Sunday, November 30, 2003

I reached my goal and edited one more sequence. In this sequence, two different scenes are intercut. Originally, it was written as two separate scenes, but I realized during the editing process that the scene-after-scene format was growing pretty stale and predictable, so I squashed 'em together. Hopefully, it'll SPICE THINGS UP!

Intercutting is pretty neat. I was able to cut out expository lines from each scene - simply because the juxtaposition of two scenes provided its own information. Weeee!

It's 6:30am. Is Hamburg Inn open yet? I feel like treating myself to a delicious breakfast. It'll SPICE THINGS UP!

After I was done editing, I turned on the TV. "Beat the Geeks" was on Comedy Central. I really liked that show when it was on (as in, not at 6:00am). It was funny. One contestant was asked to name the 1995 Adam Sandler comedy in which Sandler had to repeat grades 1-through-12. Her answer?

"Momma's Boy."

What the hell?

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Tonight, Jamal, Michele, Spencer, and I were supposed to meet up and rehearse our new sketch-comedy show "Saturday Night Live 2," but Spencer wasn't able to make it back from Des Moines on time, so it got cancelled. Which means...

Editing (and my self-imposed exile) continues.

In the end, my goal is to get one more sequence edited. Then I need to do work on the second draft of "Bubblegum Brigade."

I'm unshowered and I stink.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Editing continues....

I've scrapped that troublesome "job hunting montage." I don't care if it would have "big laugh" moments. The humor didn't match the rest of the movie's tone. It's for the better.

Now I'm happy to say that the video's first 35 minutes has consistent comic sensibilities. Nobody may actually consider them "comic," but at least, it's consistent.

I've been in my dorm room for 38 hours straight now (with a few trips down the hall to go the bathroom). I'll probably be in here until 6pm tomorrow. That'd be 55 hours in the same space. Gouche.

I edit. I take a break to eat sandwiches. I edit some more. Then I go to sleep. Repeat this.

Not that I'm bitchin'. I'm likin' this. A lot.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm in my dorm room right now. I decided to not go home for Thanksgiving. It's 5-and-a-half hours away, so driving there sort of blows a holiday. And although I love my family dearly, I wanted to spend my holiday by myself and do stuff that personally satisfies me, which means editing my movie.

It's pretty peaceful. No one's in the dorms right now and I'm enjoying my time alone.

Last night, I went to "Bad Santa" with Michele. It disappointed me. I'm a pretty big fan of Terry Zwigoff's ("Crumb," "Ghost World"), but it wasn't nearly as good as those films. I don't know. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for misanthropy. Besides, that sort of misanthropy isn't my cup of tea in any case. I like the type that's bubbling under the surface rather than being flat-out and blatant.

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Black comedy is an excellent genre, but most of the time, it's done wrong. I hate it when people think "black comedy" means just being mean-spirited - or even worse, focusing on explicitly dark subject matter (death, violence, etc.). For me, true black comedy is "The King of Comedy" or "Election." It's the ugly side of human personality and behavior.

After "Bad Santa," Michele and I watched "The Man Who Wasn't There." I wanted to see a great Billy Bob Thorton movie. And goddamn, it's so great. It ranks up there with "Fargo" and "The Hudsucker Proxy" as one of my favorite Coen brothers movies. Why do people like "The Big Lebowski" so much? Or "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" I mean, they're good, but nothing to go nuts about.

This blog has been fiercely pissy towards things that don't share my own opinion. I am an open-minded individual!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

So, I had this running "motif" (you could call it that, I guess) through my movie. At three different points, the characters of David, Joan, and David's mother were going to have a moment where they sang a little song to themselves. They were songs they made up on the spot (to concentrate on their surroundings and distract themselves from the stuff going around them) David's song, for instance, was: "I'm in my room. I'm in my room. There's nothing to do and I'm in my room." Joan's was: "It's a beautiful day outside. It's a beautiful day outside. It's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful day outside." Etc, etc, etc. You get the idea. People make up songs to themselves all the time.

But that's all gone now. Edited out.

I felt I was tipping my hand too much. Showing the characters inner-thoughts a little too broadly. So it's no longer in the movie.

This has been a consistent occurence during the editing process. I realized that in the writing and shooting, I had a lot of character-defining lines and actions, but now, as it the movie is being assembled, I'm realizing how unnecessary that is. Those ideas are being expressed naturally as the story is being told.

