Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 34

Spent most of the day working on our Arts School Campus- cleaning the parking lots and moving beauty bark around the front campus flower beds. This place is massive and more than enough for a small crew of grounds keepers.
Later I started digging into Scene 34. A pretty straight forward scene, not a whole lot of cuts are gonna be needed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 11

Finished Scene 11 for Rat Rod Rockers!. In the scene Harold Milldue (Aeon Black) is suffering writers block. At first I was gonna go straight with the cuts and then I noticed that for half the shots I had left the camera on a tripod, which is great for showing jumps in time (i.e. character jump cuts, but the room stays as is). So I went with a disjointed "writer blocked" Harold Milldue bumbling around the room with his tape recorder. Works well I think. I am starting to love this film!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In The Studio

If you are like me- you spend a hell of alot of time in your studio. I am lucky that my newest space for Die-Cast Studios is a huge room with 24/7 climate control and a view of the woods. So many past spaces I have set my gear up in were dank, dark little hole in the walls, without heat or air conditioning. Even last year I was working out of a garage in our old rented house that got so hot in the summer you could barely breathe. That kind of setting is not conducive to serious work. I mean we all (creative types) do it where we can and I am fortunate (for now) to have an awesome space to work in. Hallelujah and knock on wood!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Glossy Signed Stills from Rat Rod Rockers!

Added some new stills for the Signed Stills Series I am doing for Rat Rod Rockers! which feature various actors signed scene stills from the film.

Horse Documentary

We did some interview footage for the Horse Documentary yesterday with interviewees and horse experts Dawn Spiegelberg & Megan Asrault. Our official narrator and interviewer is non other than radio personality Jennifer Austin.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Mixer

Took delivery of a new Behringer Xenyx 2442 Mixing board for my live rig today. I'm trying to finalize my mobile system so we can show my two films Rat Rod Rockers! (out this summer) and Hot Rod Girls Save The World (from 2008) any place that has power and a blank wall (or where I can set up my 20x10 outdoor screen). I just got a second video projector (donation) and plan on upgrading my band PA with additional speakers and two 2400 Watt amplifiers. Also, I want to be able to use it as my band PA system, so we can play a set then show a movie or just play the films. Flexibility is key. Still need to buy the generators and I might mount my outdoor screen to a trailer on a pop-up mount. I saw a guy who did that for his mobile movie system. He would show movies at outdoor events and baseball games.

Do Not Clean Trails In Shorts

So this is why you should never attempt to clean brush and invasive species from trails in shorts and tennis shoes. My legs got chewed up royal by Black Berry and Holly as I was helping clean the Green Belt forest areas around our Arts School and surrounding neighborhood. The neighbors were awesome and everyone put in some time pulling Ivy and Holly, cleaning trash (including a complete car windshield) from paths and trails. I am a little sore from chopping trees and of course my legs- but I had fun none the less

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Did some work on the StarCharger II and iGTO Intergalactic Muscle Space Cars this week. Mostly when my computers were renderings scenes for Rat Rod Rockers!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Glossy Signed Stills from Rat Rod Rockers!

We are doing a series of Signed Glossy Stills from Rat Rod Rockers! Eventually we will sell for $5 (plus $1 shipping) each on our website. Eventually we will have all the girls and a few of the guys from the film available.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Munster Style Meeting

Had an excellent production meeting for Munster Style tonight. Becky Lee, Brian Canfield, Lance Lambert, Mac of Zombie Crush and myself talked about current content and upcoming article ideas.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Piracy and The Non-Recording Artists

I recently was discussing a pseudo-scenario with a musician friend of mine, in which music pirating of MP3s becomes standard practice. This could happen by pressure from pro-pirating lobby groups on Congress to allow P2P sites to thrive, and a lack of enforcement finances available to internet pirating police agencies through budget cuts.
In effect, this would kill iTunes and similar pay websites and create a music free for all on the internet. As soon as a band or recording artist released a single or an album, it would be pirated to millions of users through (in our pseudo-scenario) legitimate P2P sites. Revenue would completely dry up for old classic rock and pop tunes by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, James Brown, etc. The recoding industry would collapse (which could be a good thing depending on your viewpoint). More pressure would be put on standard broadcast radio stations to pay extra to play music, eventually forcing them to switch to the more lucrative "talk radio show" format. Retired Rock Stars would be forced to come out of retirement and tour relentlessly for their age-old coke habits and mansion mortgages. Armageddon? Hardly.

