Friday, December 30, 2005
HAven't been updating the blog so much lately for several reasons:
1) I don't have INternet at home anymore, until/unless i get new service which thus restricts me to Internet cafes
2) Have been busy teaching this new video class at Royal University of Phnom Penh as well as working on my own other projects, bidding for a new NGO doc
3) Have been making most entries in the form of the hardcopy diary, HURRICANE...
Somehow, I feel like I'm pulling away from the blog since the blog isn't tactile, and I'd prefer to print up a few hundrd pulp paperbacks out here of my experiences in the form of HURRICANE (which has been the ongoing production diary of the making of our most recent feature, SUSAN HERO, as well as other assorted "experiences")
Also: the nature of bloggin is inherently exhibitionist, and I'm not sure I want to continue in this direction exclusively.
BUT, with this having been said, hello again from Phnom Penh, where the new introduction to video production class I'm teaching (built syllabus as well) has really been quite a success...loosly modelled after my own NYU sight and sound classes, we have about twenty students who have formed their core groups and have each produced a short video, thus 20 short videos produced thus far!
The topics they have chosen are pretty unique and have some interesting titles: GRASS CUTTING MAN, THE PHONE STICKER (about a guy who makes a living putting plastic coverings on cell phones), MEATPASTE, COCONUTS, RUBBISH COLLECTOR, SAMPLE FARMER, and more.
About seven of the videos produced thus far are strong enought o be put into some sort of collection, and I will try to submit them to the 3rd annual upcoming Cinema Cambodia festival.
So, now with two days off, I can at last unwind. Maybe work on my updated reel, do some research into bidiversity (topic of proposed NGO vid) New English class to teach as well, two hours a day in the evening, so I will try to savor these two days of nothing.
No word yet on SUSAN HERO, which we've already submitted to four fests. Hope, as they say, that no news is good news.
All the Best in 2006!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Have just started building up a DVD library of movies which I think are solid, can be learned from -- and which can be acquired at the Russian Market (bootlegged)
Amongst them: Taxi Driver, Lawrence of Arabia, Eraserhead, Star Wars, Rashoman, and others.
Meanwhile, back in New York, G has just about finished tweaking the cut of Susan Hero, now with the 500Gigs of HD in hand, brought graciously back to NYC from Cambodia by my pal Cormac Creed who was just visiting here.
So, as of today, Susan Hero has been submitted to a few fests, basically the ones who waived the entry fee due which I needed to request due to my slim Cambodian salary (though huge by Cambodian standards)
Basically now waiting to hear what happens with the current fest submissions, now writing and working on a couple local ideas in clkuding a fictional work -- just now in its early formative stages -- about the secret bombing of Cambodia.
For this, will make a trip to the "Parrots Beak", and area near the Vietnam border where the US command was convinced the enemy held a huge swatch of sanctuaries, including the jungle equivalent of our own Pentagon. Heavy stuff, not sure about angles or storline yet, just more research needs to be done.
Anyway, updates soon as to whether Susan Hero gets into any of these major fetss we've submitted to!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Anyway, also gave him the 2 250G hard drives containing all material and programs for Susan Hero. Next stop for him is NYC, where he'll give the drives to G who will take over the fine edit, mix, titles, and general finishing work (although I'm still trying to find a way to go back to oversee the final output)
Thus, a watershed event in Camerado's second feature, Susan Hero.
Have submitted it as is to Rotterdam and Florida Film fests...we'll see what happens!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Can't write much, have been writing instead in the hard copy making of diary, HURRICANE, now a year and a half old and 310 pages long!
Speaking of which: what is up with all the hurricanes? Came up with the title HURRICANE last year during what seemed to be a strange peak year for Hurricane's now they seem to be getting worse and worse each year...
Musct go now and change my underwear. Bought a pair of "XXL" down in Sinnoukeville last week, but they are SQUEEZING my balls off...I wonder who deemed them to be XXL?
(Strange Cambodian underpants)
Monday, October 10, 2005
Finished the NGO doc finally! Trailer link to be posted soon.
Now taking a break in Kompong Som, back to Phnom Penh in a day or two.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
The features of Dorco "DORCO"
By adopting micro grinding method which is far different from the existing grinding methods, Dorco "DORCO" could have the edge of curve and tooth shape that assures comfortable feeling while shaving and long durability.
The lubricant oozing out from the lubricating strip attached to the top cap of Dorco "DORCO" reduces friction between the razor and skin and prevents skin damage while shaving.
Two blades are positioned in such a way that the first blade stretches your whisker out as it shaves the whisker and then the second blade shaves the remaining portion of the whisker for a perfect shave.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
1) the compass on my Swiss Army knife spins wildly whenever I get within 4 or 5 feet of it
2) This morning when I woke up, I found a great deal of condensation on the surface, and a pool of water had formed around the base. It was cool to the touch--whereas everything else was room temperature (that is, warm to hot)
Planning on taking it to the Royal University of P P next week, to have it looked at, determine at least the source of the inscriptions, its composition, etc.
Friday, August 26, 2005
...the perplexing thing is, the material looked very new, was very lightweight and--I know this sounds cliche--was covered in strange markings.
It was neither Khmer nor English, nor Russian. No one had any idea what it came from, but none of the guides would touch it.
Anyway, we took it to the local border station, but I brought a piece back here with me and I hope to post a picture of it online tomorrow.
Monday, August 22, 2005
The first, I went and interviewed buyt never even heard back from them, never even received a "thanks for coming", this again from my own Alma Mater...
The other, well I made it to the next round of the very selective process, bu tthey kept asking me, based on my resume:
"You like to make films, do you think you'd be happy in this program where you'd just be supporting a production?"
YES--I thought and said, dying for a break, a gig in my field after starving for so long out West trying to push the picture forward.
I remember the anonymous, mean highways of America...one time, Rich and aI slid off the road in his Plymouth Sattelite just after a short rain, there was a hairpin turn on the road and we blew it. Thus we skidded through a farmer's fence and into his muddy cowfield.
We stood at the side of the road for a long time, trying to get one of our fellow "Leave No One Behind!" patriotic Americans to stop their minivan so as to at least help us call a tow truck, etc...no dice. They all swooshed by with their Big Gulps in hand and stared at us, dough faced, out their windows.
Finally a big pickup stopped. It was full of Mexican farmworkers. They immediately uncoiled a big chain from the back of the pickup and with one sprightly yank, plucked us out of the mire.
I remember these thoughts and more as I look back on my times in the USA...
Stayed up all last night loading the second half of the footage for Susan Hero. Will now haul ass and leave a monkish existence getting it finally cut together.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Will I make the Sundance submisison deadline in October? Hope so, but if not, then f*ck it, the movie's ready when it's ready.
Some limitations are: very few NTSC decks to be had here, and I need one to load this NTSC footage. The Windows machine functions well, though Quicktime is a more robust format I think than .avi.
Besides this: no more teaching, that gig ended as mentioned ( I think), some late night sessions at Martini's restaurant / girl-garden, installing software, troubleshooting systems...am back to the Internet cafe since we're changing our service provider, over here in Kampuchea you have to pay by the Megabyte for web traffic and this can lead to the usual corruption and overcharging on the part of the service provider.
Peanut butter, bananna and blackcurrant jam sandwhiches for breakfast; seafood soup or Lok Lak for lunch; pork shishkebabs for dinner; pasta and tuna fish when money's tight; pineapples and papayas from the fruit man's wagon; Special Three Ply sandwhiches from Mondo BUrger when I'm busy editing or too lazy to go out (delivered for 500 riel).
Sounds like the old days in New York! (Except my rent, office included, is ONE FOURTH what I was paying, and I'm actually being paid at last to work in my field, on commission.)
By the way, and this is mentioned at length in HURRICANE, the hard copy version of this Blog, seems like the Cheerleader and the Embezzler (GW and Cheney, respectively)
are finally being found out for what they always have been: shams, deceptive con-men who have latched onto the teat of America for far too long.
To wit: the other week I took worm pills to make sure I harbored no parasites. It's high time America took some worm pills to get rid of those con-men once and for all--the whole Iraq war being nothing more than an elaborate front from which to profiteer.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
He then calleda friend who brought a new camera--but itwas a Sony, and it suffered the same fate as the deck!
Finally, Monrith's friend bring s another battery and charger for the first camera, thus I can load the crucial footage--
But then the digitzer from Premiere Pro flunked out--
So then I fired up Sony Vegas andused it's digitizer, with the hope oflater importing those clips into Premiere--
But then I discovered the original clips wouldplay after all (sorry, iBook nowusedforBlog as windows machineis digitzingas Iwrite,and the iBookhas a bad space key)
Went out to the neighborhood beer stand, dranka coke and aBlack Panther stout. At the end ofthe break,as I left,I spied abeautiful girl fromthe dancehallsitting near the stand, but she said nothing tome,only motioned as I saidhelloand goodbye:
"She can'tspeak, and shecan'thear"
Ah...but herface wasso clearandalmond like, I made a gesture with my hand and suffered to find a way to talkwith her somehow.
