Daughter of Godcast 057


A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, Episode 057, Universe. Toy that is, where you and I play the human game.

Howdy cowboys and cowgirls, astronauts and cosmonettes, campers and compadres, together we’re running out of yesterdays on the Daughter of Godcast. This is episode 057, Universe. The second installment describing DOG’s conceptual breakthrough, the light at the end of the tunnel… of love.

In last weeks episode, o56 Toys, we talked about the weird hideout of Uncle Joe, and the strangely persistent carnage surrounding same. Battle vehicles and corpses. How Joe’s swerving bicycle in 2007 presaged epiphany in 2016.


Borrowing from Alan Watts, we don’t dance to get to a certain spot in the room or listen to music for the final crashing chord. We are not trying to get life done.

So, am I trying to finish a movie or am I squeezing every last drop of amazingness and joy out of the movie making process?

I think a worthy process has smooth completion built in. Finishing is not an outcome, why do anything… just to get it over with? Sex? Raising a kid? Eating a kick ass stack of pancakes?

I was intent on getting this movie done when I started, before fully appreciating the scope of the undertaking. Why was getting it done so much more important than getting it great? Making my own movie was after all, a means of blooming myself, deciding to be more than any I had ever been. A decision to unblock 40 years of stagnant chi, to light up the darkest rooms of my rambling palace. Finally, to do that gently, so the cosmos doesn’t ignite in a fireball of cataclysmic fury.

So far so good, tho the Earth has warmed a bit since 2006, my self illumination has stayed within the margins of safety. Apologies to the polar bears.

Finding the fun

So life is about living, and making a movie is about having a blast. A rip roaring adventure. In early 2016, the fun was SO found, swirled with insight.

Back to the nuclear waste vault and the long ago battlefield.

Sequence 1-3 An Ancient Monster

December 1, 2015 Deep Archive

Approaching over a series of still shots, passing tangled and obscure military wreckage in the foreground, we see what seems to be the ancient aftermath of a fierce battle with military transports, an M1 Abrams tank configured for urban combat, Humvees and lots of skeletons in moldering uniforms, with breathing gear (air cylinders, regulators), dosimeter badges, mostly black or gray overall-ed contractors (mercenaries). They may be wearing reflective mylar overalls which have shredded and tend to flutter / float in the light breeze. [1] The tanks and trucks are covered with mediatronic advertising that is still somewhat functional, flashing insipid propaganda and kitchy commercial advertising, (God Bless This Mess, We come in Peace, Thank You for Your Full Cooperation, Liberty and Justice for All, regardless of Cosmic Resonance, Gender Identity, Genetic Variance or Net Worth). Massive vault doors have been blown partially from their mounts, exposing a gaping black entrance. A rather dim and kiltered strobe is flashing atop another sign near the doors, visible only in the closest view (Severe Radiation Exposure When Flashing). There’s a big sign, (Nuclear Waste Repository), that is mostly lying on the ground atop a mangled support structure. Big sign is placed to be visible facing towards tunnel and away for reverse later. Above the tunnel and excavated into the hill are bunker windows possibly with machine gun nest. There might be fluttering remnants of uniform up there or flag, all supporting a solid reverse shot later as we’ll be looking back from this vantage as Uncle Joe rides away. The scene is so cluttered with death and the promise of death that it almost seems a little over the top, as if someone with a sizable set budget got a little carried away. Almost a haunted or cursed castle feel, events too terrible to imagine hang in the air, unspeakable horrors lie in the shadows, napping.

I hadn’t yet built any of the tank or humvee models for the battle scene, but I had a 1/6 scale skeleton and M2A1 . 50 caliber machine gun, a 1/24 diecast Crown Victoria cop car and a huge Nuclear Waste Repository billboard executed in Photoshop. Enough elements for a rough proof of concept. With a bit of miscellany thrown in for diversity.

Out in the greenhouse, I made a mound of sand and soil a couple of inches in diameter and used a macro lens to take a high resolution picture.  This would become a 12 foot crater in the shot, venting intermittent plumes of flame, a demon hole. Sandbox, see what I did there?

This was a kooky digression from the original concept, but the idea was to find out whether Joe’s swerving could feel purposeful, authentic. Merging live action with a collection of odd props, toys really, into a unified whole.

I was making a sketch, being careful to suggest rather than convince, inviting the audience to enter the dream, to make the magic with me. I skipped the uniforms and weapons for the dead soldiers and just posed bare skeletons. The Crown Vic cop car would be the only vehicle in the scene, door ajar, forlorn.

