October 17, 2005

On A Complex Relationship With The Dry Cleaners

It's the kind of thing you'd expect, sadly, of a clothes horse in a bubble economy: he buys a the turquoise-est, maroon-est, and black-est striped Yohji Yamamoto shirt he can find. That it cost $675 in 1999 is no surprise. That it's made of 100% polyester of the kind that litters mid-western thrift shops also raises no eyebrows. He he wears it proudly on the flight to Salt Lake City to spend that post-IPO Christmas with his family. Somehow,...
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Posted by greg at 09:26 PM

April 17, 2005

Gimme Sweet, Pre-War Shelter

On the occasion of his cashing out on some serious equity (3,500 sf, Dakota, all orig. woodwork, bought around the time Gimme Shelter came out), Albert Maysles tells the NYT Magazine the first things that pop into his mind:Favorite household chore: Washing dishes, because that is what my father did. In his day, he did a lot of work a woman would do then. We were all very proud of him for that because it saved my mother a lot...
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Posted by greg at 07:00 AM

May 21, 2004

My People, My Ironing People

Cue up the Neil Diamond. Like a boatload of immigrant philosophers, chasing in this Continent's divinely appointed promises, the magically aestheticized transcendance of the twin landscapes of Caspar David Friedrichian Nature and Henri Fantin Latourian Domesticity, Extreme Ironing is comin' to America. I only care because I care enough to have made a movie about ironing, Extremely Sentimental Ironing, you might say, which was set in that Land of Milk and Honey where Asian and Central American immigrants step...
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Posted by greg at 11:44 AM | TrackBack

July 18, 2003

Souvenir January 2003: Euro remix

I'm off to the post office to launch a bundle of screener tapes of my second short, Souvenir January 2003, in the direction of festivals across the sea. This gives me a chance to see how my quiet meditation on ironing might go over with European audiences. As it turns out, Steven Meisel, the king of the appropriationist school of fashion photography, has already ripped off my poignant little film and turned it into a rentboy-meets-La Jetee ad campaign for...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2003

On Music for Souvenir November 2001

It's been a while since I've posted about working on Souvenir November 2001, my first short. I decided a while ago that it really needed a proper sound edit, but my new Final Cut Pro install has had problems opening the project, and writing has distracted me from debugging. Still, this week, I met with a cool young composer, Avery J. Brooks, about redoing the soundtrack for the film. We had a productive, fascinating discussion. Avery's a friend of a...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2003

Locating Myself On The Ironing Spectrum

My second short film, Souvenir (January 2003), features a man who carefully irons his shirt before spending the day at a rural dry cleaners. Here are two ironing-related websites: Extreme Ironing: "April 10, 2003/ A new extreme ironing altitude record has been set by the Yety Team - 5,440m on the Everest Icefall...After a little ironing with the Indian Army we headed up the ice fall." The dullest blog in the world: "Walking past the ironing board April 1/ I...
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Posted by greg allen at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2003

A Survey of Ironing Literature, or Pay No Attention To The Timestamp On This Entry

Since my most recent short film, S(J03), is about a guy who finds aesthetic pleasure and takes solace in ironing, I thought I'd surf up some relevant ironing links, to see if I'm crazy (or if I, and other people, are crazy): The Pleasure of Ironing a Fine Cotton Shirt by Roy Earnshaw, published in a 1987 Land's End catalog, no-nonsense, with a bit of downhome, Garrison Keillor-y romanticism:I plug in the iron, check the water level, turn the setting...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2003

Describing S(J03): "How about... The Grandson?"

This is what I sent to New Directors/New Films: Synopsis: A man carefully irons a shirt before spending the day at the rural Utah dry cleaners once owned by his grandfather. Utah Ark? It is shot in one day and is about the past, memory, and the links between history and present. It's not one take, ain't the Hermitage, though, and we didn't shoot the nearby Springville Art Museum... Dogme? Well, it's close. Perhaps fitting for a movie shot in...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2003

S(J03) Stills

Finally, some screen grabs from Souvenir (January 2003). Want to see more? click here...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

S(J03) In The Can, In The Mail (Pix at 11)

Clocking in at a not-dragging 11'16"; with balanced sound; a few sound effects, even (you'd never notice if I didn't mention it); a dramatically pared down soundtrack (just one song, with LP3 vinyl effects I wrote about Friday); some actually beautiful images; rhythm, edits and transitions I'm quite happy with; titles and credits made simple (through too much time and effort); and narrative and emotional elements I'm not sick of watching, Souvenir (January 2003) is DONE. Now it's off to...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2003

An Old-Time Music Workaround I'm calling LP3

The clock radio's out of the script, but music's still going in. In a piece about memory and attempting to connect with the past in a self-aware way, I want to use old-time music, my square-dancing-every-saturday, stack-of-78's-on-the-shelf, singin-cowboy, a-one-and-a-two kind of music (clearances pending, of course). And I want it to sound old. It seems I'm not alone. Randy Lewis just wrote for the LA Times about artists adding vinyl effects to create "a frame of reference that suddenly orients...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)

Apple, Final Cut Pro Back On My Good Side

Sound editing tip: Keyframes are your best friend. Actually, The LA Final Cut Pro Users Group website is your best friend. Where'd you hear that? 2-pop discussion boards, you know you're my best friend. Of course, using keyframes to adjust your audio levels and effects doesn't make you a sound designer, any more than snapping pictures makes you a photographer. [Note to self: Last time you had to do this, you linked to freakin' Charlie's Angels. This time, put...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)

