lextopia

my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for May, 2008

Shooting Video 101

May 29, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Video

First thing you’ll need to do is get a good camera. Now, “good” doesn’t have to mean expensive. Case in point: the Canon ZR800.

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I shit you not, this $149.00 camera has everything you need in order to learn how to shoot: manual controls for focus, white balance, shutter speed and exposure; has an option for an external microphone to be added; has a built-in light; has a rockstar on-board microphone; and has a firewire jack so you can edit easily.

The thing about shooting (here’s my “the thing about shooting” soapbox) is that you learn how to shoot by learning how to edit. Example: go outside with your camera and find a “scene” happening. Let’s say you film a hot dog vendor making someone a hot dog. The effectiveness of your shooting will be determined in the edit. Did you get all the shots you needed, i.e. CUs of the hot dog, the vendor’s hands, the vendor’s face, the buyer’s face? Did you get a medium shot of the whole thing? Did you get a wide shot of the whole thing? Did you get reverse/interesting/’wild card” shots? The only way you’ll know the answers to these questions is by bringing the footage into the edit – which you should do yourself cuz it’s so damned easy. :)

As you take your class (the one you should take to learn about the details…), you’ll learn about ways to use the camera to express yourself better: exposure, white balance (so everyone doesn’t look blue all the time), shutter speed (this adds versatility to the “narrative” quality of a film)–but learning what shots to acquire will be discovered in the edit. Here’s what my teacher said are the key shots in any “scene”:

-CU of the hands
-CU of the face
-Wide Shot

Period. If you get those and hold them for 30 seconds each, then you’re good to go.

Home Is Where The Fun Is

May 27, 2008 By: admin Category: Futurism, General, House

These days my thinking is about creating spaces for people to have FUN in. It’s my whole THING and has been inspired by my house search as well as a new business relationship with a wonderful game designer. He designed World Without Oil and has just come up with a KILLER idea for me. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about here cuz I can’t yet… :)

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Rather, I’d like to tell you about how this new “games are fun/fun creates happiness/your house should be game-like cuz it’ll make you happy” thinking is leading me. One example is that in my new house there will be various ways and places to have fun. One idea is to have the guest bathroom sink have the faucet fixtures exposed and then have a variety of handles hanging above the sink for folks to choose from. Going to all these green conferences, I’ve been noticing all these beautiful designs and ideas for bathroom fixtures, tiles, etc. and I just can’t decide what would be best for me. As I imagine the same is true for most folks, I’m going to let the “user” decide which fixtures they’d like to use to wash their hands. So, they’ll come up to the sink and will see a small sign (beautifully designed and created by Molly) that will let them know that they can choose their own fixture (each fixture will, of course, be a “found object d’art” that Molly and I will discover when we go antiquing in New Hampshire every weekend. Another goal of mine is to furnish/decorate the house only with recycled/re-used items). :) My whole aim with the bathroom fixtures is to see the person come out of the bathroom with a big’ole grin on their face…:)

The Healing Power of Beauty

May 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Family, Happiness, Health, House, Living

I’ve been sitting outside in the sun reading about nature. I stare out at a lake that you can’t swim in and take in the waning hours of this gorgeous day. I’ve been needing a break and this weekend, thankfully, I got a bit of it. There’s still a lot to be stressed over but I’ve drawn my line in the sand emotionally and am now just tying up the last loose ends before I leave for the East coast.

I was reading an article about New England. The author, who is from New Hampshire, clearly loves that part of the world as much as I do. He also mentioned Scotland — hiking over the rain-soaked peat fields. This was something I loved doing in Scotland and will returned to do again someday.

Reading this article and sitting outside I finally realize how much nature means to me. Since I was a kid I’ve played in nature, and it was only when I moved to the outdoors capital of the country that I started spending so much time indoors. There’s something about southern California, or the area where I live that sucks all the motivation out of you. You stare out at the beautiful, sunny landscape only to be depressed because you know that the sun is too hot, and that hiking that hard, dry, slippery dirt is so tough that you may as well just not do it. Then you think about going to the beach and sigh because it’s such a long drive away. Everything is FAR in SoCal and the traffic is ASS, so the prospect of going anywhere knowing you’re going to be in your car for at least an hour is a motivation destroyer if there ever was one.

And so I dream of Massachusetts. Of Martha’s Vineyard and Carlisle and Concord. I dream of Good Harbor beach and Walden Pond and Lambert’s Cove. I take deeps breaths, searching for anything remotely normal–God made–and feel the pressures slide off me like rain.

I’m going home.

