Daughter of Godcast 080

Wow, 080, Eighty. Eighty episodes of movie making splendor. Did I ever suspect I’d be here with you now. I never, ever did. Does this feel like a delightful sort of surprise to be standing at the cusp of our 80th episode? Heck yeah.

This is the Daughter of Godcast, Episode 080 Creaky. Our ongoing Crowd Creation, where you make the movie. Ok, we make the movie, because I’m the dude slaving over the hot laptop, Fordham tool and spray booth, or sweating in front of the camera and bright lights as I record this very podcast, or imagine myself recording because right now I’m just writing the podcast.

Truly tho, with all my hustle and bustle, this is rapidly becoming your movie. All the esoteric production gear that I brandish with varying degrees of competence would be gathering dust, without you. You’re perceptions bring every scene into sharp focus, you tell me which icons to click, which rust pigments to smear, which Roli keys to stroke. Everything is becoming clear because of you.

After 80 episodes, our mission is crystal. To make the best dang Daughter of God possible, and are we ever.

Enough bluster, to the great work!

Nuts and Bolts

Alright, I have to admit. Looks like our Facebook boost didn’t hurt. We’ve had about 50% more listens to the podcast over the last week and post reach on Facebook has doubled. Someone even loved Rabbit and Dog on Ello. What did hurt was my over 24 hours of lateness last week in getting the new scene and podcast posted. I really enjoy putting the podcast on time. That’s looking more like Wednesday after 10 am, EST.

Feedback

Rabbit and Dog

An awkward moment between two quirky people, having their first private conversation. We’ve seen these two before in Do It Again, so we know they’ll eventually come together. There doesn’t seem much rapport in this initial exchange, however.

Questions – In DOG time, how quickly can they go from this moment to jumping into bed – minutes, hours, days, weeks? What conflicts have to be overcome?

All the feedback for Rabbit and Dog is compiled on the comments for episode 079.

Anonymous via email  “I would think that they might go their separate ways – the dead animal and lack of mutual intensity suggest that to me.” Having seen Do It Again, however, Anon knows where this is going, and thought the two quirky people would hop into bed within minutes. After an email volley, Anon’s rationale was revealed – because at the end of “Do It Again”, she (dog) isn’t sure what his (rabbit) name is. Brilliant deduction by Anon. I’m not saying Anon is right, (wink, wink) but kudos for keen observation, and extra blessings.

Pam on Facebook pulled her signature pool shark move and ran the table, plunking cognitive balls into all the right pockets. Her impressions of the scene couldn’t have been more encouraging.

Kirk via dog.movie opined that getting the two quirky people into bed might take awhile.
“The dialogue was intriguing, and made me want to know more of what that whole exchange was all about. This addition to the content stream makes me ever more curious about the plot and how it all is tied together.”

He wanted to know if Rabbit and Dog has anything to do with the origin of the Daughter of God, “Or perhaps i have misinterpreted the whole thing?”

Then Kirk offered this…

“I would of liked to participate in the project sooner, but I wanted to try and get up to speed with some of what’s going on in these scenes but I’m having trouble finding general information. I’ve been too busy to keep up with the podcasts and was hoping to read into on here. Can i get a link if there is one? Also, is there a trailer, or story summary, or character descriptions some where on the interwebs or available upon request? I’d like to give more feedback but i find it difficult to elaborate on things without more of context of what’s happening overall…”

In all the flurry of releasing scenes and podcasts the last 10 weeks, I neglected to create an easily accessible guide that explains the Crowd Creation. Let’s handle that right now.

Crowd Creation

Welcome to Crowd Creation, where you make the movie.

Daughter of God is a post apocalyptic romantic comedy currently test screening across the world wide web. Every week, a short scene is released and you are invited to give feedback specifically, what emotions come up while you watch? You can choose to answer specific questions posed by the director or just free wheel, posting your comments and opinions on your favorite social media platform or directly at www.dog.movie.

What you don’t need

You don’t need any special knowledge or expertise to participate, just a love for movies. You don’t have to know anyone in the cast or crew of Daughter of God, or be dating the nephew of Francis Ford Copolla. We love fresh insights from total strangers, curious and perceptive. You definitely don’t need to be a filmmaker, actor, writer or even any sort of artist to give the right answer. Every answer is right, because you are sharing your unique human experience. Or your unique sentient experience, if you’re not human.

