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    Saturday, March 31, 2007

    Ah, Today.

    So, all sorts of things are happening here today. Last night was the last day of shooting, so the dailies won’t be ready until late today, which probably means delivery to people’s homes. On top of that...

    I’m back. You didn’t even know I was away. The dam has broken here on this last day of dailies delivery. It’s delivery to people’s homes time. Of course there was a fire today on the hills behind the Hollywood sign, which cut the power three times to the telecine house putting everything further behind schedule. Should be picking up the first DVD by 6:00 PM and the second by 7:00 PM ish. After burning the DVDs and packaging everything we should be delivering by 9:00 PM or so. Of course now that the principle photography is finished, it would seem all eyes are on us. I’ll either be working tomorrow or coming back here after deliveries.

    Well, It looks like the weekend is mine, which is nice. Ended the day delivering to houses and got to my apartment at around 10:45. It’s now 1:00 and I’ve just returned from the bar where I had a few libations to quell the harried day.

    It only gets worse and more complicated from here. Final delivery is April 29th, the day before my birthday.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2007

    Down to the wire

    Well, only three more days of shooting, and then it’s just a harried month of “director’s cut”, “producer’s cut” and what ever cut everyone settles on. What a pain in the ass. Hopefully things will settle down once the shooting is complete and then maybe the days will be somewhat akin to normal 12-hour days, like on any other job with 12 hour days. The wrap party is on Friday, sorry, no guests allowed. Of course it’s being held a good 50 min drive from where I live so there will be as much revelry as possible without any sort of serious drinking. The last thing I need in this state is a DUI. I hope all of you, that I know, are doing well. For those of you who I don’t know that are reading this, I wish you well as well. I love saying well as well. I’m not sure why, but it tickles a small grammatical bone in my body.

    You would have loved today. The dailies had to be on set at 8:00 AM so that they could be looked at with regards to making sure the scene shot yesterday had enough coverage to be edited. If not, they had to find a way to keep the set from being struck (torn down). Of course it all went wrong. The telecine house burned us DVDs that looked like crap, so they had to be redone. It all went down hill from there. On a positive note, I was able to have both breakfast and lunch from catering which is more food than I generally eat in three days, let alone one. Luckily I’ve held onto the fat pants I was wearing when I first arrived here 30 lbs. ago.

    Speaking of first arriving here, Sunday is my one year anniversary in CA. It’s also Kevin Kerwin’s birthday. We’re both fools in our own ways, so the joke’s on you.

    Saturday, March 24, 2007


    Showtime has graciously posted the first episode of This American Life on the web so that all may enjoy. It can be found HERE, so...enjoy.

    Friday, March 23, 2007

    RIP: Calvert DeForest

    (July 23, 1921 - March 19, 2007)

    "Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself: a genuine, modest and nice man. To our staff and to our viewers, he was a beloved and valued part of our show, and we will miss him." - David Letterman

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    The melding of the days

    The days are sort of running together at the moment. I'm getting home at like 8PM, so the blogging has taken a bit of a hit. I'll see if I can't do something about that this weekend. Only 5 days of shooting left, excluding re-shoots, and the last 4 days are here on the lot, so we in Editorial will finally be able to partake of the riches that are catering. For now it’s mostly been what I can scrounge from the production offices craft services table which I squirrel hole here in a draw.

    Friday, March 16, 2007

    I'm not the first... post this by any means, I found it on which I read daily until my eyes bleed, but it deserves repeating here for the three of you who read this. It's over now, they've won. Their case is now fully unshakable. So, now I die.

    OK, so I'm not being truthful, but really could you kill me now?

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    The Tudors

    I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but the first two episodes of Showtimes new show THE TUDORS are online HERE. The password is: King. Enjoy, I'll let you know what I think once I've seen them.

    "THE TUDORS is the untold story of Henry VIII, the beloved tyrant whose reign was
    marked by treachery, betrayal and intrigue. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is Henry VIII as never seen before. With a lust for power and an appetite for love, Henry's affair with
    Anne Boleyn – and obsession with producing a male heir – changed the institution of marriage, and the world, forever."

    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Gratz Industries

    My friends Alan and Wendi Gratz run amok in the book publishing industry. He as an author, she in sales. They have a family project site called GRATZ INDUSTRIES and Alan has just sent word that Wendi's fab quilting has its own place now at WENDI GRATZ QULTS. Check 'em out. Alan's first book SAMURAI SHORTSTOP should be on your shelves, at this point he really just wants you to buy multiple compies and could care less if you read it even though it was on the Washington Times' Top Ten Books for Children 2006 list, and his next novel SOMETHING ROTTEN, Shakespeare-meets-Chandler YA mystery, comes out from Penguin next fall.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    The Riches

