Friday, January 29, 2010

Lost in the Rye

Greetings Friends And Foes,
I join you from a snowstorm in Nashville. At this moment my baby sister Abbie has arrived for this weekends Emmy festivities with my parents and sisters Bethenna, and Jillian. Jill decided to come about 7 hours before they left town and is bring my niece and nephew. Beth has never visited me in Nashville, so while this will be a quick trip it’s a good first experience I hope.

Its been a whirlwind week. I went to see Black Dynamite this weekend, and it was probably the most I have laughed in a theater since I saw Shaun Of The Dead. My jaw dropped and then it fell off. I cannot recommend it enough.

I met with the Numerics on Monday about another music video, and some discussions on how to release the short documentary I directed about the making of their record last year. Some good stuff is in store in that camp. We watched a lot of footage, and set some dates to shoot. They will be playing some shows in the Nashville area over the course of this month, and you should check for details and to listen to their tunes.

Tuesday I shot a party for a Chamber Of Commerce meeting. This is not my forte by any means, but the money was good and I’m doing anything to raise funds for my feature right now. I never wanted to be a videographer, as Its pretty stifling to creativity in my opinion, not to mention incredibly worrying as you only get one shot at it. They did a handful of songs in costumes, as well some parody songs. The people in the room seemed to eat it up. It was a long day and I crashed pretty hard that night.

Wednesday my grandfather called to wish me luck for the weekend. He rarely speaks on the phone as his hearing isn’t great anymore. It was a really good feeling. I also got a little pink card from post office saying that a package would be waiting for me the next morning. It was amazing because the package had been missing and contained a great deal of work. While I had backups this contained a lot of raw footage that might have not been seen again. I picked it up Thursday morning and the world was right again. I also picked up my Tuxedo, which looks good, but they forgot suspenders, so I need to go by and pick some up.

Yesterday I had a great amount of time to myself to collect my thoughts, do some housework, and prepare for the weekend. I had lunch with my friend Preston at the Bar-B-Cutie and discussed all things under the sun. I missed The State Of The Union address, and he filled me in on the highlights. I heard on the radio that JD Salinger died. I have read Catcher In The Rye, and enjoyed it. Mostly when I think of Salinger I think of the parody of him that Shawn Connery did in Finding Forrester. I just hope he has a lost manuscript titled “You’re The Man Now Dawg!” If you aren’t familiar with his work, I’ll give you the short version. Many people feel that Catcher In The Rye is a perfect book, and that Salinger is the most important American author of the twentieth century. He wrote Catcher, and a handful of short stories before becoming a recluse and not publishing for forty years. Rumors abound that he continued writing and that those works would be released after his death. We’ll see what shows up I suppose. Could be a great revelation or the Phantom Menace of literature.

3-D film making has seem to have hit its stride this week. They announced that both of the Harry Potter films, as well as Clash Of The Titans are going to get a 3-d exhibition. And Tinto Brass the director of Caligula has announced that he is making a pornographic movie using the new 3-d technology. I have yet to see Avatar (though I want too). Yet I have never seen a 3-D film that uses the technology for the sake of storytelling. I always use the Yo-Yo sequence in Friday The 13th 3-D as a good example of people just using gimmicks to throw stuff at you. Panasonic also announced a new 3-D camera that is much more affordable. I expect to see them churning stuff out, and with the right idea, we may see a new gold rush.

Apple finally announced the I-Pad this week. I had been eagerly anticipating it, as I don’t want an Iphone due to the service contract, but don’t want an Itouch for lack of camera. I was dismayed to find that the I-Pad won’t have a camera either. I’m sure it will come next generation, but its lame. My soul purpose for needing a camera on a touch or pad is the Hitchcock storyboard application. I want to use it, but won’t sign up for the phone plan. I am surrounded by WI-FI and don’t need it.

I hope you all have your fingers crossed for me this weekend. We’re going to live it up.

From The Ice Planet Hoth

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sniffle Week

Sniffle Week

Been a bit under the weather this weekend, with sniffles and soreness. I haven’t left the house since friday afternoon and have not not been terribly productive this weekend. This week has been full of news story that had me thinking and conversing with friends and foes alike.