She gestured tomeand madean eatingmotion.
"What'sshe want?"I askedmy Khmerfriend who tends the stand
"She wants 500Riel for somewater"
I gave it toher,but left,and thought of her the wholeway home.
"Howcan I meet her?How can I find outhername?"
Andstill,I think of her now...
[The oldKrung lady fromratanakiri, she looks likemy English/Irish grandmother ,she'son camera nowI can hear heras the tapedigitizes]
Monday, August 01, 2005
Lots of stuff happening though, new gigs appearing based on the first one, which represents lots of cas$h if I get them. Paradoxically, I'm once agaiun down to my last few dollars after getting the machine setup, after getting my visa extended (another six months, in case I head up NOrth again to do something remote, want to have it already)...also offered a gig (tentatively) as a game producer for a reality TV show which will be shooting in Vitenam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.
The job of the game producer is to skip ahead of the rest of the crew with a technical sidekick and translator and set up the various games and challenges that are such an integral part of the realkity TV genre: decode the monk's hidden riddle; swim the swamp to the nearby temple; swing from vines til you reach the amulet; wade thorugh a pit of vipers til you exit the labyrinth. Etc.
Anyway, many new giigs sprouting, but I'm still teaching and shall derive much needed bucks from the next paycheck as the cash flow dribbles to a halt--unless the NGO can make a new advnace before the rough cut is completed. Wasn't poor planning really, just the back to back expenses of shooting and then setting up the edit system exceeded the estimate for the amount of advance money I'd need.
My BDay tomorrow. May my 37th year be less tough than the last, I honestly don't think I can survive another year like the last one...
Now I take a brake from grading papers and listen to Robert Johnson in my lair:
"Correct the following jumbled sentence: We had replanted after the garden the walked through it elephant."
Ah yes, almost as an afterthough. Had to separate the rough cut of Susan Hero in to four parts, since my laptop is still not fast enough to handle the whole thing otherwise. Making tweaks and sweeping through all the tapes from the first pass of digitizing in preparation of the second and last batch of tapes (another 16 hours or so).
My ultimate goal will be to migrate the cut from the Mac onto the more robust and faster Windows machine which is now running Premiere pro, and that will likely involved transferring via homemade network almost 200 Gigs of material from the Mac.
Fun fun fun. I think next time I'll cut with film again for old time's, tactile sake.
Friday, July 29, 2005
It's a kind of magic, and I don'tbelieve in magic, but I started doing it again and it has its place.
Closest I can call it is a kind of creative visualation...now that I strated doing it again, things are going OK
[Cause or Effect?]
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Still moving forward onSusan Hero, which I'll continue to edit on my old Mac laptop (keyboard dying too).
Thus,I'll have two dedicatedmachines for each project.
Am pitching a couple more projects, incl oneabout UXO (unexploded ordinance) and the devastating effects on the local populace -- who often seek and harvest these deadly items for 500 Riel a kilo just for the metal! Sometimes they use the explosivesinside for fishing, actually.
Below, see pix from one ofmy local playmates, Ritsa!
Monday, July 25, 2005
Now, I want to let you all know I have just made a momentous decision while eating a prawnburger for lunch; I have decided to quit my remaining teaching job and focus 100% on this NGO doc and Susan Hero.
** That is, I'm taking the Kierkegaardian leap of faith back into ONLY making movies again **
I can't help it: my inner voice told me very strongly to do it, and by the time I finished the prawnburger, I knew what I had to do...
Three cheers for Kierkegaard!
Friday, July 22, 2005
Listening to Black Sabbath here in my modest lair/office and regrouping: although Phnom Penh is a small, laid back town compared to New York --which is to my liking -- it's a whirring metropolis compared to Ban Lung, the provincial capital up North and biggest town in reach of the indigenous villages we'd been exploring.
Thus, I go from a Tampuan village with pigs,. gourds, and old ladies with sagging tits, to the comfort of my Phnom Penh lair where I now peck, deal with SPAM and some important emails, and assess cash flow for finishing this project.
Also, now once again cutting Susan Hero, which I'm chipping away at as best I can given the continually changing circumstances of life here.
[will post pix from the Ratankiri shoot soon; needto update my system software first ]
Before leaving though, had a striking dream about my (long deceased) father which I must relate before moving into any tales related to the recent journey to the jungle.
I'll relate it here in capsule form, before telling of the trip to Ratanakiri.
Also might elaborate further on this and other things in "HURRICANE", the unedited diary of the making of Susan Hero.
Let me preface this all by saying that I've only dreamt of my Dad a couple times since he died back in 1976, when I was 8. Thelast time was back in New Mexico, while I was clawing away at trying to get the production for Susan Hero off the ground: another extremely trying and grim time.
Anyway, the present. The dream. I was a kid still, I think, and I was with my sister (I think)and some other vague family members, although I don't know who exactly.
We were walking towards a 1970's style station wagon, and I could see the sillouette of someone sitting inthe driver's seat.
"Do you want to see Dad?" someone asked.
I shook my head. No, I didn't I was afraid.
Nevertheless, I was lead over to the car, drawing nearer, and I was trembling as we approached.
Finally I arrived at the car, and I could see him inside, not dead, not a corpse (as I had feared), but "frozen" as ifa freeze frame in a movie. His hair was grey, he looked older, unfamiliar, but I knew if was him.
He began to move, as if my prescence activtaed him, broke him from his stillness.
He picked up his old Super 8 camera -- the very camera I first used to make my early movies, the camera I'd found tucked away on top of his shelf after he'd died-- and started to shoot very carefully through the windshield, then slowly panned around the interior of the car.
Finally, he put down the camera and began to look around as if he were trying to find something in the back seat, something nearby which he'd lost.
Instantly, I found myself standing in front of him, next to the car.
He was trying to say something to me, but the words came out as only unarticualted sounds. His tongue, for some reason, was black (*before I had this dream I'd read a book by Dan Brown which mentioned a murdered Pope whose tongue was black from being poisoned)
"Hmmm, hmmm, mmmuah, haummm...."
He said, reaching toward me as if to comfort me, to pat my head. I knew he was trying to comfort me, though I couldn't understand what he was saying.
In the dream, I dropped to the ground paralyzed by the weight of the moment and the overwhelming experience of seeing him again up close.
I was crying in the dream, dumb, unable to respond to him, overloaded, gushing.
I woke to the darkness of my room in Phnom Penh, the Mondulkiri wood bed, the slowly whirling ceiling fan.
Then and there, too, as the impact of the dream sunk in, I burst into tears uncontrollably, just sobbing and weeping uncontrollably for a long time.
I went to the bathroom to take a piss. I looked in the mirror, and the dream, like scales, gradually shed itself from me.
And I went back to bed.
Monday, July 11, 2005
In this scene, Susan decidesto call Dr. Morell for the first time. Although his ad indicates he works with livestock for ranchers and horsebreeders, he is also now offering his cloning services to bereaved pet owners...which is why Susan, diatraught after the recent loss of her daughter, decides to call him.
Javier can only listen in as Elpee, her overbearning boss, homes in and disconnects the call:
"We can't make calls on company time..."
Susan flips out and soon thereafter she does something quite impulsive which causes her to flee the theater--but she runs into Javier on the way out, and in her rush has dropped her keys... (see both stills)
Anyway, this one was quite a puzzle to put together, but it's working now and will be even smoother once Morell's exterior car driving shots are online.
Coughing today, still rainy, back teaching although it feels very old now that I'm hired to make a doc for pay.
I'm a guy who was reduced to a bowl of PHO a day as I slowly, trickingly, watched my money run out, after a year of unspeakable trials and tribulations trying to get my second feature off the ground. [read the physical, unrated diary, HURRICANE, to get a better idea]
The grave economy in New Mexico led me to take the last desperate gamble: already reduced to Food Stamps, with my money almost gone, and screwed over by Rainbow Media and Kelly Devine to the tune of $2500, I decided to take a chance and come to Asia mainly to get some teaching experience, so that my skill set (already too narrow: film and TV? C'mon) might become more marketable.
This followed months of looking for work in New mexico where the employers all agreed that "we can't hire anyone with the war goin' on and all"
Nearly simultaneously do I get greenllit for the NGO doc (commissioned), but I FINALLY, after a full year of trying, get my back benefits (a mere $500) from NY State...but to give you an idea of how desperate I was, I was literally begging them to send the money.
