April 2008 archives
April 27, 2008
by gl. at 5:23 pm
it must be national poetry month! i've attended a plethora of wordly events this month:
i started out the month by attending the poemcrazy workshop. we collected words from books & "word tickets" and pooled them together, words like orphans, orchestra, pandora, vigil, eve, mistletoe, rose, admit, doctor, moon, roof, roll, orpheus, fallen, angel, moment, ghost, venus, dark, wine, rumour, grace, plum, devotion, glow, tedium, terror, window, daylight, grim, heretic, dwell, love, clouds, atoms, hollow, swallow, honor, translate, clutter, promise, binge, and trouble.
we spun in place and sat down to try to write to such prompts as i am/i am not/i used to be/i want to be/i love/i remember/i forget, combined with chanting things like my heart says/my mind says/my soul says/my mother says/the door says/the moon says/the river says, and inserting lines like can't give you up/come back to me, later when it's over. we could answer questions like what's an object in the first place you remember living? what container would you be? what source of light would you be? what scares you?
that was a lot to deal with in a short amount of time, and then it was time for lunch! one of the great things about a workshop at innerstandings is that a hot lunch is provided for you (spanikopita, cucumber salad, and tiny cups of ben & jerry's ice cream).
after lunch we gathering objects outside in a little box to use as inspiration for our next writing prompt. we ended the workshop writing about contrast: sleep/awake or inside/outside, like this:
"inside i am raining. outside i am another moon. inside i am columns that support a hall of justice. outside i am a mouse. i am an orphan inside, safe while invisible, a wordless winter. outside i am true, even in the summer sun. stars appear like fairy tales. inside i am a frozen ocean. when i breathe it's like thunder. outside, a yellow bird vanishes. i shiver. safety is written in tiny letters. inside i am a maze of rooms connected by a path of broken china. outside, a golden field rustling against the mountains."
in our spare time we could look at a huge collection of poetry books, read her manuscripts, and look through her photos of boxes & journals.
she thought i had beautiful, if illegible, handwriting. this became important because instead of us reading what we wrote aloud, she read it so we could hear it from someone else's voice. my handwriting is definitely influenced by calligraphy, but the artist's way morning pages style has also affected it: you can't write fast and pretty at the same time.
dayna wrote about her experience at this workshop, too.
later in the month i went to see lucille clifton. "breaklight" was the first poem i remember saving in high school. i didn't expect her to hear my telepathic request for her to read it, and she didn't. but of course, what she did read was great. dot hearn wrote about the experience on her blog.
then i took michaelmas to the "secrets & lies" show at 23 sandy. all the books there are poetry, even if they're narrative in nature. i really love book shows at 23 sandy because she has a "hands on" policy, and a book show that doesn't let you handle the books is essentially a sculpture show.
last night i attended vox: a spoken-word chorus. they took a handful of actors and had them speak a dozen or so poems in chorus. sometimes the arrangements were straightforward, and sometimes they were heavily rearranged. "howl" is quite good like this. and e.e. cummings is also very conducive to this sort of arrangement, and so it was no surprise that they featured three poems by him, one of two repeated poets. awesome space: an odd little corner of a shambling industrial building by the railroad tracks by the fremont bridge.
finally, "wolf moon" has been published at counterpunch. it's part of a series of poems i'm writing about the old names for the full moon.
April 26, 2008
100 sven hours = 100 film seconds
by sven at 5:17 pm
Today is day 75 of my 100 day countdown, pushing to finish Let Sleeping Gods Lie.
Putting in 25 hours a week on animating Act 2, I've just today passed the 100 hour mark. I've got approximately 250 hours still to go.
Interesting to note: Right now Act 2 is 1 minute and 40 seconds long. That's 100 seconds... So, thus far, an hour of labor has been invested for each second of film. (And really, I won't be surprised if each second actually winds up costing two hours of labor.)
Animation is insane.
What am I up to lately? Over the past few days, I've been working on rendering two different skies. One for when the Elder Things' civilization is triumphant -- and one for when it's been smashed. (Check out the photos above.)
Even at this point in the game, the storyboard continues to evolve as new ideas come to me...
I decided that in order to convey the genocide of a species, having just one symbolic Elder lying dead isn't enough... I want mountains of corpses and lakes of blood! Not only will it be a more powerful image -- it also helps support Act 3. Act 3 is all about fast, violent action; there's no time to survey the carnage. By showing lots of dead bodies in Act 2, the consequences of Act 3 are implied and don't need to be shown.
I've also discovered that I need to show more of Carl (one of my actors) in the Dream History sequence. I've done some experimental shots which I think will work out pretty well... The big surprise (for me) is that the new material changes the end of the film.
Yes, five years into this project, I've suddenly got a new ending!
It's obviously not what I originally had in mind... But it's a DOABLE solution. And at this point in the filmmaking process, that's really what matters most.
April 16, 2008
from story reel to animatic
by sven at 11:40 pm
Only recently have I come to understand that there's a distinction between the terms "story reel" and "animatic."
A story reel takes the pictures from your storyboard and makes them into a slideshow. Sometimes 2D elements will be separated from their background and moved around using a compositing program -- to give the clip more life.
Here's my story reel for Act 2 of Let Sleeping Gods Lie:
An animatic is a mock-up of a shot you're planning that's rendered using 3D CG software. Animatics are commonplace both for live action and animated productions.