Haiti seems like a wasteland, and while my thoughts and hopes are with those people I have tried not to watch much footage. I can’t take the destruction of it.

Mark McGwire finally admitted he cheated on baseball by taking steroids. I always thought he did a better thing by not talking than lying like so many others. Its hard for me really, as I love the game and the summer he and Sosa were chasing Maris is what brought me back after the strike decimated my affection towards the game. I hope he can move past it, and offer his knowledge to a new generation. The tradition of baseball is more important than any hall of fame.

Jay & Conan are shaking thinks up at NBC. I put full blame on the network for this one. You don’t move someone out at the top of their game the way Leno was put out to pasture, furthermore once you do it you don’t take it away from the new kid and give it back to the old man. They have cannibalized their viewers. While Leno once reigned supreme with Conan playing after, I doubt he will pull close to the same numbers in that time slot. Letterman will be the clear winner, and since he was the first one that NBC screwed that seems justified. I still think Jimmy Kimmel is the funniest guy in late night.

Sony split ways with Sam Raimi & crew on Spider-Man 4, or as they were calling it Spider-M4n. I’m really proud of Sam Raimi if what I think happened, happened. I assume that Raimi knew he made a stinker out of part 3, but only because the studio forced him to work the Venom Saga. Rather than back down to the studios again he held his ground at his own peril. So far everyone is playing nice, and since Sony must make another film in the next two years or rights to the franchise revert back to Marvel, we can all expect something. I think it sucks that Spidey has to go back to High School. Peter Parker always worked best for me as a college student trying to balance school, work, and love life, wile keeping New York safe from villainy. At the very least with a reboot, we may get a movie where Spider-Man can keep his damn mask on for a change. Should be something to witness true believers. Excelsior!

My old alma mater East Texas Baptist University tore down the Merle Bruce Dorms recently. Someone sent me a video of the destruction, and I was pretty sad about it. I have kept little contact with most of the students i met during my time there, and ultimately what I learned with that time is who I didn’t want to be. That being said, I shared a few rounds of puppy love in that foyer, and I’m sad to see it go. I’m not sure I’ll ever be invited back to ETBU, and I don’t know if I’m ok with that or not.

The heat in our house is working again. A few people gave it a look, and we may need some electrical work done. Someone tightened a wire, and I changed the fuses myself (as legally they couldn’t) and it all is running fine. We spent last weekend and the first few days of the week in layers and space heaters. All of us have been sick since.

Golden Globes tonight were alright. I think Tarantino got robbed on all fronts. Oddly enough i still haven’t been able to see Avatar. I have every intention and I adore James Cameron, but I think Basterds is a masterpiece. I also thought Mo’Nique gave a very heartfelt speech. I never in a million years would of though the star of “Hair Show” would have a shot at a major film award, but she nailed it. I need to see the Hurt Locker soon to form an opinion, I have a gut feeling she is going to get the directing Oscar, as Its due time a woman gets a turn in that spotlight. However my fanboy heart is still routing for Tarantino and the Basterds.

On other not so movie star heavy awards show fronts, I booked my tickets to the Emmys. It looks like my parents and two of my sisters will be joining me along with Jessica. I’ve been thinking about it a lot more this week. Its weird when you have to think about what you would say when cast in front of a few thousand people in a room who have no clue who you are, as well as a television audience. Sometimes I’d like to say something noble, while other times I think i should do something wild and try to get on The Soup or Best Week Ever. Either way I guess i need to win it first.

I watched Dance Party USA for the first time this week. I’ve made somewhat of a study of the movies dubbed Mumblecore in the last few months. I consider it research on people making low budget films. I really liked Aaron Katz film Quiet City, but Dance Party USA didn’t have the likable characters. Its just hard for me to route for a asshole slacker rapist i guess. I plan on doing a Video Blog about some of the stuff I have watched, but the Narcissism in some of these films is scary really. I hope my generation has better stories to tell, or at least some that have more hope. Honestly though I wouldn’t advise against seeing this movie, its pretty well crafted.