Sharing

Each scene is offered as a stand alone moment. The context within the entire movie doesn’t matter, just what’s happening on screen. Not knowing how the pieces fit together may seem odd at first, but just relax and have fun.

The feelings that a scene brings up for you, what you are reminded of and/or what connections you make reveals whether that scene is working as intended or whether tweaking is needed. Sharing your experience can change everything, that’s how you make the movie!

Not only does feedback make DOG’s scenes more compelling, your feedback brings blessings. Learn more at dog.movie/bless.

Episodes of the Daughter of Godcast podcast document the feedback process creating a reference archive for enhancing the scenes. If your week gets busy, skip the podcast entirely and just opine on the current scene. 5-10 minutes a week is all you need to join this unprecedented cinematic adventure! Friend us on your favorite social media platform OR sign up for the DOG email list.

Creaky

A woman peers out from a door ajar. A prolonged creak as she slowly opens the door, revealing an enigmatic figure, half smiling. She seems to recognize him, calling him by name.

The feedback question – What emotions does the woman experience as she opens the door?

Late tho this last week’s episode was, we still had phenomenal feedback, from a couple of blessed veterans and the esteemed not so newbie, Kirk. Huge appreciation for everyone who’s making this movie. If you are intrigued by Crowd Creation and have been thinking about offering feedback, come on out of the closet and let your freak flag fly. She is coming!  There’s no such thing as coincidence, you’re here by special arrangement of the cosmos, wielding the power of pretending.

That’s a wrap. Episode 080 of the Daughter of Godcast is done, so many sweet numbers yet to come. You’re in the loop, whether your encrypted or in the clear, a great swirl of consciousness are we, here to make a movie, for fun, for awakening, for art. Why not have, be and do everything you’ve ever dreamed of, why not become the most epic YOU ever? Somehow, that’s happening, I could claim this movie is the ticket, a golden ticket to your very own bliss and maybe I wouldn’t be lying. We think we need someone else’s permission to be happy, to feel good. Well, I’m going to give you that permission right now, for no other reason than you’re watching my lips move, you’re hearing my voice, or reading this transcription. By the power invested in me as doula for the Daughter of God, you get to feel happy and experience your unique bliss from now on. Let no one convince you otherwise. You’re the one making this movie.

 

 

 

Daughter of Godcast 079

Daughter of Godcast, Crowd Creation Episode 079 Rabbit and Dog. 2018 is the Chinese year of the DOG, has been for about 2 weeks now, and this episode’s scene is a little homage to the Chinese New Year and also the year of our DOG, Daughter of God, hurray! We’re changing things up this episode, a new wild ride, high winds, glare ice, hang on!

Nuts and Bolts

Live

Last week I experimented with Facebook live. I ran in the forest and launched the Sprinter ice boat for the first and likely the last time this winter season. Two days of adventure, first to my feed of 700 friends and then to Daughter of God’s feed of 80 or so followers.

The Facebook live videos got more likes and comments than everything I’ve done on social media to date. I’m sure the novelty of ice boating was compelling, all that speed and danger. Also, according to Jil, my improv performances were also a delight, way better than my reading of scripted podcasts.

I like improvisation and would love to shift the Crowd Creation from a scripted to spontaneous format. The process of scripting is valuable tho,  writing helps me to reflect on the feedback for the scenes and sketch a plan for what happens next. Also, writing helps me control the length of the episodes which keeps the editorial manageable.

Perhaps after my usual writing stint, I could outline the main ideas and then instead of reading the transcript, just riff away on the outline. I’d could even set a timer for 10 minutes and let the orgone energy flow, hitting as many ideas as possible within that time and then calling that good, no editing. I’d get the benefit of writing and you’d have a more zesty podcast experience.

Inorganic

For the first time ever, I boosted a Facebook post. I paid 10 bucks to put Best Scenario Yet in front of 1000s of strangers. The results are pretty confusing, but certainly some folks saw the scene that otherwise wouldn’t have.

Boosting was kind of fun, but I’m pretty much groping in the dark at this point. I’d prefer to invite my audience organically, if that’s the path of least resistance and maximum joy. Whatever works. Every journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, and we can start walking on a moonless night, as long as we’re feeling good.

