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Saturday, July 05 2008 @ 01:27 PM
I've been busy all week and this long weekend is turning out to be busier than I'd expected too! I actually am spending a lot of time these days on blog-related projects, the fruits of which will be unveiled soon. In the meantime...
Everyone wish Flameape
a happy birthday!
And then go check out this hilarious video
(found at Digital Digressions - probably NSFW)
And on this July 4th holiday, Boing Boing has graciously given us two polar opposite views of the pursuit of liberty on the 'net. First, check out John Perry Barlow's July 4th ruminations
on the inalienable right to know and our modern struggle with liberty. Then, read about how the Iranian government is considering legislation that would put bloggers to death
for "disturbing mental security in society."
Monday, June 30 2008 @ 12:48 PM
UPDATE: Just after I posted this I checked the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival blog
and noticed that Digital Pamphleteer won the Best Short Documentary award at the festival! Can I get a w00t?
We're finally home, and we're happy abut it. Here's a quick snap from yesterday's filmmaker feedback session with Gerry Casale. He more or less held court with an audience of about 20, including three filmmakers he was specifically giving feedback to...
We have some video of the session too but the AA batteries on the Flip video camera died so I can't post that until I replace them. He had complimentary things to say about Digital Pamphleteer -- though they were really more complimentary to Steve than to the film, but he did say I did a good job of presenting what it is about Steve that's compelling.
One of the other filmmakers there was terrified of his film getting pirated online and an interesting discussion about the internet ensued, with me being the standard-bearer of the the-internet-is-a-filmmaker's-best-friend line of thinking and the San Francisco-based horror director getting hot under the collar over the idea that he won't be able to get distributors interested in his film if it becomes available online. I'm not sure he's right abut that -- particularly if it's just available as a bit torrent or in chunks on P2P networks -- but what was funny is that he kept talking about how he wanted "bloggers" to write about his film to help get it known and generate buzz. Uh, the only way bloggers are going to get excited about your film is if they can watch it somehow. There was a weird disconnect there and his temperature started to rise when I challenged his (clearly deeply ingrained) beliefs on the subject, so I didn't push too hard.
We got some vegan cheesesteaks for the road before leaving Philly at about 5:30pm. We had a good time, but we're happy to be home.
Saturday, June 28 2008 @ 09:59 PM
Touring the amazing Redding Terminal Market a block from our hotel, we spotted this unfortunate gift candy bar...
Saturday, June 28 2008 @ 08:36 PM
We're enjoying things in Philly as best we can despite some bad news from back home. We're missing our friends and looking forward to hugging them a lot.
Today was our American civics day, visiting Independence hall and the National Constitution Center. We snapped this shot as evidence that we were here. You can see a tiny Independence Hall just to the right of my head in the distant background...
Apparently, America's first everything was in Philadelphia -- the first hospital, the first prison, the first soda pop, the first lager, the first photograph, the first cheesesteak sandwich, the first yellow fever outbreak...
Speaking of yellow fever, yesterday we did some more macabre sight seeing, taking in Edgar Allen Poe's house and the famous Mütter Museum of medical oddities.
And last night was my film's screening at the Arbol Cafe, an outdoor venue -- think the Radio Bean with a large patio. This is the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival's first year and so some slack is to be afforded them for not exactly having their ducks in a row. I think they have the right idea for a festival -- it's very indy -- the venues are bohemian and laid back and all within walking distance of each other, the staff is young and hip, and the program is both a little edgy and a little serious.
That said, last night's screening was kind of a nightmare. First of all, the projection got my film's aspect ratio wrong and the technical staff was stumped about how to fix it. I've had years of film festival tech experience and I'm confident I could have stepped in and fixed the problem, but I was sensitive about being a prima donna filmmaker -- I'd already made them stop the film so they could get it right. In the process it became clear to me that the techs had not tested the media at all -- in fact they had not touched the DVDs until literally 30 seconds before show time. After it became clear that the aspect ratio was going to stump them, I said "it's good enough" and had them proceed, not wanting to hold up the show because my 7-minute short was the wrong shape.
As it turns out, I was the lucky filmmaker last night because the disk that the feature was on wouldn't play at all in their deck. The filmmakers were cool about it but I would have been pissed. This is why you test the media 30 minutes before showtime, so you can deal with the issue before there's an expectant audience sitting in seats waiting for the show to start. It's also why you have backup media for all films. You're better off showing a 3rd generation VHS tape recorded in EP than showing nothing at all.
There was also a VERY small turnout for the films, but that could have been program-specific and also due to the sticky heat. Next year will probably be much smoother. In general, I like the feel of the festival and what they're doing. They just need to work through some kinks.
Tomorrow we may check out the Eastern State Penitentiary before heading over to the event with Gerry Casale. Then we have along drive home.
Friday, June 27 2008 @ 12:22 AM
Okay, so we made it to Philadelphia. It was a long drive, but I only almost killed us once, so that's good. We're staying at the downtown Marriott in Center City. We're on the 14th floor and we can see Philadelphia's historic City Hall from our room. I know I've seen this building in some Philadelphia-set movie, but I can't remember which one(s). 12 Monkeys? Any ideas?
