{Like Spinning Leaves: December 2006

Like Spinning Leaves

Friday, December 29, 2006

VGL On GameTrailers.com!

Wow. I can't believe it actually happened.

click on the image boxed in red above when you get to this page

I'm so accustomed to teases, delays, and broken promises...I don't know how to respond to this.

So the trailer was released last night. Over the next month, Game Trailers has the exclusive rights to release Episodes 1-3 on a weekly basis. After that, everyone else (at this point: VGL's official site and MTV) will be able to post it on their respective sites. I'm still holding my breath on those but it's hard not to take this as a sign of encouragement.

I'm a little distracted at the moment with houseguests and such but I wanted to post about this before it was too late.

One cool thing: In the 12 or so hours since it was posted, it's already been seen 10,000 times. My favorite comment so far?

"Hey Tommy, I think this is great, will be even BETTER if it featured some heavy metal/rock bands to perform those game-songs. But for me it's all futile, because you will never go to Israel. Damn, nothing interesting ever happens here."

- BillyWicked

Sunday, December 10, 2006

(4 Nights) x (8 Bits) = 32 Sets


I think this picture does a pretty good job of summing up the spirit of the Blip Festival.

About halfway through his set, Tristan Perich descended into the audience with his drum kit in tow and invited everyone to get on stage so that he'd be completely surrounded by a throbbing mass of head bobbing. As people made their way around, I quickly jumped up and staked my claim on the spot directly behind him, shooting out into the audience with Tristan's back in the foreground.

Just I was getting situated, I felt a tap on my shoulder and found Random getting my attention on someone else's behalf. I looked off to where he was pointing and saw Paul L standing on top of a speaker and motioning wildly at the one dinky clamp light we were using to light up the performers from the front (clearly, there was no shortage of backlight) so that I would turn it towards Tristan.

So that brings us up to date on the picture.

As for the rest of the fest:
(open this link in a new tab/window and continue reading)
What can I say? It was amazing. Easily the most fun I've ever had shooting anything. In all honesty, it may not be some of the best camera operating I personally have ever done (self deprecating/biased/bullshit, etc) but the projection work coupled with the LED display created such incredible visuals that an armless man armed (hah) with a cell phone camera could still come away with great looking footage.

I won't bother with doing a write up on each act because really, how many different ways can I say "that was (expletive used as an intensive) (positive adjective) (# of ! of your choice)" ? Loyal readers, more or less, know the deal by now - musicians using sound chips from gameboys/nintendos/etc to create original music, so I won't bother getting into all that.

However, I should mention some of the other more unorthodox
(not that there's anything orthodox about Chiptunes to begin with...) performances. For example, you're currently listening to "Sun Salutation" by Bud Melvin - one of my favorite Artists I'd Never Heard Of Prior To The Festival. I can just see Banjo and Gameboy on their 50th anniversary, talking about how they met on a blind date through their mutual friend Bud and knew, right then and there, that they had finally found their other half. Brings a tear to your eye, right? More like a smile to the ear.

Other moments of intense greatness came from Kplecraft, a duo from Japan (I should quickly mentioned that people, aritsts and audience members alike, came from around the world for this thing) who supplemented their gameboy compositions with live performances on alto saxophone and bongos. Others introduced (to name a few) kazoos, vocals, guitars (electric & acoustic), and PC keyboards to mix.

Curious about the last one?

Unfortunately, this video had to be removed for legal reasons. Sorry kids.

Click Image to see Nullsleep perform "Her Lazer Light Eyes"

This video is merely a rough cut but will appear in the feature length film we're planning (more on that in a sec). Because we had three cameras shooting simultaneously for the entire show, I was interested to see how a straightforward cut would look. Basically, I synced up the three clips (only using the footage from that song) and cut them as thought I was editing live television on a switchboard. It turned out pretty well for a first cut but we'll go back later and grab select shots from other songs in his set and place them where appropriate. Nullsleep's will probably be the most difficult to fine tune in that regard since he only used the keyboard for one song. Still, should be fun.

As for the feature: Our first priority is putting together a feature on the festival itself. This will include a song (in full) from the 10 artists that best portray the wide variety of acts present at the festival. This will be intercut with behind the scenes footage of all the artists hanging out and a group interview with the three guys who put the whole thing together. Once that's ready to go, we will begin sending it around to various film festivals that cater to music performance documentaries (South By Southwest is a good example - I read that the piece about Los Lonely Boys was well received there although I don't know if it's about them in general or based around one performance). I should mention that we will show a little bit of the remaining 22 acts to give a full sense of the scope but, due to time constraints, we can't give everyone their full 15 Minutes...er, more like 4 or 5 but you get the idea.

After the feature: We immediately begin work on the DVD. From the very beginning, this was always meant to be the end result of all our efforts. We wanted something that people who missed this year's show could pick up and, more excitingly (to me anyway), be sold at next year's event. The DVD will also include a ton of supplemental material highlighting the work of all the projection artists (which, unfairly, often goes un or underappreciated) and a short explanation of how the LED board is programmed. There were also some workhops at the festival (during the day) that break down how this music is made so that will definitely find its way in there. I'm sure there will be others as time goes on but those are the big ones we have planned so far.

In addition to all that: To show all the artists how much we appreciate them, we will cut a video for all 32 musicians/groups. They can put it on their website, on youtube, wherever. Should be a nice way of a) showing our gratitude for being allowed to film this epic event and b) get our fingers and names into a bunch of different fan bases.

okay this entry is getting too long. there's more I could say but I'll stop for now. And just incase there was any doubt, know that Random brought the house down.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Brip Fest!

the final night of Blip Festival has arrived.

The past three days have been pretty amazing.

My attempts at articulating praise worthy of the event fall pathetically short so I won't even bother.

I'll put it to you this way: In the days since the festival began, I've nearly drained my bank account, taken a sound beating in the battle against carpal tunnel, and my PowerBook died but I remain positive and excited about the next 8 hours.

now I just have to figure out how the hell I'm going to get a computer and drive to edit all (truth: half) this footage.