As we are looking down from the machine gun emplacement within the bunker, the M2 is a prominent foreground element, the massive gun barrel slashing the across the frame. I amped up the backstory with a mug of stale coffee perched on the sand bags and a yellowed PKD paperback draped over the rust speckled weapon.

So, looking past the domesticated machine gun nest, we see a four lane highway, covered by a labyrinth of skeletons, a crashed cop car, toppled signage, and a smouldering crater. There was a lot going on visually, verging on clutter. Since the camera doesn’t move at all, I was confident Joe’s bicycling would cut through the clutter and focus the audience’s attention.

I was using every tool in my toolbox – on location, live action cinematography, high resolution still photography, rotoscoping, plastic models, diecast metal models, lighting, mattes, sculpture, particle effects for the fiery crater, graphic design for signage, digital painting to rust the .50 caliber machine gun and bang up the cop car and compositing everything in After Effects.

Finally, subtle but crucial foley to lock everything together.

Joe is swerving around the skeletons but there’s too many and he runs over an outstretched arm. There’s a loud crack as the arm is popped out of the shoulder socket.

Until this moment, the whole scene is just a bunch of random toys and junk slammed together, but seeing Joe ride over the arm and hearing the crack of the bones separating, OMG. As real as it gets.

The epiphany

How do experiences become immersive, intense, visceral, engaging, ensnaring?

Uncle Joe Bike Ride

January 24, 2016, Deep Archive

[snip] The toy universe approach, that the VFX has a sort of toy feel to it, that there’s a wink and a nod toward the audience, you can see that this is real but what about that, could that be real too or not? If not {this}, then what is real? [snip] The toy universe, there’s many levels. First, there’s the kid playing with army men. On the external world there’s just the kid and his plastic little guys. Then there’s the level in his head, what he is seeing, what is happening for him. In that universe much is alive but there are significant details that are missing because the kid just doesn’t have experience with those things, so he either makes it up or just leaves it kinda blankish. Then there’s the experience of the character he’s giving life too, because they have to be alive and engaged for the adventure to be worth enacting. What do they see? Their experience must be even more lavish, because let’s say he see’s a dangerous tank that he’s gotta take out, you can’t be really scared of a plastic tank or even a CG tank, that tank has to assume an almost super natural power if he is going scared of it, he has to project reality and intensity into the tank. So there’s that level of the toy universe, the level humans experience. Oh my god, and that’s the Dick reference again. Out in the universe all these bits of paper being blown about – demonic forces, flying saucer invasion, tank, .50 caliber M2, return of the dinosaurs and that’s all that people need. The threats manifest in rich technicolor and sensurround or shlocky wires and clay depending on the person’s beliefs. On the darkness they themselves carry. Now this is an old trope, but we’re exploring Dick’s tropes specifically and that’s because Phil left behind some fascinating clues about being human. The toy universe is an approach to the VFX or perhaps some future VFX that sounds fun. Plus I love find[ing] whatever is lying around the house to make that shot work approach. Bits and pieces, kit bashing the cosmos. Fire could jet out of the demon holes, when Joe rides by. Theme park-y. Theme park VFX. He’s on a track weaving out of the skeletons, breaks the arm of that one, maybe that’s a trigger to deactivate the landmines or masers or whatever. But the ride he takes might as well be on rails, like a rollercoaster, so that sets up the idea. Other hints too, like the sign board inside. Stop the fucker and read. This is taking the technology into consideration. Any movie can be paused, so why not pause and get more information, it’s like the hilarious opposite of games. Making a movie into a game, let me pause that and really see what the fuck that says. Real life isn’t composed, it’s messy. There are clues everywhere for those that have eyes to see. OMG, this is brilliant. Seeing movies in a theater is one experience, watching with a crowd where it’s on rails and if you get up to go to the bathroom you’re going to miss something. Then there’s watching with a group of friends a movie you’ve already seen. Hold up, pause that. The fucking picture freezes perfectly. What is that? [snip] People watch movies over and over and see more, now with Youtube, DVDs and Blueray the freeze is perfect, so why not pack that freeze with detail and clues? What’s brilliant is my flashing on the perfect still image, this reimagines established technology into another media, the only thing I need to do is hint to the audience. [snip]

Let me opine on what doesn’t work – for me. So called photo realistic imagery is boring, impoverished, sterile. In RL, the brain is constantly filling in details, even making up stuff. We perpetuate stories that determine what we see and hear. On the other end of the spectrum, deep awareness is more than light and shadow. When we listen with all of what we are, every sound is supported by the resonance of OM, the mantra of the universe.

