12 Brothers - The Music: Sunsets

No, I don't have a demo to offer. Instead, I offer both audio and video. The audio is from November 3, 2001. It's a little something we like to refer to as a "bad larry." The video is from the TMINM Zeitgeist Gallery show, January 5, 2005. Also, much shorter. I guess I wasn't up to testing the audiences endurance that night.


12 Brothers - The Lyrics: Sunsets

Prerequisite reading thus far:

Add to that a previous entry I had written regarding this song entitled Anti-Global Rotation 51. It's really required reading this time, because there are some important details in there that I don't feel like repeating.

This song is intended to let us take a little journey with #12. Basically, the story picks up right where Business left off. The beginning portion lets us feel his grief after being forced out of the family. #12 faked his death to avoid prison (or something like that) and he has fled to Mexico. Later on he gets tempted and refuses to be enticed.

The lyrics here are certainly a bit wayward and without focus. They take us all over the map. At the same time, though, that's kind of the goal. This song bridges the two halves of the EP.

it struck my like an old childhood memory
i knew his pain, too
knew his pain, too
but it wasn't as strong with me now
strong with me now
so the crying continued
crying continued
so different from each other
so different from each other
yet so close to each other
so close to each other
and the thought of these two individuals
the thought of these two
the thought of who they were
who they were
the thought of what they were dealing
what they were dealing with
touched my heart deeply
touched my heart
like a volcano long lay dormant erupting with full force
like an Arizona summer rain
like a dictator's reign
or like a paralyzed man's first step
i, too, began to cry
i began to cry

no more
i began to cry
no more
no more
no more sunsets

things looked better in the southwest
though if he left i bet he'd get depressed
still things looked better in the southwest
felt it was time to leave the business
and hope sun and spaces will make him forget
the desert's brighter than his current mess
'cause things are better in the southwest

thus with nothing else to do
with nothing within my power to change
the three of me just sat and cried until the sun came up

no more
i began to cry
no more
no more
no more
i began to cry

i am not consumed
or even enticed
by its tempting juice
or her tightening vice
i know its just her clever ruse

no more
no more
no more
no more

This will be Joshua's toughest challenge yet. It isn't going to be easy to come up with a demo for this song. It brings a lot of instruments into play (as well as requiring the ability to play those instruments poorly, which is harder than you might think). Remember, no more lyrics until I get a demo.


12 Brothers - The Music: Business

Here is my solo acoustic demo for Business. By and large, the original lyrics. I even like the "fathers" bit in the second verse. Sorry, I didn't have the energy to put together a proper demo. If I remember correctly, this was one of the more popular songs at the Zeitgeist show.

Time Is My Crisis, Part II

The new cut of Time Is My Crisis is now complete! It includes a new mix of the song, and lots of little changes. You can check out both the old and the new versions.


Intense Math, Part VI

Wow, the saga of Intense Math continues! Just returned from the Phoenix Film Project mixer to anounce the Screen Wars Comedy challenge winner. Alas, we did not win the overall, but we did not leave emptyhanded. Fittingly, Gabe, Brad, and Chris were all recognized for their acting, taking home Best Ensemble Cast. I won for Best Cinematography, and for Best Editing, which was shared with Brock. Brock seems to want to have no part of this award, though he wasn't there for most of the editing, his input was valuable. Also, I think the acting award reflects highly on his insightful direction on the set.

The mixer was great, met a lot of nice people and took a lot of cards (note: we need our own cards). We got a lot of positive feedback on the film. It seems people, other filmmakers no less, actually did pick up on all of the subtleties of the film. It's tough to be objective about your own work, but it was nice to hear other people comment on the creeping, opening dolly shots, the whiteboard sequence, the single tear, and all the little things.

Let's take this show on the road. Festivals, here we come!


Time Is My Crisis, Part I

Now what do you think I will do now that all the major projects on my hard drive have been completed? Get started on Tim Nm, CPA? TMINM documentary? TMINM music video? Record a new demo for "Business"? Nope.

Instead I pulled out the original footage tape for Cleary's "Time Is My Crisis" music video, from late 2002. I'm making a new version of the video. Why? I think that there is a lot I can do to improve it, based on new tools and techniques, and new editing methods. I didn't like the look of the Magic Bullet film motion on the original. Plus, there are a few shots that I think can be replaced with better ones. I'm going to set the whole thing to a new mix of the song.