This may also create what we deemed, the "Non-Recording Artist." If a band has no reason to record an album- why should they spend hours and hours in the studio or invest in hundreds or thousands of dollars in home recording equipment? Especially if they don't have too. These artists would fine tune their live shows to the point of perfection. They might add extreme elements like pyrotechiques, strippers (hell yea!), elaborate set design, video projection, etc. to make their concerts that much more appealing than the next bands. They would have friends film the show and post segments on YouTube, Facebook et al, to get the word out. They would use the filmed segments to get new shows by either e-mailing promoters links to their videos or by burning them onto Video CD/DVDs. With the YouTube clips in place, friends could e-mail or Blip.FM songs to each other and even make MP3 copies by playing the audio stream out of their computer and into a recording device. Since the band had zero investment in recording the song, monetary damage would be minimal. This "live only" approach could also generate higher volumes of concert goers and create real revenue for the artist or band, as you can not (currently) pirate a concert ticket. The band could also stipulate that no video or audio recordings be allowed at their shows. This would be hard to enforce given cell phone and mobile device technology- but making it illegal would actually stimulate the circulation of bootleg recordings of the band or artist. It is human nature to steal and share. Hey- if it gets more people to the shows, then it is a good thing.

The other upside would be bands would never sound different "live" than on their CDs & MP3s. They would always be in "live" mode. Potentially the hardest hit musicians in this scenario would be the studio only producers of hip hop and electronica- however with fewer artists in the studio, more deals would become available for films, TV Commercials and multi-media projects. This might also force more studio projects onto the stage to generate income.

All in all this really doesn't sound like such a bad pseudo-scenario for the music industry. Maybe that is where we heading, only time will tell.

Munster Style Page Sample

Photographer, Editor and Writer, Steve Puvogel, came over this weekend to drop some sample pages for an article he is working on about The Rat Bastards Car Club Infestation II for Munster Style. This was an awesome car show last year, that I actually filmed for my new movie Rat Rod Rockers! Steve is setting the Munster Styles tone with his layouts deigns. He is doing a kickass job!

Intergalactic Muscle Special Features Clip

Just posted a clip about my Intergalactic Muscle Space Cars I am developing for my film Memories Of The Planet Earth, a sequel to Hot Rod Girls Save The World and part of the Anywhere Archives.

Intergalactic Muscle StarCharger II

Decided that according to what D.B. Petty could have known about car wise in late 1967- to build a 1968 Dodge Charger Space Car called (aptly enough) the StarCharger II. In the background is the Intergalactic Muscle car the iGTO, which has been test painted with a nickle color. I love the Charger & GTO body styles from the sixties. Big cars by today's standards, but considered mid sized by theirs. These Space Cars are for the film Memories Of The Planet Earth, which is a sequel to Hot Rod Girls Save The World and part of the Anywhere Archives Series.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Film and Music Distribution

Distribution is a word on many film makers and musicians tongues these days. The illusive "distribution deal" is something that so many artists hope for but many still don't understand. We live in a time where "self distribution" is a real and viable alternative to the old model, in which you needed a distribution company just to get your CD's and DVD's in a brick and mortar store or you film on the big screen. That era is indeed fading quickly.

When my band Freaks Amor released its first album in 1983- there was no internet, Amazon didn't exist and most people still bought Vinyl records and recorded them as mixed tapes. Punks communicated through late night college radio shows, band performances and photo copied fanzines. Bands who pressed their own albums (and thus started their own record labels) were still a relatively new thing, but fast becoming popular with Punks and fringe artists. It wasn't cheap to make an album at the time. Home recording studios didn't exist and even small studios cost an arm and leg just to get in the door. Add to that the art and pressing costs and you were out thousands of dollars just to release 500 copies of a four song E.P. After the Freaks Amor album was pressed (I recall we only made 250 of them), we sold them to friends, family and at vendor tables at our shows. It didn't take long to sell out of the short run and we never made a second pressing.

