Eibon Films Horror, Fantasy and SciFi writer / filmmaker and friend of the weird

14Sep/170

Soundscapes – Redux

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Fans of synth soundtrack music, video nasties and 'the glory days of VHS' - please check out the excellent new album REDUX: https://videogram.bandcamp.com/album/videogram-redux

- The keen eyed will notice my name appearing in the credits - for a video ident I did for him (and what the album cover design is based on). Which I hope you will get to see soon.

- thanks Magnus (aka Videogram)! You're very kind.

I really like this album and it's great to write to. I can't wait to somehow persuade a film soundtrack out of him. (*sssh!*)

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15Jul/170

Don’t Forget To Breathe – in production now

Film poster for DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE

DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6207538/?) - a film I co-wrote with Darwin Reina, is being shot right now in Barcelona, and I'm not there. It's a weird feeling. On the one hand, I am super stoked that the film is going ahead - after a lengthy but much needed pre-production period. On the other, I'm feeling a bit disconnected from it - a social media lurker, merely peering in through the lens of posts on Facebook and Instagram and checking up on progress. It's strange... so why am I not there?

I've been working my fingers to the bone recently - I had some very tough script deadlines to meet and some business travel to conduct. All of that is now done. And soon my holiday starts. But right now I am exhausted. Any creative will know that feeling of having recently achieved something significant, but then being in a weird limbo of not knowing if it is even any good? If people will even like what you've created? And having given everything to hit that deadline and to then be utterly crushed as the weight is removed from your shoulders - and the rest of you sags to the floor. The fact that I am able to sleep right now - in my new house and new bed - is propping me up. My brain is firing on all cylinders creatively, having been well-warmed up by the recent productivity, but I need to allow myself to rest and not dive into the next big thing right away. And that also means that although I technically could jump on a flight to Barcelona.. and book a hotel... should I?

Image of a magnetic whiteboard

Creativity lives here... or does it?

I've worked on films before and it is exhausting. It's an amazing process - long days, lots of standing around, great camaraderie etc - but although it can be incredibly rewarding and give you a chance to forge new creative relationships, it can also be very draining. If it was in a week, I'd be there. But right now... I need to cling on to rest.... My holiday starts then. But right now, I'd be no good to them. I'd be the worst kind of on set hanger on. A sleepy and irritable guy,  and feeling like a zombie the whole time, trying to follow what's going on and needing everything to be explained to him again in another language - and merely delaying and exacerbating the inevitable crash that will follow. After all the film is being shot in Spanish and although I did a year of it in school, it was 35 years ago and I can only order a cool beer right now. I'd only have to get people to use English, and it would bring the wrong kind of vibe to what is by all accounts an otherwise smooth production. So despite being torn, and really wanting to be there, I must give in to my need to rest. After all, I've been working crazy hours, often 7am to 1opm all week round for weeks on end, and doing this since November!

So all I can do right now is urge you to check out the social media feeds, follow and share the posts and await the eventual film - as I am doing.

I'm waiting in case the cast or crew have a question about the script that I can help with. I'm going to be there to help Darwin with the edit and the post production. And when we make the next films that I am writing for him, we'll do it together.

For now, I have a big magnetic white board to fill, and it's crying out for some index cards, some story beats and some fresh ideas. I can do this from an arm chair. It's a kind of rest. It's creative. But I'll also be hawk-eyed on my social media feeds...

Good luck guys! ¡Buena suerte!

 

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16Jun/172

It starts with a desk…

I'm excited. I've just moved into my new house. It's a three bedroom house 'in a much quieter area' - allegedly. As a result, I now have a studio again! In fact, I'm so excited, I want to mock myself and say 'Oh, a 'studio'!' in a terribly uncool, camp falsetto - to mock the usage of the term and make me check myself. But regardless, I am excited. Very excited. Why?

