Sunday, November 28, 2004

It is shockingly late...

Especially considering that I'm three hours ahead, and I've got to wake up in about 3 1/2 hours.

Forced insomnia is my travel M.O. (modus operandi, for the lay folk); I deprive myself to sleep the nights before coast to coast flights, so that I'm able to sleep through the ride. This also seems to make the jet lag and time adjustment much easier, in some twisted way. Fortunately, I have no plans for Monday, so I'll likely go home and nap all day, then all thru the night, and wake up Tuesday morning at whatever time I want to reset my internal clock at.

Then, I'm back to the job hunt, and more importantly, should start working on the script for my ambitious Group 101 Films effort for the month of December. This time, I'm hoping to adapt a short story called "The Hunt" by largely unknown horror writer Richard Laymon. I'll post a rough script here, hopefully, in a few days. The hard part here is that most of the shoot takes place at night, in the woods, and without ambient light, meaning I need to rent lights to replicate moonlight, and figure out a way to shoot stuff so that it is convincingly pitch dark, but that the audience can see the action. Digital video is especially difficult to do this with. I also have a scene taking place up in a tree, which will be another potential expense, because I'll need either build a small set piece to give the illusion of our heroine up in the tree, while we're shooting just a few feet from the ground, or we'll need to risk life and limb and have a crew climb the tree, since the logistics and costs of using cranes, scissor lifts, and cherry pickers are way beyond my reach.

Anyway, when I post the script I'll likely also solicit donations, in exchange for producer credits. Yeah, I'm not counting on this working out. But if Tony Pierce can raise enough money to buy an iPod in a few short days, why can't I solicit for enough cash to maybe just pay to feed my crew peanut butter and jelly?

In the next couple days, I'll update with some pictures of my trip, as well as a hot new holiday template for the blog!

Speaking of Tony Pierce, the man just selfpublished his newest "blook", a collection of his postings called "How To Blog"... take a gander at another Atlanta blogger Miranda... my friend Zameer has been blogging from India throughout his nearly yearlong student visit...

Friday, November 26, 2004

I Stand Corrected...

Indeed, as my sister points out in the comments from the previous post, I did indeed post a photo of George W. and Osama doing the nasty.

Anyway, fellow blogger Tyranny pointed out an awesome new car commercial that puts Asstoids to shame (which isn't too difficult). Tyranny writes:

Supposedly this is a car commercial that never aired. I'm thinking that it is more probably a very good student project using Computer Graphics.

About 12 seconds into the video, notice something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist that looks humanish.

The music score is especially good, and is what makes it work, so I recommend turning up the volume a little.

Watch it by clicking here.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I'm thankful for the wonders of the internet.

Tonite I was able to see and talk to my sister and her kids... over the internet, through some Mac technology called iSpeak or iView or iSomething.

My sister mentioned that she doesn't allow my niece to read my blog, citing, as an example, my posting of George Bush giving it doggy style to Sadaam Hussein.

Have I ever posted such a picture? I don't think so.

But, not one to disappoint (except bill collectors and many, many lovely ladies), I thought I'd better earn my reputation for being a naughty blogger and offer you the following link:

Doodie Man

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

How Not To Get A Job

The day before Thanksgiving in Toledo, OH, and its been pouring out with ice cold winds. Not the blizzard, or even light flurry, I had hoped for. Save for some freak weather pattern, this is what it will be like for the duration of my stay. Which, I suppose, is all the more to make me thankful for the great weather I have living in Southern California.

I'll perhaps post one of those silly "Things I'm Thankful For" lists later on tonite or tomorrow, but for now I wanted to draw attention to this article I found on AOL's Career Builder website. Here it is in its entirety:

Inventive Tactics Can Land You the Job

How do you get noticed in a stack of resumes? More than one third of full-time, employed workers surveyed by say they used unorthodox methods to catch a potential employer's attention and successfully land a new position.Thinking outside of the box can give you an edge in today's competetive job market. Using a creative approach to market your skills and experience not only helps you to differentiate yourself from other candidates, it demonstrates that you are someone who can bring fresh ideas to the table.Job seekers admit to employing an assortment of tactics to get the attention of the hiring manager, to stand out, and basically market themselves for a job. These can range from the conventional methods, such as networking and mass mail, to the offbeat, like advertising at a football game, to the downright unethical like lying and flirting.

It's All in the Presentation
Unique packaging of the resume proved to be an effective job search tactic for some workers. One candidate wrote his resume on a basketball to apply for a position at a sporting goods company. Another individual sent a resume in an ice-cream carton made by the prospective employer.

Going That Extra Mile
Other respondents said their willingness to go above and beyond what other candidates were offering was their key to success. One woman said she would work for free for two weeks to prove her value. Another candidate showed up to the interview with a comprehensive plan to help the company improve customer service on a global scale.

Straight to the Top
Making a direct plea to leadership gave some candidates a foot in the door. A few candidates reported sending a resume, portfolio and letter of introduction to the CEO'shome address. Another candidate invited the company owner to a baseball game to network in a more relaxed social setting.