Of course, there's a danger of some stuff (i.e. motives, behaviors) being unclear and unexplained to viewers, but I'd rather have things be a little too vague rather than a little too obvious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I just deleted the first 15 minutes of my video - on purpose. Now, I've gained some more space on my hard-drive and I can capture more footage to keep on editing. It's a continuing process. You capture footage. You edit it. You save it. Then you delete it to make more room. On and on.

The reason I didn't delete the first 30 minutes is because I'm still debating on a montage. I don't want to delete it because I may want to make some changes later. It's a tonal thing. I don't know if the jokes are too "over-the-top" - especially considering that the first 15 minutes are pretty dry.

But the first "act" of the video is done and now I begin editing the next "act." In total, the movie probably has 4 acts/sections: 1) David needs a job and finds a job, 2) David meets his clients, 3) David meets Natalie, and 4) the finale.

Tonight, I'm going to "Yes, Shame." I haven't been able to go at all this semester b/c of a Tuesday night class. But I'm going now!

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I've been steadily re-tooling "David Mows Yards." I printed it to DV tape and just watched the first 30 minutes on my TV. Seeing it on a larger screen with better sound makes the mistakes more apparent. In the viewing, I found about 19 mistakes that I need to fix (both aesthecially and tonally/thematically) before I can commit to a final version. Once I move all the files to the final version, I delete all the orginal files. This is good because it frees all the drive-space on my computer, which I desperately need, but it sucks because then I'm stuck with the version I have - with no future retooling and virtually no "turning back." So it's a little scary.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

My thanksgiving break officially started... YESTERDAY!

That's right. I got no classes on Thursdays and my Friday classes were cancelled.

So it's 11 days of freedom for me.

I'm staying here in Iowa City all during the break to do some video-editin' and playwritin'. It'll be fun.

Also? The weather is beautiful today. I'm going out runnin'.

And don't forget that the 11-Minute Play Festival (featuring a play I wrote and a play I'm acting in) is going on at Public Space One tonight and Friday night at 8pm.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Last night, a friend was looking through my photo album and noted how attractive my "high school sweetheart" was. My friend joked (?), "Why on earth did she date you then?"

It's funny this was asked because it has been a question at the crux of all my dating relationships.

Of the three girls I seriously dated as a girlfriend, I have believed they were all substantially more attractive than me. And this isn't, "Well, in his eyes, Paul just thinks his girlfriends are pretty" or "Paul just has a low self-esteem" because across the board, according to everyone, all of them would be considered more attractive than me.

And so while I'm dating them, I'm often asking myself, "Why on earth is she dating me?"

I've got my answers and all. They like my personality. We're compatible. She's not, you know, shallow. Stuff like that. And I'm confident that's all true, but still... it gives me pause.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

The official cast for "Bubblegum Brigade" has been announced!

Zach -- Lucas Salazar
Buzz -- Chris Witaske
Laptop -- Alex Elliot-Funk
Jennifer -- Danielle Santangelo-Kovalick

It opens on January 30th. Rehearsals begin December 1st.

I am excited.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I ripped this survey off from Emily Yoshida's web-blog. I, of course, added my own answers. Because I am not Emily Yoshida. Enjoy!

My profile
-- Name: Paul
-- Birthdate: 4/12/81
-- Birthplace: LeMars, IA
-- Current Location: Iowa City, IA
-- Eye Color: blue
-- Hair Color: dark brown
-- Height: 5'9"
-- Righty or Lefty: Lefty
-- Zodiac Sign: Aries

-- Your heritage: German? French? Why have I never asked these questions?
-- The shoes you wore today: Velcro Wal-Mart shoes (the ones that my mother claims make me look 'tarded)
-- Your weakness: Worrying about strangers
-- Your fears: Failure (Yoshida had this down already, but I dig it as well)
-- Goal you'd like to achieve: Make an audience cry

-- Your most overused phrase: "Sorry." (cheesy, but true)
-- Your thoughts first waking up: What's bleeding this time?
-- Your best physical feature: nose
-- Your bedtime: 4am/5am

-- Pepsi or Coke: Coke
-- McDonalds or Burger King: Burger King
-- Single or group dates: What? I'm not on "Friends"
-- Adidas or Nike: Nike (1991 Air Jordans)
-- Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Neither. Although during boat trips, my dad likes to take a Nestea plunge into the lake.
-- Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate!
-- Cappuccino or coffee: Blarg! Both suck!

