Monthly Archives: January 2010

What We’re Doing to Raise Money Now

Because we need to make this movie, and the money just ain’t rollin in.


Imagine it: Sheol Express the Lunch Box!

Picture Lock (!!!) and More Pickups

Some exciting news happened yesterday.

After fighting with an iMac for about 12 hours, I proceeded downstairs to the big Mac Pro towers at NYU’s edit lab, and with a little bit of love, we have a PICTURE LOCKED cut!  This means that we’re all done changing the edits and timing around on the cut, and we can move onto putting in all of the sound, music, and visual effects.

Unfortunately, I then received this e-mail:

Was scrolling through the cut; saw four black frames from 01:22:43:10 – 01:22:43:14. :P


Great.  So the director who wasn’t fighting with the Mac for hours yesterday scrolls through the cut, and has an opinion.  Fine.

Unfortunately, upon further review, it looks like something is up.  Every time we cut from mone track to another, in fact, there is a 4-frame gap that needs to be fixed.  This probably came from moving around the video in an attempt to put black leader on the front of the timeline, but not moving all of the tracks in sync.  Looks like I’m spending another day with a Mac tower.

On the up-side, though, we’re also finished with ALL filming for “The Sheol Express”.  Perry Kroll and I went around New York City last Thursday, borrowing my friend Jimmy Chalk‘s Canon 7D camera to shoot the last of the images that we’d need – steam pouring from smokestacks.  This will be converted from white steam to black pollution, and placed in the opening “industrial wasteland” that we’re constructing for the land of “Erebu West”.

Also, you can see Youtube’s brand-spanking new 1080p video here, so go full screen for the full effect. Oooooh.  Neeeerd.

What Are “Pickups” Anyway?

Perhaps, you’re thinking, something to the effect of “a conversation opener with the intent of engaging an unfamiliar person for sex, romance, or dating”.

In fact, in film terms, they are shots that are filmed after principle photography that a) the director and editor decide they need after editing the film together, or b) can be filmed with a minimal cast/crew and production value.  They are very similar to second unit work.

The we went to Colorado was because we were given access to a RED camera by our generous friends over at 42 Productions in Boulder. Also, there’s nothing like having mom to cook for your crew, and to us New Yorkers access to a free car sealed the deal!

First: “ocean” plates on Lake Estes, by Estes Park, CO. Estes Park, ColoradoBy filming a lake that was heated by a power plant, we were able to shoot freshwater at 8,000′ of elevation that will become the Herman Sea in “The Sheol Express”. We had to position ourselves and the camera right in the face of 30mph winds to get the “whitecaps” moving the right direction, and let me tell you, it was coooold. This would be referred to as a “background” or “effects plate” – a piece of the image that will be used as a part or layer in the final shot.

Second, we did a few traditional “pickups” – detailed, small-scale inserts that will help us move the story along. We shot closeups of some of the “board-windows” along the train that will help us communicate the story of Sheol and Araboth better.

Lastly, we shot some atmospheric effects that will be used in the final effects shots to add texture. We shot a mixture of flower and powered sugar into the air, then shined a high-powered light through them to simulate dust particles. Shooting at 100fps we were able to give the impression that these particles were “hanging” in the air, with light rays passing through them.

Likewise, we constructed a homemade fog machine that vaporized baby oil (mineral oil) with compressed air, then pushed it out the top of a 5-gallon bucket.

Then, we used a homemade low-lying fog machine (using dry ice – frozen CO2 that sublimates into a gas that’s both more dense and cooler than the air, making it sink) to mimic the effects of a train releasing steam.

All of these will be seamlessly blended into and together with the other matte paintings that Perry and Bryce are working on. We’ve seen some great concepts from them, so stay tuned!


It’s happening right now, folks. As I write from the comfort of my home in America’s Sailing Capital, Ryan Patch, Jenn Durrett, and Perry Kroll of Studio Free Radical are braving Colorado’s mountains, traversing treacherous terrain in search of the perfect natural elements to photograph for our film’s atmospheric plates. Basically, they’re shooting things like water, smoke, and fog, all of which will add depth and texture to the onscreen world of Sheol. Wish them luck!


Hello, all!

This is a posting about a show that our talented leading lady, Alexandra Grossi, is appearing in next week.  I encourage you all to come, it sounds awesome!


What defines us: our love or our art? Olivia Lilley’s new play Amateurs mixes love and art together until they are impossible to separate. Directed by Benjamin Ehrenreich, Amateurs follow the life of three roommates and an ex-boyfriend as they struggle to find themselves in a world rife with entanglement, loneliness, and personal failure. With biting humor, Lilley crafts a tale of identity and its ever-shifting nature, resonating profoundly with anyone who has wondered what makes a person who they are. The show features Alexandra Grossi as Angela, Joy Shatz as Masha, Lee Chrisman as Brick, and Jon Burklund as Dorian. Playing Saturday, January 9th in hopes of sparking interest for further productions. Playing at the Royal Theatre at The Producer’s Club, 358 W 44th Street New York, NY 10036. Tickets are $15 get them at