My obsession this week has been the Adidas Originals Star Wars Skywalker shoes. Adidas is doing an entire line of kicks based on the films. You mix bright Sneakers and Star Wars and you really get my attention. These are my favorite of the bunch, and If I can find them when they come out next month I’ll probably buy a pair.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I found a really fun blog in . It’s pretty much a guy who wears a Mexican wrestling mask talking about action figures and posting photos of retro toys. Its been a while since I really bought action figures, which I attribute to funneling my money to other projects, as well as having a pair of daughters. I do have a box of toys in the attic, and I still but out He-man and Skeletor from time to time and make lazer noises as they clash swords.

I also did a VLOG a few days back, some of which doubles up what I talked about last blog, but for those who love staring into my beard, i present it for your enjoyment.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

An Act Of Kindness Is A Blown Fuse

Writing from the Frozen confinement of my home. Its 9 degrees outside at the moment and last night are heater went out. Our house uses the old shotgun shell type fuses, and this has happened every winter since we have lived here. Hoping to get an HVAC guy out in a few days. We have been confining ourselves to certain areas of the house and using space heaters. Its really not so bad, but you can’t walk around the house as much as I’d like.

On Friday night i went out to dinner with Eric Conard and Kyle Kellerman. We went to see Terry Gilliams new film “The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus”. We had planned to meet at the cinema, and then head to dinner first. I got a call from Eric saying he was having car trouble right around the corner. It seems the transmission had failed either from regular use, or just not agreeing with the cold weather. It was not going to work that night, so we left it at the gas station and went to dinner and the movies.

“The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus” of course is the final film of Heath Ledger, and was reworked after his passing to get the movie finished. In this regard it works incredibly well. Ledger has much more screen time than I expected, while Johnny Depp, Jude Law, And Colin Farrell double for him at times when inside the Imaginarium. The art direction is wonderful, and there are some real world examples of the art he made famous in the Monty Python series.

I am a Gilliam fan, (though not a huge fan of the Pythons) his work in “12 Monkeys” and “Brazil” are probably my favorites. This movie defiantly leans more towards Brazil. Losing Ledger is especially heartbreaking for Gilliam as he has had problems in the past getting movies finished. Watch “Lost in La Mancha” to see his failed attempt at “The Man Who Killed Don Quicote”.

After the movie I took Eric and Kyle home and found my way back to the Interstate down a country road in the snow. I got in about 2 a.m. and the heat was out. I swapped fuses, and within a half hour they were out again.
This morning I went to purchase new fuses and try and find a space heater. Roxie had been sick on Friday, but I figured she was better off in a warm car/store than in a cold house. I got the fuses (Home Depot had for four dollars the same product Lowes was charging twelve for), and found out that both places were sold out of space heaters. It seems that the one inch of snow Nashville received this week put people in a panic. I stopped by Sam’s club (which i rarely do), and found that they had sold out, but had a display model. I talked the manager into selling it to me, and giving me a discount on it. I get to the register with both Roxie and Marie in tow, and discover that are membership is expired, and they won’t sell it to me without renewing. Rather than give them 50 bucks, I walked around the store conceiving a plan.

I struck up a conversation with a middle aged Hispanic woman, who didn’t understand me very well. I explained our heater was out, and I could not afford a membership and asked if i could stand in line with her and pay for the heater. I don’t think she ever exactly understood what i was asking, but could see that my children were weary, and I was worried. I offered to pay for the bag of bread rolls (which is the only thing she had). She smiled graciously and wished me well. I was sad that I didn’t catch her name, but later realized it was on the receipt. Sara Laratrejo showed me a great kindness today.

So now my children sleep in a warm room. Jessica and Marie both had school canceled the later half of the week, and we have been getting things in order around the house. I finally watched “The Hangover” and thought it was funny. I did think the ending *SPOILER ALERT* where he takes the wedding ring back was a bit strange. They never get anything annulled and though he splits from his girlfriend and plans on coming back i kind of expected them to live happily ever after.

I slept through most of the Dallas Cowboys game tonight, but it is nice seeing them win, especially after Texas and TCU football was heartbreaking this week. I’ve always like the Cowboys, but never been really into college football. I had stopped watching most sports (other than baseball) until i bought an HD television a few years ago. I do have a long standing relationship with the Cowboys though, and I’m hoping for the best.

