Coming Back From Criticism

April 9th, 2017

How bad can criticism affect you? It really depends on a lot of factors.

I’m still affected by something someone said to me seven years ago. I really feel that I haven’t gotten over it and in fact, I’m currently trying to work through it.

One of my first ever paid video gigs was a behind the scenes (BTS) shoot for a friend of mine who was shooting a little short for a contest for the Ford Motor Company, dealing with Mustangs. He was a finalist and actually got a budget to shoot this.

It was a great short that he wrote and shot with a great cast and crew.

My job was to shoot BTS for him because he had to add a little “Who’s the director?” thing with his submission. I also stayed on for an additional day to record some BTS for another short he was directing. So, two days, two full days, driving out to OC for each and then again to deliver the footage.

At the time of the shoot, you couldn’t even rent the camera alone for twice what I charged. I’m going to say all of this was for $200. (I’ll verify later)

Things went great, pretty much. I had fun. I was fed pizza. Got to see some shooting. Got to meet some great people.

My friend said that when he got the money from the people, he’d mail me a check. That check took a long time to arrive but after a long, long time, it did arrive.

Sometime after that, I got an email from my friend’s girlfriend / soon to be fiance / eventually to be wife. It went on to say that the reason the check was so late was that SHE didn’t want to pay me. And I was lucky because “Tom” was such a nice guy that he wanted to pay me despite my footage being shitty and too dark to use and that probably cost him the contest. And also I was to NEVER try to speak to them again.

I have to admit that I can be an asshole sometimes and I jump to conclusions and have had my share of pissing people off. But I have to think that there was obviously more to her anger toward me than what she wrote. And I already admitted that I’m not that good at anything, after all. But, I mean, where does that kind of vitriol come from?

Anyway, we all know that when a person has undisclosed crimes, they flame-out on other innocents to make people look the other way. Her email to me was actually in response to an email I had written my friend’s mother, who was asking for advice on running an art group among our mutual friends and community. I had told her the reality of how hard it was to run such a group and in that email I mentioned that not getting paid for so long from her son, actually made me think twice about being involved.

So there! That was it, a reason to hate me. Now my friend’s girl had a reason, from the future to excuse her past crime toward me. See, obviously she knew I was going to be a meany and I didn’t deserve to be paid, because that thing was going to happen in the future and see and yeah that footage was shitty too!

It’s kind of funny to think about now but even so, the criticism still stings. And while it might have some truth in it, it is unwarranted as such. And even if true, should have been given in a much nicer spirit.

As a comparison, I recently decided to try out a new camera by visiting another friend, whose band was playing at a bar. In my somewhat drunken and surely uneducated stupor, I accidentally changed the shutter speed to something that made all the footage go all ghostly blurry. He didn’t ask me to shoot the band and although the footage was screwed up in my opinion, he said the following when I sent it to him, “Thanks man! The footage looks pretty cool! I know shooting that way was unintentional, but whoever is editing has footage from a bunch of different shows and I think he could totally splice some of that in and it might work really well. I really appreciate you coming out and doing that for us.”

How cool is that?

Sometimes getting things out in the open helps one feel better. I actually feel a little better writing this all down, here. I never really mentioned the above attack on my art to anyone publicly, except a few close friends. I’ve held it in for all this time and it’s been like a little devil sneering at my work, in the shadows of my mind. I still have my footage from that job and honestly, I think it’s quite usable. A little color correction to brighten it up surely but I’ve always thought it’s better to underexpose a little than to blow it out. I’m going through the footage now, as an exercise, to “prove to myself” that it surely could have been actually used. But the voice-over narrative will most certainly be changed!

My Latest Favorite Podcasts

April 8th, 2017

In an effort to define (more like, “find”) myself artistically, I’ve turned to photography. Like most of the arts I’ve been interested in, I’ve been interested in photography for a long time. I keenly recall taking pictures, fairly intently, since the age of ten.