Persistence Pays
Survey respondents also said that demonstrating enthusiasm and commitment aided them in the selection process. Respondents reported showing up to the place of business daily to see the hiring manager, some waiting up to six hours. Others called the hiring managers repeatedly to reinforce credentials and reiterate why they were most qualified for open positions.

Stay Aware of the Line
Crossing the line could kill your chances if your chances if you aren't careful. Three percent of respondents admitted lying to get a job. This included bending or cushioning accomplishments, changing birthdates and falsifying education. And, one percent said they flirted to get the job, like wearing a tight skirt or taking out the manager's daughter.

Copyright 2004 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

I can't tell if CareerBuilder is advocating these tactics. The basketball resume thing might work if he were applying for a job at, say, a scrapbooking supply store. Note the article says that this sort of tactic worked for "some workers".

I hope that the woman who offered to work for two weeks free didn't feel guilty that she might have taken a job from someone else who actually needed the money, and instead felt proud to encourage the company to take advantage of unpaid labor in the future. I wonder if the CEO who received a resume at his HOME address fired the staffer who gave away the location of his private home to a complete stranger, a complete stranger who also likely deserved a restraining order after showing up at the place of business daily to stalk and harass the hiring manager.

Then again, who am I to critique tactics on how to get hired? I complain here frequently about not being able to find work. In Los Angeles, and most cities nationwide, there hundreds, if not thousands, of guys just like me logging onto Craigs List on a daily basis responding to the same ads. Besides a snazzy cover letter, there's little else to do to grab the employers attention. And how the hell can someone send a basketball via email?

Monday, November 22, 2004

Pre-T Day update.

I'm not the only one slacking on the blog upkeep. Katzinjammer's gone almost three weeks since his last post, when he promised to put up a video he'd made later that evening. Benzo last wrote that she was able to get around a bit more over two months ago, so we can only hope she's too busy having fun to write. Simpleton leaves a new line once a week, but always on the depressing end.

In the meantime, Ken Cowan, who'd disappeared for a few months, is posting regularly, and my old friend Kevin, who still refuses to converse with me, has a cool new blog up.

As for me, I have no excuse. Most of my time lately has been spent putting together my annual Christmas mix. This year's is called "Santa's Secret Stash" and the tracks can be viewed at Art of the Mix.

After my last post, however, I did end up working a few days on a couple different jobs. The first was as event staff on a wine tasting, food sampling event held at Paramount Studios as a benefit for Make A Wish. While it sucked being the low man on the totem pole, I got to eat an insane amount of great food, the crew I worked with was a bunch of awesome guys in the same boat as I'm in, and, more importantly, I was indeed working.

Then, more or less out of the blue, I was asked to work as a stand in on a popular TV series (not INSANELY popular, but huge for the network its been on for nearly a decade). I'd asked one of my neighbor's if she knew how I could find work as an extra, and a few weeks later she said one of the guys where she works needs some time off to work on a feature film, and said she suggested I could fill in from time to time. So, for a couple days last week I worked both as a stand in AND as an extra (or as they like to call them, "atmosphere"). Claire is somewhat bitter because after I work a third day on the show I become eligible to join the Actors Guild, which takes most actors a few years to do... and I have zero interest in acting.

And, finally, I shot my third Group 101 project on Saturday. This one I co-directed with another guy from my group, and this one is pretty experimental, shot on a consumer grade camcorder, with a storyline we came up with less than an hour before we began shooting. Both of us will edit the footage on our own, and I'll post both online for my five faithful readers to take the Pepsi challenge. The movie is about a killer bag. Yeah.

In a few hours, after I shower, sleep, and finish packing, Claire and I head out for a week in Toledo with my Dad and Judy and the rest of my wacky family. Pictures may be posted.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

An intervention.

For the past week I've been halfway through writing a blog about how poor I am, how the current work scenario sucks, and how broke I'll be for the holiday season, before dumping the post altogether. Not only was it depressing me more, but whining on my blog felt petty and boring.

But, now that I've written a preface, let me bring you up to speed.

I haven't worked a "legitimate" job since the X Games. I came off of that gig with a bit of a high from a job well done, an awesome title to add to my resume, and a nice little chunk in my bank account. Since then, the job market for freelancing dilletantes like me has been a barren wastelend. A couple great interviews, but nothing that fed my to desire to work and my need to keep cash in my pocket. Work always slows down in the fall, but this year has been overtly brutal.

Among the depressing thoughts that lately crept into my head was that my "glory days" are over. For some, these glory days might be sporting accomplishments in high school or sexual conquests in their twenties. For me, I began thinking, it was my years of work with MTV, flying all over the country, chilling with celebrities, and working high profile events.

Then, my inner voice, the one that is usually reserved for soft spoken gems of wisdom always a couple hours too late, began SCREAMING at me, something about that if my so-called glory days were working for MTV wrangling club kids so they could dance on Global Groove, or bribing audience with tequila and donuts to show up and stay for early morning shoots at Spring Break Cancun, then I was a sad sack. My wise inner voice then called up a couple of its buddies, including my voice of concience, my voice of temptation, and even a couple old imaginary friends of mine for an intervention. They said, "David, your glory days are ahead of you. You are meant for great things. Your filmmaking career has only just begun. And your short film 'Asstoids' is proof of this."

