{Like Spinning Leaves: October 2006

Like Spinning Leaves

Friday, October 27, 2006

What Dreams May Come And Go

I've often pointed out (the obvious by stating) that nothing in this business is certain unless it's already happened. And, even then, some things remain unclear. Our experiences with the Shadowboxer documentary are a testament to this.

2 years ago, HBO, Showtime, BET...they all once held the promise of our debut into the industry with a fairly no holds barred and sui generis "Making Of...". Now you have to buy the Canadian version of the DVD to see a (seriously compromised) third of our original hour and forty minute documentary. We never ended up going to document The Mule in Amsterdam with Stephen Dorff and Sean Astin. We should have been trekking across the country shooting the documentary for Tennessee a year ago but they still have yet to lock down a firm cast to this day. Everyone's always "interested" and they always "love what they've seen so far."

These all seemed like broken promises and I became increasingly frustrated with each new setback. But I've come to realize that it's not about acceptance. It's about recognizing this as an inherent part of the process. In other words, I shouldn't have expected otherwise when everyone else goes through the same thing on a regular basis.

All that being said, you can understand why I remain skeptical about gametrailers.com (essentially the apple.com/trailers of the video game world) and MTv.com picking up the trailer and episodes we made for Video Games Live. Tommy outdid himself this time and hooked us up with spots as front page features on both sites. We actually just finished applying MTv's notes to the trailer so it can go online next week and I still think it's all some cruel joke. I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't jiinx it by dreaming up pessimistic scenarios...Yes. Let's stop here and just be happy.

Oh wait. Just so there's no confusion about all this (since some people have asked), there is currently no money involved in this deal. There's a possibility that MTV will ask us to combine the 3 episodes and develop into a full 22 minute episode for their network but we'll see how this goes first. According to their stats, during the three weeks our videos will be up, they expect about 15-20 million unique visitors. An extreme exaggeration sure but at the very least, it could very well mean 1 million unique visitors in actual figures...so yeah, that's...ehhh... good.

Other things worth noting: my cousin at illusivemedia is currently designing a great website for 2 player productions to coincide with the release of the webisodes. I'll be sure to post a big announcement once it's ready. We're all in Jersey at Paul's place right now. Seeing Dino from Chromelodeon, Anamanaguchi, and The Depreciation Guild tomorrow night in Philly. Should be a good time.

Also, I got a crockpot for my birthday yesterday. Good looking, msb. It's going to be a hearty winter.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blip Festival: Intros'n'Addendums + Other Things

Longest dinner of my life.

Hopefully, this entry will effectively complement and provide closure to the last two posts. I've been pretty vague about things so let's see if I can tie up some loose ends.

Blip Festival (Nov 30-Dec 3)
I think it's safe to say things are pretty much confirmed for our involvement with a four day festival celebrating all things chiptunes*. We're going to cover the entire thing and release it as an official DVD. We're still working out the details with The Tank and 8bitpeoples (the festival's parents) regarding ownership and distribution but the time for that will come later. For now, I'm just glad that a) it's happening and b) we're covering it. The day after he told me about it (approximately one month ago, after the last Pulsewave show), I emailed the Tank's director of electronic music to express our interest in shooting the event.

Apparently, they were just talking amongst themselves about hiring a video crew for documentation purposes. I was relieved to know it was going to be us but horrified that it was such a close call. Because really, if I had to deal with losing that gig to someone else in addition to finding out about the other documentary within the same week, I may have slipped into a very serious 2-or-3-day depression (during which, I'd probably do and say really stupid, regrettable things).

But why the big fuss? If you bothered to follow the link, you'd see that the Blip Festival is the biggest event (30 artists from around the globe and counting) this particular music scene has ever had anywhere in the world for as long as it's been around . And, given how rabid the fans in Japan and Sweden are, it's an incredible stroke of luck that it's happening right here in New York. Those who know me know that I don't particularly care for the concept of [God]'s Will or whatever brand of fatalism people subscribe to these days but I have to believe that I did something good to end up as the benefactor of this kind of coincidence.

Right so, the process of putting together a feature length DVD and distributing it internationally is going to serve as an excellent warm up for what we can expect with Play. That and the show is almost guaranteed to blow my mind.

Olde English Rules

This next bit has next-to-nothing to do with me (save the three or four frames in which I can be seen) but is more important than anything else I plan on talking about in this particular entry. The guys transformed the multipurpose room in our apartment into the set for a featured video on youtube.
It's only been up a few days but the View Count has already climbed past 216,000 and garnered a number of #1 Honors. Impressive and definitely deserved. If you haven't seen it and could use a good laugh, check it out (hi-res version).