A year later when I joined the group Montage, we also recorded and released our own album- except we wanted to get serious about self distribution. We made calls to area record stores, including the chain stores, and were able to get our E.P. Montage - Celebrate The Misery into their record bins. Remember, at the time there were no internet stores, so to sell your album it had to be available in the brick and mortar shops, or you wouldn't stand a chance. Being this type of store distributor means making many contacts with buyers and stores, and takes a lot of legwork and directed promotion. You have to convince store owners to carry your little record. Why should they? They never heard of your band before you called them. We used to target stores in areas where we had upcoming shows or college radio interviews. This usually worked. Many stores required you to do consignment- basically giving them the album, then if it sells you get a percentage of the sale. You had to stay on top of consignments as many stores didn't give a shite about accounting, could loose records, destroy them if you didn't pick them up on time, etc. etc. Being your own distributor is hard work, but at the time, it did weed out the wannabees, poseurs and Johnny Come Lately's.

Now how does this apply to our current situation? To put it simply- I am seeing many bands and film makers who are allergic to hard work. They have been duped by the mega-media into thinking that their album, downloads or films should instantly be gobbled up by the masses, while they play video games and socialize on internet chats. The affordability of home recording studios, home video editing suites and inexpensive cameras has produced a glut of inept song writing and sub-student film content that is flooding the internet. In other words, the gates are open and everything is being dumped out there. The weeding processes of the past no longer apply. This is good, bad and ugly.

The Good: Now anyone can get their content to the masses. New delivery forms are completely internet based and available to anyone with a half assed computer system and DSL. On demand CD's and DVD's can be created as the customer orders them, stopping the dreaded Return Authorization and overstock. Companies like CreateSpace, Youreeerka, IndieFlix, CD Baby, DiscMakers and others give any artist (real or imagined) the ability to get their content out to the masses in a very big way. We are talking iTunes, Amazon and even brick and mortar stores who now buy from CreateSpace. This is not a way to get your film into theaters, but trust me, people are working on that as I type this. The accounting of these companies is excellent, with direct deposits to your friggin' bank account, leaving the artist/film maker to promote their work. When a potential customer asks, the artist/film maker can easily point them to places to buy their content. This is done with few, if any, upfront production fees for the artist/film maker, but that leads us to...

The Bad: Without the previous "work ethic" and "self investment" checks and balances in the D.I.Y. world, too much content is now available to the public- making it harder for would be listeners and watchers to sort through it all. How do they find the content they want? Where can they find something artistic, unique and heart felt? Of course all this is subjective- one mans wine is another poison. In the old commercial model, Record Labels and Film Companies would use Talent Scouts and A&R Reps to comb the world looking for the next big thing. When they found it (or thought they found it) they would forward the artist to their bosses, who would present a set series of hoops for the artist to jump through until, after much hoop jumping, the artist was deemed worthy of the company investment. This worked for generations but became flawed as the bean counters (in control of the system) were not very creative and thus, when one film or album sold well, they insisted on repeating that formula over and over and over again. Other companies would copy the formula and pretty soon everything these companies released looked or sounded exactly the same. Eventually the buying public would get bored with the trend and would force a changes in the companies repertoire by looking elsewhere. Many times this was the underground or fringe. Now the trends change real time (except in Hollywood, who insists on sticking to the old model- mostly to protect their investment). Things move so fast they are out of fashion hours after they become the fashion. Am I exaggerating? Maybe, but it sure feels like that. With the looming fall of the printed publication and broadcast radio station- things have become even less stable for emerging artists. My advice is do as much as you can with your content before you sign with a potential distributor. The landscape is shifting monthly so never sign anything "exclusive" unless you have really done your homework. Promote you work through niche channels (i.e. publications, websites, etc that cater to select audiences). We (Go-Kustom) make Hot Rod and Kustom Kulture Car Films so we promote through kustom kulture and automotive magazines and websites. Yes- do all that and then prepare for...

The Ugly: Pirating and copyright infringement is rampant. Many film makers and musical artist feel it is necessary to give their work away for free. The idea being, somehow in the future, they will get a licensing deal or TV Commercial to pay the rent. This rarely happens and a more realistic approach is for us all to confront the Pirates and ask them to support, not kill, what they love and enjoy. My personal battle cry is "Don't Pirate, Buy Indie." Pirates need to understand that they hardly hurt the giant corporations they vehemently denounce (yet watch everything said corps. produce). They really hurt the D.I.Y. and indie guys and gals. I never pirate, never have and never will. It is part of my self imposed "Support the Arts" ethic.

Certain pillars seem to be solidifying in this new world of self distribution. Amazon and iTunes are obvious ones. Others are quickly emerging as major players. The technology is driving the changes- just like it did when we all stopped buying records and started buying CDs or when we moved from VHS tape to DVDs. Some of the dust is starting to settle and I can truly say that (aside from the Pirates) the new self distribution landscape looks the best it ever has. It is a great time to make art, music and film!