-- Smoke: Yuck! No!
-- Cuss: Pussy!
-- Sing: Yay!
-- Take a shower everyday: Haven't showered since Tuesday (it's early Friday)
-- Have a crush(es): Yes'um
-- Do you think you've been in love: Yeah!
-- Excited to go to college or university?: I'm at college already, professor!
-- Like high school: Loved it!
-- Want to get married: ... No.
-- Believe in yourself: Yes, until I see people believe in themselves better
-- Get motion sickness: No, but my dad did on "Star Tours" at Disney World
-- Think you're attractive: Only when other people do (goddamn, this survey sucks)
-- Think you're a health freak: I likes to run. I likes to eat cheeseburgers. They cancel each other out.
-- Get along with your parents: Yes
-- Like thunderstorms: 13 boners for windows open on a summer night
-- Play an instrument: I play bass and piano like a second grader

LEVEL SIX: In the past month...
-- Drank alcohol: NO!
-- Smoked: NO!
-- Made Out: Yeah!
-- Gone on a date: Alright!
-- Gone to the mall?: Yes! Looked at "fat lady" greeting cards at Spencer's Gifts with Ellen
-- Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Oreos are the single most overrated candy/junk food thing ever
-- Eaten sushi: NO!
-- Been on stage: I'm a star!
-- Been dumped: No
-- Gone skating: Gone fishin' with Danny Glover and Joe Pesci
-- Made homemade cookies: No
-- Gone skinny dipping: This, "Spin the Bottle," and "Seven Minutes in Heaven" have unfortunately alluded me throughout my entire life
-- Dyed your hair: Weird! No!
-- Stolen anything: No

-- Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: No! Stop asking me!
-- Been caught "doing something": What?
-- Been called a tease: Huh?
-- Gotten beaten up: Almost, but I repeated "man" over and over and briskly walked away
-- Changed who you were to fit in: Yeah

-- Age you hope to be married: 9
-- Numbers and Names of Children: I hate children's names. So lame.
-- Describe your dream wedding: Me parachuting until I land in a tree and my three nieces have to bail me out
-- How do you want to die: Buried alive
-- Where you want to go to college/university?: Teikyo Westmar (LeMars' joke, sucka!)
-- What do you want to be when you grow up: Filmmaker
-- What country would you most like to visit: Your country!

LEVEL NINE: In a guy/girl...
-- Best eye color? Whateva'.
-- Best hair color? Brunette
-- Short or long hair: Short
-- Height: Mine
-- Best weight: Bones painted the color of skin (jokes - just jokes)
-- Best articles of clothing: Sundress (you are lame, paul rust)
-- Best first date location: The movies
-- Best first kiss location: On my butt

-- Number of drugs taken illegally: 0
-- Number of people I could trust with my life: How many actors were on "Hee-Haw?"
-- Number of CDs: close to 300
-- Number of piercings: 0
-- Number of tattoos: 0
-- Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: A bunch
-- number of scars on my body: 3 (eyebrow, corner of eye, right pinky)
-- Number of things in my past that I regret: Now that I've filled out this survey? 0.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Last year, while I was making "America's Funniest American," I didn't show it to anybody - save for the few actors who appeared in it.

But now, with "David Mows Yards," I've been showing it to a few more people. I've gotten some feeback, which is helpful and confirmed the concerns I had with it.

As a result, I'm going back to re-edit some scenes. The initial scene between David and his mother is being shortened. For one thing, it was too long as it is and secondly, it cuts out a question the mom asks David about his personal life. Originally, the question was to show how little she knows about his personal life, but then I realized... her not asking at all speaks a lot more. So it's gone.

I'm also cutting down the "job hunting montage." Although it's fun and brings some comic relief, it goes on too long and thus, destroys the whole point of it being there - tonally speaking.

I've also cut out an entire two scenes where David meets his first two lawnmowing clients. From the very beginning, I knew they weren't very essential to the plot, but I had them in there, so it didn't seem like the viewer was being drug along by the plot (the idea being that by taking moments to get distracted and chill out with characters would be satisfying). Turns out... it just makes you antsy for the movie to keep moving along. The thing is... you were 27 minutes into the movie and you still hadn't met the second-billed character. Now, instead, you meet that character 22 minutes into the movie, which is a little better.