Also, and more ass-kickingly: the road movie, my second feature Susan Hero finally has some momentum, astonishingly of all places here in Cambodia where I have scraped together a rudimentary editing system with pirated software, all I could afford (sorry software owners, I will send you the money later if I make it big I promise - really)
So now I catch myself each and every day, pinching myself to wonder why I am not so neurotic as I was back in the US, in New York, in New Mexico, where I was not getting laid, and the rent was big and always due...yet I am here in a place I never would have expected where life is moving forward again [knock on wood ]
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Am now burnt out and flu-ish. Taught a lot these past few days, been meaning to quit one or more of the gigs but had to wait to make sure they all panned out an became "solid" with the new terms. Anyway, I have one particulalry huge class (over 50 students) , at the end of the day, and by the time I was teaching that class yesterday I was feeling detached, dizzy...once when I turned too quickly to point to the board, I saw a quick star flash across my vision.
At one point I had to lean on the desk to remain standing without wobbling, and I did this as casually as possible. In the end, I played the tape a lot and let them do primarily listening exercises.
The very last class of the day, with only 8 students, was a relief after this. Also, there's an intriguing girl in that class who gave me a ride home once, I'd like to get to know her better.
Her name:(I sh*t you not) Cherry Tang, of Chinese descent
Today, since I'm having a sub cover for me at school, I'll throw a couple more hours at Susan Hero before taking on the evening classes--if I can hold up alright. The new memory helps, and the program cuts more quickly and the mahcine is more responsive.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Felt like the ultimate loser yesterday, very doubtful about everything. What am I doing here? Then again, I have a place to live and a working space, whereas I was at one point reduced to living on foodstamps in New Mexico (read about it in HURRICANE) Here, I have steady work ---too much work, albeit it teaching--here in Cambodia, and I was just barely scraping by in New Mexico...also in New York.
Go figure. Just some passing doubts, but as the Bard says, doubts can be our traitors in the end.
More editing, I throw hours at the movie as best I can. Susan Hero is finally cooking. Nice sequences, also figured out a workaround re: the 32K ->48K audio problem.
I know who I am and what I'm doing, but I don't know if I can explain it. To everyone else, the moves don't quite make sense. When the picture's done though, looking back, everyone will slap me on the back and comment on how great everything worked out.
Til then, I'm invisible, a shadow.
Hope to have a solid cut to submit to Sundance in October, definitely achieveable.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
What to do? Take a leap and quit the English teaching? Or try to juggle everything?
Also bidding for another video about a violent landgrabbing episode up in Poipet near the Thai border. If/when the money comes through, it'll be like rain in the desert, I've been so starved for cash.
Amazingly, just framed my NYU diploma yesterday, first time in 13 years when I graduated. even though I think the NYU Film School degree was a waste of money (in light of its costs), I have it now and I might as well try to look impressive.
So there it is: in a cheesy Cambodian gold frame perched on top of a wicker shelf. I'm official now, important.
Now, let me finish the story of the guy in Sinnoukville, as you might recall, we'd just arrived at the hospital and we'd gotten him onto the gurney. Yet his eyes were still fixed open and unblinking, and the doctor --an old guy who seemed to be helping out "just for kicks", alhtough he did have a white robe -- seemed unsure as to what to do as he placed an oxygen mask on the blue guy's face.
A crowd gathered, formed a thickening ring in the night.
I continued to do CPR as best I could, again, recalling the times I spent with Annie: recessa-Annie, the CPR training dummy back in my high school days.
"One and two and three and four and..."
The breath just rasberried out of him; it waas not catching, despite my labor, he was not breathing on his own , and his eyes remained fixed open. However, his shade of blue did seem to be lightening, as if the cells in his skin and body were finally receiving much-needed oxygen. So, perhapos his body, though inert and incapable of breathing, was still able to transport the oxygen thorugh his veins once we got it into him.
"Water--Gimme some water!"
I was thirtsy, plus I wanted to rinse my mouth, you never know, normally during artificial respiration they now use a big balloon thing, or a mouth shaped tube to blow through to protect against germs--I wanted to make sure I didn't catch some weird bug from him.
Someone came with some water. I drank, poured it on my head, washed my face quickly between CPR breaths.
The old doctor placed the plastic breathing mask on the blue guy again, and seemed to fiddle with a knob on a nearby oxygen tank. Yet the guy wasn't breathing--how could he breatht the oxygen if he had no power to breath?!
The old doctor waddled away, and I took a look at the fish-faced blue guy again, wearing the hopeless mask. I lifted the mask and blew a couple more breaths, replaced the mask, then conitnues with the CPR.
By now, another English speaking guy, an Indian hipster from the bar downstairs from the guesthouse where the guy originally was found, had arrived.
"Is there anything I can do?"
"Yea, here's how you do CPR--"
I showed him, told him what to do, and decided this was our last and best chance. I'd take care of the breath, he'd do the heart.
The audience murmered at this new dramatic development. The event had grown more compelling, which in turn drew new onlookers.
"One and two and three--"
C'mon, c'mon...I started to feel like I was floating from the frantic effort...just an hour ago i was lounging on the bech with the lobster girl, and before that I was gently rocking in the boat at sea. I looked down again at the big, blu, blank face before me.
The guy did seem to be getting less blue, but his eyes were still open, dull, and he was not responding.
Finally, a "real" doctor, who actually wore a name badge and ID card around his neck, came out to investigate. He motioned for us to stop, brought out a flashlight, and shined it into the guy's eyes.
There was no response. His pupils did not contract.
"S'lap Heuy" [He'd dead]
He flicked off his flashlight and strode away. I understood him, with my limited Khmer; the Indian guy and myself peeled away and followed the doctor, idly, like leaves caught in the wake of a passing car.
He had died. Or rather, he had always been dead, and we were unable to revive him.
Just at that moment, as if in cruel punctuation, the power went out at the hospital, leaving us all in shadows. The white, lumescent belly of the dead man glowed on his gurney in the corner.
"Can someone bring something to cover him with?"
I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was an old woman, the one who supplied me with the water earlier. She wanted her 500 riel for the water.
I gave it to her, then sat down next to a spindly old guy on a stone bench near the entrance to the hospital. The crowd still hovered, now in expectation of regarding the arrival of the wife and children--whose heartbreak I did not want to witness.
Someone gave me a cigarette, and I smoked. Yet i could not leave, since I had no whhels, and did not feel like finding my way back in the dark.
Thus, I did indeed witness the horrible heartbreaking cries of the dead man's wife, the one who'd found him in the first place, who'd frantically sought our help.
I felt like I'd let her down, but I knew I'd tried.
"Kelly. K-e-l-l-y" She spelled the name for the doctor in between sobs, as he took the report.
Huh. So now I know his name.
I finally got a ride back to the beach with the fellow who'd come with me to the hospital in the first place, in the Toyota. He rode me back on a borrowed motorcycle. As we left, I could see the whole family standing around the pal body, gently massaging his arms as if in hopes of reviving him...
Monday, June 27, 2005
Javier is also very convincing, played by Jaime Estrada; I remember almost not being able to call Jaime after he auditioned because he didn't have his number on his photo!
Anyway, it's the slow long marathon now in earnest, and as long as I can throw three or four or more hours aday at the picture, it'll right itself.
Now attempting to download the 10.2.8 combo updater from Apple, but can only do this at the INternet cafe and I need an hour and a half here to do it. [97 Megs]
Sunday, June 26, 2005
In short, I was getting what's known as a recurring "kernel panic", the rough Mac equivalent of the "Blue screen of death" known so well in the world of Windows.
Spent many a red-eyed hour on this frigging problem, days and hours when I could'a been outside frolicing, but I had to stay inside and be a tech-geek.
And of course it's in moments like these that you really have to hold onto your hat, because there's and incredible urge to take the whole f*cking rig and throw it in the damn bamboo swimming pool and call it off.
Forgot to mention as well that, in the process of reinstalling the system software, accidentally deleted a partition which had a lot of non-critical material on it: photos, some software.
**Thanks above all to Palm Desktop, whose faulty installer hung a couple days ago during what should have been a routine installation, which in turn started this mess in the first place.**
Anyway, had a good day of editing again, because now my system, now lean and streamlined, can edit in FCP 3.0. Back int the saddle, and it feels great. Somehow, things keep moving forward. Began cutting the scenes with Javier in Morel's lair. There's a great moment that worked really, well, where Morell--thinking Javier is an agent from the FDA--clubs him on the head with a chair leg.
Now, the sound of the chairleg hitting his head was take from an outtake where Alan Rice (playing Morell) had dropped the chair leg on the floor.