    I just finished watching the pilot for the new FX series THE RICHES. It's free for viewing online HERE. I wasn't sure about this one due to mixed opinions floating around discussing everything from Eddie Izzard's accent to the believability of the chemistry between him and Minnie Driver. I got sucked in. I really enjoyed it. Now, this could easily be because I've always been fascinated by Travelers and more specifically the concepts behind American Bedouins. Personally I think the chemistry between Izzard and Driver is perfect. I also think the actor's playing the kids are good as well. The plot is nothing new. It's just like BIG LOVE in a way. Take outsiders and move them into the "normal" suburbs of America and complicate their lives with their past and their ability to fit-in. Or the reversal in WEEDS where you take the already entrenched family and add an outside secret such as Mom becomes a drug dealer to support her family. It's a perfectly good metaphor not only for the changing landscape of America with regards to immigrant assimilation, but also to the diversity that has always existed within our borders. It also brings up the oft-used horror/intrigue trope of never really knowing who your neighbors are. While this isn't horror, it is in the very limited area of social angst. I'm going to do my best to keep up with this show and see if they can hold onto the quality of the pilot, and hope they resolve the obvious issues, which they do touch on, of figuring out a way to keep the Riches from being discovered. It's got to be one of the most interesting writing rooms around right now just from a logistical/realistic point of view. How long can a family with a completely stolen identity survive before being discovered? So, if you've got the time now or cable, check it out. I think you'll find it intriguing.

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    My Day

    My day generally starts about 6:30 when I leisurely place a phone call to the telecine house we’re using to find out how many reels of film were delivered the night before and when they’ll be ready for me to pick-up. Now the telecine house receives the digitized footage then down-converts it from HDCam to DVCam and syncs up the sound. They also add color bars and tone and a front slate describing what the footage is. This footage is Dailies. These are the complete takes that were printed for each shot taken the day before. While the show is being shot 16x9, it is also being framed within that as a 4x3 for broadcast. Until the show is bought, no one knows if the network will allow it to be letterboxed or not, so the footage has to work in both full screen and letterbox.

    We’re running at about four pages of script shot each day. The telecine house also burns a DVD for each reel so that we can reproduce these for distribution each day to the people at the Production company to view, for the main crew (Director, writer, producer, DP, etc.) and for the network who is looking at buying the show. So the number of reels I pick-up are between 2 and 3. There is usually only a third reel if the director shoots extra footage on his own camera, which he’s doing most days.

    Now I really need to be able to pick-up everything by 8:30 to make the whole machine run smoothly, but this almost never happens. Yesterday was a prime example of how it went a bit wonky. I was told the first reel would be done by 8:45 and after waiting at the telecine house for 45 minutes I finally got it into my hands. So I took it back to the office and we started burning the 24 duplicates we need and then I returned directly to the telecine house and picked-up the second DVD, which I then returned to the office with and then had to make a final trip to pick-up the third. What complicates this is that beyond just burning the DVDs, we’re printing labels directly on them with each person’s name and all the info of what’s on the disk and can only print them one at a time. So a complete run of each disk takes about and hour and a half just to print the labels on them.

    Our office is connected to the editing suite where it's edited roughly each day. This is another reason I need the pick-up on time. The DVCam tapes have to got to the editor's assistant to be captured and loaded up so the editor can access them as quickly as possible. Also, so we can make sure there aren't any sync issues or takes lacking slates. If there is a memo has to be generated and placed with each copy of the dailies it applies to so that when people watch them they don't freak out about something that can easily be fixed in post.

    Once we have at least the first batch ready, I run them to the Production Company and distribute them to the recipients, which are somewhat spread out in three buildings on the studio lot. Then if I have the second batch with me it’s off to set, wherever that might be, to distribute to the main crew. After that it’s back to the office, and if I make it in time and we’ve been approved to deliver, I grab the final set and head to the network. If I’m not back in time the post coordinator runs these out. What this boils down to is moving without stopping for about 8 hours. Between all this are other tasks such as picking up supplies and running paper work about for appropriate signatures and what not. Out of the first five days I’ve worked, I’ve had time to eat “lunch” only twice. At least there are only 14 days of shooting left.

    Luckily the people I’m working with and for all seem to be good people. No one’s lost their temper with me yet, which is good. I don’t handle people yelling at me well. I tend to turn around and walk away.

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Waffle House grill cook cheat sheet

    I couldn't resist this one. It completely fascinated me. I love the WH, even though there aren't any in CA. I originally saw it on This is a link to the original flickr post by nickgrey and here is a copy of his comments:

    "This is a photograph of a Waffle House grill cook's cheat sheet.

    The photographs indicate the way in which a cook marks his orders. These secret plate markers allow a Waffle House cook to simultaneously prepare multiple customer orders at once.

    Let me give you an example. If I were to order three scrambled eggs, dry wheat toast, and hash browns, the waitress would face the grill and yell out loud - "Mark: Triple scrambled dry wheat plate."