Last night I sorted through the footage, and I am deartifacting it right now (10 hours to go, even on my new computer). Man, I have been spoiled by the quality of my GS400. This old JVC 1-CCD footage is really crappy. It's DV format, 720x480, but the practical resolution looks to be about half that. It's got some nasty DV contrast ringing artifacts, and it's got tons of video noise.

It also didn't have any manual controls, so it's full auto, with all inopportune auto-focus and auto-aperture adjustments that are at this point very distracting to me. It reminds me of something Jeremy said on the DVD "Making Of" featurette regarding one CU of a dryer door: "For some reason, the camera seemed to really focus on the writing on the handle." Yeh, you think?! Because it was auto-everything. It makes me think we really lucked out to get the footage we got.

Honestly, after that, I'll finish the TMINM music video, do the Western and Drama challenges, maybe a NMWG and/or Fatigo music video... then I'll jump into Tim Nm, CPA.


Winter's Day, Part II

I dropped Winter's Day off at the Phoenix Film Project office today, just after four, a full two hours before the deadline. That's not half bad for me.

I'll admit it, this shoot was rushed from the start. We were scrambling for wardrobe the night before, altering Old Navy clearance items (sorry to ruin the illusion), raiding WalMart for cheap tech gear, and jumping into the strange world of weaponry. Then, the day of the shoot, it sat down to write the screenplay, moments after calling all the actors and telling them to meet at my place in an hour. Fortunately, it was an adapted screenplay, but this just emphasizes the chaos involved.

On the set it was hot, we didn't have anything to drink, and the actors are all geared up in thick black vests. That's a no-no in the PHX. We rushed, rushed, rushed for two hours, with me setting talent up in multiple locations and running back and forth to get shots as people were ready. I had a vision for what I was doing, but one of those "I have a feeling" things, not anything I could readily communicate. So, there I was, harrassing Brock after each shot, "OK, what's next? Did we get that? Remind me to get that."

There was a general feeling on discomfort for me, being that I don't typically make, or even watch, action films. I wasn't comfortable with the fake guns. We took off the orange tips for realism, but that meant we could easily be mistaken for people with real guns and an altercation, or worse, could have ensued. We were at the construction site, running around as various people came to check in on the progress of their homes (so that's what goes on at construction sites on Sunday afternoons) saying, "Don't worry about it, we're making a film." Then the security guard came we had ten minutes to finish up the last third of the film.

Well, I'm happy to announce that it did work out. We did have all the shots we needed to make this film happen. In fact, we had way too much stuff to fit in the three minute time limit. In the end, I'm actually very pleased with this film. It's very smooth, very slick, very convincing. I'll put it right up there with Intense Math and AGTC.

I'm very happy with the story. I think it's pretty cool that it's based on a solid piece of literature. Maybe we'll elevate the action genre? I'll never doubt JAG again (except maybe about that humanoid-Dinosaur sci-fi thing he's always pitching).

12 Brothers - The Lyrics: Business

Prerequisite reading thus far:

Now I will add to that the previous post that I had written about the song Business, entitled Biznits 51. I will restate the lyrics below for ease of reading and commenting.

Our story now cuts to an unspecified "later date." The "new child" is all grown up now and his father has put him in charge of the family business, just as he had planned all along. #12 is doing a fine job, but he's getting railroaded by his brothers. They don't respect the authority that their father has given him and remain wholly uncooperative in their business dealings. Finally, the 11 see an opportunity! They get into some illegal activity surrounding the business and frame #12, who must fake his own death to avoid imprisonment.

Chapter 2: Business

Verse 1:

our mothers used to say
"you must stick together always
and never divide
and never separate"

Verse 2:

our father used to say
"you must do what's right always
the course you must stay
and never deviate"

Chorus 1:

it's just business on the shelf
it's just business between us twelve

Verse 3:

our father used to say
"the customer's right always
so stay open late
and make sure you get paid"

Verse 4:

why can't you do what i say
you know our father would want it that way
we must work it out
there is no reason to shout

Chorus 2:

it's just business on the shelf
it's just business between us twelve

Verse 5:

why did you sell me out
now father says i am not alive
i hate this feeling
i know i'm justified

If you read the comments on the Biznits 51 post perhaps you noticed the alternate chorus that I had written at one point in time. It goes like this:

all is fair in love and war
between brothers in the family store

Is that worthy of entry into this song? Is it just too played and cliched? It could either replace or join to the current chorus. Or it could be left out altogether.