Video Games Live

I just got back from a few days of editing with the guys in Jersey. Things are finally nearing some sort of forseeable end with the VGL Webisodes. We've got versions (ranging from Done to Possibly In Need Of A Complete Revision) of the trailer and all three installments cut together and plan on having everything wrapped up by the end of next week. I'll have more news on this after that point in time. And, speaking of official DVDs, Tommy is planning on having the Brazil performance filmed by a professional crew with real equipment (cranes, jibs, etc) for an eventual DVD release...we're seeing if we can get in on the editing process since he mentioned that he wanted us to be involved in some way.

With everything else that's been going on, we've gotten a little sidetracked. Once this Video Games Live stuff is over, we'll focus on finishing the press kit...that is, assuming there's any time between then and whatever prep we need to do for Blip Fest.


Right so I think that's it for now. Hopefully, I'll find some spare time to cut together a video for one of the artists performing at Blip Fest and see if they'll play it in the background for that song in lieu of the work of the projection artists that will be part of each night's performance. Won't say who for now. time to go.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Shouldn'a Left You, Left You, Without a...

Things have been quiet for a while for a number of reasons. To be completely honest, a lot of that can be attributed to alternating bouts of procrastination, excessive gaming (Dave just bought Okami), and playing catch up on some editing. But more important than all that is that the fact that I wasn't ready to talk about a lot of the stuff I wanted to tell you.

There have been a lot of empty promises regarding updates over the last week so, to all those to whom it applies, my apologies. Here, in no particular order, is what's going on:

[8-Bit] Not To Be Confused With [Play]

Doesn't really make sense to start anywhere else. If you and I haven't spoken over the course of 2006 thus far, you should know that I've been working on Play, a documentary about video game music. It covers the progression of music within games, exposes the various niche genres it's spawned among a generation of musicians who grew up with Mario, and examines the effect it's had on more "mainstream" artists (Beck / David Bowie, if I had to rattle some examples off the top of my head).
We'll be speaking with professional composers from around the world, video game cover bands, rock/funk/jazz/rap/etc groups'n'aritsts that incorporate 8 bit sounds into their work, independent musicians who repurpose old video game hardware to create their own original compositions* (see "Random" in the Recent Video section on the left), and so on and so on. Sounds interesting...it's been going on in one form or another for nearly 25-30 years but it's still very underground...your average viewtiful joe hasn't really seen it before, right? Wrong.
About 3 weeks ago, Owens, M, and I went the September Pulsewave show. Pulsewave is a monthly event held here in New York at The Tank, a non-profit performance space. For the most part, it caters to the Chiptune crowd (see * above). This would be the first Pulsewave show we'd attended where we weren't filming the event. We were free to relax and enjoy the music. It was one of those rare moments where you're almost guaranteed a good time. Unfortunately, that was also the night we found out someone else had already made "8-Bit," a documentary about the cultural impact of video game music, and it was premiering at the MoMA in less than a month.

You can insert whatever metaphor for shock your comfortable with here. I think the sensation of a sock full of loose change to the groin is appropriate. Actually, that little montage in the beginning of Return Of The King that shows how Smeagol withered away into the Gollum we all recognize and love works too. And we wept, precious.

But not for long. The guys came up to NY and we saw the film. It was good. But it wasn't our film. We were dealing with a much broader scope. It was as though they had taken a portion of our intentions and stretched it out into a feature. I could break down the entire kaliadescope of emotions I felt leading up to, right before, and during the movie piece by piece but what's the point? Speaking in the most basic terms, 8-Bit takes a more PBS style art critic approach and keeps its distance while our perspective is on the same level as the scene...more of a paean to video game music.

anyway, there's a lot more to discuss. I'm meeting some friends for dinner. I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bizzy Busy Busey

Things are moving along nonstop. I don't have much time to write. The poetry festival went really well. Working on what seems to be an incredibly elaborate Olde English video today. Meeting with Bit Shifter tomorrow to discuss the details regarding 2 Player Productions creating an official DVD for Blip Fest, a 3 day chiptune festival in NY dec 1-3. Shooting audience reaction shots for a taped Broadway (possibly Off) performance on Friday & Saturday. Sunday I get back to working on webisodes for Video Games Live. Continue cutting together the EPK for PLAY a week from today when Paul and Owens come back to NYC. Making plans to go to Virginia Beach for a few days for the end of Ramadan. Possibly having a party. Possibly leaving for Tennessee by the end of this month (cue howling studio audience)...no really, this is the one solid bit of info we've had in a while and it doesn't come from the production company. Apparently, Mariah C. (damn you, google) has cancelled the UK leg of her tour to do the movie. A drastic move.

Ok have to go.

I also finally bought Only Revolutions. Don't know when I'm going to have 5 spare seconds to read it.