Storyboards and Editing

Enough treacly posts about holiday decorations. . . you're undoubtedly hoping for something a bit more stimulating. After all, treacly is in abundance during the holiday season, and my being seduced by its jingles and bows distracts from the task at hand which, as you undoubtedly know, is editing a short film.

I'd like to think that the editing thus far could be described as intuitive, but that would be erroneous, because I have pages upon pages of storyboards, notes, and (while often ignored by the powers that be in Hollywood) the script itself to reference as decisions are made about cuts and establishing shots. Thus far, all that neurotic referencing of past ideation has netted a rather relaxed editing atmosphere.

Thus far. . .

I've put up two pages from my stack of storyboards and you can click on them for a larger view. As a person who grew up with a love for both comics and films, I found the storyboarding process to be the simplest aspect in the project so far. Text and image in a linear narrative have a logical presentation, and that predictability allows for more energy to be put into the composition of each section (as well as ruminations about the symmetry of the whole).

However, I must confess that the planning stages would have been smoother if I'd had the good fortune to score some of the books Ariana and I gave Brandon for Christmas. . .

The Storyboard Book is a small chapbook with a frame at the top conveniently sized to match the golden ratio of digital film-making (16:9) set atop quad ruled paper. It is made by the good folks at www.thestoryboardbook.com and printed by Portland printshop darlings Pinball Publishing.

If I'd been armed with these instead of the bond paper versos of my script when storyboarding the film I'd now have three precious chapbooks to bequeath to the children I might someday have (instead of a bunch of loose paper crudely stapled together and shoved between reference books on the history of math).

More editing updates to come. . .


More Seasonal Cuteness!

Just thought I'd share a few images of the seasonal still life created by Ariana on the day we put up our Christmas tree. It features a pipe cleaner skunk found at an antique store, trimmed patterned curtains from IKEA, some white lights, a few charming red bears from Ariana's youth, and an assortment of fabric trees she created a couple of years ago.

I especially like the organic feel of the fabric trees. Perhaps someday we'll work together to create an entire plush forest . . . I would love to have a Spring set-up as well.


Oh, Christmas Tree!

I was a tad disgruntled about not getting a Christmas tree. In the past few years I'd been able to fulfill the need for a fresh pine smell and white lights by creating swag for all of our doorways, but this year swag had been deemed out of the question (primarily due to the time it consumed to fashion, and the mess it left in its wake). As an adult, a Christmas tree had always been out of the question because it, well, killed a tree. And we couldn't afford a live one. Living in Portland, it is common for such environmentally goody-goody ideas to infect many of the simple enjoyments you had as a child— all the wholesome traditions of youth become suspects in the case against mankind's longevity.

But then Ariana came home one afternoon and told me that the good fellows down at St. Vincent DePaul were selling trees for ten bucks. Such a price acted as a balm for our leftist guilt and I was down there in a flash with a handful of our laundry money to get a tree. I can safely say that bringing home that tree has been the brightest point in the season thus far.

The only trouble with our lovely tree was that we had nothing to adorn it with. Yes, we had a collection of white lights, but no ornaments to speak of and no time to make any either. We went out to look for a few ornament sets, vowing to spend no more than twenty dollars.

At a local shop we found two sets of glitter dusted pine cone ornaments which weren't too ostentatious, and this wonderful owl, which we just couldn't pass up.

Even after getting the lights and ornaments up the tree still felt quite sparse. We then started hunting about the house for other items that might temporarily serve as holiday decor. We ran across a box or ribbons, some artificial nests, a bit of wool roving, and a collection of golden walnuts that St. Nicholas has delivered to me for the past few years.*

Ariana wrapped the tree in ribbons tied together to create one long garland and the nests became beds for the golden walnuts. The tips of branches received little white bows from excess bits of ribbon and lace and, after an hour or so, we had a tree that was quite festive, in a shabby chic sort of way. I don't know if Martha Stewart would approve but as she's not slated to visit our house this Christmas I don't think it much matters whether she'd give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

The only thing left to consider was the tree-topper. We had no angel and our thrifted Mexican yarn dolls didn't quite have the right feel. Then I remembered this vintage puppet that Ariana had found at Goodwill during our fated Black Friday outing. She had purchased it because it looked like our dear kitty Tilou and was constructed most carefully from some very nice mohair. We put it at the top of the tree and placed the end of the ribbon garland in her paws. . . the effect is so sweet its almost maudlin. Almost.

*A story that is really far too complicated to get into here.


Imagine a Guiltless Creative Life

I stumbled upon this talk while looking at a few different opinions about why America, in large part, seems to be suppressing creativity among its children to favor rote memorization and the standardized testing industry. But before you decide to click through my moralizing post, let me assure you that this TED talk is not about national failures in education, it's about the failure of Western Humanist ideals to serve those brave souls who opt to undertake a creative life.

I have not read Elizabeth Gilbert's "freakishly successful" book Eat, Pray, Love so I have no idea about her proclivities or preoccupations. I do know that I have now watched this TED talk twice in the past two months and found oddly coincidental connections between the ideas it presents and my own fleeting forays into culture that I'm periodically allowed on a weekend afternoon. I'm also willing to grant her a modicum of instant respect for flawlessly pulling off the use of the word "odious" without sounding at all pretentious.

Her summary of the antiquity's perception of the creative spirit came just as I embarked on teaching Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass to my class. For those of you unfamiliar with this brilliant amalgam of fantasy, geography, and quantum physics I will simply say that the relationship between man and daemon is the crux of the plot. Furthermore, the notion of Roman 'genius' adds another level of complexity to my mixed-bag of feelings for ancient Roman culture. Feelings which I've recently been revisiting through HBO's hyper-sensationalized (and short lived) ROME.

* * * * *

Can you imagine a time before creativity was solely the burden of the creative? A time when we could share responsibility for our successes and failures? Think of the culture of gratitude and humility that might result from an ego-less perception of brilliance. . . that might just be the enlightened world the Humanists were hoping for.


The Self Absorbed Chronicle

Severed Serpent — Boise, ID
October 9, 2009
Click on image for larger view.

The difficulty with obeying the self-imposed obligation of preserving life is that it can get in the way of my living it.

I've slowly begun to organize all things visual over at Flickr with the hope of offering a more complete picture of my past year (or, to be honest, the past few years, as there are many projects that haven't ever made it off of my desktop until now). Allowing Flickr to sort my life into trifling categories seems far easier at this point than building a web site. Ambitious projects of that nature should only be undertaken if there's an audience for it, and by audience I mean something a little grander than my own ego.


Cloudy with a Chance of Dreary

I love seeing generally credible news sources occasionally succumb to some completely subjective language use.*

Dreary? Really? Can such a word be reasonably employed to quantify precipitation, cloud cover, and temperature?

Not that I can disagree with the pithy poetics of CNN's meteorological assessment: I expect that it will be quite dreary indeed.

*It's worth noting that this forecast lasted only a few hours before replacing "Dreary" with "Showers"— perhaps someone took greater umbrage than yours truly. . .