Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Study in Film

So, next week I'm shooting "Onyx Origins". It's going to be a unique shoot in a few ways.

For one, the movie itself is being shot specifically for "Con 9 from Outer Space" and as such will have elements of a 50s sci-fi movie, including it's style, but being a prequel to the "Alien Vengeance" movies I can't do the Onyx Character's origin story properly set in the 50s and without a bit of violence of gore. Also, we want to have a 3D piece to show people when we restart the fundraising campaign for AV-3D later this year, SO, an alternate version is being shot, for 3D and with some effects, language and violence the 50s version will not have. It's sort of a study in the history of sci-fi evolution to see what we're allowed to do now that was too "scary" 50 or 60 years ago.

There's also the 3D element. The movie will be in B&W for the 50's version and that is likely something we'll carry over for the updated version because anaglyph 3D (the type I'm using), tends to work better in 3D, but we're shooting in color, so I can make that decision in post.

We'll also be using a combo of 2D to 3D conversion and some shots in native 3D. One of the reasons for this is to test them side by side as it will save time, and thus money, in the feature movie down the line. If it works.

So expect to see a couple of versions, maybe even one that's pretty much "kid safe" of "Onyx Origins" late in 2012.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

So, you wrote a book. Now what?

No, really, what?  This isn't an instructional on how to promote or sell your book, because I have no idea.  Get an agent or publisher would probably be the best idea, but I have a long record of not playing well with others.  So, I've made movies and promoted those a bit and thought the book would be the same thing.  Send it out for reviews, take my lumps, but get the title in front of people who want to give it a look and enjoy the silly monster scariness we put out.

Not as easy with a book.  Everybody wants to sell me ad space, but reading takes a lot longer than watching a movie, especially when you're taking notes to do a review.  So, getting a book reviewed by legitimate sources is tough.  Add to that the fact that you're competing with proven publishers who have easier to find  content and things get really difficult.

What about digital formats?  With the movies it's easy.  Sort of.  I mean, at least I use digital formats for watching movies and I use Netflix streaming and YouTube, so running my movies online with Amazon rental and streaming sites that pay me per play isn't really a mystery and I can test the waters on my own to make sure things are working as they should.  With books I still read PAPER.  I like hardcovers, but often buy paperbacks, especially trade paperbacks, to save some money and make them easier to carry on trips.  Laying out the paperback and proofing it took months, but it turned out beautifully!  And it's so easy to buy.  I still haven't listed it for bookstores because, again, unproven publishers have to compete harder for shelf space so I would like some reviews under my belt first.  Getting listed in the regular channels costs money and investments are hard to make for unproven content.

So, digital books are a mystery to me.  I made a .pdf file with illustrations that worked beautifully on our Kobo Reader and my Mom's.  I think it worked on our Sony (not sure we tried it) and the Amazon app on our phones was able to read it, but when we converted that to a Kindle file to get it listed on Amazon dot com it went to pieces.  Literally.  Pieces of it turned red and others disappeared.  Anyone reading this who bought that version, with the red text, please, return to Amazon and buy or borrow the new one we've loaded.  Much nicer.  Or at least I think it is from what I can test on my computer and phone, but I can't seem to borrow it as a "Prime" member even though we're enrolled in that program because I don't own the actual Kindle.  When someone has a complaint I can't help them with it because I'm not having the same experience they are and as a guy who has controlled his content from concept to creation for so long, this makes me nuts.  I want people to be able to get the book as cheaply as possible because I want thousands, even millions of people to enjoy my scary short stories and sleep with the lights on just one night because of me.  I want women to swoon over the cowboy on the cover because darn it, I look good in that hat, from the back, but mostly I'd like people to read the paperback, not because it costs more (I get roughly the same royalty as if they borrowed it on Prime), but because it's a better looking book with a tactile feel, that I think gets the overall essence the old school stories across better.

TRIVIA: Every human image on the cover of the book is me.  We needed to create a crowd, so we used shadows, wigs and post effects to cover my identity.

Need a read?
Check out the Horror Anthology, "Off the Rails and Other Tales" from Hocus Focus Productions!