A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Daughter of God, Emotion and Inventory.
Hello fellow guests on theme park Earth, that wild fun vacation spot for divinity run amuck, and conveniently forgetful. This is episode 029 of the Daughter of Godcast, and if you've been listening for the last 6 months you know this is supposed to be all about the making of yet another post apocalyptic, romantic comedy, cult featurette, Daughter of God, but it's also Shri Fugi Spilt aka Dan Kelly remembering who he really is and giving hints about how to make the ultimate vegan wheat free pancakes. He's a code talker, clearly this is some kind of obscure language and you dear listener, are a native speaker. Listening with your heart, you are.
Episode 029 - Emotion
On August 15, 2011, I was pondering three versions of DOG. The 5:30 version which was my super sleeky core of 3:30+Uncle Joe bookends, the rough cut of 26:40 and the proposed grail version, or roughly 12:00, the alleged sweet spot length for festivals. Supposedly, back in 2011, film festival entries under 10 minutes were more likely to be accepted but less likely to win awards. Movies longer than 15 minutes would have a harder time being accepted. Realizing a grail version would mean the best possible chance of winning festival laurels. Then I'd have something to put on the DVD cover. What's a DVD?
How about that inventory from episode 028?
Digital artists like me have decades of prolific creation, entire universes stacked on a single bookshelf. This, like many modern miracles, is a mixed bag. First challenge is just knowing what's in that universe. Second challenge is finding what you know. Third is having an ongoing protocol, so the universe can grow and the first and second challenge can stay tamed.
In 2011, my archive was about 40 terrabytes or 40 x 1 TB hard drives. For perspective, that's about 100 hours of 720p HD footage or 4 days of watching movies around the clock. That's not so much, right? With a couple of pots of coffee, or excellent sencha, totally doable. If that 40 TB were compressed to DVD quality, then that would 212 x 40 = 8480 feature movies. If the data were music CDs that would be 2000 x 40 or 80,000 albums. Simply stated, lots to keep track of.
Most of the DOG files were stored on the project drive, Momma and the rest were scattered over 20 or so other drives, about 4 TB total.
I’ve been poring over the drive “momma”, 2 terabytes (5 years) of accumulated DOG development. I had this idea that the content was relatively organized, but it turns out – not so much. Sifting through the hoary once upon a time, catapulted over the ramparts of a disheveled memory palace. Not only was my impression of organization false, but I was chagrined to discover that the archive was incomplete.
Now that “momma” is mostly tamed, I want to gather the rest of the DOG content from the 40 terabyte meta archive. Fortunately I updated and indexed this archive a couple of weeks back, so it’s now searchable. New discoveries will be sorted into the appropriate directories.
Using Fujiwara’s DiskCatalogMaker, I search the meta archive for “daughter of god”… === Here’s the roster of high level stuff…
• review and describe supplemental material or b roll
• find every DOG analysis and publish on the blog for review
• print a reference bible of compelling visual content for bb deployment, supplement to standard index cards
… but I’ll also be getting low level with the sequences in the main FCP files, as described a couple of posts back…
• identify and describe the main sequences.
• brief analysis of unique component combinations with benefits and drawbacks, connections they suggest, etc.
• identify the strongest alternate takes of Acts 1 and 2 and riff on what they might be good for and preparing for the VFX uber marathon in the fall, once the final cut is complete.
• (ongoing) revise the motion graphics and VFX roster
• make placeholders for future media (text or graphics)
• identify what VFX can be intelligently contracted to other artists
Credits and content (DVD) extras are also facilitated by a robust inventory. Lots of folks helped create the content and for the most part I have releases from everyone, but there are many peripheral people who deserve recognition. I’ll tag each element of content with the names now, and then harvest everyone later. It would be handy to do that with metadata, but not all my media files (aiff, jpg) have that capability.
• names of creators / contributor
• content extra
DVD extras, for a 12 minute movie?! Heck yes. My first (modest budget) movie has been packed with lessons. Obviously, I am interested in the process as well as the product, hence all this blogging.
I want to squeeze the most intelligence out of the time and money I’ve invested. DOG may or may not be an Oscar winner or even a nominee, but it will be THE hyper jump for me, an artist who makes movies – if I learn. === There’s yet another argument against abdicating creative control. The decisions and audacious mistakes that inevitably follow are the whole point. If I assign my project to an alien aesthetic, even if the mandango or mamasita is some kind of hot shot bad ass super success, I loose the lessons. I wouldn’t be developing my own voice which is certainly the reason for doing any of this crazy shit. I am here to make the movies that are unique to this dude, and when I do I’ll find a huge audience waiting, just for me… guarantee!
Inventory end within sight
Building the inventory has been totally worth the investment of several weeks. I feel able to grasp the project in it’s entirety. I’m clear about the incredible amount of time and effort I’ve invested so far – which motivates to bring it to an auspicious conclusion.