Studio view - trees

The view from my new office window

It's been 2 years and 10 months since I've had a dedicated place to write or edit films. I've missed it. But I've not wasted that time by mourning it and not creating. But the loss of it has had an impact. It's meant that many times I've been wasting creative effort, trying to block out other people's noise with headphones and use music and auditory meditation techniques to try to focus through all of life's distractions and achieve something; and being aware that I've been less productive as a result of that wasted energy. It's not easy doing that, at least not for me. It also meant that I couldn't just leave papers or notes around and have things set up for the next day of work. I had to pack that away to tackle the stuff I actually needed for my day job, or because it was messing up the one-room apartment I've been living in for that entire time. That meant that if a few days would go between work on a project you had to spend time to get back into the project, to re-immerse yourself in the notes and find your place before resuming work, for the day job - and often then running out of time again! This has made it nigh on impossible to work on any significant feature scripts or my novels in that time. Especially as the day job can result in me having to down tools for many days, to pull unusual long working hours for my clients. And that re-immersion can be draining and demotivating.

Anyway, all that should be a bit easier once I have a place to work. Right? There should be a lot more struck things, while Irons were hot. Right? Let's hope. So I have a room, which currently has my old desk and computer setup, and will soon hold an extra new motorised IKEA standing desk that I've drooled over for 3 years and could finally afford. Then I just need some storage for all of my writing books and film equipment. I have a stool arriving in a week, for when I don't want to stand all of the time or just need to change things up by adjusting the height of the desk for a small change of scenery.

Eventually there will be other improvements and embellishments, to make this place feel more like a studio. Including the addition of a corkboard like thing for attaching Index cards, to better analyse plots and restructure stories etc. But these will not delay the writing process. The important thing here is DO THE WORK. And not to spend time thinking of other things you don't really need and letting that get in the way of doing the actual work. Which as for writers, we know is a tempting proposition. Procrastination is our go-to.

DO THE WORK by Stephen Pressfield

DO THE WORK

And that work is definitely to be done! I'd start now, but I'm still unpacking - not procrastinating. Honest! But sooooooon!

And there is work to be done. Two new short film projects I might be being commissioned to write for Darwin Reina.... more news on that soon... and of course my feature EIBON HEIGHTS, which needs redusting off and reworking for submission. And a short film edit.

Anyway, I can hear the van arriving now. Soon I will be in the midst of confusing assembly instructions and looking for my IKEA tool. IKEA tool

 

 

 

 

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16May/172

Still alive and well?

Hi - this is your absentee creative, back from the presumed-dead. I am very much alive, although very much still in work hell. It's a long story, but essentially to make up for a very slow year last year, we agreed to work ourselves into a potential breakdown in order to guarantee this year was profitable. But it comes at a cost. Such is the crazy world of working in my industry. We work while we can, as much as we can, to invoice as much as we can. But I think that the crazy late nights, every night and working weekends, every weekend, are now at an end. I even enjoyed an actual weekend this weekend! And I've planned a long summer break of creativity.

Soon I can return to editing the Vlogs, [potentially ignoring] this blog, and picking up my dusty film script to resume editing it / polishing it for circulation and submission, and releasing that damn short story already.

Elsewhere in my world... I feel a list coming on:

  • I've been working on a video ident for a musician friend, which gives me the opportunity to spend whatever free half hour I have (yes really, that little time free) to work on it - and hope to share it soon It's 15 seconds of After Effects motion graphic 80s video tape inspired goodness. We're just waiting for the key ingredient, the music, to be added to it before sharing it. - This task was to force me to dust off old and unused skills and see if I can still fumble my way around After Effects, since it's been updated. I can indeed! But I know I have much to relearn.
  • A script I wrote for Darwin Reina, is being filmed in Barcelona in July and has been adapted into Spanish. Yes this is dejavu, the production date changed, but it should be going ahead this time - DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE.
  • I'm about to release my 40th Vlog. Yes in one week I will have been vlogging for a whole year. And I will soon share my thoughts on the medium and what I've learned from doing it. I know they're just a bit of fun, but I feel good having created 40-somethings that would never have existed, had I never filmed them or done anything with the footage. One thing I can share now, they've been a great excuse to force me to ignore or suppress my grief, to get up and go out and experience life rather than lie in bed sulking, to try and capture a snapshot of it and bring it to life in some form for others to share. And I feel that I'm only getting started. If you want to check them out, you can find them here: VLOG PLAYLIST
  • I've been scripting constantly for work for 5 months - so I know I can deliver, come rain or shine, even when I feel like doing anything but, and more especially even if I can't share them with anyone due to non-disclosures.
  • I've done more real estate transactions than I would care to ever do again, all at the same time, to try and simplify my life! Yes that's not a typo. And in 3 weeks I will soon have a new home, with a proper writing studio again!

