer. For those of you who are not familiar with it, JersNW is a word processor with features to help my scattered thoughts fall into some sort of coherent form. It’s based on three principles:
- When I get an idea, I want to be able to jot it down without losing my train of thought.
- I don’t want to have to remember stuff, and when I need to find something I wrote before I can look it up without getting caught up in the part of the story where it happened.
- When I’m stuck on a line or know it could be better, or need to check a fact, or need to track continuity, I can flag it and know I’ll be able to get back to it later.
There are features to help with the mechanics of writing as well (drag-and-drop chapters, flexible database, and so forth), but mainly I just want to keep my momentum when the creative juices are flowing and know that when nitty-gritty time comes I’ll find the places that need attention. Man that’s liberating.
If you’re interested, you can learn more at Jer’s Software Hut. Enjoy!
Oh yeah, it’s Mac-only.
Deep below the Earth’s surface, in a steaming chamber somewhere between the Hayward and San Andreas faults, there is motion in the dancing shadows cast by the guttering torchlight. Dark, twisted creatures stir. They move slowly, their once-lean haunches soft from months of torpor. They shamble from their stony sleeping-nooks into the work chamber, and one by one they take their accustomed positions on the capstans. The great wheels resist at first, then start to turn with a shriek that slowly fades to a rumble.
From the throats of the horde comes a deep ululation punctuated by coarse barks, a sound that reverberates through the chamber until it has no source, merely presence. It is enough to weaken the knees of even the stoutest hero, a sound to chill the most stalwart heart.
The creatures are singing.
Though fearsome in sound, it is joy they express; the sublime joy of one who had no purpose being useful again. Far above them, in a peaceful neighborhood San Jose, those turning capstans once more power the forges and shrieking spark-throwing wheels of Jer’s Software Hut.
On the slab in the middle of the laboratory a figure stirs; what once was dead now breathes again.
Here’s a shot of the set (without lights). Can you guess what the theme is?
Set for tonight's shoot with Harlean Carpenter