Recently, I saw a post on Facebook by an old-time “opinion leader” of mine (I say opinion leader but more in the vein of “I pay attention to what they say and am willing to think about those thoughts and see how I feel about them”, as there aren’t too many people whom I’ll attest to blindly listen to.) that went something like, “a dabbler’s life is just dabbling.” I’m pretty sure I’m misquoting that but it was something like that. I’ve also recently confessed in one of my notebook notes that I’ve never really been good at anything.

Since I’ve found editing and filmmaking, which has been about ten years now, I learn a lot of things online, whether via videos, classes, blogs, vlogs or podcasts. My favorite podcasts currently are: Artful Camera, Our Week in Video, Here be Monsters. I’ll do a Go Creative Show, if none of the above have anything new but it’s starting to get a little too glitzy for me. I just discovered The wondering DP, so I can’t favorite it yet but I found his approach to learning, as interviewed on the Go Creative Show podcast, to be genius so I hope it will become one.

I like the Artful Camera podcast because Carl Olsen seems to be like me in that he likes a lot of different kinds of art, although assuredly he’s much more advanced than I am. He recently re-invented and re-branded his podcast from the Digital Convergence podcast and I like the direction he’s taking. He covers a wide array of photography and videography, including many analog forms. This is quite refreshing.

I like Our Week in Video because it’s a couple of blokes from the UK who talk about wedding videography and the challenge of it and the tech and craft of it and it challenges me because I’m a “I don’t do weddings” kind of guy. Although listening to them, I think, “ooh that’s challenging. Maybe I will try.” They are guys who push themselves and I appreciate that and want to foster that in myself.

Here be Monsters is a KCRW podcast, one of many I might listen to that has very interesting stories and for storytelling’s sake, they expand my mind and give me ideas. It’s on the dark side and I tend to like the dark side of things, when it comes to movies, news, etc. I wish life wasn’t so dark but I can’t shake my interest in these types of stories.

For this current dabble of mine, I think it’ll improve me cinematography, although I don’t necessarily want to be a DP or a Camera man. I also see it improving my editing, which has kind of been on hold as of late. All together, I think it’ll improve my writing, as well.

None of the above holds a candle to being a father and the joy I get being around my kids but I hope it’ll help me be better at that too. I think it’s important to be an example of “follow your dreams” to them.

I Killed Off #IFIE

January 15th, 2017

Sometimes in great storylines the protagonist must die.

Such was the fate of #IFIE.

After over seven years, with ebb and flow passion towards it in the past and waning interest in it in the present, I had to “kill my baby”. Or maybe it’s better to say, let it go out into the world on its own.

I’ve hit a time in my life where time is precious. I have young kids that I want to spend more time with. I want to travel. I want to do more.

At the same time, I have to spend some time “letting go of the past”, including selling off a bunch of stuff that I really have no business still owning.

I’ve said good-bye on the meetup and facebook pages. The Meetup page will go away, as I’m not going to be paying for it anymore. The FB one will remain, I guess as a place some people can still reach out to one another.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. So, when i figure that out, I’ll move forward with that and post about it here.

Until then, “Until then!”.

Six Years of #IFIE!

November 23rd, 2015

In the summer of 2008, I felt alone as a filmmaker, living 40 miles outside the mecca that is Hollywood. It was an interesting time. The digital revolution was beginning and I had begun in that direction with the purchase of an HVX200, after learning all about it’s virtues from History and Discovery Channel veteran, Jim Lindsay, during a 20-day intensive class on HD.

Along with digital media’s growth, social media was blooming. MySpace died but we got to see Four-Eyed Monsters come on the scene and then Twitter took over, followed by Facebook.

I spawned a project-based filmmaking group with some friends and we began to learn every aspect of filmmaking that we could. This experiment concluded with a 48-hour film project. After which everyone went their own separate way.

Again, I was alone. In the desert of the IE…

I looked for a group like the groups there were in L.A. for filmmakers. There were none. I knew I had to create one, here in the Inland Empire, where the flakes and the misfits, including myself, lived. And we must be called, “IFIE”!

And in the winter of 2009, the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire was born. Six-years later, we have grown from eight members to over 1,000 registered members and a regular attendance to our monthly meetings.

We continue because of the continual comments from our members thanking us for existing and telling us that they now have a home, with kindred spirits.