Mission X at FilmEES Edmonds

We screened David P. Bakers action film Mission X last night at our Edmonds FilmEES location. Mostly friends and family showed up but not bad for a first event with limited advertising. It will take time to build the venue as a viable place for people to see cool upcoming indie-films. Next month we are showing The Commune by Elisabeth Fies. Listings are at

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fretless Bass Mic'ing

To add some top end and string noise I am trying some techniques to double the direct input sound (from my Bass Pod XT) with an SM57 mic'ed track. I want a more acoustic type sound from my fretless. I have been playing the fretless almost exclusively now for a few months and yesterday, when I picked up my short scale Bronco Bass to dink around on, it felt very strange. I think I am moving towards being a real fretless player. Takes time. I dig the slides and slurs you can do without the frets. Intonation is always the challenge. Still haven't found my sweet spot for the SM57. The bass work is for my film Rat Rod Rockers! soundtrack.

Rainy Seattle Morning

This shot was taken this morning just outside my recording/film studio. Good to see the rain, especially for a seasonally allergic guy like myself. Worked on Go-Kustom taxes for 2008 (yes that far behind people) most of yesterday. Sorting through piles of receipts and bank statements. Should have my worksheet ready for the accountant tonight. HAd some good news from our attorney a few days ago. Looks like we can reach an agreement with our old commercial landlord.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Taxes 2008 ?!?

Just really dug into my Go-Kustom business taxes...look at that pile! Sorting and then double checking against the GK Bank account. My wife has had our personal and her Arts School taxes done for months. Call me a least when it comes to the fun we all know as taxes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More Vintage Magazines

Got another shipment of vintage mid-sixties car magazines for research on Legend Of D.B. Petty. Cool to see all the old ads and perspective. Different (yet not so different) than today.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Got a little editing done on Rat Rod Rockers! Scene 7 today as well as updated the Hot Rod Monsters Film Festival applications for film submissions. My seasonal allergies are still slowing me down. Taking Claritin which makes it feel like a bad head cold. Arggghhh. Also did some monthly taxes for our Arts School. The fun never ends.

Freaks Amor (Early 80's)


BOTTOM: Tom, Ric, D.A. & Jack

In the early Eighties I was fortunate enough to join avant-garde/latin/no wave band Freaks Amor, as synthesist, bassist and occasional trombonist. The band was led by artist wildman Ricardo Acevedo. Ric had a pension for bringing people together for both art and music projects. He was a true pioneer in stodgy San Bernardino, CAlifornia where we all resided at the time. I had joined Freaks (named by Ric after an underground novel) fresh outta my punk band Xijix so it was an eye opening experience. With Freaks Amor I learned about maintaining your artistic integrity, even in the face of anti-artistic sentiments. Ric recently did some guest vocal and cover artwork for my project Flathand 5. Still a hell of a talented guy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Didn't feel well from allergies the last few days. Did get a little done on Scene 7 for Rat Rod Rockers! today. Yesterday we did a few hours of interviewing for my Horse Documentary. Slept the rest of the time. Low key. Sniff sniff achoo and all that cal.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Just finished editing Scene 26. Not much to edit, just pick the best take then throw a few filters on the audio. Some scenes will be quick. Many will not. Especially the shoot 'em up scenes and car chases. Right now besides editing individual Scenes I will take breaks and scout for other problem areas and quick edit sections. Kinda like eating different things on your plate instead of one food item at a time.

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Saw that I had almost completed Scene 35 so I skipped ahead in the timeline and finished it quick then attached it to Scene 34 as it is the second half of a phone call between characters Danika and Ivan.

Rat Rod Rockers! Editing

Just finished rough cutting Scenes 3 & 4 for Rat Rod Rockers! Audio is gonna need some help- but it's not too bad. Mostly passing trucks and cars. On to Scene number 5. Side note- allergies are kicking up big time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

February 1966 Speed And Custom Magazine

I just received this vintage February 1966 Speed & Custom Magazine that I actually ordered from Amazon via a "1966 Dodge Charger" Amazon search. Excellent condition. I am doing research on drag racing from 1965-1968 for my Legend Of D.B. Petty novel (and eventual film). Made my day. BTW - I was two years old when this issue came out!