Thursday, October 26, 2023

Hold My Beer Status Update

The film project known as Hold My Beer is coming along!
Since the last update post five weeks ago, we have:

- Increased the number of filled speaking roles to seven out of ten, with leads on a few more;
- Shot test footage at two of our locations, Loowit Brewing and Seize the Bagel;
- Cut together the first scene of our workprint (basically, a rough draft of the film with the Second Player Score guys filling in for the actual actors);
- Completed some grant administration work; and
- Made progress on securing another (big) location

So far it's been a fun and exciting process (despite a few Living in Oblivion-worthy moments), which is good because I need something to keep me busy now that Joel Suzuki and 4-D are both basically done.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Woolly Bear

Appropriately for this Halloween-ish time of year, I recently discovered a black-and-orange fuzzy caterpillar in my backyard.
Being from Hawaii, I had no idea what it was (even though I've been living here in Vancouver, WA for over 23 years now, this is the first time I've seen one of these). So I looked it up, and apparently it is called, in very adorable fashion, a "woolly bear." According to Wikipedia, it eventually turns into something called an Isabella Tiger Moth, which has to be one of the most epic moth names ever. Legend has it that the orange section of the caterpillar predicts the severity of the coming winter - a wide band indicates a mild season, while a narrow band portends the next Snowpocalypse. I don't know what this particular one was trying to say; its orange band contracted and widened as it crawled along. So maybe a little of both? I wouldn't be surprised.

If you've read Joel Suzuki, Volume One: Secret of the Songshell, you may recall that there was a creature called a ratworm, which was described as a "thin, foot-long, furry snake" that reminded Joel of "pictures of furry caterpillars (that he'd seen) in science class." When I wrote that part, was I foretelling my eventual discovery, many years later, of a furry caterpillar in my backyard?

Eh, probably not.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Stuck In The Daily Grind

Hey, so remember this post from six weeks ago where I mentioned that my band was making a video for our song "Daily Grind?" And I posted a picture from the set where there was a green screen behind a desk? Well, whether you remember or not, here is the completed video!
In preparation for our work on Hold My Beer, we scripted, storyboarded, directed, and edited this all on our own (with an assist from my son Torin). It was a lot of fun to make. Here is some behind-the-scenes trivia about it:

- The opening wake-up shot of me was filmed in my bedroom with my actual alarm clock that I don't use, because I'm usually woken up by cats. Kyle's shot was filmed on my couch, while Dan filmed his shot in his room at home.

- All the "getting dressed" shots were filmed in my house. Yes, that's my 20-sided die mug (a present from Dan) and my Portland Trail Blazers miniature basket.

- We considered several different options for the "sitting in traffic" shots, like actually sitting in traffic, or filming in a garage somewhere with giant screens behind our cars, but when we realized a tight shot of us in the driver's seats would be sufficient, we just did it in my driveway.

- The offices are all green screen images, in case you haven't already guessed.

- Torin shot most of the "playing in the garage" scene.

Check it out!

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Anime Roundup

Yes, it's finally time for another Anime Roundup! Hisashiburi ("it's been a while"). But even though the last roundup was back in January (and was just for one show, Attack on Titan), I have been mostly keeping up with my requisite viewing of anime, in between all the Ahsoka and Ladybug stuff. Besides the new seasons of Ultraman, Mushoku Tensei, and Demon Slayer, here are some of the other shows I have consumed/am consuming:

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
This is another entry in the subgenre of "middle-aged guy dies and then wakes up as someone or something else in a parallel, D&D-type universe" type of portal fantasy, along the lines of the aforementioned Mushoku Tensei and Uncle From Another World (both of which I talked about in an Anime Roundup post from last December). In this one, our hero is reincarnated as a small, gelatinous blob that would ordinarily be at the bottom of the totem pole of creatures in his new home, but instead he's able, through a combination of lucky breaks and his own wits, to accumulate so many skills and abilities that he eventually turns into a borderline-overpowered entity who oversees an entire country. It starts off a little slow but eventually picks up speed and, like other similar shows, has all the things I enjoy (action, magic, drama, comedy, romance).

Kimi No Todoke
This is a gentle and wistful coming-of-age romantic comedy about a shy teenage girl who is teased and shunned by classmates - because she looks like the character from the Japanese horror film The Ring - until one day a popular ikemen ("hot guy") classmate talks to and befriends her, causing her life to change. There's also a live-action adaptation that I watched more-or-less concurrently (always a fun experience) and, despite the fact that it ended up in a place that you could - spoiler alert - basically expect, I've heard there will be a new season coming in 2024. I will be there.

KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!
Yet another "main character dies and is revived in another world" portal fantasy! But this one puts its own twists on it, like making the protagonist a teenager rather than middle-aged, and instead of gaining new powers, he takes the entity (in this case, an absent-minded goddess) who was responsible for his reincarnation along with him into the new world. I had been wanting to check it out for a while, but for some strange reason all the places I could find it in only had it in dub, and as you know if you've been keeping up with these roundup posts, I am a subtitle-only snob. Then it finally showed up on Hulu with subs, and I was like, yatta (yay)! But then to my dismay, I soon discovered that after the first couple of minutes of each episode, the subtitles started to lag behind the actual dialogue, making for a very disorienting viewing experience (my tourist-level Japanese-language skills were of little help). At first I thought this might be a one-episode issue, but no, it's ALL OF THEM. Naze ("why"), Hulu, naze??

My Happy Marriage
A romantic drama where people have supernatural abilities in an otherwise realistic 19th-century setting? Yes, please. It's about a young woman who, because she was born without powers, is treated with contempt and forced to be a servant in her own house by her abusive stepmother. Things seem to get worse when she's arranged to be married off to a military commander who is rumored to be basically a jerk. Turns out, though, that he's actually a pretty cool dude (not to mention an ikemen), and her life starts to look up...until more stuff goes down, as it tends to do. Full of satisfying emotional beats, this was one of those shows that made me say "man, this is SO GOOD" aloud several times to my TV over the course of its twelve episodes.

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
I swear, manga and anime creators are geniuses at coming up with fun and interesting premises. Like this one. Yes, it's about a zombie apocalypse, but instead of mourning the loss of civilization, the young adult main character welcomes it with cheerful enthusiasm, as it frees him from the drudgery of his boring office job and allows him the opportunity to enjoy life and do the (wholesome) things he's always wanted to do (hence, "Bucket List of the Dead"). As you might imagine, this idea practically writes itself. There is a live-action movie adaptation that Netflix dropped around the same time, but since the anime episodes are being released weekly (biweekly? randomly?) I haven't watched the movie yet, since I don't want to know how the story ends. Manga readers, don't tell me what happens!