So the lessons for this post are – develop an organization protocol, consolidate all commentary in one location and include the real world in the plan. Another self production strategy is to set milestones that require no more than a week or two to reach. My mistake in setting the first milestone was defining a too large scope of work, rather than break the inventory into several smaller milestones – eg CORE, then marooned, then commentary. Each then could be extended by days rather than weeks. It may have worked out to take the same amount of time, but focusing on and achieving short term objectives boosts my morale and momentum.
Back in 2017. The 2011 strategy was to gather all the pieces of the puzzle in an inventory, imagine all the steps ahead (milestones), guess at how long each step would take and then summarize my guesses in a spiffy chart. Completing a step was an opportunity to feel progress, exhilarate in momentum, competence, achievement.
Fast forward a couple of months from that last post, we're now in mid November 2011. No blog posts and minimal DOG progress. So much for the spiffy chart.
What happened? Maybe I needed to have a look at my feelings. How did I feel about finishing DOG? Sure there were plenty of swell reasons to finish, but were there reasons NOT to finish?
In my November and December blog posts I explored my fears and aspirations, how finishing would make me feel, both emotions I wanted to experience and those I didn't. I ended with a comprehensive map of my most significant emotional preferences. Here's an excerpt.
An emotional being
I was looking at my emotions as linked to conditions for feeling them. Tony Robbins suggests making the conditions for good feelings really easy, but this is still backward. The very critique I had and have with suicide culture, always trying to tie emotions to conditions, not the other way around. Conditions always conform to our emotions.
A big project can easily become a big goal. I made a movie. I sailed around Lake Michigan. I made a movie about sailing around Lake Michigan. As we've touched on in previous episodes, the doing is most of a project, not the done-ing. The done-ing is just the end, the crashing chord that finishes the song. The end of the kiss. If the kiss is nice, why end the kiss, ever?
Opening up my emotional experience was helpful, but here in 2017 I can't help but notice the 2011 emphasis. I was looking at what the milestones would feel like way more than what the entire process did.
A cognitive trap. I assumed that delayed gratification was a given in human behavior, in me. Delayed gratification is basically giving myself permission to feel a fleeting surge of positive emotion only after completing some milestone. Putting up with pain or mediocrity so I can eat a marshmallow. Milestones were like marshmallows on a long highway. Opportunities for gratification, to give myself permission to feel good more often while trudging down that lonely stretch to the distant horizon. Not feeling good all the time, just more often.
That reminds me of Chief Seattle's quip, “The end of living and the beginning of survival.”
Chief Seattle, 1852
“How can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted by talking wires? The end of living and the beginning of survival.”
In episode 028 I glued on a goofy ending about filling our time with loveliness because I was ready to end that episode. I could have kept writing, getting into the inventory and milestones as I have here and then 028 would have been much later than it already was and this episode would have been about something else.
Instead I joked about how adding an extra 37 minutes to DOG was filling up the time with loveliness. Now I am a gleefully astounded to find a connection, there's a key here.
I hadn't been designing my 2011 completion to be filled with loveliness, and that's why after all the charts and planning I balked.
The things you learn making a movie.
Doing this for me
This podcasting process is quite fascinating and odd. In Episode 028 I talked about filling up the time with loveliness. I imagine what I say here is more than me, I am making some kind of reminiscence for our mutual pleasure. Is this working for you dear listener?
A little like sex, perhaps. I want to pleasure you in the process of pleasuring myself, or perhaps I need the idea of you to pleasure myself. Or stranger and more lovely still, I need the idea of me to pleasure you. That there is an I and that's me.
I am a character based on real life happenings and journal entries. I can't say for sure that any of this happened quite the way I am telling, I am not the man I was just 6 years ago. I'm not even sure I am a man, I could be a simulation, an app. Which for some might be depressing, but I say take it as it comes. If we're apps, then kudos to the coders.
I mean listen to that one, "kudos to the coders". That's sweet enough to be a koan or a magic spell. I'm slipping in delightful little bell like sounds to this podcast at every opportunity. I didn't write all that about simulations to get to those noises, this all just sort of pops out. Is it fair that I get to say anything that comes into my head? Is it working for you, dear listener?
All these notes and emails and blog posts are just a scaffold for my latest dreams and desires. You can tell during the podcast episodes when I'm reading and improvising. I've done plenty of improvising in my day on camera and off, I like improvising. I think the reason I mostly read in these episodes is because I enjoy this process of writing. That's what I'm about right now, at 6:16 am on Sunday March 12, tho that's not the day I'm reading this and the day I'm reading this likely won't be the day you listen.
Also because there's what I've written farther back than last week, and I deem some of that worthy of vocalizing.