Most Plays

Vimeo

29 Do It Again
23 Canyon Princess
21 Smart Money

Facebook

216 Open Season
209 Best Scenario Yet (even after a couple days of boost)
149 Canyon Princess

Redemption

Jesus saves souls, and redeems them for valuable prizes!

Before we get to feedback, an announcement.

Really excited to have such a solid contingent of dedicated contributors offering feedback. They have not only my appreciation, but blessings from the Daughter of God. As my friend Lauren di Scipio used to say, that and $8 will get you over the GWB. She would have been spot on last month, but starting in March, DOG blessings can be redeemed for fabulous products and experiences, unprecedented in the history of independent movie swag.  If you’ve been giving feedback on scenes and sharing posts, check out blessings at dog.movie and your get yourself some redemption!

Feedback

Two mismatched hands clasp across a stainless steel surgical table, one young and smallish, the other large, dry and discolored by ill health. Over the sounds of a busy hospital ambience, an unconventional farewell speech. The rasping voice asserts that his death is an illusion, a trick he is playing on everyone else, except her.

The feedback question – Is the person with the rasping voice worthy of trust? What other impressions do you get?

All the feedback is available in the comments of Episode 078, Best Scenario Yet.

James opined that Raspy Voice sounded like a gangster,  but since Small Hand seemed to be in his inner circle, there was likely trust between them.

Seamus didn’t think Raspy Voice worthy of our trust, because he’s either lying to the child or planning some mischief. “Whether that’s for noble or nefarious purposes remains to be seen.”

Pam offered some exciting depth to the trust question.

 “This near-dead person, whether I find him trustworthy or not, is trusted by the person who comes in to hold his hand. They are close; grandfather-grandchild? They share that kind of generation-skipping secret, anyway.”

[snip]

“Anyway, that kind of trust seems present here. And I want to know how this relationship will advance the plot, what their secret is, what the younger (I imagine) member of the duo will be called upon to witness/declare/accomplish/attempt/conceal after the older one has dropped his body….Tantalizing!”

Pam backs up James and Seamus’s view, while implying that whatever Raspy is up to, small hands is a co-conspirator. And that she will likely go through some transformation in the process. Awesome.

I may be reading into Scott’s musings, but his feedback revealed for me a key dynamic – we are invested in the implied trust between Raspy and Small Hand, because we don’t want Small Hand to be betrayed. How fascinating that something as simple as hand size can instantiate a narrative and a conflict, perhaps I’m the only one getting this, but that’s ok, because now that I am, the scene can be tilted a little more in that direction.

The trust question was action packed! I was also delighted and suprised by the references to temperature. Pam guessed the location was perhaps a hospital or cryo-facility – cryo (cold) for slowing or stopping metabolism for suspended animation. Constance was waiting to hear Raspy Voice “counting down how many ice cream sandwiches are left in the body freezer.” I’m not sure what she means by this, but she’s clearly experiencing a chilly vibe, Raspy Voice is going to be frozen.

This is reminds me of Philip K Dick’s novel Ubik, in which most of the characters are dead but continue to have mental function after their bodies are placed in cold storage. Since a Pam and Constance went there spontaneously, I am tempted to run with that.

Speaking of PKD, Scott demonstrated his dedication to the cause by googling the PKD title on screen, Lies, Inc. and promptly fell into a rabbit hole. Bravo Scott!

Judith had a unique perspective about Raspy’s death, to whit…

of course ‘he’ isn’t going to die! aliens are immortal or at least very long living. clues: type O blood. and the palm is obviously of an alien – weird pattern

She is an astute observer, points for being the only one to mention of Raspy’s ID bracelet, listing O type blood. So maybe she’s right, maybe he’s an alien.  I’m not so sure myself now.

All of that was a blast to read and think about, the possibilities for this scene have expanded significantly. Have I mentioned I am really loving the feedback process? Well I am. Huge kudos to my stalwart contributors! If you’re watching these scenes and lurking in the shadows, come on out and have your say. You’re hand will be lovingly held as we gently tug you into the limelight.

Rabbit and Dog

An awkward moment between two quirky people, having their first private conversation. We’ve seen these two before in Do It Again, so we know they’ll eventually come together. There doesn’t seem much rapport in this initial exchange however.

Questions – In DOG time, how quickly can they go from this moment to jumping into bed – minutes, hours, days, weeks? What conflicts have to be overcome?