Intense Math, Part V

Woohoo! Intense Math won week 2 of Screen Wars! It was very close, we were up against some great competition. Thanks to everyone who voted!

So it's on to the final round in the Comedy challenge. Intense Math will play again on Saturday, April 23, 5:30pm, AZTV. We need your support once again. If we win next week, we're in next year's Phoenix Film Festival, and qualify for Academy Award consideration!


12 Brothers - The Music: Inheritance

I can't promise this every night, but here is a demo I did tonight for Inheritance, with the lyric changes. It's very rough, but I got in acoustic and bass, with me on drums and backup vocals. I was think there should be a piano at the beginning, too, but didn't have the energy. You know you're in trouble when I bust out the old PC mic. Be warned.

High Five Nappy Dizzle

Napoleon Dynamite creators Jared and Jerusha Hess are up for commendation per this bill before the Idaho House of Representatives. Potatoes, cows, tetherball, multiculturalism, and freakin' idiots. It's all in there.




4 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
5 WHEREAS, the State of Idaho recognizes the vision, talent and creativity
6 of Jared and Jerusha Hess in the writing and production of "Napoleon Dyna-
7 mite"; and
8 WHEREAS, the scenic and beautiful City of Preston, County of Franklin and
9 the State of Idaho are experiencing increased tourism and economic growth; and
10 WHEREAS, filmmaker Jared Hess is a native Idahoan who was educated in the
11 Idaho public school system; and
12 WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly
13 the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and
14 WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho's
15 most famous export; and
16 WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered
17 multiethnic relationships; and
18 WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics;
19 and
20 WHEREAS, Napoleon's bicycle and Kip's skateboard promote better air qual-
21 ity and carpooling as alternatives to fuel-dependent methods of transporta-
22 tion; and
23 WHEREAS, Grandma's trip to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes highlights a long-
24 honored Idaho vacation destination; and
25 WHEREAS, Rico and Kip's Tupperware sales and Deb's keychains and glamour
26 shots promote entrepreneurism and self-sufficiency in Idaho's small towns; and
27 WHEREAS, Napoleon's artistic rendition of Trisha is an example of the
28 importance of the visual arts in K-12 education; and
29 WHEREAS, the schoolwide Preston High School student body elections foster
30 an awareness in Idaho's youth of public service and civic duty; and
31 WHEREAS, the "Happy Hands" club and the requirement that candidates for
32 school president present a skit is an example of the importance of theater
33 arts in K-12 education; and
34 WHEREAS, Pedro's efforts to bake a cake for Summer illustrate the positive
35 connection between culinary skills to lifelong relationships; and
36 WHEREAS, Kip's relationship with LaFawnduh is a tribute to e-commerce and
37 Idaho's technology-driven industry; and
38 WHEREAS, Kip and LaFawnduh's wedding shows Idaho's commitment to healthy
39 marriages; and
40 WHEREAS, the prevalence of cooked steak as a primary food group pays trib-
41 ute to Idaho's beef industry; and
42 WHEREAS, Napoleon's tetherball dexterity emphasizes the importance of
43 physical education in Idaho public schools; and
44 WHEREAS, Tina the llama, the chickens with large talons, the 4-H milk

1 cows, and the Honeymoon Stallion showcase Idaho's animal husbandry; and
2 WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the
3 Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent
4 resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of
5 Their Lives!"
6 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the First Regular Session
7 of the Fifty-eighth Idaho Legislature, the House of Representatives and the
8 Senate concurring therein, that we commend Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City
9 of Preston for showcasing the positive aspects of Idaho's youth, rural cul-
10 ture, education system, athletics, economic prosperity and diversity.
11 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the members of the House of Representa-
12 tives and the Senate of the State of Idaho, advocate always following your
13 heart, and thus we eagerly await the next cinematic undertaking of Idaho's
14 Hess family.
15 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the House of Representa-
16 tives be, and she is hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of this
17 resolution to Jared and Jerusha Hess, the Mayor of the City of Preston and the
18 Principal of Preston High School.

