JSDC
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Winter Project 

You may have noticed that over the history of JSDC, each year I get disillusioned toward the end of September, and the result is my making and distributing something myself. Aidmheil, Greyfeather #2

This year is different.

As I wait to shoot Artemis Eternal in the spring... I shot an odd side project this week. It is already in the can. The production money was funded by a small angel donation (thank you, John).

So, do you want to see it?

If you want to see the film, then donate to post production. After we get through post to my satisfaction, I will release the work online for FREE. In the past I’ve done preorders to help finance book production and printing of various projects we’ve made available, and this film is exactly like a preorder; except that everyone benefits from your preorder, everyone gets a delivery, when the delivery comes.

Should you be a donator you will also get your name in the credits. Tell me, what film have you ever ordered that did that for you? Bing bong—

If you are a student who greatly wants to donate, but, you know, has to buy groceries and books, then perhaps those who have the spare cash will donate and you won’t have to. See how that could work? It ads up pretty quick, as we saw with the initial JSDC-er Artemis Eternal fundraising. But this, of course, could have a much more immediate payoff in terms of delivery. Anyway, we did it before, so I know it can be done. This will get done. It is merely a question of when.

If everyone who visited JSDC Monday morning put in ten bucks, then it’d be done and done. (And done.)

Andthendonesomemore.

Or, if everyone on my mailing list who received the note I just sent out donated two dollars, then it'd be done.

Anddonefast.

If you don’t want to see it, then do nothing. Without the post money it will neither be finished nor released. That way you can see how easily you can breathe life with but a little movement or kill things with lethargy, how easily things live or die when you vote with your wallets; both by what you patronize and don’t patronize. Your choice, (Wing)man.

Regardless, it’s in the can. We shot in HD. Progressive Productions handled cinematography and the genre is the same as that of the very Scrolls you are now reading over what I typically do in film; narrative genre fiction, which is why I consider this film “odd” for me. It’s non-commercial and I highly doubt that I will ever turn a profit on it since I’m releasing it online for free. There is a possibility of festival-ing it as well. It’s the kind of project that was virtually unscripted and thus will take me a little longer on the back end to weave it together and tweak. I haven’t even seen all the footage yet because I’ll need an external HD and a post facility to view it all as step one. Yep: Even small projects are pricey. I’m not saying I’m going to post the project at this post house, but wanted to show you an example of post-production rates That’s for video. When you shoot film the prices go up. (Perhaps now you begin to understand why I lose sleep over Artemis on a continual basis.)

And now’s the moment when I take a moment to thank the cast-crew: Thank you, thank you, thank you, you generous stars of teamwork, you.

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Common Interests 

Here's a little more about the WGA strike:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beMNePzqpzQ
http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com/
http://blogging.la/archives/2007/11/front_lines_of_the_wga_strike.phtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Writers_Guild_of_America_strike

I managed to get down to a picket line earlier this week. There I spoke with one of the writers from Heroes for a while, among some others. I will go again soon. Meanwhile, I've received a fair share of mail asking about the strike and I want to say that I'm hardly the best source of information given that this strike is a writer's strike and therefore the guild members involved are of course able to express themselves and the issues wonderfully, and there are many veterans of the WGA who have websites where they explore the politics of the negotiations. You can thus get information direct from the WGA leadership and the writers who write your favorite stories. I'll try to keep up with posting the most useful links in terms of understanding what's actually going on versus, “[whatever celebrity] visited the picket line today.”

The idea that shows like The Daily Show going black can and will affect the next presidential election is poignant, so if you see an article or news story on the matter, then give it a read or a listen, and a think.

Visit the WGAw and the WGAe for details on how to join a picket line.

Update; to answer a question:
You're probably hearing mentionings of IATSE, SAG, DGA and the Teamsters. Here you go:
Wikipedia Union Listings

These are the people, (drivers, property masters, actors, assistant directors...) who make films. It is not possible to make a film without any part of this creative team.

From work stoppage to negotiating their own new media residuals, the WGA strike affects all of the members of these guilds.