I got my hands on a FLIP Mino camera which should do well for Video Blogging. Its a cool little device, and is great for the pocket. Been making some checklists on things i need to get my movies done, and talked my stories up to a few people this week (as well as getting Final Cut in order). It’s kind of scary putting that kind of info out to the masses as it increases fear of failure ten fold. I think its that exact reason I am putting the experience in front of others, as I have to answer to more than just myself.

Been a bit nostalgic this week listening to Jimmy Eat World Bleed American, Surfjan Stevens Illinoise, Franz Ferdinand self titled record, and Foo Fighters In Your Honor. I also did a run through this Space Ghost album that was kooky.

Anyways, off to find fame and fortune via the interwebs. I found this cool series of videos that shows you modern day shooting locations of films. Its very creative and worth checking out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Get out of bed sleepyhead, It's Cold and there isn't school today.

Today started with me getting Marie out of bed for school. Jessica was up with us at 7:00 am to get her dressed and bundled. The snow was coming in steady this morning and though I started the car twenty minutes before we left the windows were all a smear with snow and ice. (Later in the day i found my scraper). I knew something was amiss as I was driving. No kids at bus stops, and no crossing guard. Seems today was Teacher in service day and she doesn’t start back until tomorrow. Up an hour early and out in the cold for no good reason. Marie thought I was crazy. She was out an extra week since she had her tonsils out, so I have a feeling it may be a chore to find a routine again. On the upside she crashed right at 9:00 pm due to being up so early.

I got fitted for my Emmy tuxedo today. Going black again. I used the same place as last year, and consequently for my sisters wedding back in October. The guy said my measurements were way off what they had on file. Since October I dropped 7 pants sizes, 2 coat sizes, and lost two inches off my collar. Jessica said just this morning i had lost a lot of weight in my face. That made me feel pretty good, as I don’t have a huge cheering team, or trainer keeping track. I just knew i had dropped some pounds and had to cinch my belt a bit more. Smaller waist and bigger beards are what I’m pulling for.

I talked to Larry Underwood last night about some proposed Dr. Gangrene projects that sound great. Its a good exercise in writing, as we need a bulk of content before jumping in. Looking forward to that.

My journal (that i started just a few days back) has been misplaced. I have a feeling Marie has procured it, and is hiding it away. I hope to have it when the sun comes up.

I keep meaning to watch The Hangover, but have been waiting for jessica. I was a little bummed she took a four hour trip tonight for a rabbit cage, and came home without a rabbit cage. Oh well. Spent the evening going through toy boxes and doing laundry.

Been listening to Price Hits Volume 1, Led Zeppelin Early Days, Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Staying On Target & On To The Next One

In an effort to stay on my task I wanted to offer some quick anecdotes to my last few days. I spent the evening of New Years Day watching Something Something Something Dark Side With Jessica. I really liked what Family Guy did with Blue Harvest, and this is probably equally as funny. My favorite gag was probably the Don Don as one of my all time favorite jokes on Family Guy is the “Why are their so many ostriches” gag. Marie watches way to much Family Guy for her own good, and I’m glad she was sleeping when we watched it. I hope she is able to enjoy The Empire Strikes Back on its own merits instead of it just being reasons to get the jokes from that episode of Family Guy.

The only thing i listened to that day was Black Eyes Peas, as i thought it was funny to do so on New Years Day. I like their album, and think Will.I.AM has done a great job in the past year growing his audience. In my opinion is the entertainer who benefited the most from the election of President Obama. His campaign video was a great concept, and his election day video was very heartwarming. He seems to have a good idea about doing things lo-fi, but on the flip of a coin he can shut down Chicago and have Oprah fans dancing in unison.

Today I woke to find that my Lloyd from the band Numerics was hit by a drunk driver while taking members of his family back to the airport after a holiday visit. I talked with him this afternoon and he was seemingly doing alright. Luckily no one was killed, though he is a bit banged up. Of course his car was smashed to bits, but these things are easily fixed.

I also stopped by an Office Supply store and grabbed a fresh journal to log short thoughts and make lists today. Taylor Muse (who keeps a great blog at ) taught me a great lesson in making checklist for the day years ago when we were room mates. Listing all the mundane things you do like eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, visiting grocery stores, alongside things you want to accomplish like writing or reading. My hopes is to keep this daily as well as be able to jot down what i listened to, and the things i ate that day for later consumption and to pass on to you readers as merited.