We thank all of our sponsors and presenters over the years. Thank you for helping to provide a home for wayward filmmaking souls!

I look forward to what the future holds. My seven-year old son just started his filmmaking journey with his award-winning first film, Giant Land Snake vs. the Volcano, Cloud and the Farmers. My five-year old daughter acted in her first short film and wants to make a film now. I’m finishing up my last class required for four Film and Television certificates at RCC. Creativity abounds and I meet new filmmakers every month. I think it’s time for a new era of IFIE.

Cheers!
Eric

Find out more about our IFIE Meetups at IFOTIE.com

#IFIE June 3, 2015 Meetup

June 5th, 2015

Inspiring night at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire with Shannon Hartman, Norman Zeledon from HDDisk and Steven C. Miller.

Randy Ubillos at LACPUG 5/27/2015

May 28th, 2015

An interesting night at LACPUG, last night.

First a stump the gurus
Randy Ubillos, Larry Jordan, Kylee Wall and Monica Daniels

Two Chicagoans presented last night, as the Blackhawks took game 6 of the NHL Western Conference to tie the series 3 – 3, forcing game 7 to be played in Anaheim. First was Matt Isi Geller who talked about Key Flow Pro, a very cool app that allows file sharing and collaboration in a very unique and smart way. Then Mare Costello who talked about her 5+ year (and counting) journey making The Syriana Tate Interviews. Check both out.

Then a break and then Randy! Randy Ubillos is basically the creator of FCP and ran teams for a number of App creation.

Long time friend and “Head Cutter” of LACPUG, Michael Horton gave a great introduction.

After retiring from Apple, to go on adventures, Randy expressed joy in being able to be here not under the badge of Apple and proceeded to give us a presentation on Making Personal Movies.

He went into tips on making montage videos from trip photos and videos. I won’t show any of the video examples here. You can find the examples on his and his husband’s web page here: http://randyandrick.com/

Doing a “One Man Multicam”

And then his top 10 tips

Overall, Randy is inspiring. He has been able to follow all of his passions and help others to follow theirs, along the way.

He’s democratized editing and creating content for the layman and has helped many people launch careers.

Buddha and Jesus, According to Bob

May 22nd, 2015

I have here an example of why sometimes it’s great to engage in conversation with your fellow human beings, instead of just sitting in silence, waiting around for something.

Arriving early to the AAA office to register my car, I sat on the planter next to “Bob T.”. At least that’s what the name tag on his trucking company shirt said. Bob was an older Asian fellow (originally from Thailand, I would later find out) who was quick to return a smile and engage in conversation.

Through his heavily accented English, which I knew most people wouldn’t be able to understand, Bob started to talk to me about strange weather we were having and how it was due to the Earth actually spinning slower than normal. He also went on to tell me that because of this phenomenon that this was the reason we were losing planes. The wind was unable to keep up with them as it should and radar tracking doesn’t work right under these conditions. This was not all that was wrong with the planet, it turns out.

Because of it being still cool in May and the varying of hot and cold and hard rain, etc., Bob has had to replant his flowers, over and again. Things were off. Man, you see, is adding more and more chemicals into the environment. These chemicals are seating themselves into the dirt. The dirt and dust that comes down when it rains. (Apparently, that’s why your car gets so dirty when it rains!)

These chemicals are having an effect on humans and animals.

These chemicals are making people more and more easily angered and wanting to fight with one another. That’s why there is such an increase in violence on the planet. It’s not just here in the US. Bob is a world traveler and has witnessed these things in people all over the world.

I asked Bob if there was a solution to this problem. Well, you see, Jesus will be coming around again. We need to make ourselves right for that time.

Bob has made it a point to study religion from many backgrounds. Particularly helpful was an old pastor of his whom recently passed away. I gather he was a born-again Christian type of pastor from the talk we’re having. Bob said that the pastor helped him understand the bible and the different concepts in it. Bob added that I shouldn’t believe what he said but to take these ideas and inspect them for myself and see if they are true for me.

He explained further that it was the falling away from the first five commandments that was leading mankind down the wrong path.