Actually, this is when voice of reason cut that voice off. "Well, don't gauge your future based on Asstoids. But listen, you have four more months to make four more shorts, and if you put some actual effort into one of these, you'll build the credentials and confidence to perhaps shoot a feature film."

My old imaginary friend John Barkington, a race car driver, added, "Besides, you're sitting on a pile of great ideas that nobody will care about until you actually write them. They're cluttering our living space in here. As a matter of fact, I was looking underneath the cushions on the couch for change, and I ran across your idea for the Fantasy Football movie... along with some porn. The football idea is great... although I think you could have a career making adult films too."

Voice of temptation nodded emphatically.

Everyone gave me a big hug, and then they sent me off. I asked if I could go to rehab somewhere for a couple weeks, and they something about how rehab was basically a legitimate form of procrastination, but my problem was procrastination, and that the best thing for me was to get off my ass and back headlong back into focusing on the Group 101 shorts.

It was totally inspiring.

I then immediately went and played SOCOM 2 on Playstation until 4am.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Ask your doctor about Asstoids

My second Group101Films project is complete, and in spite of the subject matter, I'm tremendously proud of the result.

"Asstoids", a fake commercial, was not only directed and shot by me, but also edited by me... the first project I've ever edited, outside of the 'ol VHS to VHS deck technique I used in high school. And I'd never touched the program, Adobe Premiere Pro, until a little less than 24 hours ago.

Writing credits go to Shannon Hilary for the product idea, me for the commercial concept, and to the actors, Scott Khouri and James Tuttle, who improvised all their dialogue. Music is an edited version of "A Little Champagne" by Kari Newhouse. And special thanks, and possibly a producer credit, goes to my girl Claire Dunlap who helped cast and light, and also provided catering.

Watch "Asstoids" by clicking here.
(or right click and choose "Save As" to download to your hard drive.

Warning: video contains grown gay men kissing. (and by grown, I mean adult)

Katzinjammer, aka Tall Guy, aka Jaily Brokenstein, has posted a couple video projects of his own... Ken Cowan's blog is back up and running... Tony's writing post-election is better than usual...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Oh, ohhhh.... say can you see, by the dawns early light...

The people have spoken, and it pretty clear that over half the people want an administration that believes in many of the same standards as the Taliban – as in, the ends justify the means, that a woman does not control her own body, that homosexuality is an abomination, and that power should only be kept in the hands of the few who can incite God whenever it is convenient for them.

But enough hyperbolic bullshit. I want to write about this great democratic process that gave us another four years of hell.

Yesterday, on election day, I hid myself from all the pundits and early election results at the only place you could do so: the polls. (heck, even people stuck in a cave, like Osama, couldn’t avoid news coverage) In addition to the “I Voted” sticker that 60% of Americans were given, I also was able to wear one that read “Election Official” as I worked from 6am to 10pm helping run a local voting place here in Hollywood.

In spite of the nationwide results, the day remains an affirmation of the beauty of our democratic process. Hundreds of people waited patiently, if not anxiously in line to cast their vote. Not surprisingly, many were first time voters, and not all of the first time voters were in their late teens or early twenties – many were new citizens from Europe and Asia, and some, in their fifties, had simply never bothered voting before.

My job was greeting people as they arrived and checking for their names on the rolls to ensure they were eligible to vote. If they weren’t for one reason or another, I steered them to out poll inspector to fill out a provisional ballot. Most of these people had only recently registered to vote, or they were voting outside of their neighborhood. And not surprisingly, a lot of people came in saying that either their absentee ballot was never sent, or that they registered at the DMV but never received confirmation.

The great thing about provisional balloting is that ANYONE can vote, although it has to be verified that they were actually eligible first (or that they didn’t vote twice). So, I only turned away one guy because he said he wasn’t registered to vote in the state of California.

The most interesting part of the day came when one eligible voter told me that if the election didn’t go his way, he was going to “kill the bastard”. I thought he was making a bad joke, and told him I didn’t want to hear about. Then he said, “really, I’m gonna kill him if he gets reelected.” I repeated, a little more loudly, that I really didn’t want to hear him talk about that. He chuckled, in a somewhat creepy manner, and said he’d already tried once before, and then walked off with his ballot to vote. If I’d heard him mention it again, I knew I’d have to contact the men in black.

Its funny – as much as I disdain George W. Bush, I’m still a patriot and would, as dramatic as it sounds, take a bullet for the man. As dysfunctional as our country is, it remains the greatest country in the world, and anyone who’d attempt to cause it harm is my enemy. And the liberals who now threaten to move to Canada were never truly American, just fair weathered fans not willing to back the team even when the management sucked ass.

And, uh, yeah. All that stuff. I’m now going to go blow up some more Ewoks.

May the force be with us.