Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Advanced wire work with Motor Curve Generation

Hi folks,
This is a post from my other blog. Little did I know when i wrote this that I would be mere months away from the "world of the spec."

It's been awhile and I know I’ve kept the four of you waiting but hey the early bird catches the worm and doesn’t always have time to update the blog. Today’s post is about wire work in movies.

I love advanced special FX and this is a topic I’ve long studied especially in the advent of the Americanization of Chinese martial arts movies, such as; “Crouching Tiger,” “Kung Fu Hustle” etc.

Watching these movies is more a hobby than entertainment for me because I have to figure out what I see. Most of today’s movies use a mix of blue screen and wirework to simulate “additional environmental collisions” and the like….. I digress, back to the topic.

Most movies have trouble with one particular thing in the use of wires for fights and climbing, etc.

There needs to be a motor curve worked out for each individual or an active lookup algorithm based on various physical maneuvers, so that differences in “active feedback” on the cable erase the appearance of “floating.”

I’m thinking about moving this kind of thing to a website because I hate not having active image references on Blogger – I have to link to another site – maybe one of you three can tell me how to access images with “root HTML.”

I’m working on a new website and I may try to squeeze in some features that allow for image storage.

This technique is slightly harder to implement though because it requires a “track” to run the engine on, but two cranes with two pulleys connected to either end of an IBeam, tracks can be made for “linear” action – meaning that a secondary beam structure would need to be added to allow for perpendicular movement.

But by adding a second “cam” to the X Axis mechanism it would then be possible to add a third “rotational axis” to allow characters to move farther than contact where contact is the zero point in relative coordinates.

I guess studies like these led to advances in “blue screen positioning of CGI objects” but that would make actors into “voices.”

Don’t know if that would be a bad thing.

Anyway, such a device could be scaled to fit small spaces by using an I beam framework instead of relying on cranes for support, though cranes would help with “aerial maneuvers” like those in the last Matrix.

Blue screening using this technique would definitely have helped with the SpiderMan 2 climax on the subway. I was left flat by their mixture of live action and CGI.

I need to get a good 3D app like MicroStation but that’s a bit much. Guess I’ll have to cough up $600 for one of the lower priced ones – too bad I can’t get the student rate anymore.

As I’m writing this I seem to have “visualized” a more compact version that would enable large groups in one scene on a coordinated group of “motor wire assemblies,” hey that could be patented – anyone got a couple grand burning a whole in their pocket?

The basis of the mechanism is that you have to do tests of “height displacement” using a multi-axis solid bar that registers these differences. Certain movements would use a single bar (only height changes or rotation around the perpendicular axis of connection) and certain movements would use two bars connected for the parallel axis range.

The second mechanism allows for additional points of connection along the body for flight scenes. Since this condition allows – necessitates – more connection points motors can be made smaller and connected in pairs. With a second level of resistance it would be possible to “balance the “shoulder and ankle” connections and move the ankle connection closer to the body and the shoulder connection farther to enable close quarters between two “flyers,” while enabling the same type of “free-movement”

Anyway, that’s the gist of today’s topic. Hopefully, someone will see it…..

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Disney Butts out...of smoking that is

Howdy fellow scribes,
Today's topic is a bit of an "I knew it" story. As you can see from the title Disney as a company has totally backed away from smoking in any future movies. You may say "you knew that?" Well, not exactly, but I have never envisioned a character who smokes. Why I don't know especially since I smoke but it's good to know that at least my favorite script has an even better chance since nowhere in the script are cigarettes even mentioned.

I even went a step further and there are no scenes with anyone actually drinking though we do see beers during one party scene. Wow, that's boring you say. Perhaps, but throw in a few KOs, some hot dancing, serious wise-cracks (Where'd you get that line the phony papers? or Don't you have any friends? Yeah, but they're all ugly.) beautiful women with good lines and great clothes. (Well I may have to bribe a costumer, but...)

Anyway, this is great news for me and I had to share it.

Thanks Disney.

Friday, July 13, 2007

South Of La Brea: FADE OUT #2

Howdy writers, wrongers and everyone in between. Yes you heard it right, a two and a half month rubicon has been crossed. I have done the FADE OUT on my first feature. It's right now getting notes from none other than Scott The Reader (hey, he's cheap).

It's a poignant story about a young woman who wants to keep her virginity through college. Of course, she loves to party and dances like a stripper, but hey nobody's perfect.

It was an interesting journey as I found that it was the most boring topic ever (well, maybe Shawshank is in the running). Even though it is a college movie, there is no gratuitous sex or nudity. Very little alcohol (no one is actually seen drinking) and lots of violence (hey I had to put something in it).

I actually surprised myself with how well it reads. I even managed to make it the whole four years of college with some calendar/banner-based sleight of hand. I even managed to get my second rejection with it, but hey that's good. I've only queried two people and I'm sure there are those of us who feel like we have the plague with how many responses we get.

