Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Like Busy little bees.

Yes indeedy I'm swimming in a sea of EBEJEEBIES busy, working away on a short for Advision, a short that will likely lead to bigger things once completed. It's a lot of hard work and pretty much the primary and only thing I'll be dealing with until mid-October. Work on the Basilea project, all three separate projects, hasn't utterly halted but is pretty much in the background until the EBEs is done. As Jeff explained we're working on a short Flash style (actually it will be Adobe Aftereffects) animation that will be used for larger opportunities, including television possibilities and advertising on Advision's plasma screen TV screens they run ad content on. So I'm plugging away on some 80 plus cuts of which any number might contain multiples of drawings for animated elements. It's gonna be interesting to say the least and huge if it all works out.

This eve Jeff and Bill Kuehl (a cool guy Jeff met who has done voice acting and is a fine, fine artist in his own right. He will be doing some of the voices for the short) just finished building a soundbooth for recording the voices for the short. We'll be handling as much of the Production on our own as we can, including voices, as time is short. So essentially Bill will handle several characters, Jeff might end up doing one, Gina Stevens will probably doing the voice for Amanda, and we may have another voice to be cast. That should be fun but with all of this not exactly easy. Stay tuned as we will provide info as we can. There will be images from this project when we're ready to show them.

On non EBE fronts (would have posted much sooner but it's been pretty busy of late) we have done several shoots for the Detroit project, one at John King Books on August 5th (A sample of some of the images below). It was the first shoot we did there at night and actually arranged with John King himself to have access to the building after close. The primary purpose of the shoot was ot record the atmosphere and feel the building has at night, both inside and outside. Lighting tends to be quite signifigant in how much it changes and effects the sense of atmosphere a location has, what we got was some interesting results. I very much like the atmosphere the building has in the evening, quite cool and fitting the neo noir feel of much of the work I do. For this shoot, for the first time Tim Philips came along and brought with him his new Canon 3.2 Megapixel Powershot digital camera and he took some amazing images with it. This camera took some of the best night images we have at this point, very impressive photos. Sadly his camera just died this weekend and that's a shame as he was getting very good with it. I just picked up my own Canon, a 5 megapixel powershot during a sale, I love it though I would have been just as happy with the one Tim had (The sale only worked with a certain price point the 5 pixel was just hovering at). I've barely used this camera but I expect I will be putting it through its paces eventually. Our last shoot as August 22n'd, Tim, Gina, and myself, I took my new camera along for that shoot and got some fine images with little practice... still there's a lot to learn.

Lastly I have some sites I wish to tip a nod to with some linkage action (I have added several to the sidebar). Gina just purchased a new computer, a very nice Mac powerbook, and with the new machine has been having fun being able to accomplish basic and complex computer tasks once again (Her previous laptop was suffering from a severe case of memory and power deficiency). She has put up her own online photo gallery which will have some images she selected herself to share of her participation in the Detroit project, feel free to peep it out folks. We feel her efforts to help and contribute have been utterly invaluable as her company on many shoots. Also Mark has informed me his friend Doren, who is a producer of music and hip hop, is re-running on his site Eyeonki an old project I did with Drunkenstyle, Hypertide. It's a blast from the past to see it again. Vulne Pro did conceptual designs for the webcomic that had originally run on the now defunct Fantasticon multimedia site. Speaking of Drunkenstlye, they have launched their own blog which can be found here, go check it out folks. A lot of update but it's been awhile since I could post, back to the busy bee thing for me. Cheers!

Detroit skyline from the roof of John King. The amber sodium vaper glow is the primary wash of color the city basks in during the evening. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

John King 4th floor, book hallway at sunset. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

This is the most beautiful night image of The Guardian we have gotten thus far. Again the blue violet sky is rather striking. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

Photo of the south east section of John King, 4th floor. This is where the main character of the Detroit 2042 Basilea project lives. This will be Cricket's room. I dig the overexposure the lights have. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

Detroit ablaze with night lights and a beautifully blue violet sky. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

This is a wild shot, very neo noir. Again the only light source here is the red glow of the neon sign. The fact that Tim's camera caught this kind of low light high contrast image was pretty impressive. He's gotten fairly comfortable with using it, it's a total pisser it died on him. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

A shot of one of the westside windows on the 4th floor of John King bathed in the neon red glow of the books sign. It was the only light source in the building for this shot. In the background we can see the MGM Grand Casino. Photo by Tim Philips 8/5/2005 Posted by Picasa

A gorgeous shot of John King at night. The bluegreen lighting is quite nicely enhanced by the ability of Canon's Powershot series to get great images at night, I love these cameras. Photo by Tim Philips 8\5\2005 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005


As promised, a little EBEJEEBIES news...
We're in full swing... or rather, Mike is in full swing and I am offering moral support and voice acting talent wrangling. Mike has a little over a month to do lots and lots of drawing... go! go! go! I have to figure out how to record voices, what to do about music, etc.
The goal, in association with Advision media of Arizona, is to produce six to eight minutes of comedy gold which can be sold to a cable network. I penned the script, we bashed it around, we cut the thing into scenes... bringing us to that scary fulcrum point, where you have everything invested in a project, yet it is still at that uncertain and nebulous stage where two thoughts constantly snake their way though your mind... One: Can we really do this? Two: Is it going to be any good?
My answers- Yes, and of course it is. Doing this stuff for fifteen years, you do tend to gain some confidence. Not to mention a furious desperation to finally succeed.
More news as it happens...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Anima-l Magic Revisited