Replaced and synced over the moment of impact, it's incredibly effective.
Slowly, achingly, agonziongly, it's coming together. Have all but tossed aside any notion of forcing myself to meet a deadline, don't want to add to my difficulties at this point. Not only do I have to work, and HUNT for work, but I have to try to scrape up the time to edit.
**This process, although I wanted to avoid it again, is remarkably like the gruelling marathonic process required to edit BookWars--something I hoped to avoid, considering BookWars was nominally successful, especially for it being a first film.**
Thus, this picture might take another couple years to complete, though I'd like to get it done sooner. Much sooner. And if I repeat the pattern established in BookWars, I'll end up getting married again!
Friday, June 24, 2005
the first, I was in some kind of tomb or temple, and ancient place with various relics still lying around, although the place had clearly been looted.
I believe I was there with some kind of team or group: nearby, occasionaly coins littered the floor.
At one point, it became apparent that we had to prepare for some kind of promotion, the launch of a new liquor which cam e in very small bottles.
So we began to package each relic with a small bottle of liquor, the bottles bore a fancy French script, though I don't recall what they said.
Suddenly, one of my colleagues swung open a huge panel on a sort of entertainment center, revealing a well stocked liquor cabinet behind it.
"See", he said, as if to show that there were more...
I was faced with the prospect of heading home to the US; I fell into a panic, realizing that everything I'd worked for in my new world would come to an end.
"Don't you see, I like this place like I used to like New York?" I said
A wave of sadness hit me, and I realized that I must pack my bags...
Of course, when I woke up and realized it was just a dream, I stretched and smiled and felt great.
[This is NOT a dream]
I noted earlier somehwere a relative of mine we'd seen on TV back in Ohio when I was growing up: those days being the days of George, our great arboreal mutt who remsembled (uncannily) Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, down to the fact that he often preferred to sleep inside of garbage cans, especially if he were left in the garage overnight, his chosen home and barrier against the elements...
Anyway, there we were watching TV on Mom's Trinitron, the news for some reason, when the reporter starts interviewing a few residents of a local institution where there had been reports of foul play and abuse of some of the residents.
A long faced, Saturnine fellow appeared on screen.
"They've been keeping our cigarettes from us, they won't let us have them"
Then, the lower third title card appeareared, revealling the name of the interviewee: the last name was ROSETTE, my last name.
Turns out this was a relative on my Dad's side, a relative I didn't even know about.
Anyway, I received news yesterday from my Mom, via my Uncle, that he just died.
Didn't know him at all...but I still felt a little absent about it.
Anyway, OSX problems galore, sue to an uninstaller problem on Palm software, now my partition won't boot. Thus I might have to (try) to coninue editing on OS 9, luckily the version of Final Cut I'm using (3.0) works on both systems.
Also: word came from the NGO Forum: they want me to make their doc at last, papers to be signed early next week.
Bank account info for me: Wells Fargo -> $7.00
Cash on Hand: $400
Cash Due in from NY State: $500
And that's IT. That's all I've got, yet somehow I'll keep plowing ahead and pull these movies together.
Too bad NYU never sent me my tuition money back, I'd send a letter to President John Sexton last year asking for my money back because I was dissatisfied with the product (the education)
Never heard from him...sent another letter but still no response.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Next scene to cut: Morell in his lair.
For all the advances the UNIX kernel offers on the platform, it's still a pain in the ass to debug and tweak things, especially here where 1) the humidity is higher and can degrade equipment including HARD DRIVES and 2) we pay for the Internet here by the Megabyte.
Thus, I surf the web with images turned OFF, and I create lists of things to down load, ala apps and utilities, which I'll download at an Internet cafe.
Anyway, want to continue the tale where I left off, where were we, ah yes, on our way to the hospital.
So we whipped aroung the traffic circle by the grotesque Lions -- due to the French influence here in INDOCHINA, there are traffic circles everywhere, even in Rattanakiri dirt roads which lead to remote hilltribe villages you might find a grubby, overgrown traffic circle with rain and sun bleached stautes of children dancing in a circle, cherubs examining their stubby, sausage like penises, etc.
I continued to do CPR and respiration, but I couldn't really get the right leverage, me leaning over the back seat to encounter, time and time again, the strange, blank, blue face of the stranger on the back seat.
Believe it or not, one of my impulses, besides revulsion and an instinctive fear/dread, probably due to my own early childhood encounters with death, via my Dad's death when I was just a kid (and of course these thoughts are lacing themselves through my mind as I too am a stranger in this land, trying now to help another dying stranger), was an impulse to LAUGH. To CRACK UP laughing!
After all, it was a riducluous sight in a way, and if circumstances had been different I would have laughed: a blue faced person in the back seat staring at me, lying on his back with his mouth hanging open.
Eyes open, like a fish on ice in Chinatown, just staring at you, it is such a strange sight that part of you will want to LAUGH.
And note too, that that guy was still loose and supple, hadn't hardened into a corpse, a stiff. Thus, he couldn't have been lying there long before his wife found him, and maybe he was still aware, although he wasn't breathinig...
...but maybe he was truly dead. Maybe he was in the Bard's undiscovered country already, and I was here, through some twist of fate and choice, trying in vain to breathe life back into him.
And where was his dear wife who had found him so horribly?
And his nephews and Cambodian nieces?
I pinched his nose and breathed again:
The air rasberried vacantly out of him, past the loose tounge and flabby cheeks, into the shared air of the Toyota.
The other guy who had helped put him in the car just sort of hung there, in a dazed curious suspension whatching me, what I was doing.
And what WAS I doing?
One and Two and Three and Four and --
Finally we made it to the hospital, and in a blur we hopped out of the car. Someone called a doctor, and an old grey haired guy slowly wheeled a gurney over to us so we could place the blue man on it.
"Here get his arm. His head, watch his head."
His head was still hanging loosely, I reached, making a diving catch as if I were still a freshman in high school on the football team. I caught his head and kept it from snapping back in the transfer from car to gurney.
The old doddering, kindly looking doctor (he certainly looked well meaning, if not excalty qualified) started to roll the gurney haphazardly towards the intake corridor of the hospital.
"His head, his head--"
The blue man's head was lolling off the edge of the gurney. I motioned to the doctor to pull on his legs, to slide him down squarely onto the gurney.
After a few more gestures, he understood. We pushed and pulled, positioned the ever-blueing guy onto the cart and we rushed him towards the intake corridor.
Already a crowd has gathered. I know not from where they came, it's as if they were already idling there anyway, prepositioned from the nearby forest.
A nurse was counting crumpled bills on a stretcher--
Various naked torsoed men, sun baked and smoking cigarettes, materialized slowly from the dusk, attracted by the body on the cart. They ruefully observed as we brought him in.
And the old doctor disappeared, leaving me to continue alone!
The crowd circled round to watch. The blue man was nearly purple now; I could discern a differnt shade of blue where he'd perviously worn a T shirt.
He was not a redneck--he was a BLUENECK.
His eyes and mouth were still agape, and everyone was waiting...
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Anyway, just finished polishing the first real scene, the scene between Lonnie and Waseta and their powerful mysterious “moment” together.
Also worked a bit on the arrival of Susan and Javier at the Motel, which I’d previously cut then put aside to ripen and mellow.
Tightened it up, it has some rough edges though due to coverage which I may not be able to fix—but it also has one of the saddest and most real moments I’ve seen so far, a real film moment, no dialogue, just Susan sitting in profile on the bed with Jav in the background something about the awful silence of the shot that really does something…
Finger hurting less in general, but a lumpy knob on the first joint where I cracked the taxi driver in the bone of his brow and cheek; although my main knuckles hit his brow solidly (and split it, so that the ridiculous animal cops who came to interrogate me later took digital photos of the bloody gouge), the taxi slimeball who tried to cheat me, the guy I slugged, tried to weasel $10 out of me for “an injection” because of his wound. With the help of the corrupt gaggle of Cambodian cops who came to the scene and immediately assumed I was “the bad guy”
Not until I dropped the name of my student (no longer my student though), Davuth, from the Ministry of Finance, did they back down and call off the whole episode.
Ah, but quickly (before I go to bed) let me finish the story I started regarding the episode from the other day which burned itself into me.
…So I’d just come back from the lovely boat ride to the islands, and I was lounging with the lobster girl on the beach in Sinnoukeville when I came over to suss the cause of the nearby commotion.
Turns out a foreigner –an American – had passed out in his room at the guesthouse above the bar, and he was unresponsive. His Cambodian wife was freaking out, and soon it became apparent that something very unusual was up, that something was seriously wrong.