12 Brothers - The Lyrics: Inheritance

At Joshua's urging I have decided to do a series of blog entries on the EP that I have been longing to release to the world. First off, there's required reading prior to entertaining this series of posts. Please check out "Twelve Brothers. One Passion."

To give you an overview in a nutshell, the story basically is a retelling of some ancient events. The desire here is to transform the story into something more modern while preserving the beauty and sound moral message of the original.

Our story begins with the birth of the twelfth brother to a powerful and successful business man. The father has been disappointed with the men that his other sons have grown up to become. His desire is that this twelfth son will finally be the one to carry on the family name in an upright way. Meanwhile, while awaiting the moment to visit their baby brother, the other eleven are consumed by their selfishness. They can only focus on how this extra son will further divide their potential inheritance.

Chapter 1: Inheritance

Verse 1:

the old man hurried
scurried as quick as could be
to the hospital bedside
of his sweet young wife
to usher in the new child
to celebrate a brand new life

Chorus 1:

at last
a son
that's unlike every other one
he will
the heir to my vast fortune

Verse 2:

all the brothers gathered
in the silent waiting room
they were hot and bothered
by this new addition
it just did not seem fair
so they had to hatch a scheme

Chorus 2:

i won't
what we so rightfully deserve
we must
what we have worked so hard for


and all eleven walked away
to bide their time for some later date.

What is the purpose of posting these lyrics? Now is the chance for you to get involved. I am looking for constructive criticism on how to improve the lyrics and story. Please feel free to comment at will. I can't guarantee that I will like everything that you have to say, but I will try to be as non-defensive as possible and to look at things in an objective light.

Thanks for your help!


Brattleking Express

The Brattle Theater in Cambridge recently had a week of tribute to China's finest director, Wong Kar-Wai. They played some old and newer films alike, creating a spectacular retrospective of his career. While I was not able to be in attendance for all of the screenings that I wished to see, I simply could not pass up the opportunity to view my favorite film of all time, Chungking Express, on the big screen.

Carl and I went in to Cambridge this past Tuesday night for the screening. We started the evening with some Annas Taqueria (I have no clue what that link has to do with AT), easily the best burrito you will get in Massachusetts (not as good as Maui Taco in Hawaii, though). I won't go any further with my praise because I know the Arizona folks will murder me. On a side note, I have answered the question as to whether or not a Annas burrito is edible after sitting out all night, and the answer is "Yes."

The Brattle Theater is a little, hole-in-the-wall, one-screen job. Very cozy! Unfortunately, as we approached to purchase our tickets I noticed a sign posted on the window: "Due to matters beyond our control we will be screening the DVD of CHUNGKING EXPRESS." Doh! Nothing against the Rolling Thunder Pictures DVD; it is by far the best quality audio, translation, and subtitle color that I've encountered for this film. But there would have been a certain charm to viewing an original film print of Chungking Express. I was hoping for some alternate shots and music, a la the Chinese DVD. I wanted some white subtitles, if only to prove that you don't even need words to appreciate this story.

The theater itself is really nice. It even has a balcony section (you better believe that's where we sat). How many theaters can still say that? It really was a great experience seeing it in a real theater. It was bizarre to see so many people in one place, all tuned in and loving this film. I'm so used to having to convince people to watch this with me. Like my cousin Lindsey: "If I wanted to read, I'd pick up a book."

There was a man sitting next to us who was particularly enjoying the film. He may have had the aid of some illegal substances, however. He was laughing at all the funny parts, and laughing hysterically at all of the non-funny parts. It actually added to my enjoyment of the movie. As he laughed he would mutter little things to himself. Like when Faye Wong is switching everything around in No. 633's apartment: "OH GOD! HAHAHA!" Or when No. 633 wrings out the new towel that Faye has placed in his apartment and then utters my favorite line: "It was such a relief when I saw it crying. It may look different, but it's still true to itself. It's still an emotionally charged towel." Funny Boy Richard next door: "WHAT ... WHAT THE ... WHO'S A ... HOO HOO HOO!"