So what is real? Entering REM state in sleep, a switch flips in our brain and kicks in authenticity circuits. Doesn’t matter that the physics of our dream is topsy turvy, or that personalities are constantly swapped out, or that time bends. When we are dreaming, we believe. We sweat, laugh, kick and sometimes scream.

I am interested in activating those circuits for the waking.

A photo-realistic painting might be executed with precision, but leave us cold. So too with the VFX in Hollywood movies, glittery but lacking in emotional oomph. Pristine recreations of reality do not necessarily feel real. They don’t leverage the mechanisms driving theme park Earth. The wiring under the dashboard.

Think about the impressionistic painters, there’s something there that’s more than flowers.

A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, Episode 057, Universe. Toy that is, where you and live. Monet's lilies, more than flowers.

“The subject is not important to me; what I want to reproduce is what exists between the subject and me.” Claude Monet

Through my myriad explorations of hallucinogens, forays into the wilds, near death experiences, fierce love making and general yessing to life, I’ve glimpsed what’s under the hood of magic bus, I know something about reality creation. That’s why I can make lightly photoshopped toys redolent of mystery.

There’s also the Scott McCloud factor. He proposes that the simple drawings of cartoon or comic characters allows us to easily fill them out with our own presence. That we can participate in their experiences and become them, whereas with live action movies we’re more likely to see the characters as other, not as extensions of ourselves. Perhaps that’s the way with toys, we see them as placeholders for our idea of car or tank, and flood them with our own presence. We literally enliven them.

On Joe’s bike ride, that fortunate combination of tiny movement of the dislocated arm and corresponding crack! showed the way.

And so was born the Toy Universe. Daughter of God is a Toy Universe, instantiated in my imagination, that I get to play with. Going meta, our universe is also a toy universe, Theme Park Earth, a venue for aspirations and adventures, an exploration of contrast and firing off desires. For insinuating the divine into every nook and cranny of the vasty void, for expansion.

Plenty of big thinking muckety mucks believe that we are living in a software simulation, a matrix, perhaps programmed by our descendants in some far flung future. A typical suicidal perspective, dismal and deadly dull. Yes this existence could be called a simulation, but our descendants aren’t responsible, we are, from the ground up. Angels in brown paper sacks, slogging the mire, surfing collapsing wave functions, rollercoastering, pretending there’s a thing called time, and good and bad. Tripping on mortality.

Meanwhile back in Daughter of God, I realized I could fill up my movie with scraps and trinkets and the result could be compelling, seductive, potent. This was the VFX breakthrough, the built in conclusion, inspired by the most elaborate and hilarious sandbox ever, real life.

We’ve been flipping on the authenticity circuits, listening and maybe watching episode 057 of the Daughter of Godcast, Universe. In the last two episodes, we’ve dropped the epiphany for the auto completion of Daughter of God, I could just kick back and let the cosmic elves mop up now. That is, if I wasn’t so way in to the process, this movie makery. So the elves can just chill, stand down, take a powder. We’ve got a chunk of 2016 yet to explore. Next week we’ll take a tour of the model shop, where movie magic happens. Thanks for stopping by this dream rant, and when you wake up, you might wonder if my words actually meant anything at all. Hang in there folks, there’s going to be pictures soon.

Daughter of Godcast 056


A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, Episode 056, Toys. Discovery of the Unified Field Theory for DOG Visual Effects.

Hello, my most excellent collaborators, friends, strangers, family. You are all of those. In my meandering way, I want to tell the story of the early 2016 epiphany about what I’d been up to with this movie, Daughter of God, all along. This is a kind of unified field theory of DOG visual effects, revealed over the next couple three episodes and which we’ll continue to develop together as we start screening in 2018.  Coming up this week on the Daughter of Godcast, episode 056, Toys.

A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, Episode 056, Toys. Discovery of the Unified Field Theory for DOG Visual Effects.

Before we get into the grist, a bit of house keeping.

We’re preparing to screen in 2018, which starts with test screening, trying out images and scenes from the movie and getting feedback from all you all.

Here’s my rough idea of how the podcast and the screen testing fit together. The podcast is primarily a conversation, arguably one sided, a flow of stories and increasingly contemporary reportage, and as such emphasizes the audio content. The excellent challenge is to somehow talk about what’s behind what we see, describing the experience of seeing and of being in words, without relying on pictures.

The test screening of the movie will happen on a separate channel, perhaps many channels, wherever feedback is easy and immediate, and we can track views. This could just be Facebook and Twitter, but I plan on evaluating whether Vimeo’s video review implementation is a good fit. Or I might come up with something of my own.