A: Yes, Reviews of Chekhov Have Been A Great Influence On My Work

"I had a professor once who said that as Chekhov got older he lopped off the eventful beginnings and twist endings of his early works and that quivering middle was the mature short story." -David Edelstein, SlateHere's to you, David Edelstein. Geez, I love you more than you could know. This sentence (the phrase "quivering middle," actually), in a movie discussion I'd already posted about, convinced me to some changes in S(J03). Ch-ch-ch-changes? Well, I lopped off the ending, for...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2003

Producer's Job: Tells You What To Cut

Cinema Paradiso was better shorter, even if Giuseppe Tornatore sleeps better at night knowing his version was finally released last year. (I wrote about this when I saw the Director's Cut last May.) According to David Edelstein's closing post to the Slate Movie Club (Just as they get crankin' they end the series), Harvey Weinstein--the same evil producer whose 45-minute cuts made Paradiso-- wanted to hack 20 minutes off the end of In the Bedroom. "If he were to take...
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Posted by greg allen at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

Don Quixote? I Feel More Like William Tell's Son

Apple is certainly on my mind, if not on my head. While Jobs is off announcing the next great toy, I'm here newly switched, on deadline, and the damn Powerbook keeps freezing up and opening in recovery mode-OS9.2. How many hard powerdowns and reboots does it take to get somewhere I can change the preferences? Oh, and am I not supposed to be doing touch-ups on audio and outputting at this point instead? I'm posting this from my Thinkpad, BTW....
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Posted by greg allen at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

ugh. rough cut done

S(J03) is done. at least the first cut is. 12'30" is a little long. I watched it all the way through once, and there's definitely a minute I can trim. The rest, though, it'll be tougher. Maybe 10 minutes isn't so bad after all. Wed AM is trimming, audio levels (just for the rough cut; I've got to get it to the real sound editor before locking it) and output. There may be a Quicktime version available for a while...
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Posted by greg allen at 03:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2003

S(J03) Editing, Day 1.5

Day 1.5 is complete, and the first cut is about half done. Never mind that it's five minutes long, which is about what I'd imagined the finished cut to be. I got the first act laid down and that was about three minutes. With that pace set, I blocked out the rest of the film; comes to around 10 minutes (10:20 with credits). The first cut of S(N01) was about twice as long, but with that one, the target length...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:53 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2003

Editing, or Not

Editing, here I come. I finished logging and capturing all the footage I'll use in S(J03); it seems like it'll be tough to get it down to 5-6 minutes. The last tape I captured was all the ironing (three white dress shirts' worth). As I mentioned before, the third shirt has such great, engaged shots, it almost doesn't make sense to use anything else. The result: I'm going to try two different editing "tones." For the ironing scenes, there'll be...
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Posted by greg allen at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2003

S(J03) Update

I'm logging and capturing footage for Souvenir (January 2003). So far, I've completed two of three tapes, for a subtotal of about 25 minutes, which takes about 10 Gigs. Oblique Strategy: Just carry on....
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Posted by greg allen at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2002

S(J03): Tape Logging Complete

Just finished logging in the third and final tape for S(J03), and I'm pretty relieved/excited. At first, three hours of footage for a 5-minute film seemed daunting, like we'd never be able to cull it down, but after watching it all, it's won't be a problem. That makes it sound like there's only 5 minutes of usable footage in the whole day, which is not the case at all. With a lot of long takes and exploring, there is...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2002

Just One. Last. Shot

This morning, I ran off to shoot one more pre-sunrise shot of the mountains and highway for S(J03), a cold, dark 2.5 hour round trip from SLC. With the sweet Powerbook that Santa brought me, I'll get some stills up this weekend or next week, depending on the editing schedule. Stay tuned for a rush course in short filmmaking!...
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Posted by greg allen at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

The Best Boxing Day, EVER

New New Yorker Jason Kottke made my Boxing Day by including greg.org on his weblog's "not recommended at all" list. It's right under Gawker (who I'd come to imagine as a top, so that's unsurprising). Thanks, Jason! (And unless you're just a single clone hitting reload, welcome, all Kottkeians, to greg.org.)...
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Posted by greg allen at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2002

S(J03) Logging, Story Structure Notes, and J-Lo

What a way to spend Boxing Day. I logged two of the three hours of footage we shot Monday for S(J03), which took most of the afternoon. Now that I know what we have to edit, the question is, how can I best tell the story in the script? Technical issues and changes on the ground complicate things a bit. Technical issues: Unstable monitor settings which we didn't solve until about 11AM means that some really good shots from the...
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Posted by greg allen at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2002

S(J03) Shooting, Day 1/1

Synopsis: A man travels to Springville, Utah to hang out in a dry cleaners owned by Joe, a Korean immigrant. Cast & Crew: I directed. Artist/photographer Patrick Barth starred as cinematographer. Producer/assistant camera/astrophysicist Jean Cottam did everything else. Joe (presumably) makes his onscreen debut as himself. Patrick, a longtime friend, is working on his own film-based project for the Spring, and was interested in getting a feel for the Sony VX camera and the logistics of shooting; when we found...
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Posted by greg allen at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

December 23, 2002

New Short Film: Souvenir (January 2003) Location Shooting

I haven't posted much about it at all, but I wrote a new short script, S(J03), which I'm going to do a rough shoot of Monday in Springville, Utah. If it goes well, we'll come back and shoot it in film during Sundance. It's about a guy who takes quiet pleasure in ironing. I imagine it'll be about 5 minutes long, and we'll try to get a rough cut ready to show the folks at Lincoln Center's New Directors/New Films...
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Posted by greg allen at 01:40 AM | Comments (1)