Ready to play our feedback game again? Later this week I’ll be emailing a tally of blessings to everyone via email. If you’re not already on the DOG email list, please go to dog.movie and subscribe, then make sure we’re not getting tossed into spam.

As a trusted co-conspirator within Daughter of Godcast’s notorious inner circle, prepare to have your blessings counted. This has been and continues to be for a few fleeting seconds Crowd Creation episode 079 Rabbit and Dog, released in the Chinese year of the DOG, 2018 and not coincidentally, the year of our DOG, Daughter of God. She is coming, and you are blessed by her, for no other reason than you exist, you are alive on Planet Earth most likely, unless you’re an alien with weird palm line patterns. Don’t ask me to elaborate, I’m just your not so humble host, proudly palm illiterate. Alien or not the Daughter of God blesses all, and those who are helping her to manifest, to come into our mortal mileau, by dint of the sanctified practices outlined on dog.movie/bless, they shall be well swagged. That means you!

 

 

Daughter of Godcast 070

Daughter of Godcast Episode 070, The End. The last episode of the Gentle Release.

Hello and goodbye! We’re here to wrap 2016, in the very last episode of the Daughter of Godcast Gentle Release. This has been approximately 70 episodes about the 12 going on 13 year history of the Daughter of God, a post apocalyptic romantic comedy featurette. We’ve got a smidge of 2016 yet to tell and then we’ll briefly talk about next week’s invitation to the upcoming Crowd Completion. Episode 070, The End.

Toe Socks

In Episode 006 and 016, we introduced Toe Socks, the short Lauren Discipio had written and directed back in 2002, inspired by an aesthetic conflict with our pal Shoal Southworth. I was the cinematographer and support for Lauren, her first time directing. We edited together and wrote and performed the theme song, Beans and Rice. Since Lauren and I didn’t really know anything about film festivals back then, Toe Socks never found an audience, we just sent the link to a few friends and moved on.

Telling the story of the Daughter of God implied I might eventually revisit my entire origin myth, every project and experience that informed my perspective as an artist, shaped me as a maker of movies and as a human. On August 31 I wrote to Lauren and asked her permission to post Toe Socks on YouTube. She replied that Toe Socks deserved to be seen. I tossed out the idea of sending it to a few short festivals and she was game. She created an IMDB page and we uploaded a screener. We tried top tier festivals and a few regionals, but our genius went unrecognized. We were and clearly still are, decades ahead of the curve.

Vasty Virtuality

Some geekiness. A megabyte is a thousand kilobytes, a gigabyte is a thousand megabytes and a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes. 1 terabyte can store about 2.5 hours of 720p HD video, at 30 frames a second. Since each second of video has 30 frames or pictures, here’s another way to think about 1 TB. 2.5 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds x 30 frames = 270,000 pictures. That’s how many pictures you can save on 1 TB.

Over the course of the project I had grown my life’s archive from ~20 TB to over 100 TB, most of which was stored on 1TB bare 5.25″ SATA drives. The SATA drives had been swapped into 2 bays, the trusty Venus T5’s I’d purchased in 2008. By 2016,  the drivers for the Venus T5 were antiquated and my SATAs would no longer mount reliably. In June of 2016 I hungered for way more storage, a vasty virtuality that would give ready access to all DOG’s media.  After some research I went with OWC’s Thunderbay RAID and the super convenient Startech 4 bay SATA toasters. In english, this meant that I could have 18 TBs of super fast RAID storage and an additional 4 TBs of removable SATAs or 22 TB available total at any given time. That’s room enough for almost 6 million pictures.

As the years have rolled by, significant chunks of Daughter of God’s technological infrastructure have obsoleted, Final Cut Pro 7.0 being the most significant. I so appreciate that most of my archival files are still accessible after all this time.

UFOs

At a random party in late summer of 2016, I met a real life Uncle Joe, a deep state operator, long retired. In his day, a player. Now living in a shack somewhere in Manistee, a random acquaintance of the party’s host. He displayed a casual disregard for his top secret clearance , happy to tell me whatever I wanted to know. I asked him how he could get away with that, and he said no one would ever believe me, and if I outed him as my source he’d just deny everything.