Test screening is going to be very interactive, and whatever we learn there will be subsequently summarized here on this podcast. So that’s what the future looks like. Lots of testing, pondering the results together and then making adjustments. We’re going to have so much fun!

Models, Miniatures, Toys

In May of 2007, (episode 018) my nephew Jonathan completed a 3D cruise ship model, the first of DOG’s megaprops. In 2008, (episode 021) he set to work on making cars for a abandoned highway scene. The tracking on the shaky live action was problematic, but we kept the scene in version .09 of the Trickster Pictures demo reel anyway, (episode 027). Jonathan resigned as DOG’s 3D artist around 2013. He explained that making 3D models and getting them to render realistically were two very distinct disciplines, and his creative path didn’t include becoming a render master.

If I wanted realistic megaprops, I either had to hire another 3D artist or come back up to speed on 3D rendering myself. Or was there a 3rd alternative? What about miniatures?

From 3D to RL

Post production should not mean sitting at workstations, endlessly staring at screens. The sedentary life is associated with severe happiness risks including rapid aging and flabbiness, failing eyesight from invariant focal distance, hair loss, genital shrinkage, spiritual devolution and social media habituation.

The prospect of taking a major chunk of VFX into the real world was suddenly very attractive. I had gotten pretty good at building plastic  model kits as a kid. I could revive and expand my model chops and perhaps even get some stop frame animation going too. I’d be using my hands, my whole body, power tools, delicate little tweezers and actual paint brushes. Screens would still be significant, but only for matching live action on set and final compositing. I could be manifesting mostly in RL.

The first major VFX scene fleshed out with miniatures would be the opening shot, an abandoned nuclear waste repository where we meet Uncle Joe for the first time. He’s biding his time in a secret lair, surrounded by oddly persistent carnage from a long ago battle.

The opening begins with three shots, each moving closer to the battle scene and his hideout. A wide highway leads to a tree covered mountain with a concrete structure inset into the base. Moving in, we see the concrete frames a tunnel with giant vault doors blasted open. There are hints about what happened here, wreckage, signage, bodies. A fierce skirmish involving armor and infantry, with an inconclusive outcome, perhaps lethal to all involved. Rusted weapons, skeletons in tattered uniforms, charred tanks and humvees with mediatronics still flickering. Above the tunnel entrance are machine gun emplacements, M50 barrels poking out from behind sandbagged windows of the mountain bunker. The tunnel opening below is a blackness, leading deep into the mountain.

Then the black of the tunnel expands out and swallows the frame, fading into a surveillance shot of a young woman. She seems to be popping bubble wrap. A massive thumb appears over the woman and an interface, with icons and text. The thumb selects from a menu and the scene shifts to a scruffy dude dozing. There’s a sperm count widget that accidentally gets activated when the dude appears, with a microscopic view of sperm wiggling, the giant thumb whisks that widget away. We pull back to see the surveillance image and interface are wrapped around a device, being held in a hand that is sticking out of the sleeve of a business suit. Cut to a far shot of a man looking down at a device, he’s wearing a dark suit and fedora, Uncle Joe. In the background we see the machine gun emplacements in reverse, he is inside the mountain bunker.  He finishes and puts the device in his jacket pocket. Suddenly we are rushing up a dark tunnel towards the light, and Joe explodes out into the carnage outside the tunnel… riding a creaky bicycle. We see him from the vantage of the machine gun nests as he pedals away, swerving around the debris and bodies as best he can.

Nuclear Waste Repository

Way back in 2007, Patrick and I had filmed the live action at the PA turnpikes tunnel ventilation complex. In a high shot from inside,  we got Uncle Joe swerving his bicycle crazily away on the empty highway below. Was he swerving because he was drunk, having fun, or was there shit he was swerving around that would come later? I left my options open, but I really did want to have some shit there, horrific shit that could be a strong contrast to a snappily dressed fellow on a rusty bike.

I was pretty sure I wanted to turn the highway’s tunnel location into something more epic, and a nuclear waste storage facility seemed to fit. Years back, I had followed the demise of Yucca mountain site, (1987-2011 RIP), a proposed underground vault for storing all the USA’s spent nuclear fuel. There’s lots of problems with consolidating nuclear waste, not the least of which is generating it in the first place.

Another issue would be the beefy security, and in my version of  repository a significant military presence had been established, perhaps after some catastrophe. I imagined fighting vehicles and the means to transport and maintain them, and troops.

In 2014 I started researching and acquiring detailed plastic models for this scene and all the megaprop scenes in DOG.