Anyway, enough of that. There'll be a real post soon... Thanks for stopping by!

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11Feb/170

Progress – what’s going on?

So, I have been busy. Here's a very quick update:

  • I've made it to one of my writing groups. This is great for motivation and I must make sure that I attend more of these sessions. Don't suffer in silence at home. Get out and see other creatives and talk about your work / share your work for feedback. It's the only time I find that people are willing to listen - when you're own friends and family are not - and will understand your issues.
  • A story I am planning to publish on kindle soon - as a one-shot - has placed in the quarter-finals in the Screencraft cinematic Short Story contest. This is great news. It probably won't make it further, as it's dark and violent and extremely gorey. But it's nice that it made it this far. More news on that when I know it.
  • I've been editing a feature script of mine - with a view to submitting it to writing board / job requests as a sample / spec submission.
    • The process:
      • I've already done the first pass read through, liked it, and was surprised by that.
      • I made notes, identified typos and areas that were unclear / didn't read well or needed more 'amplification' - on a printed copy of the script. It's just easier to do this all on paper.
      • I've worked through 40 pages so far, with a deep edit. This time it's mainly about clarity and amplification of emotions and subtext.
      • There'll be at least two more edits, focusing on different elements each time. More on that process later.

Unfortunately, now is the key period when work gets in the way of everything and I typically have to work 14/15 hour days. I would like to avoid this and stay strong. But we'll see.... I'm not whingeing. I know I'm lucky to have a good job. It would just be nice that it didn't frequently spill over into my private life.

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24Jan/170

2016 is dead. What will 2017 bring? (Year Review and Creative goals)

So - full disclosure here - those familiar with previous year's lack of blog posts will be used to my excuses. Sorry. To you this will be old news. To me, this is very real and I'm slowly trying to deal with it and get my sh*t together - in a snail's pace process of continuous improvement. But life often gets in the way and seeks to derail us. I'm getting better at not beating myself up about my failures and trying to stay productive - but there's been a lot going on.... please bear with me, or move on as life's too short to read this - don't worry, it's fine. I won't blame you.

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22Aug/160

Stockholm Zombie Walk

So despite being sick, I managed to go out and support the 10th annual Stockholm Zombie Walk. And I filmed some of it. I did make a colossal cock-up though and so fudged the crucial recording of sound. But a very kind and extremely talented artist agreed to allow me to use two of their tunes to improve what would otherwise have been a massive waste of time.

Click here to view the VLOG.

Many thanks to Videogram and Cineploit for allowing me this great musical honour:
Videogram.jpg

Click here to check out their music and purchase.

Although I sounded dismissive of the Walk in the video, I was just tired and testy, and urgently needed a beer and some rest. But I will do my best to take part in it next year. It was good fun. And I'm really impressed with the quality of the makeups that some people attempted. I also liked the creativity behind the strange types of zombies that people did come up with - and pleased to see a DEATHGASM Zombie in amongst all of the SUICIDE SQUAD Zombies.

I think I'm having fun with this Vlogging lark. I do need to get better though. And soon I will share some of what I've learned. What I have definitely benefitted from is getting back to being productive, to choosing to film something, or choosing to do something with footage I shot for no reason other than to learn about my new camera, and to finish the task. Too many projects have gone unfinished. The immediacy of Vlogging dictates that you get the material out there to be digested, and so certain compromises need to be made. It's invigorating to fail and to learn from it and even have fun with your failures.

Anyway, enough about me, thanks to the organisers and the Zombies who took part in the Walk and all of those who supported. It was a great day out. And thanks again to Videogram!

#szw10year

#stockholmzombiewalk

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20Jul/160

Scrivener for IOS is here!

Scrivener is here! It's finally here on IOS! Holy buttschnozzles of Awesome! 🙂

16200851-scrivener_ios-main_shot

Now I've blogged about Scrivener here before, and I think that the first time I ever blogged about it was when I first created this blog back in 2009, if not before - in other previous social media incarnations - and this won't be the last time I mention it or praise this fabulous writing tool. I'm also not alone in my praise of it! I'm always gushing over it and I've even put my money where my mouth is and gifted other friends of mine with licenses to it, to pay for it for them, so that they can experience the amazing new world of writing that happens when they start using it. (Take note: software packages are great presents for writers at Birthdays and on other special occasions. Hint Hint!) But I won't waste time saying why it's so good here. But you can search this blog and you'll find many posts about this hollistic writing tool. 🙂