Emily and I were hungry when we got into town, but it was getting late and the fondue joint across from the hotel was closing as we tried to get in. So we asked the concierge and she recommended a place called the Veal Cafe or something like that. I said, basically, "we're vegetarians, so is there someplace that's open that doesn't have the word "veal" in the name?" So she sent us to the Caribou Cafe. Seriously. Fortunately, it was de-lish.
On our way to the restaurant, we passed Philadelphia's famous Cockroach Plaza -- or so we assumed when we saw this!
For some reason, just this one particular granite building was COVERED in roaches. Buildings adjacent to this one appeared to be roach-free upon casual inspection.
Now I'm in the hotel bar sampling some local-ish beer and doing my blog thing. Emily is upstairs in our room seeking out soccer before falling into some much-needed sleep. Tomorrow, after I clear up a little banking snafu, I'll check in at the film festival HQ and we'll do some sight-seeing.
Speaking of the film festival, I'm getting a little nervous about my interview on Sunday with Devo co-founder Gerald Casale. I found this item about the event
on the PIFF blog...
Gerald is a visualist with an eye for comedy, offers the double-barreled punch of a veteran craftsman’s experience fused to a fresh, quirky, post-modern sensibility and will use his talent in critiquing selected films and providing valuable to feedback [sic] through interaction and dialogue with filmmakers. When asked about speaking to filmmakers, Gerald says, "Life is too short for one bad short".
If Casale is saying that "life is too short for one bad short" from the perspective of the viewer
, I suppose I would agree, but how busy are you that you can't spend an occasional 10 minutes of your time watching a not-so-great short film? But if Casale is saying filmmakers shouldn't waste their time making
bad shorts, I actually think the exact opposite is true. The only way for filmmakers to get good at their craft is by making lots of films -- and that probably means making some dogs. Actually, Ira Glass says this better than I ever could in this short YouTube clip
, in which he doles out some incredibly valuable advice to filmmakers. Basically, he says don't sweat your bad stuff. We all make bad stuff at first -- even the greats. The point is to not get discouraged by your inability to be great right out of the box. If you can keep making films and telling stories, eventually your chops will catch up to your vision of what you know your films should be.
Okay, time for some sleep. It's going to be 94 degrees and humid tomorrow. w00t!
Wednesday, June 25 2008 @ 10:26 PM
Getting ready for my trip to Philadelphia tomorrow! Aside from the film festival that Digital Pamphleteer
is in, Emily and I will be checking out Independence Hall, The Constitution Center, The Mütter Museum
, Eastern state Penitentiary, and a punk rock flea market. Anyone have any other good suggestions?
If any Candlebloggers will be in the Philadelphia area this weekend, Digital Pamphleteer will be playing at 9pm on Friday at the Arbol Cafe - 209 Poplar Street. Then on Sunday at 3pm will be my talk with Devo founder Gerald Casale. I don't know the venue for that yet but if you email me I'll make sure you know before the event.
Monday, June 16 2008 @ 11:16 AM
As of today I am no longer robbing the cradle. Emily and I are now both in our thirties. Happy birthday, Emily!
I'm getting her an autographed DVD box set of Meteorologist Tom Messner's Greatest Forecasts. I think she'll love it!
Sunday, June 01 2008 @ 09:34 PM
Time for part two of the ongoing saga of Emily, Bill and the enormous spiders. Tonight, a junior model, but still too big for the Bugzooka
Video of the brave catch-and-release is here
I think these are grass spiders
, but I welcome authoritative opinions on the matter. I also welcome authoritative exterminators.
Saturday, May 31 2008 @ 11:44 AM
It's summer! Yay! But oh, wait. It's summer... blurg!
Yes, it's the time of year when we start to find big-ass hairy monster spiders in our house. Two years ago a big brother of one of these wound up ON ME. It was heavy and cool to the touch -- plump. Bleagh! Emily and I share a reasonably intense arachnophobia and we live right up next to the woods and those woods are right up next to the lake. Result: lots of spiders, a few of which are like mice with spider legs. We'd much rather have snakes in our home -- rats... anything other than spiders. Yuck.
9 points to the first commenter that gets the reference in the title of this post (given this blog's readership, it won't be long before someone gets it, so it's not worth a full ten points).
Saturday, May 24 2008 @ 06:10 PM
UPDATE: Mom just took a bunch of them with her and we're going to bring the rest to Hollywood Video tomorrow for store credit.
I'm about to post this offer to craigslist: anyone who wants a set of about 220 VHS movies -- all commercially-produced, most in their original boxes -- can come and take them. They are free to the first person who comes and takes them away. These are commercial tapes that were collected throughout the 90s and early 2000s by a filmmaker and his artsy wife. It's a great selection of films but we don't keep a VHS machine hooked up to our home theater anymore so we'll never watch them. Collection is offered as-is.
I'll give preference to people I know (or people I don't know who say they saw this on Candleblog), but if someone bites on Craigslist, we're dumping the lot of them, so contact me
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...the online journal of Vermont filmmaker, Bill Simmon. Bill uses Candleblog as a repository of pop culture ephemera, amusing anecdotes and anything else he thinks is web-worthy.
Candleblog was the recipient of the 2005 and 2007 Seven Days "Daysie" Award for Best Vermont (non-political) Blog.
fun words to say in a vermont accent
- bottle rocket
- bucket truck
- crotch rocket
- door yard
- dye lot
- glottal stop
- not bad
- pot roast
- Quiet Riot
- ratchet strap