All in all a fine experience. But I'll still regret missing Ashes of Time, Days of Being Wild, As Tears Go By, etc. Maybe they'll come back some day.

I just found out about a new film that WKW is starting to work on, The Lady from Shanghai. 2046 hasn't even been released to the US yet (I'm seeing August 5th, 2005; UK rating of 12A, seems equivalent to PG-13). Tracking ... in the meantime check out the very cool, official 2046 website, including a high quality QuickTime trailer.


Winter's Day, Part I

Today we shot Winter's Day, the latest in a long line of Matter of Chance productions with wild behind-the-scenes stories. It seems we can't get a single project done without major drama or incidents.

Sidetracking for a moment, I haven't yet reported on the shoot for Brock H. Brown's latest film, The Subject. Or more accurately, the shoot that didn't happen. Brock sprung a massive nosebleed just prior to call, was taken to the hospital, bled out for hours, and had a soldering iron shoved up his nose. Yet another brilliant screenplay that will be shelved due to production complications. I was hoping Brock would post about this, I'd like to hear his perspective.

Back to Winter's Day.

This film came together over the last 48 hours or so. Not because it's part of a 48 hour filmmaking contest, but because our backs are up against the wall coming up with something for the Screen Wars Action challenge. Originally, we were going to pass on the Action challenge, because it's not our thing, and no good ideas came to mind. However, after getting such a positive reaction to our Comedy submission, Intense Math, I felt we just had to submit something.

So it was that an idea presented to us by JAG (and immediately discarded) some months ago came back to life. The idea: a modern adaptation of the Three Musketeers, which JAG had been reading of late. These tales of fantasy are not my thing, so I thought nothing of it at the time. However, over lunch a week ago I asked JAG for ideas again, and the idea was brought back up. Of course, we were constrained to a three minute time limit. Given that, he described the climactic raid, trial, and execution scenes towards the end of the movie. Now here was something I could work with.

Friday night we committed to the idea in earnest. We conceived of an adaptation involving FBI agents. Saturday we traveled the city all day rounding up props: pistols, bullet-proofs jackets (inside-out Old Navy jackets with the sleeves removed and stitched up), handcuffs, walkie-talkies, ear buds, and a red tie. Then, today, at noon, we recruited an eight-member cast and four-member crew. I busted out the screenplay as they were in transit, and we had a pre-production prep meeting/pep rally.

Of course, JAG and Angie has issues with the screenplay, being purists in regards to the original story. True, we could have done a number of things differently, and there was ample dramatic detail to draw from in the original story. However, I contend that the copromises I made were necessary, especially considering that if we had done anything even slightly more complex, we really would have been stuck (read on).

We loaded into the cars and headed to the preferred location, an isolated subdivision with only three houses in various stages of construction. Upon arriving we found a foreman on the site and had to move to take evasive action. We headed out to what was the backup site, but were enticed by another home construction site on the way. Here were not just framed houses, but nearly-completed ones as well. Very nice. We decided to go for it.

There it was that we shot all facets of a raid, chase, and interrogation over the next two and a half hours. As we were working on the final third of the movie, a security guard came by and busted us. A very dangerous situation considering the number of prop guns present (Gentlemen, holster your weapons). He was nice enough to stall for ten minutes while we wrapped up. However, tension continued to rise, with word of calling the proper authorities, and we were forced to take flights before getting the critical last shot.

Away we went, and regrouped at my house for pizza and the tape of most of those present on television the previous evening. We even reviewed the footage together, perhaps slightly disappointed in the quality of the shots due to the rushed nature of the production. Of course, it always comes together in post. We will find a way! This time around, I have decided to post just a few shots at a time, as I will inevitably have other posts as I edit, which will need some graphical enhancement.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you another Matter of Chance production, another brush with death and/or incarceration.


Intense Math, Part IV

Good news, Intense Math will be screened as part of the Phoenix Film Project event at the Phoenix Film Festival. This is Friday, April 8, 2005, 10:30pm, at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 theater. See you there! And don't forget to check it out on Screen Wars on Saturday, April 9, 2005, 5:30pm, on AZTV (Cox 13).


AGTC, Part V

More press coverage for AGTC. A metion in the A3F right-up in the Mid Town Messenger.