Although I was an instant convert to it, upon my first usage, I was very quick to realise that I could be far more productive if it was in a more portable form - as my 15" laptops were always too heavy to lug around each day (due to needing the hardware for video editing). I even took to creating a Hacbook to put the theory to the test - and bought a small netbook and installed the Mac OS and Scrivener on it. I managed to complete an entire feature screenplay on it, while taking part in ScriptFrenzy; I wrote while balancing the Hacbook on one knee while writing on the way to and from work, and in my lunch hours each day. The Hacbook was small enough to write with on cramped trains and on small economy class airplane seats, even when someone in front is reclining! The only thing that was missing was having it on an approved Apple portable device that I could afford. The problems with the Hacbooks you see was that they were not approved and every software update meant a complete reinstall, so eventually it simply became obsolete. But I was still writing on that Hacbook right up until 2 years ago when I bought my first iPad! Once I had the iPad I tried various workarounds and replacement apps, but I was merely killing time for when the real thing would arrive, although I still love writing on the move.

And the fine makers of Scrivener were quick to realise the potential of their tool on such portable devices. The problem was that it wasn't a quick journey to bring that idea to fruition. In fact there were many posts on the Literature and Latte forums devoted to the progress of the development of the IOS tool or lack of. There were numerous false starts. But I'm glad to say that they persevered and now it is availble to buy: Scrivener - live on the Apple store!

I've downloaded it and it works fine. Although it was impossible to find on the Apple store, without the direct link (above). I'm sadly not yet going to put it through its paces on a working project, but I couldn't resist a little play with it to make my day complete. However, if I was in the right creative headspace for it I'd be planning my next feature film in it... in fact, I may just start noodling ayway - it's that tempting!

Please note: if you own the Desktop versions, you should have the latest versions in order to benefit from the syncing functionality. I've had problems installing the Windows update and still not cracked in after 2 attempts. But the Mac update was fine. You'll also need Dropbox to take advantage of the syncing your projects across multiple devices.

Anyway, enough of me prattling on. Check it out. I hope you'll thank me. 🙂

Here's some links for more info:

 

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11Jul/162

Of Vlogging and gadgets

So I've been busy. And it's been a fun kind of busy - which is good, because life really isn't fun right now. But I have been productive and tried to find excuses to stay busy and create something. So what if a little retail therapy is involved, right? So what if it is draining my bank balance? (Seriously, this sh*t can get really expensive!)

But - I have been busy, playing with iPhone videography, learning more about DSLR video and playing with my Go Pro. I've been doing it under the Vlogging banner - yes I now Vlog. It sounds like Blogging, but it feels more like flogging - as in a punishment; creating footage and waiting for someone to view it and like it or hate it. But it's great because you get to experiment and be creative, all without narrative restrictions. I've set a few restrictions of my own, merely to see what I can do with whatever footage I've collected. I'm terrible at it btw - at the Vlogging part. I just can't seem to get comfortable talking to and being on camera. Will I ever? But hey, it's something, right? And it helps me reach out my family and friends in distant climes and tell them what I'm up to. The other main restriction is not worrying about the perfect shot or the perfect anything - I am currently editing them all within iMovie, just to keep it simple and limit my choices. It's more about speed of the workflow right now, before I start worrying about colour grading and tighter edits. Until then I'm not worrying about dusting off Final Cut Pro or Premiere and After Effects again. And it's very much about the gear I'm shooting it with. Right now I am mainly evaluating what gear performs the best in the right situations and the ease of getting it into a finished video.

So for iPhone videography, I am using:

  • Filmic Pro - app to control exposure and white balance while shooting
  • Beastgrip Pro iPhone camera mount, both with DOF Adapter (for the cinematic look) and with the Wide-Angle lens
  • Rode Video Micro microphone / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic - for better sound
  • But I've also ordered the Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens Adapter
  • Joby Phone Mount
  • Joby Grip tight gorillaPod stand

For DSLR video, I am using:

  • the Canon EOS 70D - for amateur to semi-pro level filmmaking
  • Rode Video Micro Pro / Smart Lav + lavalier Mic
  • Canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens - for Bokeh
  • Canon 10:18mm lens - for arm-length selfie mode filming
  • Sigma 50 mm f1.4 prime lens - for proper filmmaking, it's too heavy for anything else
  • Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom tripod

And lastly, for Go Pro / action cam footage (predominantly timelapses), I am using:

The keen-eyed knowledgeable types will notice that there's no fancy tripod or fluid head, for smooth panning and tilting, or other pro audio gear, lights etc. These are all other issues to resolve for more dramatic shooting. Right now, it's about speed and it's about getting the shot - as life is happening. That other gear will come. Of that I'm sure.