And so continues the editing...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

"Bubblegum Brigade," a full-length play I wrote, is going to be put on in the University of Iowa theatre department during the last week of January. Spencer Griffin will be directing.

As such, Spencer and I have been sitting in on general auditions, looking for our cast. There's been some good auditions... which are good. And there's been some bad... which are BETTER!

There was this one audition that was so bad that it made me want to laugh. Hysterically. But I couldn't do that because it would be rude (as opposed to secretly making fun of somebody, which is fine and acceptable). But as you know, stuff is 100 times funnier when you can't laugh. And then stuff gets even funnier when the person beside you starts to chuckle. I had my head down on my lap, biting my lip.

So I planned to do the thing where I would laugh at a joke said within the audition. That way, I could extinguish all my laughter AND it would be approrpriate. The thing is... even the comedic monologue wasn't good enough to constitute a laugh, so I had to keep it in.

I held the laugh so long that my shoes blew off my feet and my toupee spun on my head.


Friday, November 07, 2003

So I've been watching "Full House" on Nick at Nite. A lot.

And I've notcied that Jodie Sweetin (a.k.a. "Stephanie") looks and acts a lot like my niece Alexis. Similar face. Similar speech patterns. This is intensified by the fact that in these episodes, Stephanie is the same age as Alexis is now.

The thing that worries me is... I've heard that old Jodie Sweetin (present-day age) is now fugly. Some friends saw her on a talk show or something and they said she totally lost her cuteness and is just plain hideous.

I hope my niece doesn't follow the same fate.

Because who wants an ugly niece?

Not me!

And not you either.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I need a haircut. My hair is getting big and poofy.

I don't like it when my hair is poofy. I don't like it when you slip me a rufie.

There's no such thing as Panama Jack.

In an hour, DJ, Jake, and I are recording a video to submit for the "Battle of the Bands." We've been rejected two years in a row. Will we be rejected a third year? Let's hope so!

Gotta' go! Gonna' getcha!

Monday, November 03, 2003

I'm in the computer lab of Becker Communications Building, waiting for 3:30pm to roll around. That's when I can pick up a mini-DV camera I reserved. You see, I have to check out University equipment since my camera is "in the shop" getting fixed. I'm supposed to be using school equipment for class-related projects (not my own personal movie), but we'll keep that a secret. Right? Or I'll tell everyone how you had to sleep with your parents for a week after you saw "The Howling 2."

I'm hoping to edit some more of "David Mows Yards" tonight. I showed a couple friends the first 22 minutes and they responded well (i.e. laughed and whatnot). I had some concerns regarding tone beforehand. I felt like it shifted in moods too quickly and seemed off-kilter. The strange thing is... that's what I often like about some movies (i.e. "Punch Drunk Love"), so I don't know why I wouldn't want it in mine. Maybe it's not appropriate or something. I don't know.

Well, the reason I already was in the Becker building was because... I just got done editing a project for Advanced Video. It had to be a "collage" piece - meaning it puts together different pieces of found footage. I used "Strong Kids, Safe Kids" (a video from the 1980's about prevention from child abduction and molestation), a copy of my Public Space One "Sex Night" performance, a home video of our 1990 family vacaction to Florida, and my first movie "The Single Man," which I made in 1992. In the end, the collage explores issues of performance, public humiliation, sexuality, and childhood. The ending falls a little flat, but all in all, I like it.

It's almost 3:30 now. We should all meet and check out equipment together.

On Friday afternoon, I saw "Lost in Translation." It was great. I'd dare say that it's been the best movie I've seen so far this year. The acting was great and it looked pretty and... the sound was incredible! You could hear the sound of dry skin on bedsheets and the sound of fabric being tied to a tree branch. Really, really beautiful stuff.

I just got done watching "Harvey" with my friend Adam. That Jimmy Stewart is quite the guy. How someone could so perfectly walk the line of sincerity without ever crossing over into schmaltziness is beyond me.

I am gushing. Why am I gushing?

I think it's because Halloween is over and all the skeletons are gone. Now it's nothing, but red leaves and gravy.