Bob went on to tell me about how Jesus died for our sins so that we could be saved and that the problem Jesus had in his time, was that he fought against the government, fought for people to not pay taxes and preached directly to the common man. Doing so, he made the government angry and that is why they hung him on a cross. Buddha on the other hand took a different approach.

There wasn’t much difference in what Buddha and Christ were teaching. They just took different approaches to spreading their word. You see Buddha went directly to the ruler and sold him on his ideas and because of this was given free reign to spread his teachings amongst its people. So therein, I learned a very important lesson. If you want to reach more people without getting hassle from the Man. You need to go to the top honcho around those parts and sell him on the idea. Then he’ll give you the keys to the kingdom.

And it was at that time, AAA opened for business.

Thanks Bob!

#INKMINIGT 2015 What Is It and The Official Prize List

March 26th, 2015

In 2012, the first Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire, NAB [National Association of Broadcasters], KISS [by Monster Mini Golf] Mini Golf Tournament (INKMINIGT) was born.

What is it and why do I throw this party?

It is indoor glow-in-the dark mini-golf in a KISS (the band) theme. And, yes, that is all that it sounds like it is! And, it is a fun way to start off NAB.

“Way back” in 2009, I went to my first NAB. I was also on Twitter at that time and I made a lot of friends in post production. Going to NAB was like a class-reunion or a coming home week. I got to meet all my friends face to face, or as they say these days, IRL (in real life).

The NAB Show is very cool and overwhelming but it’s the time after hours that really shines. There are big events and parties galore. This is where you get to see people with their hair down, so to speak.

Each year it’s the same and only gets better. Sure, sometimes I think, ah maybe I won’t go this year. But, I end up going and it has always been the best decision because it really, really pumps me up for the rest of the year.

Anyway, the first and second year, we used to meet at the Yardhouse on the Sunday night that starts NAB. It was okay but it kind of dwindled down and was kind of boring. In 2010-2011, I saw a movie that had an indoor GITD monster mini golf course in it and thought that would be fun to do and soon learned that soon a KISS themed one was opening in Vegas, just before the 2012 NAB. The rest is history.

Because I also founded the Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire (ifotie.com), I had connections to sponsors and I enlisted their help in prize contributions. (Who are more than eager to support it by the way! So big props to our sponsors because they get it!) So far, with the exception of 2014, when my friends over at Going Postal Show (http://www.goingpostalshow.com/) ran the party, I have used my own money to throw the party. Yes, the ticket costs money to attend, but for each and every person that attends, I personally have to outlay about $15. That adds up and one day I hope to get sponsorship money to make up that difference, but for now, it’s just my gift to my friends in the filmmaking community. And it’s worth it! This community is my second family.

    Now on to the prizes for this year:

  • An UltraStudio Mini Monitor from BlackMagic Design
  • An UltraStudio Mini Recorder from BlackMagic Design
  • 2 copies of audio master suite from Sony Creative Software (one for MAC and one for PC)
  • Some copies of DIGISUITE from DigiEffects
  • A couple Imagine Products Power Banks
    Have you ever been on set or location and realized your phone or tablet is about to die? No electrical outlet in sight, right? No worries, We’ve Got Your Back(up!). These power banks use the USB cord from your phone or tablet to re-charge your device in less than an hour from 0 to 100%. We’ve always helped you protect your assets, now we are helping you stay in touch.

  • Three (3) $100 credit packages from Revostock
  • One $100 credit for any of Intelligent Assistance apps
  • Two $500 vouchers from ArtBeats
  • Prizes from Digital Rebellion
  • 2x Atmospheres from That Studio
  • 1x CONFORM STUDIO from That Studio
  • A copy of ScopeBox from Divergent Media
  • A copy of EditReady from Divergent Media
  • 3 iOgrapher cases and a wide and telephoto lens for each
  • 8x Certificate for a Focal Press book of your choice
  • Media Composer from Avid
    • The following Toolfarm training classes:

    • After Effects Expressions Series 1 – 6
    • Toolfarm Professional Keying with Keylight: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training for Primatte Keyer Pro: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training for the After Effects Camera: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm Professional Training with Trapcode 3S: Toolfarm Expert Series
    • Toolfarm University After Effects and CINEMA 4D – 3D Tracker Training
  • Adobe Swag
  • Special Limited Edition Surprise from THAT Studio! (You’re going to want this one folks!)
  • A subscription to Adobe CC
  • 2 individual product downloads of choice from Rampant Design Tools
  • A copy of Magic Bullet Looks from Red Giant Software
  • $100 gift card to the Wooden Camera webstore
  • A copy of Zombie Apocalypse Sound Effects Library from Blastwave FX
  • $100 Gift Card from Maxon
  • Some T-Shirts from Maxon
  • 5 HDRI Steel Balls from Maxon

To register for the event go to: http://inkminigt2015.eventbrite.com

NABShow 2015 and #INKMINIGT

March 6th, 2015

Well folks, April is around the corner and that means the annual migration of “broadercasters*” to Las Vegas for the NAB Show.

Since 2009, I have been attending NAB and as I’ve mentioned over and over again, I think I will always try to find a way to go.

In 2012, I threw the first #INKMINIGT (Independent Filmmakers of the Inland Empire KISS Mini Golf Tournament) and we will be throwing the fourth one this year, on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 9 PM.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://inkminigt2015.eventbrite.com.

I am dedicating this year’s party to the memory of one of our regular attendees and all around great video production person and friend that we lost in 2014, Brad Hagen. He was the founder of Video Resources and a personal inspiration to me and many others.

I will be attending NAB and going to #INKMINIGT, MediaMotion Ball and Supermeet.

Stay tuned for news and updates. Follow my twitter feed for the most up-to-date information!

Divergent Media announced today immediate availability of EditReady 1.2 with support for AVCHD and HDV

March 6th, 2015

Divergent Media announced today immediate availability of EditReady 1.2 with support for AVCHD and HDV camera footage, integrated from their industry leading ClipWrap application. Upgrade pricing is available for existing ClipWrap users.

March 2, 2015 San Francisco, CA – Since its launch in mid-2014, EditReady has quickly gained a reputation as the fastest, easiest transcoding tool on the Mac. With frequent updates, it has gained support for formats like MXF and Sony’s XAVC-L. EditReady 1.2 adds support for hundreds of the most popular cameras which shoot to AVCHD and HDV transport streams.

“By combining the rock solid AVCHD and HDV format support from ClipWrap with the advanced hardware acceleration, GPU filtering and modern user interface of EditReady,” said CEO Mike Woodworth, “we’re one step closer to our goal of a single application for users to prep any footage for edit, dailies, or delivery.”

Consolidating the two products gives EditReady users access to a huge collection of newly supported source cameras. ClipWrap users transitioning to EditReady will be able to take advantage of EditReady’s clean user interface, video preview, metadata editing, and hardware accelerated pipeline.

About EditReady

Rewraps and transcodes HDV and AVCHD, QuickTime, MP4 and MXF input
In addition to the various AVCHD and HDV cameras supported by ClipWrap, EditReady can transcode footage from MXF and Quicktime cameras such as the GoPro, iPhone, Arri Alexa, Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Sony F7, digital SLRs and many more.

Preview videos and see thumbnails
EditReady shows thumbnails of clips for at-a-glance review and organization. GPU accelerated preview allows quick review of footage before transcode and even supports LUTs (look up tables) for simple color correction.

Custom metadata and file naming
EditReady’s metadata editor makes it simple to check the metadata embedded by the camera, correct problems, and add additional info. Any of the metadata can be used to build custom naming schemes for output files.

Fast
EditReady was written from the ground up to use hardware accelerated encode and decode available in many modern Macs, as well as GPU based color transforms. EditReady takes the power and speed of ClipWrap and turns it up to 11.

Availability
EditReady 1.2 is available as a free update for existing EditReady users, and as a $29.95 crossgrade for existing ClipWrap users.

To learn more about EditReady, visit http://www.divergentmedia.com/editready.

About Divergent Media

Divergent Media is a San Francisco, CA based software company providing flexible tools for video monitoring, acquisition, transcoding, and quality assurance. In business for over 10 years, we pride ourselves on making well made tools for video professionals.