Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cursed Interview

A few months ago I did an interview with Cleo Wilson, the executive director at Intuit, and due to my inexperience with audio recording it turned out horrible.  Cleo was a great interview, she answered all my questions and I learned alot listening to her talk about outsider art...but the audio had too much of an echo, I could of used it but it wouldn't of been up to the standards I want for my film.  As disappointing as it was that I couldn't use the interview, I learned alot from my failure.


Well, Cleo agreed to do another interview, and this time I was prepared....I hooked her up with my wireless lav mic and the audio turned out perfect....in fact everything about the second interview was an improvement...the composition of the frame, the audio, and I even improved my interview skills....I took the time to go over all my previous questions and really fine tune them, and even put thought into which order I should ask each question.  I've been working on this film for over two years now, and I'm just realizing that I've spent so much time observing Russel and the creation of his reef that I forgotten that there is an art to the interview.


So the reason this blog is titled " The Cursed Interview", is because once I got home and started capturing the footage the tape started acting up on me!....After recording almost 65 hours of footage without a problem I finally had a faulty tape....thats the problem with using tape, it can be very unreliable from time to time.  I was freaking out, cause there was no way in hell I could approach Cleo to do another interview.  Luckily though I was able to salvage all the important parts of the interview!....it took hours of rewinding and playing the tape to get everything I needed.  The ball of stress that was collecting in my stomach finally disappeared, and now that there is a new year I plan on really focusing on my editing....I'm falling back in love with my film.  Its been a hard few months, but stuff is really starting to come together again....and soon I will blog about my progress with editing...Also, I need to get a few more interviews with people from intuit...including interviewing Jerry again, because along with Cleo his interview messed up as well...but that will have to wait till he returns from Europe......HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!


- Elliott

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Floater

Its been a couple weeks since I wrote my last blog....Alot of stuff has happened in that small amount of time...First off, I bought my very own copy of Avid Media Composer, ever since I was a sophomore in high school I had either used windows movie maker or a bootleg version of Avid....its such an expensive program if you're not in school....fortunately my room mate is still a student and agreed to buy it for me!...It costs 300 dollars, but because of recent events I'd say its 300 dollars well spent....if there are any potential film makers reading this blog....do yourself a favor and just buy the damn program, itll hurt your pocket for sure, but it'll save you countless head and heartaches.

So to cut the the chase.....Avid works but it doesn't recognize any of my fucking work!....excuse my language, but there is a time and a place to drop the F bomb...and this is most defiantly that time...5 months of work down the toilet...like a big turd.....I honestly can't articulate how it feels to open Avid and see nothing in my project bin............................................................................................................................................................
One is faced with the question of whether or not its worth it to start again......I feel like life is just telling  me to give up.....but, one of the things Ive learned from Russel is that a person has the ability to fail over and over again...and somehow find the courage to fail again....to put everything into something and fail, is better than throwing in the towel before you even enter the ring......I remember watching this interview awhile back, and at the time it was completely two dimensional....but its has new meaning to me, I'm making a documentary about a guy who failed at so many business adventures...but never gave up...so why should I when faced with such adversity.

video
So I suppose that instead of just taking this as a sign and move on to the next project, I'll start over...and over...and over until its done.

- Elliott

Update 12/04/10

My turd turned out to be a floater.

So I started to re - import all 60 hrs of footage into avid last night while playing mutant league football, which by the way is the greatest football game ever be designed, programmed, and released.  Well anyway I decided to search the Internet to see if I could find some advice on how I could save my work....nothing....then I pulled out my old POS computer from the closet to see if there was something I missed....to keep it short...I found the real Project Bin hidden deep in my documents folder....and once I opened my avid there it was....my Just Like Easter Island project.....it was glorious.....my turd of a film surfed the wave around the inside of a toilet bowl....and just as I thought it was lost forever...it REAPPEARED....turns out former "Just like Easter Island"....now renamed "Seen from Space" was a two flusher!

I just finished watching the whole film and transcribed what happens in each scene....I found alot of room for improvement...and when I go home this weekend I plan on filming once again....thats it for now.

- Elliott

Monday, November 29, 2010

Just about There.

Well, over thanksgiving I finally picked up my new computer....and I absolutely love it...its nice to have a piece of equipment that you can count on.  The problem with working completely Independent is that no matter what equipment you have, you always dream about what you could create if you had just that one more thing...that one thing that will allow you to take it to the next level.  Last year I got my new camera, and even though I had a pretty awesome camera I was never completely happy cause I knew I had a piece of shit computer sitting at home.

Now! I finally feel like I'm at a place where I can create a product that I can be proud of!  The documentary I've been working on was perfect because I didn't need the best equipment...all I needed to do was use what I had at my disposal to capture life as it was happening...Russell uses what he has at his disposal to create his fish and reef....its a lesson I learned from him.  Take was life gives you and create....its actually what being an outsider artist is all about.  So I believe that my lack of resources will actually add to the film.