    The cook would then quickly take a large dinner plate, turn it sideways, and place a tub of jelly upside down at the six o'clock position.

    The six o'clock position indicates scrambled eggs, and the jelly upside down means wheat toast."

    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    A is to B as...

    So, here’s something you might find interesting about the pilot I’m going to be working on starting tomorrow.

    The Pilot is being financed by Production Company A, which is Part of Production Company/Studio B, but B’s name is not supposed to be listed on anything. All items are to have Production company A’s name on them only. Now Production Company B is also a studio, and is for all intents and purposes overseeing the postproduction aspects of the pilot, but it would seem they were short on recourses so they rented studio/post services from Studio C. This includes stages and offices and probably equipment. Now all of this is being done to try and get Network D to pick the pilot up, at which point they would reimburse A and therefore B for their initial outlay to make the pilot. If Network D chooses to pass on the pilot then A and B will have to eat the cost. This is how it works. Now if D picks up the pilot, then they will basically pay for the episodes and make an order based on the number they want. It used to be a full season (22-23) but now as we all know, they can order just an initial 8 or a half season of 13 or simply order a starter number of scripts and make a few episodes to then test for ratings.

    Got all that? I'm not sure I do. The more I learn the more I'll adjust the above until I get it where it should be. Kind of makes me want to start a flow chart.

    I’m not sure how many non-reality based pilots are shooting right now during pilot season, but you can rest assured that it is over 100. Of course just because the pilot is good doesn’t mean it will be picked-up.

    A short list of drama pilots I came across on Wizbang Pop that is a but a tiny sampling of what is in the possibility pipeline for the 2007-08 season. You can find another list including comedies at I don't think either of these is entirely complete, because the "other" section on the site seems to be missing a few channels I'm sure are making things.

    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    I've Won...

    ...and I don't even remember entering. Good thing too, I was in need of half a million dollars. BTW, why isn't the sum in £s ?

    Agent Marvin
    to undisclosed-recipients <>
    date Mar 3, 2007 2:14 PM
    subject From:Agent Marvin......For More Contact Agent!

    Liverpool, L701NL,UK

    BRITISH WEB online program was held today 3rd March,your e-mail address attached to ticket number:564 75600545 188 and yourlucky numbers:(48)(31)(30) (25)(23) (20). You emerged our email winner,whereby You are to receive the total sum of $500,000.00 In cash credited to file KPC/9080118308/02.

    MR MARVIN SCHAAF CLAIMS OFFICER:( for more enquiries.

    British Gaming Team

    Thursday, March 01, 2007


    A quick idea/character sketch.

    No one really knew this about him, but there was a reason he always ordered a T-bone when he went to a business meeting. It wasn’t the fact that it was a good cut of meat, highly prized for containing both portions of porterhouse and fillet, it was the bone itself that made it necessary in his eyes. One vertical half of a cow’s lumbar vertebra, with the vertebral foramen, the circular groove where the spinal cord runs, at the top and the bisected transverse process jutting away downward, supporting and bisecting the two cuts of meat. Once the meat was all pulled away, what you had was a bone spike with a handle, and this always made him rest more easily when surrounded by the kinds of people he did business with.

    The thing was, it’d all be over too soon if he made a reach for a knife or a fork, but he was well known for picking up the bone and cleaning it near dry with his teeth. The few seconds this would save him if the meeting went south would be the difference in him walking out and washing up on the shore somewhere in New Jersey. He hated New Jersey, so that was not an option.

    While he didn’t care for the nickname, he allowed it since it added another layer to his planning. He also realized it would take on a whole new meaning if he ever had to push the plan into the actualization stage.

    As he ran the cut edges of the bone through his teeth preening its edges, he realized something. Dammit, he thought. He couldn’t hear any noise coming from the kitchen anymore, and one of the goons had moved into his periphery.

    The meal wasn’t even finished. Business hadn’t even been discussed yet. Bad form all around. He edged the bone from his teeth and slowly let the transverse process slide between his index and middle fingers. He looked over at his host who gave him a brief glint of eye contact before he wiped his mouth and began to rise, dropping his napkin on his empty plate.

    The last thing he heard before he felt the bone hit the Goon’s windpipe was his Host telling him he should have never have touched the girl. The last thing the Host heard before he felt cow bone in his heart was T-Bone telling him that who ever had told him that had lied. T-Bone didn’t like people who lied, nor did he like people who jumped to conclusions. T-Bone turned the vertebra handle and felt the Host’s heart twist inside and tear free.

    On his way through the kitchen, He threw the bone into a pot of soup simmering on the stove and pushed through the back where he found the kitchen help taking a mandatory smoke break. He knew they wouldn’t say anything about what they’d seen. They had families in Mexico and as soon as the back kitchen door closed behind T-Bone, they were already beginning to take off their aprons as they headed for the subway. They’d have a new job by sunrise. It all made little difference to them.