My friend James Weston, now James Schaberg works for the Non GMO project and they are starting up a podcast. He called the other day asking podcast questions and suggested I do an episode about podcasting, specifically how to set up a podcast. He meant the plug-ins and so forth, but there's not much to tell really.
How to Podcast circa 2017
Get the Serious Simple Podcasting plugin for WordPress and follow the directions. This will get you on iTunes and the other podcast aggregators. And that's only going to work until it doesn't, until the plug-in is no longer supported or the web changes which it has and probably will again soon. I mean, so many links on my blog are dead since I posted them 6 years ago. Plus my stats say that most of you Daughter of Godcast listeners are not coming from the aggregators. So any tech tutorial by me is going to become stale pretty fast.
Back to Episode 029
How many Daughter of Godcast listeners want to podcast? How many of you want to make movies? I don't think that's why most of you are here. I don't listen to Alan Watts recordings because I want to live on a ferry boat and give lectures, or be dead, which he is. I listen to Alan Watts because he rocks, mostly. Because in the recordings he is not dead, he is ALIVE. Think of that for a moment. Right now, Dan Kelly the guy who is speaking right now is elsewhere, with a little luck kissing some gorgeous woman, traipsing down a forest path or juggling heavy objects. For you tho I am right here and now. We are communing.
See, I could just keep going with this, just keep writing whatever comes into my head. I have a healthy conceit that my rambling is interesting, even important because if I didn't feel that way, this podcast wouldn't exist. There would be one less white guy talking. One less freak broadcasting his weird ass perspective.
I was going to go a little farther with my podcasting reflections, offer information that might not go stale too quickly. Oh and there's another healthy conceit, that what I'm about here is still going to be worth experiencing 6 or 16 years from now, and not merely as nostalgia. Tall order, eh? Which is why James's idea could be handled in one paragraph, and what might be useful in the year 2026 or 2126 is worthy of several paragraphs or even an entire episode.
So listening. This is what I really wanted to talk about and now I'm glad to get here. After recording, I edit this episode which is about listening, selecting the best take for a paragraph if I was having a good read or maybe just a sentence if I was struggling. She sells sea shells by the sea shore. Usually the best take is the last take, I get better as I go along. Which means, yes - you guessed it, I edit backwards. I start at the end of the entire recording, find the best audio chunk and then delete all the previous versions of that chunk, all the stuttering and stilted versions, then find the best take for the chunk before that, and so on. Working my way back to the very first sentence.
If recording a 30 minute episode takes me 2 hours, I usually spend 4 hours editing. That's pretty conservative actually. So every hour of podcasting takes at least 12 hours to record and edit.
After everything's edited, I listen to the whole episode start to finish again, to be sure there's no repeats and to tweak the timing between sentences. I am pretty lax on adjusting timing, actually. Sometimes the sentences run together, everything starts to sound frantic. That's me being lazy. Frantic feel comes from lazy editing. Weird right?
Then I upload the two versions, audio only and audio plus video and I listen again to be sure the uploads play all the way through without a hitch.
The point of this is that I listen to these episodes WAY more than you do, probably. Unless you're a graduate student from the far future doing a thesis based on this podcast or that media genius Dan Kelly.
I hear each of my lines at least 3 times. Am I narcissistic because I usually enjoy listening to myself over and over? Or am I just a pleasure to listen to? Again if I didn't like listening to myself, there would be no podcast. But that's not all! Because the Daughter of Godcast is a cumulative experience, I'll often binge on episodes from way back to see what still works for me and what I'd like to do differently.
You know what? All this re-listening is powerful for me. The why movie thing. I listen to hear why I movie, why I podcast. I really wonder, why? What's worthy about this choice to make. To movie or podcast. What did I say that I didn't quite catch before? There's often more in there, even the fifth and seventh time around.
I'm not sure how much of this is going in the next podcast, probably most of it, but I just jammed out 1200 words in an hour. 5000-6000 written words works out to about and hour of spoken audio. So I just wrote about 15 minutes for us to share.
This podcast experience. I am here to revel in the profound and super excellent happening that tends toward a completion, discovering how I deepen my presence with this blooming. Blooming of the movie sure and mostly myself. This podcast, this gentle release of a featurette is a loveliness process. I am moring myself, makering myself, upgrading the Dan Kelly ride, wallowing in pleasure and mystery.
This might be empirical truth, but experience is based on beliefs and perceptions. Which are subject to change, like the terms of our credit cards.
You've been listening to the Daughter of Godcast. Little milestones can be fun, firm islands in an rolling ocean of bliss. Landfall in our liquid life. A nice contrast to sailing and sailing and sailing all the time. Here's a fuzzy milestone. We are now 5 years away from the present and 6 years from where we started. The present is running away though, getting further from 2012 with each passing day. I'm delighted to be surfing this wave into the now, with you. There's a story telling itself and it sounds a bit like Dan Kelly. Don't be fooled, you're dreaming this whole thing.