With all this type of gear, don't underestimate the shots you can get with an ipad, or an iPhone / smart phone or just with a GoPro / action cam. You don't need half of that other gear. It's just so easy to film with a Go Pro or a phone and get it right into your editing system. Trust your eye and whatever device you have with you just use it! There's no point to any devices or gadgets if you don't use them. The other gear comes in as soon as you start thinking about achieving different / better aesthetic / quality levels - but you don't need to buy it all now. Play and experiment and choose wisely. And always have one of your devices with you. The iPhone obviously wins out for always being with me, but the GoPro is also very portable and fits into a pocket (although is chunkier).

As soon as you add in DOF adapters and lenses you add a f*ckload of weight to your bag / carry around weight and the potential for grasping with and failing to focus, as soon as you deviate from automatic settings. In fact the DSLR automatic mode is great for Vlogging, and brilliant at keeping you in focus, but scary when you step outside of it, until you learn what you're doing. Again the iPhone wins out as long as you just use fixed lenses / the lens it already came with. As soon as you add the Beastgrip Pro to the iPhone you need a microphone, as the mount gets in the way of the phone's microphone, also - for any decent sound quality just don't rely on the built-in mic, and you need to preset the focus to ensure that you are in focus when talking to the lens. Add one mic on. If you do one thing, add a mic. You seriously can't rely on built-in mics for sound.

The GoPro is awesome. And you can get rid of the annoying fish eye effect in the free GoPro Studio app. Its timelapses and other modes are great - as is the ability to conect via Wifi to your iPhone, so you can see what you're capturing in real time, like a monitor. Also it's small, so you can leave it in public spaces and get unobtrusive shots. Covert guerilla filming is definitely more achievable.

Anyway, I could talk about this for ages. I'm still playing though and still learning. And I have a few more bits of gear to use first before I share more findings.

This is all going to help when getting back into filming dramatic material. Vlogging is about playing - for me anyway. It's about taking risks in a low risk environment and having fun with it. It's about forcing me to create footage and to edit it, quickly. It's about retraining my eye. And it's about relaxing. Soon this will pay off when shooting the next short film. More about that later. But join me, have fun, try it - and let me know how it goes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tagged as: 2 Comments
17Jun/160

The cabin by the lake

I'm currently hiding out by a lake, an hour away from Stockholm by bus, and thoroughly enjoying being a little closer to nature - even if sometimes nature gets a little too close to me for my liking. Already, since taking time off work, I've done some reading, watched some good films, played with my new cameras, taken up sketching again and I've written a new short film script. I've also learned how perilous Dropbox connectivity can be to share said script when trying to connect to the net by phone, when the signal is apt to fade. It's frustrating to be sure, but a good excuse to get off the net and use your noggin' for other things. 


I'm enjoying the rainy days especially, as they often bring much needed gloom, to fight that eternal summer daylight and get some much needed sleep.

If things get stagnant, find a way to change them up. If your normal rituals don't work, to get around writer's block, change them up. I seriously think that switching media can help - going from not writing, to making films or sketching, can help stimulate your creativity in different ways, to get around the problem. A diversion if you will. 

I think my run-ins with nature will help stimulate a new short film idea. Especially all this talk of diseases born by Ticks, which are a real problem over here. Nevermind the huge hornet-things, that are nearly two inches long and half an inch thick. Also the fact that my cat has gone on a killing spree, since being repatriated to the country. He's definitely enjoying his freedom and been sampling the wildlife. Anything that runs is fair game, although he's avoided the snakes for now and the Eagles have ignored him...

After this week I will be in Krakow, and I'm hoping to continue my research for a new short story I plan to write in the future. And if I don't burn myself out travelling and survive the special toilet facilities out here in the woods, I'm sure I'll slowly be getting back to form - even if I might end up coming back a little lighter, thanks to the local mosquito population.

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