For the past two weeks I've been slowly going through my story reel and replacing drawings with CG stand-ins. Today I finally got rid of the last drawing left in my timeline. Yay! A small milestone -- but a milestone nonetheless.
This is the 7th animatic I've rendered out so far. I'm going through a process of iterations... I write down notes each time I output an animatic -- and then I go back and make the next version.
Waiting for shots to render out is a killer... So I've been learning to make ample use of two time-saving tactics. One: render clips at "quickshade" resolution rather than "realistic." Two: render clips at 160x120 pixel resolution rather than 640x480 -- that's 1/16th as many pixels that the computer has compute!
Looking at animatic #7, I see camera moves to fix, timing to adjust, effects that aren't indicated, and areas where I might need to create completely new shots. I'm not convinced that the story "reads" yet. ...But it's getting there.
April 12, 2008
lsgl - act 2 under way
by sven at 11:45 pm
It took almost 180 pages of writing to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with Act 2 of Let Sleeping Gods Lie... But now I'm finally in the studio again, doing actual animation work every day.
The billion-year history of the Elders and the Shoggoths is going to be told in a symbolic dream sequence. I don't have any shots in the can yet, but here are two photos to give you a bit of flavor.
I've got a serious work plan. I'm doing a 100 day count down from April 1 until July 9. I have to put in at least 15 minutes work every day... 25 hours every week... 100 hours every month.
I'm praying that 300 hours is enough to finish this project. If not... Well, the final deadline for the H.P. Lovecraft Filmfest this year is August 15. So, there's a little wiggle room -- though I don't want to have to dip into it.
April 10, 2008
creative ways to mend the self
by gl. at 6:06 pm
last month i attended a workshop called "creative ways to mend the self" facilitated by kazz artis at the 100th monkey. it was primarily about compassion fatigue for people working in healing professions like therapy & social services. she recommends the book "transforming the pain."
i'm always interested in the inside/outside juxtaposition when making boxes, so though this has muted colors and somber moons on the outside...
it has colorful paper and shiny pop-up stars on the inside. i have a fondness for pearls because they are such miracles (and "gretchin" means "little pearl" in german), so i left them loose w/ the rosy star to rattle around in the box (that's a trick i got from dayna).
i'm also interested in the visible/invisible dichotomy, so the inside box is lined w/ copper tape to indicate strength, and beneath it lies a miniature "justice" tarot card. it's highly unlikely anyone will see it, but i like knowing they're there.
April 3, 2008
artist's way guided intent (april)
by gl. at 5:21 pm
i can hardly believe it's possible, but last night we managed to make some fabulous art dolls to represent self-protection in a remarkably short amount of time. thanks to the wide and delicious varieties of creative chaos, each of the dolls was rich with insight & meaning.
["inner lightness": click the image to see more dolls]
first we wrote about what we needed protecting from, or what needed protecting. during introductions i realized i might actually need -less- protecting: i have fairly solid walls between identities, and perhaps veils would serve me better than walls. so during the writing i wrote about needing to protect myself from my own sense of responsibility and a desire for lightness. so the light bulb iconography wasn't much of a stretch, but i was surprised that 3 of the 7 of us created dolls with light bulbs in them (mine is a gocco bulb!). i have surprisingly less gauzy fabric than i thought I did.
our next guided intent theme is autonomy, which we'll honour by creating your own life-sized, full-body portrait as a symbol of your artistic freedom, independence & self-reliance. we'll help you find a pose that expresses the core of your being, then we'll trace around you and let you loose with paints & brushes. i'm very much looking forward to this event: as a form of creative Self expression, it will be both unusual & uniquely relevant.
i am both excited and nervous to announce that "autonomy" will be the LAST guided intent until september: like last year, I'll be taking the summer off to enjoy the sunshine and I encourage you to do the same. :)
April 2, 2008
artist's way open studio (march)
by gl. at 1:02 am
we had a terrific open studio anniversary last month! to celebrate 3 years of collages, i asked anyone who had attended a prior event to bring one of their collages to display, and it was neat to see several years' worth of collages all at once. :)
i bought new teacups for the studio and they arrived just in time for this event. but i also bought two dozen delicious dots from saint cupcake to share with abandon. at the end of the night there was even singing!
[anniversary cupcakes: click the image to see all our collages]
this year it was an international celebration, too! one of our attendees was a woman from france: she came to a prior event while visiting portland and decided to "attend" collage night from afar, using our collage momentum to inspire her own.
April 1, 2008
brain wrapping paper
by sven at 7:00 am
My brother and his partner just got married. It was zombie-themed wedding. ...I know it's April Fool's day -- but folks, I'm not making this up!
What do zombies love most? BRAINS! It seemed a moral imperative to me that we do this right... So I hand-painted brain wrapping paper and brought it on the plane with me to Tucson.
Our wedding gift to Shield & Aiyana: A set of dishes that say "i love you more than zombies love brains."
Gretchin gets credit for the amazing find. What's more, Meredith, the maker of these dishes has quit making them because she's in grad school now -- Gretchin convinced her to make an exception for our special occasion! Better yet, Aiyana already knew about these things... She'd wanted to get the dishes herself -- but had been sorely disappointed to discover they weren't being sold anymore.
Things worked out great!
Here's the box of dishes, all wrapped up to look like a cubical brain.
And did Shield and Aiyana have the standard bride and groom atop their cake? HA! Of course they saw to that detail. :)