For the forgotten battle scene I bought a Abrams tank outfitted for urban warfare and a tank carrier, a Humvee and a Stryker NBCRV (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle). I found skeletons, weapons and action figure uniforms in 1/6 scale, which is GI Joe size.

during research I stumbled on Phicen‘s very realistic 1/6 scale anatomically correct female action figures… and erotic photo shoots with them. Talk about the uncanny valley.

The weird thing about model building and action figures nowadays is they aren’t so much for kids anymore. The model building market seems targeted to adults. What kid of today would bother with plastic kits and dolls when they could be fully immersed in 1st person software simulations? Plus these kits are expensive. Kids from 1970s and 80s are more likely able to indulge their playfulness sans budget constraints.

I also stocked up on models to replace the other 3D megaprops, including several versions of cruise ships and the world’s largest passenger Airliner, an Airbus A380.

Daughter of God is the most apocalyptic movie ever because of all the different apocalypses. Dinosaurs definitely stage a comeback, just like Godzilla and the Jurassic Park franchises. I wanted a still life of flipped cop cars near the carcass of a giant saurian, perhaps with a crushed police motorcycle in it’s jaws.

I bought a 3 foot long T. Rex skeleton, a rare Japanese kit of a cop Harley configured for NYC and several diecast police Crown Victorias without markings, one in 1/24 scale by the company Motormax.

Actually, I really wanted my Honda XR-650 motorcycle to be clamped in the T. Rex’s jaws! I even emptied the gas tank and laid the Honda down to get some still shots for testing.

The bigger diecast Crown Vic arrived at the end of 2015. After unpacking, I opened the driver’s side front door and placed the model car on a sheet of flat black set paper with an open incandescent bulb above and to the left.  I took a couple of iPhone snaps. The images were stark and gritty, mundane. A surplus cop car sitting under a lamp post at dusk on some generic American street. I texted the picture to a few friends with the message, “got a deal on this at auction.” Everyone assumed it was an actual cop car. Proof of concept successful, miniatures were easier than 3D.

I bought tons of different model kits, most in 1/24 scale or larger and reference books and vids on technique. Even if I didn’t end up building all the kits for DOG, I’d have options for kit bashing, stealing components from one kit to add detail to another or to totally improvise, if an off the shelf model didn’t exist.

and so we go, December 2015

December 1, 2015, Deep Archive

Indeed, there are so many areas I can’t wait to explore as a cinematic artist, miniatures galore and so on. I know that completing DOG will provide more than enough fun and will lead to an avalanche of wondrous new experiments and adventures. So we look to what’s currently on bench.

We’ll need a workshop. We’ll need precise tools including airbrush, compressor, paints an spray booth. First, we’ve got to assemble models since that seems to be what’s next, coming up soon. We’ve got to prep for model building, get everything assembled.

At the start of 2016 I was doing a lot of inner work, reminding myself what living fully might feel like, recording dreams and assessing what they reflected about my deliberate presence. I had been getting help with chain of title and financial catch-up from Kaitlin Matesich and Brianna Mathias. Daughter of God was becoming ever more vivid, I was catching on fire all over again.

You’ve been unboxing a T. Rex skeleton, a diecast car, a detailed styrene model kit, some assembly required, perception, participation. Episode 056 of the Daughter of Godcast, Toys. Your imagination is more powerful than the slickest console game. Together over the next couple of episodes, we’ll find out how the vault doors got blown open. And the inky black of the tunnel, did something enter, or escape? Is a breached nuclear waste repository a smart place to hang your fedora? How valuable will bicycle repair skills prove to be after the end of oil, black gold, Texas Tea? Find out next week, same black time, same black channel.


Daughter of Godcast 054

A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, Episode 054, Next. Return to the Primary Narrative.

Roll on up and drop your kickstand, lean that gleaming paradigm you’re straddling right over over and stretch those legs. This is the Daughter of Godcast Episode 054, Next.

A podcast about movie making and the science fiction featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of Godcast, 054, Next. Return to the Primary Narrative.

Return of the Primary Narrative

We’ve been jumping all around the last 8 episodes. Watersheds, Crowd Funding, Swimming, Ayowaska… Last week we enjoyed a visit with DOG’s music producer Ndong Essinga, easing back into the primary narrative. Let’s continue where we left off back in Episode 045, Park, as in Theme Park, sping / summer of 2015 right after converting girlfriends to motorcycles.

The end of romance and the beginning of true love. Much appreciation to her for reminding me of what I already knew.

During that summer of fun working with Ben and Bri on the doom raft, Rosie, Hobie Cats and cribs, I was inundated with unexpected inspiration about an idea I’d been thinking about since early 2011, maybe my next feature project… after Daughter of God and the third expedition of Around Lake Michigan. The working title for this next feature? The Science Fiction Musical.