In addition to my new computer I bought my first copy of Avid to edit on!...I finally have a reliable computer and editing program....I'm just praying to god that when I install the program it will recognize all the work I had previously done....if not I guess its back to the drawing board....I have really come to appreciate my film on a whole new level these past few weeks...its scary to think that its all gone.  If everything works out I will take full advantage of my second ...actually third opportunity.

One update actually...Eric is going to start composing some music for a trailer...I've come to realize that we  need to cut a trailer together finally....my girlfriend ana is actually the one who came up with the idea, so I'm hoping that it turns out amazing!!....cause its time to start fundraising.

I'm going home this weekend, hopefully its nice so I can go and see Russel....help him hang some Christmas lights and film him building in his workshop!....I'll return with more pictures.


                                                               Power Puff Fish
Russel will sometimes use pop culture as an inspiration for his fish....this is what a Power Puff Girl would look like if she existed in Russel's Reef as a fish.....some of it is pretty bizarre, but for the most part its amazing.

- Elliott

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seen from Space!

So awhile back I was introduced to Google Earth....for those of you who are not familiar, it is a program operated by Google obviously...and you can basically look at any part of the earth via pictures taken by a satellite orbiting the Earth.


Well, I looked at my house, Wrigley Field, Lowell High School...etc. etc....So in bordom I decided to see if I could see Russel's reef.....and to my surprise there it was!!

not only is it the only ferro concrete reef in the world....its the only ferro concrete reef in the world that can be seen from space!...kind of.....the more time I spend on this project, the more "firsts", and "only" titles this place aquires....its pretty amazing to be part of something that can be considered absolutely original....This picture is probably years old though, Russel is constantly adding to the reef....if fact I helped carry out at least 40 creations last spring....and just in the past few months the reef has expanded so much.


Next time I go home I plan on taking a few pictures so people can see some of his new creations...for now though here are a couple non satelite photos of the reef.





Sorry some of the creations look pink....my camera refused to white balance for me!....More pics to come!


-Elliott

Friday, November 19, 2010

Zombie Computer!

I don't know why it was a surprise to me, my entire life I have fought a losing war with technology...except in real war the object is to kill your enemy, and in this war my objective is to keep my enemy alive...unfortunately I have failed, my computer is dead!....again.


This wouldn't be such a problem except for the fact that I was in the process of editing my first feature film on the damn thing.  Like I said before, I don't know why its so surprising...this is the second time this has happened on this project...except last time I only lost a 20 minute cut...last time I saved my project I had a collective two hour cut of the film...60 hours cut down to a slim 2....I guess this is what I get though, I should of gotten a new computer long again...instead I chose to resurrect it time and time again...here is warning to all...never edit on a zombie computer...once its dead...ITS DEAD!..don't think that just because its working alright for awhile that it'll always be like that....it'll wait till you let your guard down, and jump up and bite you in the leg...turning you into a zombie also....a really pissed off zombie.

I bought a new 2tb hard drive, and I have a new laptop on the way....but its terrifying to think that 5 months of work has been flushed down the toilet...I really have no idea what will happen when I try to install avid on my new computer...I've been told that it'll be alright..I'm hoping that all my files are safe on my external hard drive, and if not the only thing I can do is start new.

F*cking computers. 

-Elliott 

Donald Duck Fish




Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In the Beginning


To be honest I should have started this blog years ago,  I started working on this project two years ago with Eric...the guy on the right in the picture.  We've been working together since High School...and are both graduates of Columbia College of Chicago....all pretty boring stuff, all you need to know if that we shared a common passion and wanted to make films together.


This project started as a school assignment...I really had no feelings one way or another toward documentary...I really hadn't seen many, but we decided to make our very own documentary anyway....
Somehow we came upon the idea of making a documentary about our friends dad, Russell Neswick....Who brought it up...I really can't say....but growing up he always seemed kind of crazy...I don't want to sound judgemental, but if you put the facts together he would seem pretty crazy to anyone....hes 80, he lives in the woods in a pretty decrepit house, he microwaves meat, and he spends almost every waking minute of his life building a concrete reef.  

We really didn't have any expectations on what we wanted to accomplish,  typically we would meticulously plan out our films....and to be honest, we have never really been happy with the end product....so we just assumed this would be a disaster.


video




It doesn't take a film genius to realize that this movie is pretty rough....and even though we never really expected to take this project any further than what you just saw, we did....and it would turn out to consume the next two years of our lives...in fact with each passing day we give more to it....and it may sound crazy to dedicate two years of ones life to something that started out so rough...but you'd be pretty naive to actually think we had a choice...this stuff picks you...and one thing I've learned from Russell, is that its just kinda in your own best interest to go with the flow of things.

-Elliott