Okay. Enough already. Time to get serious.
Though I barely even used the “Interactive” half of my Gold SXSW badge (hard to do when you’re seeing 3-4 films daily), I did visit just enough panels on blogging to realize that this fad really is a valuable distraction. I don’t plan to be the obsessive-compulsive type that spends 3-4 hours a day making sure new content is updated every day, but I do have several things looming on the near horizon that are perfect blog material, and which might prove valuable to more than just me. Even if not, I’ve got a whole lot of thoughts I need to get out in one form or another. “Blog” might as well be the method for my madness.
First up, of course, I will be finishing EDGE. To those of you who might be worried when I start to stray, don’t be. It is still priority number one. But I can see the light at the end of that particular tunnel, and the game’s release will be overlapped with a few very exciting things on the horizon…which have been held at bay for far too long.
One: a real return to digital filmmaking. It is time. My first indie feature pre-dated the DV revolution by barely a year, and though I did use that technology to finish post on Hell is Texas, I didn’t have an actual “DV film.” With the new Sony HVR-Z1U HDV camera, we stand at almost the same threshold we did ten years ago — but with a whole new level of quality available. Whether this particular camera will be my next toy remains to be seen, but shortly after NAB in April, I will be assessing the technology and taking the plunge. (If not for the next film, at least for shooting my twin daughters. I can’t help but feel they’ll look at lo-res DV like we look at silent black-and-white 8mm film transfers!) I’ve also made a few very interesting connections at SXSW, one of which being Mike Curtis of HDforIndies.com. Whether I’ll be helping Mike personally with some of his tests (I’ve offered), or simply hoovering his knowledge for my own benefit, I will shortly be putting together my own low-budget DIY HD shooting-and-editing solution. (I have crazy dreams of RAID-array-backpacks and Steadicam Jrs with dangling DVI cables.) Stay tuned for the fun.
Two: Along with this, of course, is a personal hope for a real case of convergence. It might be painful, but in addition to building a desktop system for editing HD material, I intend to do my best to interface my office with my living room — to make my large-screen HDTV able to watch not only the satellite broadcast coming into my house, but whatever movie or TV show I’ve managed to BitTorrent down from the Net, or anything else I might be working on in the editing suite. Maybe wireless, maybe massive cables; I don’t yet know. I am, of course, also desperate to add at least one HD tuner card to my collection before the stupid Broadcast Flag mandate kicks in July 1st and shoves us all back to the Dark Ages. (Hmm…Maybe a new 1080p HD set will have to accompany all this. There’s a really nice few coming soon from Samsung. )
Third: I have a second draft of a.k.a. to finish. It’s been waiting for me for over a year. While the original idea was in fact a screenplay notion that expanded into a novel, I now think there might be more than just a feature lurking in there. I originally thought there was no way I could do justice to the additional flashback sequences in the story — that they’d play a tiny part in any feature-length version of the tale. But now I’m wondering….Might they be the perfect vehicle for ramping up toward the full-length film? Might those flashbacks have new life as a series of shorts, shot before the feature? A good possibility…for testing. For learning the camera. For establishing some rapport with local actors. The possibilities are many, and exciting as hell.
Fourth: Digital meets distribution. Is the end of the music industry and the end of Hollywood on the horizon? Is the landscape about to truly change? I don’t really know, and I really don’t care. What I do know is there are some exciting opportunities for DIY filmmakers to not only make their films, but maybe even to get them seen. I’m not 100% sure exactly how this is going to unfold, but I have a few ideas of my own, which I’ll be expounding on a bit later. Speculating. Prophesizing. Perhaps even making it happen. Why not?
Fifth: Austin, Texas. Shit, man. What a place. I didn’t truly feel back till this last week, surrounded by artists and filmmakers and do-it-yourself kindred spirits. It’s settling in now: I’m freaking back. When I left, there was no “film scene.” Now, based on my wonderful little glimpse at SXSW, that has very clearly changed for the better. So it’s about time to see what is really going on.
Of course the SXSW Film Festival was incredibly inspiring for all of these reasons and more. Both for the brave, low-end indie fare like Four Eyed Monsters and the extreme high-end depravity like the awesome Korean film Oldboy, SXSW was an electric shock for the soul. Now I’ve just got to hold on to that electric fire and let it burn.