With a decade plus project already active, how could I entertain the possibility of starting another? You might ask. I am pretending you might ask, so I can offer my snappy response. Is jumping around from one project to another inefficient, even irresponsible? Depends on what motivates the jumping.

Inspiration is peak experience, possibly the reason I exist. That and offering worthy women orgasms. I love sudden flashes of insight, creation flowing. I feel extra alive in the translation to words, painting, song or screen. The making of the Daughter of God has been nothing if not a delirious entertainment of such delicious epiphanies, raptly attended to.

The Science Fiction Musical is an amorphous emergence, a hodge podge of story snippets and rambunctious world building. There has been cross talk between Daughter of God and the Science Fiction Musical.  Here’s a snippet of a monolog by Thomas Socks, once lead researcher aboard the exploration vessel Oceanea and consort to a dolphin princess, now recruited for a desperate cause.

Fair warning, this could be utterly incomprehensible. Just let this wash over you and see what happens.

July 13, 2015, The Deep Archive


They were very straight up about it. A desperate cause, chance of return very slim, your family’s cared for, financially secure. Chance of victory and safe return is under 30%, but for those who return wealth beyond avarice. Only the most gifted are chosen. Now I know plenty of dudes and gals who left their kids in charge of spouses, brothers or grandparents and made the trip. The dregs of society were welcome, if they could pass the aptitudes. Lots of folks washed out after the initial interview. We were never told why. Those that passed the interviews were asked to play games. If you could play the games, then you disappeared into the real training, never to be heard from again, except the occasional letter and video post. If you couldn’t play, you washed out. The games were pretty simple, and shelves of books were published offering the lowdown on beating the games but no one who actually [passed on] <played came> had come back to tell whether the books were worth the silicon they were instantiated on.

Then I made it through. I passed the interview and could play the games. And I was asked to keep this record of what happened to me after, so that I could eventually pass the history on, in case we actually survived the melee and came home.

What I found out was that 30% wasn’t exactly a lie, but it might as well have been. We were up against superior funding, firepower or as the Jirs say, over magicked, and far outnumbered. Actually, the Jirs themselves had beaucoup magic, far more effective magic than their opposition, but the practitioners were lacking, hence recruitment off our rock.

But we truly are primitives, hardly able to wield the most rudimentary of their tech. Only the most gifted of us get the basics and we are already a population of the select. .05% of the best earth could offer. They say that if they had 20 years to train up some kids, they would be near primo, but the ethics of that would be very tough to parse and even with time bending they can’t scrape together an extra two years, let alone 20. So… a year of intense immersion for teens and young adults, plus a handful of oldsters then off to the far dark we go, to stand against gods.

We're basically absolutely fucked, but hi ho, that’s not <the> [a useful] thought for the cultivation of magic so I will unplug it’s power and think of it no more. Instead, the audaciousness of becoming 100 times more of the man I so far am, finding the wealth that’s right here spread before me and mine and ALWAYS has been. That’s where we start and to even have a week of near to full awakening would be worth another 20 years of fog and groping, so a whole year awake is wealth beyond avarice indeed. I’m gods, we go to die, but what a life we’ll have until then and death itself a reboot only, no ending. And maybe, with a biggish smile we’ll pull off a miracle and emerge whole and hearty, to return.

What will we be to our families and friends then? Something unfathomable. but we can return. That’s the 30%. A inferior but cunning force making a desperate gamble automatically has at least a 30% chance of victory, according to cosmic statistics. The universe smiles on fools, drunken with the righteousness of their cause. If we were slightly better equipped and prepared, our chances of victory would plummet. That’s the news that we got after playing the games and passing through the training event horizon. Goodbye Earth, for now or forever.

Yeah and the ethics of recruiting mercenaries from a backward half evolved gravity trap? They were scrupulously honest, i mean they did their best not to glamorize the scenario, just offered the incentive and told the bleak truth in detail so there was no chance of misunderstanding. Even so, folks who signed on just couldn’t possibly make an informed decision, we were missing fundamental concepts, great holes in our paradigms.

So was that ethical to recruit us? Hey, they came asking for help, they offered an alliance. It’s an age old trope, we loved the romance. Like living a Kirosawa movie. Humans basically operate on the fuck it principle, so the recruits as a rule felt like it would have been unethical not to ask us. Maybe that’s why we could play the games, the games were intended to sort for ethically appropriate cannon fodder. Out of an entire planet, so few of us. I guess there’s not so many heartsick dreamers running around as one might think.

Did any of that make sense? Sounded cool though.