I went out to the lane and checked for any police in their little booth; while the motorcycle was there, there were no police to be found.
Meanwhile, the frenzy grew as his wife became more and more frantic. Another foreigner went upstairs to see what was going on, and soon this second guy and another person or two were hauling out a large, shirtless guy in his twenties.
Nearby, oblivious somehow to what was happening, a bearded hippie traveler and his girlfriend haggled over a bracelet. The kid who was selling the bracelet shot a glance or two at the limp body upstairs, but he returned to the task of making his sale to earn his crust: and who could blame him?
They brought the victim as best they could, laboriously, towards the steps, carrying him by his arms and legs. He wore long skateboarder shorts, and no shirt as I said, revealing a tattoo of some kind of lettering which ran down his spine. His head dangled and bobbed with each step.
Now that I saw the guy, and sensed what was going on, I flew without thinking up the stairs of the guesthouse to help. I tried mainly to keep the guy’s head from banging on the steps as we descended.
I’d seen a car out in the lane when I went to look for the cops, and now, rather than waiting for an ambulance which would never arrive, not here in Cambodia, we hauled him out to the car.
“Open the door, NOW! Open it, get him in there!”
Don’t know why, I didn’t know the guy, but time slowed down…we opened the door and I looked down at myself trying to hoist this big, white and blue body into the car. Blue, I say, because his face and lips were now turning blue, his eyes were wide open, fish-like. His mouth hung open, duhhh, a glob of something on his lip.
Things were not looking good.
So we stuffed him into the back seat as best we could, had to just fold his legs up since he was too big to slide in…as we did, I detected an odor.
He’d shat himself before he passed out/OD’d or whatever it was
The car sped away, and the every-darkening blank, blue face of this guy was staring up at me -- dying or dead, I didn’t know. The driver drove, and the only other guy in the car hung spellbound in a daze, uncertain as to what to do.
Out of the vault of my mind, I recalled my high school CPS classes. We all had to take CPR, and we practiced at length on each other and on the rubbery torsos of all the Recessa-annie dolls they could muster: strange, female pulmonary torsos who were all caught in the throes of some life-suspending crisis, on whom we had to administer our fledgling CPR techniques.
I still remember those CPR dolls: the plugs of fake hair in the rubbery scalp…the smell of the rubbing alcohol on the twisted mouth…the closed eyes…the moaning, inflating balloon torso...
Meanwhile, I’m in a car speeding past the ridiculous gold lions of sinnoukeville on the way to a Cambodian hospital, and there’s a blue gaping face looking up at me, could be dead or not. Had to act, had to do something.
Gingerly, I reached down and found his sternum, the pace where I’d begin the CPR…
…one and two and three and…
Then I bent down. I hesitated, but the car was speeding and the life was racing out of this guy. I took a deep breath, leaned over to this total stranger, this blue, lifeless stranger—
--and breathed into him.
I forgot to pinch his nose off, though. At first most of my breath escaped. Shit—hadn’t practiced in years. When I did finally get some breath inside him, it rasberried out of him like a flaccid Bronx cheer, bringing with it the smell of booze and an unidentified waxy flower smell.
I continued anyway.
We sped along….now I’m tired and will continue later.
Also: should not I got my NY State checks finally, only $500 bucks, but I’m scraping the peanut butter jar now as it is. Have decided that, when it comes time to assess my time here in Cambodia for this “segment” (come July), I have to have landed some kind of substantial video / doc job to make my continued stay here worthwhile.
I’ve been pitching and sending budgets and emailing my ass off, and now I really need one of these NGO /other docs to come through.
In any case, I’ll continue pouring the hours into Susan Hero, I’m finally in a position to edit, which I’m doing, and I’m loathe to disturb a good thing.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Anyway, quick note, logged and looked at more footage; the more I see, the more my eye bewitched be. No, but really, I don't know what to make of it...it's a very mysterious project, it feels like its got a life of its own. In any case, it'll either be 1) good 2) a piece of sh*t or 3) mediochre.
Tomorrow: I might head to Takao province; my friend Money, her brother was just killed in a motorcycle accident. Two girls riding with him were also killed...the impact flung them up into the trees.
In light of this, what fat ass in America can deign to grasp the golden hand of Man?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
FILMMAKERS: Beware of former Independent Film Channel Buyer Kelly Devine! (*now with the Global Peace Film Festival)
Apparently (and ironically?) she's now working with a film festival in Orlando called the 'Global Peace Film Festival'. One sure way to promote global peace, I would suggest first and foremost, is not to break written agreements with filmmakers whose livelihoods are affected by damaging, tortious issues like this.
The kill fee for this deal, which I originally requested shortly after the incident occurred back in 2005, and which still remains unresolved, would not be a huge amount. The kill fee would be 10% of the agreed licensing total for our movie, 'BookWars' - thus $3500, without interest accumulated since that time.
In any case, a kill fee remains the industry standard, and is generally most reasonable way to resolve a situation like this, wherein one party (Kelly) renegs on, or withdraws from, a written agreement after deliverables and tax forms had been provided, etc.
All these items remain available and archived in email format in any case.
Besides that, the sum would buy a lot of bicycles for poor kids here in Cambodia and elsewhere in the region where I've been working since then. (*Standard bicycle $35-$45 a pop = 75 to 100 bicycles, if those funds were applied solely to bicycles for poor kids) Or, alternatively, inexpensive laptops for needy kids.
Here's a brother and sister from a poor family in Cambodia who I helped out with a new, inexpensive Acer laptop. The money would have come in handy here as well, helping to promote computer literacy and education for disadvantaged kids like Hung and Hui, below.
I reckon I could have bought 10 laptops with the kill fee money that Kelly still owes; see the benefit of even one laptop, below, which I paid for out of pocket:
Alternately, we probably could have renovated this entire makeshift classroom where I worked as a volunteer English teacher for orphans and street kids in Phnom Penh (with new books for all the kids):
Notably, since Kelly Devine reneged on her agreement, without a peep from her since her unlawful act, it has since also been definitively proven that her core justification (aka, "falsehood" or "lie") for breaking the deal - that the master tapes were not technically acceptable - is not at all valid.
Specifically, those exact same HD masters were deemed acceptable by the very finicky Apple iTunes platform, which drew their content from that same same source master for the sale of 'BookWars' on the iTunes platform.
It's a shame that Kelly would lie about all that stuff and in the process put the otherwise reputable and quality driven IFC (Independent Film Channel) on the spot through her actions. But, I would assume that's why she's no longer working with IFC...
Anyway, for transparency's sake, the original blog post appears below
Anyway, just chipping away here, as mentioned finally loaded about half the footage onto one monster hard drive, will load the other half shortly. Problem is, some of the footage was loaded (don't know why) at 32K audio sample rates, the rest at 48K.
Since Final Cut Pro can't deal with this, I'm re-exporting about 100 1 gigabyte clips at the higher 48K sample rate to make them all consistent. read: slow, tedious, but necessary.
Actually, not so tedious, but slow, as my laptop is like a creaking veteran who lives down by the train tracks, in an old room by the abandoned quarry.
Anyway, as the title of this entry mentions: did some outreach to Kelly Devine, the buyer from IFC (Independent Film Channel), part of media giant Rainbow Media, who renegged on her word last October and screwed me over in the aforementioned HD Cinema 10 deal. (see previous blog entry)
The I realize recently after some consultation that, since she asked for the W9 which I signed, and the master, which I sent and was received, I am rightful in requesting a kill fee for my time and trouble for that deal.
Yet, amazingly, Kelly has changed her story again as she refers my request to the legal department at Rainbow Media. Unable to admit an error that may have cause me some hardship, she first:
1) said she renegged because we were both "too hesitant" in moving forward with the deal
which later changed to...
2) the actual reason for the withdrawl of the deal was that rainbow Media's HD Cinema 10 unit had shifted its prirotities and was unable to purchase my doc after all
Now, after receiving my email (see below) requesting the reasonable and rightful kill fee, she now announces -- many months later, for the FIRST TIME -- that the "actual" reason the deal was ended was because my Master was deemed unsuitable for an HD Transfer.
Wow. Is it any coincidence that she mentions this as a reason for termination of the deal, when withdrawl of a deal arbitrarily -- ie, without any technical reason -- would reasonably result in a kill fee payable to the title's owner (moi)?
This is all the more astonishing, given that Rainbow Media's IFC (Independent Film Channel) unit claims to derive so much value from independent filmmakers "who take risks".
Well, this independent filmmaker took a risk with HD Cinema 10 a while back -- and got screwed over!
See, I spent money I would have otherwise delayed spending developing my third freature, Pat and Lloyd's Final Countdown, based on Kelly's definite word that the deal was on. Here's how the conversation went:
"Yep, it's on. It's a deal."