Okay, not really a new installment, but more of an addendum...
Mike pointed out that I may have sounded a bit too didactic, or stuffy, or otherwise unclear in my intentions in the last post... so I aim to clear things up.
Okay... basically, in reference to the Toren Smith / Adam Warren thing in the last post... which I will freely admit is a very old piece of beef that has been stuck in my craw for many years... there is nothing wrong with cheesecake. There is nothing wrong with women wearing sexy outfits. I realize that, yes, the convention scene has changed radically since I was a regular attendee (in the early 90s) from fat, unwashed fanboys to beautiful young women wearing fetish gear and hot anime chick costumes... and what they wear at Daytona Beach and other hot spots speaks for itself... so... yes, I DO realize that women DO wear clothes like this. I DO realize that cheesecake can be fun. My POINT was that cheesecake inserted for the sake of cheesecake- i.e., in a situationt hat makes no sense- like, say, professional women wearing bikinis to the same workplace where the men wear suits... is dumb. Wearing silver bikinis for police work is dumb, unless, like the Dirty Pair (which I won't abbreviate using its initials, which mean something very different these days) it is a work of parody. My issue with Smith and Warren was that they (or whoever responded to the letter) tried to claim that the Dirty Pair were, in some way, justified in a real-world sense in wearing what they wore. Look... Parody is parody. The universe you create only works if it obeys its own internal logic. Not necessarily the logic of the real world, but the logic as defined by the work itself. Let's take Cowboy Bebop... we can accept little spaceships being driven and used much like we use cars, as silly as that might seem, because the show established it. We know that Ein is smarter than any real dog, and we accept it, because the show established that. If, however, halfway through the show, we had a scene where Spike walks out of his spaceship's airlock and swims to the surface of Jupiter, it would be jarring... because everything before that indicates that he is a normal human who is not immune to the various rigors posed by hard vacuum.
Mike also pointed out to me that GitS Stand Alone Complex was attempting to justify Kusanagi's bizarre wordrobe choices by backfilling the story so that the social mores match her clothing. This is good, but obviously rather silly... the mores should have been established first. They weren't because the director thought it would be cool to have his main female character dress like a cheap sex doll, and the fan outcry was so bad that they had to justify it... but not bad enough to justify going back and fixing it. But let's say I can accept it... fine, no problem, the society allows women to dress like this in professional circumstances, and furthermore the women do so willingly (I wonder- if the justification is that Kusanagi is so proud of her body, seeing as how she gets shot at pretty regularly, wouldn't she want to wear some kind of practical armor over it instead of a frilly swimsuit?) , then why don't the guys do it, too? I mean, Batou has a godlike physique... why not show up in a G-string and motorcycle boots? (Urgh...) Not the kind of thing I would love looking at... but fair's fair. Do the creators of GitS think that their potential women audience members are all interested in seeing every crevice of Kusanagi? What? The creators don't care? Because... perhaps... it's still mostly a guy thing?
Enough on this. Anyone out there wish to comment?
Next time, a new subject. We get into some news about the rapidly-progressing EBEJEEBIES animated short project. Until next time...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Anima-l Magic

The last installment (for now) asks the question...
Why can't fictional women (in film, in comics, in animation) wear functional clothes?
Why, why why?
Part of the reason is, of course, that horny guys dominate the industry. But the women who work in this industry also allow it...
Why, why, why?
I recall clearly, many years ago, a letter written to the makers of the American "Dirty Pair" comic. The comic was produced, if I remember, with the blessings of the Pair's creator, and was basically an expansion of their universe. It was done by the creative team of Toren Smith and Adam Warren, two nice guys that I got to know a little back in the StuRev days (tales for another time). They seemed like intelligent, balanced fellows, and I will say that I deeply admire their work... but they lost me on the occasion of that letter... the letter writer basically said that the DP's uniforms were stupid. Indeed, they are... the writer, I think, missed the point that the DP were basically a parody- a non-serious, cheesecakey bit of fun. What I didn't anticipate was that Smith and Warren would miss the point as well... the response was indignant, letting the letter writer know that the costumes weren't dumb, that women wore stuff like that in real life.
Okay, sure they do... but for police work? Going beyond the fact that the DP's shiny silver bikinis don't offer much in the way of modesty, they also offer nothing in the way of protection... or convenience (one function of clothes is to have pockets and other places to stow equipment). I am pretty confident in saying that (unless the investigation is taking place at a beach and the officer is undercover) no woman would wear a uniform like that in the line of duty.
That always stuck with me... and I have seen the same pattern repeated over and over again (a similar letter, years later, to the creators of the horrible "Shi" comic was similalry rebuffed in the pages of the Comic Journal, up until now, when the competent and otherwise well-written Major Kusanagi gets to wear a French Maid / one piece swimsuit affair instead of real clothes in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex).
Why, why, why?
I hate this sort of thing. It makes me cringe...
So I try to keep the cringe in mind when thinking about what characters will wear. Often, I err too much on the side of conservatism, as Mike (after wanting to stave my head in after yet another debate on the subject, dealing with my neuroses) will be quick to tell you.
One thing I can guarantee... if you see any French Maid outfits in the Detroit Project, I promise they will be in context. Otherwise, the women get to wear normal... and fully functional... and realistic... clothing.
Any comments?