Daughter of God imagines the gruesome finale of global consumer culture, that’s why DOG is the MOST apocalyptic movie ever. In contrast, the Science Fiction Musical extrapolates what might happen if currently available paradigms and practices for thriving proliferated and prevailed.


Wim Hof has nudged the horizons of human physiology. Right this moment, folks are moring their health and presence with breathing and cold water immersion. Marshall Rosenberg rediscovered a language of compassion, NVC, which facilitates the essence of equitable and satisfying human interaction, rapport. Abraham Hicks continues to sketch a working map of the cosmos and provide pragmatic guidelines for true autonomy. Ayahausca is a transubstantiation of US, a ritualistic reminder of who we really are.

We’ve touched on these specific thrivings in previous episodes. In March of 2015 I did my first formal NVC training at the Neahtawanta Center in Traverse City. We discovered Wim Hof and Ayohuasca together in 2017. The Science Fiction Musical will be a huge mashup of these and many more thrivings, an exploration of our most excellent opportunities and potentials. Would there be challenges for the characters in the SFM universe? You bet, but nothing like the boring cliches coming out of contemporary consumer culture.

Hollywood keeps making the same movie, telling tedious stories of good and evil. What communal adventures would a conscious human presence undertake? What would we do, if we could do almost anything?

From Episode 035, a futher excerpt from…

Story Theory
November 29, 2013 Deep Archives


Science fiction is dead because so many contemporary stories are just mild soap opera supported by technological novelty. It feels like NOW. Who is writing the paradigm transforming epics? What could be weirder than right now? In fact, the best science fiction <still> shows us how weird right now is.

By immersing the audience in an enlivened culture, the SFM will demonstrate how bizarre and contrived current mainstream culture is, how alien to human nature. This immersion will require some turbo boosted exposition, and maybe that’s why… a musical.

In October of 2015 after a sauna at Tim Burke and Barbie Stowe’s, I outed my plans to write a musical. I asked if they knew a vocal coach and Barbie was super enthusiastic about Linda who had previously been in their band. Tim and I talked extensively about music and musicals.

Talking to Tim
October 14, 2017, Deep Archive

We talked musicals generally with some fascinating revelations. Musical numbers are natural exposition, character development and motivation in tight intuitive transmission, without <any of> [breaking] suspension of disbelief because well, if you’re ok with characters spontaneously breaking into song and dance, then almost anything goes. 🙂 Or perhaps because they do so, the audience is super receptive to the everything that comes with, the content is supercharged. For example, in Guys in Dolls, “Fugue for Tinhorns” (I Got The Horse Right Here) there’s some fairly technical information being offered about [horse racing] tracks, jockeys, odds on betting and the understanding is inherent in the song, somehow it all just gets instantiated in the audiences’ brains. With this tune especially, it’s a fugue so that multiple streams of content are running concurrently, which without the music, would just be crowd noise.

I wasn’t really thinking about the expository power of musicals when the SFM showed up in 2011, I just wanted to write a musical. As the SFM universe started to become an exploration of what a thriving culture might look like, I knew the audience would need help coming up to speed with such an exotic concept, and the musical aspect made even more sense. Amazing how the cosmos fits together!

Last week, in episode 053, Music Producer we had a conversation with Ndong Essinga, who produced the theme for DOG. The day before he went back to Brooklyn, he sounded a cautionary tone about my ambitions to write a musical. He was concerned I might be underestimating the scope of work. I told him I was building a roster of accomplished musicians to provide guidance, including Dede Alder and Josh Holcomb, Abby Alwin and maybe John Driscoll and Tim Burke. He argued I would need way more firepower than just a few virtousic players to pull off a musical.

That night we occupied the Airstream and I sang him some of eclectic covers I’ve been expanding my chord palette and vocal chops with, everything from 20s honkytonk, crooner tunes from the 40s and 50s, hippy love songs from the 60s and even 70’s disco. Listening and jamming along, Ndong had some sort of epiphany, though I am still unclear precisely what that was. He seemed simultaneously sobered and intrigued by my choice of songs, like he learned something that surprised him, more compelling than my words earlier that afternoon. Though the Science Fiction Musical is very much on the back burner, his reaction to our Airstream session shifted the energy for me. I’m feeling confirmation.

Meanwhile, DOG

By the fall of 2015 SFM inspirations were archived and I was groping for a comprehensive approach to Daughter of God’s visual effects. Since we’ve jumped around so much in the last 8 or so episodes, here’s a summary of progress on the DOG in the fall of 2015. We had an intermediary cut with extensive rotoscoping on the live action, even re-performances of the live action through a technique I developed, roto-welding, Episode 030. The VFX shots were mostly refined placeholders and detailed sketches. I had decided to switch from 3D to miniatures for mega props like planes, ships and such like.

