Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Morning...and beyond

And it's time to head over to NGO forum to do the paperwork for the upcoming video in Ratanakiri, finally. Now here's the rub: I've got too much work now, I think. I teach at two English schools, I'm editing Susan Hero (of course) and now I want to make this video for hire, a very important and timely doc about land alienation in the Northern Province of Ratanakiri.

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..."

Breath, breath--

"Waaahhhhhhggghhahhhahahhhh"

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--"

Breath. Breath.

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

Quack Update

Continued editing the scene with Morell and Javier in Morel;l's lair. Some lighting issues, nothing severe; aciting by both is fabulous, Morell is very very real and very convincing. (Morell is played by Dr. Alan Rice, actor and scientist, who took a break from working with New York's Museum of Natural History to play the part)

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]

More later...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Colonel Panic and the Lost Data

Finally solved the OS X problem, which had led me into single-user, UNIX command line only territory, by re-installing a system from scratch (though I was running 10.2.8 and the only replacement I could find here in Phnom Penh was 10.2)

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

A Couple Dreams * Death of my Crazy Relative

Had a couple vivid dreams last night:

I

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...

II

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.

III

[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
Citibank: $170.00
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

Weird Trip, Continued / Mac OSX Blues

Spending heaps of time burning a bootable OSX Cd so I can repair permissions on my boot volume, "New Brain", which will allow me to continue editing Susan Hero in trouble free fashion.

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:

"Whhhhhaaaaaaahhhhhggggghhh"

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 --

Breathe--

"Whhhhhaaggggagggahhhhhhhh..."

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

Weird Trip to The Coast / Editing at Last

[From "HURRICANE", the uncensored production diary of the making of Susan Hero]

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

(((In the Spirit of William Blake)))

Old Bill Blake, by the way, was a successful engraver and sold a lot of his work at his workshop by the side of the road -- an early example of vertical integration.

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)

Update September 15, 2016: Just going through old blog posts and have noticed this one; unfortunately, it still remains unresolved, so am leaving it as is until it may eventually be addressed, i.e., we get a customary kill fee for the deal that Kelly Devine, formerly of IFC Films, reneged on some time ago and ran out on.

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
 "Kelly DeVine" wrote:
> 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,
> Kelly
>

Kelly--

Thanks, if you can get me their email, that would be
appreciated.

Please note this is the first time you have mentioned
anything about the Master being inadequate for the HD
transfer.

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...

Regards,

Jason

On Mon, 06 Jun 2005 16:10:25 -0400
 "Kelly DeVine" wrote:
> Dear Jason,
>
> I hope this finds you well. I will forward this email to
> our legal department as this is a matter for their
> consideration.
>
> 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
> contract.
>
*******************************************************************
>
> I trust that you are busy working on new projects and
> wish you every success with them.
>
> Best,
> Kelly

Kelly--

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
gone)

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
does...

Sincerely,

Jason

>
> >>> JR 06/05/05 2:35 AM >>>
> Kelly--
>
> Hi, this is Jason Rosette, the filmmaker who made the
> movie
> "BookWars", the title for which an offer was withdrawn
> last
> 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
> but
> 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
> receipt
> of the W9 and master.
>
> I am, accordingly, requesting compensation in the amount
> of
> 10% of the proposed overall deal, that percentage being
> $2500.
>
> Please forward this message to the relevant
> department(s).
> I have already submitted a letter to Mr. Sapan and an
> invoice to the accounting department, but it's
> conceivable
> that neither has been received.
>
> Please note that the withdrawl of that deal for
> non-technical reasons caused severe documentable
> hardships,
> due to the fact that --inspired by IFC's mandate
> supporting
> filmmakers who "take risks" -- I'd taken a risk and put
> very limited discretionary money in that approximate
> amount
> 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
> because
> I have only just been formally advised that a kill fee
> for
> that deal is not only appropriate and reasonable, but it
> would help to alleviate the damage caused by that
> withdrawn
> deal.
>
> Moreover, anyone who asks me about that deal would from
> this point on receive a positive/neutral feedback, versus
> a
> negative one. (if this matters or not, I don't know)
>
> Thanks for your understanding and cooperation. If you
> are
> unable to assist, please refer me to the appropriate
> legal
> and accounting departments who I can contact directly.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Jason Rosette
> Independent Filmmaker
> CAMERADO
> www.camerado.com
>
>
> From: JR
> Subject: Re: J Rosette W9 (E&O UPdate)
> Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 07:44:35 -0800
> To: "Kelly DeVine"
> Kelly--
>
> 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,
> I
> 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
> some
> 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
> later
> 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
> the
> 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,
> which
> 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
> by
> 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
> consequences.
>
> Whether this is good business, or is avoidable, or is
> constructive is obviously debateable depending on one's
> perspective.
>
> 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
> tentative
> 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,
> I
> suffered financially by placing faith in this deal.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Jason

On Tue, 07 Jun 2005 09:51:01 -0400
 "Kelly DeVine" wrote:
> 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,
> Kelly
>
> >>> JR 06/06/05 6:55 PM >>>
> Kelly--
>
> 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
> gone)
>
> 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
> does...
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Jason
>
>

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More Reactions to the Footage from Susan Hero

Have been busy logging, and working a lot, thus tired and not inthe mood to write too much, but I'm struck by the great performances of all the emerging local actors we used in the picture: Jaime Estrada (javier Appollinaire) Drea Pressley (Susan) Dr Morell (Alan Rice), Lonnie (Dave Paytayamo) everyone is spot on and very authentic, great naturalistic performances.

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!)