I listened to Marvin Gayes Whats Going On Deluxe Edition, Diana Ross & The Supremes 2oth Century Masters, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes Greatest Hits, and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I started Roger Corman’s Biography “How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime” which i have read in bits over the years. Its the first thing on my reading list for the year, and I suggest it to any adventurous film makers on a budget.

I also just say the brand new Jay-Z video for "On To The Next One". It is a masterwork in simplicity, with few camera movements and striking black and white imagery. Check It Out!

Jessica has been sleeping since i got back home. I may watch a movie now.

I’ll leave you with a quick video I did on youtube that rehashes a lot of the things i said in my last blog. I’ll probably repaste most of my videos in my blog, as I’m a whore to shameless self promotion.

Friday, January 1, 2010

There It Goes... Here It Comes... Revolutions through Resolution

Greetings Friends and Foes,

I hope everyone is safe and sound and basking in the glory of a new year. I rang in 2010 at home doing some reading, and playing with my new Rode NTG-3 Microphone, which i had been scrimping and saving for. I was actually microwaving leftover Chinese food rice and realized it was midnight. Darted across the house to kiss Jessica who was lounging in the bedroom. Jessica and I started dating 9 years ago on New Years Eve. Strange how the years have flown by, she is my heart.

We spent the holidays in Texas with my family, and it’s the longest stint we have been able to stay in a few years. Everything was wonderful, as all of my sisters were home. We watched movies, drank Dublin Dr. Pepper, and saw a lot of extended family for the first time in years. Jessica interviewed my Grandfather for a World War 2 project, and I filmed it. I also did a radio interview at KRDH in Canton, talking about Go Green With Dr. Gangrene and the Emmy nomination with an old friend whom i went to school with. Its a bit strange being from a small town sometimes, because most people know who you are anyways, and when something like this happens its big news. I feel very blessed to have all the support from the people in the community.

2009 was another banner year for me. I feel like I continued my stride in life. Of my resolutions from last year I did pretty well. Before making my resolutions for 2010, I wanted to evaluate how I did with last years resolutions. I probably kept up with these better than any years past.

My Resolutions for 2009 and how I did

1. Get My House Organized

While still a work in progress, we did better this year keeping things up, and we got the roof and siding on, as well as some lawn care that makes the house look much better.

2. Take A True Family Vacation

We did a trip to Alabama in early December that was just the four of us. We visited the rabbit show where Marie won her first trophy. It was a nice trip. We also spent a lot of time in Texas this year.

3. Try to be more thankful and say my prayers

I feel like I was appreciative of many things this year.

4. Spend My wedding Anniversary with my wife.

Accomplished. We pretty much just lazed around the house that day, but we were together, it had been a while.

5. More reading (a novel & a technical book a month to start)

I did a lot of reading this year. Some of it I recall some I don’t. Not sure if I hit two books a month, but I’m guess I read at least 15. Some of the standouts were Michel Gondrys You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In It, Chris Gores Film Fest book, and re-reading H.G. Wells Time Machine.

6. More Writing (a daily journal and hash out some of these stories better)

I did a lot of writing, but laxed up on a daily journal. I really would like to get back into this habit, as in years past it was a life saver.

7. Get through some of those dvds i haven't watched

I honestly feel like I watched less movies this year than I ever have. Between other hobbies and being flat out busy the stacks just keep piling up. I did however dig a nice hole into the unwatched pile.

8. Get this feature film off the ground, and off my back

I did a lot of mapping on my plan, other projects kept me from shooting my own feature in 2009, but it wasn’t for laziness. I feel like I have layed a good groundwork at this point. I did direct two shorts, two psas, two music videos, and half a dozen or so television episodes of Stuff with Dr. Gangrene (not including the ton of other stuff we shot for the web). I also did some producing on a few features.

9. Exercise and assess my health a bit closer

I did very well, though I got a late start. I lost 30 pounds during the last 4 months of the year. Cut out a lot of junk food and soda, and used the Nintendo Wii Fit to get up and move almost daily. I’m licking my wounds from the Holiday season, but I think I did great with this. I have been on a pretty strict calorie count diet, and rarely have i deviated. I really don’t want to lose limbs to diabetes (which runs in my genes) and i don’t want to be the fat guy who can’t keep up with his kids.