I was poised on the edge of discovery…

VFX cosmology
November 22, 2015, Deep Archive

There are several approaches to completing the DOG project 1) organizing all sequences and comps into a current working cut, 2) making a detailed breakdown of every task to estimate how much time remains until completion and now 3) describing clearly and specifically what’s happening on screen and the experience we intend to evoke. This is a zooming out, going more general.

In describing the experience we intend to evoke, I realize there is yet another level of zooming out that seems necessary. I want to articulate MY vision for VFX.

Accepted Practice, What Most VFX is About

Typically VFX either adds an object or process that didn’t or couldn’t occur in camera, (muzzle flashes, spaceships, etc.) or subtracts what did occur but isn’t wanted (visual distractions, copyrighted material or trademarks, errors, recognizable talent who didn’t or won’t sign a release).

Knowing how to achieve convincing additions and subtractions requires technical prowess – fluency with tools including software, cameras and workflows, and cognitive finesse – a passionate curiosity about reality. Real reality in contrast to screen reality or the rehashing of accepted practice in VFX, however trendy. Research into reality could include perception, language, optics, photography, drawing, painting, live performance, psychoactive drugs, extreme physical endurance, mediation, near death experience, etc. to develop a working theory or at least guidelines about what reality is and how it can be compellingly implied or suggested on screen.

Whether the typical VFX artist is satisfied with whatever her physics engine cranks out or is informed by her direct inquiries into the nature of existence is not clear, nor does it matter. What matters is how our own inquiries incite a fascination for VFX. My deep and adventurous relationship with reality seeks a robust channel for expression, and VFX is promising.

So Beyond, Art

Beyond addition and subtraction is a deeper virtuosity, a triggering of rapture. Enabling or facilitating a state of receptivity and then offering a nugget of mystery, a content rich burst of sparkling whoa!

I want to infuse the movie with story, I want story to leak out all over the place. Moments chock full of subtle but absolutely relevant detail. Even if only lightly assimilated in the first viewing, still enriching the vibrancy and authenticity of the experience subliminally, subconsciously, maybe through magic cinematic osmosis. Tolkien invented entire languages for the various races in the Lord of the Rings, his universe was dense.

VFX can offer unprecedented relationships, resonate with the non physical, initiate a journey beyond name and form and be a finger pointing at the moon. VFX can activate core knowing and convey radiant clues, perhaps under the guise of a relevant artifact / process or completely independent of accepted causality.

Enough ranting, getting specific.

The humble straight cut between shots is the simplest example of transcendental VFX. Juxtaposition of diverse content creates new meaning – usually to convincingly convey the commonplace, like a conversation between characters. A cut can either weld diverse shots into a seamless moment, jangle the audience catastrophically back into their mundane theater seat (if done without wit) or facilitate a bold epiphany – blast beyond the incidental imagery and audio. The act of cutting can make more meaning than the sum of the two chunks have apart.

Now imagine infinite editorial possibilities within a single shot – color, composition, movement, elements – altering almost imperceptibly to convey a precise feeling or mood, reveal specifics about a character or situation, anything.

I want to wield VFX with emotional virtuosity, playing with subconscious, conscious and super conscious perception, blending editorial with archetype.

Staying relevant

In some sense this is ambitious, a step beyond suspension of disbelief. Maybe sideways more than beyond. Moores law will eventually democratize the realization of the hyper real, but art is much more than hyper realism. Art is not only where the fun is, but it’s a gambit to stay relevant regardless of when our current technical prowess is obsoleted by advancing technology.

That’s the potential I see in VFX, where I ultimately want to go. Rather than discoursing further from an abstract theoretical perspective, I am now ready to describe the DOG VFX scenes in detail, including all the nuances of story that will only be offered visually. Like echoes of dialogue spoken before the movie ever started.

You’re poised for discovery with the Daughter of Godcast, Episode 054, Next. We’re wrapping up 2015 and heading into the home stretch of DOG history, 2016. Just 1 year from the present. In episode 055, we’ll have a peek at the delicious epiphany unifying the Daughter of God aesthetic. Until then, much love, welcome once again to year 2 of this podcast, the year of screenings, of rubber hitting roads, of more wild surprises. In this second year of the Daughter of Godcast, we’ll switch from talking about history to the mostly right now, weekly reports shading from the gentle release to watching and feedbacking. Together dear audience, dear collaborators, we are going to give this crazy movie to the whole wide world.