"So it's definite?"
"Yep, it's definite."
Is that ambiguous? I can't see how things could have been stated any more clearly from either side.
Anyway, as a result of the gap in my cash flow when the deal was pulled, I not only had to turn off my cell phone but I also had to LIVE OUT OF MY CAR while waiting for a room to open up in New Mexico.
And not even an apology, let alone any means of compensating me for my troubles suffered in good faith...nice one, Kelly.
Read below to check out our latest correspondence. And filmmakers/producers: draw your own conclusions from my experiences when dealing with this particular buyer!
On Tue, 07 Jun 2005 09:51:01 -0400
> Repectfully, Jason, I will refer this matter to our legal
> deparment for their consideration. We did not enter into
> a contract and the master was not adequate for the
> purposes of HD transfers.*
*[Filmmaker note: this is the first time EVER that this new explanation is offered, coming out of the blue after I notified her that one reason I was seeking the kill fee was because the deal was terminated for non-technical reasons. Hmmmm...how's that for a way to do business?]
> Please refer all future queries to Rainbow Legal.
> With kind regards,
Thanks, if you can get me their email, that would be
Please note this is the first time you have mentioned
anything about the Master being inadequate for the HD
Prior to this, the reason(s) given for withdrawing the deal
were, from your perspective.
1) we were both being "too hesitant"
which later became
2) [paraphrasing] that the buying unit had been forced to
make financial adjustments and was no longer able to
acquire the title after all.
which is now --
3) the master was inadequate.
Kelly, no matter how you slice it, I was screwed over and I
think you know this. If you have reframed this incident
somehow to yourself, to convince yourself that when you
said to me "it's a deal, it's definite", that you were
speaking with all the aforementioned qualifications...then
you are far more skillful in conscience-tweaking than I am.
Anyway, more power to you if you can rationalize your
position so adroitly, but what went down was simply not
right, not ethical, and I have to let you know this.
And I want to be compensated for my troubles now that I
have been advised that I have always been entitled to seek
a reasonable kill fee.
I had to give up my phone, I had to live out of my car,
because of expenditures I made (which I otherwise would not
have) based on your emphatic, definite word. Did you know
this? Does this trouble you? Will you please consider
this next time you make an offer to an independent
producer? I know it may be a hassle, but I'm one of the
folks who "takes the risks', which is what Rainbow's IFC
unit celebrates in its stated mandate.
Anyway, this is all solid blog material in the end. I'd
just like to be compensated for my rightful troubles--I
don't see why you have to distort things so severely to
deflect any responsibility from HD Cinema 10...
On Mon, 06 Jun 2005 16:10:25 -0400
> Dear Jason,
> I hope this finds you well. I will forward this email to
> our legal department as this is a matter for their
> I would remind you that you had informed me verbally that
> you were still shopping the title to others and that you
> expressed to me that you would not be able to provide all
> the documentation required for our due diligence review.
> I would also remind you that the proposal letter I had
> sent you was non-binding and implied no contract. There
> was a notice on the proposal letter itself and several
> emails sent to you regarding the status of the proposal.
> I will provide it again for your records:
> Please be advised that all terms are subject to the
> approval of Rainbow Media Holding's Legal and Business
> Affairs Department and the management of Rainbow Media
> Holdings. This letter of proposal is not and should not
> be construed as a contract or an offer to enter into a
> I trust that you are busy working on new projects and
> wish you every success with them.
Thanks for the reply. Very important we get all the facts
straight --again--and I hope you can forward this as well
to any relevant department:
1) I did indicate that I would have no choice but to put
the title back on the market if there were no concrete
development regarding progression of the paper work, this
being well after the Oct 18th date for conclusion of the
deal which you'd outlined (and which had well come and
2) I asked (asked, with all due qualification) if, since
your sister station Metrochannels required no due
diligence, as was the case with their acquistion of
BookWars, if HD Cinema 10 would also be able to make an
adjustment along these lines -- since I was logistically
very far afield, outside of the country.
While I have all due diligence along with other elements in
New York, and could have retrieved them upon my scheduled
return, to make a special trip back for this purpose would
have required a return trip at my additional expense, which
I was willing to sustain; however, since the Oct deadline
had come and gone, things seemed to be uncertain and I did
not know if I should place further faith in the deal or
not. (now we know this was a wise move)
Again, let's bear in mind the difficulties the withdrawn
deal caused to my filmmaking activities, especially
considering the fact that the W9 was signed and submitted
and the Master was sent and received as per your request.
As you know, I considered giving up filmmaking because of
that incident (to focus on music and other pursuits)
If this request for a master does not support the fact that
an authentic offer had been made, then I don't know what
> >>> JR
> Hi, this is Jason Rosette, the filmmaker who made the
> "BookWars", the title for which an offer was withdrawn
> year for non-technical reasons.
> Anyway, I've recently been advised to seek a kill fee for
> that deal, something which I had felt to be appropriate
> I had not been properly advised at the time and so I had
> not stated this in a formal fashion.
> Again, please recall that the deal was withdrawn not for
> technical reasons, but because the buying unit had
> realigned its priorities after the deal--and after
> of the W9 and master.
> I am, accordingly, requesting compensation in the amount
> 10% of the proposed overall deal, that percentage being
> Please forward this message to the relevant
> I have already submitted a letter to Mr. Sapan and an
> invoice to the accounting department, but it's
> that neither has been received.
> Please note that the withdrawl of that deal for
> non-technical reasons caused severe documentable
> due to the fact that --inspired by IFC's mandate
> filmmakers who "take risks" -- I'd taken a risk and put
> very limited discretionary money in that approximate
> towards developing my third feature film, based on the
> presumed solidity of your emphatic verbal agreement and
> submission of master and W9, etc.
> (several filmmakers and associates can attest to the
> hardships this caused: the loss of my mobile phone; the
> loss of adequate housing which forced me to have to sleep
> in my car during the consequent gap in my cash flow, etc)
> I am only now able to make contact in this fashion
> I have only just been formally advised that a kill fee
> that deal is not only appropriate and reasonable, but it
> would help to alleviate the damage caused by that
> Moreover, anyone who asks me about that deal would from
> this point on receive a positive/neutral feedback, versus
> negative one. (if this matters or not, I don't know)
> Thanks for your understanding and cooperation. If you
> unable to assist, please refer me to the appropriate
> and accounting departments who I can contact directly.
> Jason Rosette
> Independent Filmmaker
> From: JR
> Subject: Re: J Rosette W9 (E&O UPdate)
> Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 07:44:35 -0800
> To: "Kelly DeVine"
> Yes; if I gave you my word that the title was yours and
> that I was entering into an agreement in good faith, and
> barring any sudden impasse or change in interest by HD10,
> would have been ethically bound not only to do everything
> in my power to conclude the sale (as I had done, even
> including communications which may have been "too-open",
> but in the spirit of being on the up and up) but also to
> reimburse HD10's costs if I'd bailed from the sale for
> arbitrary reason.
> But, I didn't bail from the sale for an arbitrary reason,
> so that's a non-issue.
> You mentioned after our phone conversation, some time
> when the documentray unit must have been dissolving, that
> the sale could end at any time. However, when we spoke in
> person on the phone, you told me it "was a deal", and I
> actually asked you again to confirm and you said "yes".
> Now, I understand that the nature of doing business
> necessarily involves paperwork. But the facts remain
> unchanged. Please note these are not critiques, they are
> facts meant to illumate my position, whether or not
> anything can be done about it at this time:
> 1) I took you at your emphatic and plainly stated word,
> which I felt to be good, and which was not qualified at
> time by any conditions other than to say the formal
> paperwork would follow (these conditions followed later)
> 2) All previous buyers I've dealt with similarly gave me
> their verbal agreement, which I also took to be good,
> then interfaced with the natural paperwork to follow, and
> so this can be considered to be standard.
> 3) Assuming your verbal word was good, and that the deal
> would go forth as described and specified, I made a
> decision to exploit the sale by reallocating my (very
> limited) discretioary funds. And initially at least, when
> things seemed to be on track, I notified other interested
> in the picture that there was a deal with HD10 underway,
> and which hinged on your verbal agreement which was
> unqualified at the time
> 4) In the end, I ended up in a weaker financial position
> entertaining a deal with HD10 via yourself as buyer.
> There's no question I would not have operated differntly
> if you had not given me an unqualified verbal agreement,
> asked for the W9, the master, in short, all items that
> would inicate the deal was real, solid, and to be relied
> upon barring any impasse.