Later, I made inquiries in my network and his story pans out, he could be the real deal. I’ve since meant to visit him again and ask him a series of tinfoil hat questions. Especially now with the advent of the hokey To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences and the official release of the Super Hornet UFO video last week, what can he tell me about the fedgov trysting with ETs? My Uncle Joe is the “Wizard of the Deep Canyons, King of the Flying Saucers”, so any information this dark operator provided could easily be woven in to the movie’s backstory. Making the movie even more eerily accurate would be a win. Or I might be making this up.

Michigan Movie Makers

After the podcast was well underway, I briefly revived M3. Who was out there still, making movies? Recall that In 2010 I’d returned from NYC and after sailing around Lake Michigan I discovered Traverse City’s movie making boom, driven by the Michigan Film Incentives, see episode 028 and 034. I re-cofounded the Michgan Movie Makers and attempted to herd that community of cats. By 2015, the incentives were gone and my motivation to herd cats faded away. Now in 2016, channeling all that energy into my own projects, I wondered many other local movie makers might be left standing.

I emailed the list and requested updates. From our peak of 200 or so members, pnly Matt Dayton, Bill Latka, Arron Dennis, J Mark Eiden, Tom Emmot, Vince Hancock, Robin Pearson, Cody Stowe and myself were still active. I knew there were a few others out there, like Ben Busch, Cat Muncey and the godfather, Rich Brauer. The last of the Jedi.

Michigan Movie Makers massive update

Where’s the Cast?

In episode 008, Ann Loeding DOG’s line producer visited the podcast and gave her recollections about our 10 days of production aboard the big boat, Alexander Henry. Two weeks earlier I had emailed 4 other members of the Daughter of God’s cast and crew asking for their remembrances. Nobody responded. I was slightly disappointed at first, but then I realized that I had plenty of story to tell all by myself. Perhaps when DOG has legs, these prodigals would come home. After 10 years, Steve Zilliax now legally re-enter the USA, see episode 005. Maybe we can live stream his episode from the doom raft in the summer of 2018.

Wordcamp Ann Arbor

I attended my first WordPress Wordcamp in Ann Arbor with my new uber ally, Milagros Parades.  Every conference has a unique culture, and I did my best to adapt rusty geek tribalism from past SIGGCHIs, SIGGRAPHs, and even Worldcons, the World Science Fiction Convention. I returned staring up at learning curves, but at least now I knew what I didn’t know, and that’s a start. I attended my second Wordcamp with Joe Cissel in October of 2017, see episode 060, more present and itching to poke and prod the wordcamp culture.

Reasons to Podcast

After a couple months of podcasting, I was revising and upgrading my motivation almost every episode. This was both exhilarating and disconcerting. I thought I knew what I was doing, but history is just a list of surprises. Here’s a peek at my transformation in just two weeks.

10/24
process log

 What's the mission of dog.movie?

To magnetize 100k people to Daughter of God.
To give Daughter of God's audience easily access,
Offering audience access to the longest little movie ever
Preparing Earth for the coming of Daughter of God

A laboratory for Dan to build the new movie making paradigm
Dan's homebrew venue for global art and awareness
Dan's channel of connection to decisive collaborators

11/12
process log

[snip]
Doesn't matter how many people are watching or listening. What matter is 1) Am I having fun and 2) Am I making something super cool? The rest will follow.

11/18
process log

[snip]
Is the podcast a success? My god, last night I was organizing the master podcast file and seeing all the sound effects, and that reminded me of the crazy stuff I've done so far over the last 12 weeks. and I am like, wow, this feels good.

To sweep up the last crumbs of 2016, here are a few links from the extended family with commentary.

From James

In October James Schaberg sent, Johanna under the ice , a sweet short about an icy freediver. I was a certified FII Level 2 Freediver that August with Mark Lozano in Alpena and of course Wim Hof would come later. That James is a little prescient. He also sent me Favorite Podcasts of NPR 2016, in December and predicted Daughter of God would be included for 2017. Ya never know.

From Shoal

Shoalie Southworth sent some dweebs overdub of Geordie Rose and Dwave Quantum Computing. I was annoyed by the Mandela Effect commentary and sought out the original talk, where Geordie makes predictions about super intelligent AI not unlike Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity except without any mention of humans integrating this technology and upgrading. Milagros had already turned me onto Micheal Brown’s practical time travel with his Presence Process, so when Shoal dropped this video on10/08, I was prepped to riff about alternate universes around episodes 008 (10/25) and 010 (11/03).