10. Be more independent, bold, and braver with all things under the sun.

This I also did well with. I feel like I have found a voice.

So, in my mind thats a pretty good run . Some quick highlights of my year went down with...

January - Taking my wife and parents with me to the Emmy awards and getting to see real Astronauts. No trophy, but lots of good times.

February - Getting a commendation from the Mayor and City Council of Nashville for Go Green With Dr. Gangrene

March - Running around Memphis with Numerics eating Bar-B-Q, and then sneaking onto private property to finish the video for Precious Time. Then Heading to Austin to see the Quiet Company Album Release and hang with Taylor & Leah as well as playing Laser Tag with my newest friend Paul. Getting News that I won a Rondo Award

April - Roxies first birthday , and shooting EZ-CHEWIE.

May - Getting in a major car accident and dangling off the side of a bridge on the interstate, and then hours later being presented with the Rondo Hatton Vasarian Public Service Award, and feeling very loved by all the new friends I met at Wonderfest.(Highlight of the year for me)

June - Recieving a portrait from Michel Gondry. Shooting new Go Green With Dr. Gangrene shorts. The shock i felt when Michael Jackson Passed. Doing a bit part in Thong Girl 4

August - Marie starts school. EZ-Chewie makes its premiere at Fright Night Film Fest where I meet a lot of new friends. I direct my first heavy metal video for Stigmatic (which hopefully you will see soon). Pudge becomes a Texas Ranger again.

September - Tracing my family tree and finding out i have relatives who lived and died near Nashville in the 1800s. Getting a new roof on the house. Derek Jeter ties Lou Gehrig Yankees hits record, and the team is wearing red hats. Doing The Fan Film Podcast. Roger Corman receives lifetime achievement Oscar.

October - My Leg exploding with nastiness during Game 1 of the World Series, and realizing i am still a fragile person. Seeing my youngest sister find love and marrying as well as Josiah one of my dearest friends also finding the love of his life and taking the plunge.

November - Emmy nomination #2 and The New York Yankees win their 27th World Series Championship.

December - Marie walks the floor with her rabbit trophy screaming I win, and Home for the holidays for the first time in years.

All of this brings me to my Resolution for 2010, and my hopes and dreams of the future. So In hopes of making a better Cameron here are some things I would like to achieve in 2010.

1. Its time to shoot a movie. Something all my own, at least as much in the way that film is always a collaboration. I have aspirations for actually shooting two movies this year. One a comedy about relationships, and the other a straight forward horror movie. I’m not sure which to do first, as it will likely come down to budget. I have outlines for both, and plan to start writing drafts next week. It has taken me some time to gather some equipment, and resources needed but i think i have most of the things i need. Some income i made last year from filming music videos and other projects along with my tax return should give me the few thousand dollars i feel I need to make what I want. I in no way am guaranteeing two movies, but I have high hopes.

2. Be more vocal on the web. I want to do more writing and video blogs on the internet. Just discussing day to life, the above mentioned adventure in film making as well as sharing things i like. I don’t want to build an obstacle by saying i’ll do it daily, but i want to be more frequent than i have in the past year. I also want to be more conscience of my presence on the internet by leaving comments, and reaching out to new people. We have been given a great gift with this communication, and i don’t want to waste it.

3. I want to stay on course with my health. I have lost thirty pounds in 4 months, and while weight loss really wasn’t my main concern when starting this, i Realize that a thinner Cameron is a longer living Cameron. The Wii Fit Taunts me on the weigh in, and I hope to get more lean this year.

4. I’d like to find a way to move to Texas. I love Nashville, but at this point in life am ready to get closer to friends and would like to find a way to get to Austin. I don’t truly think I’ll be transplanted by years end, but I want to seek it out. Nashville has a few unfinished things for me, but my time here is coming to a close.

5. Watch more movies, Read more books, Write more. And keep a log of all of this for posterity.

Kind wishes to you all. I hope you will show me support in these things in the coming days.

Cameron McCasland

There goes another one...2010 in review and Revolution by Resoution