> Again, the issue whether anyone's right or wrong; I just
> think that, barring anything uncorrectable in a deal that
> is underway, it's not ethical to make an agreement in any
> unqualified form in that there may be real financial
> Whether this is good business, or is avoidable, or is
> constructive is obviously debateable depending on one's
> And, in the case of the small filmamker producer, the
> effects are magnified by a relatively lesser level of
> capitalization with which they operate.
> Anyway, please, please try to thoroughly qualify your
> verbal agreements in the future if a situation like this
> should arise again with another filmmaker / producer. It
> would be all the more useful right up front at the very
> first verbal agreement that it were all stated as
> and not solid until every last ioata of paperwork and QC
> were finalized --on both sides.
> Anyway, this is why I feel the way I do. Bottom line is,
> suffered financially by placing faith in this deal.
On Tue, 07 Jun 2005 09:51:01 -0400
> Repectfully, Jason, I will refer this matter to our legal
> deparment for their consideration. We did not enter into
> a contract and the master was not adequate for the
> purposes of HD transfers.
> Please refer all future queries to Rainbow Legal.
> With kind regards,
> >>> JR
> Thanks for the reply. Very important we get all the
> straight --again--and I hope you can forward this as well
> to any relevant department:
> 1) I did indicate that I would have no choice but to put
> the title back on the market if there were no concrete
> development regarding progression of the paper work, this
> being well after the Oct 18th date for conclusion of the
> deal which you'd outlined (and which had well come and
> 2) I asked (asked, with all due qualification) if, since
> your sister station Metrochannels required no due
> diligence, as was the case with their acquistion of
> BookWars, if HD Cinema 10 would also be able to make an
> adjustment along these lines -- since I was logistically
> very far afield, outside of the country.
> While I have all due diligence along with other elements
> New York, and could have retrieved them upon my scheduled
> return, to make a special trip back for this purpose
> have required a return trip at my additional expense,
> I was willing to sustain; however, since the Oct deadline
> had come and gone, things seemed to be uncertain and I
> not know if I should place further faith in the deal or
> not. (now we know this was a wise move)
> Again, let's bear in mind the difficulties the withdrawn
> deal caused to my filmmaking activities, especially
> considering the fact that the W9 was signed and submitted
> and the Master was sent and received as per your request.
> As you know, I considered giving up filmmaking because
> that incident (to focus on music and other pursuits)
> If this request for a master does not support the fact
> an authentic offer had been made, then I don't know what
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Almost documentary like, nothing is "over the top", everything modulated well and it's really a pleasure to see after all this time-- all this frustration, agonizing waiting, hustling, worrying, scraping, trying to get by, enduring the b*llshit bogus deal from HD Cinema 10 --which was really very very diappointing and made me want to give up filmmaking...
Anyway, it's like some shining fruit that's fallen into my lap, fallen from a tree like one of the juicy Cambodian mangoes.
ON the downside, I'm lower in cash than I've been since HIGH SCHOOL, and word is the school where I teach will be late with pay. Also, heard back from Sundance about 'Angkor Rapper" a documentary project I picthed to them for the doc fund, and they passed.
Don't know how I'll get by, though I have some new jobs starting up soon. Once I recover from the expense of renting the deck (twice) and buying one of the two hard drives, I should be OK, knock on wood.
All I can do is pray to the Muse that I can keep hammering away to perfect this movie, and my overall art and craft (and make some money on the picture too when it's done!)
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
...Susan Hero will probably be a cult/midnight movie with decent sell through on DVD and limited art-house theatrical. It will perpetually bring in a modest but steady flow of revenue.
It will play well at edgier "A" level fests, ala Rotterdam, but it's probable that Sundance won't want to take a risk on it seen as they are generally very conservative overall.
It probably won't be hurt by piracy unless it breaks through, in which case our low overhead will probably allowe the picture to recoup itself (and efforts) fairly rapidly.
We'll see though, just an estimate. Could be a piece of sh*t in the end, could have that magic. But DVD will be the main revenue source for the movie, and domestic license fees for fiction features in the US are so pathetic, unless there are huge names attached, that its better to focus on just MAKING IT A GREAT MOVIE.
After all, been making movies since I was 12 years old, and I plan incidentally to put that first movie, "The Hit Man" on the DVD release of Susan Hero!
Fun nontheless, to finally be cutting and logging. Finally getting my hands on it...out here in Kampuchea.
Monday, May 30, 2005
Anyway, after a marathon 48 hour loading session, I discovered that all the footage would have to be reloaded, and the $50 bucks was gone as well. F*ck.
Thus, after another gruelling week of teaching and hustling to survive, managed to borrow a deck from A local company here, Fit Media, one of the guys who runs the place is also an American...anyway he lent me their deck for the weekend and again, another 48 hour mrathon session...
Still had the firewire bugs but somehow managed to load 225 gigs of material willload the other half in the near future.
Believe the case for the firewire enclosure could be faulty, it certainly heats up more than I am comfortable.
Now, 6AM, heading to my morning class. No time. Little pay.
Did enyone every mention that most filmmakers who "make it", esp doc folks, come from wealthy/patrician families to begin with? It's true, not being cynical, etc, just its objectively true.
(Except that most don't like to mention this, would rather cultivate their "war stories" instead. And how can you have a good war story when, in between your struggles, you're going to the Catskills to relax?)
Anyway, finally started logging takes, and the project moves forward, somehow, once again. No catskills for me though, maybe a day or two in Sinnoukeville...
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
But it's a great movie, f*cking laughed my balls off, and also saw my good pal Mike Fewx in the opening club scene as one of the hipsters. Though we were both hired to do background (be extras) because we're both in SAG (Screen Actors Guild), Mike usually gets placed in the foreground somewhere -- he's in almost every movie that's shot in New York.
So, yesterday, sitting in Mondo Burger, I took out my newly sharpened pencil, ordered a special 'Three Ply Burger" (three layers of meat, but what kind of meat?) and scoped out my potential lesson for the day, which I'd teach to my private student, a cool dude from the Ministry of Finance.
He pays me an unheard of fee which is actually slightly higher than I earned recently in the States. But still, think about this: I have a better quality of life, thus far, in a third world country than I had in the US -- and I'm not an NGO guy!
Anyway, regarding my student, the other day I went to his house to teach him and he invited me first for lunch. We ate small, giddy looking catfish which lay, whiskers and fins trimmed -- upon the plate.
And so we ate, an odd, tinny Cambodian soap on TV.
"The curve of that girls leg reminds me of the girl I brought home from Martini's. Taught, firm. As is the meat of this fish."
I thought, while digging for the last moreseled cake of flesh that lay behind the fish's cheek.
AGAIN, I WILL TELL YOU: I KILLED HIM WITH MY BARE HANDS!
Later that afternoon, as I slunk past the sleeping cyclo drivers, I bought a sliced pineapple for a thousand Riel - 25 cents - and gobbled its juicy flesh down my parched and sticky gullet, cause I cannot just turn on the faucet and get drinkable running water, I have to boil and then chill the water in gruelling, complicated regimens to quench my thirst, the thirst which feeds my myriad pores.
Thus, like my primate friends whose families slink overhead on the powerlines around Phnom Penh to steal the lunches of dozing workmen, I attempt to get my nourishment from the pulp of fruit (and fruit-like vegetables.)
No movies today, more waiting for money to come through; but now just about ready to buy 250 gigs to start digitizing and editing the long awaited cut of Susan Hero--
AND THEN I KILLED HIM WITH MY BARE HANDS!!!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Didn't remember at first who he is, but after a while messengered him back and recalled that he's the founder of a group called Clone Rights United Front (see www.clonerights.com), and a big advocate of human cloning...I'd contacted him a while ago regarding Susan Hero, our cloning road movie which deals with cloning issues.
Anyway, Randolfe became our latest Pope of Camerado!! (actually, an Anti-Pope, as per his request) with a much needed cash infusion, sent via PayPal to our firstname.lastname@example.org address.
++ Are there any other potential Popes out there who can make a contribution at this critical time? If so, visit out page at http://www.camerado.com/popes.html ++
All contributors become an Official Pope of Camerado, which means you get your name listed in the credits of the picture for all posterity.
Go ahead, check out www.camerado.com/popes.html and you'll see it's painless and easy, and it will make a HUGE difference.
Anyway, Randolfe's contribution came at a CRITICAL TIME: I was teetering on the brink of being able to make the first hard drive purchase to keep going with postproduction of Susan Hero here in Cambodia--had to sell off my Mac and other items back home after shooting, due to production costs and the financial woes of the New Mexican economy--and so I have to build a DV editing system from scratch over here.
Giacomo, back in New York, had been editing on his own system, but his firewire bus went bust and besides, it was too difficult to coordinate a long distance cut of the picture from New York to Phnom Penh.