I can’t help thinking that godlike super intelligence running on quantum computers is pretty much a description of us. According to Prof. dr. Dirk K.F. Meijer PhD and other researchers, human brains do much of their processing outside of the skull, in other dimensions, we are fleshy, bone-y quantum computers. WE are already godlike super intelligences, instantiating in duality for fun and profit. We’re sneaking up on ourselves.

From Matt

Back in April, when Matt Kern and I were tinkering with tracking and 3D scans, he sent a link for Lytro, a camera system that records not only values of light and shadow, but spatial data. This means elements of a scene scene can be changed after the shoot, they are not baked into the image. Actors, props, sets and even depth of field and exposure can be changed. Rotoscoping was used extensively with DOG to unbake elements for VFX, but a Lytro capture would make rotoscoping as obsolete as handcranked film cameras.

Quantum computing and the Lytos together imply that DOG is already an antique right out of the box. Technical details are moot, all that matters is the joy in the making – our delight in deploying a Toy Universe, tweaking the backstory, emphasizing the quirky performances on the big boat. Noticing how the making of this movie is still making me and maybe you too. The key to completion is relishing this making, loving this great big canvas, primed and ready for paint. We clearly have the spark, the madness, the vision. Letting the joy flow steady and strong, that’s all now. The movie is a connection to what we are living now, now and now. A capturing of full spectrum experience, just another deployment of the highest technology. Who’s making who?

That’s our history, thanks to those of you who went all the way from Episode 001 to 070. Over a year and a third of weekly podcasts. Next week, without any gaps or pauses, we’re going to begin the Crowd Completion, test screening chunks of the movie, from graphic elements to scene snippets until eventually we’ve assembled the entire shebang, the whole shooting match. I am so looking forward to feedback about what’s working for you and what isn’t, talking about how this movie feels, what thoughts are inspired, what sweet realities come within reach.

We want feedback on image fragments like logos and graffiti in the DOG world, miniatures, story boards for additional scenes, snippets of live action scenes, VFX… pretty much everything.

Daughter of Godcast has been available on iTunes and several other podcast venues, and streaming directly from DOG.movie. If you’ve been listening only, we’ll try to keep the Daughter of Godcast viable as an audio experience. The podcast has also been out there as a video version since episode 011, and if you’re ready to get interactive, there’s going to be even more visual venues.

We’re launching the Crowd Completion on at least 8 social media platforms simultaneously, so there’s plenty of places to comment and have discussions. Find links on www.dog.movie and subscribe to DOG’s presence on your favorite platforms.

So what’s the new Daughter of Godcast Crowd Completion gonna be like? Next week is the official invitation episode. We’ll talk about how feedback works in more detail and lay out some of the perks of participation. We’ll also present the first chunk of media for your review and post it on all the social media platforms. We’ll probably pose a question to focus the comments and discussion.

From then on, the episodes will provide highlights from the previous week’s feedback and then introduce a new chunk. We’ll keep reviewing and choosing the best chunks together until we’ve got a finished featurette.

If you’re not living in the US, Canada or Europe, I really want to encourage you to join in with comments and feedback, even if you’re not perfectly fluent with english. Daughter of God belongs to the whole wide world.

Here’s what you can do TODAY to get ready. Follow the links from dog.movie to your favorite social media hangout and like or follow the Daughter of God presence there. If you’re listening on iTunes, please rate this podcast and write a review.

Thanks for a fabulous year, looking forward more of you in 2018.

You’ve been listening to the Daughter of Godcast, episode 070, The End. The Gentle Release is now done, finished, over with. We’re moving all the video episodes to Vimeo for safe keeping, and perhaps enhancing them slightly too. Lots of changes coming. Maybe in 2018 well even get into the model shop. We’re mostly going to be in the now, the this and here, the ever present. Perhaps a tiny bit of guruing still, life coaching, rambling philosophical discourse, just for SEO sake, definitely hints on how to optimize your human experience, that’s one of the perks of membership in the DOG family. Gotta keep you perky. Actually, the whole Crowd Completion will automatically upgrade your game, that’s inherent in the design. We’re all upgrading.

 

 

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

[snip]
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.
[snip]

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.

Stories
July 13, 2015, The Deep Archive

[snip]

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.

Thrivings

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

[snip]

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

[snip]
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.