I have to give props to Chris Soth and his Hollywoodbyphone.com service.

Anyway, my next one is at the inciting incident and again no sex. Seems like a theme, but not really as my short(First Fade Out) has gay sex scenes and I have a few others in the works that may have more sex scenes than dialog.

I'd say that if nothing else, my scenes are linked so well to the plot that it doesn't seem like it could possibly be my first spec, but indeed it is.

I'm so happy I could masturbate. OK, maybe I'm not that happy.

I'm busy reviewing scripts on TriggerStreet and I should have the last two done this weekend, so my beautiful baby will be on display for all to criticize. MUSIC TO MY EARS.

If only it was that easy to get it read by the "greenlight" crowd. I think I managed to get every human emotion into 109 pages (I was shooting for 110); love, hate, anger, sarcasm, etc.

I managed to get some good foreshadowing in and kind of threw a twist at the end so that there are actually TWO climax scenes where one is an internal climax and the other is an external one.

I feel really good about it as both a writing sample (who would really buy a movie about a virgin in college with no sex or drugs?) and a movie blueprint. It is registered and any who view this can ask for a copy. I think you'll enjoy it.

Wel, that's it for today. I have to get back to my family comedy and also get my notes together for a post I've got called "negatively impacting social traits," which is my term for character flaw.

See you in the movies.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Clothing in Film

Howdy folks,
After an interesting discussion with Mystery Man I decided my next blog should talk about what I think can be the most effective imagery.

The wardrobe of the character.

For example, one of the biggest images in the Die Hard movies is how McClain starts out all neat and clean and ends up looking like a homeless punching bag. It makes him more human, more likable, than if he stayed clean.

Or with James Bond, he would be a totally different character dressed like James Coburn's "Flint," but with the tuxedo, he becomes more aloof and unreachable.

Or even Men In Black where RayBans made them look both professional and a little frightening.

Of course when describing wardrobe simple is better. Rather than saying "a beautiful white gown with ruffles and a matching choker," "a vision in white, reminiscent of Cinderella." That way the costumer can experiment drawing on the character's personality and the actor's "look."

As an extension, we can then illustrate our characters' personalities with accessories.

Like if you're describing a nerd and say "slips on his usual collection of jewelry," you would obviously get a total different look if you say the same thing about a drug dealer or a pimp.

The same would be true of a businesswoman vs. a female basketball player. I guess it all comes back to the saying that a screenplay isn't a movie, it's a blueprint for a movie. They don't contain colors or sizes as a house blueprint - from a post by UNK - doesn't contain walls or doors.

Another good example is Big with Tom Hanks where we would say "contrasting with the black tuxes surrounding him, making him appear naive." Big gives another example at the end of his circular arc where he stands in clothes that are much too big for him which reflects the departure of his love interest.

Aliens offers another look at the power of wardrobe with the Burke character, with his loosened tie and upturned collar, making him seem egotistical and even untrustworthy (as he is proven to be).

Wardrobe's effects can even be felt in real life as it's much easier to use a private bathroom wearing a suit than wearing jeans and sneakers.

At any rate, there are tons of examples of how wardrobe imagery can describe a character better than the silkiest "expositional" prose.

Another excellent example is "The Devil Wears Prada," where the frumpy journalist who probably gets ignored a lot becomes the beautiful butterfly who turns head wherever she goes, or Ms. Congeniality, the plain FBI clothes contrasted with the slinky dress worn on the Regis show which examines how her personality changes with the necessity of fashion.

Or imagine Arnold, in T2, grabbing a guy with a tux rather than the ubiquitous bikers' clothes and bartenders' shades. It wouldn't matter but "Bad to the Bone" would have no place in the sequence.

The Addams Family also shows this with Fester becoming more and more "shut down" wearing designer clothes and hair implants.

The comedy Second Sight also uses wardrobe to change a mood as when Bronson Pinchot tears off his suit and runs through the church in his underwear. That's a satirical use of it but it was funny.

Wardrobe can even define an institution as with the Star Wars story, where the robes of the Jedi evoke a feeling of piety and strength or even a society where Amidala wears the makeup of the queen, making her look regal and aloof. Also, the squared-shoulders of the vests Jedi where make them seem honest and morally strong.

Of course, the job of the screenwriter is to evoke the feeling with short exposition, like from one of my scripts, "her pony tail glistening like ribbons of silk" or "adjusts her midriff jeans jacket and heads towards the kitchen."

Those short phrases are designed to give a general idea of age and personality. Another great use of wardrobe. Well, that's about it for today. Next I think we'll talk about

PROPS. Not those you give but those you place.

As always

Keep Writing as Writing is the Revealing of the Soul