Update (hmm):
http://wga.org/subpage_newsevents.aspx?id=2556

Also, basics:
http://wga.org/subpage_member.aspx?id=2478
http://www.amptp.org/

Update:
Speaking of your favorite writers, I finally found something from RDM on the strike:

"I had a situation last year on Battlestar Galactica where we were asked by Universal to do webisodes [Note: Moore is referring to The Resistance webisodes which ran before Season 3 premiered], which at that point were very new and 'Oooh, webisodes! What does that mean?' It was all very new stuff. And it was very eye opening, because the studio's position was 'Oh, we're not going to pay anybody to do this. You have to do this, because you work on the show. And we're not going to pay you to write it. We're not going to pay the director, and we're not going to pay the actors.' At which point we said 'No thanks, we won't do it.'"

And from our other stranger-friend in Sci-Fi, Joss Whedon:

The trappings of a union protest…” You see how that works? Since we aren’t real workers, this isn’t a real union issue. (We’re just a guild!) And that’s where all my ‘what is a writer’ rambling becomes important. Because this IS a union issue, one that will affect not just artists but every member of a community that could find itself at the mercy of a machine that absolutely and unhesitatingly would dismantle every union, remove every benefit, turn every worker into a cowed wage-slave in the singular pursuit of profit. (There is a machine. Its program is ‘profit’. This is not a myth.) This is about a fair wage for our work. No different than any other union. The teamsters have recognized the importance of this strike, for which I’m deeply grateful. Hopefully the Times will too.

As a sidenote related to a standard JSDC topic: Whedon also talks story philosophy in that entry.

RDM, Whedon... someone find me JJ Abrams and the triad will be complete. (I'm pretty sure there's some sort of prophecy that details what will happen when they join forces.)

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Estimating the Truth 

One fun thing about independent production: No matter how prepared you are for the expenses of filmmaking; you always have a minor heart attack once you see the estimates. Even on more intimate projects. I am semi-amazed that we kept the production costs as accessible as we did. (Thanks again to the cast and crew.)

I thought you’d like to see a post-production estimate for our current project.

This does not include the offline editor fees or sound/VO. Nor does it include contingency padding and the automatic $500 added for things that occur prior to arriving at the post house. I should note that this is a caliber facility and they weren’t unkind to us, giving us a bit of a discount in one area. Anyway, math nerds, add it up and predict the total budget. I dare you.

If I haven’t mentioned how much it sucks for a filmmaker to be under the gun at any stage… It’s time I do. Coppola relates this idea frequently in interviews and I happen to think he is one of few who conveys a realistic impression of what filmmaking is like as opposed to the Hollywood mythology you’re sold (and I do mean sold) everyday and have been sold since the inception of the studio system. Why do you think he has only just now come back to film? There’s a point where it’s not fun anymore, and that should never, never happen no matter how challenging the shoot. Deadlines and parameters are good, but when they hit an extreme it affects the work. Literally each minute on a set or in post is expensive; money ticks away with the clock—The stress can mentally and creatively break the strongest directors. I’m sure the sulky side of every indie artist wants to lament, “I hate working independent!” To pound salt into the wounds, a bunch of people will go waste their money on Beowulf this Friday while I spend my night watching editor reels and willing the donation number to go up with my sweet mind.

The muses weep in shame for the state of our cinesouls. I know it. The magic is currently nonexistent. Even the faux magic is dead.

Anyway, no one wants to know the truth about anything. The truth is exhausting. Jack Nicholson told us all about that in the amazing documentary A Few Good Men. I often feel that way with things in the human realm, wherein in society we’ve made things awfully complex. But, you know, turning a blind eye hasn’t been so good for us. You do know that, right? It is not so terrible to know how things actually work as long as everyone pulls their own tiny bit of weight, and no one is left hauling things along by themselves. As we continue along post I will once and for all try to give you a more realistic picture of the numbers.

I wonder if you, do you, feel very free? I don't know. I certainly don't. I think about it all the time, is all.