Google The Artist

May 22, 2008 By: admin Category: General

Recently, Google began changing their search/main page logo to designs created by others. They’re so beautiful that I’ve started to collect them. Here’s today’s:

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Also, I finally had time to search YouTube for one of my favorite commercials. This is Lisa Leslie, center of the L.A. Sparks basketball team. I had the pleasure of filming Ms. Leslie during a practice once while I was at Oxygen. She was incredibly gracious and funny, as was her mother, who was with her.

BusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusyBusy

May 21, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Living, Music, Propeller, Video

Actually, I’m burnt out. I need a break. I’m hoping the move drive will give my mind a rest, and settling into Michael and Laura’s house for a few weeks will give me some time to just relax. I have too many irons in the fire right now and need to shove things off my desk. Some of that will happen this weekend when I finish an old, old project. That’ll feel GREAT. It’ll also give me a chance to play with my new editing toy, Magic Bullet Looks. By the way, yes, I know that not everyone is a video editing geek, but you would be if you played with everything I own for about five minutes. Cameras, software, G5–OH MY!

Anyway, so things have been very crazy pour moi. Shooting, editing, packing, making deals… It’s all very time-consuming and exhausting and reminds me that usually there are about 3-4 people doing the same amount of work I’m currently doing by myself. I know, I signed up for this, I have only myself to blame… Okay…

The good news is that two of my Big Projects for work are starting to get off the ground. I’m very excited about them and so will you be when I finally have a chance to show them off. Once will happen fairly soon — end of August. You’ll get links, don’t worry. The other one probably won’t launch until after Jan. 2009, but that’s okay. By that time I will have finished the Soma Girls film so the timing will actually be very cool.

Some other recent cool news is that Molly and I have a new friend who’s amazing. He’s a musician who just put out his first solo CD. He was with a very famous band for 14 years and now has gone out on his own cuz he wants to spend more time with his family. This I completely understand. Anyway, his CD is just beautiful. I listened to it all day yesterday and just blissed-out. It actually gave me a great idea for a screenplay. Actually, there have been 2 screenplay ideas floating around in my head for a while. Someone recently gave me a trick to how to write screenplays, so I might give that another go. It’ll be easier to do that in hotels during the move than to edit anything. I’ve been spending so much time on my big machine that it’s hard to go back to editing on a 15″ screen.

Hey, check out these guys called Stars of Stage and Screen. They KICK ASS. Listen to their cover of “Born To Be Wild.” It’s featured in the new movie “A Previous Engagement.”

I heard about the film and the band on KPFK yesterday as I was driving into the city. The one good thing about L.A. traffic, btw, is that it gives you a shitload of time to enjoy great radio. If y’all have not tuned in online to KPFK, I urge you to do so immediately. Best shows: “Democracy Now!,” and “Uprising.” For the more esoteric, there’s also “Inner Visions,” a very cool show about spiritualism.

I Am Aung San Suu Kyi

May 15, 2008 By: admin Category: General

Burma continues to recover from the effects of the devastating cyclone that hit last week. Sadly, the repressive guys currently in charge of a brutal military junta that’s running the country isn’t allowing enough foreign aid in.

I have chosen to support FreeBurma.org, an organization fighting to help change leadership in Burma by bringing back the person who was rightfully elected in 1990, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

This is a video that FreeBurma made of Hollywood celebs who feel the same way.

North

May 09, 2008 By: admin Category: M Photos, Music, The Album

For this post I steal liberally from Molly:

Road Story on the 101

Enjoy. :)

God Bless Natalie Portman

May 01, 2008 By: admin Category: Video

I shit you not, this is amazing…

I’ve Just Been Mizrahi-d

May 01, 2008 By: admin Category: Blogging Dinner, Body, Cooking, Family, Fatblogging, Food, General, Health, Randomosity

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If you’ve never seen it, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi’s website is a MUST VISIT. This is a link to his videoblog which I think is absolute genius. I’ve always said that you can’t have a video blog if you are a) forced to hold things back and/or, b) you’re not famous. But even though he’s famous, Mizrahi has a way of being Everygay–his vlog feels like how I would do a vlog if I ever got the guts. I’d just talk about all the things I hate about myself in a funny manner so everyone could empathize and we could all feel better together.

Universality, baby. It’s what it’s all about…

Blogging dinner: Molly’s dad, John made the famous family stew/roast. DELICIOUS. I’m never disappointed by anything this man cooks, but the stew is a real wow-er. The meat melts away and the potatoes and carrots swim lovingly in a broth made of wine and beer and whatever-the-hell-else he cares to throw in there. He just has the touch, this man.  Anyway, I managed to avoid wine and an extra helping and was rewarded with a compliment from our guests: “You’re looking skinny.” I’m not, but it’s still fun to hear it. 😉