AGAIN: if you can chip in anything, $20 bucks, $50 bucks, whatever you can afford, it'll mean a great deal to the project as we keep clawing forward.
That page again is: http://www.camerado.com/popes.html Go ahead, Randolfe kicked in some ca$h, and so can you. It'd be HUGELY appreciated.
Gotta go now and price hard drives...so much to do now, have to keep up the new found momentum...exhausted from teaching, and from building things up again after living on the edge so long...but have come a long way since sleeping in my car in New Mexico following the financial drain of shooting Susan Hero.
Anyway, there are big cottony clouds are in the sky today in Kampuchea, and dragonflies are playing in the mighty afternoon.
Anyone who wants to come over and visit Phnom Penh for a while can bring their hard drives, I'll cook the rice!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Achieving this step is a great leap, roughly similar to the scene in 2001 A Space Oddyssey where the monkey/chimp (actually a dwarf in a rubber suit) discovers "tools" and celebrates by tossing--ecstatically--the thigh bone of a boar into the sky, the same bone he used to vanquish his larger bully enemy, which revolvingly and famously becomes the turning space station...
Yet I too have Internet access again, no more Internet cafes (my staple necessity for the past three months). Accordingly, I have tweaked the Camerado index page (www.camerado.com) as part of an overall plan to rebrand and revitalize the Camerado entity. **Go ahead, check it out -> http://www.camerado.com
On the down side, it's rainy season here which means constant humidity; bought an industrial size bottle of talcum powder from the new Pencil supersaver nearby, noticed the shelves were heavily stocked along these lines...problem with the humidity is, if you're not aclimated, one is prone to rashes from the constant sweating. Fans must always be turned on, undershirts washed EVERY DAY.
Speaking of which, if anyone cares to send a care package -- don't matter if we haven't met yet, but some fresh undershirts would be nice -- send to:
c/o Local Adventures
#14 St 258 (Long Nget)
Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA
It's the King's birthday on Friday, which means that everything except the pickup bars will be closed. He's actually an actor filmmaker himself, but being a King [Norodom] he never had to go through the whole Rice and Beans phase which can be so frustrating, esp when it lasts THIRTEEN YEARS.
My private student, who works for the Ministry, has bailed for this week, so I cannot count on that cash in my cash flow sheet. Thus, as careful as I may be, I still might not be able to buy the drives I need to start cutting Susan Hero by this weekend.
Then again, as loathe as I am to cut it so close (still under a thousand bucks to my NAME), I might just go ahead and buy the 400Gigs or so I need to load all the footage uncompressed.
Along these lines, if anyone wants to make a donation to this cause, and in the p;rocess become an official Pope of Camerado, please visit out Popes page at:
That's about it. I sweat again now, and I shall sweat tomorrow. Pitching more docs here, have to revamp my database, wish I had the cash to get laid constantly to counterbalance the gritty boring work that goes into most of this process.
PS--resubmitted new info to the IMDB for Susan Hero. That should be active in a week...
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Total rent for my room upstairs and the office downstairs: minimal.
Also, have completed the prototype of a Rattan swimming pool I had built according to my original design, and it's ready in the sweltering nick of time. It's made of Rattan--bamboo, and we just tested the liner today, actuually just a large plastic tarp. But the bamboo holds the water (with the tarp) and now we have a small pool to take editing breaks in!
Am poised to buy some new firewire HD's debating whether to blow the $16 bucks on the bus ride to Bangkok (and $16 more back) in order to access a greater selection of equipment.
With the free one month entry Visa into Thailand, and my unlimited re-entry in Cambodia given my new business Visa, it's basically like taking the bus from New York to Ohio and back...
...well, not exactly.
Anyway, also just spoke with (amazingly!) the dude from NY State Department of Labor, they actually called and got through to me to discuss my back benefits which may be forthcoming after all.
And if so, I will pay off some debts and plow the rest back into an edit station for Susan Hero and some docs I'm pitching.
Things looking up, it seems, knock on wood, at last, truly I can't believe I think I made it through the fire (past couple years of hell, attempted kidnapping at gunpoint, all my equipment stolen in NYC, etc)...then again, like Dalton Trumbo said, "I been down so low it all looks up from here"
If I can start cutting by next week, I'll reward myself with a nice gorgeous bang!
Monday, May 02, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Subject: Re: Donovan, please stop these things!!!!
Date: Sun, 1 May 2005 08:47:07 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Sharon Pepper" email@example.com
Ridley is never gonna land the kid's part in the new 'Chucky's Back 3'flick if we don't acclimate him now ...tryouts are real soon(june3-4) The money is huge if this flick takes off-hang in there a few more weeks.D
Those darned puppets are scaring Ridley Jr senseless; last> night when I put him to bed, he swore he saw one of them> peeping out from his closet.>> I didn't believe him, of course, but when I went to look,> sure enough it was there! The WC Fields one, but he wasn't> smiling. He was ANGRY.>> Please remove those horrible things from my house at once!>> Sharon
Sunday, April 24, 2005
On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 11:42:18 -0700 (PDT)
> this is Steve from World Dogwatch...I'm conducting a
> comparing the dogs of Mexico and Cambodia, and i thought
> you would be an
> excellant contact(considering your experience in both
> I need some of your acute observations...say, the #'s of
> tripod hounds(3-legged );the scratching habits (and
> frequency)of said
> breeds and others; diets; and general orneryness .
> I appreciate your cooperation, and you will be
> compensated for your help.
On Sat, 24 Apr 2005 11:42:18 -0700 (PDT)
Glad to hear from you buddy, did I tell you I got my Phd?
Did that online, was too busy in the field putting together the third world dog calendar which one of the local NGOs here is sponsoring.
To answer your questions briefly--
1) Mexican dogs have flatter heads, with their ears hanging lower and looser than their Asian counterparts. However, tits on the Asian hounds do drag longer and are often very knobby and scarred from friction with the ground.
2) The Cambodian dogs are generally well proportioned, whereas , as I'm sure you recall from our fieldwork, that the Mexican dogs often have a normal sized body but with exceptionally short legs which do not match its morphology. (Still trying to determine the evolutionary cause of this)
3) A great deal many more cases of dogs "attached" to one another here during copulation; they are conjoined and can not seem to separate easily (or at all!)
4( The Mexican dogs seem to be more expressive, often "laughing" or smiling as they trot along. The Cambodian dogs--conversely--are far more reserved and seem to bear a great deal more worldy concern in their demeanor.
Hope this helps. Gotta run though to Mondulkiri where we're investigating rural dogs body mass ratos versus their urban conterparts.
Friday, April 22, 2005
A squat, dirty blue truck is backing up into my lane--
I swerve to avoid it. The mound of spindly construction workers assembled on top of the truck idly observe my maneuver, lazily lounging in the sun like toads.
As I depart, I recognize the faint strains of the tinny backup signal the truck is using:
It's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
First package, yesterday, some CDs sent by a music industry pal of mine, and great friend and supporter, Jesper Kumberg in Gothenberg, Sweden. He'd seen the SVT broadcast of BOOKWARS a couple years ago and we've been in touch ever since.
Anyway, all I need now are some hard drives and a deck for a few days to load footage, and I can start cutting again. Buying the hard drives will just about clear me out money wise, down to the last penny to my name.
F_ck it. You only live once. Then again, anyone who wants to kick in some cash to help us along, just log into the Camerado website at:
Your infusion of much needed cash will be most welcome...and of course, you'll become an honorary Pope of Camerado!
Monday, April 18, 2005
a jungle pyramid
I slept that night in a black garbage bag
( I shit you not)
to keep the cold out
While I slept, I’d had a dream:
A priest wearing a leopard skin
Was standing over me
Performing some kind of ceremony.
A couple years later,
Walking through the forest of lights
In San Francisco
After being told by the Pacific Pioneer
Fund that “the board thought
your proposal for BOOKWARS
Is great, but we felt you’d have to be a genius to
Pull it off—we’ll have to deny you funding”
I wandered over to Carl’s Jr
And bought myself a cheap hamburger
Boy that burger was dry
from sitting under the Red heater lamp all day,
but it was still delicious
Then I went back to my residential Hotel
Where the crazy lady stalks the
Hallway with her fingers in her ears
Is she still there, I wonder?
In Kampuchea tonight, cyclo drivers sprawl inside their beloved contraptions
They stay like that til they wake,
flocked together under the smoky moon
Like skinny sheep
Or weird bony octopi, brown from too much sun,
Snoring in unison,
an orchestra of rattled chests
Their groans fit to pull stones
From the templed quarry
to the Holy mound of Angkor’s king.