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The Business of Shadow & Light 

On an emotional level the writer’s strike is going well. They’re right about what they require, right to pursue fairness, and now most everyone knows they are right. I love unity, I love a pep rally, I love a rightful cause. Business wise, however, they haven’t used their leverage or maximized their options, and stunts like the pencil campaign are a waste of potential and fail to speak the language of the conglomerates. Quite frankly I highly, highly doubt the congloms care nor should they, much as a gorilla wouldn’t much mind a gnat. By the numbers, these death-star-monopolies-of-knowledge-type companies can afford to not care for nearly a year at least. The landscape of media has changed since previous strikes, which is what this whole thing is about anyway, so it’s odd that the artisans and technicians who all want to go back to work under the new, fair terms aren’t executing moves that will ensure that end more quickly, and ensure that we don’t find ourselves here again in the next decade. Strikes must evolve, too; the very idea of this form of battle must change with the times in order to be effective. It’s a curious situation that dovetails into what I’ve been working on this past year. I have some questions of my own, and I’m going to get what answers I can Monday night.

I doubt I’ll blog much for reals until Untitled Side Project is finished and available for you to watch. I did non-paying creative work for you there and it is ready to go (I could turn it around in about a week), but you know in the can it sits unless you would like to have it. Did you know? Today we took in $0. If we continue at this rate then it will never be seen. In the past I would have thought that $0 reflected somehow on my ability (or even more ridiculous; my likeability), but really I have learned, as we evolve our plans here, that it does not.

This is a simple version of a much larger idea I’m developing, which will be very, very challenging and daunting for myself and my team. If the smaller version remains unsuccessful, I don’t know why we would try it on the largest scale: If my own audience won’t engage, why would the larger audience who is unfamiliar engage? Everyone cheers us on to take risks, but few are willing to spend a little energy to help us to an end that benefits everyone. This is a key problem with modern society at large. Thus, the world is made difficult and all of our time slips away in drastic haste and waste. We have discussed this all before. In everything you do, you must, must, vote with your wallets.

Now I go to write more exciting things that you may never get to see. (Click, wink!)

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My Name is Adler 

. . .


Then the bird hummed and murmured, like an old man might, "Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free, but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see...” And as I thought about how very far a bird could probably see and whether his feathers might make for a nice quill— “Incidentally my name is Adler,” he said; seeming to come to from some half-state, “It means eagle. It's German. Tell me, fool, can you learn to smile as you kill? There’s room for you at the top, if you just follow me."


*With inspiration from John Lennon.

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Mind the Gap 

Remember that one time we were talking?

"Society can't actually solve the problems that it creates for itself."

I just read that at the bottom of a Wiki page and immediately was like, yeah, that's what I meant.

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The Road 

I’m excited. Tonight Greg and I worked until 1AM, and for the first time I feel that, in terms of presentation, I have a handle on the Artemis Eternal and The Silver Legacy film projects. The idea is to make our film process clear to you and to help with fundraising so that you can know better what is going on, share in the experience (and we can communicate better), and so that we have outside support in fundraising because, let’s face it, you and I are exhausted - JSDC is exhausted - and we all know there are many, many like-minded visionaries out there who we haven’t connected with yet. I’m sure they will all appreciate my long sentences.

It’s the first. Change takes time. Thanks for your patience.

PS: Do you know what this is?

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Alex From Russia 

Russia + TSL =

Check out this amazing translation via the Internets:

"Somehow has solved ??????? new wall-papers in the evening. Has climbed in the Internet, it was passed on sites from the collection ??????? references. One of ???? on Greg Martin's site (the artist, the photographer, the author extremely qualitative ???????) has refused to open. For opening wall-papers have suggested to come on a site someone new ???????????? the project. ???? was a part ???????-???? the project. To receive a login and the password to gallery exclusive ???? on it, it was necessary to vote for the project on eventful.com. Me, the fan of a fantasy and mystery, all this conspiracy has interested. ?????????? the information on the project, has found out that the project " the Silver Heritage " is a future Hollywood screen version of the script of any new alternative epic fantasy which at present writes ???????? ??????. From correspondence with ???????? it was found out, that " the Silver Heritage " is extremely original on what unlike a modernist style-??????? with elements of a mystery and surrealism. ???????, fan Tolkiena, actively criticizes last Hollywood projects. At present, on eventful as I have understood, there is a gathering voices for a screen version. The extremely serious atmosphere around The Silver Legacy testifies that the project can be something costing. Therefore, this page is devoted to the project, news and any interesting information on it."


So there you go: The story of TSL development is starting to be translated. This excites.

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