Archive for April, 2010

NAB Day One: A few insignificant observations.

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

You may have heard that I’m currently in Las Vegas, the land where anyone can come for a weekend, spend all their money, and wake up in a strange bed as they slowly come to the horrible realization that they got drunk and made a life-altering mistake…they actually bought tickets to see Carrot Top. All these poor, alcoholic souls are the sole reason that man still has a career

But I’m here for the NAB Show, where all the major companies who have products dedicated to the creation of film/TV/radio/media gather and attempt to show you, the media creator, how the NEWEST version of their product is the way of THE FUTURE, unlike all those OLD versions which as of today are only used by total squares who probably still think the special effects in the original “Doctor Who” are impressive.

My boss and I spent the majority of the day exploring the expansive convention floor, no doubt the largest and geekiest to not feature cosplayers. I recall a few stray observations from the day here:

* Maybe I only noticed this because I opted to dress as casual as ever, but I couldn’t help noticing that a LOT of women were wearing EXTREMELY high heels. I suppose this made SOME sense for the booth models, but for the regular attendees? Is that really the most comfortable option when you’re spending the day walking across three buildings’ worth of convention floor?
* Speaking of booth models, that must be the most boring job in history. They have to sit there, usually in some sort of tiny sitcom-like set, while attendees look at them through whichever cameras the company is showing off. Some of these models get to play the part of people who are reading, but more than a few of them just sit there, with nothing to do but feel the eyes of all the production company representatives. I’m sure they were paid well, but geez, I’d go insane.
* If any of you are trying to think of what overpriced gift to get me for my birthday this year, I won’t complain if it’s the Adobe CS5 pack. I’m sure content-aware fill and roto brush are much messier than the demos indicated, but they still look fun to play with.
* I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I’m beginning to suspect this city enjoys its nightlife. Sadly, I tend to be an early-to-bed kind of guy even on nights when I’m NOT in a foreign time zone, so that pretty much brings this entry to a close. Good night, all.

“Press Start” Review

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

A long time ago, in an era we’ll call “mostly between 2000 and 2005 but especially 2002”, an elite race of geeks was making fanfilms. Largely out of holding out hope that the next Star Wars prequel wouldn’t suck, people filmed their own space adventures, ranging from serious attempts at in-universe stories to goofy parodies, from ten-minute shorts to seventy-minute features, all the time knowing that they would never receive a profit. Like any big movement, the Golden Age of Fanfilms had its fair share of entries that sucked, but even so there was something pure about them, as long as they were being made for the love of it and not for the attention. Films like “The Formula“, “The Empire Strikes Backyard” (and its later sequel, “The Emperor’s New Clones“), “Revelations” and more were the result of passion, dedication, and the desire to make a feature-length movie with lightsabers. The stories weren’t always airtight, the acting wasn’t always stellar, and some of the effects left a lot to be desired, but the one thing that made every great fanfilm stand out was the passion.

Then YouTube showed up. Suddenly, amateur video production was no longer a thing that only the most devoted geeks did; it was available to EVERYBODY, and it was (relatively) easy. There were still fan projects, but mostly in the form of short parody sketches, rarely longer than five minutes. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with brevity, a shorter and simpler piece shot for fifty bucks is much easier to do, and as a result, rarely demonstrates the same devotion as a 75-minute epic shot for a hundred or so.

Enter Ed Glaser’s Dark Maze Productions, with their first feature, “Press Start“. (more…)