It has finally come to my ATTENTION ATTENTION that many of the ‘contact’ emails have never made it to the site. I thought WordPress was disposing of and bypassing spam, but while the WP reports showed submission numbers going up up up, the actual messages and newsletter (yet to be written, get off my back) requests reaching me were at a trickle.
I tested the contact form when first starting this site (AOK), and now nearly a year later I tested again. And again !!! Where is?!!!
So non technical me tried, alas slowly trudging the learning curve, to figure out the easy and cheap way to fix this, and have, in frustration and general bummed outed-ness, not been posting as much as I’d like the past couple months.
Finally the issue seems to be resolved. I ask if you have reached out in the past and did not receive an email from us please fill out the contact form again! Thank you and you and you!
Woke up…no alarm…sunrise…. Did not know what day of the week it was.
This sentiment pops up on the Internet, seeing others comment that in lockdown they are losing their bearings. Basic patterns disrupted, unsure as to when things will get back to normal, a certain monotony of days blending together…
This is not uncharted territory for folks in the film industry! After completing a job you might just float around til the next one. But when in production, crew becomes initiated in to a sort of club where the framework of time is lifted, or shifted, in a ‘through sleet or snow or any hour’ kind of way. If not clocking in at a sound stage, and instead doing location work, more than likely schedules will shift, with no natural day of the week or weekend. Circadian rhythms be damned, if we need to shoot all overnights, we shoot all overnights. If we need to shoot 6 days a week, well by golly that’s what we do. If we need to film Wednesday through Sunday, then that’s that. And say goodbye to the 40-hour work week.
Friends and family don’t automatically understand that you can’t meet up after work or for Sunday dinner, or that you can’t plan too far ahead without the caveat “if I’m not working.” They may be shocked that you miss a little calendar marker, or that your bills might be late, or that you aren’t caught up on the news.
They may not understand how with odd and shifting work schedules you can get turned around as to the day of the week, and even if you are off on Sunday you must do laundry, wash dishes, look at mail and paperwork and try to sleep for that 6 a.m. start time on the next day.
They may not understand… until now. At least some folks. Depending on the level of lockdown, some people have been home in a loose loop. Saturday night may not differ much from Monday morning. Home bored, or home busy – cleaning out closets and cabinets, learning an instrument or writing that novel. Working from home in half the time. But missing haircuts, no concerts or shows, nor eating out, no conference room meetings. Sweatpants, and keeping those brassieres in the drawers (this, actually, is pretty good) – all are big adjustments to a whole world’s habits and rituals and normal operations.
For those on the sidelines that didn’t experience any sickness, maybe this was a strange gift, a moment to slow down, catch up, to look inward, to intuitively appreciate simple moments and small things.
It’s almost summer. Businesses begin to open. Production is officially allowed to shake the dust off its shoulders in Texas, but projects have yet to ride over the horizon. People have had to live in the slipperiness of an expanded view of time, and maybe that has changed us in a good way.
We were cutting a reel for a friend and needed a slug of black between shots. BASIC. I don’t edit every day and forgot some of the shortcuts, not to mention what’s in the hundred drop down menu options and tweaks.
Oh where oh where is a simple slug of black? Help was no help. It could not be found by poking around the program. After scanning through a couple articles and a tutorial it was revealed to be “black video.” What should’ve taken 2 seconds took 20 momentum-breaking minutes!
I grumble, then must remember this is a slight inconvenience. Let’s saunter down memory lane. Cutting a film used to literally be cutting the film – first a work print – like practice – then cutting up the negative (no going back here) to match it – the commitment. Negative cutting, or conforming, is a whole nother specialized process.
Editing was on a flatbed, a big mechanical desk with ‘monitors’ that projected the film frames (like microfishe), with speakers playing the sound from the magnetic audio tape. Motors kept picture and sound tracks in synch as they ran reel to reel, lying flat on platters – think of a DJ with 6 to 8 turntables.
BTW using a fantasy name generator, my DJ names are:
There were maybe 3 buttons, and a lever for playback. Cut and tape with a splicer. Any effects like fades and dissolves were imagined, and notated on the actual film to mark where to add the effects into the negative cut. You didn’t see your Fade Up until the cut negative was processed at the lab!
Twas a rare luxury for Independents to cut the negative, make a final print, then recut the negative again. All time and money, Baby, so editing decisions were perhaps taken more seriously back then than today. And perhaps because of the abundance of digital footage and choices for todays Editors, the wise ones utilize the blessing of the Script Supervisor’s notes more than ever, finding it faster to scan through a few pages of detailed notes than a few hours of shots. Everyday.
But I digress.
There was an awkward technology gap for a while. Flatbeds were phased out as film was lumpily forging its digital path, different from typical video. “Ooo now’s my chance,” thought this Silly Rabbit, and heard of a rumored unit for sale in town.
I contacted Steve – Hoop Dreams – James, who decided he was too sentimentally attached to his Steenbeck, but graciously invited me to HQ to edit my short film on it. He brought me to the flatbed’s dedicated room. It was covered in potted plants! Did I dream this part? We moved the greenery and removed the fitted plastic cover. I began to edit.
And within an hour it froze up. Steve couldn’t figure out why, and to fix it he’d have to wait for the one guy in the country, James Bond, I kid you not, to make his annual repair rounds to the Midwest.
I then moved away to a town which decades ago declared “film is dead.” And did not finish that short. Woe? No! For it caused me to look at writing more seriously, and stretch from experimental short films to feature length screenplays.
And now technology has become accessible, so that we can shoot and edit in the same day, have several projects in the works at once, can store hundreds of hours of footage, play forever with effects, correct many sound and video issues, pull still shots instantly, and let others around the globe view our progress, all with a few keystrokes. On my teeny laptop, sitting on an end table.
There are still final final steps for “prints” like Blu Ray or DCP, but a whole world has opened up literally at the touch of a few buttons.
Use your power for good, technology! And you dear reader? What’s your Dj name?